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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Tackley parish lies on the west bank of the Cherwell c. 8 miles (14 km.) north of Oxford. It covers 2,913 a. (1,179 ha.) and is divided into three townships, Tackley and Nethercott (1,841 a.), Whitehill (734 a.), and Weaveley (338 a.). The parish boundary follows the Cherwell on the east, field boundaries on the north and much of the west, and lanes on much of the south. Most of the parish is east of the Banbury road, but Weaveley lies entirely west of the road and was, in the Middle Ages, part of Dornford township of which the rest was in Wootton parish. (fn. 1) The boundaries of Whitehill, recorded in 1004, seem to be those of the later township, running from the Cherwell near Enslow Bridge along a track to a barrow near the Banbury road, then up the road, presumably as far as Akeman Street, and along Akeman Street to the Cherwell. The southern boundary of Weaveley, along a short stretch of the road from Sturdy's Castle to Woodstock and thence to the Banbury road, was recorded in 1005. (fn. 2)
Much of the parish, including the sites of Tackley, Nethercott, and Whitehill villages, is limestone of the Great Oolite series, but in the north-west, centred on Tackley Heath, is a small northern outcrop of the Oxford clay; it is surrounded by an area of cornbrash which extends south and west, covering most of Weaveley. (fn. 3) There is a narrow band of alluvium along the Cherwell and its two small tributary streams, one rising in Tackley village and flowing south, the other rising in Whitehill and flowing east. The land slopes from a ridge just east of the Banbury road down to the Cherwell at 70 m.; in several places, notably the areas west of Tackley village and near the river, the slope is very steep. In Whitehill the land slopes from high ground at 105 m. on the north, west, and south into the centre of the township at 68 m., forming a great bowl, the 'bent hill' from which the township takes its name. (fn. 4) Weaveley is much flatter than the other townships, the land falling only slightly, from 105 m. at Sturdy's Castle to 95 m. at Sansom's Platt.
The Oxford-Banbury road, an ancient ridgeway turnpiked in 1755 and disturnpiked in 1875, (fn. 5) runs through the parish from north to south. In the south it is crossed by the road from Islip which in the 17th and 18th centuries was part of the main road from London to Worcester; it was turnpiked in 1729 and disturnpiked in 1878. (fn. 6) The Roman road Akeman Street also crosses the parish from east to west, forming the northern boundaries of Whitehill and Weaveley. The hollow way called Dornford Lane cuts across the north-western corner of Weaveley, and a branch way leading towards Bladon forms the western boundary of the parish and township.
Minor roads and bridleways connect Tackley and Nethercott to Rousham, Northbrook, and Whitehill. A road to Wootton, recorded in the 18th century, has become a footpath. (fn. 7) The old road south from Tackley to Whitehill and thence to Oxford was diverted in 1756 by John Morton of Tackley Park; the earlier road ran due south from Tackley green, past the east front of Hill Court (later Tackley Park) and into the surviving road at Pound Hill in Whitehill. (fn. 8) In the 17th century and the early 18th the road to Woodstock seems to have left Tackley at the north end of the village and run west towards Old Man Leys before turning south to join the line of the modern road just west of the turning to Whitehill. The road from the green past the church was not a right of way in the 16th century, although it was used as a short cut; it existed in 1767. (fn. 9)
Enslow Bridge on the London-Worcester road was so named in 1596, and was probably the Churchman's or Kirman's Bridge recorded in 1139 and c. 1240. (fn. 10) The bridge, a wooden one in 1675, was presumably rebuilt in stone by the turnpike trustees; it was partially rebuilt by the county in 1814. (fn. 11) There was another bridge over the Cherwell, at Catsham Mill on the road to Northbrook, in 1328. Catsham Bridge needed repair c. 1444 when the hundred tried unsuccessfully to fix the responsibility on the abbot of Eynsham, and had been replaced by a ford by 1617. (fn. 12) A public bridge or 'plank' was erected there c. 1637, and a stone bridge, later extended over the canal, before 1750. A bridge in Whitehill, recorded in the 14th century, had been replaced by a ford before 1591. (fn. 13) The ford remained in 1981.
The G.W.R. line from Oxford to Banbury was built through the parish in 1848 and 1849, but the nearest station was at Bletchingdon until Tackley halt opened in 1931. (fn. 14) In the 19th century and the early 20th a carrier's cart went to Oxford twice weekly. There was a post office in 1847. (fn. 15)
Cropmarks and some pottery finds suggest prehistoric settlement in or near the parish. (fn. 16) The main focus of Roman settlement was probably the villa at Sansom's Platt, on the boundary with Hensington and Wootton, but concentrations of pottery suggest some settlement on the site of Nethercott, and there may have been a second villa or farmhouse in Whitehill. (fn. 17) There were at least three settlements in the parish by the later Anglo-Saxon period, at Tackley, Weaveley, and Whitehill. The names of the first two, both containing the element 'ley', suggest that they originated as settlements in or near woodland. (fn. 18) Tackley, whose church contains Anglo-Saxon work, was presumably the earliest and largest settlement. There was an estate at Whitehill in 1004, and Weaveley was recorded in 1005. (fn. 19) Nethercott was first recorded in 1346, but a few sherds of late 12th- and early 13th-century pottery have been found on the site. (fn. 20)
In 1086 Tackley was the largest settlement, with a total of 29 tenants, and 2 serfs; Whitehill and Weaveley had only 3 and 4 tenants respectively. (fn. 21) Whitehill had grown appreciably by 1279 when 22 tenants and land owners were recorded, compared with 41 in Tackley and 6 in Weaveley. (fn. 22) Weaveley was still occupied in 1306, and probably as late as 1316, but by 1340 it had been deserted. (fn. 23)
In 1377 only 64 people over 14 paid poll tax in Tackley and 33 in Whitehill. Tackley had recovered somewhat by 1524–5 when 37 people were assessed for subsidy, but Whitehill remained small, with only 8 people assessed, and the township declined further in the later 16th century, being reduced to 3 or 4 houses by 1605. (fn. 24) Sixty-two men in Tackley parish took the protestation oath in 1642, and 158 adults were recorded in 1676. (fn. 25) In 1738 the rector reported c. 62 houses in the parish; by 1768 there were c. 80, and 369 persons occupied 81 houses in 1801. (fn. 26) The population rose fairly steadily to 626 in 1861; a slight drop between 1841 and 1851 may have been due partly to the emigration of poor families, encouraged and assisted by the vestry. (fn. 27) By 1911 the population had fallen to 451, but it rose thereafter to 561 in 1961 and to 806 in 1971; (fn. 28) most of the newcomers travelled to work in Oxford and elsewhere.
Much of the northern part of Tackley was woodland in 1981, but only a small part of that was old, the remainder having been planted in the mid 20th century. (fn. 29) South of the wood is Tackley Heath, an area of bracken and scrub which has never been cultivated. In the later 18th century the Morton and Gardiner families created a park around Hill Court (later Tackley Park).
Whitehill and Weaveley were each controlled by a single owner or tenant from the late 16th century, and were inclosed, or at least consolidated, in the 17th century. Weaveley seems to have been farmed from Hordley until the 18th century when the surviving Weaveley Farm was built. Lower Weaveley Farm was converted from stables into two cottages in the 19th century and into a farmhouse in the 20th. Neither farmhouse is on the site of the medieval village, which seems to have stood in the field north of Weaveley Farm, just south of Akeman Street. (fn. 30) In Whitehill, Old Whitehill Farm and a neighbouring cottage remain on or near the site of the medieval village, which is marked by a hollow way and house platforms beside a small stream. (fn. 31) The surviving buildings are of the late 18th or early 19th century. In the south part of the township are two mid 19th-century houses, one of which, Whitehill Farm, has an elaborate iron porch.
Tackley and Nethercott were not inclosed until 1873, but the consolidation of strips in Tackley field, combined with some early inclosure there, perhaps of land assarted from the heath and the wood, allowed the building of one outlying farmhouse, Old Man Leys, in the mid 18th century, and a second, Wood Farm, c. 1850. (fn. 32)
Tackley and Nethercott form a single straggling village on low ground, around a marshy area in which rise small streams, now diverted to feed ornamental ponds. The church stands isolated from the village, on higher ground to the west, with Hill Court below it. Presumably the original village was further west, on dryer ground near the church. It was displaced, partly at least, by the creation, first of a manor house and gardens north-east of the church in the 17th century, and then of the park at Hill Court in the later 18th century. The Tackley end of the village centres on a triangular green, on one side of which are the outbuildings of the demolished 17th-century manor house. The green itself retained marks of ridge and furrow until the mid 20th century. Most of the houses are of the later 18th century or the early 19th, and reflect in their neat and sometimes uniform appearance the continuing influence of the Tackley estate. Apart from Hill Court the only notable house is Court Farm (formerly Base Court) which stands on or near the site of a 12th-century moated house. (fn. 33) The surviving house is a large, rectangular, 17thcentury farmhouse of coursed rubble whose interior was completely remodelled in the late 1950s. In the grounds is a series of remarkable geometrical fishponds, probably built by John Harborne in the early 17th century. (fn. 34)
Nethercott centres on Nethercott Road, which once led to Whitehill and in 1981 led to the station. Most of the older houses are terraces of 18th- or 19th-century cottages, but there are three farmhouses, St. John's Farm, built as the house for the St. John's College estate, Street Farm, and Malthouse Farm whose stable block is dated 1763.
The chief 19th-century addition to the villages was the school, a plain, rectangular stone building between Tackley and Nethercott, which was converted into a private house c. 1970. (fn. 35) Between 1926 and 1934 a total of 22 council houses was built, mainly on or behind the road from Tackley to Nethercott. In the 1960s and 1970s many new houses were built in Nethercott, notably on the St. John's estate begun in 1962. A new school was built in 1965. A village hall, built in 1921 on land given by Capt. E. Evetts, was replaced in 1976 by a larger building. (fn. 36)
Electricity reached the villages in 1932, main drainage in 1966–7, and mains water, through a pumping station at Angelina's Corner in Weaveley, in 1967–8. (fn. 37)
An alehouse on Tackley manor was recorded in 1624. (fn. 38) Five victuallers were licensed in the parish in 1753, and in 1774 the inns were the Ball, the Chequers, the Pole Axe, and the Wheatsheaf. The Ball, in Ball Lane north of the village green, survived until 1817, but the others seem to have been short lived. An inn or alehouse on the Banbury road, called the Hut in 1780, was renamed Sturdy's Castle in 1790. The Gardiner's Arms in Tackley was recorded from 1788, and the King's Arms in Nethercott from c. 1840. (fn. 39)
In the early 18th century the parish wake was kept on the Sunday before or after the feast of St. Nicholas, the patron saint of the church, but by the mid 19th century it had moved to the Sunday before Christmas and become part of the Christmas festivities. The wake died out early in the 20th century and its place was taken by the Tackley club day and dinner early in July, which survived as the village fair in 1981. Children still carried garlands round the village on May Day in 1904. (fn. 40)
There was a brief skirmish at Tackley in 1645, when parliamentarian forces attacked a troop of royalist horse which was occupying the village. (fn. 41)
Manors and Other Estates.
Before the Conquest Tackley was held by Hugh or Hugolin, the Confessor's chamberlain; by 1086 it had been granted to Hugh d'Avranches, earl of Chester. (fn. 42) The overlordship descended with the earldom until 1232 when, on the death without heirs of Earl Ranulph, it passed to Hugh d'Aubigny, earl of Sussex and Arundel, whose honor of Coventry included a knight's fee in Tackley in 1235 and 1242. (fn. 43) Thereafter the overlordship followed the descent of the manor of Cheylesmore near Coventry, (fn. 44) being held in 1279 and 1296 by Roger Montalt and in 1316 and 1327 by his brother Robert Montalt. (fn. 45) From 1337 the honor formed part of the duchy of Cornwall. The overlordship was last recorded in 1490 when Tackley was held of Arthur, prince of Wales as of the honor of Cheylesmore. (fn. 46)
In 1086 the undertenant of Tackley was Robert. The next recorded tenant was Richard son of Niel who was succeeded c. 1177 by his brother Robert. (fn. 47) Robert died before 1187 and his heirs were the four daughters of Agnes de Podio or de Putz: Maud wife of Robert Neville, who acquired the chief messuage, Emma wife of Robert de Ouville (Doville), Ala wife of William Poure, and, probably, Isabel wife of William le Brun. (fn. 48) Maud apparently died without issue, and Isabel's share of the property did not include Tackley which in 1235 was divided between Ala's son Gentischieve Poure and Emma's heir Simon Doville. (fn. 49) Thereafter it was treated as two separate manors.
The Poure family retained an interest in their TACKLEY manor until 1438, although by 1242 they had subinfeudated it. The manor was held of Gentischieve's great-grandson William Poure in 1279. (fn. 50) and of William's son Walter in 1315 and 1327. (fn. 51) In 1438 Walter's great grandson Roger Poure surrendered his rights in the manor to Robert Conyers and Elizabeth his wife, the demesne tenants. (fn. 52)
In 1242 the manor was held by Thomas Maunsel. (fn. 53) About 1272 William Poure granted a life estate of it to Roger Longespee (or Meuland), bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, who enfeoffed Urian of St. Peter, an action found in 1275 to be unlawful. (fn. 54) The bishop died in 1296, (fn. 55) and Walter Poure later granted the manor to William de Bereford for life; in 1315 he granted the reversion to Isabel de Vesci and her brother Henry de Beaumont, lord Beaumont. (fn. 56) William de Bereford died in 1327, and Isabel de Vesci in 1334, and in 1337 Henry de Beaumont was lord. (fn. 57) He was succeeded by his son John (d. 1342) whose widow Eleanor's second husband Richard FitzAlan, earl of Arundel, held the manor in 1346. (fn. 58) Before her death in 1373 Eleanor surrendered her interest to her son Henry Beaumont who was succeeded by his son John (d. 1396). (fn. 59) In 1409 John's son Henry sold the manor to William Willicotes of Northleigh. (fn. 60) Willicotes died in 1411, and a life interest in Tackley was held by his widow Elizabeth who later married first John Blacket and then Robert Conyers. On Elizabeth's death in 1445 the manor was divided among the representatives of her five daughters by William Willicotes. (fn. 61)
Portions of the manor were acquired in 1454 and 1456 by William Brome (Brown) of Holton. (fn. 62) In 1469 Thomas Conyers, one of the Willicotes heirs, conveyed a quarter of the manor to Richard Harcourt, and another portion was in the king's hands in 1481, (fn. 63) but by 1485 William Brome's son Robert had acquired the whole manor. (fn. 64) Robert was succeeded by his son Christopher (d. 1509) and his grandson John Brome who, before 1541, sold the manor to Edmund Nowers, holder of the other Tackley manor. (fn. 65)
The other Tackley manor, probably centred on the house later called HILL COURT, had passed from Simon Doville to Alexander Doville who held in 1242, to Walter Doville (fl. 1273, 1307), to Stephen Doville who held in 1316, to Walter Doville who held in 1335, and to Stephen Doville who held in 1346. (fn. 66) From the second Stephen the manor passed to Sibyl wife of John Nowers, presumably Stephen's heir, and to her son George Nowers (d. 1425). (fn. 67) The next recorded lord was John Nowers (d. 1490) (fn. 68) father of Edmund Nowers.
Edmund Nowers settled the Tackley manors on his granddaughter Anne Nowers and her husband Anthony Aylworth. (fn. 69) They were succeeded by their sons Edmund and Peter (d. 1595), and by Peter's son Thomas who in 1612 sold Tackley to John Harborne, a London merchant. (fn. 70) Harborne died in 1651 and was succeeded by his son John (d. 1671), who sold Hill Court. (fn. 71) Tackley manor, however, passed to his daughter Catherine, wife of Edward Walker, who sold it in 1677 to Walter Mildmay who sold it in 1694 to Thomas Horwood. (fn. 72) In 1721 Horwood's widow Jane and her son Thomas sold it to Charles Crispe of Dornford whose cousin and executor Mary Crispe sold it in 1744 to Sir James Dashwood of Northbrook. (fn. 73) The manor remained in the Dashwood family, being held by Sir James (d. 1779), Sir Henry Watkin Dashwood (d. 1828), Sir George (d. 1861), Sir Henry William (d. 1889), and Sir George John Egerton Dashwood who in 1905 sold it to William Evetts. Evetts sold it in 1927 to R. W. Cooper who sold it in 1953 to Harald Peake, whose widow Dame Felicity Peake held it in 1981. (fn. 74)
The elder John Harborne built a manor house on a site north-east of the church c. 1615. It may have been abandoned or partially destroyed before 1645 when Tackley was 'a waste place', but Sir Compton Reade, Harborne's lessee, had 13 hearths in 1665, and a great hall and several chambers were recorded in 1671. (fn. 75) In 1981 only the outbuildings, including a stable and a pigeon house, two elaborate gateways bearing the Harborne arms, and traces of the garden terraces survived.
The younger John Harborne sold Hill Court in 1653 to Richard Cranley, from whom it seems to have passed, perhaps by 1659, to John Morton, whose son John Whicker Morton held it in 1689. (fn. 76) On John Whicker Morton's death in 1692 the estate descended to his son (d. 1703), his grandson (fl. 1735), and his great grandson (d. 1780), all called John Morton. The last John's widow Elizabeth sold it in 1784 to Barbara Smythe. She was succeeded by her cousin Sir John Whalley Smythe Gardiner (d. 1797), by his son James Whalley Smythe Gardiner (d. 1837), and by James's son John Brocas Whalley Smythe Gardiner who sold Hill Court in 1846 to William Evetts, who had occupied the house since the death of Martha Gardiner, widow of Sir John (d. 1797), in 1840. (fn. 77) Any remaining manorial rights had apparently been acquired by the Dashwoods in the early 19th century. (fn. 78)
Hill Court, taxed on 10 hearths in 1665, (fn. 79) was greatly enlarged in the mid 18th century, presumably by John Morton (d. 1780). That work was demolished in 1959 and the remaining earlier 18th-century house, converted into a leisure centre including a swimming pool. (fn. 80)
Three hides in WHITEHILL were among the possessions confirmed by Ethelred II to St. Frideswide's minster, Oxford, in 1004, but the property had been lost by 1086 when the only recorded landholders there were Roger d'Ivri who held 1½ hide and Odo of Bayeux who held 3 yardlands. (fn. 81) The d'Ivri manor descended with d'Ivri's other lands as part of the honor of St. Valery, (fn. 82) then of the honor of Ewelme whose lords held a court for their tenants in Whitehill as late as 1847. (fn. 83)
Godfrey held the manor of Roger d'Ivri in 1086. (fn. 84) The next recorded tenant was Nicholas of Whitehill (fl. before 1176); he was succeeded before 1196 by Hugh of Whitehill who was still holding in 1211. (fn. 85) In 1242 Philip of Whitehill held the manor, and in 1279 Walter of Whitehill. (fn. 86) Walter died seised of the manor in 1304 and was succeeded by his son John, who was holding it in 1316. (fn. 87) Adam Whitehill held it in 1346, Robert Whitehill in 1357, and John Whitehill in 1428. (fn. 88) Walter Whitehill died in possession of the manor in 1463 and was succeeded by his son Robert, probably the Robert Whitehill who died at an advanced age in 1526. Robert settled Whitehill on his younger daughter Joan and her husband Owen Whitton. (fn. 89) In 1560 Joan, then a widow, and Richard Whitton sold the manor to Edward Love, who sold it to Robert Standard. (fn. 90) From Robert Standard (d. 1584) the manor passed to his younger son Edward, to Edward's son John (d. 1647), and to John's son Robert (d. 1685). (fn. 91) On Robert's death the manor was divided between his daughters, Elizabeth, who married Arthur Parsons, and Margaret, who married Thomas Martin. Elizabeth died without issue and her moiety reverted to Margaret and to Margaret's son Thomas Martin (d. 1753). He devised Whitehill to his nephew Simon Wisdom who died in 1777 leaving the manor to his cousin Anne Sharpe (d. 1780) who devised it to her brother Simon Sharpe. Simon Sharpe sold it in 1788 to Thomas Walker. (fn. 92) Walker sold the manor in 1790 to the duke of Marlborough whose successors held it until 1920 when the land was sold to the sitting tenant. The land was bought by Dame Felicity Peake in 1965. (fn. 93)
Another estate in WHITEHILL, assessed at ¼ knight's fee, may have derived from the 3 yardlands held in 1086 by Roger of Odo of Bayeux. (fn. 94) By 1242 the overlordship had passed to the fee of Mortain, and by 1279 to the barony of Stafford. (fn. 95) In 1242 the ¼ fee was held with land in Bletchingdon as ½ fee by Richard Prescote, and in 1279 by Hugh de Musgrave, husband of Richard's granddaughter Maud. (fn. 96) In 1361 it was held by Roger de Cottisford of Henry, duke of Lancaster. (fn. 97) There is no further record of any overlordship or mesne lordship.
In 1279 Hugh de Musgrave's tenant was Hugh of Cholmondley; by 1346 he had been succeeded by Richard Croxford. (fn. 98) In 1423 Robert Croxford made a settlement of the estate which passed to his son Robert (or John), and to his granddaughter Isabel, wife of George Gaynsford. Isabel's son Austin in 1506 sold it to Henry Smith who in 1508 sold it to William Pope of Deddington, and Pope's son Sir Thomas sold it in 1543 to Corpus Christi College, Oxford, which held it with the estate described below. (fn. 99)
Another ¼ fee in WHITEHILL was held by the lords of Tackley manor of the honor of St. Valery. Before 1205 William le Brun and Isabel his wife, probably one of the coheirs of Robert son of Niel, conveyed land in Whitehill to Gentischieve Poure. (fn. 100) In 1279 William Poure held the ¼ fee of the heirs of William le Brun; it was held of John Giffard in 1300 and in 1342, (fn. 101) but the mesne lordship was not recorded thereafter. The property followed the descent of the Poure manor in Tackley until 1526 when John Brome sold it to John Claymond, president of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, who conveyed it to the college in 1528. (fn. 102) Both the college estates in Whitehill were leased to successive owners of Whitehill manor until 1958 when they were sold to Dame Felicity Peake of Court Farm, Tackley. (fn. 103)
In 1086 Anketil de Gray held 2 hides in WEAVELEY of the fee of William FitzOsbern. (fn. 104) Part of that estate was probably in Dornford in Wootton parish; its overlordship followed the same descent as Anketil's manor of South Newington, (fn. 105) and Dornford, including Weaveley, was held in 1279 of Isabel de Forz, countess of Aumale and lady of the Isle of Wight. (fn. 106) The mesne tenancy of the manor passed from Anketil de Gray to Richard de Gray who held before 1109. (fn. 107) His descendant Eve de Gray (d. 1246) granted Weaveley to Studley priory which in 1279 held 4½ yardlands there of her grandson Robert Mauduit. (fn. 108) Studley retained the property until the Dissolution when it was sold to John Croke who immediately sold it to John Gregory of Hordley in whose family it descended until it was sold to the duke of Marlborough in 1811. (fn. 109)
Edmund Nowers (d. 1543) acquired an estate in Weaveley, the earlier history of which is unknown. (fn. 110) It passed with Tackley manor to the Aylworths and was sold by Thomas Aylworth to John Harborne (d. 1610), father of John Harborne of Tackley (d. 1651). (fn. 111) The third John Harborne sold c. 90 a. in Weaveley in 1653 to Richard Cranley from whom the estate passed, with Hill Court, to John Morton (fn. 112) and to his son John Whicker Morton whose executors sold it in 1694 to Sir Sebastian Smith. Sir Sebastian (d. 1733) was succeeded by his son Sebastian (d. 1752) and by his granddaughter Barbara Smythe. From Barbara Smythe the estate passed, with Hill Court, to Sir John Whalley Smythe Gardiner and to Sir James Whalley Smythe Gardiner who sold it in 1811 to John Stratton who immediately sold it to the duke of Marlborough. (fn. 113) The dukes retained the property until 1920. (fn. 114)
The prior of Bicester held 4 yardlands in Tackley of William Poure in 1279. (fn. 115) After the Dissolution the estate, with land in Kirtlington, formed the manor of KIRTLINGTON AND TACKLEY. It was held by Richard Allen of London who conveyed it in 1559 to his sons Thomas and Richard. (fn. 116) They conveyed it in 1562 to Robert Harris and William Penyfather who sold it in 1564 to Nicholas Backhouse from whom it passed in 1568 to Anthony Arden and his son John. (fn. 117) From John Arden (d. 1605) the manor passed to his brothers Thomas (d. 1611) and Henry (d. 1622) and to Henry's daughter Margaret who seems to have sold it in 1639. (fn. 118) Part of the property was sold to Sir Robert Dashwood in 1713. (fn. 119) and merged with the other Dashwood estates in the parish.
Before 1246 Hugh of Tackley gave 6 a. and Gentischieve Poure 2 a. in Tackley to St. John's hospital, Oxford. The hospital and its successor, Magdalen College, retained c. 6 a. in Tackley until c. 1885. (fn. 120)
Thomas Harrop (d. 1522) in 1517 conveyed to trustees 2 yardlands in Nethercott, which under the terms of his will were granted to Balliol College in 1540. The college retained the property, leasing it to local farmers, until 1876. (fn. 121)
In 1754 St. John's College, Oxford, bought 4½ yardlands in Nethercott from the executors of John Merry (Myrry) of Upper Heyford, and in 1852 the college bought an adjoining close and cottages from William Evetts. (fn. 122) Most of the property was sold to Corpus Christi College in 1948 and 1953; the farmhouse was sold separately in 1956. (fn. 123)
Studley priory acquired 1½ yardland in Tackley before 1279. After the Dissolution the property was sold to John Croke, whose descendant Unton Croke sold it to John Harborne c. 1624. (fn. 124)
Tackley, Nethercott, Whitehill, and Weaveley each had separate fields in the 16th century. Whitehill and Weaveley were probably always separate agrarian units, but Tackley and Nethercott, whose tenants intercommoned and organized their fields by a single series of bylaws and agreements in the manor court, (fn. 125) had probably once shared a single set of fields. A change from one to two sets in Tackley and Nethercott presumably involved the reorganization of holdings so that land, such as the glebe, (fn. 126) cultivated from houses in Tackley was in Tackley field and that cultivated from houses in Nethercott, in Nethercott field. The division between Tackley and Nethercott does not seem to correspond to the division of Tackley into two manors, so the impulse for reorganization of the fields was presumably not manorial. Not all holdings were reorganized; Magdalen College's 6 a. lay in the same furlongs c. 1230 as in 1844. (fn. 127)
In the 17th century, and presumably in the Middle Ages, Tackley and Nethercott were each divided into north and south fields. (fn. 128) From the late 16th century, however, the two-field system was modified in some years by the introduction of a hitch field, apparently about half the area of the fallow field, sown with peas, beans, or vetches. (fn. 129) By 1742 Tackley fields were divided into four: two north fields and two south fields, each old field having itself been divided into north and south fields; (fn. 130) in 1770 there were four quarters, which did not exactly correspond with the earlier four fields; (fn. 131) in 1873 three of them were called Wootton Quarter, Heath Quarter, and Rousham Quarter. (fn. 132) In Nethercott the two fields seem to have survived slightly longer, but by 1798 they had been divided into four: South field, East field, West field, and North or Sanfoin field. (fn. 133) In 1838 the fields were Mill field, Home field, Middle field, and North field, and Whitehill and Woodside quarters were recorded in 1873. (fn. 134)
Whitehill was divided into two fields in 1279; (fn. 135) a hitch field was introduced in the 16th century, (fn. 136) and by 1605 the township was divided into four fields, East, West, Middle, and South. (fn. 137) Not all landholders or tenants, however, had land in each field: in 1634 the glebe lay only in the West and Middle fields. (fn. 138)
Nothing is known of the organization of Weaveley fields, unless the Old field, in the east part of the township, recorded in 1545, was one of two open fields. (fn. 139)
There were 30 a. of meadow in Tackley in 1086 and a pasture, perhaps the Heath, 9 furlongs by 2 furlongs. (fn. 140) In 1279 the manorial demesnes included meadow, probably 10 a. each, and pasture, and the tenant of Catsham mill held 1 a. of meadow and a pasture called the moor. (fn. 141) The combined demesnes of the two manors contained 20 a. of meadow and 200 a. of pasture in 1543. (fn. 142) In the 17th century most yardlands included fern or furze plots in Tackley Heath. Leys were recorded in 1624, (fn. 143) but were not particularly important in the agriculture of the parish. The meadow lay along the Cherwell, in Nethercott, and there was a small area of meadow or pasture, called the Moor, along the stream between Tackley and Nethercott villages. (fn. 144) Pill Mead and Ashwell, along the Cherwell, were lot meadow in the 1770s. (fn. 145) In 1770 there were 146½ a. of pasture and meadow in Tackley, including the Heath (112½ a.). (fn. 146)
There were at least 9 a. of meadow in Whitehill in 1086, 6 a. on Roger d'Ivri's estate and 3 a. on Odo of Bayeux's, presumably along the Cherwell. (fn. 147) In 1302 Walter of Whitehill held 8 a. of meadow, worth 1s. 6d. an acre, and 3 a. of pasture, worth 4d. an acre, in demesne. (fn. 148) Lot meadow was recorded in 1306. (fn. 149) In 1605 there were 35½ a. of meadow, 2½ a. of it lot meadow, in the township, as well as Rousham Mead (10 a.) by Enslow Bridge, the first mowth of which belonged to Rousham parish. There was also 170 a. of pasture, apparently permanent, called the Furze, in the west part of the township, and a strip of pasture closes (c. 16 a.) in the middle of the township along the north side of Middle field. (fn. 150)
Weaveley was said to contain 12 a. of meadow in 1086. (fn. 151) That meadow cannot have been in the later township which contains no suitable ground; it was presumably along the Dorn or the Glyme in Dornford.
In 1086 there was said to be land for 10 ploughteams in Tackley; on the demesne 2 serfs worked with 4 ploughteams, and 20 villeins and 9 bordars had a further 6 ploughteams. In Whitehill Roger d'Ivri's estate there was said to be land for 2 ploughteams; there were 2 ploughteams in demesne and none on the land held by the 2 bordars. A burgess, who paid the unusually large rent of 10s., presumably lived in Oxford. Odo of Bayeux's 3 yardlands in Whitehill, all of which was in demesne, included land for 1 ploughteam, and there was 1 ploughteam and 1 serf there. The fourth estate in Whitehill, that later held of the honor of St. Valery, not recorded in 1086, was presumably also land for 1 ploughteam. (fn. 152) Weaveley was said to have land for 2 ploughteams, and there were 2 ploughteams and 2 serfs in demesne, the 2 bordars without a ploughteam occupying the 1 yardland which had not been kept in demesne. The value of Tackley had risen from £8 in 1066 to £17 in 1086, of the two Whitehill estates from 20s. to 25s. and from 40s. to 60s., and of Weaveley from 40s. to 50s. (fn. 153)
In Tackley the extent of the demesne in 1279, 2 ploughlands on each of the two moieties of the manor, was the same as in 1086, but much of the tenants' land had become freehold. Three freeholds, Walter of Whitehill's 4 yardlands, William Doville's 1 yardland, and Thomas Gurdon's 1 yardland, which were evenly divided between the two moieties of the manor, had presumably been created before the division of the manor in the late 12th century. On the Doville moiety there were only 6 other freeholds, totalling 6½ yardlands, but on the Poure moiety there were 10, totalling 12 yardlands, including the prior of Bicester's 4 yardlands. The villein tenants, 7 yardlanders and 4 half-yardlanders on the Doville moiety and 2 yardlanders and 4 half-yardlanders on the Poure moiety, paid 5s. a year each and worked from 24 June to Michaelmas; the yardlanders on the Doville moiety also paid 3d. hidage and ¼d. ward. Two cottars paid 15d. a year and worked like the villeins. The land in Whitehill in 1279 was still largely held in demesne; on Walter of Whitehill's manor there were 2 ploughlands in demesne, 2 free tenants held ½ yardland each and 6 villeins ½ yardland each, making a total of 4 yardlands in tenants' hands. William le Poure's estate was similarly divided: 1 ploughland in demesne, ½ yardland held by a free tenant and 1 yardland divided between 2 villeins. Hugh of Cholmondley held 1 ploughland in demesne; a free tenant held ½ yardland and 4 cottars held small amounts of land. The villeins in Whitehill paid 12½d. each and worked every other day from 24 June to Michaelmas; the cottars also paid money rents and performed mowing, reaping, and hoeing services. No demesne was recorded in Weaveley, where the only estate described in 1279 was the prioress of Studley's 4½ yardlands, all held by villein tenants for money rents of 12s. a yardland. On Whitehill manor in 1304 there were 160 a. in demesne, perhaps slightly fewer than in 1279. The villeins held for money rents only, 10s. a year each for ½ yardland. (fn. 154)
In 1306 at least 32 people were assessed for subsidy in Tackley at sums ranging from 3s. for Walter Doville and William de Bereford, lords of the manor, to 6d. Only 12 people were assessed in Whitehill, including John of Whitehill, the lord of the manor, at 21½d. At Weaveley, which was assessed with Dornford, 4 people were assessed at 17d. or less. (fn. 155) In 1316 when 30 people were assessed for subsidy in Tackley, the highest assessment, 8s., was that of Hugh of Barton, perhaps a descendant of John of Barton who held a yardland of the prioress of Studley in 1279. In Whitehill the number assessed had risen to 20; the highest assessment, 4s. 6d., was that of John Bolace and Gilbert le Myne, both apparently descendants of freeholders of 1279. None was specifically said to be assessed in Weaveley, but the 4 people assessed there in 1306 or their descendants were assessed in 1316 in Dornford, and may still have been in Weaveley. (fn. 156) Only 31 people were assessed for subsidy in Tackley in 1327, at sums ranging from Isabel de Vesci's 12s. 2d. down to 12d. In Whitehill, 14 people were assessed, John the miller at 5s. 2d., the highest assessment in the parish after Isabel de Vesci's. (fn. 157) No one from Weaveley was assessed in 1327, and the hamlet was deserted by 1340. (fn. 158)
The three Whitehill estates recorded in 1279 seem to have survived intact until the 16th century when the two smaller ones were united in the ownership of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. In Tackley, on the other hand, a number of freeholds became independent of the manors. John Adderbury (d. 1346) was reported to have held 17s. 4d. rent in Tackley in chief, and Thomas Chaucer and his daughter and heir Alice de la Pole, duchess of Suffolk, also held property, perhaps the later Suffolk's yardland in Nethercott. (fn. 159)
In 1524–5 a total of 37 men were assessed for subsidy in Tackley and Nethercott. By far the largest assessment was Edmund Nowers's, 25s. 8d. on lands. Other assessments, ranging from 7s. to 4d., were on goods, and 12 men were assessed at the labourers' rate of 4d. In Whitehill a total of 8 men were assessed; William Standard was assessed at 27s. on goods in 1524, at 25s. in 1525, Richard Miles at 26s. in 1524 and at 20s. in 1525. Other assessments on goods were between 11s. and 2s. Only one man was assessed on wages in 1524, but three in 1525. (fn. 160) Fewer people were assessed in Tackley and Nethercott in 1543 when, for the only time, the two villages were separately assessed. The two highest assessments, Anne Nowers's 40s. on £60 worth of goods, and Joan Thornton's 12s. on £18 worth, were in Tackley, but Robert Smith in Nethercott was assessed on £10 worth of goods. Eight other men in Tackley were assessed and 10 in Nethercott. There seems to have been little difference between the two villages, but Tackley had the richest and also more of the poorest people assessed. Only 6 people were assessed in Whitehill, including Christopher Miles on £14 worth of goods. (fn. 161)
The usual crops in the 16th and 17th centuries were winter corn, of wheat and maslin, and barley, but some oats and rye were also grown. (fn. 162) Peas, beans, and vetches were grown in the hitch field from 1582 or earlier. (fn. 163) Sainfoin was being grown in Weaveley before 1694. (fn. 164)
Edmund Nowers had at least 140 sheep in Tackley in 1502. (fn. 165) In 1551 up to 880 sheep were permitted in Whitehill fields. (fn. 166) Robert Standard, lord of Whitehill (d. 1584), had at least 90. (fn. 167) At Weaveley in the earlier 16th century Edmund Nowers kept at least 300 sheep and John Gregory 200. (fn. 168) The largest flock recorded in the 17th century was 120, in Tackley in 1682, (fn. 169) but the figure is almost certainly misleading as no evidence survives for the size of the flocks in Whitehill and Weaveley or on the Hill Court and Base Court farms in Tackley; in the 18th century 400 sheep commons belonged to Base Court farm and 200 to part of Hill Court farm with Old Man Leys. (fn. 170) Cattle were raised in Whitehill; in 1551 up to 88 cattle were allowed to graze in the fields. Robert Standard of Whitehill (d. 1685) owned 10 cows and his tenant farmer John Timms (d. 1679) owned 6 cows and a calf. (fn. 171) In 1818 a Whitehill farmer was selling cattle in London. (fn. 172) In 1565 the stint in Tackley and Nethercott was 35 ewes a yardland; (fn. 173) in the later 18th century it seems to have been 40 sheep to the yardland in Tackley and 30 in Nethercott, and in all there were commons for 1,095 sheep and 21 cows in Tackley and for 724 sheep and 1 cow in Nethercott. (fn. 174) In 1823 the stint had been reduced to 15 sheep and 2 cow commons for a yardland in Nethercott but remained 40 sheep and 2 cow commons in Tackley. (fn. 175) In the 17th century the combined herd was pastured in Tackley field one day and Nethercott field the next. (fn. 176)
Both Whitehill and Weaveley passed in the 16th century into the control of a single family. From 1552 Corpus Christi College leased its estate in Whitehill to the successive lords of Whitehill manor, (fn. 177) and from 1586 the lords of Tackley manor leased their land in Weaveley to the Gregory family, who held the rest of the township. In Weaveley the land in the fields was quickly consolidated, and by 1641 the township was inclosed. (fn. 178) In Whitehill, on the other hand, Corpus Christi College and Edward Standard still held alternate strips in the fields in 1605. (fn. 179) In the course of the 17th century and the earlier 18th, however, the strips were consolidated, except for the 7 a. of rectorial glebe, and in 1777 an inclosure Act divided Whitehill between Corpus Christi and Simon Wisdom, the lord of the manor, the college taking c. 349 a. in the north and Wisdom c. 349 a. in the south. (fn. 180)
There was considerable inclosure and consolidation of open-field land in Tackley in the 16th and 17th centuries, but in Nethercott the acre and ½-acre strips survived until the parliamentary inclosure of both townships in 1873. (fn. 181) The earliest inclosures in Tackley were carried out by Edmund Nowers in 1514 when he converted 30 a. at Costowe or Costill and 16 a. at the Fifteen Acres into inclosed pasture, and he may also have created the nearby Sheephouse Close (40 a.), first recorded in 1545. (fn. 182) Netherley and Little Hay closes, recorded in 1565, were associated with Base Court and Hill Court, and were probably similarly inclosed, perhaps by the Aylsworths, for pasture. Painters Closes, adjoining Base Court, were first recorded in 1634, but may have been made much earlier. (fn. 183) Old Man Leys (20 a.) and Wood Close (40 a.), first recorded in 1611, may have been at least in part assarts from the wood and the heath. (fn. 184) John Harborne made further inclosures between 1633 and 1644. (fn. 185) Holdings in the common fields were consolidated; in 1634 some of the resulting 'pieces' were as large as 30 a. (fn. 186) In the 1750s and 1760s John Morton of Hill Court inclosed most of the land between Tackley village on the north, Akeman Street on the south, and the road to Whitehill, which he had diverted, on the west. (fn. 187) By 1873 there were c. 450 a. of old inclosures in Tackley and Nethercott. The consolidation of strips in Tackley field continued in the later 18th century and the 19th, as almost all the small estates which had remained in strips were bought by the Dashwood, Churchill, Hall, and Evetts families. (fn. 188)
The whole parish was surveyed, perhaps as a preliminary to inclosure, in 1828, but no further moves seem to have been made until 1849 when an award was drawn up. That scheme, and others of 1853 and 1861, foundered on the opposition of landowners, notably St. John's College, Balliol College, and William Evetts, who considered their proposed allotments unfair. (fn. 189) Agreement was finally reached in 1873, and c. 1,386 a. in Tackley and Nethercott were inclosed and divided among 20 landowners. The largest allotments were made to William Evetts (390 a.) who held 206 a. of old inclosure, Sir H. W. Dashwood (365 a.) who held 134 a. of old inclosure and to Henry Hall's devisees (350 a.) who held 33 a. of old inclosure. St. John's College received 108 a., the rector 44 a. for glebe, Balliol College 29 a., and Magdalen College 4 a. (fn. 190)
In 1801 there were 1,776½ a. of arable and 632½ a. of permanent grass in the parish. (fn. 191) By 1844 the amount of arable had risen to 2,069 a. while that of pasture had fallen to 487 a.; there were also 154 a. of common land, presumably including the heath. (fn. 192) In 1868 the cultivation was described as mixed. (fn. 193) Tackley and Nethercott were divided into between 8 and 10 farms, the largest of which were Old Man Leys (386 a.), Wood farm (260 a.), and Benjamin Churchill's 260 a. farm, all in Tackley. Whitehill and probably Weaveley were farmed as two farms. Between 1851 and 1861 some of the smaller farms were absorbed into larger ones. (fn. 194)
Inclosure may have had the effect of increasing the area of pasture. By 1914 of the cultivated land in the parish 56 per cent was arable and 43 per cent permanent pasture. The main crops were barley (21 per cent of the arable), wheat (20 per cent), and oats (13 per cent). Sheep and cattle were kept. (fn. 195)
In the 20th century Tackley has been largely devoted to livestock and Whitehill to crops. William Evetts of Wood Farm (d. 1936) specialized in livestock, particularly in sheep. (fn. 196) In 1981 the Tackley estate, much of whose land was in Whitehill, was chiefly arable, growing wheat and barley with some oil seed rape, but sheep and dairy cattle were also kept. (fn. 197)
There was a coppice 5 furlongs by 9 furlongs in Tackley in 1086, presumably in the north, near Rousham. In 1320 Bicester priory bought timber in Tackley to repair Kirtlington mill. (fn. 198) The area of woodland declined, probably from the later Middle Ages; in 1801 there were 63 a., in 1844 only 28 a. (fn. 199) The area of woodland was considerably extended after 1936 by Edgar Evetts of Wood Farm. (fn. 200)
Tackley has been a predominantly agricultural parish throughout its history. The bulk of its working population in the 19th century was involved in agriculture, mainly as labourers, most of whom seem to have been employed in the parish. The tradesmen included carpenters, blacksmiths, shoemakers, and masons who presumably served the agricultural community. The existence of Tackley Park is reflected in the presence of gardeners, and in 1851 a coachman. The railway employed 5 men in 1861, and 9 in 1871. Twelve people, mainly labourers' wives, were engaged in gloving in 1861, and 16 in 1871, a far smaller number than in places such as Middle Barton; presumably the men of Tackley were more fully employed, and there was less necessity for the women to work. By 1871 the parish had two coal merchants, a fish dealer, a corn dealer, and a chemist in addition to the other tradesmen. (fn. 201) In the 1890s George Chaundy of Nethercott operated a threshing machine. (fn. 202) A quarry in Whitehill, in operation in the later 19th century, closed in the mid 20th.
A mill in Tackley, later called Catsham Mill, was worth 10s. in 1086. (fn. 203) It and a second, newly built mill, presumably in fact a double mill, were given to Eynsham abbey before 1176. The abbey granted the mills away between 1241 and 1264, but recovered them in 1328. (fn. 204) After the Dissolution the mills passed to the lords of the manor; they were leased between 1660 and 1717 to successive members of the Hawkins family. The mill was rebuilt c. 1614. By 1660 it was a fulling mill, and probably remained so. It was last recorded in 1720, and had disappeared by 1767. (fn. 205)
An overshot mill in Nethercott, later called the Pullback mill, was first recorded in 1622. It stood on the stream running between Tackley and Nethercott villages. It belonged to the Harbornes, and was sold by the younger John Harborne to Edward Hughes who sold it in 1654 to Edward Astyn, from whom it probably passed, with Astyn's daughter Grace, to Sebastian Smith (fl. 1667), and then in the direct line to his son Sebastian (d. 1733), grandson Sebastian (d. 1752), and great-granddaughter Barbara Smythe. (fn. 206) The mill was in existence in 1767, but had ceased working by 1844. (fn. 207)
Both Walter Doville and William Poure, or his lessee, held courts for their Tackley manors in 1279. (fn. 210) Edmund Nowers in the 16th century and his successors held a court which regulated the fields of Tackley and Nethercott, appointed a hayward, heard presentments of minor nuisances, and registered transfers of copyhold land. From 1615 to 1631 or later John Harborne also held view of frankpledge and the assize of ale. (fn. 211) Later lords of the manor presumably also held courts, but none was recorded until the early 19th century when Sir H. W. Dashwood held courts for Hill Court and Tackley manors which dealt with minor agricultural offences and appointed a hayward. The last recorded court was held in 1847. (fn. 212)
In 1279 Walter of Whitehill held a court for Whitehill, and in 1304 it was estimated to be worth 2s. a year. (fn. 213) In the 16th century, and until 1847, the constable and tithingman of Whitehill attended the court of the honor of Ewelme at Thrupp. (fn. 214)
The usual parish officers were elected in the 18th and 19th centuries. In the early 19th century churchwardens and overseers often held office for several years in succession, and sometimes the same men held both offices. (fn. 215) Occasionally, notably in 1814, Hordley, in Wootton parish, was included in Tackley for poor law purposes. (fn. 216) In 1894 many of the vestry's functions were transferred to the newly created parish council.
Tackley spent £39 on poor relief in 1776, an average of £59 between 1783 and 1785, and £241, or c. 16s. a head of population, in 1803. Expenditure rose to a peak of £520, c. £1 2s. a head of population, in 1814, and fell again to £268, or c. 10s. a head in 1824. Although expenditure rose again to £540 to 1832, the cost per head remained one of the lowest in the area. There were reported to be 27 adults and 76 children on regular relief in 1803 and as many as 32 adults in 1814, but the overseers' accounts suggest that the numbers were usually rather lower. In the 1820s c. 27 adults were on regular relief. Roundsmen were recorded between 1807 and 1817, and the system seems to have been in operation between 1824 and 1831. (fn. 217)
There was apparently a workhouse, with only one inmate, in the parish in 1803, but it seems to have gone by 1807. (fn. 218)
After 1834 Tackley was included in Woodstock poor law union. In 1932 it was moved from the Woodstock to the Chipping Norton rural district, and in 1974 it was included in West Oxfordshire. (fn. 219)
Architectural evidence suggests that the church existed before the Conquest. In 1975 it was agreed that the living, a rectory, should be united with Steeple and North Aston, and in 1976 the rector of Steeple Aston was appointed priest in charge of Tackley. (fn. 220)
Earl Hugh of Chester, overlord of Tackley, c. 1085 granted the church, with its glebe and tithe, to the abbey of St. Sever (Vau de Vire, diocese of Coutances), a grant confirmed by the pope in 1158, (fn. 221) but by 1200 the advowson was held by the lords of the manor. (fn. 222) The patron was unknown in 1242, and the bishop collated by lapse, (fn. 223) and c. 1270 William Poure and Walter Doville recovered the advowson from the prioress of Studley. (fn. 224) It may have been in connexion with a dispute over the advowson that the sheriff was ordered in 1248 to remove all armed lay power from the church. (fn. 225) From 1270 until 1676 the advowson descended with the manor, being held in two moieties in the Middle Ages, the two patrons or their representatives presenting alternately. (fn. 226) In 1676 Catherine and Edward Walker sold the advowson, separately from the manor, to John Pollard who in 1692 conveyed it to another John Pollard. The second Pollard sold it in 1719 to St. John's College, Oxford, which remained the patron in 1981. (fn. 227)
The living, comprising tithe and glebe (2 yardlands in 1634), (fn. 228) was one of the richest in the deanery and was valued at £12 a year gross in 1254, at £16 in 1291, and at £19 9s. 4½d. in 1535. (fn. 229) The tithe of Weaveley was given to Eynsham abbey by Richard de Gray before 1109; (fn. 230) in 1239 the abbey claimed all parochial rights and great tithes of the demesne there. (fn. 231) They had apparently been lost or converted into a quitrent before 1535. (fn. 232) Two thirds of the demesne tithes of Whitehill were granted in the early 12th century to St. George's in the Castle, Oxford, and passed to Oseney abbey. (fn. 233) Oseney still held the tithe in 1397, (fn. 234) but it was not among the abbey's possessions in 1535. (fn. 235) In the earlier 18th century Tackley rectory was said to be worth £200 a year, (fn. 236) and in 1838 £742 net. (fn. 237) The tithe was commuted in 1844 for a rent charge of £750, and in 1851 the gross value of the living was £800. (fn. 238) At inclosure in 1873 the rector was allotted 44 a. for his open field glebe, making, with his 27½ a. of old inclosures, a total of 71½ a. (fn. 239) Most of the glebe was sold to R. W. Cooper of Tackley Park in 1929. (fn. 240)
In 1634 the rector was obliged to give the parishioners who paid tithe lambs a breakfast on Holy Rood day (?3 May) and a dinner for all the parish on Boxing day. (fn. 241)
The 17th-century, and presumably the medieval, rectory house lay south-east of the church, fronting onto the road to Whitehill and Oxford. In 1634 it contained 12 bays of building with stables, a gatehouse, a dovecote, and other out-houses. (fn. 242) In 1744 the house was largely rebuilt and enlarged, and several outbuildings demolished to improve the gardens. (fn. 243) In 1774 the house and its adjoining 2½-a. close were exchanged with John Morton of Hill Court for a new house and land north of the church, on the new road to Oxford. The old house was demolished and the ground taken into Tackley Park. (fn. 244) The 18thcentury house, was sold in 1928 and later renamed Little Manor. (fn. 245) It is of two storeys, with attics, and has a symmetrical front of eight bays. A new red brick rectory house of two storeys, west of the 18th-century house, remained in the church's possession in 1981.
In 1220 and 1265 the rectors, apparently sinecurists, presented vicars who received the small tithes, altar offerings, and a house. (fn. 246) Because of its high value, Tackley was held in the Middle Ages by a number of eminent ecclesiastics: Roger de Burwardescote (fl. 1243) was a member of Bishop Grosseteste's household and rector of St. Helen's, Abingdon, (fn. 247) Stephen de Cadenore was in the papal service in 1279, (fn. 248) and John Shareshull (1328–c. 1336), brother of the justice William Shareshull, spent most of his incumbency studying, presumably at Oxford. (fn. 249) Many rectors were presumably non-resident, as was Thomas Hulse, 1499–1531, in 1516–17 and c. 1525. (fn. 250) Hulse's successor John Walker (d. 1549) seems to have lived at Tackley in some style, as he had several servants and his bequests included such goods as a silver salt and a silver cup; he also had close associations with Oxford university. (fn. 251)
Edmund Nowers, by will dated 1543, left land in Tackley to trustees to endow a chantry. (fn. 252) In 1549 the chantry's endowments produced £410s. a year, of which £4 was paid to the chaplain William Walker. (fn. 253)
In the early 16th century the church contained lights of our Lady of Pity and of St. Michael as well as the rood light, but only the rood light seems to have been restored in Mary's reign. (fn. 254)
John Hawarden, rector 1555–67 and rector of Steeple Aston 1530–66, was a fellow and later principal of Brasenose College; throughout his incumbency Tackley was served by curates. (fn. 255) Both he and his curate subscribed to the Elizabethan settlement, but as late as 1564 a parishioner's will suggested Catholic sympathies. (fn. 256)
Humphrey Aylworth, rector 1609–13, may have been connected with the Aylworths of Tackley manor, although he was not a member of the immediate family. (fn. 257) His successor, John Standard (d. 1647), was lord of Whitehill manor and also an academic; he seems to have left Tackley church to curates like Robert Georges (d. 1637), probably a graduate, who owned a number of books and was a fairly prosperous farmer. (fn. 258) Standard was succeeded in 1648 by Philip Gardner who was one of the few Oxfordshire incumbents to read James II's declaration for liberty of conscience in 1688. He held the living until his death in 1694 and was succeeded by his son Samuel (d. 1723). (fn. 259)
From 1725 the rectors were all fellows or former fellows of St. John's College and William Walker, 1743–61, was president for a few months in 1757; (fn. 260) most 18th-century rectors were distinguished scholars, but several were pluralists, and even those who did reside on the cure spent part of their time in Oxford. (fn. 261) As in other parishes in the neighbourhood there was little change in services between 1738 and the early 19th century, two services and one sermon each Sunday and holy communion four times a year being the standard provision. Attendance at holy communion declined throughout the 18th century, and in 1784 the rector reported that despite frequent exhortations few or no children were sent to be catechized. A slight improvement was reported in the earlier 19th century, but the strength of Methodism in the parish was probably at least partly due to the neglect of successive rectors and curates. (fn. 262) In 1805 a parishioner was accused of criticizing the rector's sermon and adding 'God bless all Methodists and all Methodist parsons'. (fn. 263)
The 19th century was marked by the long incumbency of Lancelot Arthur Sharpe, rector 1839–91, an early Tractarian who later modified his views. Bishop Wilberforce found him good, conscientious, devout, and upright, but also commented on his 'nervous irritability' and quarrels over baptism and tithes. (fn. 264) In 1851 congregations at the two Sunday services averaged only 65–70 adults and 50–70 Sunday School children, out of a total population of 558. (fn. 265) In 1854 there were c. 12 communicants at the monthly communion and 22 at great festivals, figures little higher than the 18th-century ones, and congregations at the main Sunday services were only 100 and not increasing. (fn. 266) Congregations apparently rose to 150 in 1869, but in 1875 Sharpe recorded that a large number of parishioners did not attend church. The frequency of communion services was increased to twice a month in 1872 and to once a week in 1884, and there was some increase in the number of communicants. (fn. 267) Despite the employment of an assistant curate, church life declined towards the end of Sharpe's long incumbency, and in 1890 considerable dissension was reported in the parish, partly caused by the way in which the rector's daughter Ada Sharpe managed the choir. Matters improved under the next rector, Thomas Nolan. (fn. 268)
The church of ST. NICHOLAS (fn. 269) comprises a chancel, a central tower, north and south transepts, and a clerestoried nave with south aisle and south porch. The north and south walls of the nave seem to be partly pre-Conquest, and the north wall contains two blocked arches indicating that the Anglo-Saxon church had a north aisle, or perhaps porticuses. There was probably a similar arrangement on the south. The western bay of the chancel and the pilaster buttress on the south side are 12th-century. At that date the church contained some fine decoration including three beak-head corbels, re-used in the tower, and the monolithic head of a probably Anglo-Saxon doorway, reset in the churchyard wall. The chancel was extended eastwards by one bay in the earlier 13th century and given a triplet of lancets in the east wall. At about the same time the nave was extended westwards and the south arcade rebuilt with an aisle. Early in the 14th century the central tower was built in the place of an earlier tower or the eastern bay of the Anglo-Saxon nave. In its construction north and south arches were provided for transepts, which were shortly afterwards built up against the tower buttresses. By the time the north transept was built the Anglo-Saxon porticuses or aisle had been demolished and the arcade blocked, a 12th-century doorway being reset in the blocking of the western arch. The tracery of the west window of the nave was replaced in the earlier 14th century. A clerestory was added to the nave in the 15th century and the tower was raised by one stage. In the same century all the windows on the south side of the church were replaced and in the chancel the roof was renewed and a tomb recess built into the north wall.
The north transept was rebuilt in 1616 by John Harborne who used it as his family chapel: a manorial pew dated 1613 survived in 1846. (fn. 270) A north vestry or chapel of uncertain date, between the transept and the chancel, was probably removed at that time. Between 1760 and 1765 'great repairs' were carried out, the work including reroofing the nave and south transept and perhaps also the chancel and north transept which were the responsibility of the rector and the lord of the manor respectively, repaving the church, and stuccoing and painting it; the interior of the church was refitted. Further repairs were made to the tower in 1782–3 and to the roof in 1846. (fn. 271)
In 1862 the church was struck by lightning and parts of it, notably the window tracery and the upper stages of the tower, badly damaged. It was restored by G. E. Street, the work including rebuilding the south porch and much of the south aisle as well as replacing the roofs and much of the window tracery. The interior was refitted with oak pulpit, pews, desk, and communion rails. The lord of the manor, Sir James Dashwood, surrendered the north transept to the parish, which thenceforth assumed responsibility for its repair. (fn. 272) An oak chancel screen was erected in 1896, a new pulpit in 1930, and in 1942 an altar was erected in the south transept. In 1921 a font, apparently dating from 1863, was replaced by a copy of an earlier Gothic font designed by J. C. Buckler in 1825 and removed c. 1854. (fn. 273)
The monuments include, in a recess in the north wall of the chancel, a late medieval altar tomb, with above it a plaque to Peter Aylworth (d. 1595) and his wife Anne (d. 1611). On the east wall of the north transept is a wall monument to John Harborne (d. 1651) showing him and his wife kneeling on either side of a prayer desk with below them their 5 sons and 8 daughters. On the east wall of the south transept is a large memorial by J. Bacon to John Morton of Tackley Park (d. 1780) with a classical figure of justice. On the south wall of the nave is a plaque to his successor Sir John Whalley Smythe Gardiner (d. 1797) and Martha his wife (d. 1840). On the south-west pier of the crossing is a small, plain plaque to an infant daughter (d. 1615) of John Standard of Whitehill.
Nine papists were reported in Tackley in 1676, (fn. 276) perhaps encouraged by the recusant Walter Mildmay, lord of the manor from 1677 to 1694. Their numbers had fallen to two in 1706. (fn. 277) There was one Roman Catholic in the parish in the 1760s, and a family in the early 19th century. (fn. 278)
The two nonconformists in 1676 were perhaps Quakers, as one or two of that sect were reported in the parish later in the century, (fn. 279) but there was hardly any nonconformity in Tackley until a strong Methodist community grew up in the early 19th century. Houses were licensed for worship in 1804 and 1805, and a 'building', perhaps a separate meeting house, in 1808, (fn. 280) by which time the c. 37 Methodists in the parish were visited regularly by a licensed preacher. (fn. 281) In 1813 a chapel was conveyed to the Wesleyan Conference; it was enlarged in 1840, (fn. 282) and on Census Sunday 1851 attracted congregations of 72 in the morning and 112 in the evening. (fn. 283) It continued to draw large congregations in the later 19th century. (fn. 284) In the 1950s and 1960s it maintained a Sunday School and supported other activities. (fn. 285) It was still open in 1981.
The chapel, a plain rectangular building of local rubble with a brick extension at the east and a stone porch at the west, appears to be mainly of early 19th-century date. The mutilated datestone of 1853 on the south wall presumably came from another building.
The priest of Nowers's chantry (founded in 1543) was to teach children, (fn. 286) but the endowment did not survive the suppression of the chantry. In the 18th century a few children were taught to read, and in the early 19th century there were two dame schools. (fn. 287) In 1819 there was a day school attended by 20 children and a Sunday school attended by a further 50. The numbers at the day school had risen to 44 by 1831, and those in the Sunday school to c. 70. Both schools were supported by the rector. (fn. 288)
A National school was built in 1840 on a site given by St. John's College. (fn. 289) There were c. 62 children on the roll in 1854, and 38 boys and 60 girls, less than half of whom attended regularly, in 1867. A government grant was received from 1860. (fn. 290) An evening school, conducted by the rector, was held in the 1850s. (fn. 291)
A new school room was built in 1861 and an infant school in 1872, the latter financed by the sale of two cottages given by St. John's College in 1840 as an endowment for the school. (fn. 292) By 1900 there was accommodation for 100 children. (fn. 293)
In 1927 the school was reorganized as a junior school, seniors travelling to Steeple Aston. Attendance increased steadily from 35 in 1927 to 58 in 1979. The 19th-century school building was replaced by a new one in 1965, (fn. 294) and the school remained open, as a voluntary controlled Church of England junior school in 1981. Seniors attended Marlborough Comprehensive in Woodstock.
Charities For The Poor.
John Hill of Twyford (Bucks.) by will proved in 1631 left £20 to the poor of Tackley. Before 1810 £10 was lost, but an additional £10 was given that year by the rector, W. Morrice, restoring the charity to its original value. (fn. 295) In the 19th century and earlier 20th the charity was distributed in coal, but from 1967 the small income was allowed to accumulate. (fn. 296) Morrice, by will dated 1824, left £137 for fuel for poor churchgoers. (fn. 297) It was still so used in 1967.
Mary Strickland, daughter of L. A. Sharpe, rector 1839–91, by deed dated 1907 gave c. £310 to provide a weekly pension for a cripple. In 1956 two cripples received cash and coal; in 1967 the charity was distributed in coal. (fn. 298)
Sophia Louisa Nolan, by will proved in 1908, gave £500 for church furnishings or the poor. In 1967 the charity was distributed in coal and T.V. licences. (fn. 299)
Thomas Chilton, by will proved 1878, left £100 to the minister and class leader of Tackley Methodist church for coal for widows and widowers. From 1958 the charity, which was not confined to Methodists, was distributed in logs. (fn. 300)
At inclosure in 1873 a plot of 24 a. on Tackley Heath was allotted to the poor. (fn. 301) The land has remained as rough pasture, and a source of firewood.