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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Little Tew lies 5 miles (8 km.) east of Chipping Norton and 9 miles (14½ km.) south-west of Banbury. A township in the parish of Great Tew, Little Tew was taxed separately in the 14th and 16th centuries and rated separately for poor relief in the 17th; it became a distinct ecclesiastical parish c. 1857. Its ancient boundaries comprised 1,578 a. (631 ha.); in 1932 Showell, a detached part of Swerford parish comprising 798 a. (319 ha.), was transferred to Little Tew. (fn. 1) Before the addition of Showell, Little Tew's otherwise compact shape was distorted in the north-west by a strip of land reaching across the Chipping Norton to Banbury road and down to the river Swere at Coltscombe; the stream in the middle of the combe was taken as a boundary with Showell. The remaining boundary with Swerford is marked by a stream. That with Great Tew for the most part follows streams and natural contours, but in the south-east it follows the road from Little Tew to Enstone for a short way before turning east to join the road from Great Tew to Enstone. The boundary with Heythrop on the south follows the ancient road known as Green Lane, except for c. 1,300 m. in the middle where the boundary runs c. 80 m. south of the road. The boundary with Showell began north of Chivel Farm (formerly Castle Farm) in Heythrop, mainly following field boundaries north to the stream in Coltscombe. The modern western parish boundary runs west of the road from Heythrop to Hook Norton, following field boundaries and a small tributary of the Swere. (fn. 2)
The parish lies across the junction of the Great Oolite and the Lias, with high ground formed from Oolitic limestone and low ground where slopes of Upper Lias clay reach down to depressions on Middle Lias marlstone. The valley of the river Dorn, which runs across the parish from west to east, has created such a depression in the west; another is to be seen in the basin where the village itself is sited, a position said locally to be 'in the burrow'. To the north a narrow, steepsided valley falls from the central plateau to the stream marking the boundary with Swerford. The land varies from c. 130 m. above sea level on the Swerford boundary and c. 165 m. in the village to c. 180–200 m. on the surrounding heights. (fn. 3)
Roads to Great Tew, Enstone, Chipping Norton, and Hook Norton probably follow ancient lines; that to Enstone was referred to as a great highway ('magna strata') in the mid 13th century. (fn. 4) Green Lane, an ancient drove road, formerly continued south-eastwards to Cuckold's Holt and so down to Wootton. (fn. 5) The lane originally took the same line as the parish boundary between Little Tew and Heythrop, its slight northerly loop into Little Tew the result of rearrangement at inclosure in 1767. Several tracks across the open fields fell into disuse after inclosure. One ran from the west end of the village south-west to Green Lane, where it was aligned with the north-east avenue from Heythrop House. There were also paths towards Showell on the west and to the Enstone road on the east. In the 18th century a branch from the Enstone to Great Tew road passed inside the north-east boundary of Little Tew to Swerford; it is possible that a disused path, whose truncated southern end can still be seen between the Manor House and Bell House, ran north from the village to join the Swerford road where it crossed the road from Chipping Norton to Great Tew, near the modern Home Farm. (fn. 6) The nearest railway station was at Chipping Norton on the line from Cheltenham to Banbury, opened in 1875 and closed to passenger traffic in 1950. (fn. 7) There is no record of a carrier service operating from Little Tew, and the village relied on calls from carriers passing between Oxford and Banbury. There was a post office by 1881; it closed c. 1975. (fn. 8)
The field names Anelaw and Barrow Hill Furlong, (fn. 9) both in the south of the parish, may refer to the same or different burial sites. Flint implements have been found south of the village, as have Romano-British and Anglo-Saxon pottery and tools. (fn. 10) There is, however, no indication of substantial settlement. In 1086 only 16 heads of household were recorded. (fn. 11) In 1279 32 property holders were named; if unlisted cottagers, of whom Oseney abbey had at least three at that time, are included, a minimum population of c. 150 can be surmised. (fn. 12) In 1377 only 72 persons over the age of 14 were assessed for poll tax and the population may have fallen below 120 in all. In 1662 27 households were assessed for hearth tax and 12 exempted because of poverty; one house was assessed at 8 hearths, one at 6, four at 4, five at 3, and sixteen at 1 or 2 hearths. (fn. 13) In 1738 there were said to be 33 houses in Little Tew, and in 1801 there were 43, housing 219 people. The population altered little over the next 40 years, indicating net migration away from the village. There was slight but steady growth thereafter, to a peak of 277 in 1881. The system of leaseholds adopted by the leading landowners in the parish, Exeter College and Eton College, did not encourage development, and they were disinclined to provide new houses, perhaps in order to keep down rates. The settlement in the village of a wealthy incumbent and other gentry probably explains the slight increase in population after 1851. Population decreased sharply in the late 19th century, however, following the break in agricultural prosperity, and there were only 191 people by 1901, 162 by 1921. In 1932 the absorption of 35 people in Showell into Little Tew raised the total population to 213, but it fell again to 182 in 1951 and to 140 in 1971. (fn. 14)
The position of Little Tew village close to the boundary with Great Tew, the repetition of field names on both sides of the boundary, and the sharing of some pasture and meadow (fn. 15) indicate Little Tew's probable origin as a colony of its neighbour. The village seems to have grown up along the banks of a small stream, now partly running in underground drains, but from an early date houses were also built up the slope to the south on the road to Enstone, while during the last hundred years development has tended to follow another road to higher ground in a northwesterly direction, perhaps because of a particularly abundant spring there. The village street-plan has been much altered. The rightangled turn west of the former school and almshouses comprises the remaining two arms of what was, until after inclosure, a crossroads. At the bottom of the hill from Great Tew the road continued straight on past the site of the later Baptist chapel to join the Enstone road at Manor Farm; houses at the east end of the village were therefore on an island between that road and the road from Enstone into the centre of the village. (fn. 16) A medieval chapel was reputed to have stood in Elm Close, formerly Town Close, in the village's north-west corner. The village pound and stocks were also there. The stocks were destroyed by soldiers in 1643; they were rebuilt and it is not known when they were finally removed. (fn. 17) Two of three manor houses can be identified with some confidence, the Oseney abbey, later Exeter College, house now known as Little Tew Manor at the west end of the main street, and the former Broc house, now called Timberyard Cottages, across the road from Manor Farm. (fn. 18) The Cogges priory, later Eton College, house may have stood on the site known in the 18th century as Prior's close, given by Eton in 1853 for the new church. (fn. 19) Plans of the village made in the 18th century for Eton and Exeter (fn. 20) reveal that several farmhouses and cottages have been demolished. Of those that remain, the characteristic building materials are local ironstone and stone slates or thatch, although some houses have been re-roofed with Welsh slate. The Bell House stands c. 30 m. north-east of the Manor; to the two- and three-storeyed house of the 17th century a south gable end was added in the 19th. Formerly the Bell inn, it was an Exeter College property until bought in 1872 by Albert Brassey of Heythrop who shortly after sold it to Charles Garratt, vicar of Little Tew. On his retirement in 1880 Garratt was allowed to keep the vicarage, known thereafter as the Grange, in exchange for a house of his, later called Ibstock Close, just south-east of the Bell, on condition that the Bell should cease to operate as a public house. Ibstock Close is a large, twostoreyed house dated 1630 and much altered in the 19th and 20th centuries. Another Exeter property, it was probably held in the 17th and 18th centuries by the Marshalls, lessees of a large college estate and a leading family in the village; they were succeeded in the house and in status by the Kimber family. It was sold in 1930 as a private residence. There are several slightly smaller farmhouses of good quality. Manor Farm, east of the Enstone road, was the only one still a working farmhouse in 1981; also an Exeter property dating from the 17th century, it is a twostoreyed building, widened in the 19th century but retaining its chamfered mullioned windows and dripstones. The thatched rubble and ashlar house, also formerly Exeter's, north-west of the church, and the two houses formerly Eton's north-east of the church are typical of several in the village with similar backgrounds; built in the 17th century as comfortable farmhouses for yeomen leaseholders, they became private residences in the later 19th or 20th century when they were modernized and enlarged. The easternmost of the Eton houses retained its thatch until the 1960s and still has a barn and other outbuildings. Its neighbour, called Shepherd's Cottage, was originally smaller than the others and appears to have been heightened and lengthened in the 18th century. There are few signs of significant building in the village as a whole in the 18th century, but there was extensive activity in the 19th. Institutional buildings included the school of 1836, the Baptist chapels of c. 1845 and 1871, and the church of 1853. Three almshouses and a new school were built by Revd. Charles Garratt in 1863. Built as a single group, of blue and grey brick in early Gothic style, the almshouses were never used as such and were sold as private dwellings. (fn. 21) Grove House, at the junction of the main street with the Enstone road, is dated 1839 and may be on the site of an earlier house. The Lodge, south of the village, brought a new note of ostentation to private houses in the parish. (fn. 22) The Grange, built as the vicarage c. 1858 and much extended later by Garratt, is even bigger. (fn. 23) It was the home of the Sitwell family, writers and artists, in the 1930s, and in the 1970s it earned a widespread reputation as an amateur theatre. (fn. 24) On the eastern side of the village, set back from the Great Tew road, Cherwell House was first recorded in the 1870s, but may be earlier. A large, plain house, it served in the later 19th century and early 20th as a farmhouse for the Godson and Louch families, lessees of much Eton College land in the parish. (fn. 25) Several smaller houses were built west of the village on the road to the Meetings in the mid 19th century. In the village centre the former stores and post office, between Grove House and the Baptist chapel, are dated C.F.G. 1872, for Charles Garratt.
Outlying farms were a late development in Little Tew, and the first was probably Coltscombe Farm, in the north-west of the parish, dated G.T. 1833, for George Taylor. The other farmhouses had all been built by 1881. (fn. 26)
Little Tew has experienced none of the housebuilding which has affected many north Oxfordshire villages in the later 20th century. Existing properties have increasingly been bought and modernized by business, professional, and retired people, and the village has acquired the appearance of a well-preserved showpiece.
Manors and Other Estates.
In 1086 Odo of Bayeux held 9 hides in Little Tew, divided between Wadard (3½ hides), Humphrey (3½ hides), and Ilbert de Lacy (2 hides). (fn. 27) On or before his death in 1097 Odo's tenants succeeded as tenants in chief. Wadard's lands became the nucleus of the barony of Arsic, and in 1103 Manasser Arsic granted Little Tew to his foundation of Cogges priory. (fn. 28) The estate, which carried with it an obligation to contribute to castle-guard at Dover, remained in the priory's possession until 1441, when LITTLE TEW was given with the rest of its estates to Eton College. (fn. 29) Manorial rights seem to have lapsed in the later 18th century, and most of the land was sold in 1921. (fn. 30)
The chief lordship of the estate tenanted in 1086 by Humphrey followed that of Steeple Aston, as did a mesne lordship held from the 12th century by the Leybourne family. (fn. 31) A second mesne lordship was established c. 1200 when Alan of Aston, the first known tenant in demesne, sold LITTLE TEW to his brother Robert; Alan's heirs at Steeple Aston continued to be mentioned as mesne lords until 1284. Further subinfeudation followed as Robert rapidly dissipated the estate. He gave 2 yardlands to Ralph son of Henry for a rent of 6s., then in 1206 sold his whole estate to Oseney abbey; Robert was referred to as its immediate lord in 1279. (fn. 32) In 1542 the dissolved abbey's lands at Little Tew were granted to the new cathedral at Oxford, but in 1545 were returned to the Crown. (fn. 33) In 1565 they were acquired by Sir William Petre, who conferred them in the following year on Exeter College, Oxford. (fn. 34) The college was the biggest landlord in Little Tew for c. 300 years, and came to be regarded as the only manorial lord, receiving a small allotment of land in exchange for manorial rights at inclosure in 1794. (fn. 35) In 1872 the college sold most of the land to Albert Brassey of Heythrop, whose son Robert broke up the estate in 1923. (fn. 36) The Oseney, later Exeter, manor house was probably that now known as Little Tew Manor, west of the church. (fn. 37) The east range is a 3-roomed house of the 17th century to which a service wing was added on the south-west by the 18th century. Considerable additions were made on the west in the 19th century, and on the northwest in 1921. (fn. 38)
Ilbert de Lacy's 2 hides were incorporated in the Lacy honor of Pontefract, descending to Alice de Lacy, wife of Thomas of Lancaster. (fn. 39) After Thomas's execution in 1322 she was allowed to keep LITTLE TEW. On her death in 1348 the lordship passed to Roger Lestrange, nephew of her second husband Sir Ebles Lestrange (d. 1335). By 1356, however, the lordship had followed part of North Aston in becoming attached to the barony of Clifford castle (Herefs.). (fn. 40)
By 1241 Robert de Broc was tenant of the Lacy land at Little Tew, rendering leather hose and gilt spurs. (fn. 41) A Robert de Broc who received money due to him from the king out of the farm of Great Tew in 1189 may have been an earlier tenant. (fn. 42) Another Robert held in 1279. (fn. 43) In 1291 John de Broc conveyed a house and land at Tew to Thomas of Yelford. The manorial rights probably passed at the same time, and Thomas of Yelford held of the honor of Pontefract in 1311 and 1330, the land being reckoned as ¼ knight's fee. (fn. 44) Richard son of Thomas of Eyerton held the manor c. 1350 and was presumably related to Thomas of Ayton who held the ¼ knight's fee in 1398. (fn. 45) By 1375 the estate was owned by John Lewknor of Heythrop, who granted a life tenancy to Robert of Whitehill. By 1397 the land, and presumably the manor, had passed to John Hilton. (fn. 46) The descent of the manor thereafter followed that of Nether Worton (fn. 47) until it was sold by Thomas Nash in 1568 to Nicholas Towley. Towley sold it in 1572 to Robert Loggin (d. 1595), who was succeeded by his son John. (fn. 48) He lived at Little Tew until the 1620s, when he moved to Idbury, granting the Tew lands to his second son Thomas (d. 1659). (fn. 49) Following the failure of the senior line of the family Thomas's son John succeeded to the Idbury lands and probably spent little time at Tew. At his death in 1681 John left the Tew estate to his younger brother William (d. 1686), who was succeeded by another brother, Charles. (fn. 50) In 1687 Charles conveyed the estate to his relatives Gabriel and John Merry, who were perhaps trustees. In 1700 Lady Keck, owner of Great Tew, bought it and it remained in her family until their estates were sold in 1777, when the Little Tew land was bought by Thomas Wyld of Speen (Berks.) (d. 1789). (fn. 51) His son the Revd. George Wyld sold the estate c. 1835 to Sir Robert Bolton (d. 1836) of Swerford Park, who left it to his daughter Louisa, wife of Samuel Davis, and to Charles Bowers (d. 1870) possibly a son-inlaw. Louisa's moiety passed to her daughter Anne (d. 1911) and to Anne's niece Sophia, wife of Sir Charles King. It was sold on Sophia's death to E. H. Hutt. Bowers was succeeded by his son Maunsell (d. 1925) and grandson Herbert. The land remained undivided, as Lodge farm, later Little Tew Grounds. (fn. 52)
The manor house was probably that known in 1981 as Timberyard Cottages, c. 350 m. south of the church. Apparently the principal house of the Keck estate in the 18th century, it was later the farmhouse of Lodge farm; the former farmyard to the south was taken over in the 20th century by an agricultural machinery business. The 14thcentury screens passage survives at the west end of the building, adjoined by a cross-wing possibly of the 16th century; a downstairs room in the wing remained apparently little changed until alterations c. 1970. It is not known when the house was converted into separate dwellings. (fn. 53) A new house, The Lodge, was built c. 800 m. south of the village for Charles Bowers. A large, square two-storeyed house in early-19th-century style, it was said in 1852 to be 'recently built'. (fn. 54) The house was bought in 1922 by V. Elam, who sold it in 1927 to Lt.-Col., later Field Marshal, M. Wilson. It was bought in 1940 by W. Jeffcock and in 1947 by R. Morley-Fletcher. (fn. 55)
An estate of 1 hide held before the Conquest by Leofwine was held in 1086 by Gilbert Maminot, bishop of Lisieux. The bishop's tenant, Rotroc, also held 5 hides of him at Westcott Barton, which, together with the Little Tew land, formed 1 knight's fee. The Little Tew estate, held by the Barton family, followed the descent of Westcott Barton until 1346, after which no more is known of it. (fn. 56) In 1279 Richard the Simple and Gilbert of Bank were mesne tenants, but the land was in the hands of free tenants, and, unlike the holders of the other three Little Tew manors, the Barton family were not included among the lords of the village in 1316. (fn. 57)
Cold Norton priory was given c. 1231 all the Little Tew meadow, said in 1279 to comprise 36 a., of John des Préaux, lord of Great Tew. (fn. 58) The meadow was subsequently known as Priory Mead. The priory also acquired in the 13th century 13 a. arable in a series of grants by the Broc family. (fn. 59) The land passed in 1513 with other Cold Norton estates to Brasenose College. (fn. 60) In 1759 the meadow comprised 41 a., and at inclosure in 1794 it and the 13 a. were exchanged for 33 a. on the boundary with Heythrop. (fn. 61) The land was sold in 1872 to Albert Brassey. (fn. 62)
Several features suggest that there was originally a close connexion between Great Tew and Little Tew. The same minor field names occur on both sides of the boundary. Little Tew could pasture its cattle on the fallow field in the west of Great Tew, a right mentioned in 1268 and still exercised in the 18th century; in return the peasants of Little Tew rendered a service to the lords of Great Tew, probably in Priory Mead, a Little Tew meadow belonging to Great Tew. (fn. 63) The open fields of the two settlements were, however, separate. Little Tew's field system is outlined in medieval charters, (fn. 64) in 17th- and 18th-century terriers, (fn. 65) and in a detailed map of 1742. (fn. 66) Such names as Oxendon in the south-east and Coltscombe in the north-west perhaps evoke a period when extensive pastures surrounded a nucleus of arable, but by the 13th century they were under the plough. The arable lay in two fields, north and south, separated by the river Dorn, with the village at the eastern end of the north field. Holdings were divided as equally as possible between the fields. By 1742 the two fields were divided into four, including, in the north field, the Leasowe (or Lizard) and Home field; the latter was small, comprising 80 a. immediately south and south-west of the village. The division of the south field is less clear but may have been more even. Common pastures, at the Leasowe in the north, and at the Marsh, northeast of the village, are mentioned from the 16th century. (fn. 67) Measured as 190 a. in 1742, they were linked by a corridor along the parish boundary, allowing the common herd to move easily from the village to the main pasture. There was a small third area of common pasture at the neck of the parish leading to Coltscombe, crossed by the highway from Chipping Norton to Deddington, a place where it would be difficult to prevent crops being trampled by traffic.
In 1086 meadow, of which 111½ a. were recorded, was divided almost exactly according to the hidage. It seems likely that ½ a. had been omitted and that the assessment should be taken in conjunction with Great Tew, where there were '300 a. less 12', (fn. 68) giving an overall total of 400 a. meadow. An original allotment of 300 a. to Great Tew and 100 a. to Little Tew can be surmised. The meadow lay along both banks of the river Dorn and was known as North and South Mead, later Little and Great Mead. The unequal distribution is accounted for by the presence on the north of the meadow attached to Great Tew. In the early 13th century John des Préaux of Great Tew gave 12 a. of meadow between Little Tew and Showell to one of his men, Hugh de Strepini, who subsequently gave it to Reading abbey. It was called 'inmead' in 1279, suggesting that it was part of the Great Tew demesne and not shared by the peasantry of that township. The Reading charter also mentioned adjacent meadow of Ranulph, earl of Chester (d. 1232), one of the lords of Great Tew. (fn. 69) Priory Mead, 36 a. meadow given c. 1231 by John des Préaux to Cold Norton priory, was said in the 17th century to be several from Lady Day (25 Mar.) to Lammas (1 Aug.), after which it was open to common pasture. (fn. 70) It was usually leased out by the priory and its successor, Brasenose College; in the 18th century it was leased to the earls of Shrewsbury as part of their Heythrop estate. (fn. 71) The Reading meadow has not been traced further, but it probably formed part of the meadow in Little Tew held in 1767 by Anthony Keck of Great Tew. That comprised 25 a. and apart from the Reading meadows it presumably included any meadow formerly attached to other Great Tew manors. At the inclosure of Great Tew in 1767, 19 a. were awarded to Little Tew landowners in compensation for their loss of common pasture in Great Tew. Keck retained 6 a. on the boundary with Showell. They passed to George Wyld of Little Tew in 1777, thus severing the last link with Great Tew. (fn. 72) In 1981 the field formed a thick copse. Meadow in Little Tew was set out each year in divisions of 10 a.
By the later 16th century additional grass was obtained by the conversion of some openfield arable to leys. Cold Norton priory's holding, 13 a. arable in the 13th century, was described as 3 a. arable and 10 a. leys in the 16th. (fn. 73) That proportion was not typical, but extensive leys were shown on the map of 1742. A large block, Rick Leys, adjoined the east end of North Mead. Smaller additions, such as Horse Croft Leys, had been made to South Mead. They were apparently assimilated into the original meadow, and no distinction was made in 1742. More leys, referred to as mowing ground in terriers, had been laid down on the slopes above the village. In both areas the leys lay on clay soils. Other leys, at Oxendon in the south-east, Ayleborough Hill in the west, and on the Heythrop boundary, lay on oolitic soil and were usually known as 'furze ground', presumably rough pasture and important as a source of fuel. In most cases the ownership of individual strips was preserved, although in the west some leys were held in common. Leys, at least by the 18th century, seem to have been permanent. (fn. 74)
The size of yardlands varied. In the 13th century ½ yardland, presumably including meadow, was said to be 17 a., (fn. 75) and from the 16th century the yardland seems to have comprised 29 a. with meadow, 26 or 27 a. excluding meadow. (fn. 76) In 1579 the Eton manor court fixed a stint of 4 beasts and 40 sheep to a yardland; in the later 18th century alternative stints seem to have been observed, either a 'long' stint of 3 cows and 30 sheep, or a 'short' one of 2½ and 25 respectively. There were also 15 cottage commons of 1 cow each. (fn. 77) Theoretically, the open fields on the eve of inclosure could sustain 1,000–1,200 sheep and 116–136 beasts.
There is no sign of systematic consolidation of holdings before inclosure. In 1742 there were c. 80 furlongs of arable and leys, in almost all of which all freeholders were represented. Few or no furlongs were in single ownership, and the strips of tenants were also widely scattered. (fn. 78) Apart from 38 a. ancient closes within the village, Little Tew was wholly uninclosed before the parliamentary award of 1794. (fn. 79)
A notable feature in Little Tew was the continued influence of the hidage figures recorded in 1086. Not only did the total assessment of 40 yardlands change merely to 40½ by the eve of inclosure, but individual estates remained unchanged for long periods. Wadard's 3½ hides in 1086 were 1 hide of demesne and 10 yardlands of villeinage in the 13th century, and 14 yardlands in the 18th. No other manor had quite the same continuity, but all were unchanged in the 13th century; though grouped in differing ways the yardlands of the 13th century formed the basis of local taxation and agrarian organization until 1794. (fn. 80)
In 1086 (fn. 81) the smaller estates seem to have been more fully exploited than the larger. Ilbert's 2hide estate had land for 2 ploughs, the number at work there, one on the demesne and one worked by 3 villeins and 2 bordars. Its value had remained unaltered at 40s. since the Conquest. Rotroc's 1 hide had land for, and 2 villeins worked it by, 1 ploughteam. Its value remained 30s. Humphrey's 3½-hide estate had land for 4 ploughs, but there were only 1 demesne ploughteam and another worked by 2 bordars. The estate, the only one without villeins, remained worth 50s. Wadard's 3½ hides had land for 3½ ploughs; there were 1 demesne and 2 peasant ploughteams worked by 1 villein and 6 bordars. Its value, too, was unaltered, at £3. By the later 13th century free tenures had increased markedly. (fn. 82) In 1279 the former Rotroc estate was in the hands of 4 tenants, apparently freeholders, holding a yardland each at rents varying from 5s. 9d. to 8s., probably intended to be the full economic rent. The rents were paid to mesne tenants, Richard the Simple and Gilbert of Bank, who held of Peter of Barton for a nominal payment. On the estate formerly Humphrey's Oseney abbey had 2 ploughlands in demesne and 7 yardlands of villeinage, held by 6 yardlanders and 2 halfyardlanders. Two yardlands given c. 1200 to Ralph son of Henry had undergone further disintegration. Ralph's heirs lived at Steeple Aston, and like the Barton family, regarded their land in Little Tew as a useful source of grants. Two of the daughters of Ralph of Aston were married with land in Little Tew, one receiving 10 a., 1 a. meadow, an orchard, and the solar of his house. (fn. 83) By 1279 his heir, Alan Atwell, had freehold tenants of 1 yardland, and of 8 a., and two of 6 a., all at nominal rents. On Ilbert de Lacy's former manor Robert de Broc retained 4 yardlands in demesne. There was one villein yardlander and 3 yardlands of freehold, two of which had been acquired by Oseney abbey. Further grants followed, and by the time that John de Broc sold the manor to Thomas of Yelford in 1291 it comprised only a house, 4 a., and 4 a. let on long leases. (fn. 84) The Cogges estate, formerly Wadard's, had a simple tenurial structure in 1279, with 4 yardlands of demesne and 10 villein yardlanders. In the 13th century, therefore, free holdings proliferated, except on the ecclesiastically owned manors; of 21 villeins all but one held of Oseney and Cogges. In part that was because land circulated among the landowning class, for social as well as purely economic reasons, but some of the participants were peasants: the Sandfords were villeins of Oseney abbey, the Crisps of Cogges priory. There were far more villeins than in 1086, partly because tenements had been divided; the 5 yardlands of villeinage granted to Oseney in the early 13th century had included one tenement of ½ hide which must have been divided later. (fn. 85) Nevertheless, the cultivated area had also probably increased greatly. A standard villein rent of 3s. obtained on all three manors, with unspecified labour services, and liability to tallage. Cottagers were not mentioned in 1279, but Oseney had three paying 2s. a year, and there were presumably others.
In the 14th century dispersion seems to have ceased. In 1316, for example, William the Simple acquired the reversion of a yardland from a descendant of one of his ancestor's tenants in 1279. (fn. 86) William Shareshull, who had been buying land in Little Tew from at least 1327, exchanged it in 1350 with Oseney abbey. The estate was more than 4 yardlands, bringing the abbey's land to the 18½ yardlands which was to comprise the Exeter College estate. (fn. 87) On the Oseney estate in the later 13th century total rent was only 41s., but entry fines of 10 marks or £8 a yardland were high. The estate was run almost entirely to supply the abbey with grain, although small quantities were sold, or used to feed the workers and make payments in kind. The main crops were wheat (c. 30 per cent) and dredge (c. 53 per cent), the latter frequently malted on the farm. Beans, peas, oats, and rye were also grown. The quantities of seed recorded suggest that c. 100 a. a year were sown. Stock comprised plough beasts, 4 or 5 horses, 8 or 9 oxen, and 1 cow. Sheep were kept but not accounted for. Famuli included 4 ploughmen, and a cook or boy. Villein services largely obviated hired labour, although women were often employed. The demesne was leased by the beginning of the 16th century, probably to several tenants rather than as a whole. (fn. 88)
The operation of the Cogges priory estate is apparent only at abnormal moments, when alien priories were in the king's hands. In 1324 there were said to be 60 a. arable, each acre worth 2d. a year; if that figure excluded fallow it is consistent with the 1 hide of demesne in 1279. Ten villeins rendered 30s. rent, and services had been commuted for 13s. 4d. The demesne seems to have been in hand in 1324, although in 1294 the 10 villeins who held 14 yardlands for £4 3s. 4d. were presumably leasing it. Similarly, in 1387, the tenants paid £4 and 24 hens worth 4s. The tenants seem to have leased the demesne occasionally from a relatively early date, regularly in the 14th century. Certainly the practice was well established when Eton College took over in 1441. (fn. 89) By 1446 the manor house, still there in 1324, had gone, represented by a toft and three adjacent crofts, called Prior's close, in the centre of the village. Of 9 tenants at will, 4 each held a yardland of former demesne and a yardland of former villeinage, 4 held another four yardlands of former villeinage, and the last held two. The demesne was let at 8s. 5d. a yardland, the rest at 18d., half the old rent, plus 5s. 3d. for each tenant, presumably for commuted services. (fn. 90)
The direct control exercised by corporate bodies was modified in the 16th century by the practice of leasing manors to gentleman farmers. William Rainsford of Great Tew obtained an 81-year lease from Oseney in 1538. Edward Rainsford sold it c. 1606 to Robert Wyncott, who transferred it to his son-in-law, John Loggin, one of the lords of Little Tew. Exeter College bought it back c. 1610. (fn. 91) The Eton College manor, leased by 1535, was held from 1572 by Henry Kendall of Bloxham. The lease was renewed to his widow in 1594, but resumed by the college in 1612. (fn. 92)
Copyhold tenure persisted on the Eton estate until replaced in the 19th century by leasehold. The Exeter estate had both copyhold and leasehold from the 17th century; the leases were normal beneficial 21-year leases, with low rents and a premium on fines for renewal at 7-year intervals. Renewal of leases was common; thus college tenants became increasingly immobile. None of the Eton tenants in 1544 bore the same family names as those in 1446, but more than half the names remained in 1742. (fn. 93) Eton tenures were fairly regular in size; from c. 1550 there were probably five of 2 yardlands, one of 3, and one of 1. In 1623 there seem to have been three of 3 yardlands, two of 2, and one of 1, and there was little change until the end of the 18th century. Exeter holdings were more varied, comprising in the 17th century one of 4½ yardlands, three of 3, two of 2, and two of ½ yardland. The Lord family seem to have combined holdings of 2 Eton yardlands with 3 Exeter yardlands. Other holdings comprised the small Brasenose estate, the large Loggin estate of 6 yardlands, and two single freehold yardlands. (fn. 94)
The subsidy returns of 1524 reveal four leading villagers, Richard Brangwen (assessed on goods of £16), William Busby (£13), Thomas Jeffery (£12), and John Belcher (£10). Eight people were assessed on goods of between 10s. and £8, and twelve at the lowest level on wages. By 1544 the Brangwen family had all but disappeared from the village. The Jeffery (£16) and Belcher (£8) families remained, and were joined by Edmund Bull (£14) and William Lord (£8). There had been little change in the numbers of those in the middle and lowest groups. (fn. 95) In the late 16th century and early 17th the most prominent family in the village were the Loggins, lords of the former Broc manor, owners of 6 yardlands and tithes. Thomas Loggin (d. 1659) left money bequests of £2,200 to his children, excluding his sons John and Robert for whom he had presumably already made provision. (fn. 96) The Loggins became absentees after Thomas's death, and two families, the Lords and the Marshalls, stood out in the Hearth Tax returns of 1662. (fn. 97) William Lord, assessed on 8 hearths, almost certainly lived in the house later known as Little Tew Manor, and was the only person styled 'Mr'. His son William had 3 hearths, and a widow of the family had 4; one of them presumably occupied the house attached to the family's second tenancy, under Eton College. William Lord, formerly an absentee also had land at Bledington (Glos.). (fn. 98) The Marshall family had lived in the village since c. 1546. (fn. 99) By 1662 three branches of the family were there. The senior line, represented by Ralph, held 4½ yardlands of Exeter College and had a house of 4 hearths; a son had been established at Enstone but held 3 yardlands of Eton College in Little Tew. The Lords and Marshalls controlled 14½ out of 40 yardlands and were assessed for 23 out of 67 taxed hearths. The Lords may have worked their land as a whole. (fn. 100) The various members of the Marshall family, by contrast, seem to have farmed their land separately. Almost every family with two or more hearths can be identified with specific holdings of land: six families held college tenancies of 2 or 3 yardlands, two owned single freehold yardlands, one of them also leasing the 13 a. Brasenose College estate, and one was a ½-yardland tenant of Exeter College. Two who cannot be identified with particular tenements may have farmed Loggin land. Of 11 people with only one hearth, 2, perhaps 4, were sons sharing their father's land but maintaining separate households, either in the parent house or in a cottage. The others, and presumably most of the 12 who were too poor to pay tax, were probably cottagers without land. There were not many smallholdings to blur the distinction between landless families and landholders, most of whom were resident. (fn. 101) Men with 2 or 3 yardlands owned a team of horses, 7 or 8 cows and calves, and c. 80 sheep. (fn. 102) The Lord family, with 5 yardlands, had proportionately more: 6 horses, 28 beasts, and 180 sheep in 1616, 4 horses, 14 beasts, and 146 sheep in 1676. (fn. 103) Robert Loggin (d. 1595) bequeathed 430 sheep, but not all were kept at Little Tew. (fn. 104)
During the 18th century many of the landholders became non-resident and introduced undertenants. The Lord family were unusual in that on the death of William Lord in 1755 his tenures passed to William Taylor, husband of his niece Sarah, and the Taylors remained an active farming dynasty for another 100 years. When Ralph Marshall, however, died in 1733, he was succeeded by Samuel Wilmot, an Oxford bookseller. Similarly, the Calcotts, who held 3 yardlands for more than a century, were replaced in 1726 by a Banbury physician. By 1777 only c. onethird of holdings were occupied by their owners or leaseholders. The amalgamation of tenures was beginning again. Between 1765 and 1781, for example, Brewer Gardner of Dean in Spelsbury obtained three Exeter College leases comprising 5½ yardlands in all. Working farmers, too, often combined two or more holdings. (fn. 105)
The parliamentary inclosure of Little Tew in 1794 resulted from strong pressure by Thomas Wyld and his son George, owners of the tithes and 6 yardlands. The question was first raised in 1787 but received little support at first from the colleges and their tenants, none of whom were willing to face the heavy capital expenditure involved. They were eventually persuaded to agree by an offer from the other landowners to bear part of the college's costs by a general sale of land in the parish before inclosure; 197 a. were sold by the commissioners, whose additional duties account for the abnormally high cost, £6,588, of inclosing Little Tew. Wyld received 215 a. for tithes and 153 a. for his 6 yardlands. Exeter College received 473 a. for its 18½ yardlands, and Eton College 317 a. for 14 yardlands. Brasenose College was allotted 33 a. in exchange for its meadow holdings. The only other allotments of size were 51 a. to Mary Heywood, daughter of Samuel Wilmot, for 2 freehold yardlands, and 23 a. to the trustees for the poor of the parish. The wishes of the tenants clearly influenced the commissioners' planning. John Carter, tenant of an Eton holding, undertenant of another, bought 6 a. of the college land sold before inclosure; the three afterwards formed a single block. Most farms were arranged to radiate out from a homestead within the village', or to have an allotment nearby combined with another at a distance. Two were designed to sever links with the village. Anne Beck, an Exeter tenant, was given 90 a. in the west, and at the same time exchanged her homestead in the village with other tenants; in the north-west Coltscombe and adjacent land was taken by the rector of Swerford, who bought 161 a. at the sale of college land. (fn. 106) Both probably intended to work the land from outside the parish, and there were at first few outlying farms on which the farmer himself resided, partly because farms were small and had little capital. Apart from Coltscombe Farm and Lodge Farm, the former Wyld estate, the detached farms were inhabited in the 19th century only by labourers' families.
The inclosure took place at a time of agricultural boom which encouraged owners and leaseholders to farm their own holdings directly. Brewer Gardner, who had previously sub-let his land, began to farm it himself in 1787. Mary Heywood, who was also tenant of 120 a. under Exeter College, sold out in 1795 to Jabez Kimber who was farming it directly by 1801. (fn. 107) Two Eton holdings which were vacant at inclosure acquired tenants who had previously been sub-tenants, John Carter and Stephen Godson. (fn. 108) They, with Kimber and the old-established Taylor family, tenants of the manor house, were to be important figures in the village for a generation. Kimber was known to Arthur Young as a progressive farmer, in close touch with the farmers of the well-organized Great Tew estate. (fn. 109) Small amounts of the Eton and Exeter land sold at inclosure were bought by local farmers, and the major purchase, that by Nicholas Earle, was also acquired by local men in the early 19th century. By 1831 there were ten farms. Lodge farm, c. 365 a. in the south of the parish, was leased to Samuel Busby. The Kimber farm, Spring farm, comprised 266 a. mainly in the north-west; half freehold and half Exeter leasehold, it was farmed from the house later known as Ibstock Close, opposite the manor house. There were four farms of 100–150 a., and four of 50–100 a. In few cases was the college tenant not the occupier. (fn. 110)
From the later 19th century the major changes have been the sale of most college property in the parish (fn. 111) and the absorption of some outlying farms into farms in neighbouring parishes. (fn. 112) The largest farm in Little Tew, and least changed since inclosure, was Little Tew Grounds (c. 370 a.), formerly Lodge farm. The only other relatively large farm was formed by combining Meetings farm (c. 160 a.), at the junction of the road from Little Tew with the Great TewChipping Norton road, with Magpie farm (c. 130 a.), west of the village. By the mid 20th century only one working farmhouse, Manor Farm, on the Enstone road, remained in the village. (fn. 113)
In 1824 two Exeter College farms were predominantly under grass; 65 per cent of one was pasture, 75 per cent of the other pasture and seeds. The main crops were oats, turnips, barley, wheat, and beans. (fn. 114) In the later 19th century there was more arable. In 1870 only 30 per cent of the parish was permanent pasture, 9 per cent leys; there were 139 cattle and 1,143 sheep, few more than under the stints of the previous century. By 1891, however, permanent pasture (43 per cent) was once more increasing, comprising 56 per cent in 1901, and 68 per cent in 1911. The number of sheep declined from 83 per 100 a. in 1870 to 53 in 1911, as increased emphasis was placed on beef and dairy farming; the number of cattle increased from 12 per 100 a. in 1870 to 27 in 1911. The main crops were barley, oats, wheat, and roots. (fn. 115) Mixed, but predominantly stock, farming continued in the later 20th century.
In the period 1831–51 there were 9 or 10 households of farmers and c. 32 of agricultural labourers, a ratio that might be compared with the almost equal distribution obtaining in the 17th century and early 18th. In 1861 the ratio of farmers and their sons to other agricultural workers was approximately half that of the county as a whole. In the 20th century, as Little Tew village has become increasingly residential, farm labourers have lived outside the parish. There have always been one or two tradesmen and artisans in the village, finding employment as blacksmiths, carpenters, masons, shoemakers, and shopkeepers. In 1911 there were still a shopkeeper, a smith, a mason, and a builder, timber merchant, and wheelwright. The timber yard was closed by 1930 and the premises taken over by an agricultural engineering business. That and a firm of builders were the only businesses remaining in 1981. (fn. 116)
Manorial courts were held regularly on the Eton College manor until 1767, when the court is last known to have met. The frequency of courts on the Exeter College manor is uncertain, and the last known court was held in 1768. (fn. 119)
Little Tew seems to have had its own constable, churchwarden, and overseer by the mid 17th century. (fn. 120) The churchwarden paid a quarter of the expenses of the Great Tew churchwardens, presumably for church maintenance and repair, while in Little Tew he was responsible for such things as payments for vermin, and gifts to travelling paupers; usually he drew money from the overseer's account, but occasionally levied a special rate. (fn. 121)
Poor relief was accounted for separately from Great Tew by 1691. (fn. 122) Little Tew spent £45 on poor relief in 1776, c. £50 in 1783–5, and £101 in 1803, amounting to c. 9s. per head of population, the lowest figure for the area. Expenditure, unusually, remained low after the Napoleonic wars, but it rose to 25s. a head in 1820 and 27s. in 1821; it was still about 20s. in 1831, when there was total expenditure of £243. There were 4 adults on permanent out-relief in 1803 and 11 in 1813. (fn. 123)
Little Tew was included in Chipping Norton poor law union after 1834. It formed part of Chipping Norton rural district in 1894, and became part of West Oxfordshire district in 1974. (fn. 124)
Little Tew formed part of the ecclesiastical parish of Great Tew until it was created a separate parish c. 1857. (fn. 125) There is traditionally supposed to have been a chapel of ease in Little Tew before the Reformation, and a report in 1569 stated that there had formerly been 1 a. of leys for maintaining a light; (fn. 126) the light could, however, have been in Great Tew church. The tradition of a chapel was revived in the late 18th century, (fn. 127) and the Little Tew inclosure award (1794) made provision for its possible rebuilding. (fn. 128) It was presumably, however, the decision in 1829 to open a Baptist chapel in the village which prompted a petition in the same year for a Church of England chapel. Exeter College was willing to build and endow one, 'to prevent alienation of the inhabitants from the Established Church', but the scheme met with no encouragement from the vicar of Great Tew, Samuel Nash. (fn. 129) Nash's successors provided services in a barn and, later, in the schoolroom. A chapel was built in 1853, served from Great Tew until 1858, when the first institution to the new living was made. The benefice was a perpetual curacy until 1868, since when it has been styled a vicarage. (fn. 130) The bishop of Oxford presented until 1930, when the living was united with that of Great Tew, whose patron and the bishop were to present by turns. (fn. 131)
Despite a claim by Oseney abbey in 1216 that its land was exempt from small tithes, (fn. 132) Little Tew tithes were paid to the lay impropriator of Great Tew until the inclosure of Little Tew in 1794, when they were exchanged for 215 a. An award of 16½ a. to the vicar of Great Tew for the provision of services for Little Tew was transferred to the new parish, and for a time the rent of £25 was virtually the only income. Gifts from local people, however, and grants from the Society for Augmenting Small Livings and from Queen Anne's Bounty raised the value of the living to c. £125 in the later 19th century. In 1926 the net income was £201. (fn. 133)
In 1857 Exeter College sold 1 a. south of the road from the village to Chipping Norton as the site for a parsonage. The house, the largest in the village, is of 2 storeys, in a gabled Gothic design by G. E. Street. In 1869 additions were made by C. Buckeridge, probably at the expense of the vicar, Charles Garratt. Garratt bought the freehold on his retirement in 1880, when further alterations were made by E. Bruton. The house was renamed the Grange in 1880. The grounds adjoining the house were bought by Garratt from Exeter College in 1866. (fn. 134) The house later called Ibstock Close, east of the manor house, was bought from Garratt as the new parsonage; it was sold in 1930. (fn. 135)
The lack of a church and resident minister in Little Tew, and failure to provide services there, contributed much to the success of nonconformity in the 18th and 19th centuries. (fn. 136) When the church was finally built congregations were little more than half those in the Baptist chapel; the latter, however, drew on a much wider area. (fn. 137) Church life in the parish became more vigorous with Garratt's institution in 1858. By 1860 congregations had increased from c. 30 at morning service and c. 65 at evening service to c. 65 and c. 120. (fn. 138) He built in 1863 a new school and three almshouses at his own expense, stood security for additions to the church in 1869, and bought much property in the village. (fn. 139) He was a strong opponent of nonconformity, and the mutual antagonism engendered by his outspokenness was long remembered. (fn. 140) He continued to live at the Grange until his death in 1925. (fn. 141) Little Tew was too small to maintain an independent living and for a time in the 1890s and again from 1916 it was held jointly with Great Tew. (fn. 142)
It was claimed in 1899 that the site of the medieval chapel had been discovered 70 years earlier; (fn. 143) it is supposed to have been in Elm Close, north of Little Tew Manor and east of Water Lane. (fn. 144) The church of 1853, dedicated to ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST, was built west of the junction of the road from Enstone with the main village street, on land given by Eton College. (fn. 145) Designed by G. E. Street in late 13thcentury style, it comprised nave and chancel under one roof, north vestry and north porch, and west belfry. (fn. 146) In 1869 a north aisle, re-using the original windows, and a tower incorporating a new porch were added by C. Buckeridge. The font was moved to the aisle, and an organ installed at its east end. Six bells, the gift of Charles Garratt, were placed in the tower. (fn. 147) A new pulpit was fitted in 1896. (fn. 148) Extensive repairs, including reroofing, were carried out in 1964. The church contains memorial windows and tablets to the Garratt and McFarlane families. Eton College in 1863 gave 820 sq. yd. south of the church to extend the churchyard. (fn. 149)
In 1738 there were reportedly three papists 'of the lower rank' in Little Tew. (fn. 150) In 1767 there were 26 in Great Tew and Little Tew combined, ministered to by the earl of Shrewsbury's chaplain at Heythrop. (fn. 151) In 1811 there were 'some few' Catholics, described as paupers, in Little Tew, attending the chapel at Heythrop. (fn. 152) The departure c. 1820 of the earls of Shrewsbury from Heythrop seems to have resulted in the demise of Roman Catholicism in Little Tew.
Five or six 'separatists' said in 1663 to be in Great Tew parish were, in fact, in Little Tew and included two members of the Lord family and two other prosperous tenant farmers. (fn. 153) Between 1689 and 1729 five Little Tew Quakers were fined heavily, (fn. 154) but no mention has been found after 1778.
Baptists were first mentioned in 1771, and in 1778 Edward Drake, a labourer, registered his house for meetings and taught ten Anabaptists there. (fn. 155) From that time the strength and persistence of nonconformity in Little Tew distinguished it from its larger neighbour. An application in 1829 by a Chipping Norton Baptist missionary for a licence to convert a building into a chapel was signed by eight people, six of whom were considerable farmers. (fn. 156) Supporters of the Established Church were alarmed that the whole village might be lost to Dissent, blaming the lack of a resident minister and church of their own. (fn. 157) A small Baptist chapel was built in the village c. 1845 south of the road to Great Tew, and attracted congregations of c. 100 from the area around. (fn. 158) Unusually, however, many Baptists also attended Great Tew church and had their children baptized there. An application in 1850 for a house to be used for dissenting worship was probably made on behalf of Primitive Methodists, of whom there were ten or twelve by 1860. (fn. 159) In 1854 the vicar of Great Tew considered half the population of Little Tew to be Baptists or 'Ranters'. (fn. 160)
In 1868 Robert Ryman of Great Tew provided a site west of the road to Chipping Norton, and shortly afterwards a manse was built there for a resident Baptist pastor. Ryman was an influential figure in local nonconformity in the later 19th century. He insisted on attendance at chapel by tenants of a cottage of his in the village, and he was instrumental in the rebuilding of the chapel in 1871. (fn. 161) He bequeathed an endowment to it at his death in 1891. There was a resident ordained pastor in the village until 1915 and a resident preacher thereafter until 1966, when the congregation moved to the chapel at Cleveley, to which Ryman's endowment had been transferred. A Sunday School was begun in the 1880s, and a schoolroom built alongside the chapel in 1925. Chapel and schoolroom were sold in 1968. (fn. 162)
In 1818 there were three small day schools in Little Tew, all kept by women, teaching 21 children. (fn. 163) A day school for 20 children, financed by fees and subscriptions, was started in 1823. It received support from Exeter College from 1830 and from Eton College from 1834. (fn. 164) In 1836 a school and master's house were built south of the road to Great Tew on a site given by Exeter College. (fn. 165) There was an average attendance of 35 in 1854. (fn. 166) By the 1860s the building was felt to be inadequate and in 1863 Revd. Charles Garratt built a new school, designed by C. Buckeridge, adjoining almshouses south-east of the vicarage. (fn. 167) Designed for 50 children, the school was enlarged to hold 87 by 1871, although only 50 were then on the register, and c. 40 regular attenders. Fees were 1d. for the first child of a family and ½d. for others; the school was subsidised personally by Garratt. There was an uncertificated master, and a needlework mistress, and an uncertificated labourer's daughter taught the infants. (fn. 168) A parliamentary grant was first received in 1874. (fn. 169) By 1890, when there were 43 children, the school's income comprised c. £18 in fees, c. £68 in subscriptions, and c. £47 parliamentary grant. The original school had been converted into a house and let since 1867, the rent placed in trust for the new school. (fn. 170) The house was sold in 1903 and the proceeds added to the fund. (fn. 171) By 1906 the attendance had fallen to 20, and the school closed in 1923, when the children were transferred to Great Tew. (fn. 172)
Charities For The Poor.
William Loggin (d. 1635) bequeathed a rent charge of £1 to the poor of Little Tew out of the great tithes of Eatington (Warws.). By 1825 the money was distributed, usually every other year in bread. (fn. 173) John Sly (d. 1657) bequeathed £5 to the poor of Little Tew. (fn. 174) The money may have become appropriated by Great Tew, or possibly formed part of £10 poor's money whose origin was unknown in 1787–8. In 1825 £10 10s. poor's money was in the hands of the overseers, who provided 10s. in bread for distribution with Loggin's charity. (fn. 175) In 1871 the income remained 10s. even though the principal had risen to £20. (fn. 176) By 1910 Loggin's charity derived from rent charges on two farms in Eatington, and the poor's money from £12 12s. in consols. (fn. 177) By 1970 the poor's money investment was producing 6s. 8d. a year, but the rent charges could not be collected and the only active trustee was paying out the £1 himself. (fn. 178) Mary Ellen Scott, by will dated 1934 left £250, the income to be divided annually among the poor of Little Tew. By 1967 there had been no distribution for several years. (fn. 179)
At the inclosure of Little Tew in 1794 the rent, designed to be £12, from c. 23 a. in the south-east corner of the parish was given to the poor, to be distributed in coal. (fn. 180) By 1871 the rent had risen to c. £34. In the 20th century the land was let at 30s. an acre, increased to £9 in 1969, when £3 in coal was distributed to 18 households. By 1972 the land was said to be worth £15–20,000 and the income of above £200 was far larger than could be spent on relief in the village. The Charity Commission ruled that money could be spent on village amenities. (fn. 181)