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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Duns Tew parish lies just south of Deddington and 16 miles (26 km.) north of Oxford. The parish is almost square, and comprises c. 1,750 a. (708 ha.), (fn. 1) bridging the junction of the north Oxfordshire claylands and the limestone belt to the south. The northern boundary is formed by a brook, and the eastern boundary with North Aston partly follows the Oxford-Banbury road (an ancient ridgeway) and a small stream known in the 13th century as Merewellake; (fn. 2) part of the southern boundary with Steeple Barton follows Cockley Brook. Otherwise the eastern and southern boundaries, together with the whole of the western boundary with Worton, follow field boundaries. By 1229, though there was uncertainty whether tithe from an area near the boundary should be paid to Duns Tew or North Aston, the line between the two parishes was accepted and known. (fn. 3)
The centre and south-east parts of the parish are fairly level, the ground falling only from c. 150 m. in the south-east to c. 140 m. at the village near the centre. To the north and south-west the ground descends to c. 90 m. and c. 120 m. respectively at the watercourses marking the parish boundaries there; the fall to the north is interrupted by the ridge on which Hill Farm stands. The North Aston fault runs south-west to north-east, passing through the village and separating the oolitic limestone and sands in the south from the lias clay and marlstone of the north. (fn. 4) Springs are especially numerous on the clays, and, known as 'wells', they have, with the streams or 'lakes' flowing from them, greatly influenced field names.
The village is connected by lanes with Over Worton, Ilbury in Deddington, North Aston, Middle Aston, and Steeple Barton. The road west was known in the 15th century and probably earlier as Churchway, perhaps implying the earlier dependence of Duns Tew on a mother church at Great Tew. It was also known as Chipping Norton way. (fn. 5) Ilbury Lane, mentioned in the 17th century, crossed the parish boundary at Ilbury Bridge. (fn. 6) The Barton road, also known as Woodway, was probably part of a way into Wychwood forest; before inclosure in 1794 it ran for most of the way west of its present course. Witney way, a bridleway, runs south-west from the White Horse in the village, crossing Cockley Brook by a small bridge, perhaps formerly a ford, at a place known as Witney stone. It ran on to join a network of roads at Cuckold's Holt, and perhaps with Horseway, which ran north-east from the village to the Oxford-Banbury road, carrying traffic between Deddington and other markets. Cow Lane, beginning c. 200 yd. west of Horseway, was used to drive cattle to pasture on Down End common; it is discernible as a broad grassy track below the modern Hill Farm Lane. Two roads known as the Woodstock ways branched south from Woodway, presumably to join bridleways through Steeple Barton to Wootton and Woodstock. (fn. 7) Both roads were suppressed at inclosure, as was Mill way, which ran north of the Middle Aston road, apparently to join the road past Grange Farm, in Middle Aston, to Somerton. A carrier operated from the village in the later 17th century, and by the 19th there were regular services to local towns and further afield. (fn. 8) The nearest railway station was at Somerton, opened in 1855. (fn. 9)
A prehistoric double-ditched enclosure, visible from the air, lies south-east of the village towards the boundary with North Aston and Middle Aston. (fn. 10) Romano-British finds south-west of Ilbury Bridge were probably connected with Ilbury Camp just to the north, and no evidence of settlement in Duns Tew in that period has been found. (fn. 11) A 9th-century brooch found in the village is the earliest evidence of Anglo-Saxon settlement. (fn. 12) The name Tew has been tentatively interpreted as referring to a ridge, though what ridge is uncertain, and Duns is thought to be from an Anglo-Saxon called Dunn, presumably a landholder and possibly post-Conquest since the compound name has not been found before the 13th century. (fn. 13)
Twenty-five people were recorded in Duns Tew in 1086, on four estates. (fn. 14) In 1279 the tenants, not all of them living at Duns Tew, numbered 53. (fn. 15) As elsewhere in the region, population fell in the 14th century; at the time of the Black Death the corn belonging to one estate was left standing in the fields, and the land was long left untilled. (fn. 16) A recovery in the later 14th century is suggested by the 91 adults who were assessed in 1377 for the poll tax. (fn. 17) Indicators of population in the 17th century are conflicting: in 1642 the Protestation Oath was taken by 77 people over 18, but the hearth tax of 1662 listed only 14 households. (fn. 18) It is likely that the latter figure omits many households excluded by poverty, and the higher total is supported by the 269 conformists and nonconformists returned in 1676. (fn. 19) The population seems to have remained fairly stable in the 18th century, increasing, according to the incumbents' estimates, only from c. 50 to c. 60 families. (fn. 20) There were 318 people in 1801, rising rapidly by 1821 to 460, a level retained until 1851 when there began a prolonged decline which reduced the population to 188 in 1921. The decline was reversed after the Second World War as new families began to move into the village, and the population rose by 1951 to 273 and by 1971 to 393, the highest level for a century. (fn. 21)
Indications of a small deserted settlement were discovered in 1981 c. 400 yd. south-east of Hill Farm, beside the stream where the medieval mill stood. On clay and in a sheltered position, the site contrasts with that of Duns Tew village. There is no suggestion in surviving records of a second township in the parish. The site is at the southern edge of an early inclosure of c. 100 a., which is less likely to have been a separate small area of open-field land belonging to a deserted village than a simple inclosure of common. (fn. 22) The medieval fields of Duns Tew as recorded from the early 14th century seem clearly to have centred on the present village, and either the abandoned settlement had no fields of its own or they had been absorbed when Duns Tew's fields were laid out and divided into a West end and a Down end. (fn. 23) The establishment of two separate sets of fields in the parish was reflected in the village itself, which was similarly divided between west and east. The line of division probably ran along the western side of the Great Orchard west of Duns Tew Manor, turning east along the village street and then south out of the village. Separate officials were appointed for each side of the township, and in 1661 the inhabitants of the west end were ordered to drain the village street there. (fn. 24) Each end had its own pound, one just south of the village, the other north of the junction of Churchway and Ilbury Lane. (fn. 25)
Duns Tew village stands on the northern edge of the limestone belt, and commands sweeping views northwards across the claylands to Deddington. Its high and exposed position was made habitable by an abundance of water from springs and wells. Houses were built in the Middle Ages east and west of the church on both sides of the road passing through the village, and north down Cow Lane, but there was very little building to the south. Later contraction left several empty house plots among the houses, especially in Cow Lane. The older buildings are of local ironstone and limestone with thatch or stone slate roofs. Some, such as the modern Post Office stores, preserve the better cottages and homesteads of the 17th century. They are to be found mainly on the south side of the village street and in Hill Farm Lane, formerly Cow Lane. Ridge House, south of the street and south-east of the church, was formerly smaller and was lengthened in the 18th century, a process matched in other houses such as the large two-storeyed house opposite and the three-storeyed house of ashlar and rubble (nos. 32 and 33) east of the White Horse. The most important 17th-century house in the village, the former Raves manor house west of Duns Tew Manor, is described below. (fn. 26) The ownership of Duns Tew by the Dashwood family from the early 18th century was marked by several periods of building and renovation of a high standard. Manor Farm, for instance, towards the west end of the village, and Manor House Farm, further east, are tall, unpretentious farmhouses opening directly on the village street. Daisy Hill Farm, south-east of Manor House Farm, is also of the 18th century, although its stables and outbuildings were much altered when adapted as a holiday centre. Many 18th-century cottages such as the row opposite the village hall, formerly the school, retained their thatched roofs until the later 20th century. (fn. 27) Datestones bear witness to the amount of work carried out in the 1860s by Sir George Dashwood and by Sir Henry William Dashwood. The principal additions to the village in the 19th century were Priory Court, formerly the vicarage, and the school, dated 1874. (fn. 28) The Old Forge, with stone mullioned windows and dripmoulds in 17th-century fashion, is a notable example of the quality of much 19th-century work in the village. Many cottages and houses have been extensively renovated since the Second World War. Several council houses were built in the mid 20th century south of the North Aston road and opposite the Old Forge, and Dashwood Rise, a private housing estate, was begun in the 1960s. There has been infilling in the village centre and Hill Farm Lane.
A small triangular green stands in the middle of the road junction south of the church. It bore an elm tree until 1981. In 1794 there was a building, of unknown function and since removed, just to the north-east. The entrance to Duns Tew Manor was then directly opposite the green, but by 1881 the drive had been moved further west to pass by the side of the dovecot. (fn. 29) There were still six farmhouses in the village in 1981, Malthouse and Glebe Farms in the east, Daisy Hill, Manor House, Manor, and Spring Farms in the west. Hill Farm was the earliest outlying farm. (fn. 30) A farmhouse was probably built between 1688 and 1720 (fn. 31) and may be that incorporated in farm buildings east of the present house, which was designed c. 1865, perhaps by William Wilkinson, the architect of Priory Court. The farm buildings incorporate the remains of an earlier house. Other outlying farms were built after the inclosure of 1794. There were buildings at Lower Farm and Common Barn, east and west respectively of Ilbury Lane, by 1815. (fn. 32) The present house at Common Barn Farm was originally two cottages, dated hwd 1864, for Sir Henry William Dashwood, and similar cottages, dated gd 1860, for Sir George Dashwood, were built at Lower Farm. The farmhouse at Lower Farm appears to be of the early 19th century and the date 1898 which it bears presumably refers to a rebuilding. There are extensive stone-built farm buildings of unusual quality nearby. Blue Barn, formerly known as Tewley Barn, was built by 1815, but the farmhouse is of later date.
Mention was made c. 1720 of 'old Dean, the alehouse man', but the site of his house is unknown. (fn. 33) In the later 18th century there were two inns, the Cross, named after the family which kept it, and the White Horse. The site of the Cross, which seems to have given up its licence in the late 18th century or early 19th, has not been discovered. (fn. 34) The White Horse, south of the village street opposite Manor House Farm, is an 18th-century building with later additions. It remained a public house in 1981.
A payment of 3 qr. of maslin was in the mid 17th century made from the rectory barn on the day of the annual perambulation of the parish to the inhabitants of certain homesteads and cottages, to the farmers of two of the three demesne farms, and to some freeholders. It was not primarily a gift to the poor, inhabitants of newly built cottages were not eligible, and Sir Thomas Read, lord of the manor, arranged with some of his farmers to return their share on the spot, but some recipients did give their corn to the poor. Payment was stopped by Sir John Read in 1679, but the custom was upheld in a Chancery suit brought by the churchwardens, and it was still in use in the mid 19th century. (fn. 35)
In 1584 the churchwardens were cited to the archdeacon's court for allowing a play or interlude in the church, (fn. 36) and in 1620 there was mention of a place called 'the dancings' on the West End common, (fn. 37) but no other reference to early village sports and entertainments has been found. In the 1970s Ridge House was owned by a well known maker of lutes and harpsichords whose influence led to the holding in the parish church of a series of concerts by musicians of international reputation. (fn. 38)
Manors and Other Estates.
Four of the nine estates described in 1086 as lying in Tew can be ascribed to Duns Tew. (fn. 39) The two largest were held by Eurwin, of Robert d'Oilly (7 hides) and Robert of Stafford (3½ hides). By 1166 the d'Oilly land, too, may have been held of the barony of Stafford, Eurwin's successors holding their land as 2 knights' fees, one direct from the Stafford barony, the other from Stafford through Henry d'Oilly as mesne lord. The Stafford overlordship is last mentioned in 1242. (fn. 40) The d'Oilly lordship descended with their other estates to the de Plessis family. Duns Tew was held of Hugh de Plessis at his death in 1363, but by 1526 it was said merely to be held 'of the heirs of Hugh de Plessis'. (fn. 41) Eurwin's successor as demesne tenant of both DUNS TEW estates was a family called of Tew, of which an account is given elsewhere. (fn. 42) Duns Tew was the centre of their landed interest until 1284 when Hugh of Tew was succeeded by three daughters between whom the manor was partitioned. One daughter, Maud, married Hugh of Hinton, and in 1316 William of Hinton was said to be one of the lords of Duns Tew. (fn. 43) In 1323 John son of John of Hinton sold the share to Robert Arden of Drayton (d. 1331). (fn. 44) Robert's son Giles (d. 1376) was predeceased by his son, also Giles, and his estates passed to the younger Giles's daughters Margaret and Joan; Duns Tew was taken by Margaret. She later married Lewis Greville, and the manor remained in the possession of the Greville family until 1521, when Edward Greville sold it to John Audlett. (fn. 45) On his death in 1536 Audlett was succeeded by Thomas Read (d. 1556), probably his wife's relative. (fn. 46)
Emma, another daughter of Hugh of Tew, married Richard (d. 1287 x 1291) son of Roger of Lyons. (fn. 47) Thomas of Lyons held the share by 1299; he was still alive in 1321 but in 1340 his son Thomas sold the estate to Sir John Lyons of Warkworth (Northants.), of the senior line of the family. (fn. 48) In 1348 Sir John settled it on his wife and son John. (fn. 49) John apparently died without issue after 1383 and was succeeded by his nephew Sir John Chetwode (d. 1412), whose son Sir Thomas died childless between 1446 and 1456 and was succeeded by his sister Elizabeth (d. 1475), wife of Sir Thomas Woodhill. (fn. 50) Their descendant Agnes, only daughter of Anthony Woodhill (d. 1542), married Richard Chetwode of Chetwode (Bucks.). Their son Richard sold the estate in 1598 to Thomas Read (d. 1604), son of the Thomas mentioned above. (fn. 51) The Reads' chief landed interest lay in Berkshire, and Thomas's son Sir Thomas settled the Duns Tew estate in 1639 on his second son John. (fn. 52) John's grandson Sir John Read (d. 1711) left four sisters as heirs; it was agreed in 1719 that Duns Tew should go to the eldest, Dorothea, wife of Robert fifth son of Sir Robert Dashwood of Northbrook. (fn. 53)
Hugh of Tew's third daughter, William, married Ralph of Sutton, son of Ralph of Astrop. By 1321 their third share of the manor was in the hands of Walter Bicester, who sold it soon after, probably to Hugh Raves, grandfather of Hugh Raves, the owner in 1350. (fn. 54) George Raves (d. by 1560), taxed at Duns Tew in 1524 and 1544, and implicated in the Oxfordshire rising of 1549, was presumably the owner of the third share at that time. (fn. 55) He was succeeded by his son Richard (d. 1596) and Richard's son George (d. 1613), whose son William died in 1631, leaving five sisters as heirs. (fn. 56) The landed estate of the Raves third of the manor comprised 6 yardlands, and it is likely that the family held only the demesne land of the Sutton inheritance; the descent of the remainder is set out below. The 6 yardlands had been attached to two houses, Farm House (4 yardlands) and Over House (2 yardlands), to facilitate the provision of dower. The Farm House estate was divided between Anne and Jane Raves, the Over House estate passing to a third sister Elizabeth. (fn. 57) Elizabeth's 2 yardlands were probably those bought in 1676 by Sir John Read. (fn. 58) The Farm House estate was reunited in 1659 when Anne's husband Richard Burrows of Arlescote (Warws.) bought Jane's share. In 1666 he settled all 4 yardlands on his son Raves, who settled them in 1698 on his son John. (fn. 59) In 1716 John gave 1 yardland to his sister Joan, who sold it in 1729 to Henry Bennett, a Deddington mercer. Bennett settled it in 1745 on his daughter Sarah and her husband William Taylor of Radford. William and his son John sold it in 1779 to John Preedy (d. 1800) of Duns Tew, from whose executors it was purchased in 1814 by Sir Henry Dashwood. (fn. 60) John Burrows sold a further 1¾ yardlands in 1729 to Robert Dashwood, and in 1736 his daughter and heir Sarah sold the remaining 1¼ yardlands with the third of the manor to Dorothea Dashwood. (fn. 61) The manor was therefore reunited in the ownership of the Dashwood family which retained the lordship until the estate was broken up in 1948. (fn. 62)
From the early 18th century to the early 19th the manor house was let to the Chamberlain family, related to the Dashwoods by marriage. (fn. 63) In the 19th century it was sometimes used by the eldest sons of the Dashwood family before succeeding to the principal estates. (fn. 64) Duns Tew Manor stands north of the parish church. An earlier house, presumably that of the Read family in the 17th century, formerly occupied the site. A new house, built c. 1710 by Robert Dashwood 'for a hunting seat', (fn. 65) may originally have stood slightly forward of the earlier building, part of which it later incorporated. A tall, two-storeyed, five-bayed, ironstone building, the house was remodelled in the 19th century when a lower two-storeyed wing of four bays was added on the east in place of a small detached building. The new wing is faced in stone, but the side and rear elevations are of brick. In the later 19th century a large brick extension was built northwards from the east end. (fn. 66) The manor house of the Raves manor stands c. 50 yd. west of Duns Tew Manor. Dated RB 1694, for Raves Burrows, it is a twostoreyed house of coursed ironstone rubble with decorative limestone bands and stone mullioned windows. A small dovecot has been built between two first-floor windows on the west front. There was presumably a third manor house, but its site is unknown. It may have stood a little further west in that part of the Duns Tew Manor grounds known in the 18th century as the Great Orchard. The foundations of a building are reputed to have been found there. (fn. 67) A 17thcentury dovecot stands west of the drive to the other two manor houses. There are the remains of four substantial fishponds north-east of Duns Tew Manor.
An estate comprising 6 messuages, 1 cottage, and 7 yardlands, possibly the former villein holdings of the third of the manor inherited by Hugh of Tew's daughter William, was in the possession of Sir Richard Adderbury (d. c. 1400). It passed thereafter with his manor of Glympton until conveyed in 1478 by John Langston to his son Richard, on whose death in 1525 the estate was said to be held of the heirs of Hugh de Plessis, i.e. of the d'Oilly fee. Richard's son John (d. 1558) left the estate to the Denton family, and Edmund Denton sold it to Thomas Read in 1582, since when it has descended with the manor. (fn. 68)
Three hides held in 1086 by Gilbert Maminot, bishop of Lisieux, were incorporated in the 12th century, with an estate of 5 hides at Dunthrop, in the barony of Tarrant Keynston. The Duns Tew estate seems, like Dunthrop, to have been granted to Bruern abbey by the family called of Dunthrop in the early 13th century. It was held of Michael of Dunthrop and later of Bruern by Stephen of Duns Tew, also called Stephen Runcin, as 3/8 knight's fee. By 1225 Stephen had been succeeded by his son Roger, and in 1279 the estate was held of Bruern by Thomas Runcin, presumably Roger's son. (fn. 69) A Thomas Runcin held it in 1307, and Richard Runcin in 1316 and 1327. (fn. 70) Ralph Runcin was said in 1346 to hold ¼ knight's fee in Duns Tew, and the fee was mentioned again in 1428, but by then the connexion with the family had become tenuous and no further mention has been found. (fn. 71)
One hide in Duns Tew was held in 1086 by Wadard as tenant of Odo, bishop of Bayeux. (fn. 72) It was granted shortly after with other of Odo's lands to Manasser Arsic and, with land at Sesswell's Barton, formed 1 knight's fee of the honor of Arsic. The Arsic overlordship of the Duns Tew estate was not recorded after 1279 but it may have followed the descent of Sesswell's Barton. For most of the 12th century Duns Tew passed with Sesswell's Barton, held by a family taking its name from that place, but the tenure became increasingly complex. By the early 13th century Ralph (d. by 1216), a younger son of Humphrey of Barton, held Duns Tew, apparently of the senior branch. The land itself seems by then to have been in the hands of free tenants, for a rent of 5s. in Duns Tew held by Ralph at his death was almost identical with a rent of 5s. 2d. paid by four tenants holding the land in 1279. There was a dispute over the rents in 1241 between Ralph's daughter Mabel and Richard of Shethendon or Schevendon; she was still pursuing her claim in 1247, against Richard son of Otes of Barton, head of the senior line of the family. The 5s. 2d. rent was paid in 1279 to a member of the junior line, John son of William of Barton, but the land was said to be held of Richard of Shethendon. (fn. 73) A yardland of the estate was held by John Edmund of Duns Tew at his death in 1380; the lord of the fee was then said to be Richard Adderbury. (fn. 74) It presumably passed thereafter with other Adderbury land in the parish to the Read family. (fn. 75)
In 1251 Henry III granted to Andrew Turbut for a rent of 2s. an estate of ½ hide in Duns Tew, held by serjeanty of a service in Woodstock park. The serjeanty had been recovered from Hugh of Tew, who had acquired it without licence. (fn. 76) It was not mentioned in Domesday Book, perhaps because it was accidentally omitted or was incorporated in the account of a royal manor, but its inclusion with Duns Tew would bring the hidage of 1086 from 14½ to 15 hides, corresponding with the 60 yardlands traditionally reckoned to lie in the parish. By 1279 the estate had become subinfeudated, held by John son of David from William Lea, who paid a nominal rent to William Turbut. (fn. 77) The superior lordships seem later to have fallen into desuetude and the Davy family held in chief until 1330 when Agnes widow of John Davy sold part to Robert Arden. (fn. 78) More land seems to have been alienated to the Ardens in the later 14th century, and by 1380 the Davys' successor, perhaps heir, the John Edmund mentioned above, held only 10 a. in chief. (fn. 79) In 1636 a messuage and 2 yardlands held by Richard Raves as of the manor of Woodstock by payment of 2s. was almost certainly the serjeanty estate, although whether the 2 yardlands were the original ones may be doubted. (fn. 80) No later reference has been found.
One yardland of the Runcin fee was acquired in 1225 by Oseney abbey, passing in 1542 to Christ Church, Oxford. (fn. 81) At inclosure in 1794 Christ Church was awarded 14½ a. in the northeast corner of the parish, adjacent to the college's land in Deddington. (fn. 82) The Duns Tew land formed part of the sale by the college in 1954 to Ivor Guest, Viscount Wimborne. (fn. 83)
Rectorial tithes were held, with the church, by Merton priory from the mid 12th century. Twothirds of Hugh of Tew's demesne tithes, however, were given or confirmed about the same time by Robert d'Oilly to Oseney abbey. In 1443 the abbey surrendered the tithes to Merton for a pension of 26s. 8d. a year, but by 1535 that, too, was paid to Merton. (fn. 84) Rectorial tithes included tithes on hay taken from Bestmoor in North Aston, even though hay tithes within Duns Tew were taken by the vicar. (fn. 85) Rectorial tithes passed with the advowson until they were extinguished at inclosure in 1794, Sir Henry Dashwood receiving 137 a. in compensation. (fn. 86)
There were until inclosure in 1794 two separate sets of fields in Duns Tew, east and west of the village. Known as Down End field and West End field respectively, each was divided into a north side and a south side to give a normal two-field rotation. The antiquity of the arrangement is unknown; it was in use by 1436 when a yardland owned by Oseney abbey lay entirely in the West end, and it may by then have been long established, for there were references in the early 14th century to the east field and to rights of pasture in Dunham marsh, later Down End common. (fn. 87) Tenements lay in one or other of the ends, each of which had its own pasture and meadows, and there were separate common herds of cattle and sheep. (fn. 88) The village itself was divided. (fn. 89) The symmetry of the division suggests that it was the result of deliberate planning. The boundary in the south between Down End and West End followed the irregular line often found where two sets of open fields meet, but in the north it was marked by a series of straight lines. In Down End the north and south sides were divided by the North Aston road, in West End by the southern edge of West End common. By the 17th century the use of the two ends was synchronized, both north sides being the corn field in even years. (fn. 90) In 1652 West End field comprised c. 360 statute acres on the north side and c. 290 a. on the south. Down End field seems to have been more evenly divided, probably with c. 310 a. on each side. (fn. 91) West End common comprised 118 a. adjoining Over Worton in 1722, Down End common 56 a. north of Bury field. (fn. 92) Down End common, however, may once have contained c. 100 a. more; Hilly close, 36 a. inclosed in the early 16th century, and 5 closes comprising 66 a. in the area later called Little fields were probably inclosed from the common. By c. 1675 they formed a single farm, later Hill farm. (fn. 93) Each set of fields therefore comprised at their fullest extent c. 780 a., excluding village closes and meadows. There were said in the late 17th century to be 30 yardlands of arable in each end. (fn. 94) Theoretically there were c. 20 a. available for each yardland, but yardlands seem to have been of unequal size, ranging in 1722, for example, from 13 a. to 27 a. (fn. 95) A yardland given in 1225 to Oseney abbey was said by a jury in 1436 to be 24¼ a., by a terrier in 1622 to be 17¾ a., and in 1722 to be 23 statute acres. (fn. 96)
The demesne of Eurwin's manor in 1086 amounted to 3 ploughlands, and his successors' demesne seems to have been all or largely in Down End field, where the effects of the estate's partition in the late 13th century could be seen until the 18th. The name Bury field, meaning demesne land, given in 1722 to two adjacent furlongs in the north, seems usually to have applied to all the land north of the manor house, bounded on the north by Down End common, on the east by Cow Lane, and on the west by West End field. In the early 18th century the land showed signs of a division into two-thirds and one-third, reflecting ownership of the manorial estate by the Dashwood and Burrows families. Another block of demesne lay south of the North Aston road. (fn. 97)
There were two lot meadows in the west end, Brook Mead (c. 15 a.) along the northern boundary stream, and Ladbrook Mead (c. 10 a.) along Cockley Brook in the south. There were also pieces of grass such as Ploughland Marsh and West Marsh in the north, and Small Mead in the south, which were lot meadow when they lay in the corn field and were left for common grazing when in the fallow field. (fn. 98) Lot meadow was divided into 14 sets containing groups of 30 'yards', the share of 1 yardland being 1 'yard' in each group. (fn. 99) In 1722 there were c. 45 a. of meadow in the west end, so that a 'yard' then comprised c. 1½ a. (fn. 100) In Down End field Upper and Lower Capney Mead, each c. 6¼ a., lay along the northern brook. There may have been another 4 a. there and 2 a. at the junction of the brook and the mill stream. By 1722 almost all of it was inclosed, but a reference c. 1655 to a 2-yardland holding with a yard in each Capney mead suggests that there had been lot meadow. (fn. 101) Duns Tew shared with North Aston a meadow in the latter parish known as Bestmoor, which contained hay for 63 yardlands, 42 of them in Duns Tew. In 1086 Eurwin's two Duns Tew holdings had a much larger amount of meadow (44 a. in all) than did the other two manors (10 a. in all), a discrepancy perhaps accounted for by Bestmoor; Eurwin's assessment at 10½ hides corresponded exactly with the share for 42 yardlands in Bestmoor assigned to Duns Tew. (fn. 102) The right to take hay from Bestmoor continued until all mowing rights were bought up in 1864 by the lord of North Aston manor. (fn. 103)
The inclosure of c. 100 a. of the north side of Down End field to form Hill farm has been mentioned above. In 1652 an agreement was reached for the inclosure of the whole of West End field, and similar arrangements were probably made for Down End field. (fn. 104) It is not known why the inclosure was not carried through, but it was presumably its failure which prompted Sir John Read, the leading landowner in the parish, to take all his land into his own hands and to work it through bailiffs. (fn. 105) It was perhaps then that hedges were put around much of the former demesne land, renamed New Grounds and later Home Ground, south of the North Aston road. Although Read's estate was relatively compact and was farmed directly, it remained subject to the usual regulations of open field husbandry. When tenant farms were reinstated in the late 17th century there was no move towards inclosure. The map of 1722 indicates a determination to share the land among tenants strip by strip, although in Down End field the strips were probably larger than before. (fn. 106)
It was said c. 1720 that the parish was 'almost all three crops ground, but very little one crop ground', (fn. 107) and the evolution to four quarters in each field was probably complete soon after. In 1794 the quarters in Down End were Bury field and Hill in the north, Tuley Tree and Ridges in the south; in West End they were Tomwell and an unnamed quarter in the north, Whittington and Sands in the south. (fn. 108) There was a regular hitch taken out of the fallow field by c. 1550, and the manor court made detailed orders specifying the furlongs to be sown and those to be grazed. Bury field, for instance, in one year was arable until Lammas when the cattle, which had previously been kept on leys and greensward east of Cow Lane, were moved in. (fn. 109) Stints for sheep and cattle were sometimes higher on the more suitable clay land of the West end, and rights of common could be let for more. In the late 16th century and early 17th the allowance was often 4 cattle to the yardland in West End and 3 in Down End; up to 40 sheep were kept in both ends. As elsewhere, however, the stint was reduced in the later 17th century and the 18th, when it was frequently 3 and 2 cattle respectively and only 22 sheep. (fn. 110)
In 1086 two estates at Duns Tew had declined in value since 1066 and were deficient in ploughs and peasantry, while two had increased in value. Eurwin's 7-hide estate was fully exploited, with 3 ploughteams and 3 serfs on the demesne and another 4 ploughteams worked by 8 villeins and 3 bordars. The estate's value had risen from £7 to £9. His 3½-hide estate, however, had fallen in value from 60s. to 30s. There was land for 2 ploughs, but there were no demesne ploughteams or servants, and 1 villein and 2 bordars had only half a ploughteam. The bishop of Lisieux's estate, 3 hides, had land for 4 ploughs. There were 1 ploughteam and 2 serfs on the demesne, and another ploughteam worked by 5 villeins. The estate's value had increased from 40s. to 60s. Wadard's single hide had land for 1 plough, but no ploughteams were at work there and there was only 1 villein. The value had fallen from 20s. to 12s. (fn. 111) It seems likely that only the easier land was being fully cultivated. Later growth resulted in the creation of numerous relatively small free tenements, so that by 1279 there were 23 freeholders, excluding manorial lords, with holdings ranging from 2 a. to 2 yardlands. The former Lisieux estate, held of Bruern abbey in 1279 by Thomas Runcin, had 15 tenants, all free, among whom there were 1 holder of 1½ yardland, 5 of 1 yardland, and 3 of ½ yardland; 6 smallholders shared 20½ a., possibly the result of the dispersal of a yardland. A member of the Runcin family was tenant of ½ yardland, and, although it is not clear in the Hundred Roll, Thomas Runcin presumably retained some land, for his descendants were taxed at Duns Tew in the early 14th century. (fn. 112) Of Thomas's tenants of a yardland in 1279, 8 held directly of him, all but one at nominal rents; 1 held through a mesne lord who received a higher rent. The former Wadard estate was held in 1279 by 4 free tenants with 1 yardland each. The serjeanty estate, 2 yardlands, was not mentioned in 1086, and in 1279 was in the hands of John son of David without tenants. Eurwin's successors, the Tew family, therefore had the only estate on which there were unfree tenants. Hugh of Tew retained the 3 demesne ploughlands of 1086. The number of villeins had more than doubled to 18, each holding 1 yardland. They paid 3s. rent, were liable to work 5 days a week from June to September, and owed ploughing services 3 times a year, harrowing once, and a carrying service weekly; they gave eggs and malt, and each paid 1s. 6d. for Hugh's scutage. Two classes of cottagers held of him. Six paid 16d. rent, or 12d. if they performed miscellaneous services, including reaping, carrying water, and digging and strewing lime. (fn. 113) Five held at will, paying rents of 2s. to 5s. All the cottagers possibly held 1 a. each. Hugh's free tenants comprised 5 yardlanders, a half-yardlander, and the miller. Two yardlanders paid 10s. rent, the miller 20s., and the other rents were nominal. (fn. 114)
In the long term there seems to have been a decline in the number of freeholders in the parish. William Spicer, holder of 1 yardland of Hugh of Tew and of ½ yardland of Thomas Runcin, was an eminent Oxford citizen who also held land nearby at Steeple Barton. (fn. 115) His son Richard sold his Oxford, property in 1290 to Nicholas of Oxford, probably a member of the prominent Goldsmith family, and by 1307 Nicholas had also succeeded at Duns Tew. His son John conveyed 2½ yardlands in Duns Tew to Robert Arden, owner of a third of the manor. (fn. 116) A house in Duns Tew was still known in 1557 as Goldsmith's Place. (fn. 117) Some land is known to have passed in the 14th century into the hands of manorial lords or absentees who seem to have leased it to local tenants. Each of the three demesne ploughlands appears to have survived as a holding after the partition of 1284. The Arden share, for instance, seems to have been held in the 14th century by farmers working in partnership. (fn. 118) The share of the demesne acquired by Hugh Raves c. 1321 remained intact in the 16th century, as did the two-thirds acquired in the late 16th century and early 17th by the Read family. In 1617 it was said that view of frankpledge was held by three farms in turn, representing the manorial demesne; they were the Raves farm, and those of the Chandler and Thorpe families, held of Thomas Read. (fn. 119)
For the subsidy of 1307 32 people were assessed in Duns Tew. John of Hinton was assessed at 5s. 6½d., Nicholas Goldsmith at 2s. 6¾d., Thomas of Lyons at 2s. 1½d., and the others at between 4d. and 1s. 10d. The average valuation of movable goods was c. 36s., putting Duns Tew in the middle rank of parishes in the area. The distribution of wealth was broadly similar in 1316 and 1327. (fn. 120) A hint of the devastation wrought by the Black Death was given in 1376 when it was recalled that the farmers of the Arden land had died in 'the first pestilence'. (fn. 121) By the later 14th century, however, the community had substantially recovered. (fn. 122)
In 1525 a leading group of three men, farmers of the manorial demesne, between them owned c. 45 per cent of the taxable goods in the parish: John Chauntrell (£42), Nicholas Andrews (£20), and John Joyner (£16). Fourteen husbandmen owned goods valued at between £2 and £10, and 16 men were assessed on wages. The pattern was similar in 1544, when the leading figures were John Chandler, Richard Thorpe, and George Raves. (fn. 123) On the Chetwode third of the manor tenancies seem to have been converted c. 1559 to 21-year leases, (fn. 124) but copyholds persisted on the other estates. Courts held in 1585 for the two shares of the manor owned by Thomas Read were attended by 21 tenants, and there were at that time 3 freeholders. By 1622, when the whole manor was in the Reads' possession, there were at least 8 freeholders. Other copyholds were converted to leaseholds, and the last recorded renewal of copyholds took place in 1622. Copyholds between 1585 and 1617 included two holdings of 3 yardlands, two of 2½, one of 2, one of 1, and two of ½ yardland. Subletting for up to 6 years was allowed; widows lost their estate if they were named as a life in the copy. (fn. 125) Freeholders played an important part in the parish. Robert Paine (d. 1593), born in Middle Aston but taxed in Duns Tew in 1544 and 1568, (fn. 126) bought land in Duns Tew in 1577, (fn. 127) and in 1585 he took a copyhold of 2½ yardlands for 2 lives. In 1587 he was presented in the manor court for numerous offences, including non-residence, and in 1588 he surrendered the copyhold. (fn. 128) It seems likely that Paine had quarrelled with Thomas Read, and there is no indication that he or his son Richard Paine returned to Duns Tew before the latter sold his land in 1626 to the Raves and Castle families. (fn. 129) Christopher Castle (d. 1575) was taxed on £8 of goods in 1544, £10 in 1547, and £13 in 1559. (fn. 130) In 1541 he bought 2½ yardlands from Richard Fox of Middle Aston, and in 1561 he was sued by Anne Read for appropriating manorial land. (fn. 131) Three of his sons succeeded him in Duns Tew and the family continued to hold land in the parish into the 18th century. (fn. 132) The junior line of the Raves family (fn. 133) related by marriage to the Castle family, was also prominent in the parish. Richard Raves (d. 1636) held 4 yardlands which eventually passed to his granddaughter Anne, wife of Sir Robert Jason. Sir Robert's son Robert sold the land in 1735 to Dorothea Dashwood. (fn. 134) William Raves at his death in 1631 had, besides his own 6 yardlands, land on lease from the Reads; he owned 400 sheep and crops to the value of £120. (fn. 135) The average value of six surviving probate inventories of members of the Raves and Castle families between 1600 and 1670 was £380, whereas the inventories that have survived for 17 members of other families in the same period had an average value of £73, with only three inventories of more than £100. (fn. 136) Nearly all freehold land passed through the hands of the Raves and Castle families in the 17th century. The existence of such an independent element presumably limited the influence of the Reads and perhaps frustrated the attempted inclosure of 1652 mentioned above. In the later 17th century, however, inheritance by daughters in both the Raves and Castle families took their lands to outsiders such as the Jasons, the Allens of Blackthorn, and the Brangwins of Middle Barton. By 1720 most of the land was let to tenants. (fn. 137)
The Reads' inclosed land north of the village was farmed by a bailiff in the 1560s and 1570s, when 120–200 sheep and 10–15 cows were kept. (fn. 138) By 1617 the manorial demesne was being cultivated directly by Sir Thomas Read. In 1633 it was agreed that he should keep 160 sheep in Down End field and have all the corn field to himself until the harvest was in, probably meaning that his flocks could graze on leys in the field. (fn. 139) After 1652 Sir John Read took into his own hands all his tenants' 41¾ yardlands in the open fields, and his inclosed farm, and worked them through a steward. (fn. 140) There had been 14 tenants in West End in 1652, 4 smallholders, 7 yardlanders, and 3 with 2–4 yardlands. (fn. 141) There were probably fewer in Down End, but the new policy entailed the removal or reduction to labourer's status of up to a dozen families. Approximately half the families named as tenants in 1652 remained in 1722, mostly as cottagers. (fn. 142) The hearth tax returns of 1662 indicate that there was already an exceptional number of families too poor to pay. The houses paying tax were the manor house (12 hearths), four freeholders' houses and the vicarage (3–4 hearths), and eight houses with 1 or 2 hearths. (fn. 143) For each house taxed in Duns Tew in 1662 there had been 5.5 adult males listed in 1642; the average for 22 neighbouring villages was 2.6. (fn. 144) Duns Tew was described c. 1685 as a town of 50 families 'whereof not above 10 contribute to the relief of the poor'. (fn. 145) It was a community increasing in numbers, perhaps, but polarized between extremes of wealth and poverty. Read's experiment ended at or shortly before his death in 1694, and by 1700 all the land was on lease. (fn. 146) Relatively standardized open-field farms were established on the resumption of tenant farming, the four in Down End each comprising c. 95 a. of arable, c. 25 a. of leys, and c. 8 a. of closes; closes round the village homesteads were supplemented by those near the manor house. Meadow rights in Bestmoor, in North Aston parish, were divided among the Down End farms, to compensate for their comparative lack of grass. In West End there were two farms each comprising c. 75 a. of arable, c. 40 a. of leys, c. 7 a. of meadow, and 2 a. of closes; a third farm was slightly smaller and a fourth, possibly split off from it, only 33 a. The inclosed farm, of 114 a., remained separate, although held by one of the open-field tenants. (fn. 147) The rents of the new farms were reckoned c. 1720 to be too low, perhaps reflecting the depression of the late 17th century, and the rent of an average farm had been raised by 1735 from c. £60 to c. £80. (fn. 148)
The inclosure of the parish in 1794 involved c. 1,500 a., of which 1,155 a. went to Sir Henry Dashwood and 179 a. to the vicar for glebe and tithe. The other recipients were Lady Elizabeth Dashwood (50 a.), Christopher Doyley (70 a.), as heir to 3 yardlands formerly Castle's and Allen's, Joseph Preedy (35 a.), John Preedy (30 a.), Thomas Lee (14 a.), and Christ Church, Oxford (15 a.). The poor of the parish were allotted 5 a. on the eastern edge of the parish, south of the North Aston road. (fn. 149) Doyley's land was bought by Dashwood in 1807, and John Preedy's in 1814; (fn. 150) by 1825 only c. 250 a. in the parish lay outside the Dashwood estate. (fn. 151) The glebe farm stretched south-eastwards from the vicarage, and the Christ Church land was in the north-east corner of the parish, adjoining the college's estate in Deddington. The land allotted at inclosure to Joseph Preedy lay south of the road to Middle Aston, where he farmed on a large scale. It was known as Tewley Barn farm in the early 19th century, and later as Blue Barn farm. The Dashwood estate was in the hands of six tenants in the early 19th century, presumably occupying the six farms of the later 19th century, listed in 1926 as Hill farm (360 a.), Daisy Hill farm (212 a.), Lower farm (190 a.), Malthouse farm (160 a.), Manor farm (153 a.), and Common Barn farm (119 a.). In 1926 there was also a farm of 86 a. run from the manor house by a bailiff, and c. 110 a. were separately leased. (fn. 152) Manor, Daisy Hill, and Malthouse farms seem always to have been based on farmhouses in the village, with their land radiating out behind them; the other three were spread across the north half of the parish. Farm tenants changed fairly frequently but one or two families were established in the parish for much of the 19th century, notably the Timms family at Hill farm, and the Matthews and Roberts families, possibly at Glebe farm and Malthouse farm respectively. (fn. 153) The major change in the 20th century was the break-up of the Dashwood estate in 1948. A sale planned in 1926 seems not to have been effected, but in 1948 the freeholds of most farms in the parish were bought by their tenants. (fn. 154)
Wheat and barley were the chief crops grown in the later 19th century and the 20th, and oats, beans, peas, and root crops were also grown. In 1869 the proportion of land that was permanent grass, 31 per cent, reflects the parish's position between the heavy pasture lands to the north and the lighter arable soils to the south; 12 cattle and 102 sheep per 100 a. were kept. By 1911 the amount of permanent grass had risen to 59 per cent, due mainly to greater emphasis on dairy farming. (fn. 155) In the later 20th century farming remained mixed, but the proportion of pasture to arable was reversed, with cerealgrowing predominant.
The usual rural tradesmen and craftsmen were to be found in Duns Tew. Smiths were mentioned from 1592; members of the Hatton family were smiths from the early 18th century to the mid 19th, when they were succeeded by the French family, the last member of which retired c. 1970. Carpenters and tailors lived in the village from the 17th century, and cordwainers from the 18th. A tradesman's token has survived, struck by Thomas Barrett, a Duns Tew carrier of the 17th century. (fn. 156) From the mid 18th century to the mid 19th the Mercer family were maltsters and brewers. (fn. 157) In 1841 tradesmen and craftsmen included a family of stonemasons, 5 carpenters, 5 wheelwrights, 4 shoemakers, 4 tailors, 3 blacksmiths, 2 slaters, 2 grocers, 2 bakers, 1 butcher, and 1 joiner. In 1851 there were 13 gloveresses, but the number had fallen to 3 by 1871. (fn. 158) As elsewhere, all such occupations declined in numbers in the late 19th century and the 20th. There was a stonemason in the village until 1973, and in 1981 there were a shop, a joinery manufacturer, a firm of builders, and a nursery founded in the 1930s. Two small quarries opened in the 1950s and 1960s on opposite sides of the Barton road. (fn. 159)
A water mill was held in 1279 by John Miller. (fn. 160) It passed thereafter with the Hinton share of the manor. (fn. 161) In the 16th century the copyhold of the mill and 1 yardland were held by the King family, passing in 1593 to Richard Baker and in 1618 to his widow. (fn. 162) The mill seems to have gone by 1722 but its position remains visible at a site known at that date as Mill Moors, south-east of, and across the stream from, Hill Farm. (fn. 163) The name Windmill furlong occurs in a terrier of the mid 17th century, apparently in the area of modern housing known as Dashwood Rise. (fn. 164) No mill is shown on the map of 1722. One is marked on a map of 1824, but it was probably recent and had gone by 1881. (fn. 165) In 1682 there was a windmill called Tuley mill near where the Middle Aston road crosses the parish boundary. (fn. 166) It had presumably gone by 1722.
Hugh of Tew in 1279 had franchise rights by which a royal bailiff entered Duns Tew to hold view of frankpledge. Cert money of 20s. was paid and the bailiff kept the court profits. (fn. 167) The fossilized remnants of that procedure survived in 1616 when the demesne farms each paid 3s. 4d. to make up 10s. cert money and took it in turn to house the court and entertain the bailiff; court profits by that date went to the farmer concerned. In addition the tithingmen attended the Park Gate court at Woodstock annually to pay 3s. cert money, a practice which probably derived from the attendance in the past by the holders of the Barton and Runcin fees, not included in Hugh of Tew's franchise. (fn. 168) Three manorial courts were held in the 16th century, and after their reunion under the Reads the manor court began to regulate use of the fields, a function previously carried out, perhaps, by informal meetings such as the 'view of greensward' held beside the dovecot in the 1560s. (fn. 169) Two constables were chosen at the manor court, one for each of the ends into which the parish was divided, and two tithingmen. At least two officials from each end were chosen to enforce the field regulations; they were given such titles as haywards, leysmen, fieldmen, and tellers. There was an allowance of land in the West End for a molecatcher in 1652, but no other reference to him has been found, and his function may even then have been obsolete. (fn. 170)
It is not known whether churchwardens and overseers were also separately appointed for each 'end'. By 1833 there were 2 overseers, chosen each year from the 7 principal inhabitants, who made all decisions on rates and assessments. (fn. 171) The parish spent £100 on poor relief in 1776, an average of £119 in 1783–5, and £412, or c. £1 5s. per head of population, in 1803. (fn. 172) The cost per head remained at approximately the same level until the early 1820s when the fall in wheat prices brought expenditure down to c. 11s. per head in 1824. Expenditure rose thereafter, reaching a peak of c. £1 9s., a total of £655, in 1832. (fn. 173)
In 1803 there were 31 adults and 52 children on permanent relief, but the number fell to between 12 and 16 adults from 1813 to 1815. (fn. 174) By 1832 the number of those in receipt of regular relief had risen again, to 27 roundsmen, 32 aged and infirm, and 81 children. Payments to others for such items as medical assistance and rent meant that 170 were actually on the overseers' books, and in winter the number rose to c. 230, more than half the population of the parish. Able-bodied labourers were apportioned among the farmers according to their rate assessment and were paid 9s. a week, rising to 12s. at haymaking and 15s. at the corn harvest. Those on the round, usually the less able-bodied, received 7s. An inspector reported that most families managed to obtain enought to eat and that 'on Sundays a few have butcher's meat'. A few women were glovemakers or lacemakers. Cottages were let at low rents and were in excellent repair; all had gardens and additional land was provided for potato growing. Despite the defects of the Speenhamland and roundsman systems, the inspector felt that the poor law was well administered in the parish, if only in producing 'an orderly and satisfied race of paupers'. (fn. 175)
In 1834 Duns Tew formed part of Woodstock poor law union. In 1894 it became part of Woodstock rural district, in 1932 part of Banbury rural district, and in 1974 part of Cherwell district. (fn. 176)
Duns Tew has remained a separate ecclesiastical parish throughout its history, but under an order in council of 1921 the benefice was united in 1932 with North Aston. That union was dissolved in 1977 and the benefice of Duns Tew united with Westcott Barton, Steeple Barton, and Sandford St. Martin. (fn. 177)
Before 1198 the church was given to Merton priory, probably by one of the Tew family who were associated with the priory in the mid 12th century. (fn. 178) The priory appropriated the church, probably before 1218, and from then until the Dissolution presented regularly to an endowed vicarage. (fn. 179) In 1545 the advowson, with the rectory, was sold to Richard Andrews and William Gosse who conveyed it to Thomas Read and his daughter Mary. (fn. 180) In 1606 Mary, then a widow, and her son-in-law William Wollascot sold it to Thomas Read, (fn. 181) and thenceforth it descended with the manor until 1949, the lords presenting regularly except in 1675 when the excommunicate Sir John Read had granted the turn to Susanna Read. (fn. 182) In 1949 Sir Henry George Massey Dashwood conveyed the advowson to the Oxford Diocesan Board of Patronage, which became one of the patrons of the united benefice in 1977. (fn. 183)
The 13th-century vicarage was endowed with altar offerings, small tithes, and 2½ yardlands of glebe, but in 1254 it seems to have been valued at only 20s.; perhaps the small tithes had been included with the great tithes, which the vicar farmed for 10 marks. (fn. 184) In 1341 the value of the glebe and hay tithe was said to be 40s. (fn. 185) The vicarage, assessed at £8 13s. 4d. in 1535, (fn. 186) comprised in 1595 2 yardlands of glebe and all small tithes. (fn. 187) In 1715 the living was worth £75 12s. a year. (fn. 188) At inclosure in 1794 the vicarial tithes were extinguished, the vicar receiving 120 a. in compensation. (fn. 189) In 1831 and 1851 the living was worth £250 gross, all derived from land. (fn. 190)
The vicarage house was taxed on 3 hearths in 1665, and contained 6 or 7 rooms in 1672; in 1685 it comprised 5 bays of building with a barn, dovehouse, and stable. (fn. 191) It was let for much of the 18th century and the early 19th, from 1794 to the tenant of the glebe farm; curates and vicars lived in the manor house, lent by the Dashwoods, until c. 1846 when the house was required for Sir George Dashwood's son. The vicar moved to the vicarage house which he rebuilt in 1864 to designs by W. Wilkinson. (fn. 192)
The only medieval incumbent known to have studied at Oxford was Richard Castleton, vicar 1508–32. (fn. 193) He lived in Duns Tew, farming his glebe, for most of his incumbency. His life style seems to have been that of a prosperous farmer; at his death he owned at least 7 cows and 39 sheep, a maser and 6 silver spoons, and a parishioner later remembered hunting with him. He had a woman in his house c. 1520 and had failed to recover a chalice lent a year before to another priest. His successor John Andrews (d. 1545) left at least 8 cattle and 30 sheep. (fn. 194)
The medieval church contained, in addition to the rood and its light, two statues of the Virgin Mary, and pictures or statues of the 12 apostles, the Trinity, St. John, St. Catherine, and St. Dominic. Richard Castleton, by will dated 1532, provided for the observance of his obit in the church; the obit had apparently ceased by 1552, but the 4 cattle and 20 sheep which he had left to the Easter sepulchre were still held by the church, as were a cottage and lands given at an unknown date to support lights. (fn. 195)
In 1549 the vicar, Richard Thompson, was sentenced to be hanged at Banbury for his part in an uprising against the religious policies of Edward VI's government, but he survived to resign the living in 1554. (fn. 196) Ralph Shevin, vicar 1557–95, conformed to the Elizabethan settlement. (fn. 197)
The later 16th-century and the 17th-century vicars were resident and cultivated their glebe. Shevin's successor, Ellis Burgess, a former fellow of St. John's College, had stock and goods, including money on bond, worth the comparatively large sum of £195 at his death in 1635. His son-in-law and successor Nicholas Coxeter (d. 1672) also owned stock and farm implements, but among his most valuable possessions were his books, worth £14. He was apparently deprived during the Interregnum. (fn. 198) Nathaniel Collier, vicar 1676–91, kept a school in the parish. (fn. 199) Shevin in 1572 and 1595 and Collier in 1691 and 1692 were involved in disputes over tithes with the Reads: Shevin successfully proved his right to hay tithe from all the Reads' lands and Collier to his right to tithe of new crops such as turnips and of barren cattle, and also to an acre of glebe meadow. (fn. 200)
Almost all the 18th-century vicars were nonresident; the first of them, Meredith Vaughan, 1691–1734 leased his glebe and tithes to a farmer; in 1705 he published an attack both on his tenant and on Sir Thomas Wheate of Glympton who had supported the tenant. (fn. 201) The living was served by curates at a salary of £30. In 1738 the curate was resident; from 1756 until 1791 the cure was served by Lionel Lampet, who also taught at the grammar school in Steeple Aston, where he lived. Throughout the period the church was comparatively well served with 2 services on Sundays and communion 4 times a year for between 30 and 40 communicants. (fn. 202) In 1793 the resident vicar found his parishioners 'a set of well disposed regular church-going people'. (fn. 203)
William Gorden, vicar 1794–1836, was at first tutor to Sir Henry Dashwood's family at Kirtlington and then interned in France from 1804 to 1814. The churchwardens complained in 1797 that the curate from Deddington held only one Sunday service and in 1809, when the curate lived in Oxford, that the church had not been regularly served. (fn. 204) Matters improved in 1812 with the appointment of a resident curate, Edward Marshall, who also served Steeple Barton, at a salary increased to £50. Gorden was resident himself from 1815 onwards, and at the end of his incumbency reported average congregations of c. 200, and 36–40 communicants. (fn. 205)
Duns Tew does not seem to have shared in the religious revival of the mid 19th century, although the church was restored in 1862. In 1860, perhaps at the suggestion of Bishop Wilberforce, the vicar, Archibald Malcolm, increased the number of communion services to one a month. On Census Sunday in 1851 there were 70 adults in church in the morning and 90 in the afternoon, in addition to 80 Sunday school children. The number of communicants had fallen to c. 25 by 1854. (fn. 206) Apart from a slight increase in the number of communicants there seems to have been little change in church life or services until 1902 when a new vicar introduced a weekly communion service. Some of his successors were also in the High Church tradition, and in 1967 an aumbrey was installed for the reservation of the sacrament. (fn. 207)
The church of ST. MARY MAGDALENE (fn. 208) comprises chancel with north aisle or organ chamber, nave with north aisle and south porch, and west tower. The south doorway and a lancet window in the north wall of the chancel survive from a late 12th- or early 13th-century building. The church was extensively remodelled in the late 13th or early 14th century, and enlarged by the building of a north aisle, of which the arcade of three bays with capitals decorated with carved heads survives. The tower and south porch seem to have been built in the late 14th or early 15th century, and about the same time new windows were inserted in the east wall of the chancel and the walls of the nave and north aisle. The rood screen, preserved until 1861, was of similar date. (fn. 209)
The south side of the church was largely destroyed in 1647, probably by the fall of the upper stages of the tower, and was rebuilt, using some of the old materials, in 1664 and 1665. (fn. 210) The chancel was repaired c. 1798 and c. 1830. (fn. 211) The church was restored in 1861 and 1862 to designs by Sir G. G. Scott at the expense of Sir Henry Dashwood. The chancel and north aisle were completely rebuilt, the north aisle being widened, the south wall of the nave was partly rebuilt, and the south porch reroofed. A portion of the rood screen was preserved against the south wall of the chancel but had disappeared by 1981. (fn. 212) The chancel was rearranged in 1924, the eastern end being screened off to form a sacristy. In 1976 a fragment of a medieval crucifixion scene in stone was erected under a medieval canopy north of the chancel arch. (fn. 213)
The font is probably 12th-century. (fn. 214) There are no early memorials, but in the chancel are three wall plaques to 19th- and 20th-century members of the Dashwood family, and in the tower is a marble tablet to the vicar William Gorden (d. 1837). There are five bells: (i) 1790, (ii) 1660, (iii) 1694, (iv) 1858, and (v) 1768. (fn. 215)
The plate includes a silver chalice and paten cover of 1575, and a pair of patens of 1720 given to the church in 1832. (fn. 216)
In the early 19th century one or two Catholics were reportedly attended by a 'Mr. Brock', presumably Fr. Rock, the priest at Radford, in Enstone. (fn. 217) In 1817 there was one Catholic family, the Simkinses, in the parish and they attended the chapel at Kiddington. (fn. 218)
Six parishioners were excommunicated for non-attendance at church between 1662 and 1665, nine nonconformists were reported in 1676, and three Anabaptists in 1682. (fn. 219) Members of three Duns Tew families were recorded as Quakers between 1705 and 1771. (fn. 220)
A newly built Baptist chapel was registered in 1809 by six people, including a 'missionary' from Chipping Norton. (fn. 221) Methodists are known to have been meeting in Duns Tew by 1811, and in 1817 there were eight or ten, all of whom also attended the parish church except a man and his wife whose house had been fitted up for worship. (fn. 222) In 1840 and 1841 Richard Harper, Richard Thatchell, and John Goodwin applied for licences for their houses to be used as meeting places. In 1851 Goodwin claimed for a Primitive Methodist meeting in a private house an average congregation of c. 55 people. (fn. 223) There were congregations of 40 to 50 in 1857, but by 1869 the number had reputedly fallen to 22, meeting in a licensed room. (fn. 224) The vicar claimed in 1878 that there were 'very few' nonconformists, but in 1890 there was a Primitive Methodist revival, and the Salvation Army was also said to be active in the parish. (fn. 225)
A Sunday school was established at Duns Tew in 1798 at the expense of William Wilson, a wealthy landowner in Nether and Over Worton and a zealous promoter of religious education in the area. By 1808 the teacher was also running a day school at a charge of 2d. a week, a fee that was reportedly beyond the means of the parents of all but 20 children in the village. In 1815 the day school was attended by 8 boys and 8 girls, but some of the 50 children attending the Sunday school went to a day school in Deddington which was run, unlike that in Duns Tew, on the National plan. (fn. 226) The Sunday school had been converted to the National system by 1818, but the only day schools were three or four dame schools, teaching 30–50 children at their parents' expense, until 1830 when Sir George Dashwood provided and equipped a school building. (fn. 227) The school received no endowment, however, and parents paid fees. Two dame schools remained in existence until the 1850s, and for a time attracted almost as many children, c. 20 between them, as the new school. In the 1830s c. 70 children attended the Sunday school, the master of which was then paid by William Wilson's son, the Revd. William Wilson; clothing and books for the children were supplied by parishioners. (fn. 228)
In 1854 the village school taught 45 boys and 34 girls, some of them from outside the parish, and was praised for its high standards. An average of 60 pupils attended daily. A further 36 children attended the two dame schools. (fn. 229) Until a government grant was received in 1867 the village school continued to rely entirely on fees, which ranged from 1½d. to 6d. according to parents' means. The schoolmaster also provided evening classes four nights a week. (fn. 230) Although in 1868 the demands of work were not thought to interfere much with schooling, it was said that 'boys go to plough here sometimes not higher than the plough handles'. At that time there was an average attendance of 40 children by day and 23 by night. (fn. 231)
A new school for 100 children was built in 1874, but the number on the register declined in the later 19th century and early 20th. (fn. 232) By 1921 there were only 26 children on the register, most of them described as 'extremely backward' and 'impervious to instruction'. In 1928 senior children were transferred to Steeple Aston, and Duns Tew became a junior school with 18 children on the register. In 1969 the school was closed because it was too small, and in the following year the building was taken over as the village hall. (fn. 233) In 1979 junior children attended Steeple Aston primary school, senior children Warriner Comprehensive school at Bloxham. (fn. 234)
Charities for the Poor.
William Raves (d. 1631) by will left £40 to be loaned 'on good security' free of interest to the poor of Duns Tew, no one to receive more than £5 or less than £1. (fn. 235) In the late 18th century there was uncertainty over the terms of the bequest which, it was thought, should comprise £40 to be lent with interest and £40 without. The actual money available had shrunk to £19. (fn. 236) By 1825 the trustees believed that interest should be charged on loans to landholders but not on loans to tradesmen; at that date £33 was on loan, £10 was in the hands of the vicar, and £17 had been written off as bad debts. Interest received was paid out in money and fuel at Christmas. (fn. 237)
Elizabeth Chamberlain (d. 1819) bequeathed £5 5s., the income to be distributed to the poor of Duns Tew as her executors saw fit. They gave away 5s. and invested the remainder, the interest being distributed with the Raves bequest at Christmas. (fn. 238) The capital of the two charities had increased to £41 by 1868 and to £58 a century later, when the income was £1 8s. (fn. 239)
At inclosure in 1794 c. 5 a. was allotted as poors' land in exchange for furze-cutting rights. (fn. 240) Rent from the land was £12 12s. in 1825, £15 in 1871, and £20 in 1971, the money used to buy coal which was distributed at irregular intervals. (fn. 241)
Amalgamation of all the charities was proposed repeatedly from 1969 but postponed in 1974 for the lifetime of the then tenant of the poors' land. (fn. 242)