A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 11, Wootton Hundred (Northern Part). Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1983.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
Wootton lies 9½ miles (15 km.) north-west of Oxford and 2 miles (3 km.) north of Woodstock on the river Glyme. (fn. 1) It was the centre of an Anglo-Saxon royal estate, to which was attached the jurisdiction of Wootton hundred. (fn. 2) The large ancient parish (4,274 a. in 1881) (fn. 3) included the hamlet of Old Woodstock (reserved for treatment in a later volume), and there were other settlements at Ludwell, Hordley, and Dornford which had been reduced to one or two isolated farmhouses by the end of the Middle Ages. Woodleys and Littleworth, described as hamlets of Wootton by the 18th century, were probably medieval or later settlements on assarted land, and seem to have amounted to no more than one or two cottages before farmhouses were built there after the inclosure of Wootton in 1770. The parishioners resisted a proposal in 1891 to incorporate Old Woodstock in Woodstock borough, (fn. 4) but in 1894 Old Woodstock was created a separate civil parish of c. 51 a., reducing Wootton parish to 4,222 a. (1,709 ha.). (fn. 5)
The unusual shape of the ancient parish was probably the outcome of several early changes. In 958 a large royal estate at Wootton was defined almost entirely by natural features: on the west, south, and east were the rivers Glyme and Dorn, while in the north-east from 'Ram's ford' (later Tittenford Bridge) the boundary ran up the valley ('Ram's dene'), along which the parish boundary still runs, until it met 'Edward's boundary'; then it turned south-westwards towards the river Glyme, which it followed to its junction with the Dorn near 'Milk ford' (Milford Bridge). (fn. 6) 'Edward's boundary', presumably the present boundary with Glympton, is defined in part by an ancient lane. Only the northern section of the Anglo-Saxon boundary survived as the parish boundary, however, for large additions were made east of the river Dorn and west and south of the river Glyme. By the 13th century Hordley was a chapelry of Wootton, and Dornford a hamlet; (fn. 7) Weaveley, though said in 1279 to 'belong' to the vill of Dornford, was later absorbed in Tackley parish, not Wootton. (fn. 8) Thus Akeman Street became Wootton's southern boundary in that area, while the eastern boundary of the parish followed field boundaries west of the Oxford-Banbury road.
The site of Old Woodstock, too, probably belonged to the parish by the 13th century, when the king's mill there was tithable to Wootton. (fn. 9) Before modern boundary changes the southern parish boundary followed the river Glyme to Old Woodstock mill, then turned northwards along the perimeter of Blenheim (formerly Woodstock) Park as far as Akeman Street. The limits of the medieval royal park, reputedly walled by Henry I, (fn. 10) are not known; an extension was promised in 1231, and a new section was walled in the 1250s. (fn. 11) It seems likely that the area of park which protrudes into (and was presumably taken out of) Wootton parish north of Akeman Street was medieval in origin and not, as sometimes suggested, part of Sir Henry Lee's extensions of the 1570s: (fn. 12) in Edward IV's reign there was a reference to a new lodge 'at Callow hill' in the park. (fn. 13) If, as is alleged, the parishioners of Wootton, when beating the bounds in the mid 19th century, followed Akeman Street across Blenheim Park, (fn. 14) they were preserving a memory of great antiquity.
The whole parish west of the Woodstock to Chipping Norton road lay within Wychwood forest, whose bounds c. 1300 followed that road from Slape (in the southern tip of Glympton parish) to the park wall, and thence to the river Glyme at Old Woodstock mill. (fn. 15) Though exempted from forest jurisdiction in 1236 by being taken out of the regard, (fn. 16) the area seems to have long remained within the 'covert' of the forest. It was cleared and brought into cultivation during the Middle Ages, leaving only some 120 a. of woodland there by the time of inclosure, represented by Wootton (or King's) wood. Much of the western parish boundary follows such natural features as dried up watercourses, presumably marking the limits of the medieval Wootton wood and other royal woods in the parish such as Fewden. (fn. 17)
The land is mostly limestone brash of the Great Oolite, with deposits of alluvium along the rivers Dorn and Glyme and an unnamed tributary of the Dorn running south-eastwards from Ludwell. (fn. 18) In places the soil lies only thinly over the rock, and is difficult to cultivate even with modern equipment; it requires much feeding and dries up quickly. Its character presumably contributed to the decline of the marginal settlements in the Middle Ages, and encouraged the development of sheep farming, for which it is well suited. (fn. 19) The river valleys are deep and sometimes broad, but much of the parish lies on high ground, rising in the north and west to 125 m. and above. Areas such as Wootton Down, an ancient cow pasture, have long been open, exposed ground, but elsewhere in modern times the elimination of hedges to create large fields and the ravages of elm disease have transformed the landscape.
The parish is crossed from east to west by the Roman road Akeman Street, which linked St. Albans with Cirencester. (fn. 20) The identification of a section of the Woodstock to Chipping Norton road near Woodleys as Roman or Romanized (fn. 21) awaits verification. The road, called Woodstock way in 1298, (fn. 22) was turnpiked in 1729 as a branch of the road crossing the parish from Hordley to Glympton, which formed part of the main London-Worcester road in the 17th century; the roads were disturnpiked in 1878. (fn. 23) An ancient road, apparently the via regia mentioned in 1298, and called Blind or Dark Lane in the early 19th century, (fn. 24) formed the parish boundary north of Woodleys and may have linked westwards with a Roman road at Ditchley and eastwards with a road from Slape to Wootton, mentioned in the 13th century and presumably on the line of the surviving footpath. (fn. 25) Most of the minor roads in the parish were set out at inclosure in 1770, but were already long established, notably Glympton way, mentioned in the 13th century, and Down way (the road past Wootton Down), Wood way (perhaps the road from Wootton towards Stonesfield), and the Fair Mile (the Barton road), all mentioned in the 16th century. (fn. 26) Ludwell way, also mentioned then, is probably represented by the surviving footpath, while the footpath from Wootton to Hordley also seems to mark the line of a once substantial road. The roads in the western limb of the parish were altered after the inclosure of Stonesfield in 1804, when the present straight section from Ditchley Gate westwards was laid out. (fn. 27) Dornford Lane, running northsouth through the parish east of the river Dorn, is a wide green lane flanked by ancient hedgerows. It has been suggested that it once linked the royal hunting lodge at Woodstock with an outlying grange of a Saxon royal estate. (fn. 28) To the south, however, the lane (or a branch from it) clearly ran past Woodstock, perhaps towards Oxford. The lane's course, roughly duplicating that of the ancient Banbury-Oxford road and avoiding the centres of villages, suggests that it was a drove road for either local or long distance use. (fn. 29) Its marked survival in the Woodstock-Barton section may owe much to the early inclosure of Dornford and Hordley, which created hedgerows that over centuries became almost impenetrable.
Stratford Bridge, carrying Akeman Street over the river Glyme, was mentioned in 1279 when its repair, with timber provided by the king, was one of the duties of the men of Hordley. (fn. 30) The bridge was rebuilt in 1832 and much repaired later. (fn. 31) Milford Bridge, in existence by the early 17th century, was rebuilt in 1856. (fn. 32) A plan to bridge the ford near Wootton mill in 1829 was rejected by the vestry, and in 1840 a bridge was built further east, largely at the cost of the rector, W. B. Lee; it was repaired in 1881. (fn. 33) Tittenford Bridge on the river Dorn in the north was apparently built in 1837 at Lee's cost. (fn. 34)
A large round barrow called Copping Knoll (earlier Coppedlow) (fn. 35) lies east of the river Glyme and a linear earthwork near Woodleys called Grim's Ditch or Dyke was constructed during the 1st century a.d. perhaps as a defence against the Romans. (fn. 36) Two parallel earthworks at Starveall farm seem to be associated with Grim's Ditch. (fn. 37) Romano-British finds have been numerous, presumably because of the influence of Akeman Street and several villa sites in the area; there was a quadrangular enclosure of Roman date near the Marlborough Arms. (fn. 38) It seems, however, that the Anglo-Saxon settlers still found much uncleared land in the area: the name Wootton (tun in the wood), (fn. 39) and names such as Hordley, Tackley, and Weaveley, implying clearings in woodland, suggest that Wychwood may once have stretched eastwards to the river Cherwell. The earliest evidence of Anglo-Saxon penetration are pagan hut-sites close to Akeman Street, north-east of Stratford Bridge. (fn. 40)
The total recorded population of the parish in 1086 was only 45, but Hordley and Dornford were not mentioned and at Ludwell tenants were enumerated on only two of the five estates. (fn. 41) In 1279 over 140 tenants were named, and although some of the free tenants were probably not inhabitants there were some 90 resident families of villeins and cottagers. (fn. 42) There seems to have been heavy depopulation during the next century, presumably through plague, for in 1377 only 144 adult parishioners were assessed for poll tax, and the desertion of the hamlets may safely be ascribed to that period. (fn. 43) By the 17th century, though Hordley, Ludwell, and Dornford were single farms, Wootton's population had recovered somewhat: 97 men aged 18 or more took the Protestation oath in 1642, 42 householders were assessed on 128 hearths for the tax of 1662, and 172 adults were enumerated in 1676. (fn. 44) Parish registers suggest that the population was rising from the 16th century: there were only 90 recorded baptisms and burials in the 1570s but c. 160 in the 1630s and also in the 1690s. (fn. 45) There was again a sharp increase in population in the 18th century, perhaps attributable to the flourishing state of the gloving industry in Woodstock and its neighbourhood: in 1738 the rector estimated that there were 109 families in the parish, and the number of registered baptisms and burials averaged 26 a year in the 1750s and 31 a year in the 1790s. (fn. 46) The population was 823 in 1801, and it rose steadily to a peak of 1,250 in 1851, only beginning to fall substantially after 1871. Probably about a third lived in Old Woodstock, as in 1891 when 364 of the 1,069 parishioners lived there. After the separation of Old Woodstock in 1894 Wootton's population fell to 548 in 1931, but from 1951 was usually c. 700. (fn. 47)
Wootton village straddles the river Glyme at a point where the valley sides fall some 20 m. to the river. (fn. 48) The village centre occupies the northern slope, the houses lining the rectangle of streets below the church and former rectory house (Wootton Place) which stand on the hill top. The prominence of the limestone church perhaps accounts for the name Wootton Whitechurch sometimes applied to the village in the 18th and 19th centuries. (fn. 49) Lower down the slope, where the road to the bridge divides and reunites, are other old houses including the former Three Horseshoes inn, the mill, and Home Farm, once one of the glebe farms and possibly the site of a medieval rectory house. (fn. 50) The earliest detailed plan of the village (1833) shows much the same distribution of houses, (fn. 51) but there was some realignment of Horseshoe Lane in 1840 when the bridge was built, and in 1841 the lane to Milford Bridge, which passed close to the door of the rectory house, was moved further south to create space for the carriage drive. (fn. 52)
The older houses and cottages are mostly built of local limestone rubble with stone slate roofs. Few, apart from Wootton Place and Manor Farm, (fn. 53) are large, and the numerous cottages of 18th- and 19th-century date reflect Wootton's past as an 'open' village of small tenant farmers and agricultural labourers, sustained to some extent by cottage industry. Parrott's, a late 17thcentury farmhouse distinguished by a segmental hood on carved brackets over the entrance, acquired its name from an 18th-century owner, Charles Parrott, founder of the village school. After inclosure it served as the farmhouse for a farm north of the village which was bought by the Blenheim estate in 1840. (fn. 54) The Old Gloving House, recalling the village's staple industry, is an early 18th-century rubble and slate building with sash windows; its precise connexion with gloving is unknown, but it is unlikely to have been a factory since in the 19th century the glovers of Wootton seem to have worked for Woodstock masters. (fn. 55) Other buildings of note in the village centre include the former Wesleyan chapel of 1887 in High Street, Parrott's school of 1835–6, and the village hall, west of the church, built in 1925–6. (fn. 56) On the hill top, along Castle Road, are the former smithy, (fn. 57) some old cottages, and a post-inclosure farmhouse, but most of the houses are modern. Killingworth Castle inn, presumably built to serve travellers on the London-Worcester road, pre-dates the turnpike: it bears the date 1687 and the initials of William Killingworth and his wife Silence, (fn. 58) but was refronted in the 19th century. A scattering of other houses were built nearby on the turnpike in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The large group of houses on the southern slope of the valley have long been known collectively as Wootton west end, presumably because of their association with holdings in the west end fields of pre-inclosure Wootton. (fn. 59) A farmhouse at the southern entrance to the village became known after inclosure as West End Farm. (fn. 60) Several houses and cottages on the southern slope bear the dates and initials of 18thcentury owners. There may once have been more houses in that area, for there are traces of house plots and a hollow way of unknown date on the steep slope between West End Farm and the river. (fn. 61)
In the later 18th century there were three inns in the village, the George, the Weathercock (probably the later Three Horseshoes), and Killingworth Castle. The George was not mentioned thereafter, but in the early 19th century the New Inn (renamed in recent times the Marlborough Arms) was built on the Woodstock to Chipping Norton road. (fn. 62) The King's Head in High Street was not recorded until the 1930s, and the Three Horseshoes was later converted into a private house. (fn. 63)
The village changed rapidly after the Second World War. (fn. 64) Electricity was introduced in 1937, but at that time many of the village houses were in serious disrepair, the water supply was from wells, and most of the inhabitants worked in and around Wootton. After the war the village began to attract commuters, many of them working in Oxford. Piped water was installed in 1953–5, most of the older houses were restored, and there was much new building. To the pre-war council houses on Castle Road were added others at Milford Place in 1960; many new private houses were inserted in the village streets, and there was private building along Castle Road, at Burditch Bank, and, in the late 1970s, at Manor Farm Court. The modern buildings are in a wide variety of materials and styles.
The hamlet of Ludwell ('loud spring') (fn. 65) lay 1½ mile north of Wootton on a small tributary of the river Dorn, close to Ludwell Farm. (fn. 66) By 1086 there were five small estates there, though the total recorded population was only six. (fn. 67) In the Middle Ages the hamlet had its own fields. (fn. 68) By c. 1260 there was a chapel, (fn. 69) and in 1279 there were c. 20 tenants. (fn. 70) There had been a serious decline by 1377 when only 16 adults were assessed for poll tax, and in 1524 there were only 3 taxpayers there. (fn. 71) By 1682 Ludwell comprised a single enclosed farm of c. 610a., whose boundaries were probably those of the ancient chapelry. (fn. 72) On the north-east and north-west lay the parish boundary, on the west the Wootton-Barton road, while on the south and east the boundary followed the edges of fields. Apart from the surviving farmhouse (fn. 73) there were two buildings, possibly cottages, close by it on the east, and to the northeast what may have been a barn, probably on the site of the surviving barn. In 1825 there were said to be vestiges of buildings near the house and in a field some distance away. (fn. 74) At least part of the medieval hamlet lay c. 100 m. downstream from Ludwell Farm, where there are remains of fish ponds, house plots, and a hollow way in a field which in 1682 was called Chapel Close. (fn. 75)
The hamlet of Hordley lay ¾ mile south-east of Wootton on the river Glyme, near Hordley Farm. (fn. 76) Its name, meaning 'treasure ley', perhaps recalls the discovery by those who settled there of a Roman hoard, (fn. 77) for the site is close to Akeman Street. When Hordley was first mentioned in 1194 it was a royal estate, and there was a chapel there by 1268. (fn. 78) Its fields comprised only some 325 field acres in 1279, (fn. 79) and, when a single farm in the 19th century, Hordley was little over 300 a. It was bounded on the west by the Glyme, on the south by Akeman Street, and on part of the north by a green lane from Milford Bridge towards Sturdy's Castle on the Banbury-Oxford road. (fn. 80) In 1279 there were only 19 recorded tenants, of whom several may have lived elsewhere. (fn. 81) The absence of medieval yardlands there, the smallness of the standard peasant holding, the close association of the tenantry with service at the royal palace at Woodstock, all suggest an unusual type of settlement, perhaps following the late clearance of woodland on the royal estate. In 1377 only 19 adults were assessed for poll tax and by 1524 there were only 5 taxpayers. (fn. 82) In 1607 there were probably still 3 occupied houses besides several cottages that had been turned into stables; (fn. 83) downstream, near Stratford Bridge, was a water mill, which had fallen into disuse by c. 1800. (fn. 84) During the 17th century the hamlet came into single ownership. (fn. 85) In 1825 the foundations of many walls were still visible in a field called 'Up Town', presumably the field southeast of the present farmhouse where there are well preserved earthwork remains of building plots and hollow ways; fishponds mentioned in 1825 are still visible north-west of the house. (fn. 86) In 1848 there were several buildings, presumably barns and other farm buildings, both east and north of the house, the latter in Chapel Leys, perhaps the site of the medieval chapel. (fn. 87) In 1883 the Blenheim estate erected a large range of brick and stone farm buildings at Hordley and two cottages for farm workers on the old turnpike road.
The hamlet of Dornford lay east of the river Dorn ½ mile north of Milford Bridge, close to the present Lower Dornford Farm. (fn. 88) The name is thought to mean 'hidden ford', the river name being therefore a back formation. (fn. 89) A charter mentioning Dornford in 777 is probably spurious, but the hamlet seems to have been settled by the Anglo-Saxons, though not mentioned by name in Domesday Book. (fn. 90) Dornford had its own fields, which presumably covered the whole area of the parish east of the Dorn and north of the chapelry of Hordley, amounting to 667 a. in 1848. (fn. 91) In 1279 Dornford contained some 25 tenants, but by 1377 only 21 adult taxpayers. (fn. 92) Perhaps by 1524, when there was only one taxpayer, and certainly by the early 17th century, Dornford comprised a single farm. (fn. 93) A large mansion house built at Lower Dornford in the late 17th or early 18th century was demolished c. 1800, (fn. 94) and only a farmhouse, some associated cottages, and a small mill survive there. A farm was established at Upper Dornford by the 18th century, though the present farmhouse and cottages are 19th-century, and there was a small farm in the south of the hamlet, called Little Dornford. (fn. 95) Both Upper and Lower Dornford were built on high ground on the lip of the steep and remote Dorn valley, their location 'wild, open, and romantic', (fn. 96) their isolation enhanced by the absence of roads. The remains of house platforms and hollow ways are visible east of Lower Dornford Farm, while a deep hollow way leads to a ford over the river. A small excavation revealed the remains of early medieval buildings and a quantity of 13th- and 14th-century pottery, supporting the historical evidence for a late-medieval shrinkage of the settlement. (fn. 97)
Woodleys, a mile south-west of Wootton, comprises a small country house, a farmhouse, and a few scattered cottages; it was described as a hamlet by 1738. (fn. 98) It was not, as was once thought, the Widelie mentioned in 1086, (fn. 99) but may well be identified as an assart called Waltele held of the king by Maud of Slape in 1279. (fn. 100) In 1609 an assart called 'Wootton Wood leaze' was mentioned, (fn. 101) and closes called Pound leys (Punlesse), close to the site of the present house, were mentioned frequently in the 17th century. (fn. 102) A cottage or house called Woodleys was mentioned in 1714, (fn. 103) but the hamlet at that time probably comprised only one or two dwellings surrounded by small closes. On the inclosure of Wootton in 1770 Thomas Southam (d. 1790), already owner of property at Woodleys, was awarded an estate of some 86 a. there. (fn. 104) He presumably built the mansion house and the large post-inclosure farmhouse now called Grimsdyke Farm: certainly both were there by 1809 in occupation of Southam's son, William (d. 1837). (fn. 105) In 1818 the mansion house was bought by Thomas Thornhill (d. 1858), whose son C. E. Thornhill sold it in 1881 to Edwin Ponsonby, whose family have since held it. (fn. 106) The centre of the house is a small ashlar fronted gentleman's residence of the late 18th century, probably at first having lower back wings to each side. (fn. 107) In the early 19th century, possibly soon after Thomas Thornhill purchased the house, the wings were demolished or obscured when balancing wings with canted bays were added at each end of the main front. The east wing was given a symmetrical side elevation with pedimented centre. At the same time the interior was altered, a new staircase with stone treads and wrought iron balustrade put in, and several new fireplaces fitted. Minor additions were made at the rear in the mid 19th century, and in 1887 the house was extended westwards. There are stables of c. 1800 and several contemporary cottages in the grounds. (fn. 108)
Littleworth lay 2 miles south-west of Wootton, west of Wootton wood. Like Woodleys it was described as a hamlet by the early 18th century, (fn. 109) and probably comprised no more than a cottage or two and some closes, presumably assarts. Littleworth Farm, a rectorial property, was not built until after the inclosure of Wootton in 1770, but there was a small cottage to the north, now gone. (fn. 110) Limbeck Farm was probably also regarded as part of Littleworth: a house there seems to have been built on assart land by John Church (d. 1712), an eccentric surgeon, who presumably gave it the name Alembic (a distilling vessel), which it bore in the 18th century. (fn. 111)
The other outlying farms in the parish, Wootton Downs and Starveall, were built after inclosure. Wootton Down, once the principal rectorial farm, is a large late 18th-century house with later additions. Starveall Farm, its name presumably referring to the quality of the land, was built on the allotment for church repair and the poor. (fn. 112) In 1862–3 a large gentleman's residence was built at Hollybank, ½ mile northeast of Wootton, by John Rowland; the architect was William Wilkinson. (fn. 113) Rowland's daughter Elizabeth married the diarist Francis Kilvert in 1879. (fn. 114)
Wootton acquired brief notoriety as a centre of agricultural unrest in 1872. Poor housing conditions and unemployment were causing problems for years before that, (fn. 115) but the early formation there of a branch of the National Agricultural Labourers' Union (May 1872) probably owed much to the initiative of a Wootton Methodist, Christopher Holloway. Within a month there were 185 members demanding an increase in basic wages from 11s. to 16s. a week. Some 120 labourers in the neighbourhood withdrew their labour, while the local employers, among whom John Rowland of Hollybank and John Bulford of Hordley were prominent, formed a Farmers' Defence Association. Some labourers took up the offer of alternative work in Sheffield; there were large-scale demonstrations, while soldiers (only a handful in the end) were employed in Wootton to help gather the harvest. The dispute died down in the autumn, but left much bitterness. Holloway was later involved in schemes to encourage emigration to New Zealand. (fn. 116)
As Wootton increasingly lost its dependence on agriculture after the Second World War it acquired something of a reputation for the variety of occupations followed by its inhabitants. (fn. 117) The influx of newcomers did not diminish the vigour of the parish's long established clubs and institutions, and may have encouraged new ventures such as the historical and art exhibitions held in recent times. (fn. 118) The annual flower show dates from 1877, and is now associated with the parish's traditional feast day, 8 September (the Nativity of St. Mary). (fn. 119) The playing field at Burditch was bought by the parish council in 1947, and a new pavilion built there in 1967, becoming a focal point for the flourishing Sports Club and Youth Club. (fn. 120)
Manors and Other Estates.
In 958 King Edgar granted 20 hides (mansae) at Wootton to his 'minister' Aethelric. The estate as described covered only the northern part of the later parish, bounded on the west, south, and east by the rivers Glyme and Dorn, its northern limits coinciding with the later parish boundary; an uncompleted phrase in the description may, however, imply that the estate also extended into woodland with no precise boundaries. (fn. 121) By 1086 there were at least seven estates in the parish, two said to be in Wootton and five in Ludwell, assessed at a total of 17 hides. In Wootton the king retained in his hands a 5-hide estate, to which was attached the soke of three hundreds, while another 5-hide estate was held by Geoffrey, bishop of Coutances, and of him by William and Ilger. (fn. 122) As at Glympton and other of the bishop's estates the tenant until shortly before 1086 had been Wulfward the White, a thegn of Queen Edith. (fn. 123) The William who was tenant in 1086 was probably the same William who held Glympton and is thought to have been an ancestor of the Clinton family. (fn. 124)
Possibly the two Wootton estates became united as the WOOTTON manor, held with the hundred, which belonged to William Paynel (d. 1184), (fn. 125) eldest son of Fulk Paynel of Drax (Yorks. W.R.). William's wife Eleanor de Vitré retained Wootton in dower, marrying (2) Gilbert de Tillières (d. 1190), (3) William, earl of Salisbury (d. 1196), and (4) Gilbert Malesmains, (fn. 126) who in 1198 held in his wife's right 6½ ploughlands in Wootton. (fn. 127) On Eleanor de Vitré's death in 1232 or 1233 the manor escheated to the king, (fn. 128) who granted it in 1234 to Engelard de Cigoniis at an annual rent. (fn. 129) From 1251 it was farmed by Stephen Bauzan, whose widow Agnes in 1257 was granted the vill and hundred for 6 years. (fn. 130) On other occasions, notably in the period 1242–50 and frequently from the late 1260s until 1312, the manor, as part of the manor or honor of Woodstock, was administered directly by royal officials who accounted for the profits in the Exchequer. (fn. 131) From 1275 Wootton was part of the dower of Queen Eleanor, and in 1313 was granted during pleasure to Queen Isabella. (fn. 132) Thereafter, with the rest of Woodstock manor, it was sometimes held by great personages such as Queen Joan (1403), Humphrey, duke of Gloucester (1437), and George Neville, later archbishop of York (1461), who appointed stewards such as Thomas Chaucer (1411); at other times the stewardship or lieutenancy was committed directly for life or terms of years to men such as the royal officials Thomas and Richard Croft (1467, 1486) and the courtier Sir Henry Lee (1573), who acted almost as de facto owners of the manor. (fn. 133) In 1705 Wootton was among the royal estates granted to John Churchill, duke of Marlborough, (fn. 134) in whose family it remained. No manor house has been traced.
Old Woodstock and Hordley, though not mentioned in 1086, were probably then, as later, royal estates. Like Wootton both became 'demesne towns' dependent upon Woodstock manor, and for administrative purposes they were usually linked with Wootton in a single court. Old Woodstock was not treated separately in surviving accounts for Woodstock manor until the mid 16th century. (fn. 135) HORDLEY was mentioned in 1194, when the sheriff accounted for 60s. for the farm, an amount varying greatly during the next half century. In 1230 Hordley was held at farm by the men of the vill for £7 10s., (fn. 136) but in 1233 was one of the members of Woodstock manor granted for life to Godfrey de Craucombe. (fn. 137) In the period 1242–50, like Wootton, it was accounted for directly in the Exchequer, (fn. 138) but in 1251 was granted separately for six years to Master John Bennett, later to John of Woodstock, king's serjeant, and in 1276 to Henry of Woodstock, rector of Wootton. (fn. 139) In 1279 the demesne was farmed by the men of the vill, (fn. 140) but later Hordley was included in the farm of Woodstock manor and followed its descent. By the early 17th century most of the township was in the hands of the Gregory family. (fn. 141)
The first Gregory to occupy Hordley appears to have been John (d. 1547), (fn. 142) who married Maud, granddaughter of John Hetis, a landowner there in the mid 15th century; Gregory was admitted with her in 1510 to the former Hetis property. (fn. 143) John's son Thomas (d. 1571) still called himself yeoman, (fn. 144) but Thomas's son John (d. 1613) called himself gentleman, (fn. 145) while his grandson Francis (d. 1639) was obliged by the heralds to give up a claim to arms. (fn. 146) Hordley passed in the family from father to son, and was held by Thomas (d. 1660), Thomas (d. 1717), and Francis (d. 1721). (fn. 147) It then passed to a brother John (d. 1755), to John's nephew, the Revd. Thomas Gregory (d. 1780), and then in succession to Thomas's three sons, Thomas (d. 1798), the Revd. John (d. 1806), and Francis (d. 1841). In 1811 Francis, who lived at Cutteslowe Farm, sold all his Hordley estate to George, duke of Marlborough, already lord of the manor. (fn. 148)
Hordley Farm dates largely from c. 1600 and was probably rebuilt by John Gregory (d. 1613). (fn. 149) It is a stone and stone-slated house built round three and a half sides of a quadrangle which may formerly have been complete. The narrow north range incorporates two late 16th-century stone framed windows, and probably had the original entrance on the ground floor. The south range is occupied by the hall and the main chamber above, and the surviving early windows are wood mullioned with ovolo mouldings probably of c. 1600. The east and west ranges, of similar date in origin, were extensively remodelled in the mid 18th century by John Gregory, whose datestone of 1750 survives on the west front. The Gregory arms in a cartouche over the main doorway are probably of that date or later. There is a twostoreyed gazebo of 1750 south-west of the house. What may have been a screens passage, the present entrance lobby, is at the wrong end of the hall, unless the functions of the west and east ranges were reversed in the 18th century, the kitchen end being moved to its present position in the west range. That seems unlikely, however, since a heavily defended original door on the first floor seems to have cut off the west range from the main rooms occupied by the family. There may have been a screens passage at the west end of the hall, before the south-west corner of the house was largely reconstructed in 1885. The east range seems to have been again altered in the early 19th century, when a round-headed door and sash windows were inserted in the east front. The main chamber in the south range contains two rows of 17th-century built-in cupboards, and elsewhere there is much panelling of the 17th and 18th centuries and some original fireplaces and doorways.
In 1086 Odo of Bayeux held 1½ hide in LUDWELL, which was held of him by Wadard. (fn. 150) With much of Wadard's land elsewhere the estate became part of the Arsic barony. (fn. 151) In the mid 12th century Manasser (II) Arsic granted the 1½ hide at Ludwell to Glympton church, which had been appropriated by Kenilworth priory. (fn. 152) In 1279 the estate was recorded as 4 yardlands held by the priory of the fee of Arsic, while a further yardland and some smaller properties were also said to be held of the priory. (fn. 153) At the Dissolution the Crown took possession of 4 yardlands of the priory's Ludwell estate and sold it in 1541 to a courtier, John Wellesbourne, who in 1575 sold it to John and William Cupper of Glympton. (fn. 154) The estate was then a house and 4 yardlands in possession of John Gigger, whose family (Gigour, le Gygur, probably meaning Fiddler) had held land in Ludwell since the 13th century or earlier. (fn. 155) The rest of the priory estate seems to have passed to the Adderbury family: Master Thomas Adderbury held 1 yardland by 1279 and his 15th-century successors held 2 yardlands of Kenilworth priory. (fn. 156)
Another 1½ hide at LUDWELL was held in 1086 by Robert d'Oilly, having been given to him at the siege of St. Suzanne in 1083. (fn. 157) Robert or his heirs gave the demesne tithes of the estate to St. George's church, Oxford, a grant confirmed between 1123 and 1133. (fn. 158) With other d'Oilly lands the estate formed part of the honor of Wallingford and was held by Edmund, earl of Cornwall, in 1279. (fn. 159) The tenant in 1086 was Reynold, thought to be Reynold son of Croc, (fn. 160) who also held Rousham. The estate continued to be held with a manor in Rousham and Barton Ede as part of the Wallingford honor: thus in 1279 William Foliot (whose family is thought to have descended from Reynold) was mesne lord of part of Ludwell, the Foliot connexion continued into the later Middle Ages, (fn. 161) and until the late 19th century the Dormers of Rousham claimed residual manorial rights in Ludwell farm. (fn. 162) There had been further subinfeudation of Ludwell by 1279, when it was held in demesne by John of Ludwell from Walter of Bradwell, and by Walter of William Foliot. (fn. 163) John and Walter were also tenants of the two following estates.
Two hides in LUDWELL were held in 1086 by Robert son of Thurstan, and of him by Osmund. (fn. 164) Robert, who also held Great Rollright, founded a family of which successive lords for two centuries held Rollright by service of acting as dispenser at court. (fn. 165) In 1242 Geoffrey of Thorpe held the Ludwell fee for the service of serving in the king's dispensary under Thurstan Despenser. (fn. 166) By 1279 Walter of Bradwell held of Adam Despenser for the service of acting as armed escort for Adam's wife when she journeyed from Rollright to Ewelme. John of Ludwell and three other free tenants held 1 hide of the fee. (fn. 167)
A fourth LUDWELL estate in 1086 was 1 hide held by Ernulf de Hesdin. (fn. 168) The undertenant was Osmund, and like Osmund's serjeanty it may have descended to Geoffrey of Thorpe, and be identifiable as the tenement in Ludwell held by him in 1241 of Giles of Berkeley. (fn. 169) In 1275 the 'fee of Berkeley' comprised 2 yardlands held, like the Foliot and Despenser estates, by the mesne tenant Walter of Bradwell, and of him by John of Ludwell. (fn. 170)
A John of Ludwell was described as lord of Ludwell as early as 1257. (fn. 171) He or another John of Ludwell was bailiff of Woodstock in 1274 (fn. 172) and died in 1275 holding 2 ploughlands in the township, besides 1 ploughland of the king's manor in Wootton. All but 1 yardland and 5 a. of Ludwell was held of Walter of Bradwell, for whom John paid to William Foliot 8s. rent a year for the Wallingford fee, and to Giles of Berkeley 5s. for the Berkeley fee; the other land was held by John of the Gigger family. (fn. 173) John's son John of Ludwell was recorded in 1279, and shortly afterwards he granted Ludwell to Richard de Lyons, reserving a third as dower of Maud, his father's wife. The purpose of the grant is not clear. (fn. 174) John of Ludwell was recorded as lord of Ludwell in 1316, 1327, and 1329, but his family has not been traced further. (fn. 175)
A fifth LUDWELL estate, of 1 hide, was held in 1086 by Ranulph, and became part of the fee of Widford, another of Ranulph's properties. (fn. 176) In 1219 Robert of Aston and Jordan of Wootton were holding the hide by serjeanty of tending the royal garden at Woodstock. (fn. 177) In that year Robert was granted his moiety by Daniel and Anketil of Widford and Othowic of Asthall in return for a rent of 4s. a year and the customary gardening service. In 1227 Robert's 4s. rent and the other moiety of the hide were granted by the three overlords of the fee to Ralph son of Roger of Wootton. (fn. 178) In 1252 the king recovered the estate as an escheat and gave 3 yardlands to Michael de la Burn (also called the butler) for 2s. a year paid to the Exchequer; the other yardland was given to Hervey Ermine, to be held of the Widford fee for an unspecified payment to the bailiff of Woodstock. Michael sold the 3 yardlands to Robert of Wootton, whose son Thomas sold them to Master Thomas of Adderbury, who held in 1279 and died in 1307. (fn. 179)
Another Thomas of Adderbury was a leading taxpayer in Ludwell in 1316, (fn. 180) and the family evidently acquired other land there, including part of the Kenilworth estate, mentioned above. In 1412–13 Richard Adderbury quitclaimed to Richard Arches, John Langston, and others all his rights in Ludwell. (fn. 181) Richard Arches died in 1417, and in 1460 his daughter Joan, relict of Sir John Dynham (d. 1458), claimed that Arches had bought Ludwell from the Adderburys but that she had been deprived unjustly by her father's executor John Langston. (fn. 182) Joan Dynham's suit against Langston's son John (d. 1506) seems to have failed, for Ludwell followed the descent of Langston's Tusmore manor, passing to his son Thomas, and to Thomas's daughter Catherine and her husband Thomas Pigott (d. 1559) of Doddershall (Bucks.). (fn. 183) In 1571–2 Thomas's son Thomas sold Ludwell manor to Ambrose Edmonds, who in 1573 sold to John Cupper of Glympton. (fn. 184) Cupper, by acquiring the former Kenilworth priory estate in 1575, (fn. 185) brought most of the township into single ownership, and the property was usually described thereafter as Ludwell farm.
Under a settlement of 1581 it passed, on the death of John Cupper in 1585, to his eldest surviving son, Thomas Cupper of Powick (Worcs.), who sold it in 1588–9 to William Napper (Napier) of Holywell, Oxford. (fn. 186) William was succeeded in 1622 by his son Edmund, and Edmund in 1654 by his son George (d. 1671). (fn. 187) George's wife Margaret retained a life interest, after which the property was divided between daughters, Margaret Neville and Frances Wintour, who sold Ludwell to Thomas Crispe of Dornford in 1681. (fn. 188) It remained in the Crispe family until sold in the mid 18th century to Sir James Dashwood (d. 1779), (fn. 189) whose family retained it until the 20th century. The farm was bought by John Smith in 1919 and by Mr. E. W. Towler of Glympton in 1958. (fn. 190)
Ludwell Farm, described as a mansion house in 1571, (fn. 191) is a substantial stone and stone-slated building of the later 16th century. The main range once comprised a long and lofty hall with heavy oak timbering, a parlour, and probably a screens passage; on the first floor were two chambers, one with an arch-braced roof, and closets. The staircase, kitchens, and service rooms, presumably lay to the east, where a wing largely rebuilt in 1879 incorporates earlier walling. An 'ancient' staircase was removed in the early 19th century, (fn. 192) but the house retains much original panelling and several fireplaces; a doorway with four-centred head, now forming the main entrance, may have been moved from one end of the screens passage. The windows of the main range are stone-mullioned, of two arched lights, very unusual in the region.
A charter of 777 by which Offa, king of the Mercians, allegedly granted land at DORNFORD to Evesham abbey is probably a later fabrication. (fn. 193) Dornford was among the estates over which Aethelwig, abbot of Evesham 1058– 77, seems to have gained temporary control, but its inclusion in a list of lands taken from the abbey by Odo of Bayeux seems to have been an error, since there is no other trace of the bishop's connexion with Dornford. The estate later belonged to the de Gray family, and, though not mentioned in Domesday Book, was probably held in 1086, like its neighbour Weaveley in Tackley, by Anketil de Gray of the fee of William FitzOsbern, earl of Hereford. Abbot Aethelwig may have had custody of FitzOsbern's lands after the earl's death or, more probably, after his son Roger's rebellion in 1075: Salford and Cornwell, other FitzOsbern estates in Oxfordshire, were also claimed later by the abbey. (fn. 194)
The overlordship of Dornford is likely to have been granted, like that of South Newington, (fn. 195) to William de Chesney (d. 1172 x 1176) a prominent supporter of King Stephen. (fn. 196) One of William's heirs, Ralph Murdac, forfeited it to the king in the 1190s, (fn. 197) but apparently as a result of the prolonged dispute between the heirs it passed to Margaret, daughter of Warin FitzGerald (d. 1218), who married Baldwin de Rivers. In 1242 their son Baldwin (II) held Dornford, and in 1279 it was held by his daughter Isabel de Forz, countess of Aumale and lady of the Isle of Wight. (fn. 198) In 1325 it belonged to the honor of Aumale, (fn. 199) but was later attributed also to the de Lisle family and to William Montagu, earl of Salisbury (d. 1397), presumably because of his life interest in the lordship of Wight. (fn. 200) Dornford was also said to be held of the king's manor of Wootton, and by the 17th century was held in socage of the hundred of Wootton by suit of court and a rent of 14s. 8d. a year. (fn. 201)
In 1109 Henry I confirmed a grant to Eynsham abbey of the tithes of Dornford, Weaveley, and Cornwell by Anketil de Gray's son Richard. (fn. 202) The mesne tenancy of Dornford remained in the Gray family, passing presumably to Richard's son Anketil (II) and Anketil's son John; (fn. 203) the Mabel de Gray who had dower of a third of Dornford in 1195 (fn. 204) was probably John's widow. The manor passed to John's daughter Eve de Gray, who held it in 1242. (fn. 205) She was dead by 1246 (fn. 206) and her heirs through her first husband, Ralph Murdac (d. by 1196), were Beatrice, widow of Robert Mauduit, and Alice, wife of Ralph Hareng; through her second husband, Andrew de Beauchamp (to whom she was married by 1198), (fn. 207) her heirs were Joan, wife of Ernald de Boys, and Maud de Neville, represented in 1246 by her son Jolland. (fn. 208) Unlike Eve de Gray's manor of Standlake, Dornford did not remain in quarters: by 1279 it was in moieties, of which both were held of the overlord by John Mauduit of Little Somerford (Wilts.), while under him one was held by Robert Mauduit and the other by John de Boys and under John by William Murdac. (fn. 209)
Philip de Vernay, who was granted warren in Dornford in 1307, and Florence de Vernay, recorded as a landholder there in 1316, (fn. 210) seem to have held life interests, for Florence was probably the Florence, wife of Ralph Bluet, who in 1325 was said to have been granted such an interest by a John Mauduit. In or after 1325 Mauduit granted the reversion of the manor to John de Molines and his wife Gillian, (fn. 211) and in 1336 John and Gillian sold the reversion of Dornford to William Shareshull and his wife Denise; at that time the manor was held for life by John de Cranle (or Craule). (fn. 212)
Shareshull, a prominent justice, acquired estates in the neighbouring Rousham and Barton, and on his death in 1370 Dornford passed with them to his grandson William (d. 1400). (fn. 213) With Rousham it passed to Richard Harcourt, husband of William's niece, Margaret, to Joan Lee (d. 1452), to Joan Dynham and to the four coheirs of John Dynham (d. 1501). (fn. 214) A moiety of Dornford, comprising the shares of the Sapcotes and Zouche families, (fn. 215) was acquired by the Dormers, and in 1584 was settled on Jasper Dormer, who mortgaged it in 1585 and sold it in 1592 to John Gregory of Hordley. Another quarter of Dornford was conveyed in 1552 by Sir John Arundell to Walter Light, who sold it in 1560 to George Yorke, whose son Edward Yorke of Fritwell sold it in 1602 to John Gregory. Gregory's son Francis acquired the final quarter of Dornford in 1615 from the Compton family. On the death of Francis Gregory in 1639 his son Thomas conveyed Dornford to Edmund Goodyer of Heythrop in trust to discharge Francis's debts. (fn. 216) Goodyer first mortgaged Dornford to James Huxley in 1640 and then sold it in 1642 to the representatives of Lucius Cary, Lord Falkland, of Great Tew, who shortly afterwards, under the terms of the sale, withdrew and demanded repayment. Eventually James Huxley paid off the various parties and secured a sale of Dornford (later disputed) from Goodyer's son Edmund Meese Goodyer in 1653. (fn. 217)
Huxley settled at Dornford and was briefly M.P. for Oxford at the Restoration. (fn. 218) On his death in 1672 Dornford passed to his daughters Jane Pelham and Elizabeth Cresset. Sir Nicholas and Jane Pelham seem to have lived at Dornford, but in 1679 it was sold by order of Chancery to pay Huxley's debts, the purchaser being Thomas Crispe (d. 1714), from whom it passed to his daughter Anne and her husband Sir Charles Crispe. On Sir Charles's death in 1740 Dornford passed in accordance with his will to various female relations, of whom the longest lived was his niece Mary Crispe (d. 1751) wife of the Revd. George Stonehouse. The estate was encumbered with debt, and became the subject of a prolonged Chancery suit. Stonehouse retained possession, however, and in 1787 and 1790 sold the whole of Dornford, comprising three farms and a mansion house, to George, duke of Marlborough, in whose family it remained. (fn. 219)
The lessees and occupants of Dornford in the 14th century were the Nowell family, and in the 16th century the Drinkwaters lived there, William Drinkwater being the only taxpayer in 1523–4. (fn. 220) James Huxley and the Crispes lived at Dornford, (fn. 221) but Stonehouse, a non-resident, usually let the mansion house separately from the farms; for some years before 1773 Sackville Tufton, earl of Thanet, rented it as a hunting box. (fn. 222) It stood at Lower Dornford, and was perhaps remodelled by Huxley, who spent much on buildings there and in 1665 occupied an eight-hearth house. It was seriously damaged in a thunderstorm in 1667. (fn. 223) Thomas Crispe presumably rebuilt or enlarged it, for in the later 18th century it was a large stone-built, stuccoed house, with a low roof and sash windows, containing some 30 rooms and extensive stabling; it stood in a railed courtyard, surrounded by 6 a. of gardens and parkland. By 1790 the buildings were derelict and most of the timber on the estate, including ornamental trees, had been cut down; (fn. 224) the house was demolished soon afterwards. (fn. 225) It had stood on a platform overlooking the Dorn valley; below it was a terraced garden, of which the remains can be seen, and behind it, on the east, was a walled garden, which survives largely unaltered and incorporates a doorway of c. 1600 at its northwest corner and a length of early 18th-century brick walling on the west. The only remaining buildings which are certainly earlier than the 19th century are a 17th-century building, later made into a stable, close to the north-east corner of the house site, and a pigeon house, now a garage, east of the walled garden. Lower Dornford Farm lies north of the walled garden, possibly on the site of the 18th-century Home Farm, which certainly adjoined the mansion house. (fn. 226) The farmhouse of c. 1820 incorporates many 18thcentury fittings, including two panelled rooms possibly taken from the mansion house; its plan suggests that the house may have been adapted from a small house of the 18th century or earlier.
In 1279 St. John's hospital, Oxford, held 31 a. in Wootton, mostly given in the 1260s by the Ermine family and John the scrivener. (fn. 227) Another yardland held by the hospital in 1279 was presumably that given before 1246 by Geoffrey Chaynel. (fn. 228) It may be the yardland in Wootton field which Magdalen College, owners of the hospital's lands by the mid 15th century, included in leases of their estate at Slape. (fn. 229) In 1472 Magdalen acquired another yardland, copyhold of Wootton manor, from Henry Featherstone, bringing its total estate in Wootton in the early 16th century to some 70 field acres. (fn. 230) The college's freehold in Wootton, described as a cottage near the churchyard and a yardland in the fields, was usually leased for 20 years at 7s. 8d. a year, the lessees including the Biggar family (from c. 1585) and the Southams (in the 18th century). (fn. 231) At inclosure in 1770 the lessee Thomas Southam was awarded 21 a., while the other lessees of Magdalen were awarded another 40 a., the whole forming a block with the college's land in Slape and Glympton. (fn. 232) Part of the land (25 a.) was usually farmed with Woodleys farm, the rest with the Glympton estate; the college sold it in the early 20th century. (fn. 233)
Balliol College held an estate in Wootton and Old Woodstock. (fn. 234) The Wootton property was built up in the later 14th century by the Nowell family of Dornford by purchase from several small freeholders, notably Thomas Purveyor and John Clanfield. By 1375 Robert Nowell had been succeeded by his son Thomas, and by 1382 Thomas by John Nowell. By 1444 the property was held by coheirs, of whom one, Clemence, daughter of John Nowell and wife of Roger Prudy, had acquired the whole by 1454. She sold it, as four houses with lands attached, to Thomas Bernard, (fn. 235) who in 1460 granted it to his son William. (fn. 236) By 1513 the property was held by Richard Ward in right of his wife Joan (presumably a Bernard), who sold it to Thomas Harrop, rector of Great Haseley. In 1517 Harrop granted it with his Old Woodstock property to trustees, who, under the terms of his will, granted it in 1540 to Balliol College. (fn. 237) The Wootton property, usually called Norris's farm, was thereafter leased for lives or years, notably to the Templer family from 1589 until the early 18th century. (fn. 238) At inclosure in 1770 the lessee, Stephen Collier, held 3 yardlands, for which he was awarded 106 a. (fn. 239) Balliol farm later comprised buildings in the village and c. 109 a. of land west of the lane to Wootton Down; it was sometimes farmed with other adjacent land. (fn. 240) The college retained it until the mid 20th century, and for long it was held by the Day family, farmers and butchers. (fn. 241)
By 1241 Studley priory held 1 yardland in Wootton, which was later said to have been given by Denise of Hanborough. (fn. 242) The priory retained lands worth 6s. in Wootton until the Dissolution; in 1540 they were granted to John Croke, who immediately sold them to John Gregory of Hordley. The Gregorys retained them until at least 1614, (fn. 243) but later the yardland known as Studleys seem to have been included in the estate of the Revd. John Cary (d. 1764), described below.
In the 1220s Roger of London, clerk, granted to Bradenstoke priory a rent charge of 9d. and ½ lb. pepper out of various Wootton properties held of John supra montem, including 10½ a. held by the lepers of Woodstock. (fn. 244) The rent, recorded in 1279, later became attached to Bradenstoke priory's North Aston manor, and after the Reformation passed with it to the Crown, and was granted in 1540 to Richard Ingram. (fn. 245)
Before 1279 John Veiscele granted 24 a. in Ludwell, later described as 1 yardland, to Godstow abbey. In 1535 it was held by William Gigger for a rent of 3s. 4d., (fn. 246) and after the Dissolution was presumably merged in Ludwell farm.
In the later 15th century a freehold comprising 4 houses, a mill, and some 7½ yardlands was in the hands of John Byrde, (fn. 247) possibly John Byrde of Northmoor (d. 1509): (fn. 248) Its origins are uncertain, but it may have descended from John of Ludwell's freehold in Wootton, which at his death in 1275 included the mill and 7 yardlands. (fn. 249) In the early 16th century Byrde's executors sold the property to Richard Elliot, whose son Thomas sold it in 1541 to the Crown. It was granted to Richard Andrews of Yarnton, exchanged shortly afterwards for other Crown property, and in 1543 the Crown leased it to Leonard Chamberlain, keeper of Woodstock manor. (fn. 250) Later the Crown leased it in several portions, including properties called Spicers and the Farmhouse, each of which were holdings of over 150 a. (fn. 251) In the 1630s and 1640s the tenants of Spicers were the Blagrove family; (fn. 252) the Farmhouse was granted in 1639 to Edward Sutton, and was held by the Dormers of Rousham in the 1650s. (fn. 253)
The Gregory family of Hordley also held a large estate in Wootton, partly acquired from their 15th-century forerunners at Hordley, the Hetis family. (fn. 254) In 1606 John Gregory held several houses and c. 300 a. in Wootton, (fn. 255) and at inclosure in 1770 his descendant, the Revd. Thomas Gregory, held 13 yardlands in the open fields and was awarded c. 380 a., which included the farm known in the 19th century as Manor farm. The property passed from the Gregory family by the marriage of Elizabeth, daughter and heir of the Revd. John Gregory (d. 1806), to the Revd. J. C. C. B. P. Hawkins, whose son R. B. B. Hawkins sold Manor farm to the duke of Marlborough in 1876. (fn. 256) In 1921 it was sold to the Clifford family, whose descendants, the Lambs, farmed it in 1981. (fn. 257) The house, Manor Farm, a tall late 18th- or early 19th-century rubble and slate building of five bays, may stand on the site of the Gregorys' chief house in Wootton, called Mortimers in the 16th and 17th centuries. (fn. 258)
An estate of c. 5 yardlands of free and customary land was left in 1764 by John Cary, rector of Wootton, to a kinsman the Revd. Charles Parrott. The estate included some land earlier held freely by the Gregorys, including the former Studley priory's yardland. (fn. 259) At inclosure Parrott was awarded 145 a., which after his death in 1787 passed to his wife Mary and then to a cousin Parrott Harper, whose son Charles Parrott Harper sold his estate to Thomas Southam in 1807. In 1840 the land was purchased for the Marlborough estate. (fn. 260) It lay next to Balliol farm, Wootton, and was farmed with it by Southam as a single unit. (fn. 261)
At inclosure an earlier Thomas Southam (d. 1790) held some 5¾ yardlands of free and customary land, in addition to land held on lease from Magdalen College, and he was awarded c. 218 a. in two large blocks, one north of Wootton village, close to the Glympton road, the other near Woodleys. (fn. 262) In 1818 the mansion house, Woodleys, with some 40 a. was sold to Thomas Thornhill, (fn. 263) but William Southam (d. 1837) retained the rest, which, with additional copyhold land acquired from the Bishop family, formed Woodleys farm. After the death of William's son Arthur in 1863 it was sold to the duke of Marlborough, when it comprised Woodleys (now Grimsdyke) Farm, some cottages, and c. 88 a. of copyhold and leasehold land. In the 1970s it was sold to Sir Ashley Ponsonby. (fn. 264)
The Blenheim estate in the parish before inclosure lay in the assarted area in the west of the parish, and included over 100 a. of former royal woodland there. (fn. 265) Limbeck farm, which seems to have begun as c. 45 a. of assart purchased in 1694 from the French family by John Church, surgeon (d. 1712), was bought by George, duke of Marlborough, in 1769. (fn. 266) At inclosure he was awarded 180 a. in the area of Limbeck Farm, and throughout the 19th century and early 20th his successors greatly increased the estate, notably by the purchase of Dornford, Hordley, Woodleys, and Manor farm, mentioned above, and of Littleworth farm, acquired from the rectory estate in 1920. (fn. 267) Some land, notably Manor farm and the former Parrott estate, was sold in 1920–1, but in 1968 the Marlborough estate still comprised over 1,350 a. (fn. 268)
In the Middle Ages the parish contained several sets of fields: Ludwell, Hordley, and Dornford each seem to have been separately cultivated by the 13th century, and the development by the 17th century of the area south of Akeman Street largely as a single inclosed farm suggests that Old Woodstock, too, may have had its own fields; certainly Old Woodstock fields were mentioned in 1453. (fn. 269) The western part of the parish, within the bounds of Wychwood forest, (fn. 270) though brought into cultivation during the Middle Ages, seems to have remained in assarts and closes which were never incorporated into Wootton's open fields: indeed most of the holdings were held by men from other villages.
In the 13th century Wootton township was divided into east and west fields which together covered an area from the wall of Woodstock park in the west to the river Dorn in the east, and from Slape, Ludwell, and the Downs in the north to Milford bridge in the south. (fn. 271) Many holdings were evenly divided between the two fields, (fn. 272) but other holdings, notably a yardland in the west field granted in 1276, lay in one field only, (fn. 273) suggesting perhaps that already single field cultivation was practised. In 1278 the rectorial glebe comprised 57½ a. in the east field, 16 a. in 'Ludwell plot', 26 a. in the west field, and 47 a. in 'Wodefield', an even division into two holdings of c. 73 a. if east field and Ludwell plot were cultivated together, and west field with Woodfield. (fn. 274) There may have been wholesale reorganization of the fields by 1375, when a north field was mentioned; (fn. 275) thereafter until inclosure in 1770 all holdings were either in the north or west fields, commonly called 'ends'. (fn. 276) It may be, however, that the change was merely of nomenclature, for in the 17th century the north end was also called the north-east or east end. At that time holdings were still confined to one end or the other, and landholders in the north end had no common rights in the west: the acquisition by such men as John Gregory of holdings in both fields, however, produced complications in the early 17th century, and the common herd of the north end began to be kept with that of the west, leading to a suit by west end proprietors in 1638. (fn. 277)
That dispute may reflect a relative shortage of pasture in the north end, though in comparison with parishes in the Deddington area pasture in Wootton was plentiful: the stint in the 17th century was said to be 80 sheep and 6 beasts to a yardland, but in 1770 that was true of the west end only, while the stint in the north end was only 40 sheep. (fn. 278) In the west end the wastes, assarts, and woods seem to have provided additional grazing. In the north end there was a permanent pasture called Ludwell field and a large cow pasture on the Downs; the latter was common during the winter only, for at Lady Day it was fenced off and after Whitsuntide became a cow pasture for the 'burymen', the holders of former demesne. It comprised 8 shares, each being for 12 cows, while some 19 other cow commons were let to inhabitants of Wootton at 3d. each payable to the burymen. Some burymen held more than one share in the cow pasture. (fn. 279)
Meadow in the parish lay chiefly along the banks of the rivers Glyme and Dorn; the town meadow called King's ham, for example, lay in the valley between the village and Hordley, where there were also some meadow closes. (fn. 280) Wootton manor also included the meadow on the river Cherwell in Steeple Aston, later called Wootton Yards. The origin of the connexion has not been traced, but in 1279 all the customary tenants of Wootton had rights there valued at 8d. each; the outgoings of the manor in the 13th and 14th centuries included a small wage for an overseer of the Steeple Aston meadow. (fn. 281) Some of the meadow (12 a.) had passed by 1296 to a free tenant of Wootton manor, John of Ludwell, and was acquired in 1321 by Balliol College. (fn. 282) In the 17th century rights in Wootton Yards seem usually to have been attached to holdings in the north end of Wootton. (fn. 283) At the inclosure of Steeple Aston in 1767 Wootton inhabitants were awarded c. 8½ a. and Balliol College c. 21 a. there. (fn. 284)
The clearance of the western part of the parish was well advanced by 1279, when several assarts of unknown acreage were mentioned. Maud of Slape paid the king 12d. a year for one assart in Wootton wood, and also held Waltele, probably the later Woodleys, for 6d.; with Geoffrey Terry, also from Slape, she held another assart for 6d. (fn. 285) A grove called Gunnildegrove, where the men of Hordley held common rights, stood south of Slape and west of the Chipping Norton road; in 1279 Maud of Slape and Robert Terry seem to have been its custodians. (fn. 286) By the early 17th century it had been cut down, but Hordley men maintained connexions with certain closes near Woodleys called Punlesse (Pound leys), perhaps the former site of Gunnildegrove. (fn. 287) Clearances in the Slape and Woodleys area may account for a reference in 1298 to the land east of the Chipping Norton road as the old field of Wootton. (fn. 288) Another assart in Wootton wood, held in 1279 by eight men of Stonesfield for 4s. a year, (fn. 289) was presumably the later Stonesfield Wootton assarts in the west tip of the parish. In 1609, besides the closes at Slape, there were assarts (c. 54 a.) at Woodleys and two pasture closes (c. 78 a.) called Old Woodstock assarts, apparently near the later Starveall Farm. A stretch of woodland survived north-east of Woodstock park, comprising the adjacent Wootton wood and Fewden, a name still in use in 1792. (fn. 290) In 1770 this woodland, by then held by the duke of Marlborough, was estimated at 110 a., (fn. 291) and probably covered much the same area as the surviving Wootton wood (120 a.). West of the woodland in the 17th century were the largest assarts, comprising the whole western end of the parish: Stonesfield Wootton assarts and Combe Wootton assarts were held largely by men of those villages, who paid rents of 3d. an acre to the king. (fn. 292) The area continued to be farmed largely from Combe and Stonesfield, though long before inclosure there were small settlements at Littleworth and Limbeck, as well as at Woodleys. Though all the assarts were included in the inclosure award of 1770 they evidently had little earlier connexion with Wootton's open fields.
In the early 17th century there were some 42 yardlands in Wootton fields, excluding the glebe, (fn. 293) a figure that matches the 2 ploughlands of demesne and 34 yardlands listed in 1279. (fn. 294) At both dates there was a considerable acreage of arable not included in yardlands. Though a yardland of 31½ field acres was recorded in 1279, most were probably slightly smaller. In the 17th century yardlands seem to have contained between 24 and 30 field acres, and in 1770 a surveyed half-yardland contained c. 14 a. (fn. 295) By then there were thought to be only 40 yardlands in Wootton field, including the glebe, but the inclosure award of that year also dealt with over 650 a. of land which was not included in yardlands; (fn. 296) much of it presumably lay in Old Woodstock and in the assarts, but some lay in Wootton and probably represented former demesne land.
In 1086 the king's manor had 4 ploughteams in demesne, while the tenants (10 villeins and 11 bordars) held 6 teams. Altogether the manor, with the attached hundred, yielded £18, including a corn rent of 40s., 10s. 4d. from two mills, and 50s. for 'other customs'; the woodland, valued at 10s. a year, was said to be in the king's enclosure (in defensione regis). The other Wootton manor had land for 6 teams, of which 2 were in demesne worked by 2 servi, while the tenants (14 villeins and 2 bordars) worked 5 teams; meadow of 30 a. and pasture of 13 a. was reported, and the total value of the manor had risen from £4 to £5 since the Conquest. (fn. 297) The description of the king's manor of Wootton in 1279 suggests that it included both manors of 1086. There were 2 ploughlands of demesne, 20½ yardlands held by customary tenants, and 13½ yardlands by free tenants. Some former demesne is presumably represented by c. 114 a. of free land held in numerous small holdings: certainly one holding of 10½ a., which had belonged to the lepers of Woodstock from at least the 1220s, was said in 1234 to be former demesne. (fn. 298) The frequency of small land sales in Wootton in the 13th century (fn. 299) and the large number of free tenants established there by 1279 are signs of the break-up of one of the Domesday manors.
After Wootton manor escheated to the Crown in the 1230s the demesne was farmed directly and accounted for as part of Woodstock manor, for which detailed accounts survive for many years from 1243 until the early 14th century. (fn. 300) Rents of assise yielded c. £9 10s. throughout that period, and each year all the tenants contributed to an aid of 40s. and to fixed payments of 1s. for pannage and 2s. for view of frankpledge; profits of courts varied from c. £1 to £3 10s. Sales of grain and stock made up the rest of the income, which, excluding the hundredal profits, totalled c. £20 in 1242–3, 1287–8, and 1310–11. The chief items of expenditure were on repairs, purchase of stock, and wages, including payments to customary labourers at the autumn boonworks: some wages were paid in grain or, like those of the reeve, in allowances against rent, so cash expenditure was low, ranging from c. £4 10s. in 1242–3 to c. £7 10s. in 1310–11, usually leaving a net income from the manor of £14 or £15 a year.
In 1279 there were 11 yardlanders at Wootton each paying 5s. 1d. rent and owing services on the demesne which included ploughing 2 selions a year (one for the winter, another for the Lent sowing), providing a man for weeding when required, mowing for 2 days, carrying and stacking hay, and in the autumn providing 2 men for 4 boonworks, and later carrying 2 loads of corn. The 19 half-yardlanders on the manor each owed 2s. 7d. rent and a proportionate amount of service. The 9 cottagers paid rents ranging from 1s. to 1s. 5d., and provided hoeing and haymaking services and 4 boonworks each in autumn. All the customary labourers received some remuneration, the yardlander for example being allowed at haymaking as much grass as he could lift on his scythe, and, when carting corn, a sheaf from every load. The fourth autumn boonwork was the 'metebedrip', where food and drink were dispensed by the lord, while by another custom called 'medsipe' each customary tenant received annually ½ qr. of wheat, a sheep worth 12d., a measure of salt, a cartload of wood, some cheese, and a share of the Steeple Aston meadow. As in the other demesne towns, however, the customary tenants were distinguished from the free by customs such as merchet. (fn. 301)
The structure of freeholdings on the manor was complex by 1279, some men holding directly of the king, others of intermediaries. The largest holding was the 7 yardlands held in chief by John of Ludwell, for which no rent was stated although in 1275 his father had paid 18s. 4d. for what was described as 1 ploughland. Ten men held a total of 115 a. of John of Ludwell's land, paying rents of between 2d. and 8d. to him while performing one autumn boonwork each on the king's demesne. John himself owed the same services (pro rata) as the rector, who held 1 free yardland of the king for 12d. rent and the provision of 4 men for the autumn boonwork. A further 5½ yardlands, c. 114 a., several assarts, and the mill were held under a wide variety of rents, most of the tenants owing a single autumn boonwork. In all the free tenants provided c. £2 13s. rent to the king, and some 60 boonworks. The total rent recorded in 1279 (c. £8 11s.) was less than that actually paid, suggesting omissions from the survey, such as John of Ludwell's rent. (fn. 302)
The customary services were evidently performed, for at the great boonworks in the early 14th century the lord commonly provided some 150 gallons of ale. (fn. 303) Additional labour was required, however, and in 1278–9 the small paid workforce included 4 ploughmen, paid 5s. each and 41½ bu. of mixed corn, and a temporary carter, paid 5 bu. of wheat. In 1310–11 a shepherd was paid 5s. a year, and there were other temporary workmen. From 1271 extra reapers were paid 2d. each a day, and in 1307 their work cost as much as £2 7s. (268 man days). Horses and carts were hired in autumn, and threshing and winnowing were also done by paid labour.
The chief crops grown on the demesne were wheat and oats, each occupying c. 70 field acres in the years 1277–9, while barley was sown on 25 a. In most years c. 168 a. were sown, but when peas were grown, as in 1277, c. 182 a. were cultivated. The pea crop failed in that year, and peas were not sown again until 1288. Dredge was grown in the later 13th century. Yields of all crops were very low, net wheat yields (after tithe) in the period 1243–8 being only between ½ and ¾ bu. per field acre. Livestock at Wootton comprised chiefly oxen and horses for ploughing, and most sales were of heriots. Sheep and pigs were kept, but there were heavy losses of sheep from murrain and none were kept by 1288, though they had been reintroduced by 1310.
Hordley was not mentioned in 1086, but by the late 12th century was accounted for by the sheriff as a royal estate. (fn. 304) Various administrative arrangements were made thereafter, including farming the demesne directly (as in 1224) and letting the vill at an annual farm, usually to royal officials. (fn. 305) In 1279 the king held 1 ploughland of demesne at Hordley, which comprised 151½ a. held by the men of the vill for £5 14s. 2d., presumably 9d. an acre. In addition 13 tenants held a total of 172 a. in villeinage, the standard holding being a house and 12 a. for c. 2s. 3d. rent; 6 cottagers each held a cottage and 2 a. for a rent of 1s., one of them paying ¼d. for an extra half acre. (fn. 306) The total rental of c. £8 10s. agrees well with the amount actually received from Hordley between 1243 and the early 14th century. (fn. 307) Though the customary services were apparently not performed during that period, they were fully listed in 1279: the standard service was to find one man for mowing whenever necessary, to hoe twice a week, to reap 2 rods each week in autumn, to find 2 men for 3 boonworks in autumn, and to thresh 24 sheaves of corn twice a week. The cottagers performed roughly half those works. The whole tenantry was obliged to clean the king's house at Woodstock before the king visited, and also to repair Stratford bridge with the king's timber. As elsewhere on the royal demesne the tenant had special privileges, such as a sheaf of corn from each rod that he reaped, and as much hay daily as he could lift on a scythe; at the 'metebedrip' he was given ale, food, and fuel as at Wootton, and he had extensive pasture rights in the royal forest, as well as housebote and haybote in the king's wood called Gunnildegrove. (fn. 308) Several holdings in Hordley field in 1279 seem to have belonged to people who lived elsewhere: the Slape and Terry families probably lived at Slape, Hugh of Woodstock was a cook at the royal palace, (fn. 309) and three men 'of Whitehill' may have lived in that hamlet. Hordley was not separately assessed for early 14th-century taxes, and even by 1279 may have been a very small settlement.
Dornford, when in the king's hands in the 1190s, was a demesne farm of the normal type, the sheriff accounting for sales of corn and hay, and claiming allowances for stocking the manor with oxen and sheep, as many as 96 of the latter in 1196. (fn. 310) In 1246 there were 3 ploughlands in demesne and the manor was said to yield 42s. 8d. in rent and customs to its lord. (fn. 311) In 1279, when the manor was held in two moieties, there were still 3 ploughlands in demesne, and an additional 28 a. divided between the two lords. To one moiety belonged 1 villein yardlander and 7 halfyardlanders, who seem to have owed no works but paid rent at the rate of 12s. a yardland, a total of 54s. To the other moiety belonged 6 halfyardlanders each paying 2s. 6d. or works all year at the lord's will, 4 cottagers paying a total of 5s. 6d., and 6 free tenants holding 2½ yardlands and 11 a. for a total rent of c. 30s. A further free tenement of 2 yardlands had been reacquired by the lord. Only one free tenant was said to owe works, and the total rental of the manor (c. £5 8s., more than double that of 1246) probably reflects the movement towards commutation of labour services. (fn. 312) In 1327 only 11 men, probably some of them living in Weaveley, were assessed for tax at a total of 35s. 11d., the highest assessment being 6s. 2d. For later medieval taxes the hamlet was assessed at £2 6s. 10d. (fn. 313)
Ludwell in 1086 comprised several small estates, four having land for 1 ploughteam each, the fifth for 1½ team. One team was in demesne, worked by 2 bordars, and another demesne team was worked by 2 bordars and 2 servi; no other teams or tenants were mentioned. The value of Ludwell had increased overall since the Conquest from £4 13s. to £5 18s., though that of some of the estates was said to have fallen heavily. (fn. 314) Probably all the estates shared a single set of fields. In the mid 13th century the hamlet contained an east and west field, and the demesne of the former d'Oilly manor comprised c. 78 a. divided almost evenly between those fields, with little sign of amalgamation of strips. The lord's garden lay close to one field, his orchard to the other, suggesting that the boundary between them ran through the site of the hamlet. (fn. 315) Though the tenurial structure was extremely complex, there was evidently only one resident lord by the 13th century. A survey of Ludwell in 1279, though ambiguous, seems to show that the 5½ ploughlands of 1086 had become 26½ identifiable yardlands and some odd acres. The demesne of John of Ludwell, held from various lords, comprised at least 6 yardlands. Only 3 villeins were mentioned, each holding ½ yardland, and there were a few cottars; the rest of the land was held by free tenants of whom probably many lived outside the hamlet. Although a few tenants still owed labour services the demesne was evidently worked largely by paid labourers. (fn. 316) In 1327 only 12 men were assessed for tax, at the low total of 12s. 10d.; for later medieval taxes the hamlet was assessed at only 15s. 4d. (fn. 317)
The pattern of farming throughout the parish probably changed greatly during the 14th century, direct demesne farming of the king's manor in Wootton ceasing and the hamlets becoming depopulated and transformed into single farms. Plague may have played an important part in extinguishing what were already small and fairly poor settlements, for even Wootton seems to have suffered a marked decline in population. (fn. 318) The decline of Ludwell and Dornford in the later Middle Ages was probably attended by some inclosure of the open fields and large-scale conversion to pasture. John Andrew of Ludwell was amerced in 1365 for letting 100 sheep into the lord's corn at Glympton; (fn. 319) the Giggers, who also farmed at Ludwell in the later Middle Ages were wealthy enough to regard themselves as gentry, (fn. 320) but whether they were sheep farmers is not certain. The Nowells of Dornford were involved in the wool trade in the 14th century; (fn. 321) there were evidently large sheep pastures there, though corn was still grown in the early 16th century. (fn. 322) In 1524 the three taxed inhabitants of Ludwell were assessed on goods worth between £2 and £12, and the only taxed inhabitant of Dornford on goods worth £6, (fn. 323) so neither hamlet was by then particularly wealthy.
In the early 17th century the Nappers paid church rates on 19 yardlands in Ludwell, (fn. 324) possibly not the whole hamlet. When mapped in 1682 Ludwell comprised a single enclosed farm of c. 610 a. (fn. 325) By an agreement of 1683 the inhabitants of Wootton gave up certain common rights in an area south-west of the former village, known as Fair Mile, which may have been an ancient cow pasture. (fn. 326) Thereafter Ludwell farm remained largely unchanged until modern times, except that on the inclosure of Wootton in 1770 Sir James Dashwood, the owner, gave up to the rector some 86 a. in the south-east corner of the farm in order to extinguish tithes; in 1894 the farm comprised c. 550 a. (fn. 327)
Dornford was a single farm by 1639, when it was said to comprise a farmhouse and c. 660 a. of land; inclosure was only partial, for the core of the farm was still the 'great field' of over 500 a., which had been 'lately' converted to grazing ground. Closes of 20–40 a., one of them recently taken out of the great field, lay near the farmhouse, and there were also 30–40 a. of river meadow, 'to be floated at pleasure', and a coppice of 3½ a. (fn. 328) In 1642 the reason for Lord Falkland's withdrawing from his purchase of Dornford was that the land was barren, but James Huxley made improvements in the 1650s, including building, inclosing, and manuring. Huxley was said to have been the first to introduce to the region sheep that bore two lambs. (fn. 329) The division of Dornford into smaller farms was probably the work of the Crispes: by 1768 there were three farms, Linch (now Upper Dornford) farm of c. 266 a., Home (now Lower Dornford) farm of c. 206 a., and Little farm, which comprised c. 105 a. at the southern end of the hamlet. (fn. 330) By 1848 there were only two farms, Upper Dornford (302½ a.) and Lower Dornford (364½ a.), (fn. 331) the acreages changing slightly in modern times.
The shrinkage of Hordley may also have been accompanied by conversion to pasture: though little is known of the medieval occupants of the hamlet, their 16th-century successors relied heavily on sheep-farming. In 1524 six men were assessed for subsidy at a total of 12s. 4d., John Horne paying on goods worth £8 and John Phipps on £10 worth. (fn. 332) The Hornes continued at Hordley into the 17th century, and their wills suggest that they were sheep farmers. (fn. 333) During the 16th century the Gregory family became dominant in the hamlet. John Gregory (d. 1547) bequeathed over 250 sheep, and his son Thomas (d. 1571) had large flocks at Wootton as well as at Hordley. (fn. 334) John Gregory (d. 1613) grazed his flocks in many parishes in north Oxfordshire, in some places merely renting sheep commons, but in others acquiring more permanent interest, notably in the inclosed pastures of Dornford and Ilbury. (fn. 335) His flocks were usually driven back to Hordley for shearing, and the constant movement of sheep inevitably caused conflict with tithe owners. (fn. 336) Gregory's wealth is reflected in the quality of the surviving house at Hordley, and in the size of the cash bequests made in his will, which included £400 and £250 to two daughters. In 1717 Thomas Gregory left personalty worth £1,826, including some 600 sheep. (fn. 337)
In 1607 the royal manor at Hordley comprised 6 yardlands of customary land divided between three tenants, all of whom seem to have had houses in the hamlet. John Gregory held the mill and a nominal 3½ yardlands, which included several closes and c. 60 a. of arable in Hordley field; Richard Horne's 1½ yardland comprised c. 30 a., and Francis Gregory's yardland c. 20 a. Each man held buryland at the rate of 20 a. of arable and 3 a. of meadow to a yardland, although John Gregory seems to have held only 2 yardlands' share. All three tenants also owned small quantities of freehold in Hordley. Also included with Hordley manor was some copyhold property at Slape, comprising several closes there as well as associated arable in Wootton field. (fn. 338) The Hornes seem to have left Hordley in the 17th century, and by 1660 their land was part of a single farm held by the Gregorys. (fn. 339) By the early 19th century, when it was leased by the duke of Marlborough to the Smallbones family, Hordley farm comprised c. 287 a., while a further 9 a. were attached to the mill, which by then was disused. (fn. 340) In 1848 the farm comprised 313 a. leased to the Bulfords. (fn. 341)
It is not known when the demesne farming at Wootton ceased but the practice was evidently unprofitable even in the 13th century; (fn. 342) the change to renting out the land, as at Hordley, may have taken place soon after 1312, the last year for which detailed accounts survive. In the later 15th century the reeve of Wootton was paying £22 10s. to the farmer of Woodstock manor, presumably chiefly rents. (fn. 343) In 1607 the royal manor comprised 13 yardlands of customary lands divided among seven tenants who paid 7s. a yardland; each tenant held some buryland at the rate of 20 a. of arable and 3 a. of meadow to the yardland, so that the total acreage of the buryland, excluding 3s. worth held jointly by the inhabitants of Old Woodstock and Hordley, was 260 a. of arable and 39 a. of meadow. John Gregory, with his 5 yardlands, held 100 a. of arable and 15 a. of meadow. (fn. 344) The figures seem artificial, suggesting that there had been a fairly recent reallocation of the buryland among the customary tenants. Certainly the buryland had been the subject of bitter contention between Sir Henry Lee, keeper of Woodstock manor, and several inhabitants of the demesne towns, after the latter had complained in 1576 about infringements of their liberties by extensions of Woodstock park. The tenants alleged that their buryland had been given to them in recompense for earlier losses caused by previous expansions of the park, and that they held the land as of right in proportion to their customary holdings. Lee complained that they took as many acres as they wished, had caused damage and waste by inclosing and ploughing up the demesne and felling great trees, and had no rights except those of tenants at will. He singled out John Gregory of Hordley as 'the richest, most out of order, and most respected' of the buryholders. After an inquiry it was settled in 1579 that the buryholders should in future have grants in writing and be readmitted by paying an entry fine, first of one year's rent, and, on later surrenders, two years' rent. (fn. 345)
Besides the customary yardlands and the burylands Wootton manor in 1607 also comprised a few smaller customary tenements (presumably former cottage holdings), some 120 a. of assarts held by charter, and various free tenements yielding small quitrents; some larger properties such as the mill and an estate called the Farmhouse were held on Crown leases. (fn. 346) As in the other demesne towns the free lands were quit of heriot, but owed relief and suit of court; they passed to the eldest son at death. Customary lands passed to the youngest son or daughter, who paid a heriot of the best beast, and relief of one year's rent; the burylands were subject to a money rent only. (fn. 347)
In the Middle Ages Wootton was a community dominated by small freeholders and customary tenants. In 1234 they were relieved of a recent tallage levied on the royal demesne because of their poverty; for such tallages Wootton paid £3 6s. 8d., only Hanborough of the demesne towns paying more (£5). (fn. 348) In 1327 Wootton, Hordley, and probably Old Woodstock were assessed together for the subsidy; 27 men were assessed at only 62s., the wealthiest paying only 10s. (fn. 349) For later medieval subsidies Wootton and its members, though paying at the higher rate of a tenth because ancient demesne, paid only £6 17s. 8d., the equivalent of the assessments of Steeple Barton or Rousham, and less than half that of Deddington. (fn. 350) For the subsidy of 1524 Wootton's assessment remained only moderate for the region: 10 men from Wootton township paid a total of 27s., being assessed on goods ranging from £2 to £16, the highest assessment being Roger Horne's, whose family was also prominent at Hordley. (fn. 351) At his death in 1532 Horne's personalty was worth as much as £114. (fn. 352) By the early 17th century a few larger farmers were beginning to establish themselves, notably John Gregory, whose Wootton estate in 1607 comprised some 300 a., though his main farm lay in Hordley. William Pufford's Farmhouse estate included over 120 a. arable and pasture for 300 sheep. The Southam family rose to prominence in the 16th century, and in 1607 Giles Southam held c. 130 a. (fn. 353) Most Wootton inhabitants, however, were small farmers, and the village lacks the substantial 17th-century yeoman houses common in many north Oxfordshire villages. Of the houses assessed for hearth tax in 1665 the largest stood in the hamlets, except for the rectory house of 10 hearths; otherwise the houses included three of 5 hearths, three of 4 hearths, five of 3 hearths, while the rest were smaller. (fn. 354)
Most farmers in the parish in the 17th century seem to have run mixed farms, with sheep and cattle playing a prominent role: the rector, John Hoffman, at his death in April 1676 owned 75 sheep, 4 cows, 3 heifers and calves, some horses, a pig, and a bull, while in his barns were barley, wheat, and peas, and in the field some 25 a. of corn. (fn. 355) Sheep remained important in the parish, especially on the large inclosed farms at Hordley, Ludwell, and Dornford: Thomas Fortnam of Ludwell farm, for example, was a fellmonger in the mid 18th century. (fn. 356) Crops sown on the open fields of Wootton in the 18th century included wheat, rye, vetches, and oats; sainfoin seems to have been widely used. (fn. 357)
The inclosure award of 1770 dealt with 2,367 a. of the parish, excluding Hordley, Dornford, and Ludwell, and some smaller areas of old inclosure at Littleworth and Woodleys and around Wootton village. There were over 50 allottees, many of them holding only a few acres in the western assarts; the chief awards were to the rector (591 a.), to Thomas Gregory (380 a.), Balliol College (290 a.), Thomas Southam (218 a.), the duke of Marlborough (181 a.), Charles Parrott (145 a.), Susannah Hinde (105 a.), William Bishop (74 a.), the trustees of the poor and church lands (67 a.), and Magdalen College (61 a.). (fn. 358) Several new farmhouses were built outside the village, notably Wootton Down Farm and Littleworth Farm on the rectory estate and Starveall Farm on the poor's land. Other farms such as Manor farm (formed from Gregory's allotment), (fn. 359) Home farm (part of the rectorial allotment), West End farm (Susannah Hinde's allotment), (fn. 360) Parrott's farm, and Balliol farm continued to use farmhouses in the village. Although after inclosure ownership of land was gradually concentrated into fewer hands, notably as a result of acquisitions by the dukes of Marlborough, (fn. 361) the pattern of farms created in 1770 survived until the 20th century. Many of the farms were fairly large, while some of the smaller units such as Parrott's and Balliol farms, whose land was contiguous and whose farmsteads stood side by side in the village, were sometimes farmed as one. (fn. 362) In the early 19th century a Wootton farmer claimed that productivity had increased fourfold since inclosure, and rents even more. (fn. 363)
In 1851 the largest farmer in the parish was Thomas Bulford of Hordley, who leased a total of 600 a. (including Weaveley and Sansom's farms outside the parish) (fn. 364) from the duke of Marlborough; he employed 27 men. The other large farms were Ludwell (540 a., employing 26 men), Wootton Downs (419 a., employing 13 men), Manor farm (360 a., employing 18 men), and Lower Dornford (362 a., employing 16 men). There were at least three other farms over 200 a. (fn. 365) In the 19th century most were predominantly arable. In 1820 over 80 a. of Balliol farm (c. 110 a.) were arable, the crops including wheat, barley, turnips, and sainfoin. (fn. 366) There were similar proportions of arable at Wootton Downs in 1879 and 1915 and at Ludwell in 1894, while Manor farm in 1921 was almost all arable. (fn. 367) The crop rotation used at Wootton Downs was probably used widely in the parish: a quarter of the arable lay under wheat, a quarter under oats or barley, a quarter under clover, beans, or pulse, and the rest was fallow, later sown with turnips or vetches to be eaten off by sheep or cattle. (fn. 368) Much of the parish was well suited to corn growing, and in 1914 over a third of the cultivated area was under corn. Only a quarter of the parish was pasture, most of it used for sheep. The principal crops were barley (26 per cent of the arable land), wheat (19 per cent), swedes and turnips (12 per cent), and oats (10 per cent). (fn. 369)
Long established farming families included the Bulfords at Hordley, the Wilsdens, variously at Manor farm and Upper and Lower Dornford, and the Smiths. By 1945 Mr. John Smith, whose family had owned Ludwell farm since 1919, was also farming Wootton Downs, Upper Dornford, Hordley, and Hollybank, a total of over 1,600 a. (fn. 370) Later he bought Wootton Downs and sold Ludwell, and in 1968 was farming some 1,300 a., of which 300 a. provided grazing for sheep and the rest was arable, c. 650 a. being under corn. Another leading farmer in the parish was Mr. Eric Towler of Glympton, whose highly mechanized farm of some 2,300 a., built up from 1957, included Ludwell farm and other land in the north half of Wootton parish. (fn. 371)
In the early 19th century a high proportion of the population was said to be involved in trade, manufacture, and handicrafts: in 1801 as many as 272 out of a population of 823 were so employed; and in 1831 about a third of all the families. (fn. 372) More detailed figures in the mid 19th century, however, show that the men of Wootton and its hamlets, excluding Old Woodstock, were almost all involved in agriculture, except for the usual village tradesmen. In 1851 the only craftsman with a large trade was a mason employing 10 men. Gloving, however, provided employment for almost all the wives and adult daughters of the parish, presumably accounting for the high proportion of non-agricultural workers listed in the early 19th century. In 1851 there were a few glove cutters and leather grounders, but no glove manufacturers, the gloveresses presumably working for Woodstock glovers. (fn. 373) The occupational pattern in 1871 was very similar, with gloving still an important source of employment; there were then 95 gloveresses. (fn. 374) Wootton retained a number of village craftsmen until after the Second World War. (fn. 375)
The two mills on the king's manor in 1086 may have been Wootton mill and Old Woodstock mill, both of which survived into the 20th century. (fn. 376) In 1235 Wootton mill was held by John, son of Ralph of Kidlington, the rent having been increased from 6d. to 13s. 4d. a year. (fn. 377) In 1259 Walter son of Ralph, perhaps John's brother, granted the mill to John, son of William Franklin. (fn. 378) The mill was held of John Franklin of Tew in 1275 by John of Ludwell, who paid to Franklin a pair of gloves, and 13s. 4d. rent to the king. (fn. 379) The mill was probably that held in the early 16th century by John Byrde, passing to the Crown in 1541. (fn. 380) It was then a corn and grist mill, held on long lease by Thomas Horne, and from 1602 by John Gregory who sublet it. (fn. 381) By 1760 the mill was in the hands of the Redhead family, and by the 1830s was owned by the Smiths, probably relatives of the Redheads, since in 1891 Francis Redhead Smith sold the mill to Richard Dolton. It was a working corn mill until Dolton's death in the early 20th century, and in 1951 was restored as a private house by the architect F. R. S. Yorke. (fn. 382)
Hordley mill, mentioned in 1241 and repaired in 1272, was held at will from the Crown for 20s. a year and services. (fn. 383) It continued to be held by customary tenants of Woodstock manor. In the 17th century, when it was both a fulling and grist mill, it was held by the Gregorys, who sublet it. (fn. 384) It remained in the hands of a branch of the Gregory family in the 18th century, but was no longer in use by c. 1800. (fn. 385) The site is on the river Glyme just north of Stratford Bridge. (fn. 386)
A mill at Dornford mentioned in the 13th century (fn. 387) probably stood on the river Dorn close to the present Lower Dornford Farm. The mill survived into the 16th century, but seems to have gone by the 1630s. (fn. 388) In 1773 a new corn and bolting mill was mentioned. (fn. 389) The surviving engine house, which provided water for the farmhouse, contains a small undershot water wheel and grinding stones; there were once two wheels.
Wootton, Hordley, and Old Woodstock became part of the royal manor of Woodstock, for which court rolls survive in an unbroken sequence from 1618. (fn. 390) By then Wootton and the two hamlets were usually administered together in a single court entitled the court baron and view of frankpledge for Wootton, Hordley, and Old Woodstock; it met in October or November at the gate of Woodstock Park. Separate courts baron for the individual sub-manors sometimes met at other times and places to record transfers of copyholds. In the autumn court a constable and two tithingmen from Wootton were appointed; Hordley seems to have had its own constable and tithingman until the early 17th century. The court also appointed haywards, and heard presentments of the usual encroachments and nuisances. After 1817 the appointment of constables was taken over by the vestry, (fn. 391) and thereafter the courts confined themselves largely to property transactions. The last court for Wootton, Hordley, and Old Woodstock met at Killingworth Castle in 1925.
In the early 17th century the vestry was appointing 2 churchwardens, 2 sidesmen, and 2 surveyors of the highways. (fn. 392) In 1670 a haywarden was chosen there, and in 1705 an overseer of the poor was first mentioned. (fn. 393) The churchwardens' duties in the early 17th century, chiefly church repair and maintenance, were paid for from rents of parish property and occasional levies on yardlands, (fn. 394) which by the mid 18th century had been replaced by the normal pound rate. (fn. 395) For much of the 18th century it seems that churchwardens served for two years, the senior one retiring each year, the junior one keeping the overseers' accounts, but whether both acted as overseers throughout is not clear. (fn. 396) In 1772 a paid overseer was appointed, and the same man served until 1799; he had only two successors between then and 1825. The salary at first was only 31s., but latterly £10 (fn. 397) After 1825 two men served as unpaid overseers in the usual way. (fn. 398) Constables and surveyors also held office for several years; the rector, L. C. Lee, served as surveyor from 1825 or earlier until 1830. (fn. 399) In 1820, following the Sturges Bourne Act, the parish decided to appoint a select vestry, (fn. 400) but there is no evidence that it was formed.
In 1732 the parish spent less than £59 on poor relief; the total rose to over £100 in the 1760s, and there was a serious and permanent increase in the 1770s. (fn. 401) In 1776 £158 was spent, in 1783–5 an average of £172, and in 1803 £985, or roughly 23s. per head of population. Thereafter, perhaps because of the employment of women in gloving, Wootton's expenditure per head was among the lowest in the area: in 1813 it was 14s., in 1823, when bread prices were low, only c. 7s., and in 1831 only 16s., still well below average. (fn. 402) In 1819–20 the overseers sold wood, presumably distrained, 'on account of the duke of Marlborough's poor rates', and in 1831 both the duke and his son were still in arrears with rates. (fn. 403)
In 1732 between 10 and 12 adults were receiving regular relief, and numbers did not rise substantially until the mid 1770s when there were 24. (fn. 404) In 1803 there were 37 adults, many of them old or infirm, on regular relief, and in 1813 the total rose temporarily to 69. As many as 130 were said to be on relief c. 1833, and in 1833–4 regular relief was given to 27 widows and widowers, 28 families, and 10 orphans and bastards, while 33 men were working on the roads. (fn. 405)
Roundsmen were not mentioned in the 18th century, but in 1811 an old infirm man on the round had his wages supplemented to bring them to the then normal level of 14s. Boys and girls were sent on the round, and a farmer was fined for not employing them, but adult roundsmen, if any, received no part of their pay from the overseers. By the mid 1820s the parish employed many on the roads. (fn. 406) In 1831 the vestry agreed that surplus labourers should be employed and paid by the farmers 'according to the labour rate', instead of being employed on the roads, but the labour rate seems not to have been applied until the spring of 1833. (fn. 407) The rector had reported, presumably before then, that the poor were not apportioned but were employed on the roads, (fn. 408) and even when a labour rate scheme was in operation in 1833–5 there were still some 30 roadmen. (fn. 409) From 1833 the poor were farmed by James Turner of Oxford, in the first year for £1,000 and in 1834–5 for £1,100, with additional payments for the labour rate. (fn. 410)
The rector reported to the Poor Law commissioners in the early 1830s that Wootton's labourers earned just about enough to live on, but conceded that income from gloving had declined in recent years. Few owned their own cottages, but rents were low, at £2 10s. a year or £3 with a garden, and farmers usually allowed their workers some ground on which to grow potatoes. (fn. 411) Selfhelp was not lacking, since some 70 or 80 villagers belonged to friendly societies in the early 19th century. (fn. 412)
The parish owned an unusual amount of housing. The church houses, given for church repair, (fn. 413) were usually let to the poor, the overseers paying rents to the churchwardens. The vestry built and bought houses for the poor in the 18th century, (fn. 414) and in 1828, besides the church houses, there seem to have been 9 parish houses (including one at Littleworth) and 7 'poor houses built on church land'; the parish also rented some private cottages. (fn. 415) The parish houses were sold off after Wootton became part of a poor law union in 1835, (fn. 416) while the 'poor houses' probably remained part of the church lands. They may have originated as the 'workhouse' built in 1818, (fn. 417) which seems to have been used only as pauper housing; there was said to be no workhouse in the early 1830s, when the vestry was renting a poorhouse of several apartments. (fn. 418) Pigs were forbidden in the 'square of the poor house', (fn. 419) presumably the Workhouse Yard where several church houses stood in the 1950s. (fn. 420)
In 1835 Wootton became part of Woodstock union. Thereafter the vestry continued to appoint overseers and other parish officers, to administer rate assessments and the church and poor's lands, to perambulate the parish, and to supervise church repair and the parish roads and bridges. It initiated the provision of cheap coal to the poor, and the collection of a small fund to encourage emigration. It organized parochial celebrations such as those for the Jubilee of 1877. (fn. 421) In 1894, when Wootton became part of Woodstock rural district, (fn. 422) many of the vestry's functions were taken over, some of them by the newly formed parish council. (fn. 423) In 1932 Wootton was transferred to Chipping Norton rural district (fn. 424) and in 1974 to West Oxfordshire district.
As the centre of a hundred and of a large parish with dependent chapelries, Wootton was probably the site of an early church. In the 12th century it seems to have been the centre of a rural deanery, and perhaps Anketil (fl. early 12th century) and William (fl. 1194–5), deans of Wootton, were also rectors. By the later 13th century the deanery had been transferred to Woodstock. (fn. 425) Chapels at Hordley and Ludwell had been established by the later 13th century, (fn. 426) but neither survived the depopulation of those hamlets in the later Middle Ages. In 1876 a chapel was built at Old Woodstock, and in 1877 that hamlet was transferred for ecclesiastical purposes to the parish of Bladon. In 1951 the remaining part of Wootton ecclesiastical parish south of Akeman Street was transferred to Bladon. (fn. 427)
The advowson presumably followed the descent of Wootton manor, the earliest known presentation being in 1218–19 by Eleanor de Vitré, countess of Salisbury. (fn. 428) On her death c. 1233 the advowson escheated to the Crown, (fn. 429) and was excluded from later grants of the farm of the manor. (fn. 430) In 1277, however, Edward I gave the church to the hospital of Mont Cenis in Savoy, which in 1278, on the death of the rector, appropriated the living and thereafter appointed vicars. (fn. 431) In 1346 the hospital gained special dispensation from punitive taxation of the possessions of alien priories because of the remembered affection of Edward I for the hospital's charitable works. (fn. 432) By the later 14th century the rectory and the advowson of the vicarage were leased to farmers for £8 a year, the last such lease being in 1425. (fn. 433) Shortly afterwards Wootton church came into the king's hands, presumably confiscated as the possession of an alien priory, and was granted in 1440 to Bruern abbey for £8 a year, with a licence to appropriate the living. (fn. 434) In 1445, however, the rent was waived because neither the pope nor the bishop would permit the appropriation. (fn. 435) Bruern abbey presented a vicar in 1458, (fn. 436) but soon afterwards lost the church under legislation of 1461 revoking certain royal grants. (fn. 437) A petition by the abbey in 1464 (fn. 438) evidently failed, and the living, once more a rectory, remained in the gift of the Crown until the later 16th century. In 1560 the advowson was granted to Robert Keyleway and his wife Cecily, and after passing through various hands, including those of John Eaton who presented in 1575, it was acquired in 1591 by Sir Henry Lee (d. 1611) of Ditchley. (fn. 439) In 1638 there was a dispute after a double presentation had been made, one by William Hall who claimed the advowson by assignment from Sir Henry Lee (d. 1631), the other by the Crown. (fn. 440) Lee's right was presumably vindicated, since in 1639 Sir Francis Henry Lee sold the advowson to Sir Edmund Verney and others, who in 1642 sold it to Dr. Robert Pinck, warden of New College, Oxford. On Pinck's death in 1647 it passed by will to the college, (fn. 441) which remained the patron in 1980.
The living was among the richest in the county. In the mid 13th century it was valued at £26 13s. 4d., (fn. 442) and in 1278 the rectory was worth over £32 and the newly created vicarage over £13 gross. At that date the rectory comprised a house, the rents and works of 4 tenants, 146½ a. of arable, meadows and pasture worth c. 50s., the hay tithes of Wootton, Hordley, Ludwell, and Dornford, and the grain tithes of the whole parish except Ludwell. The vicarage comprised a cottage, a separate curtilage, rents worth 35s. 10d., and churchscot (paid in grain), oblations, and other payments worth c. 53s.; besides the small tithes of the whole parish the vicar was to receive the grain tithes of Ludwell and the tithes of Wootton, Hordley, and Dornford mills and of the king's mill at Woodstock, with their associated fisheries. (fn. 443) The hospital of Mont Cenis was to keep the chancel in repair and pay procurations to the archdeacon together with 6s. 8d. a year for his lost jurisdiction; the vicar was to pay synodals and other charges, and was to provide an additional priest, a deacon, and a clerk to serve Wootton church and the chapels. He was also to provide equipment such as lights, vestments, books, and ornaments, of which most were lacking at that time. (fn. 444)
By 1278 certain tithes in the parish had long been diverted elsewhere: St. George's church at Oxford castle had been endowed with two thirds of the demesne tithes of the d'Oilly manor in Ludwell, a grant confirmed in the early 12th century, (fn. 445) while in 1109 and again in the 13th century Eynsham abbey's right to tithes in Dornford and Weaveley given by Richard de Gray was confirmed. (fn. 446) The Ludwell tithes passed from St. George's to Oseney abbey, and in 1257 the abbot came to an agreement with the rector of Wootton over the location of lands from which they shared the tithes. (fn. 447) By 1291 Oseney seems to have been paid a modus of 6s. out of the living, a payment still made in 1510 but discontinued by 1535. (fn. 448) Eynsham abbey's tithes were valued c. 1270 at 20s., an amount still paid in the mid 15th century; in the early 16th century there was a dispute between the rector and the abbot of Eynsham over Dornford tithes, which the abbot was taking in kind, and in 1535 the only indication of Eynsham's rights there was a payment of 6s. 8d. out of Wootton rectory. (fn. 449) In 1110 Manasser Arsic granted 2 sheaves at Ludwell, presumably two thirds of his demesne tithes, to Cogges priory, but no further trace of the priory's rights there has been found; perhaps when the Arsic land in Ludwell was granted to Glympton church c. 1150 the tithes ceased to be paid. (fn. 450)
The valuation of Wootton church and its chapels in 1291 at £20 net seems, in the light of the 1278 survey, to be a notional figure; when it was used as a basis for the ninths of 1341 it was claimed that about two fifths of that valuation were accounted for by the glebe and the hay tithes. (fn. 451) In 1526 and 1535 the rectory was leased to a farmer for £16 a year. In 1526 a curate was paid £5, while £4 was allowed for repairs, and 14s. for procurations and other payments. In 1535 no curate was mentioned and the net income was just over £15. (fn. 452) In 1630 the living was valued at £150. (fn. 453) After inclosure in 1770 its value rose steeply, and for much of the 19th century it was worth over £800 gross. (fn. 454)
By 1601 the glebe, reckoned then as 4 yardlands, comprised a house, several barns, a few other paddocks, and closes, and 95½ a. of arable, meadow, and leys. (fn. 455) The apparent reduction of glebe since 1278 was perhaps because the earlier survey included a yardland held of the king by the rector not in free alms but for 12d. rent and the service of finding four men for the great autumn boonwork. (fn. 456) At inclosure in 1770 the rector was awarded for 3 yardlands of glebe a total of c. 93 a. of which 9a. was to be exchanged for other land. For tithes he received c. 498 a., but the tithes of Dornford, Hordley, and a few old inclosures whose owners had insufficient open-field land with which to compensate the rector, were not extinguished at that time. (fn. 457) In 1825 the rectory, valued at £801 15s., included the house, 3 farms (c. 580 a.), 3 cottages, 6 gardens, and a meadow at Steeple Aston; the unextinguished tithes yielded £189. (fn. 458) In 1842 those tithes were commuted for a rent charge of c. £260, (fn. 459) of which £100 was transferred to the rector of Bladon in 1877, when he became responsible for Old Woodstock. (fn. 460) In 1864 the meadow at Steeple Aston was exchanged for one in Wootton, and of the three farms Little worth was sold in 1919, Home farm in 1944, and Wootton Downs in 1949. (fn. 461)
In 1256 and 1260 successive rectors were granted timber from the king's woods for building works on their house or hall at Wootton, evidently a substantial building since the grants included 25 oaks. (fn. 462) In 1601, however, the rectory house was described as a little house in a small courtyard next to the church. That house may have been the successor not of the 13th-century rectory house but of one set aside in 1278 for the occupation of vicars, described as a house next to the church 'in which chaplains are wont to dwell'. The glebe in 1601 included a close of c. 1 a. containing the foundations of a former parsonage house 'near the water side', thought to have decayed a century and a half earlier. The site, described as about a bow-shot from the church, was probably below the present Home Farm. (fn. 463) It is not unlikely that the mid 13th-century rectors, for whom Wootton church was largely a source of revenue, left the original rectory house to their chaplains, and that the new house, owned successively by the absentee landlords of Mont Cenis and Bruern abbey, fell into disuse, so that later medieval rectors were obliged to reside in the former vicarage house.
In 1638 the rector, Thomas Jones, was living in a house with at least 11 rooms, excluding the larder and dairy, and in 1665 the rectory was a large house assessed for tax on 10 hearths. (fn. 464) The surviving house, however, dates largely from the 18th century and later, though some possibly 17th-century details survive in the cellars. The southern part of the east or garden front is the principal elevation of a small 18th-century house which probably extended westwards over the area of the present dining room and pantry; the garden front was reputedly built by John Cary, rector 1756–64. (fn. 465) The west side of the house was rebuilt or extensively remodelled in 1842, and about the same time the house was much extended northwards, a new staircase set in the extension, and a canted bay window inserted in the south end of the garden front to match that on its northern extension. (fn. 466) The work was carried out for W. B. Lee, who succeeded a line of bachelor rectors, but himself required a family house; the bishop in 1845 condemned it as far too large. (fn. 467) The extensive gardens were laid out during the 19th century. L. C. Lee incorporated Walnut Tree close (1 a. bought for the rectory by New College in 1824) in the lawn east of the house where an ancient walnut tree stands. W. B. Lee built the large kitchen garden, which replaced an earlier walled garden further south. Until the Lees' time the lane from Wootton church to Milford bridge passed close to the house door, but with the help of New College several pieces of land were bought, some cottages removed, and in 1841 the lane realigned further south, providing space for the present driveway and further enlarging the garden. (fn. 468) In 1943–4 the house was sold to Mrs. Elizabeth Clutterbuck, daughter of the rector, Canon F. R. Marriott, and was renamed Wootton Place. A new rectory house, at the junction of the Glympton and Barton roads, was built in 1954–6 to the designs of F. R. S. Yorke. (fn. 469)
The rector from 1219, Andrew de Vitré, a relative of the patron, was fined heavily for forest offences in 1247. (fn. 470) His successors, Crown presentees, were royal officials such as Artald de Sancto Romano, keeper of the wardrobe, (fn. 471) who built the new rectory house, and Henry of Woodstock, rector 1275–8, king's clerk, papal chaplain, and queen's chancellor. (fn. 472) All were pluralists, and several were given special concessions such as 'reasonable estovers' and grazing rights in Wychwood forest, (fn. 473) besides the building materials mentioned above. There seem to have been numerous clerks in the area who could serve as chaplains, presumably because of the proximity of the royal palace; one such was Geoffrey, chaplain of Wootton, who wrote and witnessed a local charter of c. 1240. (fn. 474) In the 13th century there were several anchorites and recluses in the parish, to whose maintenance the king contributed regularly out of the profits of Wootton manor. (fn. 475)
The medieval vicarage was sufficiently well endowed to attract educated men. (fn. 476) The first incumbent of the re-established rectory in 1464, William Broun, M.A., seems to have been favoured by the king, for long before the vacancy arose he was granted the £8 rent payable by Bruern abbey to the king. (fn. 477) His 15th- and early 16th-century successors were graduates, some of them pluralists, (fn. 478) some non-resident, as in 1520, when the curate, a chantry priest at Woodstock manor-house, was reported as more interested in the cattle trade than in his cure. (fn. 479) Another curate of the 1520s, William Jenkinson, seems to have been much closer to his parishioners. (fn. 480) Wills of that period show that the many lights in the church included those before images of All Hallows and of 'White Mary'. There may have been a specially important cult of St. Mary: in 1522 John Fox of Steeple Aston gave 10s. to 'Our Lady of Wootton'; (fn. 481) in Old Woodstock in 1341 there was a 'cottage of the Blessed Mary of Wootton' and in Wootton in 1367 a tenement of St. Mary, perhaps chantry properties. (fn. 482) Land given to provide lights in Wootton church was sold by the Crown to John Doddington in 1549, to Simon Perrot the following day, and by him to Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1582. It was known as Lamp Acre, and was usually leased with the college's yardland in Wootton. (fn. 483)
John Chapman, rector from 1549, seems to have survived the various changes of the Reformation. (fn. 484) A sign of puritan attitudes in the parish was the presentation of the churchwardens in 1584 for allowing 'evil rule' in the church, involving a lord and lady crowned during the traditional midsummer festivities; they denied that there was ever a lord and lady that year, but admitted that during evening service 'the youth were somewhat merry together in crowning of lords'. They seem to have been treated leniently. (fn. 485) In the early 17th century Sir Henry Lee presented as rector first a relative, John Lee, (fn. 486) and then in 1609 Thomas Jones, his steward, known familiarly in the household as Parson Chaff, whose qualifications for the living were unimpressive. (fn. 487) When the rectory was in dispute after Jones's death in 1638 the Crown's presentee, Edward Fulham, claimed that Jones, 'a layman and menial servant', had agreed to serve the cure for a stipend while Lee took the tithes: because of this 'simoniacal contract' the advowson was the king's by lapse and the rival presentation of John Hoffman by Lee's assignee was void. (fn. 488) Fulham, a royal chaplain, presumably lost the case for by 1641 Hoffman was firmly in residence; (fn. 489) later Fulham was imprisoned by the parliamentarians and was said to have been forced to resign his interest in Wootton rectory to regain his liberty. (fn. 490) In 1644 Hoffman, a German and probably a puritan, was accused by a dispossessed Irish bishop who coveted the living of opposing the government and liturgy of the church. (fn. 491) He remained resident rector until his death in 1676; he was a prosperous man, a working farmer, but 'not of the meanest note for life and learning', with books in his study valued at £20. (fn. 492)
The presentees of New College were mostly, as directed by Dr. Pinck's will, fellows of the college. Long incumbencies were common, and almost all the rectors were resident throughout, although John Banks, 1764–86, was employing a curate from Oxford in 1783. (fn. 493) T. R. Berkeley, 1786–1825, held another lucrative benefice in plurality. (fn. 494) In the 18th century and earlier 19th there were usually two services each Sunday, prayers on holy days, and communion five times a year for between 20 and 80 communicants. The challenge from nonconformity was never felt to be very strong, but rectors complained of apathy and absenteeism among the poorer sort. (fn. 495) In 1834 it was estimated that 300 attended the morning service and 250 the afternoon; (fn. 496) by then the distance of the church from the growing hamlet of Old Woodstock was a problem, which became acute later. (fn. 497) In 1851 there were 157 and 162 adults at morning and evening service on census Sunday. (fn. 498) In the later 19th century there was the usual increase in the number of services and communicants. (fn. 499)
Many of Wootton's 18th- and 19th-century rectors were wealthy men in their own right, and, as considerable landowners occupying the most impressive house in the village, their impact on all aspects of parochial life was strong. L. C. Lee, rector 1825–36, and his nephew W. B. Lee, 1836–74, not only transformed the rectory house and grounds but were also notable benefactors to the parish. (fn. 500) Canon F. R. Marriott, 1900–45, held the cure longer than any of his forerunners, and was remembered with particular affection. (fn. 501) From 1953 Wootton and Kiddington were held in plurality, and from 1977 were served by a priest-in-charge living in Wootton. (fn. 502)
The church of ST. MARY (fn. 503) comprises a nave, chancel, north aisle, south porch, and embattled western tower; the walls are mostly limestone rubble. (fn. 504) The earliest parts are 13th-century, notably the unusually wide porch with an outer doorway of three hollow-chamfered orders, the lower part of the tower, presumably dating from 1237 when the king granted 10 oaks to the rector for his church tower, (fn. 505) and the nave and north aisle. The arcade is of two 13th-century dates, the western arch being later and structurally distinct. In the 14th century the chancel arch and chancel were rebuilt and the church largely rewindowed, though the aisle windows retain deeply splayed, probably 13th-century, reveals. Also to the 14th century belong the priest's doorway in the chancel, the low-side window (reopened in 1904), (fn. 506) the north doorway in the aisle (blocked in the later 19th century), (fn. 507) the south doorway, and perhaps the tower arch, though the upper stage of the tower was added in the 15th century. A clerestory of plain three-light windows was added to the nave, probably in the 16th century; much of the nave and aisle roofs inserted at that time survives.
In 1730 the tower buttresses were repaired. (fn. 508) The church was repaired at great cost in 1806, (fn. 509) but no details of the work are known. In 1828 the chancel was reroofed at the rector's expense, and a vestry built on its north side, apparently replacing one at the west end of the north aisle, (fn. 510) where there are signs that the aisle has been shortened. The chancel was 'refitted' in 1853 by W. B. Lee, and the church repewed shortly afterwards. (fn. 511) A major restoration in 1876, under the supervision of J. P. St. Aubyn, (fn. 512) included the addition of buttresses to the north and south walls and a steeply pitched roof to the chancel, and the restoration of the porch. An organ was placed at the east end of the aisle, and a small arch inserted east of the arcade respond to give access to it. Earlier there was a squint passage between aisle and chancel at that point. (fn. 513) The organ was moved to the middle of the aisle in 1911. (fn. 514) Before the 1880s, (fn. 515) and probably in 1876, much of the interior, including the piers, was covered with plaster, struck out in imitation of ashlar masonry. Perhaps in 1876, or when stained glass was inserted in the late 19th century, (fn. 516) several windows were reconstructed. The reticulated east window replaced a smaller, probably 14th-century, window of four lights with a segmented head, (fn. 517) the Decorated window east of the porch replaced one of two cusped lights without tracery or dripmould; (fn. 518) and the west window, which has a 15th-century surround, was given Decorated tracery. The early 19th-century vestry was presumably demolished before 1899 when a vestry was constructed beneath the tower. Until then there was a gallery at the west end, mentioned in 1825. (fn. 519)
The font is a plain octagon, probably 14thcentury. Above the entrance to the porch is a sundial of 1623, bearing the churchwardens' initials and a quotation from Ovid's Metamorphoses. (fn. 520) On the east gable is a carved angel with a shield bearing the arms of William of Wykeham, founder of New College, perhaps commemorating the early 19th-century restoration of the chancel. (fn. 521) The earliest surviving memorial in the church is to John Harris (d. 1676), fellow of Balliol College, who lived at Praunce's Place in Old Woodstock. The earliest rector commemorated is Richard Rowlandson (d. 1691). There are several monuments to the Crispes of Dornford, the Gregorys of Hordley, and other prominent families such as those of Southam, Bolton, Brotherton, Smallbones, Buggins, and Ponsonby. There are tablets to a lawyer, Henry Beeston (d. 1743), and to a surgeon, John Church (d. 1712), the last bearing the terse (Latin) inscription 'Now ashes, dust, nothing'. (fn. 522) The churchyard, extended in 1867 and 1929–30, (fn. 523) contains tombstones from the early 18th century.
There are six bells and a saunce, all 18thcentury except the treble, which was cast in 1923. (fn. 524) A church clock mentioned in 1707 was probably the one replaced in 1877. (fn. 525) Two chalices were given to the church by Roger Horne (d. 1532), but the earliest surviving plate is a chalice of 1574; at least one chalice was sold c. 1578. (fn. 526)
Property given for church maintenance and repair before the 17th century included several cottages, 1½ yardland, a close, and some meadow land; in 1619 it was said to yield at least £6 a year, even though much of it was let to poor people on favourable terms. In addition the churchwardens at times raised money for church repairs by a levy of 12d. on the yardland. (fn. 527) In the 18th century the bulk of the church lands seems to have been leased by the rectors. (fn. 528) At inclosure in 1770 the parish officers were awarded 51½ a. which, with the adjacent 'poor's land', formed Starveall farm. (fn. 529) In 1825 the share of the rent applied to church repair was £40, but there were heavy debts from past borrowing on the security of the land, presumably for the church repairs of 1806 and the provision of buildings at Starveall. (fn. 530) In 1876 the farm yielded c. £120, but later the farmhouse fell out of use and in 1942 the land was let for only £70. In 1876 the church lands also included several cottages and some stock, and in 1945 those sources were yielding c. £56 a year. The trustees sold six of the cottages (in Workhouse Yard) in 1954 and the last in 1967. The total income of the charity then was c. £240, and in that year Starveall farm was sold and c. £10,000 invested as the share of the church lands trustees. (fn. 531)
In 1642 Edmund Napper of Holywell, Oxford, who spent part of the summer at his house, Ludwell Farm, was reported as a recusant, and there was at least one Roman Catholic family in the parish in the 18th century. (fn. 532)
Two nonconformists returned in 1676 were probably Presbyterians, of whom there were said to be five or six in 1738. (fn. 533) There was a flourishing Baptist meeting in Old Woodstock by the early 19th century. (fn. 534) Several houses in Wootton were registered for Methodist meetings from the 1820s, (fn. 535) and in 1840 a Wesleyan chapel was opened on the west side of High Street, on the site of the house now called Wellside; there were then 20 members. (fn. 536) There were congregations of 50 and 55 on census Sunday in 1851, and some 45 school children. (fn. 537) J. M. Crapper, the Methodist Reformer, and another Oxford Methodist used to walk out to Wootton regularly to teach in the Sunday school. (fn. 538) One of the leading members of the congregation was Christopher Holloway, the local trade union activist. (fn. 539) In 1886–7 a new chapel was built further south in High Street, on the site of two cottages bought from Balliol College. It had closed by c. 1970, and was taken over for various parish church purposes and renamed the Marriott Memorial Hall in memory of a former rector. It is a plain stone building with a porch. (fn. 540)
'Ranters and Independents' were reported in 1834, (fn. 541) and in 1848 a Primitive Methodist from Witney registered James Bidwell's house for worship. (fn. 542) A chapel built at the corner of Castle Road and Church Street before 1863 was closed in the early 20th century, and used first as a reading room and later as a garage. (fn. 543) It was a small brick building with a gallery, and was demolished in 1981. (fn. 544)
In the mid 18th century the Revd. George Stonehouse, owner of Dornford, (fn. 545) was supporting a school in Wootton, but by 1771 had ceased to do so. (fn. 546) The Revd. Charles Parrott (d. 1787), rector of Saham Toney (Norf.) and the kinsman and close friend of John Cary (d. 1764), rector of Wootton, founded Parrott's school: by will of 1785 he left £2,300 stock in trust to the warden of New College, Oxford, and the rector of Wootton to provide a schoolmaster, to pay for the education of 12 poor boys, and for the yearly apprenticing of two of them. The master was paid as much as £35 a year and the boys an allowance of £2 a year each for books and paper. (fn. 547)
In 1808 the rector was supporting a second school where 18 children were taught reading, knitting, and needlework, and by 1815 there were two more schools supported by parents, so that in all some 50 or 60 children were being educated. (fn. 548) By 1819 the need for a single, new school was recognized, but lack of a site was still preventing progress in 1831. (fn. 549) Some amalgamation had occurred, for in 1834, besides Parrott's school, there was only one other, teaching some 50 boys and girls above infant level, while a Sunday school was attended by c. 80 boys and girls aged five to fourteen. (fn. 550)
In 1835–6 a new school was built to house both day schools. The rector, L. C. Lee, paid half the cost of the site and also gave £750 and several cottages to provide for the education of 6 girls; the remaining costs were met by voluntary subscription. (fn. 551) From 1842 provision was made to teach infants, and in 1854 the schools were teaching 38 boys, 44 girls, and 50 infants; the infants paid 1d. a week, the others 1d. or 2d., except for the 12 boys and 6 girls maintained freely by the Parrott and Lee benefactions. (fn. 552) In the 1850s a new infant school was built, the former school being converted into a master's house. (fn. 553) The boys' school and some of the other buildings seem to have been restored in 1871. (fn. 554)
In 1868 there were c. 50 boys and girls on the register, while another 35 children over 12 years old attended night school for 20 weeks in the year. (fn. 555) Theoretically the children of Old Woodstock should have attended Wootton school, but they probably preferred to go to Woodstock; from 1871 the hamlet had its own infant school. (fn. 556) In 1873 Wootton school was attended by 47 boys, 45 girls, and 45 infants. The schoolmaster was uncertificated, but qualified mistresses for the girls and infants were apparently soon to start work. (fn. 557) By 1890 a parliamentary grant, first mentioned in 1875, was yielding £113 to supplement £77 from endowments and £48 10s. from subscriptions. (fn. 558) Average attendance was 131, and probably changed little until the First World War. (fn. 559) By 1938 numbers had fallen to 62, and in 1942 the school was reorganized to teach juniors and infants only, the senior children travelling to Woodstock. The buildings were restored and modernized in 1956–7. The number of pupils fell to 25 in 1962, but rose during the 1960s. In 1979 c. 38 children attended the school, which was classed as a voluntary aided Church of England primary school. (fn. 560)
The Parrott and Lee educational foundation, so named in a Scheme of 1907, comprised the school buildings, several cottages, a teacher's house and stock, yielding a total of £180 a year in 1962. The charity has been used to provide clothing for children and to repair the school, while the original object of apprenticing boys was widened to include the provision of fees for higher education. In 1979 the income was over £700. (fn. 561)
Charities for the poor.
In the early 18th century the interest from bequests of unknown date by 'widow Bolton' and others was being distributed to over 40 recipients in Wootton, Old Woodstock, and Littleworth. (fn. 562) By 1760 some £60 seems to have been accumulated and lent at interest on the poor's behalf. (fn. 563) In 1766 £30 of that money was borrowed by the vestry to buy a house for the poor. (fn. 564) Until 1801 or later the overseers distributed to the poor £1 4s. a year as interest on that loan, but by 1825 the charity was lost. (fn. 565)
John Gregory (d. 1755) of Hordley by will charged his estate with payments of 10s. every Easter and every third Holy Thursday payable to the poor of Wootton. Along with other small sums payable by the Gregorys of Hordley the charity was lost by the early 19th century. (fn. 566)
William Killingworth Hedges, by will proved 1852, left £200, the income to provide clothes and fuel for the aged poor, with a preference for those named Killingworth or Hedges. W. H. Thornhill (d. 1922) gave £200 during his lifetime, the income to be distributed in fuel, cash, or gifts. (fn. 567)
At inclosure in 1770 c. 15½ a. were allotted as 'poor's land', the rent to provide fuel for the poor. With adjacent land allotted at the same time for church repair, the poor's land became Starveall farm. (fn. 568) The income from the poor's land was separately administered and used to purchase coal. (fn. 569) By 1867 the charity also included c. £50 stock. (fn. 570) A coal barn west of the church was counted among the assets of the poor's land charity from 1876. (fn. 571) In 1904 there were 176 recipients of 2 cwt. each of coal, but income failed to keep pace with fuel costs and in 1950 only 27 people received 1 cwt. each. In 1953 the income was £15 from the land and £2 10s. from the barn and investments. The sale of Starveall farm in 1967 yielded c. £3,000 for the poor's land charity. (fn. 572)
A Scheme of 1973 amalgamated the poor's land, Killingworth, and Thornhill charities. Half the capital was invested in cumulative shares and the remainder produced £150 for general relief in need in 1979. (fn. 573)