A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 6. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1959.
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This small parish lies on the east bank of the Cherwell some six miles north of Oxford. It is opposite the old part of Kidlington village, the churches of the two parishes being separated only by the river, which forms the civil boundary, and half a mile of flat, floodable alluvium. Hampton had an area of 807 acres until 1932. (fn. 1) It was then joined with Hampton Gay (684 a.) and together with 18 acres from Gosford parish, 3 acres from Kidlington, and 9 acres from Thrupp—all uninhabited riverine land —today (1955) forms the civil parish of Hampton Gay and Poyle with an area of 1,521 acres. (fn. 2)
At Hampton Poyle the Cherwell enters upon the wide, flat flood-plain of its lower course, and all but the northern one-sixth of the parish is floored by fine alluvium which, in the lowest parts, is liable to occasional inundation. The land varies in height above sea-level from 200 feet near Gosford Bridge in the south to 238 feet in the north, where the alluvium gives way to Oxford Clay. (fn. 3) In 1948–9 extensive dredging of the Cherwell greatly decreased the danger of flooding. (fn. 4)
The south part of the parish is crossed by the Oxford-Bicester highway, which bridges the Cherwell at Gosford, five miles from Oxford. From this the village of Hampton got its names of 'Hampton ad pontem', first recorded in 1255, (fn. 5) 'Hampton atte bridge' (fn. 6) or sometimes 'juxta pontem de Gosford'. (fn. 7) All three were used concurrently in the reign of Edward III. In later years when the parishioners had to repair the eastern half of the bridge and the causeway to it they found the repairs a constant burden. (fn. 8) In 1797 the inclosure award set aside a stone-pit (Surveyor's Piece) of over five roods for providing material for the repair of the roads. (fn. 9)
The present-day hamlet of Hampton Poyle is reached by a mile of minor road that branches northward from the main highway and continues to Bletchingdon. From the hamlet footpaths converge southward on a footbridge over the Cherwell, which at this point has a gravel bed. This bridge, formerly of wood, was in 1947 rebuilt in reinforced concrete (fn. 10) and continues to form the parishioners' main connexion on foot with outside amenities.
Hampton Poyle, unlike most of the villages in the Cherwell valley, stands on alluvium and not on gravel. Its few buildings are spaced at uneven intervals along the road to the church and Manor Farm, both of which stand near the former mill stream. (fn. 11) Their alignment and situation in the north-west corner of the parish were clearly a response to the need for water-power and water-supply, as here the Cherwell flows close to the junction of the Oxford Clay and the riverine deposits: along this zone the claybeds hold up water in shallow wells dug in the overlying alluvium. Before its inclosure in 1797 there was a large green of nearly 9 acres. (fn. 12)
The hamlet's first name means a 'village' and its suffix commemorates its 13th-century lords. (fn. 13) Until at least 1267, when Walter de la Poyle became lord, the village was called 'Philipeshamton' or 'Hampton Stephani' after its 12th-century lord and his descendants. (fn. 14) It was also sometimes called Great Hampton to distinguish it from its smaller neighbour, Hampton Gay. Compared with other villages in Ploughley hundred, however, it never seems to have been large and may have decreased in size in the late Middle Ages. (fn. 15)
In 1625 ten farm-houses, a Rectory, and a manorhouse were recorded; (fn. 16) in 1662 seventeen householders were listed for the hearth tax. There were a number of fair-sized houses: in 1665 the manor returned fourteen hearths, the Rectory six, (fn. 17) and ten other houses from three to one hearths. (fn. 18)
Several of the present (1955) dwellings date from the 16th and early 17th centuries. (fn. 19) Among the oldest is the former Rectory: it is partly an early 16th-century building, but by 1754 was seriously decayed. (fn. 20) A description of it in 1685 (fn. 21) says that it had a courtyard, orchard, and garden besides a barn and stable. The main block now dates from about 1802, when the Revd. W. Benson, finding the house 'too small and mean', had it repaired and had four new rooms added by the builder John Hudson of Oxford. (fn. 22) Soon after 1840 £500 was spent on enlarging the new addition. (fn. 23)
Manor Farm, the successor to the mansion house called Hampton Poyle Place in 1625, (fn. 24) dates from about this time, except for its early 19th-century windows. It is L-shaped in plan, has two stories with attics, and is built of local limestone with a stone band at the first floor on the south. Until 1954 it had a Stonesfield-slate roof. As late as 1949 there were traces in the manor meadow of what were apparently the fishponds of the medieval manor-house. (fn. 25)
Poyle Court, the Old Manor House, and Knapp's Farm all date in part from the early 17th century, when the manor was sub-divided. (fn. 28) Poyle Court retains its L-shaped plan and has two ancient stone stacks on each end gable, but was refronted in about 1800, when a battlemented parapet and wooden casements in 'gothic' style with square stone frames were inserted.
The Old Manor House, built of limestone with a Stonesfield-slate roof, was formerly called Moat Farm and adjoins 'Moat Cottage', which was its former stable. Its 'moate' is recorded in 1625. (fn. 29) Knapp's Farm, built of limestone rubble, was originally rectangular in plan with a staircase projection at the back, but has been refashioned. A part of it was the building bought by Merton College in 1512 (fn. 30) as a refuge in time of plague. Lincoln College also took refuge in the village both in 1512 and 1526. (fn. 31)
The parish has been associated with some noteworthy events and persons. In 1949 a fine Viking spearhead was found in the Cherwell near the bridge. (fn. 32) The battle of Gosford Bridge was fought on the borders of the parish in 1644. In 1654 Anthony Wood and a party of friends disguised as country musicians played at John West's manorhouse, where they 'had some money but more drink' given them. (fn. 33)
Bartholomew Steere, leader of the abortive agrarian revolt (fn. 34) of 1596, was born in Hampton Poyle in 1568. (fn. 35) Anthony Hall, an antiquary of some standing although Hearne though him 'a dull, stupid, sleepy fellow', was Rector of Hampton Poyle (1720– 3). He wrote the introduction to Thomas Cox's Magna Britannia. (fn. 36) Throughout the 19th century and up to 1929 the Viscounts Valentia and other members of the Annesley family were closely connected with Hampton, which greatly benefited from their generosity.
At the time of the Domesday survey 'Hamtone' (10 hides) was held of the king by Jernio or Gernio. Five thegns had held it as five manors before the Conquest. (fn. 37) In 1166 HAMPTON manor was held in chief as 1 knight's fee by Philip of Hampton (de Hanton'), who was succeeded in 1182 by his son Stephen, (fn. 38) in 1220 by his grandson William, and in 1246 by his great-grandson Stephen. Stephen died in 1252 leaving an estate held in chief as ½ knight's fee. (fn. 39) His heir was his daughter Alice, an infant whose wardship, after passing through several hands, was granted to Walter de la Poyle, who had married her by 1267. (fn. 40) After Walter's death in 1298 Alice continued to hold the manor of 'Hamptone Stevene' as her own inheritance. (fn. 41) The date of her death is uncertain, but she survived her son John, who inherited Walter's Surrey estates and died in 1317. (fn. 42) John's elder son and successor John died in 1332. (fn. 43) By 1335 Henry de la Poyle, brother and heir of the younger John, was in possession of Hampton Poyle. (fn. 44)
His son Thomas de la Poyle succeeded in 1360 (fn. 45) and died in 1402. His widow Katherine held the manor until her death in 1407. (fn. 46) Thomas's brother John succeeded and survived his own son Henry, who married Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Warner. It seems that well over a year before his death in 1423 John had leased the manor to Robert Warner, John Gaynesford, and others. He afterwards released it without licence to the same persons, who were probably feoffees to uses, and after his death they had to pay a fine of £15 before they obtained possession. (fn. 47)
In 1438 they released their rights to Robert Warner for life, with remainder to John Gaynesford and his eldest son John. (fn. 48) Robert died in 1439, leaving property in Surrey and Sussex as well as Hampton. His daughter and heiress Elizabeth, widow of Henry de la Poyle, had become the second wife of Sir Walter Grene of Theobalds (Herts.), who had by his first wife two daughters, Joan and Katherine. (fn. 49) This Katherine had married John Gaynesford the younger. In 1440 John Gaynesford the elder acquired all the former properties of the De la Poyles and in 1447 he granted Hampton to his son John, his wife Katherine and their issue. (fn. 50) John the elder died in 1450, and after the death of John the younger in 1460 Katherine married Sir Edmund Rede of Boarstall (Bucks.). (fn. 51) In 1471 Edmund and Katherine settled the reversion of Hampton on George Gaynesford, Katherine's son, and his wife Isabel Croxford, (fn. 52) and in the following year they conveyed it to trustees to the use of George and Isabel. In 1496 George reconveyed the manor to his mother Katherine, (fn. 53) whose husband Sir Edmund had died in 1489, but it reverted to him on her death in 1498. (fn. 54) Four years later he sold his Hampton properties to Richard Hungerford. (fn. 55)
When Hungerford died in 1510, his executors sold the manor and advowson to Henry Smyth of Shirford (Warws.) and William Fermor of Somerton, who in the following year conveyed them to Edmund Bury. (fn. 56) Edmund died in 1512 leaving as his heir a son James, aged ten. (fn. 57) His widow Jane, who in 1513 bought the remaining Gaynesford property in Hampton, later married Thomas Lovett, and her step-daughter Elizabeth Lovett eventually married James Bury. On James's death in 1558 his property was divided between his three daughters— Jane, wife of Ambrose Dormer of Ascot, Elizabeth, and Ursula. Hampton fell to Jane's share. (fn. 58)
Dormer died in 1566 (fn. 59) leaving three children by Jane—Michael, Ambrose, and Winifred. Jane remarried in 1574, (fn. 60) and after her death in 1594 her second husband William Hawtrey held the manor. In 1597 he settled it for life on his step-son Michael Dormer (later Sir Michael), who subsequently married William Hawtrey's daughter Dorothy. Sir Michael was succeeded on his death in 1624 by his sister Winifred's four daughters, (fn. 61) Mary, Bridget, and Anne—her children by her first husband, William Hawtrey's son William—and Katherine, her daughter by her second husband John Pigott. Hampton was partitioned in 1625, (fn. 62) Mary and Katherine receiving a quarter share each. Bridget and her husband Sir Henry Croke received two quarters, Anne having sold her interest to her sister before her death in the previous year. Bridget obtained the capital messuage and the manorial rights.
Bridget's sister Mary, wife of Sir Francis Wolley, died childless in 1638. She left two conflicting deeds. By the first of 1626 her lands, a quarter of the manor, were settled to her use for life and afterwards to that of her half-sister, Katherine Pigott. The second deed, dated 1629, settled them on herself and on her heirs. After some dispute it was held that the second deed and the fine which had been levied thereon was a sufficient revocation of the uses limited in the earlier one. The rents were therefore adjudged to belong to Sir Henry Croke and Sir Walter Pye, by right of their wives Bridget and Elizabeth, the daughter of Anne, but they were to repay them if Pigott recovered the lands at Common Law. In this way the Crokes acquired another eighth part of the manor. (fn. 63) Henry's son, Robert Croke, knighted in 1641, was a member of the king's parliament at Oxford in 1644, and in 1646 he had to compound for his estates in Hampton Poyle and elsewhere. (fn. 64) On their own showing the Crokes were much impoverished by the Civil War, and in 1648 Sir Henry and Sir Robert sold their shares of the manor to John West for £5,000. (fn. 65) Katherine, daughter of Katherine Pigott, was still claiming a quarter of the manor in 1653; moreover, the Crokes appear to have broken their sale contract, so that it was not until 1662, after a series of expensive lawsuits, that John West enjoyed undisturbed possession and a clear title. (fn. 66)
In 1665 John West's son John married Katherine Seaman, who died without issue in 1669. By the terms of their marriage settlement John West the elder retained his estates in Hampton Poyle for life. After his death they were to be held by trustees to raise £1,300 for the purposes of his will. (fn. 67) John died in 1696, leaving Hampton to his son but making no specific disposition of the £1,300, which was eventually awarded to his second daughter Mary. (fn. 68) Legacies amounting to £3,000 had to be paid, and in 1697 John the younger mortgaged Hampton for £1,600 to Christopher Clitheroe. (fn. 69) The mortgage was assigned to Lord Digby in 1699, and in 1702 to the executors of Sir Edward Sebright, (fn. 70) from whom West borrowed further sums. He was unable to redeem the manor and after his death in 1717 his widow, Elizabeth, and Sir Edward's heir, Sir Thomas Sebright, who had by then come of age, sold it with other properties to Arthur Annesley, Earl of Anglesey. (fn. 71)
In 1723 the earl sold his Hampton estates to Christopher Tilson, who bequeathed them to his nephew John Tilson of Watlington Park. (fn. 72) In 1767, on John Tilson's marriage to Maria Lushington, they were the subject of a marriage settlement. By this she received a jointure of £500 from the manor on his death in 1774. In 1795 John Tilson's eldest son, John Henry, sold the estate to Arthur Annesley for £25,000, £7,000 of which remained on mortgage. (fn. 73) Throughout the 19th century Hampton Poyle followed the same descent as Bletchingdon. The connexion with the Annesley family was broken in 1929, when the farms and holdings on Viscount Valentia's estate were sold to the various tenants. (fn. 74)
About 1222 William de Hampton sold Oseney Abbey his mill in Hampton with a croft and arable and meadow land. Within the next few years the abbey received other gifts of lands and rents from William and his tenants, (fn. 75) and in 1279 possessed two water-mills and over 4 virgates of land. (fn. 76) At the Dissolution the abbey's estate was bringing in £1 0s. 8d. in annual rents. (fn. 77) In 1541 the greater part of the former Oseney lands was granted by the Crown to Leonard Chamberlayne of Shirburn. (fn. 78) Chamberlayne succeeded his father as keeper of Woodstock Park about this time (fn. 79) and he may have sold his estate in Hampton soon after wards. Most of it was later united with the manorial estate, but a small parcel of it may be represented by lands mortgaged by John Brotherton to the borough of New Woodstock in 1714. Woodstock had acquired a small estate in 1578, the gift of Thomas Rydge, and the borough still owns (1955) a few acres in the parish. (fn. 80)
In 1512 Merton College leased a ruinous tenement from James Bury. (fn. 81) In 1535 it was worth 6s. 8d. a year, (fn. 82) and later leases show that it was adjacent to another tenement and lands granted to Merton after the dissolution of Oseney Abbey. (fn. 83) In 1797 Merton held about 7 acres in the parish, but in 1818 they were acquired by the Knapp family in exchange for land in Kidlington. (fn. 84)
The quarter of the manor allotted to Katherine Pigott in 1625 passed to her daughter Katherine, wife of William Plaistowe. By 1766 this holding was in the possession of Joseph Tyrrel, and in 1797 it was held by George and Joseph Knapp of Abingdon. (fn. 85) This estate—consisting of Model Farm and about 230 acres in 1869—remained in the Knapp family until 1910, when it was sold by F. G. Knapp to Viscount Valentia. (fn. 86)
The place name Hampton (O.E. hamtun) (fn. 87) indicates early settlement by the Anglo-Saxons. At the time of Domesday there was land for 6 ploughs, all of which was fully cultivated. In the demesne were 3 ploughs and 2 serfs; and 7 villeins (villani) and 2 bordars had 3 ploughs. Sixty acres of meadow are recorded. Since the Conquest the value of the estate had risen from £6 to £10, (fn. 88) perhaps as a consequence of an increase in the rich meadow-land along the river. There was also woodland (½ league X16 furls.) and a water-mill worth 15s.
Early in the 13th century William of Hampton on account of his debts to the Jews was obliged to part with some of his valuable meadow-land, his mill, and fishery as well as arable land and the miller's cottage. (fn. 89) His grant to Oseney and other Oseney charters dated between 1220 and 1234 throw some light on economic affairs at Hampton at this time. The water-mill, for instance, served not only the lord's curia and the village but outsiders as well; there was no lack of work for it, as provision was made for the erection of a second mill if the abbot so wished. (fn. 90) There were two main fields (fn. 91) which it seems were divided mostly into ½-acre strips; (fn. 92) one was called North Field (fn. 93) and the other very probably South Field. (fn. 94) There was also a third much smaller field called Colworth. (fn. 95) As for the pasture, there is evidence that there had long been intercommoning between the villages of Hampton Gay and Hampton Poyle. (fn. 96) Sheep-rearing may well have been generally important here, as it certainly was to the abbot, who had rights of common in Hampton Poyle for 200 sheep. (fn. 97) Some meadow-land was assigned by lot annually; but some was inclosed and held in severalty. (fn. 98) The simple tenurial picture of Domesday had by now given way to more complicated arrangements, and there is evidence of the existence of free tenants and of buying and selling of land. (fn. 99)
By 1279 (fn. 100) it seems clear that the area of cultivated land in the parish had been extended: Walter de la Poyle's manor contained about 31 virgates of land of which 8 were in demesne, a smaller proportion than in 1086. Of the 6 free tenants, the Abbot of Oseney held 8 acres in free alms, 2 water-mills and the fishery in the Cherwell besides a virgate of land for 6d. to the lord. Thus advantage had been taken of William of Hampton's concession about a second mill. Another tenant, Walter de Crokesford, held 2½ virgates of the lord for 6s. 1d., and 2 virgates for a rent of 4s. to Oseney—a rent which William de Crokesford had paid to William of Hampton before the latter gave it to Oseney in about 1230. (fn. 101) Three other free tenants held 4 virgates between them for rents ranging from 1d. to 2s., while a sixth held a virgate of Oseney for 6s. and suit at the hundred and county. There were 15 villeins, all virgaters, who each paid 6s. a year rent, owed works and tallage, and had to pay fines at the lord's will if their sons left the manor (redimere pueros). Seven cottars each held a messuage and 2 acres of land for 2s. a year and owed the same autumn works as the virgaters, but were privileged in so far as they received their food from the lord. As a miller and a fisherman are numbered among the villeins and cottars, it seems clear that Walter de la Poyle's and the abbot's unfree tenants were listed together in the Hundred Rolls.
It is likely that it was during this period of expansion that the two main fields gave way to a threefield system. Later evidence shows that at some date before the early 16th century there were three fields—West Field, North-east Field, and South-east Field—beside the small Colworth Field. (fn. 102)
There is an unusual record of a boundary dispute in 1280 between the two Hamptons. (fn. 103) On receipt of a royal writ obtained at the instance of Oseney twelve jurors of the hundred court demarcated the boundary with stones and pales. The Poyles then claimed that they had been disseised of a part of their land, and the justices of assize at Henley, who heard the suit, ordered another jury to go to Hampton Poyle, remove the boundary marks, and replace them at their discretion in their proper places. In the next year difficulties arose over intercommoning. The parson of Hampton Poyle and a parishioner claimed that they had right of pasture in Hampton Gay belonging to their two free tenements in Hampton Poyle. It was decided that they had no such right. (fn. 104)
In 1298–9 the value of the manor was £12 18s. 5¼d. An extent records that there were 120 acres in demesne and 8 of meadow. The arable was worth 3d. an acre and the meadow 2s. an acre. The free tenants were six in number as in 1279; there were only thirteen villein virgaters, but three halfvirgaters. Their rents as in 1279 were 6s. the virgate, and the virgate was said to equal 16 acres. Their works, which are set out in detail, had been commuted. From each virgate, for instance, a day's weeding, price ½d., was due and a day's carriage of corn with one horse, price 1d. The total value of the works was 9s. 2¼d. Seven cottars with a cottage and two acres each paid rent of 1s. (fn. 105) In 1360 the value of the manor was £13 6s. 8d., (fn. 106) compared with £10 in 1268. (fn. 107)
Early 14th-century tax lists show 25 contributors with the lady of the manor paying the highest sum. (fn. 108) Although not among the richer villages in the hundred, Hampton Poyle was a larger and more prosperous community than its neighbour Hampton Gay—which was taxed at 19s. 10d. for the 20th of 1327, for example, compared with Hampton Poyle's tax of £2 13s. 6d. After the revision of assessments in 1334, its payment was fixed at £5 2s. 8d. and there were 67 contributors to the poll tax of 1377. (fn. 109)
There are indications of depopulation by the early 16th century. In 1510 it was recorded in the bailiff's accounts that fulling mills at Hampton had fallen down and the rent of 30s. 8d. had not been paid. (fn. 110) This was still the case in 1521. (fn. 111) Moreover, there had been some conversion of arable land into sheep and cattle pasture. Two men were accused in 1517 of converting 60 acres and putting two ploughs out of use, while Edmund Bury was alleged to have had 80 acres sown with grain in 1511, which he had since converted and had thus deprived twelve people of their livelihood. (fn. 112) Whatever the truth about these particular charges it was stated clearly in 1547 that the West Field had been inclosed. (fn. 113) Payments, moreover, to the subsidy of 1523 show a considerable change since the early 14th century in the pattern of landholding and the distribution of wealth. There were thirteen contributors, but Henry Rathbone paid £2 out of the total of £2 15s. 8d. (fn. 114)
Manor court rolls for 1549–92 have survived. The homage consisted of ten or twelve persons and proceedings mainly concerned fences, bridle paths, interference with boundaries, the straying of cattle and hogs, and the clearing of ditches. (fn. 115)
The most complete of the many surviving terriers is dated 1625. (fn. 116) It shows that the demesne covered just over 285 acres and included a rabbit-warren ('coneygree') of 5⅓ acres. The lord also possessed the fishing in the Cherwell, the mill, and the parcel of meadow called Flat Hamm between the old river and the new (2¼ a.). As the demesne was counted as 4 yardlands it had grazing for sixteen beasts (valued at 6s. 8d. a gate), a bull and 'a breeder', and 80 sheep-walks at 1d. each. The lord had the right to hold a court baron, but not a court leet. The profits of the court hardly equalled the outlay. Six leaseholders for a term of two or three lives held 137 acres in all. Four of them held substantial holdings of between 22 and 44 acres. Besides their rents they were bound to supply one or two beasts in 'name of two heriots whensoever they shall happen'. (fn. 117) In addition, there were five customary tenants holding nearly 176 acres, mostly for one or two lives only and paying the usual heriots; four tenants at will, whose small plots with attached cottages had been carved out of the waste; the glebe (32 a.) and parsonage house; a tenement and ½ yardland held by Merton College; and two freeholders—Widow Kempe (32¾ a.) and John Lumber (1½ a.). The wastes and common lands included the cow pastures of Abbott Marsh (21 a.) and Broad Marsh (3 a.), the Town Green (8½ a.), and the 'ways' (16 a.). The rents from the demesne amounted to £214 and those from the tenants and freeholders to £12 2s. 10d.
At this time, of the 783 acres available for agricultural purposes about 368 acres were arable, 233 acres were pasture of various kinds, 105 acres were meadow and nearly 32 acres were furze. There was also the lord's osier bed of 28 poles. It is noticeable that of the demesne only 31 per cent. (89 a.) was given over to arable whereas the tenants mostly kept from 70 per cent. up to 83 per cent. of their holdings under the plough. Moreover, almost all the demesne ploughland was leased to four tenants so that the Mr. Fyndale, who rented the main part of the demesne, was in practice a large-scale sheep or cattle farmer.
In the first half of the 17th century Hampton's prosperity was affected first by the Civil War and later by the neglect of John West, the lord of the manor. In 1646 Sir Robert Croke declared that his part of Hampton was worth only £122 10s. but this, so John West alleged, was only an attempt to hoodwink the compounding authorities. (fn. 118) In 1649 the annual value of the rents and tithes was £367 0s. 10d. and the parish was subsequently rated on £350 a year. (fn. 119) In the latter half of the century John West's son averred that the decay and neglect was such that his part of the manor did not yield £200 a year. (fn. 120) There was poverty too among the smaller farmers, for in 1665 four were discharged from payment of the hearth tax. (fn. 121) One of these farmed 45½ acres and the other 22 acres and rented a yardland in the demesne. By 1717 the selling price of the manor increased to £6,000 and within a few decades to £10,000. (fn. 122)
The main interest of the history of the parish at the turn of the century was the growing demand for inclosure. In 1685 the glebe of 2 yardlands lay scattered in 58 strips, (fn. 123) but this may have been exceptional and may not prove that little advance had been made over medieval practice on the uninclosed land. In 1729 a document was drawn up which stated that the distribution of the meadows by lots 'was so perplexed and confused' a method 'that none of the possessors know any foot of land in the said meadows to be their own'. The chief landowners agreed to abolish 'lotting' and have the meadows measured and justly assigned. (fn. 124) For some reason this attempt seems to have been unsuccessful and the system of assigning the meadows by lot prevailed for another 70 years. When a survey of the manor was made in 1789, (fn. 125) it was stated that 'the method and manner of lotting is one year above the middle stone and the other year below it with a pole of 14 feet. One draught answers six acres.'
At this time, out of a total of about 770 acres, over 355 acres were held by the lord, 272 were freehold, 119 were common land, 16½ were taken up by roads and ways, and 8 acres 3 roods made up the Town green. In 1766 (fn. 126) the lord's land had been valued at £320, more than half the total valuation of £629. This is in marked contrast with the valuation of 1649, when the lord's land was valued at about a quarter of the whole estate.
The open fields were finally inclosed by the award of 1797, (fn. 127) under which the main grants amounting to over 593 acres were as follows: Arthur Annesley and Charles Warde (6 parcels and a small manorial allotment) 408 acres, George Knapp, gent. (7 parcels and a small manorial allotment) 88 acres, and George Knapp, merchant (4 parcels) 43 acres. The remaining odd 52 acres were assigned to the rector, Woodstock Corporation, Islip and Hampton Poyle poor, Merton College, a cottager, and for roads and stonepits. Assuming that the parish's total area was 830 acres, it appears that over 200 acres had previously been inclosed. A part of this probably consisted of small inclosures of orchards and closes dating back to the medieval period, but most originated in Tudor times.
By the time of the award there were five fields, the three recorded in 1547 (fn. 128) having been redivided. There had then been two large fields, the Northeast and South-east Fields, and a third small field, Colworth. By 1797 these had become Lower, Bletchingdon, Grettingdon, Collet (Colworth), and Friezeman's (Freezeman's Well), but the last was small and the parish had in fact almost a typical fourfield system, with a four-course rotation. The survey of 1789 had recorded that the arable fields, covering nearly 367 acres, were fallowed every fourth year, except Colworth (64 a.), which was cropped every year. (fn. 129)
The most tangible result of the inclosure was the great improvement in the tract that had been lot meadows. (fn. 130) This and the improvement in tillage generally was partly responsible for a considerable increase in the population of the parish. Inclosure may also have encouraged the amalgamation of farms. By about 1850 there were four largish ones. (fn. 131)
As the manor-house was never large the parishioners were tenant farmers and farm labourers rather than domestic servants or craftsmen. In 1811 out of 24 families only one was not employed in agriculture. (fn. 132) Later the following craftsmen occur: a shoe-maker, carpenter, and blacksmith, (fn. 133) and in 1926 one inhabitant was occupied as a 'motor-driver'. Within the next decade the influence of Morris Motor Works becomes increasingly apparent in the registers.
There have been many fluctuations in population since 1676 when the Compton Census recorded 63 adults. In 1738 the parish was said to have few inhabitants, and in 1759 about 19 families lived there. (fn. 134) Towards the end of the century baptisms rarely exceeded burials: (fn. 135) the population had dropped to 100 persons by 1801. (fn. 136) The tide had turned before 1811 when there were 24 families and 128 persons, and by 1851 the population had reached 156. Families decreased in size in the last decades of the century and by 1901, on account of the drift of the villagers away from agriculture, there were only 105 inhabitants. This trend was continued in the early part of the 20th century, but numbers rose from 80 in 1931 to 91 in 1951. (fn. 137)
No record of the church at Hampton Poyle has been found before about 1225, when the rector Simon witnessed a charter for the lord of the manor, William de Hampton. (fn. 138) From the first recorded presentation in 1247 or 1248 until the 17th century the descent of the advowson usually followed that of the manor. (fn. 139) In 1347, however, Sir William Shareshull, the father of Henry de la Poyle's wife Elizabeth, was patron, and in 1361 Sir John de Pyrton, her second husband, presented. (fn. 140) When the manor was sold in 1648 to John West, the Crokes retained the advowson, (fn. 141) but Sir Robert Croke sold it in 1670 for £275 to William Morrell, (fn. 142) vintner and later mayor of Oxford. (fn. 143) Morrell in 1676 sold the next presentation for £150 to Robert Mayott of Fawler, (fn. 144) who in 1680 presented William Mayott, (fn. 145) and in 1677 Morrell sold the advowson for only £150 to the Queen's College, Oxford. (fn. 146) William Mayott died almost immediately, and from 1680 (fn. 147) until the end of the 19th century the college presented. In 1897 the Revd. H. W. Yule of Shipton-on-Cherwell bought the advowson for £300, but in the following spring sold it to the Revd. S. T. Gwilliam, the Rector of Hampton Poyle. Gwilliam's widow presented the next two rectors, and on her death in 1933 the advowson passed, in accordance with the provisions of her husband's will, to King's College, London. In 1946, at the suggestion of the bishop, Exeter College, Oxford, obtained the patronage in exchange for that of Bolney (Sussex), thereby allowing the Vicar of Kidlington (an Exeter College living) to hold Hampton Poyle and Kidlington conjointly. (fn. 148)
The benefice of Hampton Poyle was rated annually at £2 in 1254, (fn. 149) at £3 13s. 4d. in 1291, (fn. 150) and at £6 2s. 8d. in 1535. (fn. 151) It was therefore a very poor living. The next known valuation is of 1649, when the rectory was worth £45: £29 for tithes and £16 for glebe. (fn. 152) In the mid-18th century the rectory was let for £85, (fn. 153) and in 1766 for £100, although the rector claimed only to receive an average of £60. (fn. 154) But the main grievance of 18th-century rectors was that some tithes (fn. 155) had been commuted by a modus of £5 10s., while their real value was £17 10s. William Atkinson (1723–8) tried to break this modus, but was non-suited for non-residence. (fn. 156) In 1797, at the inclosure, most of the tithes were commuted for £135, but the fate of the tithes on which a modus had been paid was left in abeyance to be settled at law. (fn. 157) By 1831 the income of the living, which came partly from the glebe, had risen to £250. (fn. 158)
The parsonage lands are mentioned in 1281. (fn. 159) Many summarized accounts and a few detailed surveys survive. The first is of 1547, (fn. 160) when the glebe consisted of 2 yardlands or 33 acres, mixed up with a yardland of the rector's private property. Another terrier of 1625 (fn. 161) lists the following possessions: parsonage house with courtyard, barn, stable, orchard, garden and close, 27 (field) acres of arable, 1 of furze, and 2 of meadow, and common for 4 fodder beasts and 20 sheep. (fn. 162) Detailed surveys of 1789–90 reveal slight changes. The total glebe was then nearly 35 acres, of which 8 acres were meadow. (fn. 163) At the inclosure award in 1797 this land was exchanged for over 27 acres. (fn. 164) By 1927 all but 3 acres of the glebe had been sold. (fn. 165)
The parish, which until the 19th century was in Bicester deanery, had been transferred by 1854 to the new deanery of Islip. (fn. 166)
In the Middle Ages there was frequently a close relationship between the rectors and the lords of the manor. Thomas de la Poyle, John de Shareshull, and John de la Poyle were doubtless related to the De la Poyle lords, and at a later date Thomas and John Rede were certainly related to the Redes of Boarstall. (fn. 167) On the point of residence, all that is known is that John Nason or Mason, rector for 40 years in the early 16th century, was at least sometimes resident, for he was accused in about 1520 of keeping two women in his house, one of them pregnant. (fn. 168)
In the post-reformation period the parish was one of those which suffered from the doctrinal changes. During Mary's reign, the Protestant Richard Plumpton was temporarily replaced by Richard Thomason, very possibly the Catholic priest of that name who had been condemned to hang in chains from Duns Tew steeple for his opposition to the first prayer book of Edward VI. (fn. 169) Plumpton was apparently in the parish early in 1557, however, when he witnessed the will of his patron James Bury, who called him 'my ghostly father'. (fn. 170) In the following century, although the parish had been fortunate enough to have the able John Tolson, Provost of Oriel College, (fn. 171) as its pastor for a quarter of a century, it again suffered from the controversial views of the day. This time its rector, Edward Fulham, who had succeeded Tilson in 1645, was forced to resign Hampton and flee abroad on account of his strong royalist views and his opposition to Puritanism. (fn. 172)
After the Queen's College became patron, the rectors were often non-resident: Anthony Addison (1693–1719), for instance, already a pluralist, (fn. 173) was said only to have taken the poor living of Hampton because of a poor marriage. (fn. 174)
From 1728 to 1801 the living was usually held with South Weston, where the rector lived, while Hampton was served for £20 a year by a curate, living in Oxford or a nearby village. (fn. 175) In the middle of the century the religious life of the parish was disturbed by open discord between the rector and his parishioners. Jonathan Dennis (1752–66), a resident Fellow of Queen's, (fn. 176) presented them all (except two old women) at the archdeacon's visitation for absenting themselves from church, and also presented the churchwardens for failing to obtain a new bible and prayer books. In 1754, the year after, the churchwardens presented that the church and chancel and parsonage house were out of repair, the minister absent, and Sunday tippling allowed in two houses. (fn. 177) From early in 1763 to the spring of 1768 no services were held in the church because it needed repair, and the parishioners went to Weston-on-theGreen. (fn. 178) The late 18th century was also an unsatisfactory period. The curate's stipend was too small to secure a qualified person, and it was reported that, not being in priest's orders, he knew 'nothing of the sacrament' and even neglected to catechize the children on the grounds that they were too ignorant. (fn. 179) Improvements began with the 19th century: William Benson (1801–39), although he continued to hold Hampton with South Weston, rebuilt Hampton Rectory, (fn. 180) and his successor Joseph Dodd (1840–74) was permanently resident after the separation of the two livings. In his day congregations increased in numbers in spite of the presence of 'long rooted dissent, the apathy of the farmers, poor education and the feeling against the church, which has been strong in the minds of the people'. (fn. 181)
The small church of ST. MARY consists of chancel, short nave, north and south aisles, and a double bellcote at the west end. Built mainly of limestone rubble with freestone dressings, it is roofed with Stonesfield slates except for the nave, which is covered with lead. (fn. 182)
Much of the church dates from the 13th century. There is a plain lancet window on the south side of the chancel, and the three-light east window, probably late 13th century, has Geometrical tracery. There are brackets for figures of saints on either side of this window.
The church was considerably altered in the 14th century, when the west window was inserted and the north aisle either added or rebuilt. The north nave arcade consists of two arches springing from a pier whose capital bears the north Oxfordshire decoration of half-figures with interlocking arms. The arches on the south side spring from a flat pier and may be slightly earlier. The chancel arch is also 14th century.
Early in the 18th century the church was considered 'very ordinary and in bad repair'. (fn. 183) By the 1750's the decay was serious. A plan of 1756 to repair the church by taking down the south aisle and using the material for the rest of the building at a cost of £56 came to nothing, because John Tilson, the principal landowner, refused to contribute £30. (fn. 184) By 1759 it was 'exceedingly dangerous in stormy weather to assemble in church, and at other times far from safe'. (fn. 185) From 1763 to 1768 no services could be held, (fn. 186) but temporary repairs, including work on the roof, made the building usable until the 19th century.
An extensive restoration began in 1844 with the reroofing of the chancel for £25 14s.; in 1847 the nave roof was repaired; in 1859 the north aisle was reroofed for £46, and work was begun on the south aisle. About 1870 there was a more general restoration (architect G.E. Street), during which the south doorway was rebuilt, the chancel floor was laid with Minton tiles, and new seats, stone pulpit, readingdesk, and alabaster reredos were installed. The carved panelling at the back of the old pulpit was retained, and many of the finely carved panels of the old seats, dating from the early 16th century, were incorporated in the new seating. Between 1844 and 1875 over £1,500 was spent on the church. (fn. 187) The bellcote, described in 1806 as 'a small open gable', (fn. 188) was also rebuilt during the 19th century. In 1951 the south aisle was restored at the expense of Dr. G.D. Parkes.
There is a small piscina in the north aisle, with its basin resting on a human head. The font is low and circular, with an octagonal base. There are late-14thcentury fragments of stained glass, bearing the symbols of the four evangelists, in a chancel window. (fn. 189) A rood-screen, there in 1806, had disappeared by the late 19th century. (fn. 190)
There are three medieval monuments. There is a stone effigy of a knight in armour with crossed legs (datable to c. 1330–40). It bears traces of colour. (fn. 191) There is a brass with figures of John de la Poyle (d. 1423, although the inscription says 1424) and Elizabeth his wife. There is an elaborate late-14thcentury tomb recess with crocketed canopy supported by angels with shields, bearing the arms of Poyle and Elmerugg (?) impaling Poyle. (fn. 192) Beneath is a 14th-century effigy of a female placed there in the 19th century.
A monument by Peter Scheemakers to Christopher Tilson (d. 1742), a clerk of the Treasury, (fn. 193) consists of a pyramid of grey marble, with arms, surmounted by an urn. There are tablets to John Blake (d. 1788), the Revd. Thomas Breeks (d. 1800), Rector of South Weston and Hampton Poyle, Thomas Goodall (d. 1814), and the Revd. William Benson (d. 1839). There was once a stone to Humphrey Turton, rector (d. 1678/9). (fn. 194)
In 1552 the church owned a chalice and several copes and vestments. (fn. 195) In 1955 the only old plate was a silver chalice with paten cover of 1575. (fn. 196) As at the Reformation, there were two bells, but both were of later date. One is 17th century. (fn. 197)
The registers date from 1540 for baptisms, 1544 for burials, and 1545 for marriages. (fn. 198) There are also churchwardens' accounts from 1816 and vestry minutes from 1859.
In 1759 the absence from church of many labourers' families was attributed partly to 'their inability to read, occasioned perhaps by want of a school at a proper distance from them'. (fn. 201) There was still no school in 1819 (fn. 202) but in 1833 there was one for 20 children supported by the rector and landowners, (fn. 203) notably Arthur Annesley. (fn. 204) In 1837 the school was united to the National Society. (fn. 205) Thereafter the rector seems to have been the main support of the school, (fn. 206) which occupied a small cottage. In 1854 there were also an infant school for children under five and a winter school held once a week for the older boys. (fn. 207) The National school had 19 pupils in 1871, (fn. 208) but in that year owing to its inadequacy it was decided to send children over six to Bletchingdon school. Their instruction cost £5, half being found by the rector and half by the Hampton farmers according to the size of their farms.
The schoolmistress's salary of £14 11s. 8d. a year in 1875–6 was later reduced to £8 9s. 6d. when a cottage next to the school was provided for her. The school closed soon after 1890 and the children then went to Bletchingdon, and later to Kidlington, as most of them did in 1955. (fn. 209)
Among early charitable bequests were £5 left to the poor in 1664 by Edward Fulham, a former rector, and distributable on Good Friday; and £5 left for the same purpose by John West the elder in 1696. Both charities were lost by being put in the hands of Anthony Addison, a rector who died insolvent in 1719. (fn. 210)
Poor's Land. From early times the lord of the manor allowed the churchwardens certain lands free of rent for the provision of Whitsun ale. In 1625 these lands comprised over 6½ acres. (fn. 211) In the 18th century it was customary for the rectors to spend £1 1s. a year, derived from the lands, on bread and cheese for the poor at Easter. (fn. 212) The inclosure award of 1797 granted 4 a. 1 r. 3 p. in trust for the poor, and at that time there were also three small cottages and gardens in the care of the churchwardens and overseers. In 1808 an income of £7 7s. from the poor's land was said to be properly applied. In the 19th century the benefits were, however, sporadic and varied much in nature. In 1817 the poor received their share of 26 cwt. of coal at 1s. 5d. a cwt.; in 1875 the rent of £13 10s. for Poor's Piece was divided equally among the cottagers at 12s. 6d. a house, except for two needy women who received £1 each. In 1875 it was agreed to split Poor's Piece into allotments for the cottagers, and it was exchanged for land nearer the village. (fn. 213) In the 20th century the cottagers ceased to cultivate the allotments, and they were subsequently rented from the parish by Mr. F. Kerwood of Manor Farm. In 1954 the income, about £4 10s. a year, was distributed at Michaelmas by the rector among the cottagers, each receiving about 5s. (fn. 214)