A History of the County of Berkshire: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1924.
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The parish of South Hinksey covers 765 acres in the valley of the Isis. That river forms its eastern boundary, and a branch of it, known as Hinksey Stream, leaves the main stream at North Hinksey, Old Vicarage, Solth Hinksey, flows through this parish, and joins the river again some distance to the south-east of the village. First, however, it is joined by several other streams, and the south-eastern part of the parish is covered with intersecting rivulets and is liable to floods.
The village of South Hinksey is in the centre of the parish, a short distance to the west of Hinksey Stream. At its south end is the church of St. Lawrence. The vicar lives at the suburb of Oxford known as New Hinksey, which sprang up in the 19th century between the Thames and the Hinksey Stream. The vicarage house of New Hinksey was erected in 1888 on a site given by the Earl of Abingdon and the Oxford Corporation. New Hinksey also has a Wesleyan chapel.
At the north-west corner of the square of streets which forms New Hinksey are the reservoirs and water-works of Oxford. The city has supplied itself with water from Hinksey since its water-works first came into existence; the present works were constructed in 1854, and have since been largely extended. New Hinksey belongs to the ecclesiastical parish of South Hinksey, but the whole tongue of land between the Thames and Hinksey Stream was in 1889 included for civil purposes in the city of Oxford. At the south end of it is the City Hospital for Infectious Diseases.
The main high road through the parish is that leading from Oxford to Abingdon, which runs south to the junction between the streams, and then south-west, and is joined by a lane running south from the village. This lane is crossed by a rifle range 1,000 yards in length.
At the point where the Abingdon road crosses the stream is the New Hinksey Mill. There is another mill a short distance to the north-east called the Weirs Mill. The Weirs of Hinksey were in existence in 1544, when they belonged to Robert Hethe, (fn. 1) but neither of the mills is ancient. There was at one time a mill in South Hinksey of considerable importance. It was known as Langford Mill, 'near Oxford Bridge,' and was granted to the abbey of Abingdon in the beginning of the 12th century by William de Seacourt, to whose land in Bayworth (q.v) it had been attached. (fn. 2) His mother Ansfrida, a mistress of Henry I, received burial at the hands of the monks, and William granted them the mill in gratitude. (fn. 3) After the death of Abbot Faritius, to whom the grant had been made, William repented of his munificence, and complained to the king that the mill had been obtained from him by force. (fn. 4) The king gave him seisin, but after hearing representations from the monks reversed his decision and restored the mill. (fn. 5) Subsequently William 'recognized his fault' and gave up all claim. (fn. 6) The mill remained in the possession of the abbey, and it appears from the rules that a rent of 22s. was paid for it to the chamberlain. (fn. 7) It was granted to George Owen in 1547, (fn. 8) and passed with the manor to Sir John Williams. (fn. 9) Its later history is not recorded, and it seems to have fallen into decay.
There are several old quarries in the western part of this parish. A very old one on the footpath from South Hinksey to Foxcombe was described by Hearne in 1712 as resembling 'military fortifications.' (fn. 10) He afterwards came to the conclusion, however, that it was the quarry from which the stones had been taken to build the church of St. Peter in the East at Oxford.
About a quarter of the land in this parish is under cultivation, (fn. 11) cereals being the chief crops grown. The soil is clay, gravel and loam on a subsoil of Alluvium, with some Corallian Beds in the western part.
The early history of SOUTH HINKSEY is identical with that of North Hinksey (q.v.). The first mention of the Hinkseys as separate vills occurs in 1316, when the abbot was returned as lord of North Hinksey and South Hinksey. (fn. 12)
At the Dissolution South Hinksey came to the Crown. It was leased to Thomas Peers in 1537–8, (fn. 13) and was afterwards granted with North Hinksey to George Owen (fn. 14) and alienated to Sir John Williams. (fn. 15) When, however, the partition of the latter's estates between his two daughters took place (fn. 16) South Hinksey fell to the younger, Margery wife of Henry Norreys. (fn. 17) She and her husband had a release of this and other manors from Richard Wenman and his wife Isabel, the other co-heir, in 1561. (fn. 18)
Henry Norreys was created Lord Norreys in 1572, (fn. 19) and two years later he acquired the manor of Cumnor. (fn. 20) From this date South Hinksey has followed the descent of Cumnor, (fn. 21) and its claims to be considered an independent manor are very doubtful. In the Inclosure Act passed in 1814 for the common fields here and in the manor of Cumnor (fn. 22) South Hinksey is treated as part of Cumnor. There is no suggestion that there was a manor here.
The church of ST. LAWRENCE (fn. 23) consists of a chancel 15 ft. 9 in. by 15 ft. 9 in., nave 42 ft. 9 in. by 16 ft. 6 in., west tower 12 ft. square, and a north porch.
The nave and chancel appear to have been built early in the 13th century. In the 14th century a window was inserted in the north of the nave, the west tower was added in the following century, and in the 18th century the chancel was largely reconstructed. The church has been restored and the timber north porch is modern.
The chancel has a plain round-headed window in the east, north and south walls, with external impost blocks and keystones, all of the 18th century. The 13th-century chancel arch is low, narrow, and pointed, with moulded capitals to the responds. The roof is plastered.
The nave has a two-light square-headed 14thcentury window in the north wall and further west a plain round-headed north doorway with chamfered edges, perhaps of the 13th century. The first and third windows of the south wall are simple 13thcentury lancets and the second window is of two modern lancet lights with ancient external jambs. The tower is three stages high, with a plain moulded parapet, and a square turret staircase rising to the base of the belfry on the north side. It contains three bells.
The 15th-century tower arch is pointed and of two hollow-chamfered orders with square responds having moulded capitals. The west window, of similar date, is of two lights under a square head, and below it is the west door with four-centred head and plain chamfered edges. The belfry is lighted by a two-light square-headed window in each face with uncusped lights. In the south wall of the nave, towards the east end, is a very small piscina with a triple arched head and two quatrefoil drains. The font is of the 13th century, and has a circular bowl tapering slightly to the base, which is moulded and rests on a square plinth.
The church of ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST, New Hinksey, was built in 1870 and rebuilt in 1900, but only the nave has been completed. It is in the decorated Gothic style and consists of four bays with side aisles. The interior is very lofty and the aisles have elaborate traceried windows. At the west end is a small bellcote containing one bell. The design for the complete church includes an aisled chancel.
The church of South Hinksey is mentioned as a chapel to Cumnor in 1401 (fn. 24) and remained so till the middle of the 18th century. (fn. 25) The great tithes followed the descent of the manor, (fn. 26) and therefore, except for an interval in the 16th century, have always belonged to the impropriator of Cumnor Rectory. (fn. 27) The advowson has till recently followed the same descent, through the Norreys and Bertie families. The Hon. O. W. Craven presented in 1907 for the Earl of Abingdon, who is a Roman Catholic. The Bishop of Oxford has been patron since 1909. (fn. 28)
Before 1743 Montagu second Earl of Abingdon endowed a vicarage in South Hinksey with certain tithes. (fn. 29) In 1814 these were commuted for a payment chargeable upon lands allotted to the earl. (fn. 30) It is noticeable that in the Act of Inclosure South Hinksey is called a chapelry of Cumnor, and the incumbent is referred to as chaplain and not as vicar. (fn. 31)
Wootton, another chapelry of Cumnor, was endowed by the Earl of Abingdon in the same way, and was annexed to South Hinksey till 1885. It is now a separate vicarage. The living of New Hinksey is a vicarage annexed to South Hinksey. The erection of this new church accounts for the change in the dedication of the church of South Hinksey, which till the middle of the 19th century at least was under the invocation of St. John, (fn. 32) and is now under that of St. Lawrence.
Thomas Fawkner's charity, founded by will, 1609, is regulated by a scheme of the Charity Commissioners, 5 February 1886, for the St. Aldate's, Oxford, Parochial Charities. The share applicable to this parish consists of the yearly sum of 6s. 8d., which is given to a poor boy or to a poor widow with children.
In 1877 Charlotte Faulkener, by her will proved at Oxford 17 November, bequeathed £200 out of which 2s. 6d. was to be given to every poor widow, and any surplus income was to be distributed in fuel, clothing, or bread. Owing to the insufficiency of the personal estate, the sum of £90 only was paid in respect of the legacy, which was invested in £93 10s. 10d. consols with the official trustees. The dividends, amounting to £2 6s. 8d., are applied in the payment of 2s. 6d. each to two poor widows, and as to the residue in the distribution of coal among all the poor families of the labouring class.