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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Rousham (fn. 1) lies in the Cherwell valley, mid way between Oxford and Banbury, c. 11 miles (18 km.) from each town; the parish covers 1,068 a. (432 ha.). (fn. 2) Its northern boundary follows the Bicester-Enstone road and a small stream to the north of it; the river Cherwell forms the eastern boundary and the Oxford-Banbury road the western; only on the south does the boundary follow field boundaries. Much of the parish is on clay, but in the west there are bands of sand and limestone. (fn. 3) Springs in the belt of sand gave rise to two streams, one now dry, which ran across the eastern part of the parish into the Cherwell. (fn. 4) The land slopes gently from the Oxford-Banbury road, from a height of 135 m. in the extreme north-west of the parish, to the river Cherwell at c. 70 m.
The Oxford-Banbury road, an ancient ridgeway turnpiked in 1755 and disturnpiked in 1875, and the Enstone-Bicester road, turnpiked in 1793 and disturnpiked in 1876, (fn. 5) meet at Hopcroft's Holt, formerly Shambles Cross, (fn. 6) in the north-west corner of the parish. A minor road runs from Rousham Gap on the Oxford-Banbury road north-eastwards diagonally across the parish to Heyford bridge; another road branches off it south-east to Tackley. Other roads from the village to the Oxford-Banbury road and from the village to Tackley were stopped at inclosure in 1775. (fn. 7) Heyford bridge, which dates from the 13th century, lies partly in the parish; bequests were made to it in 1544, 1554, and 1558. There were bridges over the small streams in the parish by 1833. (fn. 8) In 1850 a railway station on the Oxford-Banbury line was opened at Lower Heyford, 1 mile from Rousham. (fn. 9)
The village lies in the north-east quarter of the parish, beside the Cherwell. There were no outlying farmhouses until c. 1775 when, in accordance with the inclosure agreement, Sir Charles. Cottrell-Dormer built Rousham Farm, later Home Farm, in the south of the parish for the other landowner Benjamin Holloway, whose farmhouse in the village opposite Rousham House Sir Charles had demolished. Leys Farm dates from the late 19th century. (fn. 10)
The original dedication of the church to St. Germanus of Auxerre (d. 448) suggests an early association of the area with Christianity, and perhaps with the saint himself, who visited Britain in the earlier 5th century. German's well recorded in 1626 may have been a holy well connected with stories of the saint. (fn. 11) The personal name Hrothwulf which forms the first element in the name Rousham (fn. 12) indicates that there was a settlement in the parish early in the Anglo-Saxon period.
In 1086 a tenant population of 33 men was recorded on the two estates, one of which lay partly in the adjoining parish of Steeple Barton. In 1279 there were 42 tenants on the two manors, suggesting a population approaching 200. (fn. 13) The fall in numbers caused by 14th-century epidemics seems to have been smaller than in some neighbouring parishes, and in 1377 a total of 88 adults paid poll tax. (fn. 14) Epidemics in 1546, 1558, 1605, and 1606 may have contributed to the parish's failure to recover from the late medieval decline; only 45 men took the protestation oath in 1641 and only c. 80 adults were reported in 1676. (fn. 15) Eighteenth-century rectors and curates recorded c. 20 houses in the village. (fn. 16) In 1801 there were 141 people in 26 houses. The population rose to 160 in 1821 and then remained fairly steady until the 20th century when it declined to 58 in 1971. (fn. 17)
Since the 17th century the parish has been dominated by the Dormer manor house, Rousham House, and its grounds. (fn. 18) The existing house was probably built for Sir Robert Dormer soon after he bought the manor in 1635; it presumably occupies the site of an earlier manor house mentioned in 16th- and early 17th-century leases. (fn. 19) The new house, which was taxed on 15 hearths in 1662, (fn. 20) was built on an E plan with central 3-storeyed entrance porch in the centre of both main fronts. The hall and kitchen lay to the east of the entrance passage, the principal rooms and stair to the north. Between 1738 and 1741 the house was enlarged and remodelled for James Dormer by William Kent who added an embattled parapet to the whole house and an ogee cupola to the north porch turret. He extended the garden front by building two pavilions which were joined to the house by low corridors with crested parapets. The west pavilion housed the library, that on the east the kitchen, the old kitchen in the south-east wing becoming a parlour. Kent redecorated the principal rooms on the ground floor, including the new parlour and the hall which he extended to occupy the whole of the central range. In 1764 the library was converted into a drawing-room by Thomas Roberts of Oxford who redecorated the walls but left the original ceiling.
The house was enlarged in 1860 to designs by J. P. St. Aubyn who built a large block, containing a music room and dining room on the ground floor, against the centre of the north front. He also extended the service rooms on the east side of the house.
West and south of the house is an area of parkland. The part on the west was called the Warren in 1721; that on the south, planted after inclosure in 1775, (fn. 21) contains a small gothic building, used as a cowshed, dated 1791, and an avenue of trees leading up to the house, planted in 1912. (fn. 22) The earliest gardens, perhaps those on which men were working in 1652, (fn. 23) were a formal one to the north of the house and a walled garden, which with its dovecote survives, to the east. In 1677 the formal garden was remarkable for its five terraced walks, one below the other, leading down to the river Cherwell. (fn. 24) Before 1721 a 'new garden' was made along the river north-west of the house. It was laid out as a wilderness, with two square ponds, a temple or pavilion, and straight walks. (fn. 25) About 1725 there were plans, probably by Charles Bridgeman, for a reorganization and extension of the gardens. (fn. 26) It is not clear how far they were carried out, but workmen were employed between 1725 and 1734, and in 1728 the gardens were said to be 'the prettiest place for waterfalls, jets, ponds, inclosed with beautiful scenes of green and hanging wood'. (fn. 27)
The gardens were further altered between 1738 and 1741. The plans were by William Kent, but much of the detailed planning and planting was left to the steward William White and the gardener John MacClary. All that remained of the 'new garden' of 1721 was the long or elm walk and the great pond, altered from a square to an octagon. The gardens were extended southwards into the parkland warren, and westwards over the former road from Heyford bridge which James Dormer diverted to the west in 1740. (fn. 28) It was from the first intended that they should be visited by the public, for whom Kent built a gateway and lodge on the west. The gardens were so arranged as to provide a series of picturesque views, into which Kent incorporated neighbouring villages and churches, Heyford bridge, and the gothicized Cuttle mill and the specially erected eye-catcher or 'grand triumphant arch', both in Steeple Aston. Seats, some built into an arcade or praeneste, a lodge, a temple, and a pyramid, were placed at the view points, and statues, notably Peter Scheemakers's 'Lion Attacking a Horse' and 'the Dying Gladiator' were set up in the gardens. In the centre of the garden, incorporating the earlier ponds, was the Venus Vale through which water flowed in a series of cascades, ponds, and fountains. Kent's plan survived, little altered, in 1981.
Rousham village lies entirely within the park surrounding Rousham House. It consists of a row of houses, most of them built by the CottrellDormers in the late 18th century or early 19th, along the north-east side of a single street running from Rousham House to a field gate which formerly marked the beginning of the road to Tackley. The church and the former school are at the west end, next to the stables of Rousham House. Until 1775 the houses occupied both sides of the street and extended westwards as far as the site of Park Farm, but after inclosure Charles Cottrell-Dormer demolished nine houses, including Benjamin Holloway's farmhouse, and used the land to extend his park. The houses were rebuilt away from Rousham House, some of them on the village street, a few of them further south on the road to Rousham Gap. (fn. 29) Among the demolished houses, probably opposite Rousham House, was an ale house called the Swan, recorded in 1711; (fn. 30) it was replaced by a new house, also called the Swan, on the road to Rousham Gap. (fn. 31) No ale house was licensed between 1780 and 1800, but the Horse and Groom was licensed 18018 and the Darling from 1809; it had closed by 1847, but the name was preserved. (fn. 32)
Royalists plundered Rousham House and village in 1644, doing considerable damage, and early in 1645 a small force of royalist cavalry occupied the house. (fn. 33) Sir Robert Dormer had refused to pay ship money in 1636, but supported the king, at least at the beginning of the Civil War when he was besieged by Hampden in his house at Ascot, in Great Milton. His son and successor, Robert, may have had parliamentarian sympathies, as he did not compound for his lands during the Interregnum. (fn. 34)
In 1086 Robert d'Oilly held an estate in ROUSHAM which he had bought back from the king. (fn. 35) It later formed part of the honor of Wallingford, and in 1279 was held of Edmund earl of Cornwall, lord of the honor. (fn. 36) The Wallingford overlordship was recorded until the mid 15th century. (fn. 37)
Reynold, who may be identified with Reynold son of Croc, the king's huntsman, held Rousham of Robert d'Oilly in 1086, and his descendant Robert Foliot held two knight's fees there in the early 13th century. (fn. 38) Robert died before 1222, and in 1240 his grandson Richard Foliot held Rousham. (fn. 39) In 1279 and 1308 William Foliot was lord, and in 1346 John Foliot. (fn. 40) Before 1344 John sold the reversion of the manor to the justice William Shareshull who had been granted free warren in his demesne in the parish as early as 1334. (fn. 41) In 1350 Shareshull held the manor of John's son Roger Foliot by service of a rose, (fn. 42) but the obligation was not recorded again.
From Shareshull (d. 1370), the manor passed to his grandson William Shareshull (d. 1400), who was succeeded, under a settlement of 13901, by Richard Harcourt, husband of his niece Margaret. (fn. 43) By a series of agreements and conveyances made in 1406 and 1411 among William Shareshull's heirs, the manor passed, with other Shareshull property, to Joan Lee, granddaughter of his sister Elizabeth. On Joan's death in 1452 it passed to Joan Dynham, a descendant of William Shareshull (d. 1370). (fn. 44) In 1501 it was divided among the four Dynham heirs. (fn. 45)
The quarter held by Sir Edmund Carew passed with other Dynham lands to Sir William Compton, whose son Peter died seised of it in 1545, (fn. 46) but its later descent has not been traced. Michael Dormer of London bought a quarter in 1542 from Richard Sapcotes, son of Elizabeth Dynham, and before 1547 he had acquired another quarter, presumably from Joan Dynham's son John, Lord Zouche. In 1547 a moiety of Rousham manor was settled on Michael's son John Dormer of Sesswell's Barton, who still held it in 1578. (fn. 47) There is no later record of the moiety, but it may have been among the properties sold by Timothy Dormer of Steeple Barton to William Goddard in 1585, (fn. 48) or have passed to John Dormer's cousin Sir John Dormer of Dorton, whose son Robert bought the other Rousham manor in 1635.
John Arundell, great-grandson of Catherine Dynham, sold the fourth quarter of the manor to John Marten of Rousham and Edmund Hutchins in 1576. (fn. 49) Although the Marten family, John's descendants, held land in Rousham until the early 18th century they made no claim to a manor. (fn. 50)
Another estate in ROUSHAM and Steeple Barton was held in 1086 by Roger d'Ivri. (fn. 51) It later formed part of the honor of St. Valery and was held in the late 12th century by Bernard of St. Valery and in the early 13th century by Robert, count of Dreux. In 1237 Henry III granted it to his brother Richard, earl of Cornwall whose son Edmund held it in 1279. (fn. 52) The overlordship of St. Valery was recorded in 1300 and in 1400, when it was attributed to the wrong Rousham manor. (fn. 53)
In 1086 the demesne tenant was William. (fn. 54) The next recorded tenant was Alelun de Fontibus, enfeoffed by Bernard of St. Valery in the late 12th century. In 1211 and 1214 Laurette de Fontibus held the manor, and in 1237 and 1239 Walter de Fontibus. (fn. 55) Laurence Brook, who confirmed a grant of land in Rousham and Steeple Barton between 1254 and 1258, may have been Walter's descendant. (fn. 56) In 1279 the manor was held for life by Roger Longespee, bishop of Coventry and Lichfield (d. 1295). (fn. 57) In 1296 Edmund, earl of Cornwall, granted the manor, with the service of William Foliot who held the Wallingford manor, to Walter Aylesbury as knight's fee. (fn. 58) Walter was succeeded before 1316 by his son Philip, who was still holding in 1346. (fn. 59) John Aylesbury, who made a settlement of the manor in 1359, seems to have been succeeded by another John in 1361, and he or another John Aylesbury died seised of the manor in 1409. (fn. 60) That John's son Thomas Aylesbury (d. 1418) settled the manor on his daughter Isabel and her husband Thomas Chaworth (d. 1459), (fn. 61) and they were succeeded by their son William, and by William's son Thomas. On Thomas Chaworth's death in 14823 the manor passed to his sister Joan, wife of John Ormonde, who held in 1502. (fn. 62) Joan's heirs were three daughters, of whom the youngest, Anne, died without issue. In 1544 Thomas Babington, heir of the second daughter Elizabeth, conveyed his interest to Thomas Dynham, son of the eldest daughter Joan. (fn. 63) Dynham, in 1547, sold Rousham to Thomas Norwood, whose son Thomas in 1567 sold the reversion of the manor to John Hawtrey. (fn. 64) Hawtrey, who had possession of the manor by 1586, was succeeded in 1594 by his nephew Ralph Hawtrey, who in 1635 sold Rousham to Sir Robert Dormer. (fn. 65)
From Robert Dormer (d. 1649) the manor passed to his son, another Robert Dormer (d. 1695), and to Robert's sons John (d. 1719), Robert (d. 1737), and James (d. 1741), all of whom died without issue. James devised Rousham to his cousin Sir Clement Cottrell (d. 1758), whose son Charles assumed the additional surname of Dormer. Charles Cottrell-Dormer (d. 1779) was succeeded by his son Clement (d. 1808), by Clement's son Charles (d. 1874), by Charles's son Clement (d. 1880), who assumed the additional surname of Upton, and by Clement's son C. W. Cottrell-Dormer (d. 1945), whose son Thomas Cottrell-Dormer was lord in 1981. (fn. 66)
By the beginning of the 13th century Rousham was divided into two fields, probably a north and a south field; the south field was recorded in 1308. (fn. 67) In the later Middle Ages the arable may have been reorganized into three fields. In 1624 three acres lay 'one in each of the several fields of Rousham', (fn. 68) but as two acres lay close to each other in the north-west of the parish, it is hard to see how such a division would have worked. Other evidence implies that in Rousham, as in neighbouring parishes, the arable was divided into fairly flexible groups of furlongs which made possible a more complex crop rotation, although an area large enough to be called the fallow field was left fallow each year. (fn. 69)
Although the demesnes of the two manors were cultivated with the rest of the arable, they may have been organized into larger yardlands. A property of 36 a. alienated from the Foliot demesne c. 1200 was described as a yardland in 1279, and in 1306 a yardland of the Aylesbury demesne contained 29 field acres. (fn. 70) Later evidence for tenant holdings suggests yardlands of 20 acres or fewer. (fn. 71)
There was some meadow along the Cherwell and its southern tributary stream; 16 a. were recorded in 1086, evenly divided between the two manors. (fn. 72) In 1222 Sybil Foliot claimed 13 a. of meadow in dower, which suggests a total of c. 39 a. on the Foliot manor at that date, but some of it may have been of poor quality. In 1279 William Foliot held an unspecified amount of pasture, perhaps in the centre of the parish where Cow Pasture or Great Moor covered c. 41 a. in the early 17th century. (fn. 73) From the 16th century or earlier Enslow meadow in Tackley, called Rousham mead in 1605, belonged to Rousham. (fn. 74) In 1303 the stint for a yardland was 2 draught animals, 6 cattle, 40 sheep, and 4 pigs. By 1635 it had been reduced to 3 'great cattle' and 20 sheep, and in 1678 was 12 sheep from May Day to harvest and 16 sheep thereafter. (fn. 75)
Leys were first recorded in 1567, although they had probably been introduced earlier. In 1583 some were scattered in the arable fields, but others formed blocks of more permanent pasture. (fn. 76) 'Leets', recorded in the 17th and 18th centuries, may have been similar to leys, from which, however, they were always distinguished. Five leets in Rye furlong were among the newly inclosed lands allotted to Robert Dormer in 1645, and in 1685 there was an area in the fields called Limekill Litts. (fn. 77) In 1721 there were six divisions of the field, similar in size to furlongs, called leets: Broad Way leets, Short leets, Horsepool leets, Limekill leets, Blackacre leets, and leets or the hanging of the hill. Strips in these divisions were called leets and were on average about twice the size of the strips in neighbouring furlongs, but their value per statute acre was about the same. (fn. 78) There is nothing to suggest that the leets ever contained water channels which might have been called leets, and their position, on high ground, would have been unsuitable for floated water meadows like the water leets of south-west England. It seems most likely that they were areas of poor arable land which was used as convertible pasture.
In 1086 one and in 1279 both Rousham manors included land in Steeple Barton which was not, however, incorporated into the Rousham field system. In 1086 Robert d'Oilly's manor, assessed at 3 hides and 1 yardland less 3 a., was said to contain land for 9 ploughteams; there were 3 ploughteams and a serf in demesne and 8 villeins and 6 bordars had 3 ploughteams. Its value had remained steady since 1066 at 4. Roger d'Ivri's manor, assessed at 3 hides, yardland, and 3 a., was said to contain land for only 6 ploughteams but was fully cultivated by 3 ploughteams and 3 serfs on the demesne and by 3 ploughteams belonging to 7 villeins and 8 bordars. Its value had risen from 4 in 1066 to 5 in 1086. (fn. 79)
In 1279 there were a total of 4 ploughlands and 20 yardlands on the two manors, including 1 ploughland and 1 yardland in Steeple Barton. William Foliot, the resident lord of the Wallingford manor, held 2 ploughlands in Rousham and 1 yardland in Steeple Barton, more than half his land, in demesne; 10 villeins held 7 yardlands, 5 cottars held 3 a., and 3 free tenants held 8 a. A fourth free tenant held of the abbot of Oseney a yardland of former demesne. On the St. Valery manor Roger Longespe bishop of Coventry and Lichfield held only one ploughland in demesne; 15 villeins held 8 yardlands, 4 cottars held 7 a., and 4 free tenants held 1 ploughland (in Steeple Barton) and 3 yardlands. A fifth free tenant held a house by paying 1 lb. of wax a year to the church. The villeins of both manors paid 5s. rent for each yardland and performed mowing, ploughing, and other labour services, as did the cottars. The free tenants paid rent and scutage and also attended the lord's autumn boon work. (fn. 80)
In 1307 the highest assessments for the subsidy were those of the lords of the two manors, Walter Aylesbury (5s.) and William Foliot (2s. 3d.); the other 20 assessments ranged from c. 2s. to 4d. (fn. 81) In 1316, however, the largest assessments were those of Walter at corner (7s. compared with 2s. in 1307) and Richard Mile (6s. compared with 1s. 6d. in 1307); both men appear to have been descendants of villein yardlanders on the Foliot manor in 1279. Philip Aylesbury and William Foliot were each assessed at 5s., and 30 others at between 3s. and 8d. (fn. 82) The prosperity of the parish as a whole is indicated by its assessment in 1334 which was the highest in the area for a parish of its size. (fn. 83)
Although William Shareshull had a house in Rousham (fn. 84) he can seldom have lived there, and the Aylesbury manor was leased from 1399 if not earlier. (fn. 85) In the 14th and 15th centuries the number of small freeholds probably increased. In 1345 Richard Young held 45 a. in Rousham and 30 a. in Barton Ede, probably the ploughland held by Richard of Morton of the Wallingford manor in 1279; in 1351 most of the property passed to William, son of the justice William Shareshull. (fn. 86) The Foliots retained some land in the parish after they had sold the manor, but that too was sold, in small parcels, in the late 14th century and the early 15th. (fn. 87) Among those who acquired the freeholds was the wealthy Oxford clothier Edward Woodward (d. 1496). (fn. 88) Another small freeholder, John Archer (d. 1524), went from Rousham to Oxford where he became a successful brewer; in 1522 he leased the former Aylesbury manor in Rousham. (fn. 89) A number of small freeholds seem to have been bought in the mid 16th century by Michael Dormer (d. 1545) or other members of his family, and perhaps merged with the family's other lands in the parish. (fn. 90)
The wealthiest men in the parish in 1524 were John Archer, lessee of the Aylesbury manor, and William Meese, perhaps lessee of the other manor, each assessed at 30s. on goods. Ten other people were assessed at between 6s. 6d. and 1s. on goods, and 10 at 4d. on wages. In 1543 William Meese and George Fulshurst were assessed on 20 and 10 worth of goods respectively, and 15 others were assessed on goods worth between 12 and 1. (fn. 91)
From the mid 16th century the Norwoods and their successors the Hawtreys and Dormers steadily enlarged their manor estate. Thomas Norwood bought the former chantry lands before 1551, and in 1589 John Hawtrey bought a house and 1 yardland from the Holyman family. (fn. 92) In 1635 the estate comprised the demesne farm, 1 yardland copyhold, and 7 yardlands freehold. (fn. 93) In 1711 John Dormer bought the 5 yardlands accumulated by the Pearson family, and in 1721 Robert Dormer's estate of c. 370 a. was the largest in the parish, followed by Thomas Marten's c. 325 a. Henry Scott, earl of Deloraine, held c. 100 a., the rector c. 59 a., and Edward Pearson 44 a. The land was divided into seven farms. (fn. 94) The Dormers bought Lord Deloraine's property in 1724 and Edward Pearson's in 1739. (fn. 95) Thomas Marten died in 1726, and his son John in 1735 sold yardland to Robert Dormer and the remainder of the property to Edward Ryves of Woodstock. Ryves, by will dated 1761, devised his Rousham property to his grandson Benjamin Holloway of Charlbury whose son Benjamin sold it to Charles Cottrell-Dormer in 1829. (fn. 96)
Grain was the chief product of the St. Valery manor at the beginning of the 13th century; pigs and hides were also produced in 1211, and four bullocks were bought in 1210. (fn. 97) William Foliot had liberty of bull over the parish in 1279; both he and Roger Longespee had fisheries in the Cherwell. (fn. 98) Sheep were important in the early 14th century; wool was taken from the rector by royal officers in 1341, and in 1357 William Shareshull's property included pasture for 300 sheep. (fn. 99) In the 16th century Richard Fox (d. 1512) owned at least 100 sheep, and Robert Meese in 1554 had at least 64 sheep, (fn. 100) but the numbers are not large enough to suggest specialization. In the 17th century and the early 18th the Dormers and other farmers in the parish practised mixed husbandry with the emphasis on crops rather than livestock. The principal crops were wheat and barley, while maslin, peas, and oats were also recorded. (fn. 101) In 1652 the Dormers' steward bought vetch, oats, beans, and hemp seed, and in the later 17th century vetches were sown in the field to provide grazing for horses. Turnips had been introduced before 1721, when Turnip Close was recorded. (fn. 102) The Dormers kept 215 sheep at Rousham in 1652, c. 190 in 1671, and 190 in 1695. (fn. 103) Otherwise the largest flocks recorded in the parish were comparatively small: a shepherd owned 66 sheep in 1620, and a prosperous husbandman 30 in 1637. (fn. 104) Sir John Dormer (d. 1627) had engaged in cattle rearing at Dorton (Bucks.), and the family seems to have kept cattle at Rousham in the later 17th century. (fn. 105)
There may have been some inclosure, or attempted inclosure, in the parish in the late 15th century when John Pearson was accused of breaking Richard Meese's close with his plough, (fn. 106) but if so it was on a small scale. New Close, in the south of the parish, was first recorded in 1601, (fn. 107) but there was little other inclosure, except around the village, until 1645 when c. 120 a. of pasture in Cow Pasture or Great Moor and along the Cherwell were inclosed by agreement among eight commoners. (fn. 108) Further inclosure was contemplated in 1717, but because of opposition, notably from the Martens and their successor Edward Ryves, the open fields remained until 1775 when they were inclosed by agreement among the three remaining landowners, Sir Charles Cottrell-Dormer, Benjamin Holloway, and the rector. (fn. 109) The rector received 11 a. of old inclosure in and near the village and Coldharbour farm (146 a.) in North Aston belonging to Sir Charles Cottrell-Dormer in exchange for his glebe and tithe. Benjamin Holloway received c. 87 a. of old inclosure along the Cherwell and c. 240 a. of former open field in the south-east of the parish. The remaining land went to Sir Charles Cottrell-Dormer.
The Cottrell-Dormers, notably Sir Charles, lord from 1750 to 1779, were progressive farmers, and had carried out improvements on their estate before inclosure. In 1763 they bought 50 lb. of clover seed, and in the 1770s they grew wheat, barley, oats, ryegrass, beans, peas, and turnips. Stock raising continued on a large scale. There were usually 10030 sheep, and cattle and oxen were sold on the London market. Scotch oxen were bought in 1769, but proved difficult to feed, and in the 1770s Welsh oxen were bought at Pontypool and sold at Smithfield. (fn. 110) The cattle farming seems to have ended with Sir Charles's death in 1779; in 1794 Richard Davis commented favourably on the sheep, a cross between Cotswold and new Leicester, kept by one of the tenant farmers, but did not mention cattle. (fn. 111)
There was a coppice 2 furlongs by 2 furlongs in the parish in 1086, (fn. 112) but there is no other evidence of woodland until the later 18th century when the inclosure Act made special provision for the valuation of timber on the land to be inclosed. (fn. 113) In 1776 New Close and Deporage Ham, both in the south-east of the parish, were planted with timber which the tenant undertook not to cut for 5 years, and there was timber on Park farm in 1837. (fn. 114)
In 1801 there were 617 a. of arable, 364 a. of permanent grass, and 57 a. of woodland in Rousham. (fn. 115) Some of the land was improved by under draining at the beginning of the 19th century. (fn. 116) There may have been an increase in sheep and cattle raising later in the century, for in 1868 the cultivation of Rousham was 'mixed' in contrast to most of the neighbouring parishes which were 'chiefly arable'. (fn. 117) C. Upton-CottrellDormer (d. 1880) introduced agricultural machinery in the 1870s. His son, C. W. CottrellDormer bred horses in the late 19th century and the early 20th. In 1914 just over half the parish was arable, on which the main crops were wheat and barley. (fn. 118) In 1981 the parish was still purely agricultural, the land being used for grain, cattle, and sheep.
Most of the working population of Rousham have always been agricultural labourers, or engaged in related trades, although a weaver was recorded in the 16th century and a glover in the 17th. (fn. 119) Carpenters were recorded regularly, and masons, perhaps working on Rousham House, in 1640 and 1861. (fn. 120) Apart from the resident staff at Rousham House, there were in the 19th century gardeners, grooms, and coachmen who lived in the village. The agricultural labourers were all employed in the parish. In 1851 the two farms employed 30 out of 31 labourers; in 1861 they employed 34 men and boys, only 15 of whom lived in the parish, and in 1868 it was reported that men from outside the parish had to be hired to work the farms. In 1871 only 17 of the 33 workers employed lived in the parish. (fn. 121)
There were two mills, perhaps in fact a double mill, in Rousham in 1086, but in 1222 there was only one, divided between the two manors. (fn. 122) In 1279 a free tenant held a moiety of the mill of Roger Longespee and William Foliot's villein, Simon of the mill, presumably held the other moiety. (fn. 123) Isaac at mill occurs in 1435, and mills were conveyed with the manor in 1547. The name Mill Ridges survived as a field name in 1645, but the mill itself may have disappeared by then. (fn. 124) It had certainly gone by 1721. (fn. 125) It stood by the river Cherwell at the south end of the village.
In 1279 Roger Longespee held a court for his manor, but his tenants attended view of frankpledge at Yarnton. (fn. 126) In 1296 Edmund earl of Cornwall granted Walter Aylesbury view of frankpledge over the tenants of both Rousham manors, and the right descended with the Aylesbury manor to the Dormers and Cottrell-Dormers. (fn. 127) Courts, at which the constable, tithingman, field man, hayward, and surveyors of the highways were elected and agricultural bylaws made, were held until 1767. (fn. 128) Sir Clement Cottrell-Dormer revived the court c. 1790, successfully claiming suit from the inhabitants of Sesswell's Barton and Ludwell as well as Rousham. (fn. 129) The obligation of tenants of Sesswell's Barton to attend was confirmed in 1808 after a dispute with William Willan of Sesswell's Barton manor. The business of the court, which was held until 1870, included the appointment of a hayward and the presentment of nuisances. (fn. 130)
There is no record of a court on the St. Valery manor in the Middle Ages, but in the later 16th century John Dormer, who held a moiety of Rousham manor and a moiety of Sesswell's Barton manor, held courts for Sesswell's Barton and Rousham, (fn. 131) probably in right of his Sesswell's Barton manor.
No records of vestry government survive, but the parish had some responsibility for the maintenance of Heyford bridge. (fn. 132) In the 19th century there was usually only one churchwarden. (fn. 133) The parish was too small to elect a parish council after 1894, but some of the vestry's functions were taken over by the parish meeting.
In 1776 the parish spent 34 on poor relief; between 1783 and 1785 expenditure averaged 39, and in 1803 it was 113, or c. 16s. a head of population. By 1813 the cost per head had risen to c. 1 3s., but in 1821 it was as low as c. 10s. In the later 1820s expenditure rose again, and in 1831 reached a total of 164 or 1 1s. a head. There were seven adults on regular relief in 1803; in 1813 the number had risen to fourteen, but it fell to eight in 1815. There was no workhouse. (fn. 134)
Rousham was included in the Woodstock poor law union in 1834. In 1932 it was transferred from the Woodstock rural district to the Chipping Norton rural district. In 1974 it was included in West Oxfordshire district. (fn. 135)
The original invocation to St. Germanus, recorded in 1382, (fn. 136) suggests that Rousham was an early centre of Christianity. Before 1846 the invocation had been changed to St. Mary, presumably from the lost St. Mary's chantry, but in 1864 the church was called St. James's, and in 1904 St. Leonard and St. James, the invocation still in use in 1981. (fn. 137) The benefice was united with Lower Heyford in 1931, under an order in council of 1922. (fn. 138) In 1981 the united benefice was held in plurality with Upper Heyford and with Somerton. (fn. 139)
The living is a rectory. In the early Middle Ages the advowson descended in two medieties, held by the lords of the two manors. Early in the 13th century Robert Foliot gave the advowson of his half to Oseney abbey, a grant confirmed after a dispute in 1240 by his grandson Richard Foliot. (fn. 140) In 1277 Edmund earl of Cornwall claimed the advowson of the whole rectory. (fn. 141) He granted the advowson, with the manor, to Walter Aylesbury in 1296; thereafter it descended with the manor, the lords presenting regularly except in 1550 when Ambrose Harker had been granted a turn by Thomas Dynham, and in 1690 when Sir Charles Cottrell and Ambrose Holbech pre sented. (fn. 142) In 1981 Mr. T. Cottrell-Dormer was one of the patrons of the united benefice.
The rectory, comprising tithes and 3 yardlands of glebe, was valued at 5 in 1254, 8 in 1291, and 13 6s. 8d. in 1535. (fn. 143) In the early 18th century it was worth c. 80. (fn. 144) At inclosure in 1775 the tithes and glebe were exchanged for 11 a. of meadow or pasture in Rousham and 146 a., part of Sir Charles Cottrell-Dormer's property, in North Aston. (fn. 145) In 1831 the living was worth 308 a year gross, 240 net, but in 1851 the income was only 210, all arising from land. (fn. 146) Two thirds of the demesne tithes of both manors were given to St. George's in the Castle, Oxford, before 1127, and passed with the rest of that church's endowments to Oseney abbey. (fn. 147) By 1509 the tithes had been commuted to an annual payment of 26s. 8d. which in 1535 was described as a pension. (fn. 148) It presumably lapsed at the Dissolution.
The rectory house and its outbuildings contained 8 bays of building in 1634 and 11 bays in 1685. (fn. 149) The surviving house incorporates part of the structure of the early 18th-century house. It was remodelled in 1804 and again altered and enlarged, to designs by William Wilkinson, in 1873, when the present attic floor was built. The stable block is 19th-century. Behind the house is a formal garden, clearly modelled on that at Rousham House. The house was sold to the Cottrell-Dormers in 1921. (fn. 150)
In the early 13th century different men were presented to the separate medieties of the rectory, and the church seems to have been served by a chaplain. (fn. 151) In 1258 or 1259, however, Oseney abbey presented Robert of Kington, who already held the other mediety, to their mediety of the rectory, (fn. 152) and thereafter there was only one rector. Robert Foliot, who held a mediety of the rectory from c. 1216 to c. 1258, and Edmund Aylesbury, presented to the rectory in 1382, were presumably related to the lords of the manor and patrons Robert Foliot and John Aylesbury. (fn. 153) In the later 15th century, four rectors, including John Tristropp (145662), rector of Lincoln College 146179, were graduates and may have lived in Oxford. (fn. 154) Thomas Swinnerton, who resigned the living in 1512, was perhaps the reformer of that name. (fn. 155) His successor was non-resident c. 1520 and had leased the rectory to a layman. (fn. 156) The opening phrases of Richard Grant's will, dated 1544, suggest some Protestant leanings, but he nevertheless provided for masses for his soul. (fn. 157)
Before 1279 a house and curtilage had been charged with supplying wax for the rood light. (fn. 158) In 1306 Walter Aylesbury endowed a chantry in the lady chapel for himself, his wife Emma and the tenants of Rousham, with a house, a yardland, and 26s. rent. The patronage was exercised by the lords of the manor. (fn. 159) Early 16th-century chantry priests neglected their duties, perhaps because the income was barely 40s., but in 1547 the income had risen to 3 and the priest was 'of honest behaviour'. (fn. 160)
The later 16th and 17th centuries were marked by long incumbencies and generally resident rectors. Only Nicholas Norwood, 1573-c. 1600, who held Middleton Stoney in plurality, seems to have been non-resident. In 1584 his kinsman Roger Norwood appears to have been serving the church, and in 1598 Nicholas himself was censured for preaching only once a year and ordered to supply quarterly sermons in future. (fn. 161) His successor George Robinson held puritan views, as, presumably, did William Palmer, 162758, and Richard Dutton, 165890, whose incumbencies spanned the Interregnum. (fn. 162)
Many 18th- and early 19th-century rectors were pluralists, and several were connected by marriage with the Cottrell-Dormers. (fn. 163) Lancelot Mitchell, 17348, lived in Oxford; his curate, and later successor, Charles Leader provided two services with one sermon on Sundays and communion three times a year. (fn. 164) Henry Lee, curate 17547 and rector 175790, became warden of Winchester College in 1763, and from then until c. 1814 Rousham was served by curates, most of whom lived in the rectory house. (fn. 165) John Strange Dandridge, rector 180341, held the rectory of Syresham, Northants, another Cottrell-Dormer living, in plurality. Although he lived mainly in Rousham after 1814 he was chiefly occupied in keeping a school in the rectory house, and did not serve the cure himself. In 1831 his curate lived in Steeple Aston. (fn. 166) Dandridge was succeeded by his son George, 184158, described by Bishop Wilberforce as 'constitutionally indolent'. Services in 1854 were almost the same as in 1738, and congregations both in 1851 and in 1854 were c. 60 out of a population of 134. (fn. 167) The bishop noted an improvement under the next rector, Charles Steers Peel, 185873, although congregations declined with the population of the parish. (fn. 168) As late as 1866 men and women sat apart at services. (fn. 169)
The church of ST. LEONARD AND ST. JAMES comprises a chancel with south chapel, nave with south aisle and south porch, and west tower. The earliest church presumably comprised a nave and chancel. In the late 12th century the first bay of a south arcade was begun at the eastern end of the nave, and in the early 13th century the west tower was built. The chancel was repaired or rebuilt in 1304. (fn. 170) Between 1296 and 1316 Walter Aylesbury (d. by 1316), built a chantry chapel on the north side of the chancel, which seems to have overlapped the nave. (fn. 171) Slightly later in the century the south chapel was added and the south arcade and aisle extended to the full length of the nave; a south porch was also built. Further work was carried out in the 15th century, perhaps by Thomas Chaworth (d. 1459) whose arms survived in a window of the north nave chapel until the early 18th century. (fn. 172) A clerestorey was added; a doorway, later the private entrance to the Cottrell-Dormer pew, was made in the north wall of the nave, just west of the arch into the chantry. A rood screen and loft, the southern part of which survived in 1981, were built across the nave and aisle. The chantry chapel was dilapidated c. 1520 and in 1530, (fn. 173) and seems to have been demolished soon afterwards. Later in the 16th century a large window was inserted at the western end of the north wall of the nave.
The south aisle was claimed in the 17th century and the early 18th to belong to the Marten family, a claim which caused difficulties over its repair. (fn. 174) It was, however, repaired by the parish in 1733. (fn. 175) The reading desk and pulpit were replaced in 1744, and the font in 1753. (fn. 176) In 1759 Charles Cottrell-Dormer obtained permission to make a burial vault under the east end of the south aisle, then used as a baptistry. (fn. 177)
The church was restored in 1867 and 1868. The chancel was entirely rebuilt and refitted and heightened, the south aisle was extensively repaired and the south porch rebuilt, and the nave and aisles were reroofed. In the course of the work the chancel arch was rebuilt using some late 12th-century material. (fn. 178)
The pulpit was lowered in 1867 or 1868 but is otherwise substantially the one built in 1744; the pews were reconstructed in the 19th century but incorporate some Jacobean and 18th-century panelling. The organ case incorporates late 17thcentury balusters, perhaps from an altar rail. There are several memorial plaques to members of the Cottrell-Dormer family, and, in the south chapel, the kneeling figures of John Dormer (d. 1584) and his wife Elizabeth Goddard, removed from Steeple Barton church in 1851. On the floor of the south aisle are memorials to members of the Marten family, and in the chancel are floor slabs to the rectors Charles Leader (d. 1752), Robert Cowcher (d. 1717), and John Burton (d. 1730). On the upper walls of the nave are six funeral hatchments of members of the CottrellDormer family.
The plate includes a silver gilt chalice and cover and paten of 1691, a silver gilt almsdish of 1672, and a silver gilt tankard flagon of 1661, all given by John Dormer in 1692. (fn. 179) There are six bells, five of 1675 by Richard Keene given by Robert Dormer, the sixth cast in 1825. (fn. 180)
In the later 17th century a maidservant and the gardener and his family at Rousham House were Quakers, (fn. 181) but 18thcentury rectors reported only one Quaker and one Presbyterian in the parish. (fn. 182) In the 19th century a Baptist family and two or three Wesleyan Methodists were reported. (fn. 183)
In the earlier 18th century the Dormer family paid Damaris Dutton, widow of the rector Ellis Dutton (d. 1700), 3 a year to teach poor children to read. (fn. 184) The arrangement presumably ceased on Mrs. Dutton's death, and no school was reported until c. 1785 when Clement Cottrell-Dormer established a small day and Sunday school. In 1808 it was attended by 22 children, in 1815 by 25, and in 1818 by 24. (fn. 185) The school was last recorded in 1834, and had closed by 1854 when children attended day schools in neighbouring parishes or else a small Sunday school supported by the rector. (fn. 186)
In 1878 Clement Upton-Cottrell-Dormer established a day school, supported by himself and by children's pence, in a newly repaired building south of the church. The school was receiving a parliamentary grant in 1890. Attendance was 35 in 1878, but fell to 25 in 1889 and 16 in 1906. (fn. 187) The school closed in 1926. In 1981 younger children attended Dr. Radcliffe's school in Steeple Aston, and secondary children the Warriner comprehensive in Bloxham. (fn. 188)
Christopher Cleobury, a former curate, by will dated 1855, gave 50 for the poor. In 1979 the income was 1.90. (fn. 189)