A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 6. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1959.
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The 19th-century parish, covering 684 acres, was bounded on the south by the parish of Hampton Poyle to which it was united in 1932. (fn. 1) The River Cherwell bounds it on the west and Bletchingdon parish on the north and east. The river here meanders through an alluvial flood-plain that is seldom less than 200 yards wide and in some parts well over twice that width. This has prevented the building of roads direct to the lands on the west bank of the Cherwell, which today are connected with Hampton Gay only by a footbridge. The only metalled roads are that from Hampton Poyle to Bletchingdon, which crosses the east end of the parish, and its branch, nearly a mile long, that runs westward to the Manor Farm and the cottages near the church. From this nucleus footpaths lead to Shipton-on-Cherwell church as well as to Bletchingdon village.
In 1709 the inhabitants were indicted for the bad state of their highway; and in 1758 the rector was empowered to levy a tax of 3½d. in the £1 on holdings and 3½d. on £20 of personal estates for the repair of the roads. (fn. 2)
The geology and relief of the parish are simple. From the flat riverine alluvium the land rises gently through a narrow band of Cornbrash to a wide, flat terrace, which is floored by gravels in the west and elsewhere by Oxford Clay with occasional thin patches of downwash soils. In the north-east this undulating plateau slopes up to a higher patch of gravel. (fn. 3) On the side facing Hampton Gay hamlet this patch has been deeply cut by a small stream. Whereas the meadows lie at about 208 feet above sea-level and the main terrace at 230 to 260 feet, this higher gravel patch rises to 326 feet. On the hill slope near Bletchingdon lies Knapp's acre, formerly an arable strip but now grassland. It was once clearly marked by two rows of stones, which have since been mostly replaced by two lines of trees. The acre therefore remains a remarkable, if not unique, feature of the Oxfordshire landscape.
The Oxford canal does not enter the parish, but the level of the canalized stretch of the Cherwell, which it uses, is controlled by the weirs of Hampton Gay mill. The London and Western canal or the Hampton Gay canal, planned in 1792 to connect the Oxford canal and London, was never cut. (fn. 4)
The hamlet stands on the northern edge of a patch of gravel and, as A. D. Godley noted, within a large meander of the Cherwell:
'Cherwell winds with devious coil
Round Hampton Gay and Hampton Poyle.'
The Old English name Hampton means village or farm, and the distinctive name Gay comes from the De Gay family, the 12th-century lords of the manor. (fn. 5)
Hampton once had a larger population than it has today. In the 17th century there were seven taxable houses for the hearth tax of 1665 (fn. 6) —the manor-house, two largish farm-houses or gentlemen's houses for which twelve hearths were returned, a small farmhouse with three hearths, and three cottages. No estimate of the number of houses survives for the 18th century as no returns were made to episcopal visitations, but Davis's map of 1797 shows at least ten houses in the village and two a little way off. It marks Mill Lane parallel with the northern loop of the river. (fn. 7) A victualler had been licensed in 1735, but there is no further record of one. (fn. 8) By 1811 there were thirteen houses and by 1851 there were seventeen. By 1901 the village had shrunk to six houses. (fn. 9) In 1955 there were two isolated cottages, another isolated dwelling, Watkin's Farm, which had recently been converted into a cottage, while the Manor Farm and a group of five cottages made up the hamlet. (fn. 10)
The farm-house is a substantial building of two stories with gables, and probably dates from the 17th century. It is built of coursed rubble and roofed with Stonesfield slate. The end stacks of the main block are surmounted by brick shafts. The entrance to the forecourt is between a pair of ashlar gate-piers with stone ball finials. The house was enlarged in the 19th century by a two-story wing.
To the west is the ruin of the manor-house: most of its outer walls are still standing. This residence was erected by the Barry family (fn. 11) in the second half of the 16th century. When Vincent Barry's daughter married Edward Fenner in 1598 provision was made for her father to live on at the manor-house. By an agreement of 1612 Barry was to have board and lodging for himself and two servants, and stabling for two geldings. (fn. 12) The house retained its original Elizabethan plan and features almost unaltered up to the destruction of its roofs and interior by fire in 1887. It was three-storied and constructed throughout of coursed rubble with freestone dressings. E-shaped in plan, it has a battlemented central porch with a doorway with moulded jambs and a fourcentred arch with blank shields in the spandrels. The south window of the hall has eight lights with stone mullions and transoms and a moulded course running along the whole facade. (fn. 13) All the other windows were stone-mullioned and square-headed, with moulded dripstones. When it was sold to William Wilson in 1809 it was described as 'a venerable Gothic mansion, which has been very substantially built of stone'. Several of the rooms were then said to be in 'an unfinished state' and the whole much neglected. The amenities included 'a garden, surrounded on three sides with brick and stone walls, lately built and planted'. (fn. 14) About 1870, when the first extant photographs were taken, the interior retained many handsome chimney-pieces, and several of the rooms were nearly in their original state with some excellent oak panelling. (fn. 15) The house was subdivided into two tenements shortly before it was gutted by fire in April 1887. It was then jointly occupied by a farmer and Messrs. J. and B. New, paper manufacturers. (fn. 16) The mansion was never repaired, but the stone exterior has withstood the weather well, and together with the nearby site of the former paper-mill it formed in 1955 one of the most picturesque ruins in Oxfordshire.
The village is memorable for its part in the abortive agrarian rising of 1596. (fn. 17)
In 1086 there were two estates in HAMPTON GAY, one of 3 hides held by Roger d'Ivry, and one of 2 hides which ought to have been royal demesne, but which was held by Rainald, Roger d'Ivry's tenant of his estate. (fn. 18) Roger's lands were part of the honor which had been given to him by Robert (I) d'Oilly, (fn. 19) and which ultimately passed as the honor of St. Valery to Richard, Earl of Cornwall. (fn. 20) Edmund, Earl of Cornwall, claimed his rights as overlord in 1292, and the ½ fee became merged in the Duchy of Cornwall. (fn. 21) The king's estate in Hampton became part of the honor of Gloucester, and together with lands at Otley in Oddington formed ½ knight's fee. (fn. 22) The overlordship of the estate followed the same descent as that of Finmere. (fn. 23) By the 13th century the Champernowne family were mesne lords of the Gloucester fee, (fn. 24) as they were of the Gloucester fee in Lower Heyford. William de Champernowne was succeeded by his daughter Joan by about 1260, and the mesne lordship probably descended through Joan's son John de Willington (d. 1339) to her grandson Henry, who was mesne lord at his death in 1349: (fn. 25) it is not subsequently mentioned.
About 1137 Robert de Gay was tenant of both the Hampton estates, as his predecessor Rainald had been in 1086. Robert, the founder of the monastery at Otley, was succeeded in 1138 or very soon afterwards by his son Reginald. (fn. 26) Reginald died between 1173 and 1177 and survived his son Robert, being succeeded by his grandson Robert, a minor who was placed with his land in the ward of William le Poure of Oddington. (fn. 27) Robert's wife Maud le Poure was no doubt William's daughter. (fn. 28) Between about 1195 and 1205 Oseney Abbey acquired 2 virgates in Hampton Gay from Robert's nephew, Reginald son of Norman, (fn. 29) and about 1210 Robert himself started a series of gifts to the abbey, which by 1218 held nearly all the ½ fee of St. Valery. In 1219 Robert let his whole demesne in Hampton at farm to Oseney, and finally, between 1220 and 1222, gave the abbey the whole manor for a nominal rent. Oseney became responsible for the forinsec service of the two ½ fees, and Robert's gift was confirmed by his sons Philip and Robert, and later by his immediate lords Richard of Cornwall and William de Champernowne. (fn. 30) In 1292 Edmund of Cornwall released the abbey from the payment of homage and relief due to him and his successors, but retained the service of ½ knight. (fn. 31) William and Joan de Champernowne, however, acquitted the abbey of half the service of the ½ fee held of the Earl of Gloucester. (fn. 32)
Within the manor of Hampton, which was held by Oseney Abbey until the Dissolution, (fn. 33) were two small estates belonging to the Templars and Godstow Abbey respectively. About 1170 Reginald de Gay, with the consent of his son Robert, gave a virgate in Hampton to the Templars of Cowley. Reginald's grandson confirmed the gift about 1190, (fn. 34) and the Templars held the estate (fn. 35) until 1311, when it passed to the Hospitallers. In 1512 it was held under the Hospital by John Kempster and was worth 13s. 4d. a year. (fn. 36) Godstow received ½ hide in Hampton Gay, part of the St. Valery fee, from Robert de Gay about 1218. (fn. 37) A Bletchingdon under-tenant of the manor gave the abbey a few acres in about 1220 and 1250; and another Bletchingdon man added some adjoining land about 1250. (fn. 38) Godstow held this property until the Dissolution, when it seems to have been included in their Bletchingdon estate. (fn. 39)
In 1542, after the suppression of Oseney, Hampton Gay manor and the Hospitallers' lands there were sold by the Crown to Leonard Chamberlayne of Shirburn. (fn. 40) In 1544 Leonard Chamberlayne sold Hampton Gay manor to John Barry of Eynsham for £1,100. (fn. 41) Barry died in 1546 and left Hampton to his son Lawrence, (fn. 42) who was succeeded in 1577 by his son Vincent. (fn. 43) In 1598, on the marriage of his daughter and heiress Katherine to Edward Fenner, Vincent Barry conveyed the manor to Edward Fenner's father Edward and to Henry Collier, to his own use for his life, and then to his son and his daughter-in-law Katherine and their heirs. (fn. 44) In 1613, however, he surrendered the manor to Katherine and Edward in return for annuities, totalling £63 6s. 8d., for himself and his wife Anne, and for their maintenance in the manor-house for life. (fn. 45) Vincent died in 1615, (fn. 46) Edward in 1625, and Katherine in 1663. (fn. 47) In 1657 Katherine had settled the reversion of Hampton Gay at her death on her cousin Vincent Barry of Thame. (fn. 48) Vincent died in 1666, and the manor descended to his son Vincent (d. 1680) and his grandson Vincent. The estate was mortgaged in 1671; and in 1682 the last Vincent Barry first mortgaged it again for £4,500 to Robert Jennings of Abingdon and then sold it outright to Sir Richard Wenman of Caswell for £6,400. (fn. 49) Sir Richard, who succeeded to the viscountcy of Wenman of Tuam in 1686, died in 1690, (fn. 50) and in 1691 his widow Katherine sold the manor to William Hindes of Priors Marston (Warws.). (fn. 51)
By his will William Hindes (d. 1706) left Hampton Gay to trustees, with the provision that if it were not sold to pay his debts it should pass to his son Thomas when he married or came of age. (fn. 52) Thomas received the manor from the trustees in 1715, (fn. 53) but died in 1718, leaving it to his elder son John, although his widow Elizabeth continued to hold a part of the estate as her jointure. (fn. 54) John died childless in 1743 and was succeeded by his brother the Revd. Thomas Hindes, who in 1761 settled the manor jointly on himself and his intended wife Susannah Ryves, daughter of Edward Ryves of Woodstock. (fn. 55) Thomas died in 1768 and his widow in 1798, when the manor passed to Ann Hindes, only child of Richard Hindes (d. 1776), a cousin of the Revd. Thomas Hindes. (fn. 56) Ann married first Henry Hill (d. 1803) and then Henry Huguenin. The Huguenins won a long Chancery case against the Revd. Thomas Bazeley, a kinsman of the Revd. Thomas Hindes, who had got possession of the deeds relating to Hampton Gay. (fn. 57) The estate had become heavily mortgaged, however, and in 1809 it was sold by the Huguenins' creditors to William Wilson for £16,500. (fn. 58) William Wilson died in 1821 and was succeeded by his son the Revd. William Wilson the elder, (fn. 59) who in 1848 surrendered his interest in Hampton Gay to his son, the Revd. William Wilson the younger. (fn. 60) In 1849 the latter sold the manor to Charles Venables, the sitting tenant, for £12,850. (fn. 61) In 1862 Venables sold it to Wadham College for £17,500. (fn. 62) The college rounded off the estate by purchasing a small piece of meadow land from Tyrrell Knapp of Hampton Poyle in 1867, (fn. 63) some 8 acres from the Duke of Marlborough in 1868, (fn. 64) and about 11 acres from Arthur Annesley, Viscount Valentia, in 1902. (fn. 65) In 1928 Col. S. L. Barry of Long Crendon manor (Bucks.) bought the estate from Wadham College for £6,500, thus reacquiring it for the family which had held it from 1544 to 1682. (fn. 66) On Col. Barry's death in 1943 the estate passed to his daughter Jeanne Irene, wife of the Hon. James Angus McDonnell. (fn. 67)
The manorial estate covers 228 acres: the remainder of the parish, 447 acres, was part of the land purchased by John Barry in 1544 and shortly before 1637 passed to Christopher, a younger brother of Vincent Barry (d. 1666). (fn. 68) By 1700 this estate was being administered by John and Sutton Coghill of Bletchingdon, and in that year it was bought by William, Lord Digby, who in 1719 sold it to Christopher Tilson, a clerk of the Treasury (d. 1742). (fn. 69) It remained in the Tilson family until 1795, when John Henry Tilson sold it to Arthur Annesley. It has since followed the descent of Bletchingdon manor. (fn. 70)
The Domesday survey gives details for 3 of the 5 hides of Hampton, the D'Ivry estate. (fn. 71) Here there was land for 3 ploughs, and there were 3 ploughs at work, all on the demesne. The meadowland was 3 by 1½ furlongs in extent, and the estate, on which a single villein (villanus) lived, had increased in value from £2 10s. to £3 since the Conquest. In the late 12th century husbandry was organized on a two-field system, (fn. 72) although the fields are not named. The virgates of arable—of which there were about 30 (fn. 73) —each consisted of 24 or 25 field acres and were divided more or less equally between the two fields. (fn. 74) The selion or ridge was commonly reckoned as a ½ acre. (fn. 75) To each virgate of arable pertained 2 acres of meadow, and in one instance the acre of meadow is known to have been 4 perches in breadth. (fn. 76) 'Brodemede' at least was a lot-meadow in the late 13th century. (fn. 77) Much of the demesne arable lay in compact blocks in about 1185, when it included at least 7 complete furlongs. (fn. 78) By 1219 the demesne arable was unequally divided, 74 acres in one field and 18 in the other, (fn. 79) but this may be accounted for by the alienation of much of the demesne by the De Gay family by this date. The pastures of 'Hulliwaldene' and 'Colowelle' and the meadow of 'Depeham' were among demesne lands granted to Oseney Abbey about 1218, (fn. 80) and the abbey finally acquired the remaining demesne meadows, the isle of Petham, 'Hulmede', and the meadow 'at the head of the croft', by Robert de Gay's gift of the whole manor. (fn. 81) The manor-house had gardens and a dovecote by 1219, (fn. 82) and about the same time Oseney acquired the water-mill, to which pertained 2 acres of arable, two hams in the Cherwell, and the fishery of the whole river from Shipton weir to 'the meeting of three waters' below the mill, and of half the river from Thrupp mill to 'Goldebroc'. (fn. 83)
By 1279 Oseney Abbey held almost the whole manor in demesne. (fn. 84) The Abbess of Godstow held a ½ hide granted by Robert de Gay about 1220, (fn. 85) and the Templars of Cowley held a virgate given to them by Reginald de Gay about 1170, (fn. 86) but besides these there were only six free tenants with about 4 virgates in all. (fn. 87) The commonest rent was 6s. a year for a virgate. Two villeins with ½-virgates worked at the lord's will, owed tallage and were bound to pay fines if their sons left the manor. (fn. 88) Oseney Abbey was keeping sheep on the manor in the 1220's when by a reciprocal agreement with the lord of Hampton Poyle it secured pasture for a flock of 200 in the fields and meadows of the adjacent manor after the corn and hay harvests. A gap near Hampton Poyle church gave access to Hampton Poyle North Field when it lay fallow. (fn. 89) The crops grown, wheat, barley, rye, and beans, had given their names by the late 12th century to 'Whethulle', 'Berefurlong', 'Ruifurlong', and 'Beanlonde'. (fn. 90) Oats and peas were being grown in 1280 and malt was evidently being produced from the barley. At this time a canon of Oseney was resident at Hampton Gay as bailiff of the abbey's land there and in adjoining parishes. At Michaelmas 1280 his return of stock included 314 sheep in the whole bailiwick, 69 cattle, and 71 pigs. (fn. 91)
In the early 14th century Hampton Gay was one of the smallest communities in Ploughley hundred. (fn. 92) There were only nine taxpayers in 1306, including Oseney Abbey, whose assessment was more than half the total, and only twelve in 1316 and 1327. (fn. 93) By 1344 Hampton had been combined with Bletchingdon for purposes of taxation, and in 1428 it was exempted from taxation because there were fewer than ten resident householders. (fn. 94) In 1509–10 Oseney received from its estate a revenue of £13 16s., but reserved to itself pasture for 240 sheep. (fn. 95) The manor was leased for 40 years in 1518 and in 1535 it brought in a farm of £11 and £6 2s. from the rents of customary tenants. (fn. 96) Some arable land had by this time gone back to waste: in 1512 in the former Templars' (now the Hospitallers') virgate there were 6 acres uncultivated and covered with furze. (fn. 97) In 1524 there were seven contributors to the lay subsidy, (fn. 98) and inclosure, with some consequent depopulation, (fn. 99) may have already begun. The acquisition of the manor in 1544 by John Barry, who had made his money from wool, (fn. 100) may have accelerated the work, which was evidently carried on by his successors Lawrence and Vincent Barry. Inclosure was probably facilitated by the natural division of the parish into two, part lying within the meander of the Cherwell, which could easily be inclosed by a ring fence, and part without. Christopher Barry's will (1670) suggests that inclosure had been long accomplished. It states that a parcel of land and pasture called the Great Leas had formerly been 'one inclosure', but is now divided into several inclosures. (fn. 101)
Late Elizabethan inclosure of lands in Hampton Gay and the neighbourhood involved most of the male inhabitants of the village in an agrarian revolt in 1596. (fn. 102) The originator and driving force of the plot was Bartholomew Steere of Hampton Poyle, but Richard Bradshaw of Hampton Gay spread the discontent as he travelled on his rounds as a miller's man. The conspirators first met at John Steere's house at Hampton Poyle and eventually involved people as far afield as Rycote and Witney. They aimed at destroying inclosures and the inclosers and incidentally at helping the poor, who had suffered from them. They planned to meet on Enslow Hill in Bletchingdon and, if necessary, to go towards London where the apprentices might help them. Among the chief proposed victims was Vincent Barry, who was to be murdered as well as his daughter. Many of the would-be rioters worked for Barry.
The plot proved abortive. Only 'some ten persons with pikes and swords' assembled on Enslow Hill. But official action was taken against the rioters, as a Hampton Gay carpenter, Roger Symonds, (fn. 103) warned Vincent Barry of the plot, (fn. 104) and Lord Norreys was notified. When asking the government for instructions, he asked that some 'order should be taken about inclosures … that the poor may be able to live'. (fn. 105) Five Hampton Gay men were among those arrested and sent to London; one was sentenced to be hanged and quartered as a ringleader. (fn. 106) The revolt undoubtedly affected parliamentary opinion, and helped to secure the re-enactment of the Tillage Acts in 1597, which included the order that lands in Oxfordshire converted to pasture since the accession of Elizabeth should be restored to tillage.
The population and pattern of land-holding altered little between 1560 and 1665. There were still the main estate, held by the Barry family, and five leasehold tenements. Edward Belson, taxed on five hearths for the tax of 1665, (fn. 107) had a leasehold of Kempster's house and three closes of meadow adjoining for which he paid 5s. yearly, having paid £160 for the original copyhold in 1633. John Dennet, carpenter, taxed on one hearth, held for 99 years at 5s. annual rent and an initial payment of £30 a dwelling, a plot of ground, and a pasture called Gouldhill containing 11 acres. He had to pay £5 yearly for every acre of pasture converted into tillage but was not to plough Gouldhill for six years from his new lease (1654). He also had to pay 10s. for every apple or pear tree lopped or felled. Robert Springall, taxed on one hearth, had a tenement in reversion; Anne Gilkes, discharged from payment on one hearth on account of poverty, had a cottage and small plot at a rent of 5s. a year. William Tomson, taxed on three hearths, may have held the tenement formerly in the possession of one Paul Triplett. (fn. 108)
The parish was mainly under pasture and large tracts were often leased to outside graziers, such as Oxford butchers. (fn. 109) Sainfoin, mentioned in 1691, (fn. 110) was introduced early, as at Bletchingdon: its cultivation emphasizes the stock-fattening aspect of farming at this date. Yet the predominance of this pastoral economy was greatly altered in 1681 when the grist mill was leased by Vincent Barry to John Allen of Hampton, paper-maker, at a rent of £9 a year. The lessors were to pay £10 for rebuilding or supply rough timber of elm or ash to that value, if the dwelling-house should be burnt down. The mill was to be used only for paper-making. (fn. 111) So began an industry which flourished until the early 19th century and continued until 1887, although its condition was now less prosperous partly on account of the uncertain state of the paper trade and partly because of disastrous fires at the paper-mill. In 1863–73 the mill was reconstructed and James Lee, iron-founder of Oxford and Millbank Iron Works, erected a gas-works and a steam-engine and other machinery, but the new works were destroyed by fire in 1875. In 1876 the main building was reroofed by St. Vincent's Corrugated Iron Works of Bristol, the sheets coming by canal and costing all told £610. By July 1880 the machinery was in good order and a considerable amount of paper had been made. The fittings included an iron water-wheel, 2 iron pitwheels, 4 iron rag-washing and heating engines, a 60-inch paper-making machine, a 30 h.p. Cornish steam-boiler, a new 8 h.p. high-pressure steamengine, and various other machinery 'capable of making about one ton of paper per day'. (fn. 112) Yet within a few years the tenant had gone bankrupt and the same fate overtook subsequent tenants. In April 1887 the stock in trade was sold under a distress for rent. It consisted of about 15 tons of rags, waste paper, &c., 8 tons of white and brown mineral alum, resin, face-blue, oil, a quantity of paper bags, colouring, string, &c. (fn. 113) Today only the site and a few portions of the walls and the water-falls remain.
Hampton Gay was little more than a hamlet in the late 17th century, when the Compton Census (1676) recorded 28 adults. There appears to have been an increase in population during the late 18th century, for by 1811 there were 17 families crowded into 13 houses. The peak was reached in 1821, with 86 inhabitants, and numbers had declined to 67 by 1861. After the destruction of the manor-house in 1887 the population fell to 30. The decline continued during the 20th century until in 1955 there were only 14 parishioners, probably the lowest total since Anglo-Saxon times. (fn. 114)
The agricultural economy has changed almost as much in the 19th and 20th centuries as the number of farm-workers. On the manor estate of 210 acres in 1809, the arable occupied 70 acres; in 1848 about 55 acres; in 1862 about 30; in 1928 there was no arable; (fn. 115) in 1955 over 100 acres were ploughed by tractor. (fn. 116) The non-manorial part of the parish also has a high proportion of arable land, and, as has been usual since 1630, part is farmed from Hampton Poyle and rather more from Bletchingdon. The manorial holding still differs in economy from the non-manorial estates. Its grassland is used mainly for fattening, especially of bullocks, while the pastures of the remainder of the parish are devoted almost entirely to dairy cattle.
The earliest evidence that has been found about a church at Hampton Gay is a grant of tithes in 1074 (see below). In the late 12th century the advowson belonged to the lord of the manor, for by a charter dated before 1173 Reginald de Gay presented his clerk Gilbert to the church with a ½ hide of land, free of all service except the royal service. (fn. 117) Soon after, he granted the church to Oseney Abbey, and in the 1180's Robert de Gay made a similar grant with the provision that the abbey should not take possession until after Gilbert's death. (fn. 118) Gilbert must have died in about 1190, when Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln, allowed the canons to appropriate the church, and Urban III allowed them to serve it with three or four canons. One was to be responsible for cure of souls and to be presented to the bishop. (fn. 119) The absence of institutions in the Lincoln registers shows that this last provision was not complied with. It is in any case unlikely that Oseney served the church with its own canons, (fn. 120) but as the church was valued at only £2 in 1254 and 1291, it may not have been rich enough to support a resident priest. (fn. 121)
Its 16th-century value is not known, since in 1535 the rectory was being farmed with the manor. The church was then served by a chaplain who received only £2 a year from Oseney. (fn. 122) An episcopal visitation found the chancel and nave dilapidated, the chancel windows broken, and no distributions being made to the poor—a reference perhaps to the 10s. which Oseney was supposed to distribute for the soul of its founder Robert d'Oilly. (fn. 123)
In the 11th century Robert d'Oilly granted twothirds of his demesne tithes in Hampton to the church of St. George in Oxford castle. (fn. 124) When St. George's and its possessions became part of Oseney in 1149, (fn. 125) the abbey tried to collect these tithes in spite of the opposition of Hampton's rector, Gilbert. Oseney won its case, and in a general synod at Oxford, probably that of about 1166, (fn. 126) Reginald de Gay confirmed the abbey's claims. (fn. 127) When Oseney appropriated the church, obtaining all the tithes in the parish, this portion came to an end.
St. Frideswide's also had some rights in the church, its claim to 16d. and 2 chaldrons (coddos) of grain a year being confirmed by the Pope in 1158. (fn. 128) In a property settlement of 1388 between Oseney and St. Frideswide's this income was awarded to Oseney. (fn. 129)
After Oseney's dissolution in 1539, the rectory estate continued as an indistinguishable part of the manor, and Hampton Gay was considered as an extra-parochial free chapel, exempt from the bishop's jurisdiction. (fn. 130) As the church then had no endowment, the lords of the manor, 'out of their generosity', paid a minister. (fn. 131) A rector of Shipton-on-Cherwell is known to have served it in the 16th century, (fn. 132) and occasionally it was served from Blenheim or Charlbury. Early in the 18th century a curate from Kidlington was receiving £10. (fn. 133)
The living was again endowed in 1768, when the Revd. Thomas Hindes, who rebuilt the church, left £700 to buy government securities to provide £20 annually for a minister. He was to be nominated by the owner of the manor, with preference for a Fellow of the Queen's College, Oxford. The bequest was to be void if the bishop insisted on licensing the minister, or if he or any ecclesiastical court meddled with him, or if any attempt were made to make Hampton into a parish or to help it with Queen Anne's Bounty. (fn. 134)
During the 19th century there was much uncertainty about the ecclesiastical status of Hampton. The patronage of the church remained with the lord of the manor, but from 1809 the bishop began to license the curates in spite of the provisions of Thomas Hindes's will, and in the 1830's acquired the right to subject the parish to his visitations. (fn. 135) By then it had been decided that although Thomas Hindes's bequest was valid, the provisions attached to it were not, and during the 1850's Hampton was treated as an ordinary parish. (fn. 136) It was transferred from Bicester deanery by 1854 to the new deanery of Islip. (fn. 137)
After Wadham College bought the manor in 1862, it provided a minister, usually the Rector of Shipton-on-Cherwell; paid him partly from Hindes's bequest; and refused to nominate him to the bishop. (fn. 138) During this period the church was sometimes considered a donative, sometimes a chapelry attached to the manor-house. (fn. 139) It was finally decided in the 1920's that Hampton was an ancient ecclesiastical parish and not extra-parochial, and that the church was not a donative but a perpetual curacy in the gift of the lord of the manor. (fn. 140) Its endowment remained £20 a year, and it was served by the Rector of Shipton-on-Cherwell in 1955.
The church of ST. GILES, built in 1767–72, comprises a nave, south porch, and western tower. Of the medieval building nothing remains except the cross on the eastern gable and the reused battlements of the tower. During the 19th-century restoration, remains were found inside the walls of a 13thcentury stiff-leaf capital and fragments of windows, which were probably parts of the original church. (fn. 141) It is recorded that it was in need of repair in the early 16th century, and that it was in 'tolerable repair' in 1717, while the next year Thomas Hindes (d. 1718) left £50 to repair and beautify it. (fn. 142)
The Revd. Thomas Hindes (d. 1768) provided money to rebuild the church, and it was opened for services in 1772. (fn. 143) The original foundations were used but the fabric of the medieval church was ruthlessly destroyed. The new Georgian building was considered by 19th-century admirers of gothic architecture 'a very bad specimen of the meetinghouse style'. (fn. 144)
In 1859 the curate F.C. Hingeston had the church restored according to his own plans, at a cost of £154. (fn. 145) He replaced the four round-headed Georgian windows and south doorway with new ones in the Early English style, built a south porch, notched the surround of the external doorway to the tower in the Norman style, and replaced the old high seats. (fn. 146)
The most noticeable Georgian features left are the gallery at the west end, the coved and panelled plaster ceiling, and the stone ball finial and weather vane surmounting the pyramidal roof of the tower. There was another restoration in 1929. (fn. 147)
There is an elaborate alabaster monument with kneeling effigies to Vincent Barry (d. 1615) and his wife Anne Denton, with a later inscription at the bottom to their daughter, Lady Katherine Fenner (d. 1663). (fn. 148) It bears the arms of Barry, Brome, Baldington, and Rous, and two crests, one being that of Brome of Holton, Anne Barry's grandfather.
There are several memorials to the Hindes family: to William Hindes (d. 1706), lord of Hampton Gay, to Thomas Hindes (d. 1718) and his eldest son John Hindes (d. 1754), and to the Revd. Thomas Hindes (d. 1768). Other inscriptions are to Elizabeth Lydall (d. 1662), Vincent Oakley (d. 1723), Sarah Venables (d. 1858) and her two daughters, Sir Francis Barry, Bt. (d. 1907), and his son Col. Stanley Barry (d. 1943).
The font, which originally belonged to the church of Shipton-on-Cherwell, is modern. (fn. 149) The church is lit by candle light.
In 1552 the church owned, among other things, chalice and two brass candlesticks. (fn. 150) In 1955 the a plate included a small silver chalice of 1768. (fn. 151) The church possesses a barrel organ made in the 1830's and restored in 1929: it has three barrels, each containing ten tunes, and a mahogany case designed in the Gothic style. As in the 16th century, there were in 1955 two bells: the treble, of mid-13th-century date and shrill in tone, is one of the oldest bells in the country; the tenor is of 1782. (fn. 152)
The registers date from 1621 for baptisms and burials, and from 1657 for marriages.