A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 11, Wootton Hundred (Northern Part). Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1983.
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South Newington parish, 5 miles (8 km.) south-west of Banbury and 18 miles (30 km.) north of Oxford, covers 1,437 a. (581. 5 ha.) of the north Oxfordshire uplands. (fn. 1) The boundary on much of the north, north-east, and north-west follows the river Swere and its tributary streams; the road from Deddington to Chipping Norton forms part of the southern boundary, and an old sunken lane known as the Baulk part of the northwest. Elsewhere the boundary, unchanged at least since 1794, (fn. 2) follows pre-inclosure field boundaries.
The land rises from c. 110 m. in the north of the parish to over 150 m. in the south and east, and is composed of Lower Lias clay with outcrops of Middle Lias marlstone and Chipping Norton limestone. (fn. 3) The nature of the landscape is reflected in numerous furlong names incorporating 'hill', and others such as Redcliff and Iron Down which allude to the iron-bearing marlstone. (fn. 4) An irregular line of springs marks the edge of the main marlstone outcrop, which runs north-westward from near Hill Farm to Bury's Farm above the Wigginton road. Five small streams rise there, one flowing west to join the river Swere above Wigginton, the others combining to flow east and join the Swere below South Newington village. The river east of the village was straightened in 1794, (fn. 5) presumably to reduce flooding in the adjacent arable fields. Much of the parish is good farming land; an application in 1958 to exploit the ironstone in the south-west by open-cast mining was rejected in 1960 because of the threat to the character of the landscape. (fn. 6) Apart from a few small inclosures round the village, the open fields survived until parliamentary inclosure in 1795, (fn. 7) and no outlying farms were built until the 19th century.
The road from Banbury to Chipping Norton crosses the parish from north-east to south-west, passing through the edge of the village; it is joined by that from Deddington to Chipping Norton, which runs along the southern boundary of the parish. Both roads were turnpiked in 1770 and disturnpiked in 1871. (fn. 8) The bridge carrying the Banbury road over the river Swere incorporates an 18th-century structure of three rather flattened arches with prominent keystones. Minor roads whose courses were slightly altered at inclosure, connect the village with Wigginton and Barford St. Michael. A bridleway, probably the 'way going to Tew' recorded in 1507, (fn. 9) leads to Great Tew, and a branch from it goes to Grove Ash in Sandford St. Martin parish. North of the river Swere two roads, both apparently ancient, led in the 18th century across a field called the Hide to the Banbury road. The western one was the Baulk, while further east lay a lane, stopped at inclosure, which was earlier called Portway, (fn. 10) suggesting that it had once provided a route to Banbury. It seems to have joined the Portway in Bloxham parish, marked on a map of 1801 and surviving as a bridleway running north towards Broughton to meet the road from Shipston on Stour to Banbury. (fn. 11)
By 1675 the main road to Banbury followed the line of the modern road, except perhaps for a short stretch in the village itself, (fn. 12) but earlier it may have followed one of the minor roads. A stone bridge mentioned in 1279 and presumably, since it was the king's responsibility, carrying the main road over the Swere may not have been on the site of the present bridge, for it was close to arable land; (fn. 13) it may therefore have been in the Hide, on the line of the Baulk or the Portway. In 1794 the ford where the Baulk crossed the Swere was called Carbridge, (fn. 14) suggesting that there had once been a bridge for carts there.
Although in earlier times South Newington may have looked to Deddington to provide a local market it is evident from the road system that Banbury was of paramount importance. In the 19th century and early 20th carriers' carts went there on three days a week. (fn. 15) The nearest railway station was at Bloxham, 2 miles distant, opened in 1875 and closed for passengers in 1950. (fn. 16) There was a post office in the village by 1847. (fn. 17)
A Romano-British settlement centred just outside the boundary at Iron Down presumably extended into the parish. (fn. 18) The name Newington implies that the Anglo-Saxon village was settled later than some of its neighbours, but it was well established by 1086 when 20 tenants and an unspecified number of 'men' were recorded. (fn. 19) The name South Newington, distinguishing the settlement from North Newington in Broughton parish, was in use by the 13th century, but the medieval village or part of it was also called Paris Newton, Newington Jewell, and Newington Cranford after the manorial lords William Paris (fl. 1206), Ralph Ivaus (fl. 1242), and the Cranfords (13th–15th century); the name Newington Jewell, said to refer to one end of the village, was recorded as late as 1603. (fn. 20)
By 1279 when 20 villeins, 2 cottagers, and 28 free tenants were recorded in South Newington, there seems to have been a marked increase in population, although some of the free tenants may have lived elsewhere. (fn. 21) Only 95 adults were assessed for poll tax in 1377, (fn. 22) implying a considerable population loss, presumably through plagues or the economic misfortunes of the earlier 14th century. A sign of continued hardship may have been the complaint by Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1464 that its South Newington estate was taxed too heavily, although it is not certain whether the complaint was against the township's assessment as a whole or the share assigned to Magdalen and its tenants. (fn. 23) In the 16th and 17th centuries the population was perhaps between 220 and 300; the 51 'houseling people' recorded in 1547, the 72 adult males swearing the Protestation oath in 1642, and the 42 households paying hearth tax in 1662 support the lower estimate, (fn. 24) the evidence of the parish registers and the Compton Census of 1676, recording 210 adults, support the higher. (fn. 25) Eighteenth-century vicars reckoned that there were 60 or 70 houses in the village, (fn. 26) and by 1801 there were 79 inhabited houses, 82 families, and a total population of 395. The total dropped to 343 in 1811, rose to a peak of 462 in 1831, and then declined steadily to only 222 by 1911. (fn. 27) Much of the decline in the 1840s and 1850s was ascribed to emigration, encouraged and partly financed by the parish authorities. (fn. 28) The population remained fairly steady from 1911 to 1961, when it was 219. (fn. 29) By 1978 it had risen to 249 (fn. 30) as more commuters began to live in the village; more than half the families were comparative newcomers, having arrived since c. 1950, and a high proportion were professional or business people.
The village stands on rising ground on the south bank of the Swere. The river presumably supplied some of the villagers' water, but there were also springs and wells on or near the site. As late as 1934, however, some two dozen houses were without water, and arrangements were made to pipe it from a spring just outside the village. Mains water was made available to South Newington in the 1950s, and mains drainage in 1975. (fn. 31) The street plan is complex, partly perhaps because of the re-routing of the main road already mentioned, or because of a later rerouting implied by such street-names (recorded in the 1920s but now disused) (fn. 32) as Old Turnpike Road, Turnpike Lane (later Baker's Lane), and New Road. Some of the other street-names are evidently old, notably those of the narrow alley called Tink-a-Tank (probably referring to the sound of the sanctus bell) and the lane called the Slibber (? a slippery place). (fn. 33) The village centre comprises a rectangle of streets south of the church, around what once may have been the village green, but there are also old houses on the lane towards Milcombe mill (Moor Lane) and on the lower ground beside the main road and the lane to the village mill. In the 13th century the manor houses of the Cranfords and of St. John's hospital occupied the lower ground, (fn. 34) while presumably that of the Giffards stood near the village centre and the church. The layout of the later village may reflect early manorial arrangements.
The older houses are of local ironstone rubble with slate or thatched roofs, although much of the thatch has been replaced in modern times. The absence of dominant gentry families after the 17th century is reflected in the scale of domestic architecture: the largest houses are the vicarage, much rebuilt in the early 19th century, and College Farm, built in the mid 17th century, but there are numerous medium sized houses of some distinction. In 1852, however, the village was described as 'mean and straggling'; (fn. 35) in one labourer's cottage visited at that time the single large downstairs room was furnished only with a few broken chairs and a large box. (fn. 36) In 1905 the village was said to be 'primitive', its rows of humble cottages giving the impression that times were bad and that the younger generation had left. (fn. 37) By 1949, however, changing tastes enabled an official report to declare that most of the older houses were good and the village as a whole deserving of 'every attention to its architectural well-being'; (fn. 38) in 1950 the parish council asked that new council houses be built of stone because the village attracted many visitors, particularly to see the wall-paintings in the church. (fn. 39)
College Farm, overlooking the area once called the Town which is still effectively the village centre, is a large two-storeyed building with gabled attics, originally an L-shaped house on the three-unit plan; (fn. 40) there is a single-storeyed addition in a similar style and a large thatched barn. The architectural details are typical of the better yeoman's house of the area, with plentiful threeand four-light windows, stone mullions, square labels, a stone slate roof, and moulded stone chimneys. It was built by a family that claimed gentry status, and bears the date 1659 and the initials of Edward and Dorcas Box and their son Philip; it was acquired by New College, Oxford, in 1856 and sold in 1963. (fn. 41) Several other houses display the dates and initials of small yeomen of the period: Hillside House (1684) is attributable to Thomas and Alice French, who farmed 4½ yardlands in the parish in 1679, (fn. 42) and the cottage called Holm Cott (1661) was possibly built by William and Elizabeth Kirwood, who paid tax on a single hearth in 1665. (fn. 43) The copyholders of Magdalen College, Oxford, built several notable houses, including Newton House, (fn. 44) Springfield House, the Old Garth, and Cherry Orchard; the last, a substantial house in grounds which by the late 18th century included a wilderness, (fn. 45) was built in 1727 by Richard King, a London pewterer, whose family held a college copyhold from the 1680s until the mid 19th century. (fn. 46) South Newington House, on the western edge of the village incorporates a 17th-century house, but was much enlarged when it ceased to be a farmhouse in the mid 20th century; in the 19th century it was called Checkley's Farm, after a tenant, and was the farmhouse for the large inclosure allotment of James Lovesey. (fn. 47)
The chief 19th-century additions to the village were the school (1837) and Primitive Methodist chapel (1875). In 1927 the Friends' meeting house (1692) was turned into a village hall and a new porch added by the donor, George Dyson of Buttermilk Farm, Barford. (fn. 48) A crescent of six semi-detached council houses was built on the Barford Road in the 1920s and twelve more in St. Peter's Close (former glebeland) from 1958. Most other modern development (c. 30 houses between 1960 and 1978) (fn. 49) has been confined to the eastern outskirts of the village, and there has been little infilling; the new houses are large and mostly detached, built of brick or of stone from outside the ironstone region.
Two men were accused of selling ale without licence in 1725, and an inn called the Horse and Jockey was recorded in 1742. (fn. 50) In the later 18th century there were usually three or four licensed houses in the village, including the Pole Axe, the Horse and Jockey (or Groom), and the Wykeham Arms. (fn. 51) A fourth was perhaps the Three Goats, sold in 1773. (fn. 52) The Horse and Jockey had presumably disappeared by 1832 when its name was attached to the former Pole Axe. (fn. 53) The Pole Axe, which had reverted to its original name by 1852, (fn. 54) was a large building with extensive stabling on the north-east corner of the High Street; it closed in 1887 when its licence was withdrawn. (fn. 55) Only the Wykeham Arms survived as a public house in 1979. No evidence has been found to support a tradition that the house called the Dun Cow, on the south side of Moor Lane, was formerly an inn. (fn. 56)
In 1897 the Pole Axe property was bought by Mrs. Lillian Thompson, the vicar's cousin, and given to the village as a reading room and hall. Support for the reading room declined in the 1920s, and in 1927 it was sold to George Dyson, who demolished most of the buildings. In 1934 his widow gave the site to the village as a playground, which was still in use in 1979. The money realized by the sale in 1927 was invested, and the income applied for the general benefit of the village. (fn. 57)
The parish wake, held on or near the church's patronal festival (1 Aug.), was recorded in the early 18th century. (fn. 58) In the later 19th century it became a small fair held outside the Pole Axe, but it seems never to have been more than a village occasion, and was last held in the 1890s. In the early 20th century the village children still celebrated May Day with a May king and queen and a procession round the village. (fn. 59) Some May Day dancing was revived for a few years after the Second World War, but in 1979 the chief village event was the annual flower show.
South Newington acquired brief notoriety during the struggle over ship money in 1636. (fn. 60) The sheriff, having failed to arrest the constables, tried unsuccessfully to raise the amount of the village's assessment by seizing local cattle. Thomas Roberts of South Newington, leader of the opposition to ship money in the area, was still refusing to pay in 1637, and in 1638 was admonished by the Privy Council for 'undutiful speeches against the board'; even so he continued, apparently with impunity, to voice his opinions, calling the comptroller an ugly rogue. (fn. 61)
Manors and other Estates.
In 1086 Odo of Bayeux, who had been under arrest since 1082, nominally held 11 hides in South Newington, divided between Wadard (3½ hides and 1 hide) and Adam son of Hubert de Rys (2½ hides and 4 hides). (fn. 62) On or before the bishop's death in 1097 his tenants became tenants-in-chief. Wadard's Domesday estates afterwards formed the barony of Arsic, centred upon Cogges, (fn. 63) and in 1103 Manasser Arsic granted two sheaves from SOUTH NEWINGTON to Cogges church. (fn. 64) When in 1230 the fee was divided between Robert Arsic's daughters, South Newington was presumably included in the share of Joan, wife of Eustace de Grenville; in 1245 she and her second husband, Stephen Simeon, granted the Arsic lands to Walter de Gray of Rotherfield. (fn. 65) Half a knight's fee in South Newington was held of Walter's son Robert in 1279, and of his grandson John de Gray in 1302. (fn. 66) The overlordship then followed the descent of the manor of Rotherfield Greys, remaining in the Gray family until, on the extinction of the male line in 1387, it passed to Joan de Gray wife of Sir John Deincourt. Her son William died without issue in 1422 and his property was divided between his sisters, Margaret who died without issue in 1454, and Alice, wife of Sir William Lovell. In 1465 South Newington was held of Alice's son John Lovell, Lord Lovell, (fn. 67) although Alice herself survived until 1474 when her lands descended to her grandson Francis, Lord Lovell. They escheated to the Crown on Francis's attainder in 1485, and in 1486 Rotherfield Greys was granted to Jasper Tudor, duke of Bedford; South Newington was held of him as of that manor in 1492, (fn. 68) but there is no later record of the overlordship.
The undertenant of the Arsic fee by 1206 was William of Paris, (fn. 69) who had by then also acquired the other part of Odo of Bayeux's Domesday estate. (fn. 70) His wife was Nicia de Clinton, (fn. 71) and it may be that the Clintons had acquired an interest in the manor, as they had in a smaller estate in the parish. (fn. 72) Nicia did not inherit the Clinton estates until some time later, however, so it is not certain how William of Paris acquired Newington. In 1211–12 he held the Arsic fee for the service of 1 knight for castle-guard at Dover, and about that time granted an estate in South Newington to Ralph Ivaus (or Ivals) in marriage with his daughter Helewise. (fn. 73) William Paris's manor, too, seems to have passed to Helewise and Ralph Ivaus, for it was held by their heirs, but William Paris's son William seems to have retained an interest; that interest passed with the rest of his property c. 1252 to William de Montagu and Bertha his wife who claimed an interest in the estate in 1259. (fn. 74) Ralph Ivaus (II) proved his age in 1235 (fn. 75) and in 1259 he and his wife Agnes granted the property to Nicholas of Cranford to be held of him and his heirs by Ralph and Agnes and their heirs. (fn. 76) When Ralph died without issue in 1272 the property, by then regarded as only ½ fee, passed to Robert Cranford (d. 1302), (fn. 77) whose son, Robert Cranford (II), was one of the lords of South Newington in 1316 and at his death in 1339. (fn. 78) Robert's son, Robert (III) died before 1350 and his wife Lucy in 1361. Their son Richard (fn. 79) in 1395 granted a 20-year lease of most of the manor to his son and heir Robert (IV). (fn. 80) Robert was called lord of South Newington by 1412, and he held land there in 1428. (fn. 81) His heir was his daughter Anne who married first Thomas Hall, perhaps a member of the South Newington family of that name, and secondly Thomas Drayton. In 1465 her son, William Drayton of Strixton (Northants.), died seised of a manor in South Newington which was leased to Richard Hall for life. (fn. 82) It passed to William's son, Richard, who died without issue in 1479 and was succeeded by his sister Anne, wife of Thomas Lovett. (fn. 83)
The manor remained in the Lovett family, passing from Anne's husband Thomas (d. 1492) to her son and grandson, both named Thomas, who died in 1523 and 1587. (fn. 84) From the last Thomas Lovett it descended to his daughter Jane's son, George Shirley, (fn. 85) who in 1615 settled South Newington on his second son Thomas. (fn. 86) Thomas Shirley's estates were sequestered for recusancy in 1651, but in 1655 South Newington was assigned for the maintenance of his younger children. (fn. 87) In 1663 two of them, Thomas and Anne Shirley, sold or mortgaged it to Martin Holbech. (fn. 88) It was apparently later sold to Robert French of South Newington (d. 1688), from whom it presumably passed to his brother and residuary legatee Thomas. (fn. 89) William French of South Newington, probably Robert's son, by will proved in 1710 ordered the sale of the manor, and it was bought by Charles Talbot, duke of Shrewsbury. (fn. 90) The manor descended in his family until 1870 when it was sold to Albert Brassey. It then comprised quitrents worth c. £6 6s. a year, 'Dover rents' (commutation of the castle guard at Dover), and other rights and royalties. (fn. 91) The last recorded lord was Captain Robert Brassey, in 1939. (fn. 92)
In the 13th century the manor house of the Cranfords stood near the mill, and in 1731 a house in Farm Close, south of the mill, was said to be 'formerly known by the name of the manor house'. (fn. 93) The name appears to have been revived by Col. W. H. Lawes who lived there in the early 20th century; the surviving house incorporates a 16th-century window, but is largely 18th-century or later.
The overlordship of the other part of Odo of Bayeux's estate in SOUTH NEWINGTON passed from Adam to his brother Eudes the sewer, escheated to the Crown on Eudes's death in 1120, and was granted by Henry II to Warin FitzGerald (d. c. 1159). It then passed successively to Warin's brother Henry, Henry's son Warin (d. 1218), and the latter's daughter Margaret, wife of Baldwin de Rivers. (fn. 94) The FitzGeralds seem to have acquired the overlordship of another South Newington manor, (fn. 95) and 2 knights' fees there in 1242 were held of Margaret and her son Baldwin (II), earl of Devon and lord of the Isle of Wight. (fn. 96) On the death without issue in 1262 of Baldwin (III) the property passed to his sister Isabel, wife of William de Forz, count of Aumale. (fn. 97) In 1279 it was said to be held of the countess, (fn. 98) but after Isabel's death without issue in 1293 the descent of the overlordship is confused: it was attributed variously to the honor of Aumale, (fn. 99) to Robert de Lisle of Rougemont, who had inherited other former FitzGerald lands, (fn. 100) and to the Montagus, earls of Salisbury, whose connexion seems to have been through William (d. 1397), who held a life interest in the lordship of Wight. (fn. 101) From 1206 or earlier the undertenancy of the FitzGerald manor followed the same descent as the Arsic fee. As the overlordship declined in importance the two manors presumably merged.
Another manor in SOUTH NEWINGTON, assessed at 4 hides and formerly part of the FitzOsbern estates, was held in 1086 by Anketil de Gray. (fn. 102) It appears to have been acquired by William de Chesney (d. 1172 x 1176), a prominent supporter of King Stephen, during the Anarchy, and to have passed to his niece Maud, wife of Henry FitzGerald, and so, with the overlordship of one of the Ivaus manors, to Countess Isabel and her heirs. (fn. 103) The inheritance of William de Chesney's lands was, however, for long disputed, (fn. 104) and in addition Anketil's descendants, the Grays, having claimed the manor unsuccessfully in 1225, were still paid scutage from the fee in 1279. (fn. 105)
Several mesne tenancies seem to have been created. In the mid 12th century Hugh de Chesney, William's elder brother, was lord, and his interest passed successively to his elder son Ralph and to Ralph's daughter Lucy, whose husband Guy de Dive confirmed Hugh's grant of South Newington church to Eynsham abbey in 1194. (fn. 106) In 1242 the mesne lord was Lucy's son, William de Dive, (fn. 107) but thereafter the Dives seem to have lost any connexion with South Newington. A further mesne tenancy was held with the manor of Barford St. Michael by Hugh de Chesney's younger son William, whose daughter and heir Agnes married first Simon of Maidwell and then Roger of Verdun. (fn. 108) In 1225 Roger and Agnes held a free tenement of William de Dive, and in 1242 Agnes held of William ½ knight's fee. (fn. 109) Agnes's interest followed the descent of her Barford manor, passing by 1269 to her greatgranddaughter Alice, wife of Richard of Seaton. (fn. 110) By then Henry of Maidwell, whose relationship to Agnes is not clear, had acquired an interest in the fee, granting property in 1269 to John of Compton, recovering a free tenement in the parish against the Seatons in 1273, and recorded in 1279 as a mesne tenant. (fn. 111) Compton granted property in South Newington to the hospital of St. John, Oxford, and was among the mesne tenants of the Chesney fee in 1279. (fn. 112) In 1300 the heirs of Richard Seaton were said to hold 1 knight's fee in Barford and South Newington of the honor of St. Valery, (fn. 113) but the attribution of South Newington to the honor was probably mistaken. John Seaton was recorded as lord of South Newington in 1369 and 1394; (fn. 114) although no further mention has been found of their interest in the manor the Seatons continued to own land in the parish, as did their successors at Barford manor, the Foxes, as late as 1549. (fn. 115)
By c. 1270 the demesne tenant, enfeoffed by Henry of Maidwell, was John Giffard of Twyford (Bucks.). (fn. 116) In 1279 John Giffard the younger, presumably his son, held of the Chesney fee, and in 1316 his son, John Giffard (III), was lord. (fn. 117) He or his son, John (IV), held half a knight's fee in South Newington in 1346. (fn. 118) John (IV) died in 1369, and was succeeded by his son Thomas who died in 1394 holding land in South Newington as of the manor of Barford St. Michael. (fn. 119) Thomas's son, Roger, in 1403 settled the manor of South Newington on himself and his wife Isabel, and after his death it was held by Isabel and her second husband, John Stokes; (fn. 120) in 1431 Roger Giffard's son and heir Thomas settled the manor on John Stokes and Isabel for their lives. (fn. 121) Thomas Giffard held no land in Oxfordshire at his death in 1469, (fn. 122) but in 1487 his grandson, another Thomas, held the South Newington estate. (fn. 123) That Thomas's son Thomas held a manor in South Newington at his death in 1551. (fn. 124) It presumably passed to his daughter and heir Ursula, wife of Thomas Wenman, and then to her daughter Anne, wife of John FitzHerbert, for Anne's son Thomas FitzHerbert was lord c. 1608. (fn. 125) No later reference to the manor has been found, and the site of the manor house is not known.
An estate in South Newington, perhaps identifiable with the 2½ hides held in 1086 by Adam, was held in serjeanty by Eschorsan, Henry I's tailor; it was granted by Henry II to his chamberlain Robert of St. Paul, and passed after his death to his wife, Emma of Northampton, in dower. (fn. 126) In 1212 Emma held 1 ploughland by service of tailoring the king's clothes, and in 1219 she held 40s. worth of land by service of cutting out the king's and queen's linen clothes. (fn. 127) In 1222 the land, by then 8 yardlands, was granted to John de Breaute, perhaps Emma's second husband. (fn. 128) By 1224 Emma was dead and John de Breauté in rebellion, and Henry III granted the SOUTH NEWINGTON land to his tailor, William, to hold as an escheat. (fn. 129) In 1227 he regranted the land to William to hold by serjeanty of rendering a pair of shears to the wardrobe at Christmas. (fn. 130) William gave the land to St. John's hospital in Oxford in 1241, and thereafter the hospital held of the king in free alms. (fn. 131) The hospital's holding was enlarged by grants of rent and land from Henry of Maidwell, John of Compton, Robert Cranford, and John Giffard between c. 1270 and 1276; it was first described as a manor in a lease of 1408. (fn. 132)
The estate passed with the rest of the hospital's property to Magdalen Hall in 1456 and to Magdalen College in 1458. (fn. 133) The college added to its South Newington estate by purchases in 1550 and 1564, (fn. 134) and retained the manor until the 20th century, although courts ceased to be held in the 1880s. The college's claim to compensation for manorial rights at inclosure in 1795 appears to have been rejected. The land was sold between 1919 and 1952. (fn. 135)
The principal house of the Magdalen estate, the successor of the hospital's grange near the river mentioned in 1276, (fn. 136) and presumably the place where courts were held and visiting brethren or fellows entertained, (fn. 137) was always associated with the largest college copyhold; thus in 1495 it was held with 5 yardlands by Richard Ewyns, and in the 17th century and 18th with 4 yardlands by the Parsons family. (fn. 138) It may be identified with Newton House on the west side of the main road, which was built in 1710 by Robert and Frances Parsons. (fn. 139) The house is a large stone building in the regional style, with three-and two-light stone mullioned windows and stone based end-stacks. It was granted in 1765 to Richard Faulkner, whose family held it until the late 19th century. (fn. 140)
An estate in South Newington assessed as ¼ knight's fee was held with ¾ fee at Alkerton by descendants of Wadard. The estate comprised 1 hide of land, and may therefore be identified with the 1 hide of waste held by Wadard in 1086. (fn. 141) It was evidently separated from the main manor before that became part of the Arsic fee. In 1200 the heirs of Wadard's granddaughter Helewise surrendered to the Crown their overlordship of the ¼ fee, held in demesne by Ralph de Plaiz. Ralph was possibly a descendant of Helewise's sister Denise of Barford, wife of Hugh de Chesney, whose daughter Alice married first Warin de Plaiz and secondly Robert of Aston. Ralph claimed to hold of Roger son of Foukerel, otherwise Roger of Barford, who himself claimed in 1201 to hold the estate in demesne of the heirs of William de Clinton. (fn. 142) In 1208 Roger, having sued for a third of the estate against Robert of Aston and Alice and for the remainder against Henry of Newington, in each case as tenants of Ralph de Clare and his wife Isabel, who were tenants of Ralph de Plaiz, acknowledged Ralph de Plaiz as his tenant in fee. (fn. 143) The Clare's interest in South Newington is unrecorded except that in 1279 the estate was described as the 'fee of Clare' and in 1273 Gilbert de Clare, earl of Gloucester and Hereford claimed an interest in Henry of Maidwell's land. (fn. 144) After 1208 the descent is uncertain. In 1279 the estate was held by John of the Hide of three lords, of whom one was Robert of Cranford, who was paid 25s. (fn. 145) In 1302 the tenure and rent were unchanged and the estate was treated effectively as part of the Cranford manor, except that there was still above Robert an unidentified overlord, Ralph of Barford. (fn. 146)
The rectory estate, comprising the great tithes and 2 yardlands of glebe, (fn. 147) was held by Eynsham abbey from 1413 until the Dissolution, the glebe and rectory house being leased to tenants by the earlier 15th century. (fn. 148) In 1542 the rectory was granted to the dean and chapter of the first cathedral of the Oxford diocese, at Oseney, but was not regranted to the new cathedral at Christ Church. (fn. 149) It was held by Cardinal Pole, and in 1565 was granted to William Petre. (fn. 150) An 80-year lease of the rectory granted by Eynsham abbey in 1537 to George Giffard of Middle Claydon (Bucks.) was sold in 1560 by his daughter Mary to two Londoners who in 1566 sold it to Petre. (fn. 151) Petre gave the rectory to Exeter College, Oxford, and at inclosure in 1795 the college was allotted c. 294 a. for glebe and tithe. (fn. 152) The estate, then known as Hill farm, was sold in 1969. (fn. 153)
A small estate of 2 or 3 yardlands, possibly derived from that held in 1279 by William of Williamscot, was held by Richard Adderbury at his death in 1333; (fn. 154) he was said to hold of John Giffard 'de Beof', presumably lord of the Chesney manor, but on the death of his son John Adderbury in 1346 the estate was said to be held of John Seaton of Barford. (fn. 155) Another John Adderbury seems to have held the estate in 1391. (fn. 156) and it became attached to the family's manor of Souldern and descended with it. (fn. 157) In the 15th century it was held by the Dynham family, and on the death of Sir John Dynham in 1501 passed to four coheirs. Parts were held by Sir William Compton in 1528, Sir Michael Dormer in 1539, and George Throckmorton c. 1620. (fn. 158) About 1613 the estate was held of John Weedon, lord of Souldern. (fn. 159)
In 1279 Chacombe priory (Northants.) held a house and yardland in South Newington, which had been given during Henry II's reign by Hugh of Chacombe, who may have been the husband of Wadard's granddaughter, Denise of Barford. (fn. 160) From the Dissolution the property was held by the Crown, until it was added in 1564 to the Magdalen College estate, having been purchased from two intermediaries or speculators. (fn. 161)
A house and yardland given to Sewardsley priory (in Easton Neston, Northants.) by Agnes of Maidwell were held by the Crown after the Dissolution until purchased by William Petre for Exeter College in 1568. (fn. 162)
In the Middle Ages there were two fields, a west and an east. In the early 13th century William of Paris granted 24 a. of demesne, half of it in the west of the parish 'towards Wigginton', half near Home hill 'east of the vill'. (fn. 163) In 1334 it was implied that the west field lay fallow every other year, (fn. 164) and in 1339 Robert of Cranford's demesne, when fallow, was said to be common pasture for the other manorial lords. (fn. 165) North and south fields mentioned c. 1280 were perhaps east and west, since several identifiable furlongs in the supposed south field lay in the north of the parish. (fn. 166) The banks of the river Swere and of a tributary stream crossing the parish further south provided plentiful meadow, and 72 a. were recorded in 1086. (fn. 167) Before 1276 some of the river meadow north of the village had been inclosed by Robert of Cranford and St. John's hospital, perhaps the Inmede mentioned in 1279. (fn. 168) Repeated statements in the 14th century that the Cranford manor included only a few acres of poor meadow suggest that by then much of the 11th-century meadow had been converted to arable or cow pasture. (fn. 169) A pasture 1 furlong by ½ furlong belonging in 1086 to a manor which later passed to the Cranfords may have been the several pasture valued in 1302 at 2s. a year. (fn. 170) The medieval fields, or at least the meadows, were divided up with the use of a 14-ft. perch, but in 1669 a ½-acre meadow plot 28 ft. wide seems to have been regarded as unusual. (fn. 171)
By the early 16th century the fields had been reorganized into separately cultivated east and west 'ends'. In the mid 17th century there were at least 33¼ yardlands in the east and 31¾ in the west, (fn. 172) but a measured survey of 1785 found c. 770 a. in the east and only c. 560 a. in the west. (fn. 173) In 1507 Sewardsley priory's yardland lay entirely in the east, and in almost every furlong its strips lay next to those of another small estate, the 'Moor Place' of the Dynham family: (fn. 174) it seems likely therefore that within each furlong strips had been reassigned in an established order. The reorganization may have coincided with a change from a two-field to the four-field rotation common in the area but not recorded in South Newington until the early 18th century. Division into separate ends, however, would not itself have facilitated a reduction of the fallow area, and there are signs that holdings may have been regrouped, for convenience, on a manorial basis: one of the ends in 1603 was apparently called Newington Jewell (after the Ivaus manors), (fn. 175) and after the division the lands of St. John's hospital seem to have been confined to the west end, (fn. 176) those of Chacombe priory, Sewardsley priory, the Adderbury family, and the rectory to the east end. (fn. 177) The Giffard manor probably lay in the east end, (fn. 178) the Cranford manor probably in the west, but the dispersal of those estates in the 17th century has obscured their earlier disposition within the fields.
In the 18th century a quarter of each end was left fallow each year. The west end quarters do not seem to have been named, but those in the east were called in 1716 and 1785 Home hill, Whiteland, Great Hide and Abwell, and Great hill and Little Hide, of which the last two were not compact blocks of land. (fn. 179) In 1794, however, Great and Little Hide formed a single quarter called Hide quarter. (fn. 180) The quarters were probably fairly flexible groupings of furlongs, changing for example as leys were laid down or reconverted to arable. Sewardsley priory's yardland in 1507 contained few or no leys, (fn. 181) but leys were recorded from the late 17th century; some formed blocks as large as c. 30 a., others were scattered strips among the arable. By the 18th century about a third of a yardland holding was usually greensward, either leys, meadow, or pasture. (fn. 182) By then a wide swathe across the high ground in the centre of the parish, amounting to c. 145 a. in each end, had been turned into several cow pasture, of which half was mown and half grazed each year; in the west end, and probably in the east, the pasture was divided into north and south portions. (fn. 183) The small amount of ancient meadow seems to have been allotted in proportion to the number of yardlands held, and hay tithe from it had been extinguished by providing the rector with separate hay plots (c. 6 a. in all). (fn. 184) Apart from the Marsh (23 a.) the permanent common pasture lay mostly in scattered baulks and verges, but from Lammas the whole of the cow pasture provided additional grazing. The poor's right to cut furze was limited to a small area at the east end of the cow pasture. In 1785 over half the open field (c. 748 a.) was arable, and the grassland comprised c. 290 a. of cow pasture, c. 147 a. of temporary grass, c. 56 a. of meadow, and c. 92 a. of common, including tracks and verges. The only inclosures were around the village, amounting to c. 52 a. (fn. 185)
Medieval field names such as Peas breach, Bean land, and Barley and Oat hills, and payments in kind of dredge, maslin, and rye indicate the predominant crops. (fn. 186) In 1492 the glebe of 2 yardlands grew 3 loads of hay, 3 of barley, 10 of peas, and some wheat. (fn. 187) Of medieval stockkeeping nothing is known except that in 1279 Robert of Cranford had liberty of bull over the whole vill. (fn. 188) By 1594 the stint for a yardland was 3 cows, 30 sheep, and 1 horse, (fn. 189) and in the 17th century, though there was little sign of specialization and none of inclosure for sheep farming, some moderate sized flocks were recorded. In 1601 Thomas FitzHerbert, who held 8 yardlands, kept 160 sheep and was said to have grown during that year 1 qr. wheat, 7 qr. maslin, 8 qr. pulse, 46 qr. barley, and 40 loads of hay. (fn. 190) Philip Box in 1715 left 160 sheep, but his wheat, oats, peas, and barley were probably more valuable. (fn. 191) In the 17th century and 18th both flax and hemp were grown, probably in small quantities. (fn. 192)
In 1086 South Newington was divided into five estates, but there were signs of an earlier division into only two, of 8 and 7 hides, each with a mill. One hide with land for 1 plough was said to be waste, an unusual feature in rural Oxfordshire; the estate may have been given no value merely because it was an outlying part of an Alkerton manor. The other South Newington estates together contained land for 12 ploughs, but only 7½ were recorded, 5 of them on the demesne worked by 7 serfs; on three of the estates no demesne labourers were recorded. The tenants (4 villeins, 6 bordars, and some 'men') held only 2½ ploughs. Despite apparent undercultivation the value of the estates, excluding the waste, had risen from £8 in 1066 to £9 10s. (fn. 193)
By 1279 the cultivated area comprised over 60 yardlands, suggesting some expansion of the 13 ploughlands of 1086; the ploughland of waste had become 4 yardlands. Robert Cranford's manor, formed from two of the earlier estates, comprised roughly half the yardlands in the parish; he held 10 yardlands in demesne, while 12 villeins held a yardland each and 11 free tenants held a total of 9½ yardlands and a few odd acres. On the part of the Cranford manor held of the fee of Arsic the villeins contributed to Robert's payment for castle ward at Dover, worked every other working day from St. John's day (24 June) to Michaelmas, performed carrying services throughout the year, and paid tallage, merchet, and, at Christmas, a loaf and 2 hens. They paid no pannage, but required the lord's licence to sell a horse, a gelded ox, or a freestanding tree. On the other fee the villeins contributed to Robert's scutage, paid 3s. a year each, worked from St. John's day to Michaelmas and in addition performed carrying services, 3 boon works in autumn, 2 plough services in the two sowing seasons, and 1 day's mowing; they paid an aid at Michaelmas, merchet as the Arsic villeins did, and gave a present at Christmas. The free tenants on both fees contributed to castle ward or scutage, and paid heriot and the usual feudal dues. The master of St. John's hospital held 7 yardlands in demesne; 3 villein yardlanders performed the same services as the Arsic villeins, one of them also finding a man for haymaking in Inmede and for 1 plough service, while 3 cottagers performed services similar to those of the Arsic villeins. On the Chesney manor John Giffard, a non-resident, kept only 1 yardland in demesne, while 13 yardlands and c. 20 a. were held by c. 15 villeins and freeholders. The villeins had owed the same services as the Arsic villeins, with one man performing extra mowing, ploughing, and carrying services, but all services had been commuted c. 12 years earlier for 12s. a year each; the services of free tenant had also been commuted. (fn. 194)
By 1302 services on the Cranford manor had been commuted at the same rate, (fn. 195) and the 12s. payment for a yardland was in use on the Adderbury estate in the 1330s, (fn. 196) and possibly on the Sewardsley and Chacombe priory estates. (fn. 197) In 1334 the 3 yardlanders and 3 cottagers on the St. John's hospital estate were still performing the traditional services on the demesne 'at the bailiff's will', but by the early 15th century the hospital was no longer farming the estate directly and services had probably been commuted. (fn. 198) In 1302 the Cranford demesne was said to comprise 152 a. of arable, and since the medieval yardland in South Newington apparently contained c. 22 field acres there seems to have been a reduction of the 10 yardlands of demesne of 1279. The number of villein and free yardlands seems also to have fallen to only 16 or 17. (fn. 199) In 1339, however, there were 2 ploughlands in demesne, free rents of 48s. a year, and customary payments of £7 16s. and some peas, rye, and dredge, presumably from 13 villeins. (fn. 200) In 1361 the demesne was undiminished, and two thirds of the estate was said to include 5 free tenants paying c. 27s., 1 cottar, and 9 neifs paying 12s. 4d. each, 3 of them also giving some maslin. (fn. 201)
In the 16th and 17th centuries the parish was divided into fairly small freehold and copyhold estates, often fragmented by sale or division among heirs. For the subsidy of 1524 no one was assessed on land, but 4 men and a widow were assessed on goods worth £10 or more; 11 others were assessed on goods worth £2 or more, and 11 on wages. (fn. 202) Of the wealthier families only the Halls seem to have retained their status in the parish into the 17th century. (fn. 203) The first Hall known to be connected with South Newington was Richard, who was lessee of the Cranford manor in 1465, and there were still Halls holding land in the parish in the later 17th century. (fn. 204) but many of the intervening representatives seem to have been non-resident. The house and 6 yardlands held by the family in the early 17th century (fn. 205) may have been the largest surviving remnant of the dispersed Cranford manor. Thomas FitzHerbert's 8 yardlands in 1601 (fn. 206) presumably represented the nucleus of the former Giffard estate, but that too seems to have been dispersed shortly afterwards. Apart from the college estates South Newington's yardlands were all freehold by the 18th century. (fn. 207) The Magdalen College estate of 11 yardlands was divided among several copyholders whose holdings tended to stay within a family for generations and were in most respects indistinguishable from freehold. (fn. 208) Despite the size of its holding the college therefore had little influence on the parish. The same was true of Exeter College, which farmed the glebe and tithes and let the former Sewardsley priory estate. (fn. 209)
In 1659 a total of 34 landholders paid church rates on their yardlands. Philip Penn paid the highest rate, but his assessment evidently included a large sum for the great tithes, of which he was the farmer; two paid on 5½ yardlands, seven others on 3 or more, nine on 2 or more, six on 1 or more, and nine on fractions of yardlands. (fn. 210) A similar distribution of medium sized and small farms is suggested by hearth tax assessments of the 1660s in which there was one assessment on 5 hearths and a fairly even distribution of 2-, 3-, and 4-hearth assessments. (fn. 211) The leading families in the parish for much of the 17th century were those of Box and French, whose representatives included the two largest landholders in 1659. Philip Box settled in South Newington before 1616 and was taxed on land in 1628–9; in 1659 Edward Box held 5½ yardlands, and he lived in College Farm, the largest house in the village, in 1665. (fn. 212) Philip Box, gentleman, left personalty worth over £400 in 1715, and Mrs. Box, presumably his widow, held 6 yardlands in 1718. (fn. 213) Later the family seems to have moved to London, although some members were buried in South Newington until 1763 or later. (fn. 214) The Frenches were landowners in the parish by the early 17th century, (fn. 215) and in 1640 Robert French left personalty worth c. £225. (fn. 216) In 1659, besides William's 5½ yardlands, other Frenches held 3½ and 2 yardlands, altogether almost a sixth of the parish; by 1679 the family's share was even larger. (fn. 217) In the 18th century much of the Frenches' property was sold, (fn. 218) among the purchasers being James Lovesey, whose son James was the largest private landowner in the parish by 1795. (fn. 219) The Loveseys, who had built up their estate by piecemeal acquisition of both freehold and college copyhold, (fn. 220) were non-resident like many other landowners in South Newington. In 1754 only 10 of the parish's 27 enfranchised landowners were resident, and in 1786 there were only 8 owner occupiers among 33 occupiers and 41 proprietors. (fn. 221)
At inclosure in 1795 c. 1,367 a. were awarded to 41 proprietors, including college copyholders. Exeter College and its lessees received 315 a., Magdalen College 179 a.; if awards for college copyholds and leaseholds are included, the largest private proprietors were James Lovesey (144 a.), John Poole (91 a.), Thomas Penn (81½ a.), Richard Faulkner (69 a.), and Thomas Gunn (63 a.). (fn. 222) The number of proprietors remained fairly steady after inclosure, but by 1831 the number of occupiers had increased from 23 to 34, of whom 10 were owner-occupiers. (fn. 223) Farms remained small, and in 1871 only Hill farm, leased from Exeter College by Robert Faulkner, was over 200 a. (fn. 224) The Faulkners had built up a substantial holding from the 1760s, when Richard Faulkner, mealman of Broughton, bought South Newington mill. (fn. 225) He began by acquiring Magdalen copyholds, and by 1851 the family owned or leased over 250 a. (fn. 226) Between 1856 and 1901 New College acquired c. 135 a. in South Newington, which it sold in 1963. (fn. 227) Other substantial landowners included the Hall family, which acquired the Lovesey estate and held it until c. 1880. (fn. 228) In the 1870s most of the land in South Newington was owned by non-residents. (fn. 229)
In 1821 as many as 65 of the 88 families in South Newington were said to be employed in agriculture, although in other early 19th-century censuses the proportion was smaller. (fn. 230) In 1841 there were 64 farm labourers and 11 farmers among 165 inhabitants whose occupations were given, and in 1871 there were 83 labourers and 7 farmers among 173 occupations. (fn. 231) A few weavers were recorded in the village in the 17th and 18th centuries, (fn. 232) and in the early 19th century several men were involved in plush weaving, for which Banbury was a centre. (fn. 233) In 1841 there were 2 plush weavers and 7 weavers, but by 1861 none remained. Shoemakers were recorded regularly, in 1861 as many as 7, and there were the usual village craftsmen such as blacksmiths, carpenters, and masons; in 1871 there were 7 bakers, 3 grocers, and a coal merchant. (fn. 234)
In 1801 there were said to be 560 a. of arable, 772 a. of permanent grass, and 5 a. of woodland, (fn. 235) implying further conversion of arable to pasture since 1785. One landlord, in a lease of 1805, seems to have foreseen a trend towards arable, providing for higher rents where pasture was ploughed up, or land planted with flax, rape, hemp, woad, or teazels; (fn. 236) he was George Councer, one of a group of progressive Bloxham farmers, (fn. 237) and perhaps untypical in his insistence that his lessee manure the ground thoroughly and in the last year of the lease sow part with turnips to be eaten off by sheep, part with clover and rye grass. Exeter College's Hill farm (266 a.) was in poor condition in 1818, having been over-cropped, but by 1832 the tenant had much improved the land by draining; by 1881 only 100 a. of the farm was arable, and conversion of the last of its lowlying ground to grass was completed that year. The tenant was in difficulties, partly because of crop failures and the general depression of farming, but chiefly because of cattle fluke. (fn. 238) By 1914 three-fifths of the parish was permanent pasture, and sheep were predominant; the chief crops were barley (23 per cent of the cultivated area), wheat (17 per cent), and oats (15 per cent). (fn. 239)
In 1940 the area of arable was smaller than that of meadow and permanent pasture, and there were two stretches of heath and rough pasture. (fn. 240) In 1970 about half the parish was classified as good agricultural land. (fn. 241) In 1977 returns were made by 7 farms, occupying just over half the area of the parish. One was a dairy farm, one concentrated on fattening cattle and sheep, one on pigs and poultry, and one on crops, mainly cereals; the others were run by part-time farmers. Only two regular full-time workers were employed besides the farmers and their wives. Nearly two thirds of the land returned was under grass; the main crops were barley (64 ha.), wheat (c. 50 ha.), and oats (c. 41 ha.). Over 1,000 pigs, nearly 500 sheep, and c. 250 cattle were returned. (fn. 242)
In 1086 there were two mills, valued at 4s. 2d. and 2s. 8d. a year. (fn. 243) Only one may be traced later, belonging to the Cranford manor and on the site of the surviving mill house north of the village. It was valued at 3s. 4d. in 1302, was empty and ruinous in 1357, but in 1368 was leased to a Bloxham miller. (fn. 244) In the 17th century the mill was owned by the King family; it was both a corn and fulling mill by 1712, and probably by 1624 when John King was a fuller. (fn. 245) There may have been other water mills in the parish, for in 1694 another John King devised to his grandson John French the mills next to his South Newington house and all his other mills in the parish. (fn. 246) The mill of William Green, miller (d. 1600), has not been identified. (fn. 247) Thomas French sold the South Newington mills to Thomas Barrett in 1712, and they passed thereafter to Henry Fowler of Shutford in 1729, Alexander Tredwell of Shenington (partly in 1736, wholly by 1759), William Tredwell (1759), Richard Faulkner of Broughton (1764), and William Robinson (by 1816). (fn. 248) By then the mill was used only as a corn mill. Robinson sold it to Richard Hall in 1845, but his family seem to have been working the mill in 1853. (fn. 249) From the 1880s to the late 1920s the mill was held by members of the Page family. (fn. 250) It was then acquired by D. P. Lithgow of the Manor House, who used it for private purposes until the Second World War. (fn. 251) The mill house survives but the watercourse has been diverted.
In 1279 Robert Cranford probably held courts for both his manors, but only that for the fee held of Countess Isabel was recorded; to it the bailiff of Wootton hundred had entry once a year to hold a view of frankpledge and hear Crown pleas after Robert Cranford had claimed his liberty in the hundred court. (fn. 254) By 1361 the tenants of both parts of the Cranford manor attended a single court. (fn. 255) The court survived into the early 17th century, but in 1694 none could remember who owed suit to it. (fn. 256) In the 18th century and earlier 19th the dukes of Marlborough, as lords of Wootton hundred, held a court in South Newington for a view of frankpledge and the election of constables. (fn. 257) The court was derived from the hundred bailiff's right to enter the Cranford manor.
A court for the Chesney manor was mentioned in 1279 but not thereafter. In 1279 the master of St. John's hospital, under a charter of liberties of 1246, held a court with a view of frankpledge. (fn. 258) The hospital's successor, Magdalen College, held courts baron at irregular intervals until 1880 for its copyholders in South Newington and Churchill. (fn. 259)
In the 16th and 17th centuries the two annually appointed churchwardens made occasional payments to travelling beggars, but an isolated constable's account for 1653 suggests that such payments were his responsibility. The churchwardens' income in the 16th century came chiefly from the church ale at Whitsun, but from 1585 the levy of malt for the ale from each yardland was supplemented by a levy in cash. After 1603 the church ale ceased. (fn. 260)
The vestry appointed annually two waywardens, later called surveyors of the highways, and two overseers of the poor. The overseers were financed in the 17th century by a money levy on the yardland, but by the 18th century a pound rate was in use. (fn. 261) In 1776 the parish spent £139 on poor relief, and by 1803 expenditure had almost quadrupled to £535; the cost per head of the population was c. 27s., and the rate in the pound (8s.) was nearly double that of any other parish in the area. Thereafter the cost per head ranged between c. 31s. in 1814 and c. 13s. in 1824. Although the costs per head were rather high for the area expenditure followed a fairly normal trend; in 1831 the total was £507, nearly 22s. per head, falling thereafter. (fn. 262)
In 1791 (fn. 263) c. 20 persons were receiving regular allowances from the parish; in 1800, during the general distress, the figure rose to a maximum of over 50, but between 1805 and 1814 there was an average of c. 32. In 1822 the vestry rejected the scale of allowances laid down by magistrates at Deddington, regarding it as inflexible and a possible encouragement of improvident marriages, but they seem to have paid allowances at the common rate of 9s. a week for a married man with 3 children. In 1788 there were 15 roundsmen but in the early 19th century only c. 10. In the early 1820s labourers not allotted to farmers were employed by the parish, sometimes at 6s. a week, sometimes 'by the great' (piecework). Farmers seem to have been reluctant to pay a fair share of roundsmen's wages. In 1821, a year of high expenditure, the vestry ordered them to pay each man 3s.–5s. a week. In 1823 it was claimed that no more than £50 was paid as 'wages of labour' and in 1824 no more than £10; the vestry tried several times to stop the practice of paying able-bodied labourers for work. In 1826 there was a scheme to replace rounding by distributing labourers among the landholders in proportion to rateable values; the employers were meant to pay the wages, but in 1829 the overseers still paid roundsmen and it was ordered that the employers should pay half their wages.
The overseers spent considerable sums on coal for the poor. In 1820 the vestry agreed to stop such distributions, but they were still made in 1825. Rents were paid for paupers and clothing provided, but rarely food, although in 1801 the parish bought rice and sold it to the poor at a small loss.
The church or town house (fn. 264) was being used for housing paupers in 1600, and may have been used for that purpose in the late 18th century when its upkeep was a charge on the overseers. (fn. 265) In 1796 a workhouse was bought with the aid of a mortgage and equipped for coal breaking and other work. It seems to have been farmed for a year or two but was soon used for free housing, and was not declared as a workhouse in 1803. (fn. 266) By 1822 the parish owned several cottages in the workhouse yard, for which it was decided in 1824 to charge a fair rent. In 1834 South Newington was included in Banbury Poor Law Union, and in 1836 the union sold the 8 cottages, although the conveyance had to be revised later because the parish's interests had not been properly safeguarded. (fn. 267) In 1894 the parish was included in Banbury Rural District and in 1974 in Cherwell District. (fn. 268)
Between 1163 and 1166 Hugh de Chesney and his wife Denise granted the church to Eynsham abbey. (fn. 269) The abbey obtained permission to appropriate the living in 1397–9, 1410, and 1412, (fn. 270) but did not proceed until 1413, when the rector resigned and a vicarage was ordained; the abbey agreed to pay £1 a year to the bishop of Lincoln for his lost rights in the church. (fn. 271) A proposal of 1935 to unite the vicarage with that of Barford St. Michael and Barford St. John was opposed by both parishes, but from 1968 the benefices were held in plurality by a priest in charge. (fn. 272)
Eynsham abbey's right to the advowson of the rectory was challenged in 1238–9 by Hugh de Chesney's granddaughter Agnes and her husband Roger of Verdun. (fn. 273) Thereafter the abbey presented rectors and later vicars until the Dissolution, except in 1503 when Thomas Langston had been granted a turn. (fn. 274) The advowson passed with the rectory in 1565 to Exeter College, which remained the patron in 1979. (fn. 275) The college failed to present in the later 17th century, treating the living as a donative, until the Crown presented by lapse in 1717. (fn. 276)
In 1254 the rectory was valued at £10 a year, from which the rector paid a pension of 4s., first recorded in 1210, to Eynsham abbey. (fn. 277) In 1291 the value was £10 13s. 4d. (fn. 278) In 1413 Eynsham abbey endowed the vicarage with a house and £8 a year, and agreed to meet all church expenses. (fn. 279) It seems to have been customary for each new abbot to present, on his election, a suit of vestments to the church. (fn. 280) After the Reformation Exeter College paid the vicar £8 a year, rising to £12 in 1602 and £20 in 1649; the college also paid procurations and synodals, but it is not clear why the living was valued as highly as £26 13s. 4d. in the 1630s. (fn. 281) In the 18th century the farmer of the rectory received the small as well as the great tithes, (fn. 282) yet at inclosure in 1795 the vicar was compensated for his rights by an allotment of 13 a. in addition to his stipend of £40 a year. (fn. 283) There were augmentations from Queen Anne's Bounty in 1757 and 1802, and the gross income of c. £96 in 1808 included rent from c. 10 a. in Wigginton next to the vicar's South Newington land, purchased c. 1794 with funds from the Bounty. (fn. 284) In 1818 Exeter College added £40 a year to the vicar's stipend, (fn. 285) and further grants from the Bounty in 1819, 1825, and 1827 to meet benefactions from the college and the vicar, increased the value of the living to c. £230 in the mid 19th century. (fn. 286)
By the 18th century the medieval vicarage house, a thatched cottage standing opposite the church in the north-east corner of the present vicarage site, (fn. 287) was considered mean and unfit for the incumbent, and was let to labourers. (fn. 288) In 1819 Exeter College gave to the living the former rectory house, then a farmhouse next to the vicarage house, and enlarged it greatly by adding a front wing. (fn. 289) Much of the rear was rebuilt after a fire in 1913, but parts of an earlier structure remain, notably two possibly 14th-century arches, one in the kitchen, the other in the garden wall. (fn. 290) The house was sold in 1980.
Several of the early rectors were Oxford graduates, and many, like Adam of Belstead, rector in the 1250s and 1260s, (fn. 291) were nonresident. Richard of Hunsingore (d. 1337), a considerable property owner in Oxford, was buried in South Newington and provided for masses for his soul to be said there. (fn. 292) Several chaplains or curates of South Newington were recorded in the 13th and 14th centuries. (fn. 293)
Only one of the medieval vicars, of whom there were at least eleven between 1413 and the Reformation, is known to have been a graduate. In 1502 the vicar was non-resident, and a curate was paid £5 6s. 8d. by the lessee of the rectory. (fn. 294) Most early 16th-century vicars were resident and probably fairly poor: John Archarde (d. 1548) left personalty worth only 42s.; (fn. 295) William Lovett, vicar in the 1520s, was accused of withholding 2 qr. of barley, (fn. 296) perhaps his expected contribution to the church ale. (fn. 297) At the same time the abbot of Eynsham was said to be withholding '12 measures for distribution', presumably the 12 bu. of grain paid to parishioners by lessees of the rectory estate at Michaelmas. (fn. 298) The contribution was evidently to provide a banquet, known in the 16th and 17th centuries as 'the custom'; in 1595 the churchwardens went to Exeter College to demand payment, and in 1650 imposed restrictions on attendance at the banquet, then held at Christmas and Easter, because of alleged disorders. (fn. 299) The rector's obligation, although mentioned in leases until 1810, (fn. 300) was probably extinguished, with tithes, at inclosure.
At the Reformation ¼ a. given at an unknown date to support a light in the church was seized by the Crown, and was added to the Magdalen College estate in 1550. (fn. 301) In 1554 the churchwardens bought vestments, a cope, and a manual to re-equip the church for Roman Catholic worship. In 1561 the altar stone was removed, and in 1563 the stone bases for the statues were pulled down; several new books were bought, including the Paraphrases of Erasmus. (fn. 302) Holy communion was usually celebrated several times during the festivals of Christmas, Easter, and Whitsun, and once in the autumn, often on All Saints' Day; other, private, communion services were held at the churching of women and the visitation of the sick. Visiting preachers included local incumbents and Exeter College fellows. In 1580 the churchwardens were summoned to Oxford 'about the bible and other causes', and in the same year a new Bible, presumably the Bishops' Bible whose use was first ordered in 1571, was bought. (fn. 303)
From 1558 until 1578 the living was left vacant, and was served by curates, (fn. 304) but from 1578 until 1636 it was held by only two vicars, both resident and active farmers: Oliver Orell (d. 1594) owned a few books and was 'sufficient in learning'; his son-in-law and successor, Roger Bond, held the vicarage of Barford St. Michael in plurality. (fn. 305) It is not known when Anthony Taylor, vicar from 1638, left South Newington, but he was probably the Taylor ejected from nearby Over Worton between 1652 and 1655, (fn. 306) and may have retained South Newington until then. From 1655 the church was served by another royalist, the ejected rector of Wigginton, but in the period 1658–60 the churchwardens accounted for several payments made 'when we had no minister'. (fn. 307) In 1658 bread and wine were again bought for Easter communion, and a new surplice made. (fn. 308)
Church life may have suffered little from the failure to present vicars in the later 17th century and early 18th, for several curates were men of some standing, such as Nicholas Page, vicar of Bloxham, who served the cure for c. 30 years; (fn. 309) the vicar presented by the Crown in 1717 had served since at least 1706. (fn. 310) The five vicars presented by Exeter College in the 18th century were all Oxford graduates. John Andrews, vicar 1725–38, employed curates, but probably spent some time in the parish; he wrote, apparently from experience, of the lack of reverence and decency in country churches. (fn. 311) Peter du Bois, master of the free school at Woodstock, was presented at the parishioners' request and 'out of compassion' for his circumstances. (fn. 312) James Williams, vicar 1743–1802, claimed to be dispensed from residence, but normally served the living himself, sometimes from Oxford or Swerford, mostly from his home in Wigginton rectory. (fn. 313)
From 1802 until 1814 or later South Newington was served by a curate, who lived in Bloxham and served no other cure. (fn. 314) By 1808 he had increased the number of services to two every alternate Sunday. (fn. 315) W. E. Hony, vicar 1818–27, lived in the parish from 1820, when the new vicarage house was completed. He raised the number of Sunday services to two, and by 1823 there were 35 communicants at the four annual celebrations. During his incumbency the first restoration and refitting of the church took place. (fn. 316) S. W. Cornish, 1827–36, was non-resident, but his curate lived in the vicarage house and served no other cure. The services, attended by about half the parish, remained unchanged, although Cornish published a sermon advocating weekly communion. (fn. 317)
Under H. D. Harington, 1836–64, the parish shared in the revival of church life general in the mid 19th century: the vicar's concern for the spiritual welfare of his parishioners was expressed in a manual written for their use on the duties of godparents. (fn. 318) In 1839 he introduced monthly communion services, but the number of communicants was only c. 25 in 1860. Congregations in 1854 averaged 125 in the morning and 160 in the evening, about a third of the population of the parish and similar to the numbers recorded in 1851. (fn. 319) Congregations declined before Harington's departure in 1864, but by 1866 had risen to 150 and 230. (fn. 320) C. J. Whitehead, vicar, 1893–1922, played a dominant role in the secular as well as the church life of the parish, and was chairman of the parish council for many years until his death in 1922. (fn. 321) His successors made less impression on the village as a whole. G. L. Marriott, vicar 1935–68, was an eccentric and retiring scholar, and during his incumbency church life in South Newington declined. (fn. 322)
The church of ST. PETER AD VINCULA comprises a chancel, aisled and clerestoried nave, south porch, and west tower. (fn. 323) The late 12thcentury church comprised a nave, its length probably now represented by the two central bays of the surviving nave, a north aisle, and presumably a chancel. The nave was extended westwards in the 13th century when a south aisle of three bays, apparently built in two stages, was added. In the earlier 14th century the west tower was built and both aisles were widened, that on the north being lengthened westwards to the end of the nave and extended one bay eastwards. The chancel and chancel arch were rebuilt to permit the enlargement of the nave. A clerestory and south porch were added in the 15th century when pinnacles were placed on the tower and a new east window put in.
The church was repaired regularly, notably in 1595 when the north wall was restored and 1755 when the chancel floor was paved and the furniture mended. (fn. 324) In 1822 the walls of the nave and chancel were repaired, the latter at the vicar's expense. In 1823 the nave and chancel were reroofed with slates instead of lead, a ceiling in 'carpenter's gothic' style was inserted in the chancel, and the tower pinnacles were restored; the architect was John Plowman. In 1825 the church was repewed, and in 1826 the foundations were repaired. (fn. 325) Another major restoration was carried out in 1892–3 to plans by A. M. Mowbray. The aisles were reroofed, the walls partly rebuilt, and the windows reglazed. (fn. 326)
In 1893 a series of mid 14th-century wall paintings was discovered in the north aisle, and a badly damaged Doom of about the same date above the chancel arch. (fn. 327) The paintings are in oil colour on a plaster surface, a rare method in the mid 14th century, and their style is closely related to that of miniature painting. One of them treats the unusual subject of the martyrdom of Thomas of Lancaster. There are also painted armorial bearings, including those of Chesney, Giffard, and Morteyn, the last being of Lucy Morteyn, wife of John Giffard (d. 1369). In 1931 a series of late 15th- or early 16th-century paintings, depicting scenes from the Passion, was discovered on the nave walls. Their style and workmanship is inferior to that of the earlier paintings, whose quality is remarkable for a small village church.
The chancel windows contain some 14thcentury glass, and fragments of 14th-century armorial glass are preserved in the aisle windows, including in the north aisle the arms of St. John's hospital, William the tailor (le Scissor), and the families of Adderbury and Cranford. (fn. 328) In 1875 the arms of Dive were also preserved in the north aisle. In a window of the south aisle is an early 17th-century achievement of arms of the Hall family. (fn. 329) The monuments include wall plaques to John Lane (d. 1671), (fn. 330) and Samuel Hall (d. 1639); there are floor slabs to Elizabeth and Thomas Hawtin (both d. 1767) and several members of the Penn family. The font is 12thcentury. There are five bells, the oldest dated 1656, although several bells were mentioned in the 16th century. (fn. 331) There was a church clock by 1560, but the present clock was taken from St. Mary's, Banbury, in 1895. (fn. 332) The plate is modern. (fn. 333)
The churchyard, extended in 1854 and 1896, (fn. 334) contains parts of a medieval cross. A small building in the south-east corner of the churchyard in 1794 may have been the church house (sometimes called the town house), built in 1565 and surviving into the 19th century; it was used for church ales, administrative purposes, and occasionally as a poor house. (fn. 335)
The Roman Catholic families of Shirley and Talbot held one of South Newington's manors, but they were non-resident and only a few other Catholics were recorded, as many as 6 in 1767; (fn. 336) most were from poor families, but two gentlemen, Thomas FitzHerbert and George Throckmorton, were listed as recusants in the early 17th century. (fn. 337)
There were said to be 8 Quakers in the parish c. 1663, and most of the 30 dissenters in 1676 were presumably Quakers. (fn. 338) In 1677 the South Newington meeting was one of the four Particular Meetings of the Banbury Monthly Meeting, and its members included an unusually large number of freeholders, with representatives of leading village families such as the Kings and Frenches. (fn. 339) Humphrey King was imprisoned in 1678 for refusing tithe, and Richard King and others repeatedly withheld tithe. (fn. 340) A meeting house with an adjoining burial ground was built in 1692 on land bought from Joan French. (fn. 341) It is a singlestoreyed building of coursed ironstone rubble, and bears the initials apparently of Timothy Burberow, a prominent Quaker from Aynho (Northants.) and Richard Claridge, a former Anglican clergyman, who became a Baptist preacher and is not thought to have become a Quaker until 1696. (fn. 342)
The meeting's contribution to the National Stock in the early 18th century was very low, but in 1731 a visitor found the meeting 'very open and well', (fn. 343) and it continued to attract c. 20 members until its decline in the later 18th century. (fn. 344) In 1787 the Preparative Meeting was amalgamated with that of Hook Norton; weekday meetings begun in 1760 were given up in 1799, monthly meetings ceased in 1820, and the meeting house was closed in 1825. (fn. 345) It was leased to the Methodists for a time, and was used occasionally by Quakers in the late 19th century. It was sold in 1925 and survives as the village hall. (fn. 346)
A few families of Anabaptists and Presbyterians were reported in the 18th century. (fn. 347) Robert Norton registered a meeting house of unknown denomination in 1745, (fn. 348) and by 1800 the Baptists had a licensed house visited occasionally by a preacher from Hook Norton. (fn. 349) In 1808 the vicar reported an Anabaptist family visited by 'an ignorant Methodist preacher from Banbury', and Baptist and other visiting preachers were reported in 1823 at an unlicensed house. (fn. 350) William Taylor's house was registered in 1822, perhaps for Wesleyan Methodists, who were said to have a resident preacher and a place of worship in 1834; (fn. 351) in 1847 the Wesleyans had a small chapel, presumably the Friends' meeting house which they were using in 1854 and to which in 1851 they attracted congregations of c. 90 for evening services. (fn. 352) From 1857 the congregation was said to be Primitive Methodist, (fn. 353) and a small red brick Primitive Methodist chapel was built in 1875 and closed c. 1939. (fn. 354)
In 1768 there was a school for fee-paying pupils at which a few poor children were taught 'by way of charity'. (fn. 355) In 1815 there were two day schools attended by 32 boys and 19 girls from the parish and a few children from outside. Funds were said to be lacking for a National school, (fn. 356) but by 1818 one was opened, probably in a cottage in the workhouse yard. It was supported by subscriptions, and provided for only 20 boys and 20 girls. (fn. 357) By 1833 numbers had risen to 26 boys and 36 girls daily and an extra 16 boys on Sundays; at an infant school 8 boys and 13 girls were taught at their parents' expense. (fn. 358) The school in the workhouse yard was sold in 1836 and a new school, which included an infants' room, was built nearby in 1837 on land given by the vicar. (fn. 359)
In 1854 there were 64 children and 34 infants in the day school and 73 in the Sunday school; the vicar noted that an evening school which he had run since 1836 was losing its popularity. (fn. 360) In 1865 numbers at the day school were said to be only 35 children and 33 infants, all paying 1d. or ½d. a week; the three Oxford colleges owning land in the parish contributed towards the school's expenses. (fn. 361) A government grant was received from 1867. Accommodation was increased from 86 in that year to c. 120 by 1890, although in 1890–1 the school taught only 40–50 children. (fn. 362) In 1899 and 1906 the school's standards in elementary subjects were found wanting, but from time to time, notably c. 1900 and in the 1920s, the school was in the charge of enterprising headmistresses. It was reorganized as a junior and infant school in 1929, and as an infant school in 1956. In the 1950s there were rarely more than 30 pupils, of whom most were brought from Milcombe by bus, (fn. 363) but the school remained open until 1965. The building was sold in 1966 and converted into a house. (fn. 364) In 1979 the primary school children were taught in Hook Norton, the older children in Bloxham.
Charities for the Poor.
At inclosure in 1795 the poor were allotted c. 4 a. for their rights in the common fields. In the mid 20th century the land was let and the income distributed in coal. Under a Charity Commissioners' Scheme of 1974 the application was widened to relief in need. (fn. 365)