A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 6. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1959.
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The parish lies in the north-east corner of the county with the River Ouse dividing it on the north from Buckinghamshire, and the Northamptonshire border on the west separating it from the parish of Evenley (Northants). The modern parish (2,449 a.) is smaller than the ancient one (2,972 a.), (fn. 1) which included a detached portion of 523 acres in which Willaston lay. This was transferred to Hethe parish in 1888. (fn. 2) The nearest market towns are Buckingham, 6 miles distant, and Bicester, 8 miles away.
The ground lies for the most part about 400 feet above sea-level, but in the north-east it falls gradually and then more sharply to the Ouse to about 320 feet. The parish lies on the Great Oolite, but much of its eastern half is covered by flint and oolite gravel. (fn. 3) In the northern part of the parish the country is on the whole bare, although Sainfoin Corner is a fair-sized plantation. Here was the Bayard's Green of medieval and later times (see below), and the 'downs' of the Inclosure Act of 1730. The general impression, even in summer, is still of a bleak exposed plateau. The southern half of the parish is more sheltered: there are two large plantations, Mixbury Plantation and Park Thorns, in the south, and the Hulls and the Pits in the south-west. A stream flows just north of Mixbury village and joins the Ouse near Fulwell, one of the parish's two ancient hamlets.
The main road from Buckingham to Banbury, which became a turnpike in 1744, (fn. 4) bisects the parish; the village is linked to this high road and to the Oxford–Brackley road by minor roads. Other small roads and foot-paths intersect the parish and also two railways, the former London and North-Western opened in 1850 to the north and the former Great Central opened in 1899 to the east. (fn. 5) The nearest station is the former L.M.S. Fulwell and Westbury station. Half of Fulwell Bridge is in the parish, and the other half is in Buckinghamshire. In 1877 it was reported that the road here was often flooded and that a rough causeway for foot passengers had been provided. (fn. 6)
Mixbury village is placed fairly centrally within the parish, just off the Buckingham-Banbury road. The water lies near the surface here and the many wells afford an ample supply. (fn. 7) Mixbury does not appear to have ever been a large village. In 1662 and 1665 34 and 21 householders in Mixbury and Fulwell were listed for the hearth taxes. (fn. 8) In 1665 two large houses had eight hearths each and there were only three other small farm-houses. There seem to have been about 43 dwellings in Mixbury itself, few scattered houses outside and one manor-house only at Fulwell in the mid-18th century. (fn. 9) By 1768 the house at Fulwell had been pulled down, but a farm is mentioned at Willaston, by then an almost deserted hamlet, and the total number of houses was said to be about 60. (fn. 10) The village was at its largest in the mid-19th century, but had considerably shrunk in size again by 1951, when there were only 64 houses in the whole parish. (fn. 11)
Davis's map of 1797 shows the village dwellings close to the stream and the church in a rather isolated position to the east, (fn. 12) but in 1955 the village lay on either side of the minor road which connects Mixbury with the main Banbury road. Its general appearance, which is both neat and attractive, is late-19th century, since in 1874 the thatched and dilapidated cottages, built of local stone, were replaced by order of the Court of Chancery with about 40 semi-detached houses, built of coursed rubble with red brick dressings. The twelve lime-trees, planted between the cottages, were presented by Squire Batson at the request of the rector in 1891. (fn. 13) Charles Richardson, writing about 1823, states that 'until the last twenty years many of the cottage chimneys were constructed of wood', (fn. 14) and Blomfield, writing at the end of the century, describes them as 'huts . . . with here and there an upper room reached by a ladder'. (fn. 15) Many of the cottagers had lived rent free. (fn. 16) In 1955 the church, the Rectory, Town Farm, and the village school, built in 1838, (fn. 17) all lay at the northern end of the village street.
The early 19th-century Rectory probably replaced the one which was repaired or rebuilt by Thomas Walker (rector 1630–8) and which was taxed on three hearths in 1665. (fn. 18) W.J. Palmer on his institution as rector in 1802 obtained a licence to rebuild from the Bishops of Oxford and Rochester, and was permitted to raise a loan of £390. (fn. 19) In 1805 the new house, standing in about 4 acres of ground, was stated to be stone-built. It had dormers and a roof of blue Welsh slating. (fn. 20) It was enlarged in 1855. (fn. 21) The schoolroom, approached by a flight of steps from the churchyard, is raised above stone wagon-sheds, once used by Glebe farm—an unusual and attractive arrangement. Beyond the church, on the north side of Church Lane, the impressive banks and ditches of Beaumont castle can be seen. (fn. 22) No masonry remains above the ground and the earthworks alone survive of this important early medieval fortification. This castle was probably built by Roger d'Ivry and nicknamed Beaumont because the ground north of it falls to the stream. (fn. 23) Recent excavations (1954–5) revealed a deep well or dungeon at the north-west corner of the earth ramparts with an underground passage leading out of it. (fn. 24)
Farther north are some council houses, and beyond the stream Mixbury Hall, built by Charles Kayler in about 1900, and a group of other modern houses. The village has two shops and a sub-post office, but the limekilns once in Church Lane and the smithy at the south end of the main street (fn. 25) have ceased to function. There is no public house and it is said that in the early 19th century the incumbent refused to allow one for fear of drunkenness. (fn. 26) But the 'Greyhound' throve in 1784 (fn. 27) and it is possible that earlier there were two alehouses, as two different victuallers were licensed in 1732 and 1735. (fn. 28)
The parish once had two hamlets, Fulwell, (fn. 29) which lies in the extreme north-east, close to the Ouse, and Willaston. Both were largely deserted by the early 16th century. At Fulwell, Oseney Abbey had a mill (fn. 30) and a large grange, which in the 16th century became the residence of the new lord of the manor. (fn. 31) It was inhabited by the Wellesbornes, Sills, and Bathursts until the mid-18th century, but in 1738 and 1759 the incumbents noted in their returns that the lord did not usually reside there. (fn. 32) It was 'pulled down' before 1768, (fn. 33) and the site, roughly 55 by 46 yards, can still be clearly seen. A 17th-century building adjoining the manor-house continued to be used as a farm-house; (fn. 34) it is a substantial building of two stories. The hamlet now consists of this farm-house, and a few 19th-century cottages on the road to Mixbury. It had once formed a separate manor and until 1435 was a separate parish. (fn. 35) Numerous mounds and depressions and traces of what appear to be stone paths or ruined cottages are visible in many parts of the field in front of the farm-house.
Willaston, a flourishing hamlet in the Middle Ages, was depopulated by inclosure (fn. 36) and consisted of one farm-house by the 18th century. (fn. 37) In 1955 the house was inhabited by Mr. Dewar-Harrison, owner of the ancient manor or 'lordship of Willaston' and of other neighbouring property.
There are a number of outlying farm-houses: two, Middle Farm and Cold Harbour, lie in the south of the parish and apparently date from the inclosure; (fn. 38) the other two are 17th-century houses. Monk's House, standing south of the main road and near the Northamptonshire border, bears the date 1683 on the north gable. It was, however, in existence in 1662, when the churchwardens presented that it was an encroachment on the common. They described it as 'a new erected house at the race post upon the common, built by one Monk of Evenley' (Northants). (fn. 39) It is a T-shaped building of two stories, constructed of rubble patched with brick and partly cement-faced. It has casement windows still, and a roof of red tiles and Welsh slate. The extension to the west is probably of a later date. Lawrence Broderick, rector from 1713 to 1743, lived there in the latter part of his incumbency. (fn. 40) On the other side of the parish Mixbury Lodge Farm lies just north of the main road. It consists of two portions, an early-17th-century part at the back and an incongruous 19th-century front. The original T-shaped building is constructed of coursed rubble with stone kneelers, is of two stories with attic dormers, and has a brown tile roof. It has retained its two-light windows with stone mullions and casements.
The parish is notable for a small round barrow, Barrow Hill, under half a mile west of the village, where human remains were found in the 19th century; (fn. 41) for its connexion with medieval tournaments, since in 1194 the open ground between Brackley and Mixbury was made one of the five licensed tournament grounds in England; (fn. 42) for its 'lost' hamlets of Fulwell and Willaston; (fn. 43) for horse-racing in the 17th and later centuries on the one-time tournament ground; and in the 18th and 19th centuries for its connexion with several notable men. Benjamin Bathurst, brother to Lord Bathurst and M.P. for Gloucester, settled at Fulwell in 1738 and in 1741 married as his second wife the daughter of the rector, the Revd. Lawrence Broderick, a Prebendary of Westminster. Of his fourteen children by this marriage five were baptized at Mixbury and six buried there. His third son Henry, a future Bishop of Norwich, though born at Brackley in 1744, spent his early years at Mixbury after his family's return to Fulwell in 1747. (fn. 44) In the 19th century the Rectory was the home of the remarkable clerical family of Palmer. William Palmer, the eldest son of the Revd. W. J. Palmer, was born there in 1811. He became a leader of the Oxford Movement and a pioneer in the task of establishing friendly relations between the Greek and Anglican churches. He died in 1879 after entering the church of Rome. Palmer's second son, Roundell, became Lord Chancellor and the 1st Earl of Selborne, and another son had a distinguished academic career at Oxford, where he was Corpus Professor of Latin Literature (1870–8). (fn. 45)
In 1086 MIXBURY (Missberie) was held by Roger d'Ivry of the king as 17 hides; (fn. 46) as part of the Ivry barony it followed roughly the same descent as the manor of Beckley and passed to the St. Valery family. (fn. 47) As Ralph Basset, the justiciar, made a grant of the advowson in about 1123 and of the tithes before 1151, it is possible that the manor passed into the hands of the Bassets for a short period after the death of Roger d'Ivry in about 1120. (fn. 48) The St. Valery family had acquired it by 1213 at the latest, for in that year Thomas de St. Valery gave Mixbury, with its appurtenances in Newton Purcell, in free alms to Oseney Abbey. (fn. 49) He reserved to himself the homage and service of his tenant of Mixbury, but acquitted the abbey of the service due to the king. (fn. 50) The grant was confirmed by King John in 1214, and by Thomas's successors as lords of the honor of St. Valery, Robert de Dreux and Richard, Earl of Cornwall, about 1225 and 1230 respectively. (fn. 51) In 1243 Oseney was said to hold 1½ knight's fee in Mixbury, but in 1292 Edmund of Cornwall agreed that in future he and his successors would claim only the service pertaining to ½ knight's fee—which was all the abbot recognized— for Mixbury and Newton Purcell. (fn. 52) The overlordship continued to follow the descent of the honor of St. Valery which was eventually merged in the Duchy of Cornwall. (fn. 53)
Roger d'Ivry held the whole of Mixbury in his own hands in 1086, (fn. 54) but in the 13th century part of it was held under the St. Valerys by the Darreyns family, and by 1220 was called 'Muxeberi Aregnes'. (fn. 55) The first of the family, which took its name from Airaines (Somme), (fn. 56) known to be associated with Oxfordshire was Miles Darreyns, who was pardoned the payment of 10s. danegeld in the county in 1130. (fn. 57) About 1211 Bernard Darreyns held ½ knight's fee of Thomas de St. Valery in Oxfordshire, (fn. 58) and this must certainly have been in Mixbury, where he was Thomas's tenant in 1213. (fn. 59) By the end of the 12th century Bernard had acquired a considerable holding in Northumberland, (fn. 60) and c. 1240 his son Guy, who had succeeded him c. 1225, (fn. 61) gave Oseney Abbey all his land in Mixbury, i.e. 6 virgates, all held in villeinage, and the service of 4 virgates held freely. (fn. 62) The remaining knight's fee (fn. 63) in Mixbury does not appear to have been subinfeudated, and the existence of Beaumont castle, and the reference in the Oseney Cartulary to land held by the men of the castle bailiff, argue that the D'Ivrys and St. Valerys occasionally lived there. (fn. 64) The fact that Mixbury was a far more valuable estate than Beckley lends force to the suggestion that Mixbury and not Beckley may originally have been the caput of the honor. (fn. 65) Part of the estate acquired by Oseney in 1213 was held by free tenants. Between 1218 and 1270 the abbey gradually obtained their holdings, a virgate from William Jordan in 1218, a virgate from Alice of Mixbury in 1225, which in 1236 was confirmed to the abbey after a dispute, and other smaller grants. (fn. 66) By 1279 the whole manor, save 3 carucates of demesne, was held in villeinage under the abbey. (fn. 67) Oseney continued to hold the manor until its dissolution in 1539. (fn. 68)
The adjoining manor of FULWELL ('Fulewelle') was held in chief in 1086 by Robert d'Oilly as 3½ hides. (fn. 69) The overlordship followed the same descent as that of Bucknell (fn. 70) and many other manors of the honor of Hooknorton, passing in the 13th century from the D'Oillys to the De Newburghs, and from them to the De Plescys. Robert d'Oilly's tenant in 1086 was Gilbert Damory, (fn. 71) ancestor of the Damorys of Bucknell who were recognized as mesne lords of Fulwell until at least the end of the 13th century. (fn. 72) In 1205 Adelelm of Fulwell, tenant of the manor under Robert Damory, granted it for £40 down and a rent of £2 a year to Oseney Abbey. The grant was confirmed by Robert, by Adelelm's son and heir John, his daughters Agnes and Melior, who were each to receive £1 of the farm, and by their husbands Walter Buti and Adam of Balscot. (fn. 73) Oseney became responsible for the forinsec service attached to 1 knight's fee, but c. 1250 Walter Buti of Devon, grandson of Agnes, and Adam of Balscot, son of Melior, quitclaimed the £2 farm to the abbey. (fn. 74) In the course of the 13th century Oseney acquired the free holdings in the manor (fn. 75) so that by 1279 there was none left. (fn. 76) The abbey held the manor until the Dissolution. (fn. 77)
In 1539 the tenant of the Oseney estates at Fulwell was Sir John Wellesborne, a gentleman of the Privy Chamber, whose mother was a Poure of Bletchingdon. (fn. 78) In 1532 Thomas Cromwell had requested the grant of the farm of Mixbury for Wellesborne, and in 1537 the latter, knowing that the Abbot of Oseney was dying, suggested to Cromwell that a new abbot might be persuaded to give Mixbury and Fulwell to the king, who could then reward Wellesborne with them. (fn. 79) In 1541 Wellesborne obtained his desire, a grant in fee of both Mixbury and Fulwell manors. (fn. 80) In 1543 he obtained further lands there by purchase. (fn. 81) Wellesborne died and was buried at Mixbury in 1548, (fn. 82) his widow Elizabeth receiving both manors for life, with reversion to his son John, then aged two, or his younger son Edward. (fn. 83) Elizabeth married as her second husband Edward Chamberlayne of Astley (Warws.), who died in 1557. In 1566 she granted to Arthur Wellesborne, her first husband's natural son, an annuity of £2 from her manors of Mixbury and Fulwell. (fn. 84) She subsequently married a third husband, Richard Hussey of Coventry (d. 1574). (fn. 85) In 1565 Mixbury and Fulwell had been included in the marriage settlement of the young John Wellesborne and Ann Greenway, step-daughter of Michael Harcourt of Leckhampstead (Bucks.), and in 1593, by which date his mother must have been dead, he settled both manors on himself and his wife for life, then on his only child Elizabeth and her husband John Sill, and finally upon their son Wellesborne Sill and his heirs male. (fn. 86) Ann Wellesborne died in 1606 and John Wellesborne in 1611, predeceased by John Sill, whose widow married Edward Mole in 1608. In 1632 the manors were settled on Wellesborne Sill and his wife Philippa: he died in 1634 and she survived until 1656. (fn. 87) Their son Wellesborne continued to live at Fulwell, but left no son although he married twice. All traces of the Sill family disappear from the records of Mixbury after his death in 1707. (fn. 88)
By 1718 the manors had passed into the possession of Benjamin Bathurst, son of Sir Benjamin Bathurst of Paulerspury (Northants) and brother of Allen, 1st Lord Bathurst. (fn. 89) Not long before his death in 1767 he sold his estates to Stanlake Batson of Horseheath (Cambs.). (fn. 90) Batson was succeeded by his son of the same name, who in 1823 sold a large part of the estate to John Harrison of Shelswell. The second Stanlake Batson was followed by his son Stanlake Ricketts Batson (d. 1871) and his grandson Stanlake Henry Batson, (fn. 91) who mortgaged the estate to Charles Edward Kayler. Between 1894 and 1903 Kayler foreclosed. (fn. 92) In 1935 Mrs. John Aldworth was lady of the manor. (fn. 93)
Of the 17 hides of Mixbury in Domesday Book, 2½ seem to have later formed part of Newton Purcell manor; (fn. 94) Oseney Abbey's manor of Mixbury was rated at 10 hides in 1255, (fn. 95) and the remainder formed WILLASTON manor in Mixbury parish. Like Mixbury manor it belonged to the honor of St. Valery, but it was not included in Thomas de St. Valery's gift to Oseney in 1213 and passed on his death in 1219 to Robert, Count of Dreux, and in 1227 to Richard of Cornwall with the rest of the honor. (fn. 96) Richard held Willaston in demesne as ½ knight's fee and had the view of frankpledge there, but when his successor Edmund founded Rewley Abbey c. 1281 he endowed it with the manor. (fn. 97) In 1303 Edmund's widow Margaret unsuccessfully claimed a third of Willaston in dower. (fn. 98) Rewley Abbey held the manor until its dissolution in 1536, and in the closing years of its ownership let it at farm to the Arden family of Cottisford. (fn. 99) The manor was granted by Henry VIII to Thomas Pope in 1537, but the Ardens continued as tenants until at least c. 1590. (fn. 100) Little is known of its subsequent history, but it seems to have descended in the Pope family, no doubt following the same descent as Ardley until 1655 when Thomas Pope, Earl of Downe, conveyed it to Ambrose Holbech. (fn. 101)
By 1698 Willaston was held by Sir John Holman, Bt., of Banbury and Weston Favell (Northants), and on his death in 1700 descended to his nephew William Holman of Warkworth (Northants). (fn. 102) After his death in 1740 it was held by his widow Mary (d. 1744). (fn. 103) The lands of the manor continued to be held separately until about 1815, when they were sold to John Harrison of Shelswell, who soon afterwards bought Mixbury manor. (fn. 104)
Economic and Social History.
The place-names Mixbury, Fulwell, and Willaston indicate that all were Anglo-Saxon settlements. Willaston was the tūn of Wiglaf, while the other two are derived from mixen-burgh and fūl-welle or ful-welle. It may be that the 'foul stream' of the latter was the result of the 'dunghill' of the former, or Fulwell may have been named after the spring which still wells strongly up on the site of the deserted village. (fn. 105)
At Mixbury in 1086 there was land for 15 ploughs: on the demesne were 1 plough and 1 serf, while 18 villeins (villani) and 11 bordars had 6 ploughs. There were 50 acres of pasture, and 2 mills rendering 9s. 4d. The value of the estate, £15, was the same as at the Conquest. (fn. 106) There was evidently far more land available than was under cultivation, although Mixbury was a comparatively large community, and it was no doubt the existence of extra land which prompted the post-Conquest settlement of Newton Purcell. (fn. 107)
Willaston, although not mentioned by name in the survey, was apparently included in the account of Mixbury, being the site of one of the two mills, for there were never more than two in the parish. (fn. 108) In 1086 Fulwell was a separate manor and already almost certainly a separate parish with a church of its own. (fn. 109) There was land for 3 ploughs there, but there were only 2 in use, there being 1 plough and 1 serf on the demesne, while 3 villeins (nativi) and 2 bordars had another plough. There was a mill worth 10s. and 20 acres of pasture. Since 1066 the value of the estate had dropped steeply from £6 to £3. (fn. 110) Although its economic value was greatly increased after it came into the possession of Oseney Abbey in 1205, the decline of Fulwell village may well have been accelerated. (fn. 111)
The abbey added the neighbouring manor of Mixbury to its estate in 1213 (fn. 112) and in about 1240 also obtained the part of Mixbury consisting of 6 virgates of villeinage and 4 free virgates which had been infeudated to the Darreyns family. (fn. 113) Thus of the land of the two parishes only Willaston manor remained outside Oseney's control.
The history of Oseney's estate is not well documented, but what evidence there is all points to an emphasis on sheep farming in Fulwell in the 13th century and to the gradual conversion of most of the hamlet's fields into a sheep farm by the end of the century. The abbey increased its demesne between 1205 and 1230 by the addition of 3 virgates in Fulwell's fields from three freeholders, (fn. 114) and in the second half of the century it acquired another acre (fn. 115) and obtained the meadow of 'Winstonelake' in the neighbouring parish of Westbury. (fn. 116) The hamlet was still in existence in the 1230's, for when Oseney appropriated Fulwell church it undertook to provide a suitable secular chaplain, and there were arable fields in the parish in the 1270's. (fn. 117) But in 1279 only the abbey's grange was recorded under Fulwell, and seven cottars (four of them women) holding lands of the 'fee' of Fulwell are listed under Mixbury: six held 2 acres and one an acre, mostly for rents of 2s. (fn. 118) It may be that Fulwell's remaining inhabitants had been transferred to Mixbury by the abbey and that the abbey's demesne arable was cultivated by labourers resident at the grange.
Though Mixbury was predominantly an arable estate, the abbey kept a fair-sized flock there too. As early as 1216 there is evidence showing that Oseney had its separate pasture in Mixbury and a flock of at least 300 sheep. (fn. 119) Later the pasture appears not to have been fully stocked, for after a tithe dispute in 1251 the rector was allowed to pasture 150 sheep and 8 cattle there. (fn. 120) The account of 1279 reveals a flourishing community: Oseney had 3 carucates and a water-mill in demesne; 37 villeins held a virgate apiece, worked, were tallaged at their lord's will, and had to pay a fine when their sons left the manor (redimere pueros). Eight of them had also to contribute to the abbot's scutage when it was demanded; of eleven cottars ten held 6 acres each for works and 2s. rent, and the eleventh held 1 acre for 1s. Thus Mixbury had a total of 55 tenants, including the Fulwell tenants.
On the Willaston manor at this date the Earl of Cornwall had in demesne only a water-mill (apparently one of the two Mixbury mills recorded in Domesday) worth £1 4s., and a meadow worth £2 a year. There were 16 villeins holding virgates for 5s. a virgate and 2 holding half-virgates for 3s. each a year, while 1 cottar paid 1s. (fn. 121)
The decline of Fulwell in the 13th century is confirmed by early 14th-century tax lists. For purposes of taxation it was merged with Mixbury, and Willaston, which belonged to Rewley Abbey, was assessed separately. Willaston's lands, rents, mill, view of frankpledge, and court were valued in 1291 at £8 17s. 10d. (fn. 122) For the tax of 1306 there were 32 contributors in Mixbury and Fulwell, and 27 in 1316 and 1327, but it is significant that the grange of Fulwell, which had become the headquarters of one of Oseney's bailiwicks, accounted for nearly half the total assessment in 1306. Willaston had at least 16 contributors in 1306, 13 in 1316, and 10 in 1327. (fn. 123) At the reassessment of 1344 Mixbury's contribution was fixed at £1 13s. 8d. and Willaston's at 15s. 10d. Both figures, unlike those of other villages in the hundred, are remarkably smaller than the assessments for 1327. (fn. 124)
Both Mixbury and Willaston hamlets seem to have survived the Black Death without serious depopulation, for in 1377 Mixbury had a population of at least 80 and Willaston of 32 adults. (fn. 125) There is no record of Fulwell among the poll-tax returns nor is it listed in 1428 among the hamlets with under ten inhabitants. The reason no doubt was that it had long ceased to be regarded officially as a hamlet or a separate parish, and in 1435 only one man and his family were living in the parish. (fn. 126)
When Oseney's Fulwell estate is next recorded in 1510 its water-mill was being leased separately for £1 10s. and the manor was being leased for £6 13s. 4d. a year to William Councer, who was keeping in addition 400 sheep for the abbey. (fn. 127) He was among the inclosers proceeded against in 1517, when he was accused of having hedged 30 acres and converted them to pasture. (fn. 128) By 1535 the rent of the manor had been raised to £10 15s., and in the opinion of the lessee John Wellesborne the estate was worth more than £20 a year. (fn. 129) It is clear that his main interest was sheep, for the reason he put forward when negotiating for a grant of Mixbury manor was that he wanted more pasture and water for his flocks. (fn. 130) Mixbury was bringing into the abbey £22 8s. 4d. a year, £14 1s. 8d. of this sum being from the rents of customary tenants. (fn. 131) Wellesborne eventually acquired the freehold of both Fulwell with its water-mill and Mixbury with its warren, (fn. 132) and at his death in 1548 Fulwell was worth £10 15s. a year clear, and Mixbury £21 15s. 4d. (fn. 133)
For the subsidy of 1523 Mixbury, including Fulwell and Willaston, paid £2 6s. There were 27 contributors, of which Thomas Yardley, who was probably Oseney's lessee, with his payment of £1, was far the largest. Fifteen paid between 1s. and 3s., and twelve the lowest contribution of 4d. (fn. 134)
Willaston, a much larger estate than Fulwell, was being leased from Rewley Abbey in the early 16th century by John Arden, perhaps a son of John Arden of Cottisford, for £10 a year. (fn. 135) It is likely that he almost depopulated the village at a stroke by his inclosure in 1502 of 200 field acres of arable. They were converted to pasture; 7 ploughs were put down and 42 people evicted'et otiosi lacrimose ab inde recesserunt'. (fn. 136) Nevertheless, there were still a few inhabitants in Willaston in the 17th century. (fn. 137) Six were recorded in the Overseers' Book in 1666, three of them Wellicombs, a yeoman family of standing. (fn. 138) By 1658 the Grantham family were lessees of the manor: they held 280, 62, and 12 acres respectively and paid a total rent of £235. Part of the land at this time was used for pasture and stocked with sheep and cattle, and part was sown with barley, oats, rye, and peas. (fn. 139) Wheat, the growing of which had been encouraged by the rector Thomas Russ (1667–86), was grown soon after, (fn. 140) and possibly sainfoin. It is uncertain when the latter crop was first introduced into the parish, but it must have been well established by 1740, when the Mixbury field-name Sainfoin Corner occurs. (fn. 141)
It is probable that Willaston's land was all inclosed by the time the Granthams were tenants. Field names show that besides the Cow Common and a number of closes there were an Upper Mill Field, a Nether Mill Field, and three or four other 'fields'. (fn. 142) Certainly by the early 18th century Willaston was almost all one large farm, which was rented for £200 a year. In 1698 the fine for a 21-year lease was £150 and in 1728 £630 for a 40-year lease. (fn. 143) When the property was bought by John Harrison in the early 19th century the remaining derelict cottages were pulled down. (fn. 144)
In 1699 the hamlet or 'inship' as it was called had been rated at 55 yardlands out of the 195¼ at which the whole parish was rated. Fulwell was rated at 36¼ yardlands, Monk's House at 1 yardland, Mixbury rectory at 20, the town at 51, and the lord of the manor at 32 yardlands. He was assessed on his warren, fishpond, North Heath, and castle, i.e. on the field in which the castle had once stood. (fn. 145) In 1700 a Quarter Sessions case shows that Thomas Grantham of Willaston complained that he had been overtaxed in comparison with the inhabitants of Mixbury, who were rated at £2 a yardland instead of at £4, the true value of their estates. (fn. 146)
At this time Mixbury had three open fields, Sandfield, West Field, and Middle Field. A glebe terrier of 1662 shows that the rector's acres were still divided into acre and ½-acre strips, which were said to be 'marked with the parsonage mark, which is a picked baulk betwixt the lands at each acres'. (fn. 147) In the early 18th century, when the glebe consisted of 65 field acres, they were divided between the three fields in the proportion of 26, 25½, and 9, (fn. 148) a distribution which suggests that there had been originally two fields. There were extensive common lands. Race Hill and the 'hill towards Cottisford' are mentioned in the 16th century, when it was complained that the poor of Evenley (Northants) were encroaching there. (fn. 149) At that time, and probably until the inclosure, there were still lot leys, and every landholder, including the rector, had an allotment of grass and thorns there according to his number of yardlands. (fn. 150)
A valuable part of the manor was the rabbit warren. The Abbot of Oseney had been granted free warren at Mixbury in 1268, (fn. 151) and in 1279 the 'warren' was recorded under the heading of the abbey's grange in Fulwell, but the Mixbury rabbit warren was certainly meant. (fn. 152) In 1535 it was being farmed for £8 a year, and it was probably the first large inclosure in the township. (fn. 153) The profits to be derived from rabbits may be judged from the complaint of 1662 that all the burrows on Sweetingtree Hill were an encroachment, there being no ancient burrow there but ploughed land belonging to the landholders of Mixbury and 'known and distinguished by acre and ley'. (fn. 154)
Inclosure of the open fields did not come until 1730. There were then only two proprietors in Mixbury and Fulwell, Benjamin Bathurst, the lord of the manor, and the rector, and these alone had rights of common. Agreement between the two was easily reached, and open fields, leys, Mixbury Meadow, and Warren, about 2,400 acres in all, were inclosed by private act in 1730. (fn. 155) Lands were exchanged to make a compact glebe for the rector, and Bathurst undertook to build a wall between the glebe and that part of the ancient warren which he proposed to stock with rabbits.
One immediate effect of inclosure was to double the rents. The estate had been rented for £321, but after inclosure, when it was slightly increased in size, it was proposed to raise the rents to £700 and after nine years to £900. (fn. 156) Another consequence was a decrease in the number of tenants and a probable increase in the size of farms: at the time of inclosure the manor had twenty tenants but by 1786 there were only five. (fn. 157) The only evidence found for the size of Mixbury farms before inclosure is a reference in 1703 to a small farm of 2 virgates. (fn. 158) In 1832 there were two large farms, which were rented for over £200, four of which were rented for between £90 and £160, and two smaller properties. (fn. 159) The usual tendency for farms to increase in size after this date occurred here. In the 1850's there were five farmers in the parish and though there were six farms in 1939 all were over 150 acres. (fn. 160) By 1956 there were 13 farms. Out of a total of 1,592 acres of cultivated land, 811 were grassland and 781 arable. (fn. 161)
Farming has remained the main occupation of the villagers. In about 1823 61 families were engaged in agriculture, compared with 12 engaged in trade and crafts. (fn. 162) In the 1850's the village had a blacksmith, a baker, two shopkeepers, and a carrier. (fn. 163) As late as 1903 there were a blacksmith and a shopkeeper, but by 1939 the only tradesman left was a shopkeeper. (fn. 164)
Mixbury had the usual parish officers. Some record of the 17th-century churchwardens and overseers of the poor, who presented their accounts on Rogation Monday, and of the way-ward and cowkeeper, chosen by the 'concert of the neighbourhood', have been preserved in extracts made by Blomfield. (fn. 165) He also quotes from constables' accounts, now lost. (fn. 166) Overseers' accounts for 1732 to 1755 have survived; the annual expenditure varied between £11 6s. and £34 7s. until the year 1754–5, when there was a sharp increase to £52 15s. The overseers were the leading farmers: John Westcar, tenant of Willaston, for example, or Thomas Wellicomb. (fn. 167) By 1776 the annual expenditure exceeded £73; from 1783 to 1785 there was an average of over £141 and in 1803 over £500. The poor rate of 8s. in the pound was then the highest in the hundred. (fn. 168) The parish continued poor and neglected and in 1854 the children were still leaving school at eight or nine years of age to work in the fields or to make lace. (fn. 169) Bishop Wilberforce in 1855 noted the poverty and the poor condition of the cottages, for which he blamed the old and non-resident squire. (fn. 170) The rector, W. J. Palmer, also complained that although the squire owned the whole village and half the parish he never did anything for it. Palmer could only remedy the effects of the landlord's neglect and the continued agricultural depression by encouraging emigration. (fn. 171)
As elsewhere in the hundred population increased in the second half of the 18th century. In 1665 21 houses were listed for the hearth tax, and they did not include those worth less than 20s. of which there may have been several, and in 1676 the number of adults over sixteen was 106. In 1738 the incumbent described Mixbury as a small village with about 40 houses. (fn. 172) By 1759 this number had risen to 43 and in 1768 to about 60, almost certainly an exaggeration, as in 1771 only 40 were returned and in 1781 50 houses. (fn. 173) Official returns for 1801 and 1811 gave population figures of 304 and 336. (fn. 174) The greatest number of baptisms in the century was in the decade 1840 to 1849, and in 1851 the population reached the peak of 402. Thereafter, owing to the agricultural depression, it declined to 221 in 1901 and to the further low figure of 184 in 1951. (fn. 175)
As in other cases in the hundred, parish and township were not coterminous at Mixbury. The parish included Mixbury, Willaston, and after 1435 Fulwell, and a fraction of the township of Newton Purcell. Although Willaston had its own chapel, it was always dependent on Mixbury. (fn. 176) The inclusion of some of Newton Purcell probably dated from the early Middle Ages, when Mixbury manor included land in Newton Purcell, (fn. 177) and the arrangement survived into the post-Reformation period. In 1582 two houses in Newton, one with a close and 3 acres in the fields of Newton, belonged to Mixbury parish. One paid all tithes to Mixbury, the other paid a third of its tithes to Mixbury and the rest to Newton. (fn. 178) The inhabitants of these houses went to church at Newton but paid church dues to Mixbury, where they went four times a year for Communion. (fn. 179)
In the early Middle Ages Fulwell was a separate parish. In 1074 Robert d'Oilly, the lord of Fulwell, granted two-thirds of the demesne tithes to the church of St. George in Oxford castle. (fn. 180) In 1149 these passed to Oseney Abbey (see below). Oseney was given the advowson of Fulwell with the manor in 1205 by Adelelm of Fulwell. (fn. 181) Shortly after 1235 the church was appropriated to the abbey on condition that 26s. 8d. was distributed annually to poor scholars at Oxford, a condition which was still being fulfilled in 1535. (fn. 182) The appropriation was confirmed in 1319/20. (fn. 183)
Fulwell church was valued at 10s. in 1254, (fn. 184) but is not mentioned in later valuations. In 1435, when Fulwell's independent parochial status ended, the church was said to be worth 40s., less the 26s. 8d. due to the Oxford scholars. In that year the bishop confirmed an arrangement between James Job, the Rector of Mixbury, and Oseney Abbey whereby, in return for certain concessions (see below), the rector agreed to minister to the spiritual needs of Fulwell's single parishioner and his household, instead of the chaplain whom Oseney had formerly maintained there. (fn. 185) The rector was to receive in Mixbury church for services and sacraments all who stayed within the parish of Fulwell's church of St. Michael the Archangel. He was to give them penance, extreme unction, and other necessary sacraments. If any person was too ill to attend Mixbury church the rector was to administer the appropriate sacrament at Fulwell, except for burial, purification of women, and baptism of children. He and his successors were to say mass in the church of Fulwell every year on the feast of St. Michael as long as there were sacred vestments and books there. The inhabitants and those staying in Fulwell, like the parishioners of Mixbury, were to give the rector their personal tithes at Easter and mortuaries when they fell due. If they failed to do so the abbey was to see to the payment under penalty of 20s. A like sum was to be paid to the abbey by the rector if he neglected to administer the sacraments. (fn. 186)
During the 13th century the ownership of the tithes of Fulwell was disputed between Oseney and successive rectors of Mixbury. The first dispute was settled in 1216, and in 1251 the tithes of sheaves in Fullewelheth formed one of the subjects of a composition between Oseney and John de Exeter. (fn. 187) In 1263 the abbey's right to receive these tithes was reaffirmed after further dissension. (fn. 188) One of two undated bulls of Nicholas V (1447–55), apparently confirmations of the 1435 agreement, included the Fulwell tithes amongst those granted by Oseney to the Mixbury rectors, but the other specifically reserved to the abbey all the greater and lesser tithes of Fullewelheth, except a few personal ones. (fn. 189) Oseney certainly retained them, for in the 16th century they were farmed out with the manor. (fn. 190) After the abbey's dissolution they were granted in 1541 to Sir John Wellesborne. (fn. 191) The rector received a modus of £1 12s. (fn. 192)
The earliest evidence for the existence of the church at Mixbury dates from the grant of its tithes in 1074 (see below). Willaston's were granted at the same time and it may already have had its own chapel, although it is possible that its tithes still formed part of the endowment of the mother church. A chapel there was first specifically recorded in a charter of 1151 confirming a grant in about 1123 of Mixbury advowson. (fn. 193) The chapel always remained dependent on Mixbury and was still being used, at least for christenings and burials, as late as 1645. (fn. 194)
In the late 11th and early 12th centuries the advowson of Mixbury was probably held by the D'Ivrys, but after the death of Roger d'Ivry in about 1120 or possibly earlier it must have passed to the justiciar Ralph Basset. (fn. 195) In or soon after 1123 Basset gave to a clerical son all his advowsons. These, including the advowson of Mixbury and its chapel of Willaston, were granted by the latter to Oseney Abbey perhaps on its foundation in 1149, and were confirmed to the abbey in 1151 by Archbishop Theobald. (fn. 196) In the confusion of Stephen's reign the abbey perhaps lost the advowson, for by 1213 it was in the hands of Thomas de St. Valery, the lord of the manor. When he granted Mixbury to Oseney in that year he reserved the advowson to himself and his heirs. (fn. 197) Confirmations by Robert, Count of Dreux, in 1225, and Richard, Earl of Cornwall, in 1230, made the same reservation. (fn. 198) But between 1274 and 1277 Edmund, Earl of Cornwall, gave the advowson to Walter de Merton, Bishop of Rochester, and his successors, in part exchange for the advowson of St. Buryan (Cornwall). (fn. 199) Nevertheless, in 1334 John of Eltham, Earl of Cornwall, unsuccessfully attempted to claim it from Bishop Hamo Hethe as belonging by right to his honor of St. Valery. (fn. 200) Oseney Abbey also tried at this period to secure the advowson. In 1352 and 1354 Edward III granted it licences to exchange the advowsons of Bucknell and Swerford for that of Mixbury. (fn. 201) Nothing came of this, and a further attempt to exchange (the advowson of Cornwell being substituted for that of Swerford) was made in 1396, the year in which Oseney was given permission to appropriate the church. (fn. 202) The exchange did not materialize, even though Bishop Bottlesham of Rochester was apparently willing and obtained a similar licence. (fn. 203)
The advowson remained in the possession of the bishops of Rochester, the Crown presenting during vacancies of the see, until 1852, when it was transferred to the Bishop of Oxford. (fn. 204) Since the union of the benefices of Finmere and Mixbury in 1931, the bishop has presented for one turn and the Misses Ashwell for three turns. (fn. 205)
The church's endowment consisted of tithes from Mixbury, Willaston, and a portion of Newton Purcell, together with the income from its glebe land. (fn. 209) The rectors' claim to the tithes of Fulwell was abandoned finally in 1435 (see above). In 1074 Roger d'Ivry granted two-thirds of the demesne tithes of Mixbury and Willaston to the church of St. George in Oxford castle: in 1149 they passed, with the rest of that church's property, to Oseney Abbey. (fn. 210) During the 13th century there were several disputes between the rectors of Mixbury and the abbey about the tithes of Mixbury. The first, under eight headings, was settled in 1216. (fn. 211) In 1251 it was decided that Oseney among other things was to have twothirds of the tithes of sheaves in the Earl of Cornwall's demesne in Willaston hamlet and the abbey's own demesne in Mixbury, and a tithe of the water-mill at Mixbury. The abbey was to pay the rector a pension of £2 a year and to allow him pasture for 150 sheep and 8 beasts in its special pasture, in addition to his rights in the common pasture. This arrangement was reaffirmed in 1263 after another dispute with a later rector. (fn. 212) There was further dissension in 1311 when some of the beasts of John, the parson of Mixbury, were said to have been taken and unjustly detained by the abbey. (fn. 213) Clearly the arrangement was unsatisfactory, and in 1435 a new agreement was concluded. (fn. 214) In future the Rector of Mixbury was to be responsible for the cure of souls in Fulwell (see above). He surrendered his pension of £2 (fn. 215) and all rights of pasture outside the parish. In return the abbey conceded certain tithes to him and his successors. The confirmatory bulls of Nicholas V appear to be contradictory (see above), or they may refer to two distinct agreements. One of them confirmed the rectors' right to all tithes from lands within the parish of Mixbury, except those of Fulwell. The other acknowledged their right to the tithes of Fullewelheth alias le Breche, of Brondlond, and to two-thirds of those of Castellond and Willaston, though with reservation to the abbey of certain lesser tithes. (fn. 216) Despite this settlement, there were further tithe disputes in the 16th century. (fn. 217)
After the Reformation, as was often the case elsewhere, the payment of tithes caused continual trouble. The commutation of the tithes of Willaston for a modus of £4 is first recorded in the time of Ralph Pontisbury (rector 1521–59). (fn. 218) Lessees of the rectory later in the century testified that they received almost all the tithes of Willaston in kind, but William Rickard (rector 1587–99) again accepted the £4 modus from John Arden, the influential tenant of Willaston, in the hope that he would be 'better unto him, but found him otherwise'. (fn. 219) Rickard was unsuccessful in his attempt to break the modus, which with rising prices had become very prejudicial to the rector, but Thomas Walker (rector 1630–8), who was also Rector of Somerton and no doubt a richer man, after repeated legal action recovered the right to tithe in kind worth £24. (fn. 220) During the Civil War the modus was reimposed, (fn. 221) and the efforts of Timothy Hart in 1658 and 1659 to recover tithes in kind were unavailing, the inhabitants denying that such tithes had ever been paid. (fn. 222) In 1664 he made an arrangement with his parishioners by which every Good Friday 2s. should be paid for a tithe lamb, 1d. for the tithe milk of a new milch cow, and 9d. for that of an old milch cow. In lieu of the tithes of Mixbury Warren, the rector received 30 couple of rabbits yearly. (fn. 223) Later these tithes were leased, and at the inclosure in 1730 were commuted for £105. (fn. 224) At the same time the scattered glebe (65 field acres), which consisted of 2 yardlands in 1662, was exchanged for a holding of 49 acres. (fn. 225) In 1730 it included Parsonage Meadow by the river and Parsonage Quarry, which were exchanged in 1825 for Home Piece and Slade Piece. (fn. 226)
Throughout the 19th century the rent of the glebe, £105 for Mixbury's tithes, and the two small moduses for Willaston and Fulwell, made up the endowment of the rectory. In 1831 it was valued at £180, making it one of the poorer rectories in the deanery. (fn. 227) In 1955 there were 8 acres of glebe. (fn. 228)
Being a moderately rich church, Mixbury had some medieval rectors of good standing. Master William de San Maxentio in the early 13th century was a university graduate and a canon of Lincoln. (fn. 229) He had a chaplain in Mixbury, who among other things collected his tithes. (fn. 230) Another clerk of his gave a virgate of land to Oseney Abbey, and was buried there. (fn. 231) At that time there was a married clerk (clericus conjugatus), Thomas de Mixbury, living in the parish. He was a member of a prosperous local family, for he held 2 virgates of land, and his sister held another as her dowry. (fn. 232) Of later medieval rectors, it can be said that one 14thcentury rector was responsible for alterations to the chancel, that from 1425 the living was usually held by university graduates, and that in 1535 James Arden, a member of a local family of gentry, was rector. (fn. 233)
The tithe dispute of 1216 between the rector and Oseney tells something of the early church customs of the parish. The canons complained that when a married man died leaving two beasts the rector took one; when a widow or unmarried person died, he took the best beast. The rector replied that this was the custom in the archdeaconry, and he seems to have won his point. (fn. 234)
Mixbury was fortunate in the 17th and 18th centuries in having mostly resident rectors, which partly made up for the disadvantage of absentee landlords in the second half of the 18th century. The first who calls for remark is Timothy Hart (1656–66). He was presented by the parliamentary government and, in spite of the fact that he conformed in 1662 and obtained a royal presentation, he remained, together with his brother, Theophilus Hart, Rector of Wappenham (Northants), an object of suspicion to Charles II's government. (fn. 235) Hart took a great interest in his rectory and parish, and was a diligent recorder of parochial matters. Among other things, he kept a list of communicants: from 1657 to 1662 they varied between 38 and 65 in number, but there were usually 45 at least. (fn. 236) He was, as his monumental inscription in the church stated, a 'godly, faithful and vigilant rector'.
Various 17th-century church customs are recorded in the parish records. The old churchwardens presented their accounts, and the new ones were chosen, on the Monday of Rogation week; it was agreed in 1695 that the parish clerk was to receive 10s. from the churchwardens at Easter, in addition to 4d. from every house in Mixbury and 2s. from Fulwell and Willaston; (fn. 237) for every parishioner who died worth £30 or more a mortuary of 10s. was paid to the rector, who also received 2d. at Easter from every family. (fn. 238)
At that time the church possessed lands assigned to its maintenance. These were carefully recorded by Hart in 1662, when £1 of the income from them was being used to augment the parish clerk's wages. (fn. 239) It was the custom to let the land from year to year to the highest bidder, the rent being received by the churchwardens. After the inclosure Benjamin Bathurst, as lord of the manor, took over these lands at an annual rent of £3. (fn. 240) In 1751 he stopped paying, and in spite of various attempts to induce payment, Bathurst and his widow remained obdurate. The matter was allowed to drop and the lands were lost to the church. (fn. 241)
Among 18th-century rectors may be mentioned Lawrence Broderick (rector 1713–43), an active magistrate in the county, whose daughter married Benjamin Bathurst; (fn. 242) and James Johnson (rector 1744– 59), who became Bishop of Worcester. (fn. 243)
The benefit of a resident rector was demonstrated in this period by the greater frequency and regularity with which services were held than in some of the neighbouring parishes. In 1738 there were two services and a sermon every Sunday; Communion was celebrated three times a year, and there were about 30 communicants; the children were catechized. (fn. 244) Much the same state of affairs prevailed during the long incumbency of Just Alt (1759–1801), except that he also conducted services on the great feast and fast days. (fn. 245) He has been described as 'a proud, imperious priest', and was also a magistrate. (fn. 246) The number of communicants tended to drop (in 1781 the average number was fifteen), and in 1784 Alt reported that there were 'too many who are chiefly absent' from church. (fn. 247) With the advent of W. J. Palmer (rector 1802–51), also Rector of Finmere, who rebuilt the Rectory, built the school, and restored the church, church life began to improve. Already in 1808 there was a celebration on the first Sunday of every month as well as on the three chief festivals, though in 1831 the number of communicants at each celebration was still very small and only about two-sevenths of the population attended church. (fn. 248)
The church of ALL SAINTS is a stone structure comprising a nave, chancel, north aisle, western tower, and south porch. (fn. 249)
The building dates from the 12th century, but the only Romanesque feature left is the south door. Repairs in 1842 to 'one of the chancel windows' revealed the head of a circular window carved with chevrons after the style of the south doorway. (fn. 250)
There was considerable rebuilding in the early 14th century. New windows were inserted in the north, east, and south walls of the chancel. The east window of three lights with Geometrical tracery is a good example of the period, and was once decorated with medieval coats of arms in stained glass, which were noted by Rawlinson in about 1718. (fn. 251) In addition, a tower of three stages, with a battlemented parapet and gargoyles, and having a west doorway, was erected and remains unaltered; an arcade of three arches supported on octagonal pillars and an aisle were built on the north side of the nave; windows were inserted in the south wall of the nave. (fn. 252) The north wall of the aisle was decorated with a wall painting. (fn. 253) A clerestory, lighted by three two-light windows on either side, was added. (fn. 254)
In the 17th century many changes were made to the fabric. In 1630 a storm blew in one of the windows, and in the next few years repairs were executed for which a special rate was levied. (fn. 255) In 1662 another storm did further damage. (fn. 256) At some time during the century the south wall of the chancel was rebuilt, although the 14th-century windows were preserved; a roof of very low pitch was put over nave and chancel; and a large south porch was added, rising to the middle of the clerestory. At the end of the century a Latin inscription was placed in the chancel commemorating the successful struggle over poor rates with the hamlets of Willaston and Fulwell and the restoration of the church. It ran 'in memoriam . . . templi insuper primaevi redditi elegantiae utinam et pietati quarum alteram perennet alteram provehat Deus. P.W.F. 1696'. (fn. 257) Although declared to be in a state of 'sufficient repair' in 1761, (fn. 258) this was no longer the case 50 years later. The rector, W.J. Palmer, began by removing in 1807–8 the old pews and inserting new and additional oak ones, and the churchwardens reported that he was 'making alteration' to the church. (fn. 259) In 1843 he restored the chancel; (fn. 260) and it is likely that it was at this date that the Romanesque chancel arch was rebuilt.
He also proposed to make extensive repairs to the rest of the fabric, and to remove the old screen between the belfry and the nave, making it 'good in a handsome way', on certain conditions which the vestry refused to accept. In 1848, on receipt of a letter from the bishop concerning the repair of the church, the vestry at last agreed to do what was legally necessary. George Wyatt, builder, of Oxford, reported that the south wall was so much 'bulged and shaken' that it ought to be rebuilt; that the dressings of the door and windows and the string course could be mostly reused; that the upper portion of the north wall up to the clerestory windows should be rebuilt; and that the roof should be retimbered with oak and releaded with new lead. His estimate, which included replastering the interior and renewing the roof corbels in Bath stone, amounted to £402. The rector offered to meet the bill if the vestry would agree to a repayment of £280 raised by rates levied in the years 1849–51. His offer was finally accepted and the work was put in hand. (fn. 261) At this time also the south porch was rebuilt on a smaller scale in the Romanesque style. The dates of the construction and removal of the west gallery are not known. (fn. 262)
The elaborate restoration, especially of the chancel, with the installation of a new carved altar, stained glass, tiles, panelling, the Lord's Prayer and Creed framed in Gothic stonework, and other furniture, is of interest, as it was the earliest work of the kind undertaken in the Bicester deanery. Palmer's object, in his own words, was 'to restore the older character of the church, and get rid as much as possible of that of the period of the last repair'. (fn. 263) Various other additions, including an organ, candlesticks and lamps, stained-glass windows, the gift of Lord Selborne, and an alabaster pulpit given by Archdeacon Palmer, were made later. (fn. 264) The font also belongs to this period.
The incised slab to Sir John Wellesborne (d. 1548) and his wife, showing the full-length figures of themselves and two daughters, which Rawlinson noted in the chancel, has disappeared except for some small fragments now embedded in the floor of the nave; it was probably destroyed during the 19thcentury restoration, since Skelton mentions it as greatly obliterated in 1823. (fn. 265) There is a floor slab to Wellesborne Sill (d. 1706/7), a tablet to Benjamin Bathurst (d. 1767) and his widow, and tablets commemorating the donors of charities: Stephen Painter, Simon Rogers, Anne Rogers, and the Revd. W. J. Palmer. The inscription to Timothy Hart, rector (d. 1666), and various inscriptions to 17th-century members of the Sill family, noted by Rawlinson in about 1718, cannot now be traced. Painted records of charitable gifts dating from 1639 to 1711 are on the west wall. (fn. 266)
Mixbury is unusually rich in inventories of church goods. There are lists for 1552, 1662, 1757, and 1884, (fn. 267) and W. J. Palmer noted the communion plate in 1805. (fn. 268) The plate now (1956) includes two silver chalices with paten covers, inscribed respectively with the names of Thomas Rus, rector, 1681, and W. J. P[almer], rector, 1847; and a silver alms plate, hall-marked 1682, inscribed Ecclesia de Mixbury 1716 and bearing the Glover arms. (fn. 269) There are also a heavy pewter flagon (c. 1699), two pewter plates, both 18th century, and another flagon inscribed '1847, W. J. P[almer]'. (fn. 270) In 1552 there had been a parcel-gilt chalice. (fn. 271)
In 1552 there were two bells, a sanctus bell, and two hand bells. In 1956 there was a ring of three bells hanging in a 17th-century oak frame. John Wellesborne gave the tenor, inscribed 'God save King James, 1609', and his grandson gave the second, inscribed 'God save King Charles, 1627'. (fn. 272)
In addition to the goods listed in the inventories, the church owned, in the mid-16th century, two cows and some sheep, given by John Hogges and Joan Gloucester, widow, to pay a priest to keep their obits. (fn. 273)
The registers begin in 1645, and the first volume contains notes on church customs made by Timothy Hart in the 1660's. There is also a manuscript history of the parish and church compiled in 1851–2 by the rector W.J. Palmer. There are later additions ending in 1948.
There have occasionally been Roman Catholics in Mixbury: two were fined in 1610; (fn. 274) a poor Papist was recorded in 1706; (fn. 275) and there was one in 1738. (fn. 276) In the second half of the 18th century one of the farmers was a Roman Catholic. He and his family and servants were returned as such in 1767. (fn. 277) In 1781 there was also a Roman Catholic labouring family. (fn. 278) All had disappeared by about 1800. (fn. 279)
Protestant dissent appeared in about 1830, for in that year and in 1831 certificates for meeting-houses were granted. (fn. 280) It did not flourish: in 1854 there were two dissenters, and in 1866 none. (fn. 281)
There was no school in the 18th century, (fn. 282) but about 1803 the rector opened one which in 1808 taught reading, the catechism, and handicrafts to about 20 children. (fn. 283) In 1815 it was reported that the girls were starting lace-making at seven years of age and that the boys were leaving school at ten to work on the farms. There were then 25–30 pupils, and the parish clerk was teaching reading, writing, and the catechism to about 20 older boys at winter evening-classes. (fn. 284) In 1818 there were only 12 children at the day school, (fn. 285) and in 1833 there was no day school at all. (fn. 286)
The Revd. W.J.Palmer, the rector, built a school on part of the glebe in 1838, and in 1852 endowed it with £103 4s. 6d. and a close in Finmere, which produced an income of £16 a year. By 1853 £9 18s. had also been left by Mary George for the schooling of one or more poor children. (fn. 287) There were 60 children in the school in 1854, although they were still leaving at eight or nine years of age. (fn. 288) The rectors continued to support the school, which had one teacher and an attendance of 57 in 1889 (fn. 289) and 47 in 1906. (fn. 290) It was successively reorganized as a junior school in 1928 and as an infants' school in 1948: the older children were sent to Fringford school. It was granted aided status in 1954. There were 23 pupils on the books in 1954, (fn. 291) but it was closed in 1955 as no one could be found to clean the school. The income from Palmer's endowment was then £22 11s. 4d. and £5 8s. 8d. was also received from other legacies. (fn. 292)
Between 1611 and 1727 a series of small bequests amounting to £43 was made by John Wellesborne, Julian Webb, Thomas Gibbs, John Wellicome, George Gibbs, Richard Strange, Aaron Gibbs, and Moses Gibbs. (fn. 293) As early as 1738 these charities were administered as one: the money was held by the lord of the manor, and the interest he paid was distributed annually on New Year's Day, in bread to the poor and in money to widows. (fn. 294) The annual income was £2 3s. in 1786 (fn. 295) and in 1824, when the distribution was in bread only. (fn. 296)
By will dated 1812 Simon Rogers (d. 1820) left £100 in trust for the poor, the interest to be distributed annually as the rector and churchwardens thought fit. (fn. 297) Stephen Painter (d. 1834) left £100, the distribution to be in bread on 1 January, and Ann Rogers (d. 1835) left £100, the interest to be applied for the benefit of the poor or their children each Christmas. (fn. 298)
All the foregoing charities were amalgamated in 1932 by a scheme of the Charity Commission, their endowment then amounting to about £360 in stock. (fn. 299) In 1955 the total annual income was £8 17s. 8d. The charity was then distributed yearly in the form of vouchers for the purchase of goods at 2s. in the £ discount. Distribution was on a three-yearly basis— to children under 7 years of age in the first year, to children between 7 and 15 in the second, and to old people in the third. Each voucher was worth about 10s. (fn. 300)
By will dated 1890 the Revd. G. H. Palmer left £100 to purchase coal for the poor. The legacy was paid in 1922 and invested in stock. (fn. 301) In 1954 the annual income of £4 6s. 6d. was distributed in coal to old people at Christmas. (fn. 302)
By will proved 1928 C. C. Barrett of Finmere left £100 for the benefit of five of the oldest and poorest parishioners who had lived good lives, the annual income to be distributed on New Year's Day. (fn. 303) In 1954 £3 9s. 2d. was distributed to five old people at Christmas. (fn. 304)