A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 14, Bampton Hundred (Part Two). Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 2004.
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UNPUBLISHED SOURCES AND MAPS
The estate records of the bishops of Winchester, lords of Witney manor from the 11th century, are in Hampshire Record Office, Winchester; they include annual manorial accounts from 1208 (11M59/B1/1 sqq, the 'Winchester pipe rolls'), together with court rolls, deeds, and miscellaneous estate papers to the 19th century, all relating to the rural townships as well as the borough. The muniments of the duke of Marlborough at Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, include comparable material from the mid 18th century (when dukes of Marlborough first leased Witney manor) through to the mid 20th, with some earlier records (including court books) from the 16th and 17th centuries. The material, which is extensive and only partly catalogued, includes deeds, leases, surveys, maps, estate management papers with related correspondence, and sale catalogues.
The largest Witney collections in Oxford are in Oxfordshire County Record Office (ORO), and include parish and poor-law records, private deeds, minutes of the local board and urban district council from 1863 to 1974 (Witney UDC I-III), and the business archives of Charles Early & Co. (B 1), James Marriott (B 8), and the engineering company of Daniel Young (B 2). The ORO also holds the earliest surviving borough and manorial court books (MSS dd Par. Witney d 1–2 and Misc. Je. I/1, the former printed as Witney Ct. Bks.). Important rentals or surveys of the townships are in Misc. Je. I/1, ff. 1–13 (c. 1593), SL 9/18/E/1 (1646), and MS dd Par. Witney e 14 (1794). Other important ORO material includes locally proved wills and probate inventories, diocesan and archidiaconal records, quarter sessions records, and Nonconformist records, including those of Witney Methodists (NM2), Quakers (BOQM), and Congregationalists (WCC).
Material in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, includes the invaluable notebooks and drawings of the Witney antiquary William Langford (d. 1881) (MSS Top. Oxon. d 209–18), together with numerous topographical drawings. Oxford College muniments include deeds for 21–25 Church Green (Corpus Christi College) and for University Farm in Hailey (University College), as well as stray medieval deeds and court rolls (Magdalen and New Colleges). The Centre for Oxfordshire Studies, Central Library, holds extensive printed ephemera including newspaper cuttings and sale catalogues, chiefly of the 19th and 20th centuries, parish register transcripts, fiche copies of census returns (from originals in PRO), and extensive photographic collections. The Oxfordshire Sites and Monuments Record (SMR) holds archaeological and some buildings data.
Extensive material in the National Archives (formerly the Public Record Office), London, includes wills and inventories proved at Canterbury (PROB 3–4, PROB11); lay subsidies (E 179); legal records (e.g. C 1–5, REQ 2, E 134, STAC 8) including Forest eyres (E 32); inquisitions post mortem (C 132–142); feet of fines (CP 25); and early material on charitable property (C 90–1, C 93). An invaluable Quo Warranto survey of Witney in 1279 (published in Bampton Hund. R. 91–105) is in SC 11/13, and a survey of Wychwood Forest in 1609, containing topographical information on Hailey and Crawley, is in LR 2/202; it was consulted in a transcript kindly supplied by Beryl Schumer. Grants and conveyances of Witney lands survive in E 318/28/1586 and E 318/25/1435 (Witney manor and chantry lands, 16th century), and C 54/3418, mm. 39–41 (Witney manor 1649). Later PRO records used include places of worship (RG 31/3), records of Friendly Societies (FS 2/9), 20th-century District Valuers' surveys and maps (IR 58/65162–9), and 20th-century farm surveys and maps (MAF 32, 68, 73), while Home Office papers in HO 42/51 touch on Witney bread riots in 1800. Other London repositories with significant Witney holdings include the Church of England Record Centre at Bermondsey, with important 19th- and 20th-century estate material formerly held by the Church Commissioners; the Post Office Archive at Mount Pleasant; and the British Library.
Material in Witney includes an important archive at the privately run Witney Museum, including miscellaneous deeds and papers, 19th-century quitrent books, photographs, and artefacts. Witney Town Council retains some historic records at the town hall, chiefly relating to town property, seals and regalia, and the town hall itself. The 'Witney parish diary', kept by successive rectors of Witney since 1864, is in the possession of the current incumbent, and was consulted by kind permission of the then rector Canon R. E. Meredith; extracts are published in C. Smith, Two Men's Ministries (1983). Deeds of Witney Methodist church from 1652 to 1982 were consulted by kind permission of the minister.
Other relevant archives include Berkshire Record Office (miscellaneous deeds and papers, particularly among the Lenthall collections), and Southampton City Archives, whose late 15th-century brokage accounts mention Witney (SC5/5/13–21).
The earliest known map, showing parts of Curbridge, Crawley, and Witney (including the manor house), was made for the bishop of Winchester by John Jennings in 1662. It was consulted in a reduced copy made (with additions) by the antiquary William Langford (d. 1881), in Bodl. MS Top. Oxon. d 212, ff. 10–11; the original, which includes a few more details, was discovered in a private collection after this volume was completed. Langford's copy is reproduced in Witney Ct. Bks. opposite p. xli, and (with the wrong reference) in Allen, Mount House, p. 199; copies of the original will be deposited in the Bodleian Library. The context of the map's creation is discussed above (Curbridge, economic history: reorganization of fields).
An extremely detailed map of Witney manor and parish was made for the duke of Marlborough by Stephen Godson in 1814–16, with accompanying estate surveys in Blenheim Muniments, E/P/30 and E/P/31; versions of that map are in the Bodleian Library ((R) MS C 17:49 (276), with a smaller photographic copy in (E) C 17:49 (151)), and at Blenheim. Tithe maps of Witney and its townships in 1840 are in Oxfordshire Record Office, together with inclosure maps for Curbridge (1844) and Hailey (1823, 1849, and 1853). Several sale catalogues in ORO, COS, and Bodleian include useful maps.
The earliest detailed printed maps are Jeffreys, Oxon. Map (1767), and (less accurate) Davis, Oxon. Map (1797). The chief OS Maps include: 6", Oxon. XXV–XXVI, XXXI–XXXII (1883–5 and later edns); 1:2500 (1876 and later edns), indexed in OS Area Bk. (1877); 1:25000, sheet 180 (1999 edn).
The most important printed primary sources are noted in the List of Abbreviations; those especially relevant to Witney include Bampton Hund. R. (including survey of Witney in 1279 at pp. 91–105); PN Oxon. (EPNS) (including Anglo-Saxon charter-boundaries at ii. 489–90); Winch. PR 1208–9, 1210–11, 1301–2, and 1409–10; and Witney Ct. Bks. Other printed sources especially relevant to Witney (besides Oxfordshire Trades Directories in COS) include:
Books and Articles
Important secondary works in the List of Abbreviations are Allen, Mount House, Giles, Hist. Witney, Monk, Hist. Witney, Plummer and Early, Blanket Makers; Plummer, Witney Blanket Ind.; Rodwell, Historic Towns Oxon.; and Schumer, Wychwood (1984 and 1999 edns). Rec. Witney includes numerous articles on the town, many of them cited in the footnotes, and Witney Ct. Bks contains an extended discussion of 16th-century Witney.
THESES AND UNPUBLISHED MATERIALS
Important unpublished studies or typescripts in the List of Abbreviations are Hyde, 'Winchester Manors'; Oldham, 'Vestry Minutes' (including transcripts of minutes in ORO, MS dd Par Witney b 14); and Smith, 'Reminiscences'. Other unpublished materials cited include: