A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 6. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1959.
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LOWER HEYFORD or HEYFORD BRIDGE
This parish of 1,765 acres (fn. 1) lies midway between Oxford and Banbury and 4½ miles from the ancient market-town of Deddington. It is bounded on the west by the Cherwell (fn. 2) and on the east by the Romano-British earthwork, Aves Ditch. (fn. 3) Until about 1545, when the mills were moved and the course of the Cherwell was diverted to the east, the main river, and not a subsidiary stream as now, formed the parish's north-western boundary. (fn. 4) From the river the ground rises sharply to the plateau of the Great Oolite: (fn. 5) the parish is mostly within the 300-foot contour, but in the centre reaches nearly 400 feet. The low hedges and the comparative scarcity of trees add to the plateau's upland character. While the Cherwell meadows suffer from flooding (fn. 6) the plateau with its one small stream suffers from drought. (fn. 7) The stonebrash soil, however, is suitable for both pasture and arable. There is little woodland: Coopers Spinney is the main survivor of woods in the south-west of the parish which were cut down in the mid-19th century. (fn. 8)
The main Bicester-Enstone road, which became a turnpike in 1793, (fn. 9) crosses the river and enters the parish by Heyford Bridge. Part of the bridge, notably the chamfered vaulting-ribs of the arches at the eastern end, probably dates from the late 13th century; there are 19th-century additions on the north side. Records of numerous bequests for its upkeep in the 16th century have survived. In 1544, for instance, William Carter gave 2 bushels of malt towards its 'mending and reparation', and in 1564 the Rector of Rousham bequeathed 3s. 4d. (fn. 10) Levies on the parish were also made for its upkeep. In 1840, partly as the result of the heavy traffic on the turnpike, the bridge was in ruins and the county sued the parish for neglect. Judgement was given against the county, which accordingly became liable for the upkeep of the bridge, and in 1842 had it repaired by William Fisher of Oxford at a cost of £209. The county was also responsible for the upkeep of the causeway which crossed the low-lying land between the bridge and the village. (fn. 11) A second road, which crosses the parish from north to south, follows the line of the Portway, (fn. 12) and a third connects Heyford village with Upper Heyford and Somerton. The course of these roads has changed little since they were mapped by Thomas Langdon in 1606, (fn. 13) but the pattern of the other old roads and tracks was greatly altered by the inclosure of the open fields in 1802. (fn. 14) Church Way vanished and the courses of Southway and 'Fordrowe Way' were changed. (fn. 15)
The Heyford section of the Oxford Canal was completed in 1790 and a wharf was built on it. (fn. 16) The British Transport Commission acquired them in 1946 and by 1954 traffic had practically ceased, although the wharf was still used as a coal-yard and the canal continued to be the resort of anglers. The Oxford and Banbury branch of the old G.W.R., opened in 1850, runs parallel to the canal for some way. (fn. 17) Unfortunately the engineers failed to provide sufficient culverts beneath the embankment so as to prevent an increase in flooding. (fn. 18) One of the three original intermediate stations was built at Lower Heyford.
The village lies above the river in the north-west of the parish, and just off the main Bicester-Enstone road. (fn. 19) Until the mid-13th century it was called Heyford, 'the ford used at hay harvest'. After the construction of the bridge, first recorded in 1255, it was commonly called Heyford ad pontem or Heyford Bridge, although Lower Heyford and even Little or Parva Heyford were sometimes used. (fn. 20) No explanation has been found of the use of 'Heyforde Porcells' by the rector in 1634. (fn. 21) The village appears on Plot's map of 1677 as Heyford Purcell and was frequently called that in the 19th century. (fn. 22)
A small square used as a market-place in the mid19th century forms the centre of the old part of the village. Here are the Bell Inn, mentioned in 1819, (fn. 23) and the school. The manor-house, now a farm-house, the church and the old Rectory lie along a lane to the west. The stocks and the pound (removed in 1878) once stood on the west side of the churchyard. (fn. 24)
Langdon's map of 1606 shows houses round and in the middle of the square, with the 'Town House' and other houses along the main village street which runs eastwards. (fn. 25) The largest of the 18 houses listed in the hearth-tax returns of 1665 were the Rectory (7 hearths), the manor-house (6 hearths), the house of Gabriel Merry, one of the tenants of the demesne (5 hearths), and the mill house (4 hearths). (fn. 26) In 1742 the total number of houses was reported to be forty. (fn. 27) Three of them had been licensed as ale-houses in 1735, of which one may have been the 'Red Lion', first mentioned by that name in 1784 (fn. 28) and subsequently used in 1801 as the meeting-place of the Heyford landowners, when they resolved to inclose the open fields. (fn. 29) By 1800 at least seven new cottages had been built, and others had been divided. (fn. 30) With the coming of the turnpike, toll gates had been erected at each end of the village, (fn. 31) and it was along the road to the eastern toll-gate and along the turnpike itself that the main early 19th-century building took place. By 1841 there were 87 inhabited houses. (fn. 32) Among the chief 19th-century additions were a Methodist chapel (replaced in 1906), the school, and the railway station. In 1888 the Deddington, Heyford, and Aston Permanent Building Society was established, (fn. 33) and though population was falling there was much new building to replace old cottages. In the 20th century the village continued to extend eastwards. Between 1939 and 1954 38 council houses were completed. (fn. 34) A noteworthy addition to the social life of the village was the combined club room and library, built in 1926 to house the War Memorial Library which had been founded after the First World War. (fn. 35)
Caulcott, first mentioned in 1199, (fn. 36) lies about a mile to the east. Almost all the houses, including Caulcott Farm, lie along one side of the village street. There is an inn, the 'Horse and Groom', and the former Methodist chapel, now a garage. The incumbent estimated 14 houses in 1742 and in 1771, and in 1841 the census recorded twenty-nine (fn. 37)
In about 1900 a piped water-supply was brought to Heyford village and three farms. In 1926 many houses in Heyford and the whole of Caulcott still depended on wells. (fn. 38) A main water-supply was laid to the village and Caulcott in 1954, and electricity supplies were made available in about 1932. (fn. 39)
The old houses and cottages in the village are mainly of two stories and are built of the local ironstone. The better ones such as the manor and Rectory have ashlar quoins; some are thatched and others are roofed with stone slates, or Welsh slate. Among the oldest is the manor-house, rebuilt in 1669 on an L-shaped plan with two stories and an attic dormer. (fn. 40) It apparently stands on the same site as its predecessor, which is shown on Langdon's map of 1606, but is said to be less extensive. Its many original features include a 17th-century window of three lights with a moulded wooden frame; and a stone with the date of rebuilding, 1669, and the initials W.E.B.—William and Elizabeth Bruce. A part of the former Rectory— the east side—dates back to the 16th century, (fn. 41) but most of the oldest parts were pulled down in 1867, when extensive modernization was undertaken. A relic of the medieval house is still preserved in the form of a small wooden carving of a shield, inscribed I H S within a crown of thorns, (fn. 42) perhaps from the oratory built in the Rectory in 1337. (fn. 43) Before the house was enlarged by Thomas Greenway in the second half of the 16th century, it was said to consist of a panelled hall with a chamber above. A piece of stained glass with Greenway's initials together with the figure of a pelican (the crest of Corpus Christi College) and the words 'Gracia Dei mecum (15)69' was removed from the Rectory in 1867 and is now in a window of the vestry. (fn. 44) The house fell into disrepair during the Civil War, (fn. 45) but by 1679 it was said to have eight or nine bays. (fn. 46) In 1731 the rector added the present northern wing. (fn. 47) The house was sold in 1949 when the present Rectory was built. (fn. 48)
Other substantially 17th-century houses are the Bell Inn, originally rectangular in plan, Glebe Farm with its thatched roof, and Knapton's Farm. An interesting feature of the 'Bell' is the staircase projection on the east side, which rises to the attic level and contains an ancient newel staircase lighted by a single rectangular window. The Mill house with its three stories and original rectangular plan may also date from the late 17th century, though its sash windows and inside shutters were 18th-century insertions.
Despite its position near one of the crossings of the Cherwell, Heyford has been scarcely touched by events of national importance. During the Civil War it is recorded that royalist troops went over the bridge en route for Banbury in 1643, but no skirmishes in the parish have been recorded. (fn. 49) Heyford's historian William Wing listed six Heyford worthies in 1877, (fn. 50) but none save William Filmer, the early 19th-century 'experimental farmer', had more than local fame. (fn. 51)
Heyford men had their own version of a Mumming Play, figuring King George and Bonaparte, at least until 1885, and John Fathers of Heyford was one of the last players of the 'whittle and dub', the traditional Oxfordshire instruments for dancing. (fn. 52)
In 1086 a certain Ralph held 5 hides of Miles Crispin in LOWER HEYFORD, which had been freely held by Besi before the Conquest. (fn. 53) The overlordship of this estate followed that of the honor of Wallingford. (fn. 54) In the 12th century the De la Mares of Steeple Lavington (Wilts.) (fn. 55) appear as tenants of the manor. In 1166 Peter de la Mare was holding 3 fees in Oxfordshire of the honor of Wallingford, (fn. 56) one of which was in Heyford. (fn. 57) By 1173 he had been succeeded by his son Robert, (fn. 58) who was Sheriff of Oxfordshire from 1187 to 1190, (fn. 59) and served King John overseas before 1205. (fn. 60) He is known to have been still in possession of his Heyford manor in 1201, (fn. 61) but was dead by 1211 when his lands were in the hands of Warin Fitzgerold of Fritwell, presumably the guardian of Robert's son Peter, to whom Fitzgerold surrendered the property in the following year. (fn. 62) Peter (II) was followed after his death in 1254 by his son Robert, then aged 40, (fn. 63) a partisan of Simon de Montfort. (fn. 64) Robert died in 1272 and was succeeded by his son Peter (III), (fn. 65) who could not do homage for his lands because of Edward I's absence on crusade, but who was allowed to exploit them until Edward's return. (fn. 66)
In 1291 Heyford and Marsh Baldon were included among the lands which Roger de Somery, lord of Dudley, had held; (fn. 67) the reason for this is not apparent, for Peter de la Mare held both manors on his death in 1292, (fn. 68) when he was succeeded by his son Robert, who was given seisin of his father's estates in 1296 when he attained his majority. (fn. 69) In 1306 Robert was given licence to lease £20 worth of land in Heyford (i.e. the manor) to Walter of Aylesbury, then keeper of the honor of Wallingford, (fn. 70) since he was going to the Scottish wars. (fn. 71) Robert died in 1308 when his son Peter was still a minor; (fn. 72) in the same year a rent of 6s. 8d. a year in Heyford was granted to Robert's widow Lucy, as part of her dower. (fn. 73) Peter's wardship was committed to Hugh Despenser the elder. (fn. 74) He was of age by 1318 when he was granted free warren at Heyford. (fn. 75) During the troubles of Edward II's reign Peter twice forfeited his lands for armed opposition to the Despensers and their allies, (fn. 76) but he obtained a final pardon for his rebellion in 1324, when his lands were again restored. (fn. 77) Thereafter he rose steadily in importance and held a number of royal offices. (fn. 78) He married Joan Achard of Aldermaston (Berks.), and the reversion of that manor was settled upon him in 1342. (fn. 79) By 1345 he had acquired the Lisle manor (see below) in Heyford, (fn. 80) and by 1348 had been rewarded for his services to the house of Lancaster (fn. 81) by the office of steward of the Earldom of Lancaster. (fn. 82)
Peter died in 1349 (fn. 83) and was succeeded by his son Robert, (fn. 84) who like his father was an important official of Henry, Duke of Lancaster. (fn. 85) On Robert's death in 1382 (fn. 86) both Heyford manors were assigned to his widow in dower, (fn. 87) but on her death in 1405 (fn. 88) they were once more divided. The De la Mare manor passed to Robert's heir male, his nephew Robert, son of Thomas de la Mare of Aldermaston and Sparsholt (Berks.), who had died in 1404. (fn. 89) In 1431 Robert de la Mare died in possession of the manor. He had previously settled it on his eldest son William and Katherine his wife, but they were dead by 1431 and the manor passed to Robert's grandson, Thomas, (fn. 90) who was probably the son of Richard de la Mare. (fn. 91) Thomas came of age in 1448. (fn. 92) Although he was at first a Lancastrian, he was pardoned by Edward IV, under whom he was three times Sheriff of Oxfordshire and Berkshire. (fn. 93) He was attainted after his rebellion in 1483, but his estates were restored to him in 1485. (fn. 94) When he died in 1490 (fn. 95) he had been predeceased by his son John, and was therefore succeeded by his grandson Thomas, who was still a minor on his own death in 1493. (fn. 96) His heirs were his sisters, Elizabeth, the wife of George Foster, and Frideswide (later the wife of John Moreton), who died in 1497. (fn. 97) Heyford had been assigned in dower to Thomas's mother, Joan, and was held by her until her death in 1517. (fn. 98) Elizabeth and George Foster then succeeded, and before the death of his wife in 1526 Foster had settled the manor on himself and his son Humphrey. (fn. 99) In 1527 Edward Baynton, the tenant of the Lisle manor, claimed the manor on the ground of descent from the Peter de la Mare who held it in fee tail in 1340. (fn. 100) In 1528 judgement was given in Baynton's favour and he reunited the manors. (fn. 101)
Before the Conquest an estate had been held in LOWER HEYFORD by Edwin, son of the thegn Burred, (fn. 102) who also held Barton Seagrave and other lands in Northamptonshire. (fn. 103) In 1086, assessed at 5 hides, it was in the hands of Geoffrey, Bishop of Coutances. (fn. 104) It subsequently passed to the earls of Gloucester, perhaps through Robert FitzHamon, to whom William II may have granted certain lands forfeited by Geoffrey's nephew and heir, Robert de Mowbray. (fn. 105) Richard de Clare died seised of the overlordship in 1262, (fn. 106) and it descended with the Earldom of Gloucester to the last male of the line, Gilbert, on whose death at Bannockburn in 1314 it was given in dower to his widow Maud. (fn. 107) From the Clares the overlordship passed through Hugh Audley to Ralph Stafford, (fn. 108) thereafter following the descent of the Earldom of Stafford. (fn. 109) The overlordship was last mentioned in 1460 when it was held by Humphrey, Duke of Buckingham and Earl of Stafford, at his death. (fn. 110)
By 1262 the Champernowne family, whose main estates were in Devon, were the tenants of Heyford under the Clares, (fn. 111) to whom they were related. (fn. 112) William de Champernowne was the mesne lord of Hampton Gay in 1235 (fn. 113) and his heir was the Clare tenant at Heyford in 1262. (fn. 114) Presumably this was Joan, his daughter, who was mesne tenant in 1275 and 1284, (fn. 115) and was apparently still alive in 1314. (fn. 116) Joan married Sir Ralph de Willington, (fn. 117) and the mesne lordship of Heyford descended to John de Willington, probably their son, who held lands in Cornwall in 1302 (fn. 118) and died in 1339, (fn. 119) when he was succeeded by his sons, Ralph (d. 1348) and Henry (d. 1349). (fn. 120) Henry's son and heir John came of age in 1361, (fn. 121) but was never mentioned in connexion with Heyford. To judge from the vague reference to 'the heirs of William Champernoun' in 1392 and 1398, (fn. 122) the mesne lordship had by then become extinct.
In 1086 a certain Robert held under the Bishop of Coutances (fn. 123) the 5 hides in Heyford which had formerly belonged to Edwin, but until the 13th century no tenant of this manor is mentioned. In 1218 William de Moreton conveyed to Richard Henred ½ fee in Heyford and Caulcott, receiving in exchange I hide of land in Caulcott. (fn. 124) The Henreds appear in West Hendred (Berks.) early in the 12th century, (fn. 125) and in Northamptonshire, where they later held a manor at Barton Seagrave, in the mid-12th century. (fn. 126) The history of Heyford follows closely that of Barton Seagrave from the late AngloSaxon period until the end of the 13th century, so it is likely that the Henreds had been under-tenants of Heyford before 1218. Richard Henred (fn. 127) was dead by 1242 when his widow Lucy was holding the manor in dower. (fn. 128) She was apparently succeeded by their son Richard, who was imprisoned at Northampton for murder in 1264, (fn. 129) and was a royalist in the baronial wars. (fn. 130) In 1274 Richard exchanged Heyford with William de Lisle for North Brampton manor (Northants). (fn. 131) He died in 1275 seised of a mesne lordship over William de Lisle in Heyford, (fn. 132) leaving a son William, who obtained seisin later in the same year. (fn. 133) The Henred mesne lordship became extinct in 1293 when William was hanged for the murder of the parson of North Brampton. (fn. 134) William de Lisle, who had been custodian of Oxford castle in 1270, (fn. 135) died in 1277 (fn. 136) and his son Roger was given seisin in the next year. (fn. 137) In 1297 he settled the manor on his son John and his wife Amice, the daughter of Richard de Shulton, (fn. 138) and they conveyed the manor to Peter de la Mare in 1330. (fn. 139) In 1345 Katherine de Lisle confirmed the transaction. (fn. 140) The manor then followed the descent of the De la Mare manor, being assigned in dower to Maud, the wife of Robert de la Mare, on the latter's death in 1382. When Maud died in 1405 it was again separated from the De la Mare manor and passed to Willelma, daughter of Robert and Maud, the wife of Sir John Roches of Bromham (Wilts.). (fn. 141) The latter died in 1400 and Willelma in 1411, when the family estates in Wiltshire passed to her elder daughter Joan, the wife of Nicholas Baynton, and Heyford to the younger daughter Elizabeth, wife of Sir Walter Beauchamp. (fn. 142) Sir Walter was closely connected with the royal household, being a king's esquire in 1403, (fn. 143) one of the retinue of Henry V at Agincourt and an executor of Henry's will. (fn. 144) He died in 1430 (fn. 145) and was succeeded by his son William, who married Elizabeth, daughter of Gerard de Braybrook, in whose right he became Lord St. Amand. (fn. 146) In 1448 the manor was settled on William, his wife and his heirs in tail male, (fn. 147) and when he died in 1457 it was held under the settlement by his wife for life. (fn. 148) In 1458 Elizabeth married as her second husband Roger Tocotes, who was knighted in 1461. (fn. 149) In 1484 he was attainted and his estates forfeited for his part in the Duke of Buckingham's rising. (fn. 150) They were granted to the royal favourite Sir Thomas Everingham, (fn. 151) but Sir Roger's attainder was reversed in 1485 (fn. 152) and he continued to hold the manor until Elizabeth died in 1491. It then reverted to Richard, Lord St. Amand, the son of Elizabeth's first husband, on whom the manor had been settled in 1475. (fn. 153) Richard died in 1508 without legitimate children, and by 1511 Heyford passed to John Baynton of Fulstone (Wilts.), (fn. 154) the descendant of Nicholas Baynton and his wife Joan. (fn. 155) In 1528 John's son and heir, Sir Edward Baynton, acquired the De la Mare manor, and in 1533 sold both Heyford manors to Corpus Christi College, Oxford, for £709. (fn. 156) In 1956 they were still in the college's possession.
For the greater part of the 16th and 17th centuries Corpus Christi's demesne lands in Heyford were mostly divided into two estates held by the yeoman families of Bruce and Merry. John Bruce was 'farmer and receiver' of Heyford in 1535, (fn. 157) and was followed by Richard Bruce, (fn. 158) and William, who died at the Black Assizes in Oxford in 1577. (fn. 159) Another descendant, a William Bruce, rebuilt the manorhouse before his death in 1683. (fn. 160) In 1685 his son William settled the estate upon his only daughter Elizabeth and her husband Robert Kenricke of Oxford. (fn. 161) In 1737 after Elizabeth's death her son James Kenricke sold the estate, by then mortgaged, to William Leigh, (fn. 162) who was succeeded as the college's lessee by his brother, the Revd. Thomas Leigh (d. 1744). In 1765 his widow (fn. 163) assigned the remainder of her lease to Sir Charles CottrellDormer of Rousham. (fn. 164)
Simon Merry was farmer of the other part of the demesne by 1548 and died in 1588. (fn. 165) A Mrs. Merry was farmer in 1598, and she was succeeded by the long-lived Gabriel Merry (1591–1684). (fn. 166) The last of the family to be a lessee of the college seems to have been John Merry. His farm was leased by Corpus Christi to John Macock in 1740. (fn. 167) Macock's son Richard was the lessee (fn. 168) until 1787, when he sold the remainder of his current least to Sir Clement Cottrell-Dormer of Rousham. (fn. 169) The CottrellDormers had acquired a leasehold estate of some 310 acres in all, (fn. 170) and this they held until the early 20th century. (fn. 171)
One large freehold estate in Caulcott did not belong to Corpus Christi's manor, and was reputed to be a separate manor in the 18th century. (fn. 172) At the beginning of the 17th century it was held by Bartholomew Tipping of Stokenchurch: (fn. 173) its earlier history is unknown, though it may be conjectured to have originated in the lands held direct of the manor of Wallingford by Geoffrey de Browman in 1279. (fn. 174) In 1605 Tipping conveyed it to Richard Brangwyn of Kingsey (Bucks.), (fn. 175) whose descendants held it until 1795, (fn. 176) when John Brangwyn, son of John Brangwyn of Middle Barton, sold it to John Churchill of Woodstock. (fn. 177) The latter's son Benjamin succeeded him about 1797, and in 1809 conveyed his Caulcott estate to George Villiers, Earl of Jersey. (fn. 178) About the time of the inclosure of Lower Heyford in 1802 the Churchill family acquired a number of copyhold estates in the parish. (fn. 179) These were also purchased by Lord Jersey, who thereby obtained an estate of 191 acres freehold and 131 acres copyhold. (fn. 180) The earls of Jersey held these lands throughout the 19th century and in 1871 the 7th earl bought the freehold of the 131 acres from Corpus Christi. (fn. 181)
Economic and Social History.
The evidence found in excavating Harborough Bank, (fn. 182) a Saxon burial mound to the south-east of the village, and other nearby graves makes it probable that Heyford has been continuously settled since the 6th century. Its name probably means 'the ford used at hay harvest'. (fn. 183) Linguistic reasons are strengthened by the fact that much of the meadowland lay on the far side of a loop of the Cherwell. (fn. 184) The river was presumably fordable somewhere near Heyford Bridge, while farther downstream another ford gave access to the island meadow of Cotmeadham. (fn. 185) While these fords probably led the Saxons to settle at Lower Heyford, the siting of the village and, at a later date, of its hamlet of Caulcott, was clearly influenced by the necessity of securing a good water-supply. Heyford village, unlike the rest of the parish, lies on the Marlstone with impervious Lower Lias Clay beneath, and Caulcott lies by a stream in a depression in the Oolitic Limestone. Even when the stream dries up water can be reached by wells near its course. (fn. 186)
Heyford was the only recorded settlement in 1086 and all its available arable was not under cultivation. The two estates there held by Ralph and Robert each had land for 6 ploughs, but on Ralph's estate there were 2 ploughs in demesne and the peasants had 3, while on Robert's there were 3 ploughs in demesne and the peasants had two. Each estate had 30 acres of meadow and a mill, the one worth 10s., the other 20s. The total value of each estate was £6, as it had been before the Conquest. In all there were 11 villeins (villani), 12 bordars, and 5 serfs. (fn. 187)
The survey of 1279 records considerable development. (fn. 188) There were still two principal estates in Heyford. Roger de Lisle held 1½ carucates in demesne, with 9 cottars each holding a cotland for 2s. 6d. a year and working at his will; Peter de la Mare held 1½ carucates in demesne and 10 cottars with cotlands of 11 acres each paid 2s. 6d. a year and worked at Peter's will. A free tenant held a messuage and 2 acres of Roger de Lisle for 1d., as well as 3 acres and a park of Geoffrey de Browman for 3s. In the new hamlet of Caulcott, Roger had 8 villein virgaters, who each paid 5s. a year and worked at his will. Peter de la Mare held 17 virgates, of which 15 were held by 16 villeins who owed only labour services. Hugh de Broke, whose father Lawrence had acquired lands in Caulcott in the 1240's, (fn. 189) had an estate of 12 virgates, which was held of him by a free tenant, who held 3 virgates for 19s. 6d. a year, and 9 villein virgaters, who owed 5s. 6d. a year and labour services. Another free tenant held 2 virgates of Geoffrey de Bromwam for 15s. a year. Both the Heyford rectors held 2 virgates each. As in 1086 two water-mills were recorded—one held by the rector of the Eynsham moiety of the church (fn. 190) and the other by Roger de Lisle, who also had the fishery in the Cherwell.
The most notable changes recorded in this survey were the new settlement at Caulcott, the extended cultivation, and the increased population. Whereas Heyford was a riverside village, the new hamlet (if indeed it was new and not merely accounted for in Domesday as part of Heyford) was an upland one. Its name 'the cold cottages' (OE ceald cote) was no doubt a reference to its comparatively exposed position. (fn. 191) The names of many of its late-13thcentury inhabitants suggest that it had been colonized by men from the neighbouring villages— Rousham, Middleton, Souldern, Northbrook, Fencott, and Murcott, (fn. 192) and since its lands mostly belonged to the two Heyford manors the De la Mares and the predecessors of the De Lisles may have either taken the initiative in its foundation or at least encouraged its growth. As for the area of cultivation, rather less than 22 virgates of arable (fn. 193) were recorded in Heyford and 39 in Caulcott, making, with 4½ virgates for the rectory lands, a total of 65½ virgates, compared with a possible 48 virgates (i.e. land for 12 ploughs) in 1086. The Heyford virgate was 20 'field acres', (fn. 194) so in 1279 the fields of Heyford and Caulcott may have covered an area of at least 1,300 field acres or about 850 statute acres. (fn. 195) In population Caulcott had outgrown Heyford, having 33 villeins to the 19 cottars recorded in the mother village. A possible connexion between the early 13thcentury field name Coldhememere, 'boundary of the people of Caulcott', and the modern Cold Harbour farm, which lies on the boundary of Heyford with Kirtlington, suggests that by the early 13th century cultivation had here reached the frontier of the parish. (fn. 196)
In 1292 the De la Mare manor was worth £190s. 7d. a year. There were 80 acres of arable, worth 4d. an acre, in the demesne, with pasture worth 8d. an acre, meadow, and a dovecote. The water-mill and the fishery brought in 16s. a year. (fn. 197) In 1308 the manor comprised a capital messuage with dovecote worth 6s. 8d. a year, 200 acres of arable worth 33s. 4d. at 2d. an acre, 20 acres of meadow worth 40s. at 2s. an acre, a separate pasture worth 10s., a water-mill worth 13s. 4d., and a fishery worth 12d. The whole was valued at £5 4s. 4d. a year. The rents of 6 free tenants amounted to 42s. 8d. There were 14 virgaters and 8 half-virgaters, whose rents amounted to 47s. and dayworks and other customary payments to 68s. 0½d. Thirteen of the virgaters each owed 2s. rent, 3 hens and a cock worth 6d. at the feast of St. Martin, and works at the time of hoeing, mowing, and reaping worth 3s. 2d. Seven half-virgaters made payments for brewing in addition to their rent of money and poultry. There were 3 cottars, of which 2 held for a rent of 2s. and a hen and a cock worth 2½d. The third paid 6d. (fn. 198) By 1349 the customary works of the unfree tenants were said to have been commuted. (fn. 199) In the 1420's, however, a half-virgater still owed two autumn works with two men besides a rent of 8s. a year. (fn. 200)
Fourteenth-century tax lists suggest that Caulcott maintained its lead in population and show it to have been the wealthier of the settlements. In 1316 it had 28 contributors compared with Heyford's 13, and an assessment of £3 16s. 9d. as against Heyford's £2 0s. 9d.; in 1327 it had 28 contributors compared with Heyford's twenty. (fn. 201) The parish as a whole was evidently one of the most prosperous in Ploughley hundred, for its assessment of £5 13s. 4d. from 1334 onwards was the seventh highest in the hundred. (fn. 202) The joint return for the two villages for the poll tax of 1377 (fn. 203) shows a total of 84 contributors, a comparatively high number for the hundred. There may, however, have been a fall in the number of inhabitants about this time, as later evidence points to a decline in the area of arable land.
Much of the land brought under cultivation between 1086 and 1279 must have formed the 'New Breach' in Caulcott, for in the late 13th century Caulcott lands were much more extensive than those of Heyford and had to support a larger population. It is probable that the Breach was maintained as arable until after the Black Death at least, when it may have fallen out of cultivation. Langdon's map shows that in 1606 most of the Breach was rough pasture, (fn. 204) but that the two Caulcott fields were then still as large as those of Heyford. Two remaining furlongs of the Newbreach lay in Caulcott fields and rents were being paid for strips in them in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. (fn. 205) The decline of the hamlet was greater than the map alone would indicate, for its land was poorer than Heyford's. (fn. 206)
It seems likely that still more land had reverted to rough pasture by the end of the 18th century. It was then thought, for instance, that the 'Newbreach rents' had been paid for waste land. (fn. 207) If Davis's map of 1797 is sufficiently accurate to be used as evidence, there was then no arable between Caulcott closes and the parish's eastern boundary, while the Moors, immediately north-east of Heyford village, and the Cleeves, the Linches, and Briar Furlong in the west had fallen out of cultivation. Like the South Cow Pasture, which had turned into scrub land called High Bushes, (fn. 208) they may have become covered with scattered trees and undergrowth. The inclosure award of 1802 recorded 125 acres of waste ground, but there may have been a good deal more among the 1,383 acres said to be open-field arable and meadow. (fn. 209)
Judging from later evidence, Heyford and its hamlet had separate systems of two open fields each in the Middle Ages. (fn. 210) It is probable that by the 16th century these four fields had been united into one system: the agricultural ordinances of the Elizabethan courts clearly applied to the whole parish, and the majority of copyhold tenants of Corpus Christi College who appear in the court rolls held yardlands in both Heyford and Caulcott. (fn. 211) Experiments in cropping may have been started by 1600, when it was said that of the 12 yardlands of Caulcott farm—which lay entirely in the two Caulcott fields (fn. 212) —8 might be sown in a year, pointing to a threecourse rotation. (fn. 213) Seventeenth- and 18th-century terriers show that a redivision of the Heyford fields took place. In a terrier of 1679 the rector's lands in Heyford were arranged in three groups—the first and second headed North Field and the third headed South Field. The first group of lands lay entirely in the furlongs north of Bicester Way. (fn. 214) Terriers of 1761 and 1775 call these furlongs 'the North side of the Field', while the remainder of the old North Field, with perhaps the northernmost furlongs of the old South Field, were called Middle Field. (fn. 215) On this evidence it can be argued that Heyford fields were being rearranged into three by 1679. At that date Caulcott still had two fields. (fn. 216)
As elsewhere, good pasture land was scarce at Heyford, and so in the late 16th century there was a lengthy controversy between Heyford and Steeple Aston over rights in Broadhead meadow. The meadow had been awarded in 1575 to Corpus Christi College, who as lords of Heyford claimed both the hay and rights of common after hay harvest. The dispute with Aston arose largely because Aston men could get their beasts into Broadhead in time of flood when Heyford men could not. Up to some 30 years before, witnesses said, Broadhead had been clearly divided from Aston mead by the old course of the Cherwell, but the main water course had been altered when the mills had been moved. (fn. 217) A compromise was eventually reached, for in the 17th century one of the farmers of the Heyford demesne had the hay, while the meadow was common to Heyford between hay harvest and 8 September, and common to Aston between 8 September and 25 March. (fn. 218)
Another indication of the shortage of pasture is the alteration in the usual stint. In 1600 the stint was 3 cattle and 30 sheep to the yardland, (fn. 219) but in 1637 this was reduced by one-fifth. The rector was allowed to graze 8 cattle and 160 sheep on the common pasture instead of 10 cattle and 200 sheep, and the stints of the farmers and customary tenants were reduced to 3 cattle and 20 sheep, and 2 cattle and 20 sheep respectively. (fn. 220)
No woods are mentioned in early records and none are shown on Langdon's map of 1606, but Heyford's timber acquired a moderate importance in the 17th century owing to the general scarcity. Small quantities were sold by the college throughout the century, increasing in the second half. It received over £25 a year from sales in 1659, 1670, 1674, and 1679, and in 1687 174 trees—57 elms and 117 ashes —on the copyhold lands were marked for sale. (fn. 221) Not until after the inclosure of 1802 was there any further felling except for repairs. (fn. 222) Some £520 worth of timber was then sold and over £400 worth in 1810. (fn. 223) The only woodland to survive was the High Bushes, but this was cut down partly in 1846–7, when the railway was being built, and partly in 1851. (fn. 224)
Copyhold was the predominant form of tenure from the 16th to the 19th century. In the 17th century copyholds, as elsewhere in Oxfordshire, were frequently granted for two lives only, (fn. 225) but by the 18th century it was the custom for each copyhold to be for three lives and a widowhood. (fn. 226) From time to time the copyholders nominated new reversioners to fill up the three lives on their copies. (fn. 227) Towards the end of the 18th century it was the custom of the college to require two years' purchase for a third life and four years' purchase for a second; and one year's value with a heriot for a change from one living person to another. (fn. 228)
In 1598 there were seventeen copyholders with holdings varying from a cottage only to two cottages and 5 yardlands. Eleven of them had an average of 4 acres in the Newbreach. Their rents, amounting to £5 2s. in all, changed little in the 17th century. By 1685 24 copies were held by 22 tenants, and in 1750 26 by twenty-three. The customary lands decreased from about 36 yardlands in 1598 to 30 (21 of them in Caulcott) in 1750, when the majority of the copyholders paid rents between 10s. and £1: only two paid more than £1. Entry fines rose considerably in the 18th century and although there were still 640 acres of customary lands in 1832, Lord Jersey, who had acquired a number of copies, held 131 acres of them: only 3 out of 16 other copyholders had more than 50 acres. (fn. 229) Copyhold died out soon after 1840, when Corpus Christi began to replace copies which had fallen in by leases for 20 years.
The demesnes were held in 1598 by two farmers and the miller, who paid £4 8s. 9d., £4, and £1 6s. 8d. respectively, plus corn rents, which had been introduced soon after 1526: the miller paid a third of his total rent of £2 with 1 qr. wheat and 3 qrs. malt. (fn. 230) From about 1590 the tenants of the demesne paid a corn increment. (fn. 231) In 1717 there were still three leaseholders: the appearance of a fourth, the rector, by 1750 accounts for the decrease in the area of customary lands. By 1802 some five-sixths of the leasehold lands were held by the Cottrell-Dormers of Rousham. There were three freeholdings by 1832, of which Lord Jersey held 191 acres out of a total of 220 acres. There were then three large estates, Lord Jersey's, Lady Cottrell-Dormer's, and the rector's; the last increased to about 460 acres after the inclosure of 1802. (fn. 232)
The manorial courts, combining the business of courts leet and customary courts, were held regularly until 1712, and afterwards infrequently until 1832: (fn. 233) none was held between 1782 and 1796. (fn. 234) Tithingmen and constables were elected and 2s. 'head-silver' a year was paid at the courts. (fn. 235) In the 16th and 17th centuries business included public health, village morals, highway repairs, keeping the ditches and backwaters of the Cherwell clear, repairs to the ford at Cotmeadham, and the unsuccessful encouragement of archery; but the court's most important functions were the election of officers, the making and enforcement of agricultural by-laws, and the admission of new copyholders. Every year a hayward and three fieldmen were elected to regulate husbandry. By-laws were enrolled in English from the 1620's, whereas the formal records of the court remained in Latin except during the Commonwealth. (fn. 236) Typical of the court's orders in the 1660's was the instruction that all tenants should meet at Caulcott in mid-October to view and set out the furze of Astmore and Newbreach by lots. (fn. 237) A fine of 5s. was imposed on anyone who carried away his furze with a horse or wagon, and of 1s. a bundle for carrying furze from the wrong lot. By the early 19th century admissions were the only remaining function of the court, (fn. 238) and with the abolition of copyhold the court lost its reason for existence.
Although inclosure of Broadhead meadow had been proposed in 1575 it was not undertaken, and by the early 17th century there had been little inclosure save immediately around the two villages. (fn. 239) Inclosure was again suggested in 1734 by the rector, Thomas Leigh, on condition that his tithes and glebe were exchanged for 8 acres and £150 a year for himself and £200 a year for his successors. (fn. 240) This may have been considered too much, for nothing came of the idea. As late as 1797, apart from an apparent considerable increase in the number of small closes round Caulcott, there seems to have been little more inclosure. (fn. 241) In 1801 an inclosure act was obtained, (fn. 242) and the award was made in 1802. (fn. 243) Corpus Christi College received a little over an acre for manorial rights. The largest awards were 280 acres to Sir Clement Cottrell-Dormer, 177 acres to Benjamin Churchill, and about 90 acres to the Revd. William Filmer, not as rector but as one of the leaseholders. The Rector of Steeple Aston received an acre in exchange for the tithes from part of Broadhead meadow—a last echo of the old controversy. None of the cottagers had any stock, so that only the larger proprietors received allotments of common grazingland. The expense of the inclosure to the proprietors was £2 an acre. (fn. 244)
Inclosure gave the experimental farmer his opportunity, and in Lower Heyford the rector, William Filmer, led the way. Arthur Young, who commented favourably on many of his innovations, noted that he used the Staffordshire two-wheeled plough and the Kentish one-row drill. Filmer introduced a six-course rotation of crops, was fully aware of the value of swedes and sainfoin, grew lentils for hay, and bred Leicester sheep and Berkshire pigs. (fn. 245) At this time agricultural labourers at Heyford were getting 9s. a week and beer in winter; 12s. a week and no beer at hay harvest; and 21s. a week and beer at corn harvest, while women's wages varied from 7d. a day for weeding to 1s. a day and beer at corn harvest—this when bread was 9d. the quartern loaf, and mutton 7d. a pound. (fn. 246)
Improved farming had been necessary to feed the increasing population. It appears to have been rising in the late 16th century, despite occasional visitations of the plague in summer and the 'blouddy flix' in winter, and the Compton Census (1676) recorded 148 adults. (fn. 247) According to 18th-century estimates the number of inhabitants rose from 220 (40 of them in Caulcott) in 1729, to 290 (63 in Caulcott) in 1760, but had declined to 247 by 1771. (fn. 248) At the official census of 1801 the combined population was 346, and by 1861 it had increased to 625; (fn. 249) while at Caulcott itself numbers rose from an estimated 57 in 1771 to 146 in 1841. The opening of the canal and the improvement of the roads evidently changed the occupational pattern of the two villages, for by 1811 27 families were engaged in trade compared with 68 in agriculture. (fn. 250) Heyford itself was becoming a local market centre, a trend confirmed by the coming of the railway. A corn market had been started in 1845, and there were six cattle and sheep fairs, and an agricultural show every year. (fn. 251) Of the nine farmers of 1851 in the parish one was also an inn-keeper, one a coal-merchant, and one the miller. There were three boatmen, a carrier, a corn-merchant, a maltster (Heyford was famous for its malting barley), a blacksmith, a mason, two carpenters, a canal porter, a timber merchant, a road contractor, and four railway workers, besides a hurdle-maker and a wheelwright. (fn. 252) In 1831 a local Fire Engine Society had been established (fn. 253) and in 1836 the Heyford and Aston Friendly Society had been founded. The latter was dissolved in 1875 but successfully revived before 1879. (fn. 254)
There were two water-mills in Heyford in the Middle Ages, (fn. 255) but only one by 1535. (fn. 256) Copyholders still had to have their corn ground at the lord's mill in 1548, (fn. 257) and when repairs were necessary the lord provided the millstones and the 'great timber'. (fn. 258) In the 18th century one wheel of the mill was used for grinding hemp. (fn. 259) New machinery had been installed by 1858, when there were four pairs of stones. The fall of water was 6 feet, but the flow was insufficient to drive more than two pairs of stones at once. By 1873 a steam-mill had been built beside the road to Upper Heyford. (fn. 260)
About 1860 Heyford's fortunes began to decline. It is significant that in 1850 three of the inhabitants were assisted to emigrate to Canada. (fn. 261) By 1864 the cattle and sheep sales were not held at regular fairs, although sheep sales certainly continued until about 1900, the number of tradesmen dwindled, and by 1887 regular markets were no longer held. (fn. 262) The canal wharf and the railway station were still busy, but the Bicester, Heyford, and Enstone Turnpike Trust had been ruined by the competition of the railways by 1870, and the Heyford turnpikes were taken down and the toll-houses sold in 1877. (fn. 263) Of the Heyford inns the 'Red Lion' and the 'Bell' survived the decline of road traffic but the 'White Horse' had closed by 1887. (fn. 264) The steam-mill appears to have stopped work in the 1890's. In 1871 there had been 131 agricultural labourers in the population: in 1926 there were only 45. (fn. 265) In 1920 there were still two coal merchants and the water-mill was still at work, and besides a carrier the village had a haulier and a 'motor engineer, agricultural machinist and wheelwright'. (fn. 266) Population declined from the 625 of the peak years 1861 and 1871, to 494 in 1901. By 1951 it had fallen to 398. (fn. 267) In 1956 there were twelve farmers in the parish, of whom two each farmed about 300 acres, three over 170 acres each, and the rest between 70 and 15 acres. (fn. 268)
The church was dedicated in the mid11th century by Wulfwig, Bishop of Dorchester (1053–67). (fn. 269) During most of the Middle Ages the living was divided into two parts and there were two rectors. This arrangement probably began in the 12th century, when Peter de la Mare and his son Robert between the years 1168 and 1173 granted half the church to Eynsham Abbey. (fn. 270) Eynsham held the advowson of its rectory until the 15th century, when the two rectories were united.
The advowson of the second rectory belonged to the lords of the Henred manor. (fn. 271) In 1251 or 1252 there was a dispute over the right to present between Lucy de Henred, who held the manor in dower, and Richard de Henred, her son. She finally admitted that the right was his. (fn. 272) From 1279 the De Lisles and from 1349 the De la Mares presented. (fn. 273) Maud de la Mare, who held both manors in dower, was patron in 1400, but after her death, when the original Henred manor passed to her daughter, the advowson followed the descent of the De la Mare manor, Robert de la Mare presenting in 1407 and Thomas de la Mare in 1450. (fn. 274)
In 1453 the Bishop of Lincoln united the two rectories, (fn. 275) and the lord of the De la Mare manor and Eynsham presented in turn. Thomas de la Mare did so in 1474, Eynsham in 1492, and Edward Baynton in 1527. When the manor was sold to Corpus Christi College in 1533, the manorial half of the advowson went with it. (fn. 276)
When Eynsham was dissolved in 1539, its half of the advowson went to the Crown, and was sold in 1543 with much other property to Richard Andrews and Nicholas Temple, two speculators in monastic lands, who immediately sold it. (fn. 277) It ultimately went to Corpus Christi College. During these transactions, James Edmund presented to the rectory in 1544, having bought the presentation for one turn. (fn. 278)
The college has held the advowson since that time, but not without friction. President Morwent considered it his private property, and on his death in 1558 he left it to the college. (fn. 279) Thomas Greenway, a later president and Rector of Heyford (1563–71), was accused of buying the advowson for £30 of college money from the rector, James Warner. (fn. 280) In the course of the legal disputes which followed Greenway's death his family alleged that he had the right of next presentation to Heyford. (fn. 281)
Since 1931, when the rectory was united to that of Rousham, the college and the Cottrell-Dormers of Rousham Park have presented in turn. (fn. 282)
The division of the rectory into two made the livings poor. In 1254 the double rectory was valued at £6 13s. 4d., and in 1291 each half was worth £5. (fn. 283) The rector of the Eynsham half had to pay a pension of £1 a year to the abbey. This payment probably began with the gift of the advowson to Eynsham, but it is first mentioned in an episcopal confirmation of 1197–8. (fn. 284)
Each rector had his own glebe. That of the Eynsham rector—said to have been given to the church at the time of its dedication in the 11th century— comprised in the 12th century a virgate, a cotland, 8 acres, and some pasture. (fn. 285) In 1279 he was said to hold 2 virgates and 2 tenements, a mill rented for 4s., some meadow-land, and a rent of 5s. The other rector, presented by the De Lisle lords, held 2 virgates in Heyford and Caulcott, besides 10 acres which had been given by Richard de Henred in 1220, when his brother William became rector. (fn. 286) The gift was to keep a lamp always burning before the high altar, and these lamplands, 'lamp litts', or 'lamplights' are marked on Langdon's map of 1606 as lying in Heyford North Field. (fn. 287) They are mentioned as late as the inclosure award of 1802. (fn. 288)
By the mid-15th century the system of having two rectors had broken down. In 1453, when the halves of the rectory were united, the De la Mare rectory had been vacant two years because of its poverty. Both rectories, in fact, had been decreasing in value, because of the poverty and small numbers of the parishioners and the infertility of the land. The revenue, it was said, was barely enough for one rector 'in these days', and because of this the church was being deprived of services. (fn. 289) After the union the rector, in addition to the pension to Eynsham, had to pay one of 2s. to the bishop and one of 1s. to the archdeacon. (fn. 290) In 1535 the value of the living was £10 13s. (fn. 291)
By this time the chapel at Caulcott had fallen into disuse. It is not clear whether it had once been a chapel of Heyford, which ceased to be used as Caulcott declined, (fn. 292) or whether it was a private chapel. The Crown considered it the latter, for about 1575 it confiscated it as a chantry. (fn. 293) After making an inquiry, the answers to which have not been found, about the existence of such a chapel, its services, its tithes and lands, the queen sold Caulcott chapel, with Chapel Yard, a field called Church Meade, and all appurtenant buildings and tithes, for £106. 6s. 8d. to Sir John Parrott. (fn. 294) The chapel itself was later thought to have been pulled down. (fn. 295)
After the Reformation Heyford was a wellendowed living, said in the 18th century to be worth £110. (fn. 296) Its income came partly from all the tithes in the parish, which at the inclosure award in 1802 were commuted for 269 acres, (fn. 297) and from the unusually large glebe, (fn. 298) including commons for 8 beasts and 160 sheep, which was exchanged at the same time for 91 acres. In addition, the rector of the day, William Filmer, received personally about 90 acres for leasehold lands, which he added to the rectory lands. (fn. 299) In 1831 the rectory, valued at £496, was one of the richest in the deanery. (fn. 300) The Caulcott part of the glebe was sold in 1926 and the rest in 1949. (fn. 301)
In the 13th century the rectors of both halves of the living were sworn to personal residence. (fn. 302) It is not clear how they divided the services, but one may have served the main church and the other the chapel at Caulcott. Some of them are worthy of note: Master Robert Bacon (1218/19–27) was a distinguished Dominican scholar and a close friend of St. Edmund; Sampson Brassard (1240–52) was a physician, (fn. 303) and Simon de Welles (1290–1) became a Dominican. (fn. 304) Master Alexander de Wheplade, another graduate, was excommunicated and suspended for granting the king the large tax he had demanded without papal consent. (fn. 305)
Fourteenth-century rectors were not at all notable, except for the short periods during which they held the living. Between 1292 and 1369 there were ten known incumbents. (fn. 306) One was accused of neglecting to keep the chancel in repair. (fn. 307) His successors, however, must have had the necessary work carried out, for much of the present work in the church is of 14th-century date. A clerk instituted in 1349, the year of the plague, had resigned by 1350. The evidence for the state of the church in the 15th and 16th centuries is scanty. At the visitation of 1530 there were minor complaints. The rector, Master William Man (1527–44), who had been an Augustinian canon, (fn. 308) was non-resident and had a curate, The lessees of the rectory aired their grain in the churchyard, the walls of which were dilapidated, and Richard de Henred's lamp was not kept burning in the church. (fn. 309) Man's successor, John Warner (1544–63), was presumably also non-resident for at least part of the year, for he was the first Regius Professor of Physic at Oxford, was for many years Warden of All Souls College, (fn. 310) and moreover, according to Anthony Wood, was 'a great intruder into ecclesiastical benefices and dignities'. (fn. 311)
After the acquisition of the advowson by Corpus Christi College, the rectors were appointed from among its Fellows, and in the latter half of the 16th century two presidents held the living. Thomas Greenway (1563–71) built a rectory house at Heyford and resided there after his resignation from the presidency in 1568 until his death in 1571. (fn. 312) Though the charges that Greenway had embezzled college money and consorted with 'infamous women', two of them Heyford villagers, (fn. 313) may not have been true, he cannot be regarded as a model rector. William Cole, on the other hand, at one time a Protestant exile at Zurich and made President of Corpus Christi by Elizabeth I, (fn. 314) seems to have been so. From 1572 until 1598 he spent a part of his year at Heyford, where he was responsible for opening a market or shop. (fn. 315) His family appears to have lived at the parsonage all the year; his children were baptized and married in the church; (fn. 316) and his son Thomas Cole succeeded him as incumbent in 1600. (fn. 317) 'Blameless' and 'very diligent in ye discharge of his duty' though Thomas may have been, (fn. 318) he appears to have suffered from melancholia, for he several times entered his own burial in the parish register. He became unpopular in the village for failing to keep up the ancient custom of giving all his parishioners bread, cheese, and beer at his house on Christmas Day, and of providing a Christmas dinner to all householders. He was presented in the bishop's court in 1621 for his neglect and ordered to restore the custom, and furthermore to continue the provision of straw for the seats in the church on St. Thomas's Day from the grass in Church Mead. (fn. 319) He was ejected by the Parliamentary Commissioners in 1646, (fn. 320) and the Christmas feast probably ended with him. When the parishioners tried to revive it in 1732 and sent someone to search the registers at Lincoln, they could find no evidence for the custom. (fn. 321)
Two of his Puritan successors are interesting examples of country clergy in this troubled time: one—Thomas Butler—an army preacher, who lived at Deddington, was alleged to keep 'strumpets' and preach in 'coat and Sworde'; (fn. 322) the other, an intruded Fellow of Corpus named John Dod, resided at Heyford from 1651 to 1662, but did not once administer the sacrament to his parishioners, 'alledging that they were not fit for it'. (fn. 323) But the chief distinction of Heyford rectors both in this century and the next was that they resided in their parish for the greater part of the period. (fn. 324) Indeed of one, John Franklin, it was lamented that he had 'in a manner buried' his profound knowledge of philosophy by retiring to so lonely a place. (fn. 325) Franklin is also to be remembered for his toleration of dissent in his parish; he was one of the five ministers in the county to read in church James II's declaration about liberty of conscience in 1688. (fn. 326)
At least one of the 18th-century parsons, Thomas Leigh (1728–44), was active in good works. He began the custom of keeping a record of communicants, (fn. 327) and as he said his parish was 'one of the poorest in the diocese' and his parishioners unable to give money for church repairs, he got his church restored and had the parsonage partly rebuilt. (fn. 328)
Several of the 19th-century rectors were also notable for their work in the parish. There was William Filmer (1797–1830), the son of Sir Edmund Filmer, who was an agricultural expert. (fn. 329) He farmed the glebe himself and improved its value, notably by tree-planting. (fn. 330) He was followed by George Faithful (1830–66), 'clergyman, schoolmaster, and farmer'; (fn. 331) Charles Fort (1866–8), a man of saintly character, who was responsible for the restoration of the church, the rebuilding of the rectory, and the building of the school; and Henry Furneaux (1868–92), a wellknown classical scholar. (fn. 332) These men attracted congregations of as many as 300 persons, though they were still thought small in proportion to the size of the parish. Many labourers and their families were usually absent, and many who were not professed dissenters went to the chapels as a result of the 'liberalism of the age'. (fn. 333) In the 1860's, nevertheless, there were about 50 communicants—a definite improvement, even after allowing for the increased population, on the 20 to 35 communicants common in the 18th century. Seventy children attended the Sunday school, and there was an evening school for boys, (fn. 334) both of which had been closed by 1897. (fn. 335)
The only remains of 13th-century work are the built-up responds of a former south arcade, a lancet window in the north wall of the chancel, and a trefoil-headed piscina in the south wall. In 1338 the chancel was reported to be in a very dilapidated state, owing to the neglect of the last rector, William de Balleby, and the executors of his will were ordered to pay for the necessary repairs. (fn. 336) The chancel was largely rebuilt some time after this, and the present east window, the timber roof, and three remaining windows in the north and south walls are 14thcentury work.
The nave has two bays on either side, which together with the north and south aisles probably date from the 14th century. The east window of the north aisle appears to be early 14th century, so that it seems probable that the north aisle was added before the south aisle; the capitals on the south side of the nave are later than those on the north side, and the east window of the south aisle, which is similar to the east window of the chancel, probably belongs to the second half of the 14th century. On either side of it are two 14th-century niches.
The tower, which has a plain parapet, was probably completed in the late 14th century. Further work on the church was carried out in the 15th century when a nave clerestory with eight windows, a new nave roof of somewhat lower pitch than the former one, (fn. 337) and a south porch were added. At the same time the walls of the aisles were partly rebuilt and the large square-headed windows inserted. Above the south porch there is a sun-dial with the motto 'Nil nisi caelesti radio'.
When Rawlinson visited the church in the early 18th century (fn. 338) he found it in a good state of repair, but a report by Bishop Secker of 1739 shows a less satisfactory picture. The porch, he said, was in danger of falling down, the paving uneven, the pews ruinous, the walls in need of whitewashing, the west door and church gate in a bad state, and the boards supporting the leads rotten. He ordered the churchwardens to take action. In 1741 and 1742 some minor sums were spent (fn. 339) and in 1757 further repairs, including the walling-up of the northern door, were ordered. (fn. 340)
The 19th-century revival of interest in ecclesiastical buildings led to considerable repairs to the fabric. In 1848 the nave and north aisle were reroofed at a cost of about £270 (architect H. J. Underwood). A sketch of 1867 shows a western gallery approached by a wooden staircase; (fn. 341) the date of this addition is not known. In 1867 and 1868 restoration work carried out by the architect C. Buckeridge cost £1,240 and included relaying the floor of the nave and south aisle, renewing the roof of the south aisle, and removing the plaster ceiling of the chancel. Later in the century an organ was installed and an altar reredos erected. (fn. 342) In 1922 the piscina was restored, and an altar erected in the south aisle as a memorial to the men killed in the First World War. (fn. 343)
Part of the staircase to the rood-loft remains, and the chancel screen, although much restored, is medieval; the tracery and trail on top are exceptionally good. (fn. 344) The octagonal font is inscribed 1662, although the base is probably medieval. (fn. 345) A clock, doubtless placed in the tower in 1695 (the date on the oak frame), was removed during the 1868 restoration. (fn. 346)
Of the three medieval glass shields described in 1574, two somewhat damaged ones survive in the west window of the south aisle. The west window of the north aisle also has a quarry with the initials T.G., a pelican (the crest of Corpus Christi College) and the date 69, for Thomas Greenway, rector (d. 1571). (fn. 347)
There is a small brass to Elizabeth, wife of William Bruce (d. 1683); a stone cartouche with coat of arms to Gabriel Myrry (d. 1684) and his wife; and a memorial with arms to the rector William Filmer (d. 1830). Inscriptions to Castell Brangwin (d. 1710) and family; to Rachael the wife (d. 1738/9) and children of Henry Hester of Withill, Tackley; and to the rectors, Ralph Pomfret (d. 1728), William Bradley (d. 1768), William Harrison (d. 1796), and George Thorpe (d. 1784), were illegible or untraceable in 1955. (fn. 348)
In 1552 the church had a chalice, two copes, and three vestments. (fn. 349) In 1955 it owned an Elizabethan chalice and paten cover, and a chalice, paten, and flagon given by William Filmer in 1825. (fn. 350)
There were three bells and a sanctus bell in 1552. The bells were ordered to be recast into five bells, for a sum not exceeding £31, in 1766. In 1955 there were six bells, two of them of 1766, (fn. 351) and a set of hand bells.
The registers date from 1539. Those of baptisms and burials (1644–64) and of marriages (1607–64) appear to be extracts and incomplete. (fn. 352) There are churchwardens' accounts from 1763 to 1858.
Three infrequent attendants at church are mentioned in the recusant roll of 1577, (fn. 353) but in other returns of the late 16th and early 17th centuries there is no record of Roman Catholicism. The 18th-century episcopal returns mention one papist woman. (fn. 354)
In the 17th century there was a small Quaker community in the village. It was agreed at a Quarterly Meeting of the Friends at Oxford in February 1678 that a meeting should be held there every fortnight. (fn. 355) At the time of Bishop Fell's visitation in the 1680's about seventeen Quakers attended meeting at John Marsh's barn. (fn. 356) He and John Day were presented in 1694 for not having paid tithes. (fn. 357) According to the Quaker records Richard Day had had £6 worth of corn and grain taken from him by the rector in 1693 and £4 worth in 1694 on his refusal to pay tithes. (fn. 358) The Quaker influence was not maintained, and by 1738 there was only one left, another dissenter being a Presbyterian. (fn. 359)
In the early 19th century Methodism took root. In 1804 Joseph Hockmore's house was registered as a meeting-place. (fn. 360) It was soon superseded by a chapel built by Thomas Rose, (fn. 361) the miller, who often preached himself. Circuit preachers also came. (fn. 362) The congregation in the second half of the century belonged to the United Methodists (fn. 363) (formed in 1857 and joined to the Wesleyan Methodists in 1932). In 1906 a new chapel, still in use in 1955, was built at a cost of £700. (fn. 364) In 1954 it had six members. (fn. 365)
Another Methodist centre, which remained Wesleyan, was started in Caulcott with the registration of Thomas Gee's house in 1830. (fn. 366) A chapel was built there in 1841 (fn. 367) and was in use in 1955, but since it had only four members, regular services were not held. (fn. 368) In 1878 the number of Methodists in the whole parish was estimated at nearly a hundred. (fn. 369)
In 1808 two dame schools provided instruction in reading, writing, and knitting for 60 children. (fn. 370) These schools still existed in 1819 but were inadequate for the needs of the poor. (fn. 371) In 1833 there were two fee-paying schools, one of them a 'ladies' boarding school' attended by farmers' daughters. (fn. 372) These were attended by 26 boys and 35 girls, while at a third school there were 12 children of whom 4 received free instruction out of a legacy of £50 left in 1826 by Thomas Rose. (fn. 373) There were still three schools in 1854, when the rector paid for 7 children and the Rose bequest for 3, while 38 were paid for by their parents. (fn. 374)
In 1867 a National school was opened in a house in Lower Heyford adjoining the present Church of England school, which was built in the following year. It comprised one schoolroom and one classroom. There was one teacher, (fn. 375) and the average attendance was 71 in 1871, 57 in 1889, and 84 in 1906. (fn. 376) The school was reorganized as a junior school in 1932, when the senior pupils were transferred to Steeple Aston, and it became a controlled school in 1952. The number of pupils was 28 in 1937 and 48 in 1954. (fn. 377) The Rose bequest was vested in the school at its foundation, and in 1955 was used to provide school prizes. (fn. 378)
By 1833 the Countess of Jersey was supporting a school in Caulcott for 12 children. (fn. 379) This number remained unchanged in 1871, (fn. 380) but by 1887 when it had 20 pupils it had become an infants' school. (fn. 381) The older children of Caulcott were then going to school at Middleton Stoney. (fn. 382) There were 10 pupils in 1906 and the school continued to be supported by successive earls of Jersey. (fn. 383) It had closed by the 1950's. (fn. 384)
Abigail Merry or Malpas, born at Heyford in 1594, by will of unknown date left to the poor a rent-charge of £1 a year on tenements in Cripplegate, to be distributed annually at Christmas. (fn. 385) The money appears to have been first received in 1680. (fn. 386) From 1795 onwards 4s. was deducted for land tax. In the early 19th century 16s. was still being paid, (fn. 387) but the income of the charity was only 8s. 10d. (fn. 388) in 1954.
Susannah Bruce (d. 1706) by her will left £10 to the poor, the interest (10s.) to be distributed each year after Christmas. In 1797 the interest was some years in arrears, but £7 10s. was then paid, and together with money raised by subscription was added to the principal, bringing it up to £20. From 1801 this sum was held by the rector, who paid £1 a year interest. In 1824 the income from the Malpas and Bruce Charities, together with money collected at the sacrament, was distributed by the rector each sacrament day in sums of 1s. to 2s. 6d. to the most needy among the poor. (fn. 389) The income of the charity in 1954 was 12s. 4d.
The inclosure award of 1802 set aside 32 acres, Poor's Land, to be held in trust for the poor, in lieu of their right to cut furze for fuel. (fn. 392) In 1852 the land brought in £30 a year in rent (fn. 393) which was distributed to the poor in coal at Christmas. (fn. 394) In 1954 the land was let at £24 a year, and the rent, together with the income from the Malpas and Bruce Charities, was distributed in money just before Christmas. The recipients had to be old-age pensioners with at least three years' residence in the parish, and only one payment could be made to one household. Thirty-seven poor people received 11s. each.
Louisa Julia Evans (d. 1935) left £336 8s. 5d. in stock. Four-fifths of the income was to be spent on tea for the poor. The first distribution was in 1938. At Christmas 1954 58 quarter-pound packets of tea were given to old-age pensioners. (fn. 395)