A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 7, Dorchester and Thame Hundreds. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1962.
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Tetsworth was one of the ancient chapelries of Thame and did not become an independent ecclesiastical parish until 1841. It was administratively separate from Thame from an early date, however, and covered 1,179 acres in 1932, when the civil parish was enlarged to 2,618 acres by the addition of Attington and part of Thame to the west. (fn. 1) The ancient boundaries followed Haseley Brook in the south, and the old boundary on the east used to run from the Wheatfield road to Horsenden Hill, some way to the west of the modern boundary. On the north and east, where Tetsworth touched Attington and Thame, the boundary line made numerous right-angled turns indicating that it was drawn after the layout of arable strips. (fn. 2)
The ancient chapelry lay in the Clay belt, (fn. 3) mainly between the 200 and 300 ft. contours: it rose in the centre to over 300 ft. and also at Horsenden Hill at the north-east corner. Tetsworth common lay to the north-west of the village. (fn. 4)
The main Oxford–High Wycombe–London road runs diagonally across the parish; it became a turnpike in 1718. (fn. 5) The records reveal the importance of the high road in the life of Tetsworth from early times. The village is marked on a mid-14th-century road map of England (fn. 6) and in 1447 a licence was granted to found a hermitage at Tetsworth and a chapel of St. John the Baptist for the purpose of repairing the road. The hermit was to labour with his hands for the maintenance of the highways between Stokenchurch and Wheatley Bridge, which had long been a trouble for lack of repair. (fn. 7) At the Reformation the hermit disappeared but he was remembered as late as the 19th century by a field called the Hermitage beside the Thame road. (fn. 8)
In the wills of medieval inhabitants of Tetsworth and the neighbourhood bequests were constantly made for the upkeep of the highways, (fn. 9) and postmedieval documents contain many references to travellers on the Tetsworth road. As the village was 12 miles from Oxford it became a stage on the route from London to Oxford for the postchaises and carriers, and it was there that letters from the capital for the great houses such as Rycote were left. (fn. 10)
Plot noted in 1677 that the ways were mended with the local stone called 'maume'. It was so free of sulphur that it slaked in winter like lime and Plot thought the local farmers should much rather 'mend their lands than highways' with it. He left a specimen with the son of the 'ingenious improver, Sir Thomas Tipping', as a 'thing not unworthy of his father's trial'. (fn. 11)
That the roads might be dangerous appears from occasional records. A 16th-century Star Chamber case records that an Oxford carrier, taking goods and passengers to London, was attacked at Tetsworth by four armed men. They wounded the eight occupants of his conveyance and opened valuable chests. (fn. 12) In 1681 Viscount Latimer wrote that he had arrived safely at Oxford without encountering highwaymen, having paid a visit to Roycote whilst his coach 'baited' at Tetsworth. (fn. 13) Another case is recorded in 1762 of a highwayman robbing one of the Oxford coaches near Tetsworth. (fn. 14)
The heyday of the road was after the making of the turnpike in 1718 until the coming of the railways in the 1840's, (fn. 15) when road traffic dwindled and one of the principal hostelries, the 'Swan', was partly converted into a post-office and the 'Royal Oak' was pulled down. (fn. 16) Hearne records how the Mayor of Oxford and others dined at Tetsworth in 1725 and that Dr. Edmund Hailey of Greenwich, the Savilian Professor of Geometry, designed to lie there on his return journey after a visit to Oxford in 1727. (fn. 17) In 1835 Pigot's Commercial Directory records that three London coaches went daily via Tetsworth and Wheatley to Oxford. There were two vans and wagons a week from London going by the same route, besides much local traffic. (fn. 18)
The chief coaching inn was the 'Swan'. In the 17th century when it was the property of the Sedley family and of Sir Charles Sedley, the dramatist, its name was changed to the 'Sedley Arms'. (fn. 19) By 1719 the inn had reverted to its original name. (fn. 20)
The present building is of many dates, but the late 17th-century and 18th-century facade of chequer brick conceals a much older and rather smaller building. The original house, probably built c. 1600, consisted of a timber-framed L-shaped building of two stories and attics, with three fine brick chimneystacks at the back. The range parallel with the road probably contained the hall, with a screens passage and kitchen or buttery to the east and a staircase and parlour to the west. On the first floor is a post which shows that the walls were formerly covered with wall-paintings. About 1700 the whole building was extensively remodelled and enlarged; an eastern projecting wing was added, the existing ranges were encased in brick, a row of rooms was added at the back, and along the eastern side of the western range was added a two-story gallery. The building now consists of a main block of two stories and attics, and of flanking wings projecting towards the road. It has a first-floor string and the cornice of moulded wood and plaster is deeply coved. The roof is hipped and tiled. The south elevation of the centre block has three hipped dormer windows. There are eight bays with mullioned and transomed windows of which the upper ones are original, but the ground floor ones were, until recently, sash windows. The building has many contemporary details such as its six-panelled door in the centre block with a rectangular fanlight, divided into four pointed arches, and its diamondshaped chimney stacks. There is much 16th- and 17th-century panelling inside.
Despite the importance of the London road, the village as a whole does not border it. It is a hill village, lying largely on two lanes that branch off to the south-west of the main road and climb the steep hill to the church at the summit. Davis's map of 1797 shows the 'Swan' and the Pettys' manor-house (fn. 21) as the only buildings on the north-east side of the London road, and even by 1839 this was still the case. (fn. 22) Fields and the green common (7 a.) lay next to the 'Swan'. Tetsworth was a fair-sized village in the 17th century with at least 43 householders (fn. 23) and some timber-framed cottages of this period, many of them thatched, still survive. 'Robertlyn', for example, has one story and an attic, is timber-framed with brick and rubble fillings; and the roof is halfhipped and thatched. Other cottages of the same period are built partly of flint and partly of brick. The farmhouse opposite to the 'Red Lion' is a rubblestone house of 17th-century date with brick additions. The village has still some 18th-century houses such as the house opposite the 'Swan', which has a characteristic panelled door and a wreathed and enriched fan-light. The present 'King's Arms' is also an 18th-century building, built on a terrace above the level of the road. Rebuilding was sometimes the result of fire as in 1736. (fn. 24) Nineteenth-century additions to the village included the church and the Vicarage, built in 1846, (fn. 25) the red-brick and Gothic school with a bell-turret, and the Congregational chapel of red brick with stone facings (1890). (fn. 26) In the 20th century a council housing-estate of 32 dwellings was built at Marsh End after the Second World War, (fn. 27) and in 1952 a village hall was erected. (fn. 28)
At one time the most important house in Tetsworth was the manor-house, standing on the site of Mount Hill Farm. (fn. 29) It was built early in the 16th century by Maximilian Petty. It is said by Wood that he pulled down the wool storage rooms attached to the 15th-century house in Thame, which he had bought from Geoffrey Dormer and where he had lived for some time. He used the materials to build his Tetsworth house. (fn. 30) Here the Pettys lived for several generations. John Petty, grandson of Maximilian, of Tetsworth and Stoke Talmage was granted arms in 1570, and some at least of his ten children were born at Tetsworth. (fn. 31) His son Charnell, 'an old puritan', lived at Tetsworth from 1614 to 1634, (fn. 32) and in his will, proved 1661, willed that his wife Ellen should enjoy the mansion house. (fn. 33) At this time it was a fair-sized house rated at 13 hearths for the tax of 1665. (fn. 34) Plot shows it with four chimneys on his map of 1677 as he does other houses of the gentry such as Dormer's at Ascot, and Doyley's at Chislehampton. (fn. 35) Christopher Petty sold the house in 1683 to his kinsman Christopher Wood, a relation of the antiquary Anthony Wood. (fn. 36) Later in the century it was divided into a baker's house and three others. (fn. 37) The present house, Mount Hill farmhouse, stands on the crown of the hill with its gable-end facing the highway and its north front facing a lane, from which it is approached by a flight of twelve steps. The gable-end has three stories and an attic; the north front has two stories and an attic. A covering of stucco mostly conceals the brick and stone of the old house, and a 19th-century porch and sash windows have been added.
Because of the early inclosure of Tetsworth field some of the parish's farmhouses, Latchford House, Goldpits, and Spencer's, for example, were not in the village. (fn. 38) The only one that still has any historical interest is Harlesford farmhouse and its outbuildings. The 18th-century house is built of vitreous brick with red dressings; and the outbuildings are partly brick, partly weather-boarding, and the roofs are covered with old tiles.
Tetsworth's position on the London road and in one of the main battle areas of the Civil War meant that troops were frequently passing through. In 1643 Hampden visited Major Gunter's cavalry which were quartered in and about Tetsworth; (fn. 39) Prince Rupert went through on his way to Chalgrove Field, and parliamentary scouts often picked up news there, particularly from travellers from London or Oxford. It was reported in October 1643, for example, that some of the king's foot and horsemen were quartered in the village; (fn. 40) in January 1644 that the king and queen themselves were there, and that the French ambassador had also passed the night there, his coach having broken down. (fn. 41)
Of its inhabitants the Petty family achieved a local position of some importance and one George Pettie (1548–89) made his mark on literature as a minor writer of romances. (fn. 42) Among churchmen Eliezer Williams (1754–1820), historian and genealogist, had a brief association with Tetsworth as curate, (fn. 43) and J. W. Peers (vicar 1841–76) was responsible for building the church, Vicarage, and school. (fn. 44)
TETSWORTH does not appear by name in the Domesday survey, but its lands were included in the Bishop of Lincoln's Thame manor of 60 hides. It is probable that it was represented mainly by the 10 hides held by a certain Robert, one of the bishop's knights, (fn. 45) and that he is to be identified with the Robert who held of the bishop in Banbury, Cropredy, and Wickham. (fn. 46) He may very possibly have been the father of Aucher Chevauchesul, who flourished at Tetsworth in the first half of the 12th century, (fn. 47) and the grandfather of Robert Chevauchesul. This last was in possession of Tetsworth by c. 1146, (fn. 48) and Tetsworth must have been included in the 3 fees he was holding of the Bishop of Lincoln in 1166. (fn. 49) The date of his death is uncertain, but he appears to have been alive in 1201. (fn. 50) At that date he was holding only 1 out of his 3 Oxfordshire fees; the other 2 fees had been for some time in the possession of his two sisters Emma and Maud. (fn. 51) Maud had married Peter Talemasch, (fn. 52) possibly the son of Hugh Talemasch of Stoke Talmage, (fn. 53) and himself lord of Stoke. (fn. 54) Peter, however, had died by 1181, (fn. 55) and Maud must have died before 1198, for it was their son Richard who was then in possession of half the Tetsworth fee. (fn. 56) In this year (1198–9) he and Robert Danvers, the heir to a moiety of the Tetsworth and Epwell fees, were engaged in an assize of mort d'ancestor over two of their Oxfordshire fees, a suit which may have had some connexion with Peter's debts to the Jews recorded in the same year. (fn. 57) Richard married Avice Taillard, a sister of Richard Taillard who frequently witnesses charters with him, (fn. 58) and appears to have died in or before 1205, when his son and heir Peter is found in possession of a ½-fee at Finstock in Charlbury, a part of his father's property. (fn. 59) In 1209–12 Peter Talemasch and Robert Danvers were returned as joint lords of Tetsworth; Talemasch was said to hold a ¾-fee. (fn. 60) When a survey of the bishop's Thame manors was made c. 1225 Peter Talemasch was still holding. (fn. 61) Robert Danvers's share had descended to him from William Danvers of Bourton and Chislehampton, who had acquired it by his marriage with Emma Chevauchesul. (fn. 62) William Danvers was one of Henry II's knights, and it has been plausibly suggested that he may have supported the king against Becket, since he was omitted from Thame Abbey's prayers for his family. (fn. 63) Robert the son of William and Emma had succeeded by c. 1197, and his younger brother Ralph was then holding part of Tetsworth of him. (fn. 64) Robert was a man of some standing: he acted as king's assessor in Oxfordshire in 1200. (fn. 65) He was still holding the Tetsworth fee in 1209–12, (fn. 66) but on the marriage of his eldest son Geoffrey before 1222 he gave 1½ fee, including his Tetsworth fee, as dowry for Geoffrey's wife Sara. (fn. 67) Both Geoffrey and his father were dead by the time of the Lincoln survey (c. 1225), when William Danvers, Geoffrey's brother and heir, was recorded as holder of the Tetsworth fee. (fn. 68) From a final concord made in May 1225 it appears that Geoffrey died before 1225, for by then Sara had already taken a second husband. (fn. 69)
William Danvers seems to have died before 1247. (fn. 70) He was followed by his eldest son Robert, who in 1279 held the Tetsworth and Epwell fees including the land once held by the Talemasches. (fn. 71) In 1305 it was specifically stated that Robert Danvers was heir to Peter Talemasch's fee. (fn. 72) A 14th-century record shows that Robert's son Simon held both the Danvers and Talemasch fees and that each contained property in both Tetsworth and Epwell. (fn. 73) Simon had subinfeudated his Tetsworth land which was mainly held by Thame Abbey. (fn. 74) In 1316 Simon Danvers and the Abbot of Thame were returned as joint lords of Tetsworth and in that year Simon was summoned for military service as one of the lords of Tetsworth, Epwell and Swalcliffe, Drayton, Stadhampton, and other lands. (fn. 75) Simon lived until at least 1327 (fn. 76) but before his death he disposed of some of his Tetsworth property. In 1321 he gave some 4½ virgates and a 2/3-fee there to Geoffrey de Stokes and his wife Alice, who may have been Simon's daughter, with remainder to their son Geoffrey. (fn. 77) In 1336 John de Wheatfield acquired the 2/3-fee from a Geoffrey de Waterbeck, (fn. 78) perhaps the same man as Geoffrey de Stokes. He died about 1345 (fn. 79) and in the following year his son John was returned as holding a ⅓-fee in Tetsworth. His assessment on only a ⅓-fee, John son of Simon Danvers and the Prebendary of Thame each holding another third, may represent some internal arrangement concerning the fee. (fn. 80) John de Wheatfield had died by 1361 and his heirs were Joan and Elizabeth. (fn. 81) They succeeded to the Tetsworth land, but in 1367 a Nicholas Tetsworth obtained half the property from Reginald de Grey and his wife Elizabeth and in 1374 he obtained the other half from Hugh Streatley and his wife Joan. (fn. 82) The descent of the property is not clear after this. In 1428 Walter Cotton, at that time lord of a Bletchingdon manor and of Exning (Suff.), held the Wheat field and Danvers property in Tetsworth, but no later reference to the Cotton tenure has been found. (fn. 83) It is probable that the land was entirely held by sub-tenants and became merged in other manors. The prebendary's ⅓-fee likewise has not been traced beyond 1428, but it appears to have followed the descent of Thame prebend. (fn. 84)
From the time of its removal from Oddington to Thame (fn. 85) the Cistercian Abbey of Thame began to acquire land in Tetsworth through the gifts of the pious, and particularly from the families of the various holders of fees—Chevauchesul, Talemasch, and Danvers. Its property was later known as TETSWORTH manor. The abbey obtained a hide from Robert Chevauchesul before 1146; (fn. 86) in 1197 Ralph Danvers, with the consent of his lord and brother Robert Danvers, gave 2¼ virgates; (fn. 87) and in 1199 Alan, clerk of Tetsworth, and his wife Clarissa gave 2 virgates. (fn. 88) About the same time Robert Danvers, his brothers William and Roger, and their cousin Richard Talemasch each gave a virgate. (fn. 89) Their mother Emma Danvers had already given 2 acres. (fn. 90) The charters record in all the gift of 15½ virgates, (fn. 91) but from a survey made in about 1225 it appears that Thame Abbey held 8¼ virgates of the Danvers fee and 8¾ of the Talemasch fee, besides 3 virgates at farm and 12¼ acres in small parcels. (fn. 92) Its total holding was thus over 20 virgates. In 1279 the jurors declared that the abbot's holding was 9½ virgates held of Robert Danvers's fee by scutage and suit of his court, and 8½ virgates held of Peter Talemasch's fee by scutage. (fn. 93) Talemasch was by now dead, having given the abbey his Stoke Talmage manor as well as part of his Tetsworth fee. (fn. 94) In 1316 the abbot was therefore returned as joint lord of Tetsworth with Simon Danvers (fn. 95) and he held his share as 1 knight's fee. (fn. 96) The estate, usually known as the Grange, is first designated a manor in 1365, when the abbot was granted free warren there, (fn. 97) and was retained by the abbey until its dissolution in 1539. (fn. 98)
In 1542 Thame Abbey's manor along with Stoke Talmage was granted by the Crown to Robert King, the last Abbot of Thame and the first Bishop of Oxford. (fn. 99) He proceeded to lease it in 1547 for 99 years at £20 2s. 10d. to Sir John (later Lord) Williams of Thame. (fn. 100) The manor was afterwards lost to the bishopric, and the lease to Lord Williams was terminated. In 1558 and 1560 Tetsworth manor was listed among the large sales of land to a number of London citizens, (fn. 101) but it was in the hands of the Crown again in 1589, when it was granted in fee simple for £44 5s. to Christopher Petty and his son Charnell, members of an old Tetsworth family. (fn. 102) Christopher Petty was already in possession of an estate in Tetsworth, which had been left to him by his father John Petty. This John Petty had been granted arms in 1570; had built up a large Oxfordshire estate; (fn. 103) and on his death in 1578 had divided his Tetsworth lands between two younger sons, George and Christopher. (fn. 104) In 1589 George Petty died, leaving his share to Christopher. (fn. 105)
In 1602 the Pettys were given permission to sell Tetsworth manor to Walter Jones of Chastleton, (fn. 106) whose daughter Ellen married Ralph Holt of Stoke Lyne. Since Thomas Holt, the son of Ralph and Ellen, later married Charnell Petty's daughter Susan, (fn. 107) it is probable that the manor was returned to the Pettys in some kind of family settlement. Christopher Petty died in 1614, and his son Charnell succeeded. (fn. 108) On the latter's death in 1661 he left Tetsworth in trust for his young grandson Christopher, the boy's father Christopher being already dead. (fn. 109) Christopher Petty obtained possession in 1674; (fn. 110) he married Hester, the daughter of Robert Parsons, a gentleman of Great Milton; but he was a man of 'unthriftiness, folly, and extravagance', (fn. 111) and had soon dissipated his estate. In 1680 and 1683 he sold a part of his land to Anthony Wood's brother Christopher, and in 1683 he sold the manor and other land, said to be worth £2,000, to Thomas Phillips, a lawyer of Ickford (Bucks.). (fn. 112) Petty's absorbing interest was bell-ringing, and Hearne says that he 'rang away … a good estate' and died 'very reduced' at Thame, probably in 1739. (fn. 113)
Thomas Phillips died in 1705, having left most of his property to his son-in-law Lenthall Trotman of Bucknell, because his son Thomas had become a Roman Catholic; the property was to revert to the Phillips family in the event of the heir becoming a member of the Church of England. (fn. 114) Trotman died in 1710, (fn. 115) and in 1717 his two sons Samuel and Thomas were returned as owners of Tetsworth manor. (fn. 116) However, by 1733 Thomas Phillips appears to have recovered possession, for in that year he augmented with Tetsworth land the endowment of a charity in Ickford, founded by his father. (fn. 117) Thomas Phillips the younger died in 1742 leaving two sons, (fn. 118) both Roman Catholics, and the younger one Henry Phillips sold Tetsworth manor with land in Ickford to the Earl of Abingdon in 1756. It then consisted of only about 100 acres of land and a few quit-rents. (fn. 119) The manor formed part of the Abingdon estates until about 1810 and brought in an income of £120 odd. (fn. 120) It was apparently sold to the Revd. Samuel Ryder Weston, a canon of St. Paul's, (fn. 121) who was in possession of the manor-house and land in Tetsworth in 1810. (fn. 122) He died in 1821: his heirs were Charlotte Weston, who was lady of the manor in the 1850's, and Frances (neé Weston), the wife of A. H. Matthews (d. 1854), Vicar of Weston-on-the-Green, who owned Manor farm (116 acres). (fn. 123) In 1859 the property was in the hands of A. M. Matthews, the Revd. A. Matthews and the Revd. H. S. Ryder Matthews, nephews of Charlotte Weston. (fn. 124) In about 1866 the manor and Manor farm were bought by Joseph Cornish, a Tetsworth farmer, from the Matthews family. (fn. 125)
During the reign of Edward III a John Windbush built up an estate in Tetsworth of some 9 messuages and about 150 acres with appurtenances. (fn. 126) In 1471, when this estate was acquired from a Richard Seymour and his wife Isabel by Richard Fowler, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it was called WINDBUSH manor and consisted of 8 messuages and 260 acres of land. (fn. 127) Fowler owned much other Oxfordshire property, including the recently acquired Moreton manor in Thame, (fn. 128) and several manors in Buckinghamshire. He died in 1477, (fn. 129) and in 1504 Windbush was in the possession of his widow Joan, sister of Sir Thomas Danvers of Waterstock. (fn. 130) She died in 1505, (fn. 131) and Windbush was probably sold by her son and heir Richard Fowler (d. 1528), who was a spendthrift and certainly sold much of his other property. (fn. 132)
By 1507 the manor seems to have been in the hands of Thomas Bradbury, a London mercer and alderman (d. 1510); (fn. 133) it is next recorded in 1540, when George Baldry of Hadley (Suff.), the son of Sir Thomas Baldry, another mercer and Mayor of London, died in possession of both Tetsworth and Moreton. (fn. 134) The custody of his infant heiress Elizabeth was granted to Sir Richard (later Lord) Rich, Chancellor of the Court of Augmentations, (fn. 135) and in about 1554 she married his son Robert, 2nd Lord Rich, who died in 1581. (fn. 136) As her second husband she married Robert Forth, and after her death in 1591 he held Tetsworth and Moreton for life. (fn. 137) They were inherited not by her eldest son Robert, who became Earl of Warwick, but by her second son, Sir Edwin Rich, who in 1601 sold them to Henry Savile, Warden of Merton College and Provost of Eton. (fn. 138) At the end of the 16th century the Pettys of Tetsworth had an interest in Windbush and may have been leasing it, (fn. 139) and in 1620 Savile seems to have mortgaged it to Maximilian Petty, a Thame lawyer. (fn. 140) After Savile's death in 1622 Windbush and Moreton were held for life by his widow Margaret, and were then inherited by their daughter Elizabeth, the wife of Sir John Sedley, Bt. (d. 1638), of Aylesford (Kent). (fn. 141) In 1656 the manors passed with the title to their youngest son Sir Charles Sedley, (fn. 142) who in 1669 sold Windbush to James Perrot of North Leigh, a member of an Old Oxfordshire family. (fn. 143) The property descended from the elder James Perrot (d. 1687) to his son James (d. 1725) and to his grandson Henry, who sold Windbush and Moreton in 1730 to Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough. (fn. 144) The property brought in an annual revenue of about £450. (fn. 145) In 1762 it was settled on Lord Charles Spencer of Wheatfield, a younger son of the 3rd Duke of Marlborough. (fn. 146) He died in 1820; his son John in 1831, the same year in which his grandson Frederick Charles, Rector of Wheatfield, died, leaving an infant son. By this time the Spencer estates were so burdened with annuities that in 1835 an Act was passed to sell part of them in order to preserve the Wheatfield estate. (fn. 147) Manorial rights had probably long lapsed.
A part of the 37 hides which the Bishop of Lincoln held in demesne in Thame in 1086 was in Tetsworth: (fn. 148) in 1279 eight tenants held 8¼ virgates from the bishop direct (in capite), (fn. 149) and in 1535 his estate in Tetsworth and Moreton was valued at £6 1s. 2d. (fn. 150) In 1547 the bishop was licensed to grant his TETSWORTH manor, along with other manors, to Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset. (fn. 151) On his execution in 1552 Seymour's lands escheated to the Crown, and Tetsworth and Thame came into the possession of Lord Williams of Thame. (fn. 152) This Tetsworth manor was inherited by his daughter Isabella and her husband Sir Richard Wenman and followed the descent of Thame Park until the second part of the 17th century, although some of the land was sold to Charnell Petty in 1614. (fn. 153) The last time Tetsworth was mentioned among the Wenman lands was in 1678. (fn. 154) The land was evidently sold, for in 1842 the owner of Thame Park held no land in Tetsworth. (fn. 155)
Early in the 13th century Peter Talemasch granted the Templars, in one of whose churchyards he desired to be buried, (fn. 156) in free alms a hide (or 4 virgates) of his Tetsworth land, and added a charter of warranty. (fn. 157) One of the virgates belonged to his widowed mother Avice, and by 1210 she had successfully sued the Templars for it. (fn. 158) Consequently they sued Peter for the virgate, (fn. 159) and in 1211 he agreed to let them have 31 acres in Stoke Talmage in its place during his mother's life. (fn. 160) Later he added another 5 acres in Stoke. (fn. 161) On Avice's death the virgate returned to the Templars, who before this litigation had already leased their Tetsworth hide to William Coco and his heirs for 2s. a year and 6s. 8d. relief on the death of a tenant. (fn. 162)
This hide formed part of the Sandford Preceptory's estate, and like its other property passed in the 14th century from the Templars to the Hospitallers. (fn. 163) In 1513 it was being rented from the Hospitallers at 2s. a year by the Fraternity of the Holy Cross in Abingdon. (fn. 164) After the dissolution of the Hospitallers in about 1540 and of the guild in 1547, the land probably came into the possession of the Pettys of Tetsworth. (fn. 165) A house that had belonged to the Abingdon guild was held by John Petty of Stoke Talmage on his death in 1589. (fn. 166) He also held a house which had belonged to the chantry founded in Rycote chapel by Richard Fowler and Richard Quatremain. (fn. 167)
In the course of two centuries the Cozens family, yeomen of Thame and Tetsworth, (fn. 168) acquired an estate in Tetsworth. Thomas Cozens (d. 1744), who seems for a time before 1731 to have lived at Dormer Leys in Attington, (fn. 169) purchased in 1729 a messuage and two closes, called Harlots Ford and Ford Close. (fn. 170) His son Thomas (d. 1789), who made further purchases, was known by 1772 as 'of Harlesford'. (fn. 171) Succeeding generations continued to buy up land in Tetsworth, one of the largest purchases being made in 1838 by another Thomas Cozens (d. 1857), who paid about £5,000 for land from the Spencers, which included Peesleys Ground and Bandage Way. (fn. 172) In 1870 his successor, his nephew John Cozens (d. 1879), bought two farms, the Royal Oak Inn, and the manor-house. (fn. 173) By 1894 and 1904 when Cozens's executors tried to sell the estate the family owned 478 acres. (fn. 174) By the 1920's Edward Walker was the chief landowner and by the 1930's the former Cozens estates had been divided up. (fn. 175)
Economic and Social History.
The early economic history of Tetsworth is obscure, but there can be little doubt that the township, which from an early date was part of the endowment first of the bishopric of Dorchester and then of Lincoln, was a valuable asset. (fn. 176) The London road, bisecting the village and its lands and providing easy communications, and the Thame valley with its rich pastures, had a decisive effect on the development of the place.
The fragmentary evidence for the medieval system of husbandry makes it certain at least that open fields were the basis: there are 12th- and 13thcentury references to acres and fractions of acres distributed in furlongs, to meadow (i.e. Estmede) in Tetsworth field, and to pasture for oxen and horses 'in the fields (intra campos) of the town', and in the Talemasch demesne land. (fn. 177) Nevertheless, its economy had little resemblance to the typical open-field manor of the Midlands. From the account given in the Hundred Rolls of 1279 Tetsworth, compared with many other Oxfordshire villages, is outstanding for the number of its small free tenants and for the comparatively few villein virgate or ½-virgate holders, burdened with labour services. Most of the land was held by the Bishop of Lincoln's knights and subinfeudated, or by the Abbot of Thame, but the bishop kept in demesne about 100 acres.
On Robert Danvers's fee there were said to be 4 virgates in demesne and only 2 customary tenants, one holding a ½-virgate and rendering 5s. for rent and service, and 1 cottar paying 12d. rent. In addition to his customars Robert Danvers had 5 free tenants, of whom the chief, the Abbot of Thame, held 9½ virgates by military tenure. Walter de Dunsden held 1¾ virgate by scutage, suit, and a nominal rent, and had 4 customary tenants holding the land of him for rent and service; Thomas de Worthe held 6 acres for 1d. rent, suit, and scutage. Richard Danvers, another member of the family, had 2 free tenants and 5 cottars, apparently freemen, holding of him: he is not said to hold himself of Robert. One free tenant held a ½-virgate for 3s. 6d., suit, and scutage; another, Henry Danvers, held a messuage and 6 acres of Richard for 12d. and scutage. The cottars paid a total rent of 7s. In addition to this land Richard Danvers held 1 virgate of the bishop for 1d., suit, and scutage.
Most of the abbey's land (i.e. 9½ virgates held of the Danvers fee and 8½ of the Talemasch fee) (fn. 178) must have been held in demesne, for its recorded tenants mostly held only a few acres: 9 cottars with a cot and 3 acres each paid a total rent of 48s. 2d.; 12 cottars each with a messuage paid 17s. 4d. There were a number of small free tenants; 3½-virgaters paid rents of 5s. to 8s. 6d.; 5 others with a few acres each mostly held for small money rents; 1 virgater paid a rent of 10s. and another 7s. rent and scutage; finally, there was Roger Danvers, who held a small property for 11s. 2d. and suit.
A third holding of 3½ virgates was held by Edmund de Burton of the Bishop of Lincoln for suit, scutage, and a rent of 3s. to the Templars. Edmund had 2 tenants, one holding a ½-virgate for 6d., suit, and scutage, the other holding a croft and 1 acre for 3s. 4d. and scutage. Seven other tenants of the bishop held a virgate or less of land for various money rents ranging from 1d. to 8d., usually combined with suit to the hundred, or with suit and scutage. Of these Richard Danvers and William son of Robert were the only virgate holders. The last paid 8s. rent, a pair of gloves and owed suit. He had 3 cottar tenants. (fn. 179)
A late 13th- or early 14th-century account of how Thame abbey's land was burdened with scutage shows that there were still the same three main holdings beside the bishop's demesne, which is naturally not included: that of the Danvers family, that of Edmund de Burton, who held 4 virgates of the former Talemasch fee, and that of the Abbot of Thame, who held part of both the Danvers and Talemasch fees. Since 1279 some of the smaller holdings had been minutely subdivided: the virgate, for example, held by the 'heirs of Gunne' was divided between eight tenants, and another virgate held by 'the heirs of Franceys' was divided between nine tenants. (fn. 180) A terrier of 1378 of the lands of John Wynbush gives the same picture of Tetsworth's muchdivided land. Wynbush had gradually built up a small 'manor' of about 6 virgates and a number of tofts, crofts, 'placea', and messuages from thirteen or so different owners. (fn. 181)
From the 14th-century tax lists it appears that Tetsworth was a comparatively large village and prosperous. There were 27 contributors in 1327, of whom half paid 2s. and over, and at the reassessment of 1344 the village's total tax was increased from £2 16s. 10d. for the 20th to £3 19s. 3d. for the fifteenth. (fn. 182) The Black Death appears to have inflicted a damaging blow, for in 1354 the village was allowed a tax abatement of 30s., a very high figure compared with those of neighbouring villages. (fn. 183) Only the market-towns of Watlington and Thame received higher abatements. The incident reported on the patent rolls of 1349 may perhaps be regarded as one of the consequences of the disaster suffered by the village. Roger le Longe of Tetsworth, one of the Oxfordshire coroners, was assaulted by certain of the villagers at his close in Tetsworth, had his goods carried away, and was hindered in the performance of his duty. (fn. 184) The second half of the century appears to have seen recovery, for 110 persons paid the poll tax of 1377. (fn. 185)
The abbey farmed out its grange in the 15th century (fn. 186) and in the early 16th century. When the abbey was dissolved in 1539 it was receiving £6 13s. 4d. for the grange, and £3 8s. 6d. for rents of assize compared with the £19 14s. 9d. it had received in 1478. (fn. 187) It is likely that, as at Sydenham, the abbey used its Tetsworth grange mainly as a sheepfarm. (fn. 188) Some 12th-century evidence suggests that it may not have been difficult for it to inclose its land at an early date. When Robert Chevauchesul granted a hide of land to Thame it seems to have been largely consolidated: it lay in 3 furlongs only and was marked out by stones. (fn. 189)
The 16th century as elsewhere was a period of change at Tetsworth. The yeoman family of Petty eventually acquired Thame Abbey's property in Stoke Talmage and in Tetsworth and much of the rest of the village's land. (fn. 190) Three Pettys appear on the subsidy list of 1542 and between them paid on £62 of the village's total assessment. (fn. 191) With their relations by marriage the Woods of Oxford and the Caves of Great Milton, (fn. 192) the family continued to hold the predominant position in the parish during the first half of the 17th century. Although some of the Petty property was sold on the death of Maximilian Petty of Thame in 1639 to pay his debts two members of the family were still being assessed on substantial holdings for the tax of 1641. (fn. 193) This predominance of the Pettys and the fact that Thame Abbey's holding may have been long largely inclosed would account for the early inclosure of the open fields. The exact date has not been found, but it took place just before 1631, for a sale in that year of a 24-acre close to a Pyrton yeoman included 'common of pasture for 1½ yardland in the late common fields of Tetsworth, if the land sold was subject to common rights'. (fn. 194) There appears to have been protracted opposition, for in 1654 reference is made to the recompense to be made if the buyer of property from Edmund Petty is hindered in his possession 'by reason of the inclosure of Tetsworth being not yet legally settled'. (fn. 195) The commons were not inclosed: deeds of the 18th and 19th centuries make frequent reference to common rights on the Common Marshes and Common Green. (fn. 196) In 1838 the tithe award recorded about 52 acres of common, and common pasture for beasts was still being leased in the 20th century. (fn. 197)
The evidence of the leases points to the predominance of pasture, and so of sheepfarmers, although there are occasional references to arable closes. (fn. 198) The large closes on Maximilian Petty's farm, for instance, were all used as pasture in 1639. They were in all probability ancient inclosures made by the monks: Bandage Way and Scholars Bridge Close (80 a.), Latchford Hole (10 a.), and Harlots Ford and Ford Close (34 a.) all lay along the banks of Haseley Brook and were close to the abbey's Stoke Grange in Stoke Talmage. (fn. 199) Further evidence of sheepfarming comes from a deed of 1631 which gives the stint for 1½ yardlands as 3 beasts and 60 sheep, and from a lease of 1697 of a large pasture ground (60 a.), which mentions an adjoining sheep-house. (fn. 200)
The sale of fleeces was doubtless the chief economic incentive for the conversion to pasture, but the proximity of a market-town at Thame and of Oxford meant a continuous demand for mutton. It may be significant that Thomas Wood, the father of the antiquary, who had acquired land in Tetsworth early in the 17th century, was also landlord of the flourishing 'Fleur de Lys' in Oxford, (fn. 201) and that a later purchaser of the Woods' farm at Tetsworth was Henry Jemott, a victualler of Thame. (fn. 202) A combination of the victualling or butcher's business with sheep-farming was not uncommon at this period.
Inclosure and the London road, which brought trade to the inns, account for the growth of a prosperous middle class. In 1662 the owner of 'The King's Arms' was assessed on 13 hearths and widow Woodbridge on 10 hearths; the 1665 list contains the names of 4 men with houses of 6 to 8 hearths apiece and of 7 with 3 or 4 hearths. (fn. 203) It is of interest that these were new men and that the substantial Elizabethan families—the Pettys, Bowyers, Clacks, Watkyns, Wets, and Grenings—had gone. The Elizabethans, indeed, were themselves new men: two of the leading contributors to the subsidy of 1542, John Adkyns and Ralph Ferme, had disappeared by 1577. (fn. 204)
Little is known about the number of inhabitants before the official census returns of the 19th century. For the hearth tax of 1662 there were 43 names listed, (fn. 205) and in 1676 there were 122 adults returned for the Compton Census. The original Census returns for this parish have survived: there were stated to be about 42 families of about 119 persons that are of age (i.e. 16 years probably) who conformed, besides three dissenters. (fn. 206)
In the 18th century the land continued to be divided into a number of small farms. (fn. 207) In 1786, besides the chief property owners, Lord Charles Spencer, John Young, and a Mr. Haydon, there were fifteen smallholders, but they cannot have held much more than their cottages, for they each paid less than 5s. tax. (fn. 208) There was a marked tendency for the number of holdings to increase in the early 19th century, partly perhaps because of the rising population and also because of the type of intensive farming practised. In 1786 there had been 39 holdings; there were 49 in 1816 and 1832. (fn. 209)
In 1809 Arthur Young commented on the excellent deep loam and noted that they ploughed with four horses at Tetsworth and did an acre a day. (fn. 210) The land was still mainly given over to pasture: Davis's map of 1797 shows the parish divided into hedged fields of which only two were used as arable, and in 1838 there were 1,111 acres of meadow as against 56 of arable. (fn. 211) A lease of Manor House farm (117, a.), of which only a few acres were arable, in 1809 to James Lindars, innholder, is of interest in the provision that no rape seed, cob seed, mustard seed, hemp, flax or madder, should be sown or planted. (fn. 212)
During the first part of the 19th century sheep on the Tetsworth farms, as elsewhere in the area, began to give way to cattle, and butter- and cheese-making increased in importance. The tendency, noticeable at the end of the century in many neighbouring parishes, for these last two industries to be replaced by milk-production seems not to have affected Tetsworth. Both small and large farmers there found it more profitable to continue to make butter and rear bullocks and heifers. (fn. 213) All the farmers were described in 1851 as graziers, (fn. 214) and in the early 20th century Goldpits farm (70 a.) was still all pasture, Harlesford farm (156 a.) was described as having 'rich dairy and grazing land second to none in the country', and the rest of the Cozens estate was also mainly pasture; (fn. 215) the Berties' Latchford Hole farm (52 a.) was let out for grazing. (fn. 216) Grazing has continued to predominate, except during the First and Second World Wars.
The tendency for farms to increase in size was evident in this parish as elsewhere in the region. In 1838 there had been eight small and medium-sized farms, ranging from 52 acres to 145 acres. (fn. 217) By 1904 Harlesford farm (145 a.) and Goldpits farm (69 a.) were being farmed together, and Manor farm or Mounthill (293 a.) included two other smaller farms. (fn. 218) By 1939 there were four farms each with over 150 acres and two with under that amount. (fn. 219)
Tetsworth's population reached its maximum in the third quarter of the 19th century, but has declined since. In 1931 there were 297 inhabitants and only 94 houses as against 501 persons and 112 houses in 1851. (fn. 220)
Although agriculture has always been the staple occupation, Tetsworth's position on the London road encouraged the growth of other occupations. Two men called Chapman were tenants in 1279 and another of that trade was recorded in 1403. (fn. 221) Fifteenth-century records also mention a barber, maltman, miller, and a tailor, and a number of petty tradesmen occur in 17th- 18th- and early 19thcentury records. (fn. 222) Noteworthy among them are two masons and a watchmaker, Joseph Kingston, recorded in 1786, and John Bentley of Tetsworth, post-chaise driver, mentioned in 1815. (fn. 223) That Tetsworth was rather different from the neighbouring rural villages is revealed by the conviction in 1819 of as many as six shopkeepers for using false weights. (fn. 224) The Census return of 1851 emphasizes still more the trading character of the place. There were 5 butchers and grocers and a baker, 7 milliners, dressmakers, and drapers, a tailor, a hairdresser and a shoemaker. Agricultural needs were well served by 4 wheelwrights, 2 blacksmiths and their journeymen, a saddler, a harnessmaker, and a joiner. A lettercarrier and a mail contractor, turnpike gate-keeper, four publications (one of them a cordwainer and another a butcher), the Swan hotel keeper, who was also the postmaster, and another inn-keeper, once again testified to the importance of the London road in the life of the village, although it was by this time of negligible importance compared with the days before the railway era. (fn. 225)
The history of the innkeepers can be traced back to 1482, when two were indicted for selling victuals at an excessive price. (fn. 226) In 1485 there is a record of another, a Thomas Preston, who was in a sufficiently large way of business to owe money to a London goldsmith. (fn. 227) In 1502 the constable, who was also an innkeeper, paid a fine with another man for licence to brew and bake in their inns. (fn. 228) Two inns, the 'Crown' and the 'Swan', were owned by Thame Abbey (fn. 229) and in the 1530's their tenants were paying substantial rents of £6 and £4 13s. 4d. Both these hostelries probably came into the hands of the Petty family at the end of the 16th century. A third inn, the 'George', was in existence in 1555–6, when John Bowyer was tenant of both the 'George' and the 'Swan'. (fn. 230) Yet another, the 'Catherine Wheel', is recorded in 1644 when it was a private house; it was 'new built' in 1683; (fn. 231) the 'Starr' occurs in 1648 as the property of Edmund Petty; (fn. 232) 'The King's Arms' in 1651, (fn. 233) a 'George' inn, later 'The King's Arms', was again recorded in 1813 (fn. 234) and the 'Royal Oak' appears in 1792. (fn. 235) In 1784 Lord Torrington said that there were 'two goodish' inns, especially the 'Swan', and a third for 'minor travellers'. (fn. 236) By 1838 there were at least four—the 'Red Lion', the 'King's Arms', the 'Swan', and the 'Crown'. (fn. 237)
From the earliest times the affairs of the township were conducted in the hundred court of Thame. Ordinances about the clearance of ditches, particularly those near the king's highway, i.e. the London road, were made there and the view was held. (fn. 238) No record of separate courts for the Tetsworth manors has survived, but there is a little evidence for parish government in the 19th century. The township had its own churchwardens, overseers and waywardens, and after 1841 when Tetsworth became a parish they conducted their business through the vestry. Tetsworth owned a sawpit, two Highway Closes (c. 4 a.), and a Poorhouse. Rents from the closes were used to repair the footways, although in 1836 the Visitor said in court at the visitation of Thame that these rents should properly be used for the churchways only and should be appropriated by the churchwardens. The closes were let for £11 10s. a year in 1855 and £15 10s. in 1875. There were also four or more parish cottages, presumably let to the poorer parishioners, but in 1852 it was resolved that they should be pulled down. It was decided at the same time to use the house on Nap Hill as a pest house. (fn. 239)
Many in Tetsworth suffered from unemployment and poverty in the early years of the 19th century. Between 5 per cent. and 7 per cent. of the population was receiving relief at any one time between 1813 and 1834. Unemployment was most acute in the winter months and large sums were laid out on the roundsmen system at those times, e.g. £31 in December alone in 1833. Other relief included the paying of paupers' rents, distributing coal, and giving allowances to soldiers' wives. There was a smallpox outbreak in 1814 when the overseers paid 1s. for moving people, another 1s. for burying their clothes, and £2. 2s. to the Radcliffe Infirmary for the admission of emergency cases. Expenditure was high for a civil parish of this size, and rose in the 1830's, e.g. £606 was paid out in 1816 and £722 in 1833. (fn. 240) Even as late as 1851 26 persons were receiving poor relief. (fn. 241)
Since 1841 Tetsworth has been a vicarage in Aston deanery, but like Sydenham and Towersey (Bucks.) it was formerly a chapelry of the prebendal church of Thame, and was, therefore, in the peculiar jurisdiction of Thame. (fn. 242) Architectural evidence shows that the church was in existence by the 11th or early 12th century, but its early history is not known. It may not have always been a chapel of Thame, but may once have had an independent ecclesiastical position, for in the late 12th century its priest was called 'presbyter' or 'persona'. (fn. 243) Its relationship to the church of Thame is first defined in the mid-13th century (see below). In 1841 Richard Slater, who had bought the advowson of Thame, made its chapelries into separate vicarages and vested their advowsons in trustees known as the Peache Trustees. (fn. 244)
The revenue of the three chapelries of Thame was divided according to the ordination of Thame vicarage, made in the time of Bishop Grosseteste (1235– 53), between the Prebendary of Thame, the Vicar of Thame, and the chaplains of the three churches or chapels. (fn. 245)
The holder of the prebend, who was also a landowner in Tetsworth, (fn. 246) collected the great tithes and the tithes of wool and hay; the Vicar of Thame was entitled to the rest of the tithes; and the three chaplains each received what was the smallest part of the church income and property, the revenue from his altar and from the house and land belonging to his church. The prebendary was responsible for the upkeep of the chancel; the vicar had the duty of nominating the chaplain and could remove him with the consent of the prebendary; he also had to provide all the books and ornaments needed in the chapel; the chaplain was expected to meet ordinary and extraordinary payments, except for certain contributions 'decreed of old in the chapter of Lincoln' or to be decreed in the future, which were to be paid by the prebendary.
After the dissolution of the prebend in 1547, the great tithes belonged to the lay rector, and in 1842 his Tetsworth tithes were commuted for a rent charge of £210, and in 1848 his Attington tithes were commuted for £18 10s. (fn. 247) The Vicar of Thame continued to collect the small tithes, which were commuted in 1842 for a rent charge of £115, but he became responsible for either serving Tetsworth church himself or for paying a curate (fn. 248) as the chaplain's endowment had practically disappeared: the altar offerings virtually ceased after the Reformation and there is no mention of glebe in Tetsworth except for 20 tithe-free acres which belonged to the Rector of Wheatfield. (fn. 249)
When, in 1841, the living was separated from that of Thame, it was endowed with the vicarial rent charge of £115, which was increased in 1848 by a similar charge of £6 10s. from the small tithes of Attington. (fn. 250) Between 1842 and 1844 the living was also augmented by £600 from Queen Anne's Bounty, £650 from the vicar, J. W. Peers, and £260 from other benefactors. (fn. 251)
The history of the peculiar of Thame is not well documented and little is known of medieval church life. The names of some priests who lived in Tetsworth in the late 12th century are recorded. From about 1180 for some 20 years there was William the priest, who had a house in the village; (fn. 252) in about 1200 the parson of Tetsworth was named Roger. (fn. 253) One of these may have been married, for a few years later the 'son of the priest' was holding a virgate. (fn. 254) Also living in the parish in the late 12th century was another clerk named Alan, whose wife Clarissa was the niece of Robert Chevauchesul, lord of the manor. They were wealthy enough to give 2 virgates of land to Thame Abbey. (fn. 255)
The ordination of Thame vicarage makes it clear that in the Middle Ages Tetsworth had its own chaplain, who was supposed to have a clerk to live with him in his house and help him serve the church. (fn. 256) The names of a few of these chaplains are known, but nothing more.
In the mid-15th century a hermitage and a chapel dedicated to St. John the Baptist were built in Tetsworth, but they were independent of the parish priest. When the guild of St. Christopher in Thame was founded in 1447, the wardens were allowed to found this hermitage and build a chapel for the hermit. The latter was permitted to acquire lands to the value of £2 a year; he was to pray for the king and queen and for the members of the guild, and to keep the high road in repair. (fn. 257)
By the 16th century, and probably before, Tetsworth had its own churchwardens. They are recorded in the accounts of the wardens of Thame in 1532 as paying 1s. 6d. for Peter's Pence. (fn. 258) Judging from the 17th-century churchwardens' presentments in the peculiar court, the parish was well conducted at this period. They usually reported that there were no recusants or any who refused communion, and that the fabric was in good order. On one occasion they said there was no service book and asked for a month's grace in which to get the book. (fn. 259)
After the Reformation Tetsworth continued to have its own curate, but as the living was so poor he probably also held another living. (fn. 260) The list of curates, however, is incomplete and little is known of the history of the church at this period. The churchwardens' presentments from the 1670's state that the minister, wearing his 'priestly habit', performed the full church service on Sundays and holy days. (fn. 261) After 1686, when the last 17th-century curate of Tetsworth died, (fn. 262) the church was usually served either by the Vicar of Thame or his curate, and in the second half of the 18th century the vicar complained that he had to serve both Thame and its chapels either by himself or with the help of one other minister. (fn. 263) Little record of 18th-century services has been found, but in the middle of the century Tetsworth was known as the only church in the district which had no more than one service on Sundays. (fn. 264) Earlier when Samuel Thornbury (1722– 51), who was also Rector of Stoke Talmage, lived in Tetsworth, things may have been better. His letter to the bishop in 1745 asking for a gift of tracts to be distributed among his parishioners is evidence of his interest. (fn. 265)
A revival of church life took place at the beginning of the 19th century when Henry Campbell, a man with an 'independent fortune', became curate. (fn. 266) He said that when he came to the parish in 1804 he found the people very 'discordant among themselves, very profligate, and very ignorant'. Sundays were spent mostly in 'low profligacy' and sport, especially cricket, which he had succeeded in stopping, at least during church services. Among the few who went to church he found 'an old grudge' about seats in the gallery, which the churchwarden had settled. To rid himself of the choir, as he disapproved of its four members, he introduced singing through out the congregation. The parishioners had then asked for a selection of psalms and hymns, and he had obtained the one in use in Leicester church. One of his special aims was to start a Sunday school so as to draw the children, who spent Sundays 'in all kinds of idleness and vice', into the church. The churchwardens and several others approved of this plan, but it was opposed by others who declared that they would never give a shilling for 'the instruction of the poor'.
Partly by these measures Campbell aroused resentment in the parish, and a complaint made to the bishop stated specifically that he was not using the proper form in the church services and more generally that his services were drawing dissenters away from their own meeting and that there must be some reason for this. Campbell admitted to having two or three times inadvertently omitted a minor part of the service; and he later admitted that he had broken the Act of Uniformity by omitting 'the church service' (no doubt evensong) and had instead gathered the children in the chancel on Sunday evening, catechizing them, explaining parts of the Bible to them, and concluding with two or three collects from the communion service. To justify his conduct, which he agreed was wrong, he wrote that he was trying to draw dissenters back to the church, that some who had gone to the chapel 'from not having something to do' now went to church. Far from being Calvinistic, he said he tried to follow the writings of William Jones of Nayland and Charles Daubeny, two theological writers of repute with High-Church leanings. (fn. 267)
The whole story is not known nor is the end of it. At one point the bishop demanded Campbell's immediate dismissal by the Vicar of Thame; he may have later relented, but Campbell did not remain long in Tetsworth (his name does not appear in the parish register) and the parish was returned to the care of Timothy Lee, the Vicar of Thame.
In 1841, when Tetsworth became a separate living, it again had its own vicar. The first was J. W. Peers (1841–76), a member of the Chislehampton family, (fn. 268) who took the place in the village of a lord of the manor. He took an active part in parochial administration, taking the chair at vestry meetings, and either beginning or following the practice of naming one churchwarden while the parish named the other. (fn. 269) In 1846 he built a 'handsome and commodious' Vicarage, (fn. 270) rebuilt the church (see below), and built the school. (fn. 271) He held frequent services, with two sermons on Sundays and more than twelve communions a year, but the number of communicants, sixteen or seventeen, remained small. (fn. 272) Towards the end of the century, however, numbers both of communicants and of the congregation increased. (fn. 273)
By 1911 the ecclesiastical parish had been enlarged by the addition of Attington, whose inhabitants had long been accustomed to attend Tetsworth church, (fn. 274) and the living became formally known as Tetsworth with Attington. (fn. 275)
The status of Attington, which was a part of the parish of Thame in the Middle Ages, was somewhat uncertain in the post-Reformation period. Its few inhabitants probably attended Tetsworth church (fn. 276) and so 18th-century documents sometimes refer to the parish 'called Tetsworth and Attington', and even to the 'parish of Attington'. (fn. 277) In the 19th century Attington was considered extra-parochial. (fn. 278) No evidence has been found that it ever had any churchwardens (fn. 279) and it does not appear to have paid either tithes (fn. 280) or church rates. (fn. 281) It may have been exempted in the Middle Ages as it mostly belonged to Thame Abbey.
The present church of ST. GILES, which was entirely rebuilt in 1855, is a stone building consisting of chancel, nave, south aisle with tower and spire rising over the south porch, and north vestry. The smaller medieval church which it replaced is stated to have contained some long-and-short work of Anglo-Saxon date in the north-west corner, (fn. 282) but the main structure dated from the early 12th century. It consisted of a single nave and chancel, separated by a Romanesque arch, plain and very narrow. (fn. 283) The round arch of the south doorway had an elaborate inner moulding. (fn. 284) Its tympanum was carved with the figures of a bishop, in pontificals with a crozier in his left hand and giving a benediction with his right hand, and of a priest holding in his left hand an open book and pointing with his right hand to the pascal lamb and banner within a nimbus. (fn. 285) The north doorway, destroyed in 1855, was of the same age and character, but simpler in design. (fn. 286) There was also a window of the same period in the north wall of the chancel, (fn. 287) and a Romanesque piscina which were destroyed at the same time. (fn. 288)
The chancel was rebuilt in the 13th century. The three-light east window and the three single lancets in the south wall shown in early 19th-century drawings were of the period. The steeply pitched roof of the chancel was raised to a higher level than that of the nave. (fn. 289)
In the 15th century windows were inserted in the nave, two in the south wall, (fn. 290) and perhaps the same number in the north wall. G. E. Street described their architecture in 1851 as more elaborate than those proposed for the new church. (fn. 291) The south porch made of oak was also of this period; (fn. 292) the square wooden belfry of the dove-cot type, which was in existence in the 19th century was of uncertain date. (fn. 293) Almost no record has survived of work done to the fabric after the Reformation until the 19thcentury rebuilding. It is recorded that the chancel windows were out of repair in 1681. (fn. 294) Between 1708 and 1713 church rates of more than normal amount were raised and repairs were presumably carried out. The church appears to have been in good condition when Rawlinson visited it in 1718: his only comment on the building was that it was 'very ordinary'. (fn. 295)
During the incumbency of John W. Peers plans for a new church were considered. The diocesan architect, G. E. Street, reported in 1851 that portions of the fabric of the old church were 'of very considerable merit, and in good preservation' and that the chancel was 'very perfect'. He thought it 'very inadvisable' to allow their destruction. (fn. 296)
In spite of attempts by the bishop to save the church it was decided to rebuild on the same site. The architect was John Billing of Reading; the cost was £2,250. (fn. 297) The building was consecrated by Bishop Wilberforce in 1855. (fn. 298)
The design of the new church was in the Early English style; it has been little altered since and remains a characteristic example of Victorian church building. It figures in the background of a contemporary oil painting of the Revd. J. W. Peers and his family. (fn. 299) All the interior fittings were replaced at the restoration, including the pulpit installed in 1626, and the old pews with doors. (fn. 300) The Commandments, the Creed, and Lord's Prayer were painted on the east wall of the chancel. An organ was installed in 1877 and a new heating system in 1922; choir desks were presented by S. A. Fane in 1924; and electric light was installed in 1936. (fn. 301)
During the restoration many medieval and later memorial inscriptions and all the heraldic glass were destroyed. The glass included the arms of Adrian de Bardis, Prebendary of Thame, in the chancel, and the arms of Peppard of Lachford (Great Haseley) and of Doyley in other windows. Drawings of these were made by F. G. Lee and also of a fragment of an early medieval monumental slab with a floriated cross. (fn. 302) The early 16th-century brass effigies of John Gryning, his wife Alys, and their three children were once in the nave. (fn. 303) Another ancient brass in the chancel had gone by the early 19th century. (fn. 304) There were also memorials to Francis Fosset, senior (d. 1705), and to his wife Mary (d. 1702); to two infants (d. 1708) of Christopher Newell, clerk, and his wife Ann; and to Ann (d. 1773), daughter of Richard Hobday. (fn. 305)
In 1958 there were several memorials to the Cozens family: (1) Thomas (d. 1789) and his wife Esther (d. 1806) and Thomas (d. 1834); (2) Robert (d. 1797); (3) John (d. 1879) and his wife Charlotte (1860) and their daughter (d. 1903); (4) Ellen (d. 1915), widow of John Cozens, and Mary Cozens (d. 1920). There were also tablets to J. W. Peers (vicar 1841–76) erected by the parishioners; to W. J. R. Latham, killed in France in 1918; and a stained glass window at the east end to A. E. Hutt (d. 1923), who was people's warden for 33 years. It was designed by Lawrence Willis of London. (fn. 306)
In 1552 the church was poorly furnished with only a chalice and a surplice. (fn. 307) In 1958 it had a pewter paten, flagon, and alms-plate, dating from the 18th century, and a silver chalice of 1842. (fn. 308)
In 1552 there were only three bells, but in 1718 there were five small bells all 'not above 160 lb. weight' according to Rawlinson. (fn. 309) Later in the century there were said to be six bells, as there were in 1853. (fn. 310) In 1958 there was still a ring of six, which had been recast in 1936 by Mears and Stainbank in their Whitechapel foundry. Three of these had been cast in 1695 by Richard Keene, a fourth in 1702 and the tenor, though 'broken' in 1683, does not appear to have been recast until 1787 and then largely through the generosity of William Hobday. The treble was provided in 1853. (fn. 311)
The registers date from 1604 for baptisms, 1625 for marriages, and 1653 for burials. The churchwardens' accounts begin in 1833.
The churchwardens' presentments throughout the 17th century state that there were no Popish recusants in the parish and no evidence for any Roman Catholicism has been found later. (fn. 312)
The Compton Census of 1676 recorded three nonconformists, (fn. 313) but otherwise there is no record of Protestant dissent before the 19th century. By 1804 it was apparently flourishing. In that year the house of Robert Caterer was licensed as a dissenting meeting-house. (fn. 314) This may be the 'Methodist chapel' referred to in correspondence of 1804 between the bishop and Henry Campbell, who was serving as curate and who claimed to have drawn many dissenters back from the chapel to the church. He considered the chapel to be at a very low ebb and likely soon to be lower. The Methodist preacher is said to have found Campbell's attention to children and young people 'the most formidable opposition'. (fn. 315) Campbell, however, did not long remain in Tetsworth, and on his departure dissent may have again increased.
In 1818 the private school kept by Isaac Caterer was licensed as a meeting-house, (fn. 316) in 1823 a chapel was built, and in 1824 a Sunday school started. (fn. 317) A deed of sale (fn. 318) of the newly erected chapel shows that the Caterer family had played a leading part: Mrs. Mary Caterer and Mr. Robert Caterer and others sold it in 1825 to William Wiffen, the minister at Thame, (fn. 319) and others. In 1828 Robert Caterer left Tetsworth with his family to become minister of Rotherfield Peppard.
In 1842 Tetsworth came under the care of the Oxfordshire and West Berkshire Congregational Association, but five years later, when a Baptist pastor was appointed, the association withdrew its annual grant. (fn. 320) In 1851 the chapel, described as Independent, had about 30 in its congregation. (fn. 321) The Wesleyans, who in 1835 had registered a private house as a meeting-place and still had a separate meeting in 1842, (fn. 322) may by now have joined the chapel, for in 1854 the vicar described it as 'mongrel', since it had a Baptist pastor and a Wesleyan and Independent congregation. (fn. 323) Two more Wesleyan ministers were appointed and in consequence Tetsworth was not readmitted until 1864 to the local Congregational Association. This Association became in 1868 the Berks., South Oxon., and South Bucks. Congregational Association (later Union). Between 1877 and 1886 the church was without a minister, but the appointment of Thomas Scott in 1886 led to the building of the present chapel, next to the old one, in 1890 at a cost of £850. (fn. 324) The old chapel continued to be used as a Sunday school. (fn. 325) In 1892 the average Sunday congregation was 97, and there were 90 children in the Sunday school. The chapel organized a Young Peoples' Guild, a Band of Hope, a Temperance Society, a Mothers' Meeting and a Coat and Clothing Club. In the early years of the 20th century the chapel was again without a pastor and became a preaching station of Mansfield College, Oxford. Later it was served first by the minister of Benson and then by that of Thame. (fn. 326) In 1958 it had only four members. (fn. 327)
Mrs. Harriette Tawse, of Child's Hill, London, by will proved 1905, left two cottages for the maintenance of the chapel fabric or the general purposes of the congregation. The cottages were sold and the proceeds invested in £100 stock. The income, c. £4, does not seem to have been paid after 1925. Thomas Deverill, by will proved 1922, left, subject to his wife's life interest, £200 stock, the income on which was to be applied to the maintenance of the chapel services. The money became payable in 1939. (fn. 328)
There is no record of any school at Tetsworth before the 19th century. Two private day-schools existed in 1815, of which one was kept by Isaac Caterer, who later became the Congregational minister. (fn. 329) The dissenters had also established a Sunday school in 1812, and in 1818 there were about 30 children attending it. (fn. 330) Only one day school was returned in 1818, (fn. 331) but more schools were established in the next decade, a girls' school in 1827 and a mixed infants' school in 1829. The two last had 6 and 28 pupils respectively in 1833. (fn. 332) In that year there were also two other day schools which together took 30 boys and 8 girls. All these schools were supported by parents. (fn. 333) There is no later record of them, and in 1847 a new school with accommodation for 90 pupils was built in the centre of the village at the cost of J. W. Peers and other contributors. Each child paid 2d. a week and the teacher's salary was raised by subscription. (fn. 334) It was a Church of England school and later became affiliated to the National Society. There were 81 pupils in 1854, 25 less than the number attending the Sunday school. (fn. 335) By 1871 attendance at the National school was only 51 children. (fn. 336) The reduction in numbers must have been at least partly caused by the existence in 1871 of another school, about which nothing is known as it omitted to make a return (fn. 337) after its transference in 1879 to the new School Board for Tetsworth and Attington which had been set up in 1877. (fn. 338) Attington children in the 19th century appear always to have attended schools in neighbouring parishes, and when the board school for the School Board District of Tetsworth and Attington was opened in 1881 children from both villages attended. The average number of pupils was 74 in 1889 and 69 in 1903–4. (fn. 339) The school was reorganized in 1938 as one of the Thame schools for children up to eleven years, and senior children were sent by bus to Thame. In 1955 they were attending the John Hampden School there and Thame Secondary Modern school. Tetsworth school had 30 pupils in 1943 and 68 in 1954, when it was known as Tetsworth County Primary school, and was attended also by children from Stoke Talmage and Wheatfield. (fn. 340)
Miss Mary Elizabeth Cozens, of Brighton, by will proved 1920, left to the patrons of Tetsworth church £2,000, duty free, to be applied in augmentation of the benefice, subject to the requirement, so far as the law allowed, that the sepulchral monuments of the Cozens family in church and churchyard should be maintained by the patrons or incumbent. The residue of her estate she left in trust, as 'the Cozens Bequest', the income to be paid once yearly or oftener to needy women of Tetsworth or adjacent parishes, not being Roman Catholics. By Scheme made in 1924 the neighbouring parishes were defined as Thame, Great Haseley, Stoke Talmage, Wheatfield, Adwell (with S. Weston), Lewknor, Aston Rowant, and the benefits defined as cash payments, by loan or otherwise, in cases of sickness or special distress; weekly allowances of between 1s. 6d. and 5s. for those unable to support themselves; and pensions. The capital then held in stock was £5,557. Besides this the sum of £555 was owing on security of mortgages, and there were expectancies on the death of a person then living. (fn. 341) In fact, the capital was not fully paid over until 1953 when £405 was added to the original stock. (fn. 342) In 1955 and 1956 the annual income was £395 and was distributed in weekly pensions of 6s. or 10s. a head, in Christmas gifts amounting to £9 in the first year and £10 10s. in the second, and in a special grant of £5 5s. in 1956. (fn. 343)