A History of the County of Berkshire: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1924.
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The parish of Great Faringdon (fn. 1) covers 5,897 acres, lying along the ridge which divides the Vale of the White Horse from the low land lying about the Thames, its northern boundary. The town lies on the Corallian Beds, but the park and land to the north are on the Oxford Clay, while the soil about the Thames is alluvial. Leland described how he journeyed from Hinksey 'al by chaumpain, and sum corne, but most pasture, to Farington, standing in a stony ground in the decline of an hille,' (fn. 2) and, though the common fields or 'chaumpain' were inclosed in 1772, (fn. 3) this description still holds good.
The town is built on an ancient road from Wantage which apparently crossed the Thames at Radcote; to the west runs an important road to Lechlade which was the main road from London to Gloucester at the beginning of the 19th century. (fn. 4)
Faringdon seems to have been a royal residence before the Conquest, as it is recorded that Edward the Elder died here in 924. (fn. 5) Whether a royal household was maintained here after the Conquest is uncertain, but in or about 1144 Robert Earl of Gloucester and other adherents of the Empress Maud constructed a castle at Faringdon, which was stormed and taken by Stephen in 1145. (fn. 6) This castle, which was doubtless only an earthwork with timber defences, was probably destroyed shortly afterwards, but the fact that in 1179 Faringdon was in the charge of William the Porter (fn. 7) suggests that possibly part of the castle or some other royal residence then survived. In 1202, however, King John granted the site of the castle to St. Mary of Citeaux, to found there a Cistercian abbey, (fn. 8) and in the following year he provided timber for the buildings. (fn. 9) The monks entered into possession, but probably found the position unsuitable, and in 1203 they were moved to Beaulieu. After this date no further reference to the castle is found. Some 8 acres of land called the Bailey in the 16th century, (fn. 10) which lay next to the Parsonage Close, (fn. 11) seem to indicate the position of the site as at Faringdon Clump, on a hill that commands both the Oxford and Wantage roads. (fn. 12)
Faringdon is now a small market town, built on irregular ground round the Market Place. It is crossed by a brook which formerly divided the borough or port on the east from Westbrook, the manorial settlement. (fn. 13) This brook is now bridged, but was in 1551 crossed by a ford close to which was a smithy. (fn. 14) In the centre of the Market Place stands the Market Hall, a rectangular building of late 17th or early 18thcentury date, built on stone Doric columns with a hipped roof and deep eaved cornice. The upper floor or court-house has stuccoed walls and large square-headed windows with flush frames. Mention of the 'scholle hall' seems to show that there had once been a school in the town, but by the middle of the 16th century both the hall and the adjacent shop were let as ordinary tenements. (fn. 15) The 'Lady hall,' (fn. 16) perhaps once belonging to a gild, was also let at this time, but the Church House was still in the hands of the churchwardens. (fn. 17) In Hampton Street stood the tenement and close called Avelyns, belonging to Brasenose College, Oxford, and perhaps also their mansion of Eynsams. (fn. 18) The Corner House was in Port Street, (fn. 19) and in London Street were a tenement and close called Bolles. (fn. 20) Many of these houses must have perished in the disastrous fire which broke out during the siege of Faringdon House in 1646. (fn. 21)
The town was described by Thomas Baskerville about 1681 as 'pretty well built, with some good inns for entertainment, of which the Crown is chief.' (fn. 22) From the 16th to the 19th centuries, indeed, the 'Crown' shared its custom with the 'Bell.' (fn. 23) The 'Crown' and the adjoining inn, the 'Angel,' face the Market Place, and are probably of Elizabethan or early 17th-century date, now refronted, but the old stone-mullioned windows still remain in the basements. The 'Bell,' which was one of the most important tenements belonging to Beaulieu Abbey, (fn. 24) is on the opposite side of the Market Place; it is possibly a 15th-century house refronted at the end of the 17th century. (fn. 25) One of these inns played an important part in a serious mutiny among the pressed soldiers quartered here in 1640 when Lieut. William Mohun During the winter Sir Charles Lloyd, the king's was murdered; several soldiers were subsequently executed. The church stands at the end of 'Highe strete alias Chepestrete,' (fn. 26) leading from the northwest corner of the triangular market-place. Close behind it are the grounds of Faringdon House, an 18thcentury stone building. The residence of Colonel Ward Bennitt, it stands at some distance north of the church, and on the southern edge of a fine park. In the gardens that lie between the house and the church is the site of the older Faringdon House, of which various details have been preserved in an inventory made in 1620. (fn. 27) It had a hall, a parlour and a great chamber hung with arras and adorned with pictures. The gallery was hung with green; at the upper end were fifteen English pictures 'hangd in tables,' at the lower were twenty-eight 'pictures of Romans and Emperours'; here also were two pairs of virginals. (fn. 28)
The Pyes, lords of the manor, who resided at Faringdon House, (fn. 29) were Parliamentarians, (fn. 30) but owing to its strategic position the king's army occupied the town in March 1643–4, (fn. 31) and the Earl of Essex passed through the place on his way to Hungerford in June. (fn. 32) The house seems to have been garrisoned by December, the Parliamentary army at Abingdon being thus deprived of supplies from the west. (fn. 33) During the winter Sir Charles Lloyd, the king's quartermaster-general, was busy fortifying Faringdon. (fn. 34) Cromwell, then a colonel, marched against the house in April 1645, (fn. 35) and the lines on Faringdon Hill are ascribed to him. Cromwell captured Col. Sir Richard Vaughan (fn. 36) and the rest surrendered; the Royalists succeeded in again securing the house, and were still harassing the Parliamentarians in November 1645. (fn. 37) There were 300 Royalist horse stationed here in January 1645–6. (fn. 38) A determined attack was made on the house in the following April, and on 24 June the garrison surrendered, under the Articles of Oxford, to Sir Thomas Fairfax. (fn. 39)
The best known of Faringdon's worthies is probably Henry James Pye, poet-laureate to George III. (fn. 40) Faringdon was one of the early curacies of Renn Dickson Hampden (1793–1868), afterwards Bishop of Hereford. (fn. 41)
A Baptist congregation met in the town at an early date, and now has a chapel in Block Green Square. In the 17th century the Society of Friends became important here, and meetings are still held at the meeting-house in Lechlade Road. Of the other chapels, that of the Wesleyans in Gloucester Street was built in 1837, being followed by the Congregational chapel in Marlborough Street in 1840; the Primitive Methodist chapel in Coxwell Street was built in 1896. A Salvation hall in the south of the town, after having been used as a Primitive Methodist chapel, was bought in 1900 for a mission room of the Church of England. (fn. 42) There are in Faringdon four public elementary schools, the oldest being that established in the Stamford Road in 1825 and that for girls in London Street built in 1833.
For the most part the modern growth of the town has been on the west side of the brook, (fn. 43) and has been encouraged by the opening of a branch line of the Great Western railway to Uffington in 1864. Houses have also been built along the Coxwell Road, where stands the Cottage Hospital opened in 1892. At a short distance south of the hospital the road forks, the most westerly branch leading to Swindon. The picturesque hamlet of Little Coxwell lies between these two roads; its main street contains numerous thatched cottages. Coxwell Lodge, the residence of Capt. Wilbraham Taylor, lies at the western end of the village, while the church of St. Mary stands back from the road at its eastern entrance. The school and Baptist chapel are built on what may be called an island site between the two branches of the village street.
Due east of Little Coxwell, (fn. 44) and in the extreme southern angle of the parish of Great Faringdon, lies the tract of rough ground known as Cole's Pits, (fn. 45) where there are remains of pit-dwellings. North-east of these is Galley Hill. The water-mill that was appurtenant to the manor of Wicklesham in 1436 (fn. 46) must have stood on the stream which here forms the south-eastern boundary of the parish. From Wicklesham a foot-path leads northward through the fields to Wadley House, (fn. 47) the residence of Mr. John Richard Ralli. In 1437 apartments at the house then existing were assigned as dower to Dame Agnes Porter (fn. 48) : one chamber above the gate in what must have been the gate-house, two chambers below it, and two stables on the south of the manor-house. (fn. 49) No mention of this gate-house occurs in 1596, when the house contained, among other rooms, a hall, a long gallery, and a parlour. (fn. 50) In the study hung with gilded leather Sir Henry Unton had 220 books of divers sorts; the chapel was used for storing spare furniture and the stocks. The house was visited by Queen Elizabeth in 1574 and by James I and his queen in 1603. (fn. 51) It was renovated by the Pyes before 1774. (fn. 52) The park has been much enlarged since 1848, and now includes the ancient fair-ground. (fn. 53)
North of Wadley is Littleworth, (fn. 54) which with Thrupp and Wadley was made an ecclesiastical parish in 1843. The village contains several old houses, one at the south end being of early 17th-century date much modernized. The church of the Ascension was built in 1839. A school was built about 1860 and enlarged in 1890. A Methodist chapel stands at the southern end of a road which after passing Park Farm becomes a foot-path leading north across the fields to Smokedown Farm. Still further north, and accessible only by bridle paths, is Thrupp, where is a mission-house built in 1880. It must have been close to this hamlet that the abbey of Abingdon had its fishery called Throppewater, (fn. 55) which was apparently conveyed by Sir Edward Harrington, bart., and Margaret his wife to William Stonehouse in 1614, (fn. 56) and later followed the descent of the manor of Radley (fn. 57) (q.v.). At some little distance west of Thrupp runs the main road north from Faringdon to Burford. The Thames is crossed by Radcot Bridge, pontage for the repair of which was granted in 1312 to Robert del Pultre and Robert de Kaar. (fn. 58) After the defeat of Robert de Ver, Duke of Ireland, by the Earl of Derby at Radcot in 1387, (fn. 59) Ver attempted to escape across the bridge, but found it had been broken down and eventually was forced to swim his horse across the stream to the imminent peril of his life. (fn. 60)
It is not easy to determine at what date the men of Faringdon first got the government of a portion of the vill into their own hands. Mention has already been made of the possibility of there having been a royal palace here, probably on the site of the later Faringdon House, and it is noteworthy that the borough lay just to the south of this and on the east side of the Westbrook.
The men of Faringdon paid 10 marks as aid for marrying the king's daughter in 1169, (fn. 61) and the borough made at least one separate appearance before the justices in eyre during the latter half of the 13th century. (fn. 62) Although the very memory of the borough seems to have been forgotten by 1651, when it was described only as 'the township of Farrington alias Port,' (fn. 63) it remained under the government of a bailiff until at least 1806. (fn. 64) Local affairs are now under the control of a Rural District Council.
A 13th-century customal of Great Faringdon shows that each burgage was held free of all service but a payment of 12d. yearly, and that a certain Abbot of Beaulieu had remised to the burgesses pannage and the marriage of their daughters for an additional payment of 1½d. (fn. 65) The rent of 13½d. continued to be paid in 1551. (fn. 66) The mediaeval burgages appear to have been situated entirely on the east of the brook. (fn. 67) In 1551 there were fifty-one and a half burgages within the borough and six burgages in Westbrook; of these all but four were held by copy of court roll. (fn. 68) The burgage tenements were situated in the London Road, South Street, the High Street or 'Chepe Street,' Gildon Street and the Claypits. (fn. 69)
The town was under the government of a bailiff, who was probably sworn in at the lord's court. (fn. 70) The bailiff held the portmote every Tuesday if he would, after notice issued on the previous Monday. (fn. 71) The court dealt with offences under the assize of bread and ale and all market squabbles, but with thefts only when the thief was caught at a fair or in the market, and only then with the consent of the abbot's bailiff and seneschal. (fn. 72) All other cases were impleaded in the court of the abbot. (fn. 73) Felons were lodged in the abbot's gaol, but the town had to guard the bodies of persons slain by intention or accident until the coming of the coroner, and also persons taking sanctuary in the church. (fn. 74)
Probably in the 13th as in the 16th century the market tolls were let to the burgesses at farm. (fn. 75) A market was ordered to be held on Mondays in 1218, (fn. 76) but in 1313 a licence was obtained for changing the market day to Tuesday. (fn. 77) The change does not seem, however, to have been carried out, for Sir Henry Unton obtained a similar licence in February 1594. (fn. 78) From this time the market has been held on Tuesday. (fn. 79) A fair was obtained in 1227 for the vigil and feast of St. Luke the Evangelist (fn. 80); no charter has been found for the fair which in 1260 was held on the vigil of Trinity Sunday, (fn. 81) and it seems possible that this fair was prescriptive. Queen Elizabeth added fairs on the feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin and on St. Bartholomew's Day. (fn. 82) In 1806 these fairs were kept on 2 February, Whit-Tuesday and 18 October. (fn. 83) The burgesses were free from toll, (fn. 84) as were also free-men of Bereton and the cell there, the customary tenants of the Bishop of Salisbury and all men of the Templars, Hospitallers and honour of Wallingford. (fn. 85)
The burgesses paid both relief and heriot. (fn. 86) The vendor of a burgage tenement paid half a 'sextarium' of wine to the abbot, (fn. 87) as did the purchaser or inheritor of a burgage if he were born outside the manor. (fn. 88) All alienations of burgage tenements were announced in court in the presence of the keeper of the manor and were enrolled. (fn. 89) Widows with or without children had free bench for life during widowhood and on marrying a second time were entitled to their dower third. (fn. 90)
Other customs emphasize the rural character of the town. Burgesses had rights in the manure for the land and in the folding of the sheep, (fn. 91) and they had pasture for their cows and young cattle in the Portmanlese from Easter to St. Andrew's Day, when the abbot's sheep were turned in. (fn. 92) The burgesses owed suit at the lord's mill; should the miller be unable to attend to him the burgess must wait a day and night before going elsewhere or else must pay his toll. (fn. 93)
Before the Conquest FARINGDON was in the hands of Harold and was assessed at 30 hides; by 1086 it was demesne of the Crown, 1 hide being held by the Bishop of Salisbury and 4 hides by Alsi. (fn. 94) During the second half of the 12th century, if not earlier, (fn. 95) it was let out at farm, (fn. 96) the farmer in 1174 being Adam de Catmore. (fn. 97) From 1179 Faringdon was in the custody of William the Porter, who was, however, removed in 1190 at the instance of the townspeople. (fn. 98) In 1203 King John granted the manor to St. Mary of Cîteaux with a view to the building of an abbey there, (fn. 99) but in the following year the king founded the abbey of Beaulieu, (fn. 100) to which this manor was confirmed in January 1204–5. (fn. 101) In the 13th and the early 14th century the manor was held in demesne, (fn. 102) but from 1351 it seems to have been continually leased. (fn. 103) It remained, however, in the possession of the house until its surrender to the Crown in 1538. (fn. 104)
In 1547 the hundred and what seems to have been the manor were granted to Thomas Lord Seymour. (fn. 105) On his attainder it reverted to the Crown, and was given by Queen Mary in July 1554 to Sir Francis Englefield. (fn. 106) Some four months later he released all his right to John Yate, who in 1555 sold the manor to Toby Pleydell. (fn. 107) After his death in 1583 his son, (fn. 108) John Pleydell, (fn. 109) in 1590 obtained licence to alienate the manor to Sir Henry Unton. (fn. 110) Sir Henry settled the manor in 1595 on Dorothy his wife, with remainders to the sons of his sisters Anne and Cecily. (fn. 111) Cecily wife of John Wentworth was still living at Sir Henry's death in 1596, but Anne was dead, leaving by her husband Valentine Knightley three daughters, Elizabeth, Anne and Mary. (fn. 112) A dispute between John Wentworth and Valentine Knightley was settled by an award of 1597, under which Dame Dorothy was to hold the manor for life; it was then to be held for life by John and Cecily Wentworth with successive remainders to John Wentworth, their eldest son, and William, Michael and Roger, his younger brothers. (fn. 113) The manor was conveyed by Sir John Wentworth (fn. 114) in February 1622–3 to Sir Robert Pye, (fn. 115) but Dame Dorothy Unton was still living at Faringdon in 1631. (fn. 116)
Sir Robert Pye, who had much influence in the neighbourhood, represented Woodstock in the Long Parliament (fn. 117) and died in 1662, when he was succeeded by Robert his son, who had married Anne daughter of John Hampden, and was himself a strong Parliamentarian. (fn. 118) He died in 1701, (fn. 119) leaving two son, Hampden, who died young, and Edmund, who eventually succeeded to the property. (fn. 120) Henry Pye, son of Edmund, married Jane Curzon in 1705, (fn. 121) when a settlement of the manor was made. Henry son of Henry Pye married in 1740, when the manor was again the subject of a settlement. (fn. 122) The son and heir of the younger Henry was Henry James Pye, the poet laureate, who in 1776 mortgaged the manor to Henry Earl of Pembroke. (fn. 123) The manor was sold before 1806 to William Hallett. (fn. 124) He and William his son made a conveyance of it in the following year, (fn. 125) and in 1847 it was in the possession of Daniel Bennett, whose trustees now exercise the manorial rights.
The royal manor of Faringdon was granted to the Abbot and convent of Beaulieu by King John with all liberties and free customs appertaining thereto. (fn. 126) At the beginning of the reign of Edward I (fn. 127) the abbot had here free warren under a charter of Henry III (fn. 128) and the assize of bread and ale. He also claimed the goods and chattels of felons and fugitives, (fn. 129) and could not be impleaded save before the king or the chief justice. (fn. 130) The manor was ancient demesne of the Crown.
Before the Conquest Harold also held land assessed at 10 hides in LITTLE COXWELL (fn. 131) (alias Cocheswelle, xi cent.; Little Cokeswelle, xiv cent.; Little Cockswell, xvi cent.; Little Coxwell, xvii cent.). It has followed throughout the descent of Great Coxwell (q.v.), and is now in the possession of the Hon. Mrs. M. E. Pleydell-Bouverie of Coleshill.
The 4 hides held by Alsi in 1086 (fn. 132) seem to have formed part of the barony of Buckland, (fn. 133) and were granted by Hawise 'de Lamvalery' to the Hospitallers. (fn. 134) The land seems to have been accounted in Worth, (fn. 135) and at least 10 acres were close to the Thames. (fn. 136) It formed the tithing of HOSPITAL, (fn. 137) and appears to have come with the manor of Wadley (q.v.) into the possession of the Provost and scholars of Oriel College, Oxford.
It seems possible that a certain amount of land was retained by the lords of Buckland, for negotiations were being carried on in 1301–2 for its alienation by John de Lenham to the abbey of Beaulieu. (fn. 138) In 1313 John settled 8 virgates, a toft, and 9s. 4¼d. rent here on John de Lenham the younger, Maud his wife, and their issue. (fn. 139) John and Maud in 1320 obtained licence to alienate two parts (fn. 140) of these premises to Thomas Cock of London, merchant, Alice his wife and Thomas their son. (fn. 141) Thomas Cock, sen., died about 1332, when Alice and the younger Thomas came jointly into possession. (fn. 142) By 1428 this holding was in the tenure of John Taylor. (fn. 143) It was perhaps this land 'in Fennicourte' that passed on the death of Richard Holcott of Barcote in 1503 to Robert his son. (fn. 144) No further history of this tenement has, however, been traced. (fn. 145)
Thirty-one hides of land in WORTH (Ordia, xi cent.; Word, xii cent.; Werda, Wurda, Wrthe, Wurth, xiii cent.) were held by Harold before the Conquest; by 1086 it was for the most part royal demesne, though 2 hides were held by Alsi and 3 hides by Alviet. (fn. 146) In the 12th century Worth, as a member of Faringdon, was granted by King Stephen to the abbey of Thame, (fn. 147) which resigned it to Henry II, and he granted it in 1186–9 to the abbey of Stanley (Wilts). (fn. 148) The gift was confirmed by Richard I, (fn. 149) and a release was obtained from the abbey of Thame in or about 1270. (fn. 150) The manor was already known by its later name of WADLEY (fn. 151) (Wadeley, xiii cent.; Wadele, Wadle, Wadelee, xiv cent.), and in 1291 the land of the abbey of Stanley was described as in Wadley and Wicklesham. (fn. 152) In 1342 lands here were in the hands of the Crown; the royal escheator had seized it on the pretext that the Abbot of Stanley no longer performed his service of making a weekly distribution on Wednesdays and Fridays of 12 quarters of every kind of corn in the year. (fn. 153) The tale proved to be baseless, and the lands were restored to the abbey. (fn. 154) Eleven years later the abbey obtained licence to lease the manor for their lives to Thomas Dolsaby and Richard de Cawston, (fn. 155) who in 1362 conveyed their interest to Roger Rotour and Thomas de Bouwood, (fn. 156) apparently as trustees of Sir Richard de Pembridge. (fn. 157) In the following year Sir Richard obtained a feoffment of the manor lately called Worth, 'now called the manors of WADLEY and WICKLESHAM (Wykyngsham, xiv cent.; Wikinggisham, xv cent.)' from the Abbot and convent of Stanley. (fn. 158) In February 1363–4 a settlement of the manors was made on the new lord in tail with contingent remainder to the king. (fn. 159) Sir Richard was on service in the French wars, (fn. 160) and in 1366 was reported to be dead (fn. 161); but he returned to England before 1370, when he granted a yearly rent-charge of 200 marks from the manors to Sir Ralph Spigurnell. (fn. 162) In 1375, however, Sir Richard died, leaving an only child Henry, aged twelve. (fn. 163) The boy only survived his father a few months, and the manor then passed under the settlement of February 1363–4 to the Crown. (fn. 164) The manor was granted in 1376 to Sir Gilbert Talbot and his issue male. (fn. 165) He died in 1399, (fn. 166) when dower was assigned in the manor to Margaret his widow. (fn. 167) The remaining two-thirds of the manor were held by their son Richard Talbot, an infant under a year old in April 1399. (fn. 168) He died in or about 1413, and the manor again reverted to the Crown. (fn. 169) Henry V straightway gave the manor to his captain, Sir Thomas Erpingham, for life, (fn. 170) and the reversion to Erpingham's kinsman John Phillips and Maud his wife. (fn. 171) Both John and Maud died childless (fn. 172) before Sir Thomas, and in 1415 Henry V granted the reversion to his knight Sir William Porter and his issue male. (fn. 173) The grant to Sir Thomas was confirmed in 1422, (fn. 174) and he died in possession six years later, (fn. 175) when his two-thirds of the manor passed to Sir William Porter, as did the remaining third when Margaret widow of Sir Gilbert Talbot died in 1434. (fn. 176) Sir William died in 1436, (fn. 177) dower being assigned to Agnes his widow. (fn. 178) The remaining two-thirds of the manor were then granted to the Archbishop of York, but the Letters Patent were surrendered, (fn. 179) and in 1437 it was given for life to John Norreys, (fn. 180) who was afterwards associated with Alice his wife. (fn. 181)
The reversion of the manor was granted by Henry VI to the Provost and scholars of Oriel College, Oxford, in 1440, (fn. 182) and early in the following year the college obtained actual possession by grant of John and Alice Norreys. (fn. 183) The college obtained a regrant of the manor from Edward IV, (fn. 184) and it is still part of the endowment of the college, though it has been continually let on lease to the present day.
The earliest known lessees of the manor were members of the family of Umpton or Unton. Thomas Unton was living at Wadley in 1514, (fn. 185) and was probably the 'Master Vinton' mentioned by Leland. (fn. 186) By his will proved in March 1533–4 he left his farm of Wadley to Elizabeth his widow for life with remainder to his son Alexander, (fn. 187) whose will made in December 1547 was proved in May 1549. (fn. 188) His son Edward Unton married Anne Countess of Warwick in 1555, (fn. 189) and was knighted at Queen Elizabeth's coronation. (fn. 190) He died in 1583, leaving two sons, Edward and Henry. (fn. 191) Colonel Edward Unton, the heir, was killed in 1589 on active service against the Portuguese. (fn. 192) Sir Henry, his brother and heir, (fn. 193) was ambassador to France in 1591 and in 1595 (fn. 194); he died in France in March 1595–6, leaving many debts; his heirs were his sister Cecily wife of John Wentworth, and nieces Elizabeth, Anne and Mary, daughters of his other sister Anne wife of Valentine Knightley. (fn. 195) Sir Valentine after a long family quarrel made good his claim to the lease of Wadley, and died there in December 1618. (fn. 196) His only son Richard had died before this date, and Sir Valentine left his leases of Wadley and Wicklesham to George son of his daughter Mary by George Purefoy of Drayton, Leicestershire. (fn. 197) George Purefoy and George his son made a settlement of the tithes of Wadley and Wicklesham in 1627. (fn. 198) George the younger was Sheriff of Berkshire in 1640, (fn. 199) and died in 1661. (fn. 200)
He was succeeded by his son George, (fn. 201) who married Catherine widow of Sir James Bellingham and daughter and co-heir of Sir Henry Willoughby of Risley (fn. 202); their heir, Henry Purefoy, was created a baronet in 1662, in his father's lifetime and when only five years old. (fn. 203) He died without issue in 1686, and Wadley with all his other lands in Berkshire passed under his will to his kinsman Sir Willoughby Aston, bart. (fn. 204) Sir Willoughby was the son of Anne, third daughter of Sir Henry Willoughby of Risley, by her husband Sir Thomas Aston (fn. 205); he died in 1702, leaving his lease of Wadley to his younger son Richard Aston, (fn. 206) who died in 1741. (fn. 207) His son and heir Willoughby succeeded to the family baronetcy in 1744, on the death of his cousin Sir Thomas Aston. (fn. 208) Sir Willoughby married Elizabeth daughter of Henry Pye of Faringdon, and died in 1772 (fn. 209); in about 1764, however, he sold his lease of Wadley to Charles Pye. (fn. 210)
WYKE was probably the monks' demesne farm of Westbrook (fn. 211); in 1291, indeed, the possessions of the abbey at 'Westbrocwyk' were separately taxed. (fn. 212) The grant of free warren obtained by the monks in 1359 included their land in Wyke. (fn. 213) It was regarded as a separate manor by 1417, (fn. 214) and in 1534 was leased for ninety-six years to William Pleydell. (fn. 215) It was purchased from the Crown in 1540 by Alexander Unton, (fn. 216) and descended with the manor of Wadley (q.v.) to the younger Edward Unton, who in 1585 conveyed it to Sir Henry Unton, his brother. (fn. 217) From this time it has followed the descent of the manor of Faringdon (fn. 218) (q.v.).
The church of ALL SAINTS consists of a chancel 54 ft. 6 in. by 19 ft. 6 in. with a north chapel 30 ft. by 16 ft., north transept 16 ft. 6 in. by 27 ft. 6 in. with a western aisle 15 ft. 9 in. wide, a south transept 18 ft. 9 in. by 27 ft. with a western aisle 13 ft. 6 in. wide, a central tower 16 ft. square, nave 54 ft. by 19 ft. with north and south aisles 8 ft. wide, north porch and a vestry east of the north transept. These measurements are all internal.
The clearstory and possibly the west end of the nave may be part of a 12th-century church. About 1190 to 1200 the nave arcades were perhaps inserted in the earlier walls, and the central tower was either built or rebuilt at the same time. The chancel and transepts with the upper part of the tower are of 13th-century date, and at this time the plan included a larger and smaller chapel east of the north transept. In the 14th century a western aisle was added to the north transept, and in the 15th century the inner chapel of the north transept (fn. 219) and the north aisle of the nave were rebuilt. The upper part of the tower with the south transept and the south aisle were destroyed in 1645 during the siege of Faringdon House. The church was restored in 1853, when the south transept with its western aisle and the south nave aisle were rebuilt. The outer north transeptal chapel and a baptistery on the north of the nave are also modern.
The chancel has three tall lancet windows of equal height in the east wall, and below them is a modern wall arcade with two lockers behind the altar. In the north wall are two 13th-century lancets similar to those on the east, and below them are two squareheaded lockers of differing size. Further west are two four-centred arches of the 15th century opening into the north chapel; the pier is octagonal and the responds semi-octagonal with moulded capitals and bases. The western arch is filled with a modern stone screen. There are six widely-splayed lancet windows on the south side similar to those on the north. Below the easternmost is a 13th-century trefoil-headed piscina with two drains, and under the second window is an elaborate triple sedile. The outer jambs and marble shafts are modern, but the three canopies are of the 13th century; the arches are cinquefoiled and enriched with small dog-tooth, and the hood has running foliage; an outer hood forms a gable over each, enriched with crockets in the form of fleurs de lis. Flanking the sedilia are gabled and embattled pinnacles with heavy finials. Below the third window is a round-headed priest's doorway of c. 1200. The westernmost window forms a 'low side,' now blocked. The roof is of the trussed rafter type, and perhaps of the 14th century. The line of the earlier roof of steeper pitch is visible on the east face of the tower. The north chapel has a five-light square-headed window of the 15th century in the east wall, and below it is a modern doorway. On the north and south are brackets with a squareheaded niche above that on the south. In the north wall is a 15th-century window of four lights under a square head, and further west is a modern door to the north chapel or vestry.
The central tower was reduced in height in 1645, and now rises only one stage above the roofs. It rests on four pointed arches, each of three moulded orders. Each respond has a central and two smaller shafts on each side, all with 'hold-water' bases, wellcarved foliage capitals of varied design and square abaci of about 1200. In the inner angles of the tower are circular shafts carried up to the roof of the ground stage. In the spandrels of the east arch are a trefoil-headed niche and a quatrefoil containing a carved head. The spandrels of the other arches have quatrefoils only. The bell-chamber of the tower is lighted by two 13th-century lancet windows in each wall; each pair is set in a recess with deeply moulded jambs, but the heads of these recesses have been destroyed. The tower has a plain parapet.
The north transept has in the east wall a pointed 15th-century arch opening into the north chapel, and now filled with a modern stone screen. The whole arch is set in a larger pointed and chamfered arch of the 13th century. Further north is a much smaller arch of the same date, now opening into the modern vestry; in its south respond is a trefoilheaded piscina. In the north wall are two modern lancet windows. On the west is a narrow pointed and billeted arch of about 1190, formerly opening into the north nave aisle; it rests on the north on a modern pier, from which also springs a wide modern arch opening into the western aisle of the transept. The roof has a flat tie-beam truss with moulded timbers and curved braces with tracery in the spandrels. The transept walls have been raised, probably in the 15th century, and the weathering of the earlier roof is visible on the north face of the tower. The western aisle of the transept was added in the 14th century, and has a very beautiful four-light window of that date in the north wall; the head is filled with net tracery and the rear arch is cinquefoiled, the four cusp points and springers being enriched with carved human heads. In the west wall is a blocked doorway. The south transept with its western aisle is entirely modern.
The nave, of about 1190, has north and south arcades of four bays with semicircular arches of two moulded orders with moulded labels and small sunk quatrefoils in the spandrels. They rest on cylindrical columns with foliated capitals, all of different design, and octagonal moulded abaci; the moulded bases with foliage spurs are all restored. The north-east respond is square, with a moulded capping; it has a simple round-headed piscina in the north face. The south-east respond is semicircular, with a foliated capital and a square abacus. At the west end the arcades rest on rich foliated brackets. The clearstory consists of four round-headed windows on each side, irregularly spaced over the bays; the easternmost on the north opens into the transept aisle. The rubble clearstory is probably earlier than the arcade below, the ashlar face of which stops above the arches. In the west wall is a 15th-century window of five lights under a segmental-pointed and traceried head; it has two transoms. Below it is the moulded and pointed west door of the same date, with quatrefoils in the external spandrels.
The north aisle, rebuilt in the 15th century, has in the north wall a modern arch opening to the baptistery, and further west two large six-light windows with tracery and transoms filling nearly all the wall space. In the west wall is a square-headed threelight window. The low gabled roof has moulded main timbers of the 15th century. The modern baptistery or north porch has a late 12th-century outer doorway refixed, of one order with embattled ornament and a billeted label with beast-head stops. The jambs are richly carved with sprays of conventional foliage much weathered. The south aisle is a modern rebuilding in the Norman style. The south doorway is fitted with a fine old door with elaborate iron hinges and ornament of about 1200.
Fixed on the north wall of the chancel are several brasses, the first is to John Parker (d. 1485) and Elizabeth his wife, with figures in civilian costume. Another with a small headless figure in armour and two ladies is to Thomas Faryndun (Faringdon) (d. 1396), Margaret his wife (d. 1402) and their daughter Katherine Pynchepole (d. 1443). A small figure commemorates John Sadler, vicar of Inglesham (Yngylsā) (d. 1505), and there are also fragments of a marginal inscription. In the north chapel are monuments to Jane wife of Henry Pye (d. 1706), an elaborate monument of marble with a shield of Pye impaling Curzon. Another is to Henry Pye (d. 1749), with a bust of his son Admiral Thomas Pye, and a third commemorates Anna Pye, his second wife (d. 1729), with a shield of Pye impaling Bathurst. On the south side is a life-size kneeling figure in alabaster of about 1600. On the floor and partly covered by the organ is an incised slab with figures in bas-relief of a man and wife of the 16th century. At the north end of the north transept is a carved alabaster altar tomb of about 1540 to Sir Thomas Unton and Elizabeth his wife, with figures of a man in armour with collar of S S and tabard and of a lady with a close cap; the tabard bears the quartered coat of Unton impaling Azure three griffons argent, for Young of East Hanney. The sides of the tomb have arched Renaissance panels, each with a shield encircled with a wreath; they bear the same arms as those on the tabard, alternating with the quartered Unton coat. Against the same wall is a Purbeck marble altar tomb of Gothic character, with a canopy of the same material, to Sir Alexander Unton (d. 1547); at the back are kneeling figures of the knight in armour and a tabard and of his two wives Mary and Cecyle in heraldic mantles, seven sons, three daughters, and four shields. The shields bear Bourchier impaling Howard, Unton impaling Bourchier and two quartered coats of Unton. The first lady bears the same coat impaling Bourchier and Louvain quarterly; the second lady bears the quartered Unton coat impaling Bulstrode quartering Goostrey. Against the west wall is a white marble monument to Sir Henry Purefoy, bart. (d. 1686), with a shield quarterly, 1 and 4 Purefoy quartering three stirrups, for Shereford, 2 Willoughby, 3 Darcy. On the same wall is an elaborate late 16th-century painted marble monument with Corinthian side columns, two arches at the back and an enriched cornice to Sir Edward Unton, K.B. There are ten shields, the first being the fully quartered coat of Unton, the second Unton impaling Bulstrode, the third Unton impaling Bourchier, the third bearing the first impaling the quartered coat of Seymour and the rest Seymour with various impalements and Unton impaling an uncertain coat.
There are eight bells: the treble, second and sixth by Mears & Stainbank, 1874; the third, fourth and fifth of 1708; the seventh by James Wells of Aldbourne, 1803, and the tenor by the same founder, 1779.
The plate includes a large flagon (London, 1733), inscribed 'This silver flagon, chalice and salver were given to this parish by the Honble. Mrs. Anne Pye late wife to Henry Pye Esqr. Lord of this Manor,' with a shield of the Pye arms. The same arms are repeated on a salver (London, 1721), a large cup (date mark obliterated) and a paten without hall marks.
The registers previous to 1812 are as follows: (i) all entries 1653 to 1710; (ii) 1710 to 1741; (iii) all entries 1742 to 1780, marriages to 1754 only; (iv) marriages 1754 to 1772; (v) marriages 1773 to 1812; (vi) baptisms and burials 1781 to 1812.
The structure is substantially of the 12th century, the chancel being earlier than the nave. In the 13th century the bellcote above the chancel arch was erected and the wall below strengthened by buttresses. Windows were inserted in the 14th and 15th centuries, and in the latter century the south porch was added. The church has been restored in modern times and the north porch added.
The chancel has a modern east window of three lights; on the north is a large cinquefoil-headed niche, and on the south a smaller niche with a square head, also cinquefoiled. The north wall is without openings, but in the south wall are two windows, the eastern of the 14th century and of two lights under a square head; below it is a trefoil-headed piscina. The western window is of the 15th century, and similar to those in the north aisle at Faringdon; it is of four lights, square-headed and transomed. The 12th-century priest's doorway is round-headed and has chamfered imposts and label. The narrow chancel arch of the same century has plain responds with chamfered imposts continued along as stringcourses. The arch has been rebuilt in a four-centred form in the 15th century, some of the old voussoirs and the label being re-used.
The nave has in the north wall a modern window, and further west a square-headed doorway to the modern north porch or vestry. The jambs of this doorway have a bold roll and may be of the 12th century. In the south wall is a square-headed 15thcentury window of three lights with head stops to the external label. The south doorway is of the late 12th century, of a single moulded semicircular order with a chamfered and billeted hood. The jambs have attached shafts with moulded capitals continued along as imposts. Further west is a late 13th-century pointed two-light window. In the west wall is a three-light window of the same date with trefoiled lights; the sill has been cut away for the gallery stairs. The roof contains old timbers, but has been restored. Over the chancel arch is a fine 13th-century double bellcote of stone. It is gabled, and in the spandrel above the two pointed openings is a pierced quatrefoil. On its south face is a late sundial. The 15thcentury south porch has a moulded and four-centred outer archway and a small modern window in the west wall.
At the west end of the nave is a timber gallery, the front of which is made up of 15th-century woodwork, apparently part of the former chancel screen; the panels have traceried heads and an excellent cornice of carved running foliage. The font has a plain octagonal bowl and stem, and dates from the 15th century. Near the pulpit is an iron hour-glass stand, now used as a lamp-rest. The old communion table is now in the vestry, and in the nave is a brass candelabrum of 1729.
The church of HOLY ASCENSION, Littleworth, was consecrated in 1839, and consists of a chancel with north organ chamber, and nave of four bays with a west porch. It is built of stone in the style of the 13th century. There are three lancets in the east wall, and a gabled bellcote containing one bell on the west gable. The living is a vicarage in the gift of the Provost and scholars of Oriel College, Oxford.
The church of Faringdon was in the possession of the Bishops of Salisbury before 1086, (fn. 220) and became a prebend endowed with the hide belonging to the church. (fn. 221) Its value must have been greatly increased (fn. 222) in 1220, (fn. 223) when the Abbot and convent of Beaulieu (fn. 224) compounded for tithe from all their lands save the 2½ hides held by four of the monks' vicars. In the following year a similar composition was made by Stanley Abbey. (fn. 225) In 1227 an ordination was made for four perpetual vicars in Faringdon Church (fn. 226); they were to observe all the canonical hours and be present at the mass of the day clad in the surplice and close black cope of the Sarum custom, the vicar and one chaplain being on one side of the quire, and the other two chaplains sitting together on the opposite side. (fn. 227) The church remained appurtenant to the prebend (fn. 228) until the Dissolution, when both passed to the Crown. By 1569 the prebend was in the hands of Sir Edward Unton, kt., (fn. 229) lord of the manor, (fn. 230) which the advowson followed in descent until the 19th century. (fn. 231) William Hallett was the patron in 1800, (fn. 232) and in 1824 James Hawkins and Isabella his wife conveyed the advowson of the vicarage to George Booth Tyndale, (fn. 233) and it passed before 1845 to the present owners, the Simeon Trustees.
A chantry in honour of the Holy Trinity was founded in the churchyard under the will of Sir Robert Shottesbrook, kt. (fn. 234) Licence for its foundation was obtained in 1474 by Eleanor daughter of Sir Robert and widow of Sir John Cheney, kt., and others, (fn. 235) and in the following year steps were taken to endow it with a messuage and 325 acres of land in Compton. (fn. 236) The chapel and its endowments were granted in fee in 1549 to William Percy, of Membury, Devonshire, and John Kyle, of Stokeland, Dorset. (fn. 237)
Under a bull of Pope Alexander the Abbot and convent of Beaulieu were granted leave to celebrate divine offices in such of their granges as were so far from their parish church as to make attendance inconvenient. (fn. 238) Permission was accordingly obtained from the Archdeacon of Berkshire for mass to be celebrated in the 'oratory' at Little Coxwell, (fn. 239) and the privilege was also confirmed by the legate Ottobon. (fn. 240) The chapel was appropriated to the abbey, (fn. 241) and a vicarage was ordained in February 1243–4. (fn. 242) The advowson followed the descent of the manor (q.v.), being annexed to the living of Great Faringdon.
Sir Henry Unton's charity, founded by deed 26 June 1591, is regulated by a scheme of the court of Chancery of 2 May 1843. The property consists of 24 a. 1 r. 3 p. of land, producing £42 17s. 6d. yearly; three-quarters of the net income is, under the scheme, applicable in apprenticing poor children, and the remaining quarter in the distribution of blankets to the poor. There being very little demand for apprenticing, the surplus income is applied in the distribution of blankets costing about 10s. a pair.
The Westbrook blanket charity was founded by indenture of 14 May 1859. The property consists of 3 a. 2 r. 11 p. of land in Great Faringdon, purchased with £370, raised by voluntary contributions. The land is let in allotments producing about £14 yearly. In 1907 forty-four blankets were distributed among the poor of the Westbrook district.
Sir Valentine Knightley, by will proved in 1620 in the P.C.C., gave £10 yearly for the benefit of the poor; the rent-charge of £10 is paid out of the tithes of Littleworth, Wadley and Thrupp, and is distributed in doles at Christmas amongst the poor of Faringdon, excluding Little Coxwell.
Mrs. Eleanor Gough's charity was founded by indenture of lease and release, dated 21 and 22 October 1756. The property consists of 2 a. 3 r. 22 p., with a messuage and other buildings thereon in Shrivenham, producing yearly £13 10s., which is applicable in apprenticing.
In 1874 Ellen Belcher, by her will proved at Oxford 5 October, gave £200, the income to be applied for the purposes of the Faringdon Church District Visiting Society, and in 1875 Eliza Belcher, by her will proved at Oxford 16 July, gave £200 for the same purpose. These legacies are now represented by a sum of £390 4s. 9d. consols with the official trustees, producing yearly £9 15s., which is expended by the district visitors in tickets for groceries, meat and other articles among the poor of the district attached to Faringdon Church.
William Lee, deed 1631, consisting of 17 a. 2 r. 10 p. of land called the Sands, in Faringdon, producing £37 6s. 3d. yearly. The sum of 10s. is paid to the vicar for a sermon on Christmas Day, and bread is given to each poor householder in the township of Faringdon, including Littleworth and Thrupp, and to a certain number of Sundays; 100 lb. of beef are also divided among the recipients of the Sunday bread.
William Bosberry, will 1726, trust fund £40 consols producing £1 yearly. The income of this and the preceding charity is distributed at Christmas equally among five poor women, for the most part widows.
Joanna Alford, will 1721, trust fund £800 2½ per cent. annuities, arising from the redemption in 1906 of an annuity of £20, formerly received from the Governors of Christ's Hospital, London. The income is applicable in the relief of ten poor families.
Francis Collins, who died in 1781, by will directed that £11 yearly should be applied in clothing the two oldest men and three oldest women of Faringdon. The estate was administered in Chancery in 1793, and being insufficient to answer the legacies charged on the personal estate, a sum of £140 13s. 5d. consols was set aside to answer the annuity. The endowment now consists of £153 12s. 8d. consols. The annual dividend, amounting to £3 16s. 8d. yearly, is applied in clothing every other year for two of the oldest men, and in the alternate years for three of the oldest women of the town.
The poor's land consists of 12 a. 1 r. 24 p. in Westbrook allotted to the churchwardens for the poor by an award under the Faringdon Inclosure Act of 1773 (fn. 243) in lieu of their copyhold land in the parish. The land is let for £13 yearly, which is distributed at Christmas in sums of 5s. or 10s.
The charities of Abraham Atkins for Baptist chapels.—The Faringdon Baptist chapel is entitled to one-fourteenth part of the dividends on a sum of £3,926 9s. 6d. consols with the official trustees, representing the proceeds of sales in 1844 of lands at Chimney, Oxfordshire, and other places comprised in deed of gift 25 April 1786. The sum of £6 14s. annually allocated to this chapel is applied as to one moiety for the minister, the other moiety being distributed among the poor of the congregation.
In 1791 the same donor, by his will, bequeathed £2,000 East India stock, the income to be applied towards the maintenance of the ministers of sixteen Baptist chapels, including the chapel at Faringdon. The legacy is now represented by £3,921 11s. 4d. India 3½ per cent. stock with the official trustees. The sum of £8 16s., being the proportion due to this chapel, is annually received and applied.
The Cottage Hospital.—In 1909 Mrs. Mary Frederica Goodlake gave £2,000 Cape of Good Hope 3½ per cent. stock for the benefit of this hospital. The stock is held by the official trustees and produces £70 a year.
Hamlet of Little Coxwell.—Hugh Smith, by his will (date not stated), gave £20 for the benefit of four of the poorest widows. The legacy was invested in £20 16s. 9d. consols with the official trustees, producing 10s. 4d. yearly.
Poor's Allotment.—Under an Inclosure Act, 8 a. 3 r. 25 p. of land called the Furse Hill were awarded in 1803 for the use of the poor. A portion of the land was sold in 1862 and the proceeds invested in £285 7s. 2d. consols, producing £7 2s. 8d. yearly. The remaining land, containing 7 a. 2 r. 25 p., is let, producing £9 12s. yearly. The stock is held by the official trustees. The income is applied in the distribution of coal at Christmas among the cottagers.
Gravel Pit.—By the award above referred to, 1 a. or. 10 p. in Highdown Field were allotted for a stone or gravel pit. The allotment is now exhausted and has been converted into arable land and let for £1 10s. yearly, which is applied in aid of the township rates.
In 1864 George Dyke gave £100 3 per cent. annuities, now a like sum in consols with the official trustees, the dividends to be divided equally among eight poor aged men and eight poor aged women on 24 December annually.
Ecclesiastical District of Littleworth.—The Church Repairs fund, founded by deed poll 24 May 1839, consists of £47 2s. 8d. Bank of England stock held by the Provost and Scholars of Oriel College, Oxford, producing £4 2s. a year.