A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 10, Banbury Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1972.
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The extra-parochial district of Clattercote (338 a.), (fn. 1) a former monastic demesne estate, was a tenurial, agricultural, and administrative unit for many centuries and came to be considered a civil parish in the 19th century. It lies ½ mile south of Claydon with which it was united in 1932 to form the civil parish of Claydon-with-Clattercote. (fn. 2)
Clattercote was a long and narrow strip of land, stretching from east to west. Its western edge touched Warwickshire and the northern, southern, and eastern boundaries were marked by small streams. It was crossed by the Cropredy-Claydon road, the railway, and the Oxford canal. (fn. 3) A prominent feature of the landscape is the canal reservoir, which lies in the highest, western, part of Clattercote, at a height of over 425 ft.; it was formed by damming the stream on Clattercote's southern boundary and so enlarging a small sheet of water there known as the great fish pond. (fn. 4) According to local tradition this was once 'the leper's pool' in which leprous inmates of the priory were dipped, a custom for which there seems to be some supporting evidence. A 'paved walk' discovered round the pool was probably identical with the 'tesselated pavement' seen (according to a report of 1883) in dry periods at the bottom of the reservoir. (fn. 5) Over 21 a. were taken for the reservoir, 11 from Clattercote, 7 from Cropredy Lawn estate, and 3 from the Holbech estate in Mollington. Although Thomas Cartwright, owner of Clattercote, was one of the proprietors of the Oxford Canal Company, the building of the reservoir caused some friction. (fn. 6) Contrary to the original; undertaking the reservoir sluice was placed at the bottom instead of 4 ft. above the bed of the pool, and in dry weather the fishery was ruined; moreover the water-supply to the estate, (fn. 7) formerly supplied by a feeder between the pool and the Highfurlong brook, was severely reduced. From the reservoir the ground slopes down gradually to a height of about 340 ft. in the valley of the Highfurlong Brook.
Clattercote, the suggested meaning of which is 'cottage beside a clatter' (i.e. debris, loose stones), (fn. 8) was presumably an established settlement before it was granted to the Gilbertine Priory of St. Leonard founded in Clattercote in the 12th century. The size of the settlement then or later in the Middle Ages is not known. (fn. 9) By the 17th century, and probably from the early Middle Ages, Clattercote was a single farm with associated buildings. (fn. 10) The smallest recorded population of Clattercote was four in 1871 and again in 1901, while the largest was fifteen in 1841, when Priory Farm was inhabited by William Hadland and his wife, their five children, a governess, and seven servants. (fn. 11) Besides the farm-house (fn. 12) there were in 1964 four modern cottages on the Cropredy-Claydon road.
Clattercote was included in 1086 in the Bishop of Lincoln's Cropredy manor, and was probably then in the bishop's own hand, for within eighty years Bishop Chesney granted demesne land there to the small Gilbertine Priory of St. Leonard of Clattercote. (fn. 13) The estate was described as 2½ hides in 1216 and 3 hides in 1258–62. (fn. 14)
The priory was dissolved in 1538 and in the same year CLATTERCOTE manor with the priory's house and site and possessions, including lands in Cropredy, Claydon, Wardington, and Mollington, was granted by Henry VIII in tail male as 1/20 knight's fee to Sir William Petre and his first wife Gertrude; (fn. 15) Gertrude died in 1541 without male issue, (fn. 16) and in 1544 Petre, then King's Secretary, therefore obtained a grant in fee of the reversion of Clattercote. (fn. 17) In 1546 Petre surrendered the manor to the Crown in exchange for property elsewhere. (fn. 18) Henry granted Clattercote to the new foundation of Christ Church, Oxford, (fn. 19) which in 1551 granted it in fee-farm to Thomas Lee and his wife Mary, with successive remainders in tail to Lee's sister Anne and others; (fn. 20) Christ Church still received the fee-farm rent in 1969. (fn. 21) Lee died childless in 1572, when his heir was William Watson, the son of his deceased sister Anne. (fn. 22) Lee's relict held Clattercote for her life, and married as her second husband Richard Corbet of Moreton Corbet (Salop.). In 1582 Corbet bought the reversion of the estate held by Watson; (fn. 23) he died seised of the estate and without issue in 1606. (fn. 24) He had married as his second wife Judith Austen, then already twice widowed, and by his will settled Clattercote on her for life. (fn. 25) In 1611 Judith bought the manor outright from her husband's brother Sir Vincent and his nephew Andrew, her son-in-law. (fn. 26) She died in 1640 and was succeeded in uneasy possession of Clattercote by Henry Boothby (d. 1648), the second surviving son of her first marriage to William Boothby, citizen and haberdasher of London; but Judith seems to have made contradictory settlements of Clattercote, one of 1631 (repeated in her will) in favour of Henry, and an earlier one of 1618 in favour of his elder brother Thomas Boothby of Tooley Park (Leics.). A Chancery suit and counter-suit resulted in 1651 in the award of Clattercote to Thomas (d. 1651). (fn. 27) Thomas's son, also Thomas, in 1674 sold the property to John Cartwright of Aynho (Northants.), who was given security against the claims of Henry Boothby's descendants. (fn. 28) Cartwright's descendants held Clattercote for almost 250 years, (fn. 29) until Sir Fairfax (Leighton) Cartwright sold the Priory estate in 1922 to Mr. H. B. Burnham. The latter's representatives sold it in 1945 to Mr. J. W. Hillier, (fn. 30) the owner in 1969. (fn. 31)
Clattercote Priory Farm (fn. 32) is a building of ironstone ashlar with Welsh slate roofs, standing on a moated site, and consists of a medieval east wing, a centre range incorporating medieval features, and an 18th-century west wing. It is not possible to ascertain the layout of the medieval priory, which was of considerable extent; digging in the ground surrounding the farm-house has revealed extensive remains of other former buildings on the site, (fn. 33) but not all are necessarily medieval.
The oldest part of the building is the late-13th-or early-14th-century east wing. Only its southern half is original, the northern portion having been rebuilt at some later date. The first floor originally stood on a vaulted undercroft, and traces of the vaulting are still visible in the interior. A blocked two-light window remains in the southern gable, immediately above an inserted 17th-century window, itself partly replaced in modern times by a doorway which gives access to the upper floor. There are buttresses at the south-east and south-west angles; a third buttress in the centre may be seen in a drawing of 1729. (fn. 34) Adjoining the building on its west side is a vaulted passage of similar date, incorporated in the basement of the 17th-century house. It is roofed by a quardripartite stone vault of two bays with chamfered ribs springing from angle shafts with moulded capitals of early-14th-century character. These are the only surviving buildings of the medieval priory, and their original function is now uncertain: it is, however, unlikely that they formed any part of the church, (fn. 35) and if the priory was laid out according to the usual monastic plan they would appear to have formed the south-east angle of the claustral buildings.
The priory was described by one of Thomas Cromwell's more reliable agents in 1535 as 'old, foul, and filthy'; (fn. 36) and some verisimilitude is lent to this report by the fact that within eighty years much of the priory had been pulled down and a large new building erected, abutting on the surviving fragment. The new building (fn. 37) was a large L-shaped structure: one wing ran east and west on the line of the later west wing of the farm-house, and had a small advanced wing (the later central range) projecting slightly southwards at its eastern end; the other wing ran northwards from the western end of the east—west wing. The building was of three stories; there were two attic dormers between three external chimney stacks in the west front, a gable at the south end of the west front, and three more gables in the south front; on the west there was an enclosed garden.
All that remains of that structure is the present three-story central range, which projects slightly to the south of both the medieval east and the modern west wing. A panel in the upper portion of the gable bears the date 1614. In the south front of the ground floor there are now two doorways, but for over a century at least there was only one, the present western doorway, which may originally have been the main entrance to the new part of the house; it has a four-centered head with a square label and moulded jambs. A small window to the east was subsequently converted into the second doorway; beyond it a flight of six steps leads down to the vaulted passageway already described. A medieval doorway in the passage leads into the ground-floor room of the east wing.
Probably the erection of the 17th-century building was commissioned by Judith Corbet, who owned Clattercote in 1614 and appears to have lived there. In 1665 the house was credited with ten hearths; (fn. 38) in 1674 it was described as 'a great house . . . out of repair', (fn. 39) and Richard Rawlinson in 1717 found it 'almost demolished', (fn. 40) a remark which must refer only to the medieval portion. In 1729 the house still comprised the medieval east wing with the early17th-century addition. By the early 19th century, however, nearly all the 17th-century building, with the exception of what became the central range, had been pulled down, together, probably, with some outbuildings of unknown date which in 1729 appear to have stood east of the east wing. A new west wing, facing southwards and abutting on the central range, had been erected. The total size of the house was much reduced, for no new structure replaced the former 17th-century north wing. Probably at the same time the various minor alterations to windows and doorways in the east and central ranges already noticed were made, possibly by the Hadland family after 1788: their exact date is unknown.
The present west wing is of two floors, with cellars and attics. The doorway is flanked on each side by three sash windows. The cellar windows, half concealed at ground level, have moulded square heads, which have possibly been re-used; the cellars are of arched brickwork. The fine staircase probably contains a little re-used 17th-century material. There is some later deal panelling.
To the south of the house, opposite the central range, is a rectangular 17th-century ashlar dovecot; another dovecot south of the house was pulled down by the Hadlands in the early 19th century. (fn. 41) The gateways in the garden wall to east and west of the house may be ancient. The depression which represents the site of the moat is still visible, especially on the south. When Rawlinson saw the house it was 'moated three parts round', (fn. 42) but in 1781 only the southern section of the moat was still in use as a fishpond; (fn. 43) it still survived in 1877 but had been filled up shortly before 1901. (fn. 44) A drawbridge over the moat survived into the Hadlands' day. (fn. 45) Immediately to the south-west of the house is a small fish-pond and beyond it are some rubble outbuildings of 17thcentury date.
In 1279 the Prior of Clattercote held a total of 16 yardlands (12 of them in villeinage) in Claydon, (fn. 46) some of which may represent Clattercote proper. In 1291 the Clattercote estate in Clattercote and Claydon yielded £22 13s. 4d. yearly, (fn. 47) about two-thirds of the priory's total revenues.
The houses of the Gilbertine Order were noted for their sheep-farming activities, (fn. 48) and Clattercote was no exception. In 1388 the prior accused his neighbour Thomas Raleigh and others of impounding 300 sheep found in his pasture at Claydon, and another 300 sheep found at Cropredy. (fn. 49) Sir William Petre, lord of the manor 1538–46, took some interest in sheep-farming; (fn. 50) a plaintiff of 1619 alleged that there were 1,500 sheep as well as 100 milking cows in Clattercote, while a witness deposed that there were 600 sheep and described Clattercote as 'Clattercote Pastures'. (fn. 51) In 1788 probably only about onethird of the estate was under crops. (fn. 52)
At one time Clattercote or part of it seems to have formed part of Claydon's open fields: in 1239 Eynsham had tithe from 1 furlong and 2 'culturae' in Clattercote, which lay in the West Field. (fn. 53) The field was evidently the one of that name in Claydon, not Cropredy. Clattercote was inclosed comparatively early. Numerous field names that survived in the 20th century occurred in 1607. (fn. 54) The field boundaries in 1674, when it was reported that 'the land most of it hath been broke up' were probably mainly identical with the modern ones; the map of Clattercote in 1781 differed in no material particular from that of today. (fn. 55)
Seldom if ever between the grant of Clattercote to Petre and its sale in 1922 was Clattercote both occupied and farmed by its owners. In 1674 most of the estate was tenanted by Thomas Wyatt and Thomas French, members of two prominent Cropredy yeoman families, the remainder except the farm-house being held by members of four other local yeoman families; the total rent was £328. (fn. 56)
No member of the Cartwright family, which obtained the estate in 1674. (fn. 57) lived at Clattercote after 1776, and probably none did so before that date. At the turn of the century the tenants appear to have changed fairly frequently: William Bull of Clattercote, gentleman, was tenant in 1694 and 1706, Richard Archer from Claydon in 1712; (fn. 58) the Prowett family of Great Bourton were tenants for much of the 18th century—at least from 1724 to 1770. (fn. 59) John Eagles, a Cropredy yeoman, was tenant from 1776 or before to 1788, when he was succeeded, at an annual rent of £384, by John Hadland, a yeoman formerly of Radston (Northants.). (fn. 60) Hadland was the first of four generations of his family to occupy and farm Clattercote, and was followed in turn during 109 years by his relict Mary, their son William, the latter's son William (d. 1888), who in 1851 employed thirteen men, (fn. 61) and that William's second son Spencer (d. 1902). (fn. 62) The Hadlands also acquired Cropredy mill, carrying on a large grain-milling business there, and built Bourton House in Great Bourton. (fn. 63) In the years 1788–97 they carried out many improvements at Clattercote, including extensive drainage of the estate, the lower-lying portions of which were once much liable to flooding from the Highfurlong Brook. (fn. 64) Probably the late-18th-century improvements at Clattercote were in part responsible for a rise in its estimated value from £9, 137 in 1787 to £12,000 in 1800. (fn. 65)
Although extraparochial, Clattercote maintained its own poor. In 1776 there were no poor and at the beginning of the 19th century only one able bodied adult and four children were on regular out-relief and one on occasional relief; the cost was £15 10s. (fn. 66) The total rose to £40 in 1819 and was again high in 1825–6. (fn. 67) After that it stayed below £15 and in the last year of the old Poor Law only £4 was spent. (fn. 68)