A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 9, Bloxham Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1969.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
Hanwell is a small irregularly shaped parish lying 3½ miles north-west of Banbury. It covers 1,240 a. (fn. 1) and no boundary changes are known. Its short north-western boundary divides the parish from Warwickshire and the western and eastern boundaries follow the course of tributaries of the Cherwell. (fn. 2) The land lies mainly within the 400 ft. contour, but rises in the north-west to about 500 ft. Its landscape is of a typically upland character. There is no woodland and there was none in 1797, although there was at one time more heath and moor. (fn. 3)
The modern Warwick-Banbury road running from north to south through the western end of the parish follows the same line as an ancient highway. (fn. 4) This road was turnpiked in 1744, when Hanwell's tollgates were set up, and dis-turnpiked in 1871. (fn. 5) A minor road crosses this route, running westwards to the ancient Moor Mill (fn. 6) and to Wroxton, and eastwards through Hanwell village to Bourton and the north Oxfordshire border. This was the Anglo–Saxon Hana's weg after which the village was originally named. (fn. 7) A minor road connected Hanwell with Horley; its eastern end is now a footpath.
The village was sited on Hana's weg beside a 'never failing' spring (fn. 8) and later the form welle was substituted for weg. Although there was a Roman villa near the main road and other Roman remains have been found in the parish (fn. 9) there is nothing to suggest that the village itself was settled before the Anglo-Saxon period.
The medieval village was of medium size for the area. (fn. 10) Eighteenth-century estimates vary between 40 and 60 houses or families; although the population rose from 264 to 301 in the earlier 19th century, there were only 68 houses in 1851. (fn. 11) Thereafter the number of inhabitants declined to 176 in 1901; in 1961 the figure was 218. (fn. 12)
The original centre of the village was almost certainly the spring near Park (formerly Spring) Farm, which supplied the village and the fishponds of Hanwell Castle. Here were the pound, the smithy, and the green. Hanwell Castle and the church stood apart, the church on high ground overlooking the village. (fn. 13) In later centuries the village expanded both to the south-west and east, its cottages lying mostly on one side of a winding street stretching from below the 'Red Lion' up the hill to the church. This linear expansion was made necessary by the large area occupied by the castle on one side of the road and of the position of the open fields and commons which lay on all sides of the old village. (fn. 14) The village contracted in the late 19th century and in 1904 comprised about 45 thatched cottages with gardens and 28 a. of allotments, 4 farms, the inn, the Post Office, the school, the chapel, and rectory-house; 2 farms and Moor Mill lay outside the village. (fn. 15) Except for the addition of council houses there have been few 20th-century changes. Most of the houses are 2-story structures of coursed ironstone rubble. Some retain the once universal thatch, although there is some Welsh slate. Wooden casement windows and brick chimney-stacks are common. The 'Red Lion' is a 17th-century house, first mentioned by name in 1792. (fn. 16) Of the Victorian additions the school was built in the Gothic style of local stone; the Methodist chapel, a plain stone structure, was built at the end of the village, opposite to the inn; while the rectory-house, rebuilt c. 1843, lies some way off the main village street. The new house incorporated part of the old parsonage, which had evidently been large. (fn. 17) It was assessed on 6 hearths for the 1665 tax and after the manor-house was the largest house in Hanwell. (fn. 18) When it was leased in 1549, it was said to have dove-houses and outbuildings. (fn. 19)
It is doubtful whether there were any resident lords of the manor before the Copes (fn. 20) and the early manor-house was presumably leased or occupied by bailiffs. The present house, Hanwell Castle, dates from the grant of the manor in 1498 to William Cope, Cofferer to Henry VII. (fn. 21) He already had a house at Hardwick, near Banbury, and his will makes it clear that he began building or rebuilding at Hanwell. His executors were to cause his house there 'to be finished and made according as it is begun and according to a platt thereof made'. (fn. 22) The property was left to Cope's second son Anthony and some time after 1518 William Cope's executors brought a chancery action against Anthony for refusing to finish the rebuilding of the house. (fn. 23) Later, however, he carried out his father's wishes. He bought a considerable amount of land in Oxfordshire in 1536, (fn. 24) became High Sheriff in 1548, and evidently used Hanwell as his country house until his death in 1551. (fn. 25)
Leland, who visited Oxfordshire between 1535 and 1545, described the house as 'pleasant and gallant'. (fn. 26) It was lived in by four generations of Copes until the death in 1714 of the relict of Sir Anthony Cope (d. 1675). (fn. 27) In the latter's lifetime her relations the Spencers also lived in the house. (fn. 28) It was probably converted into a farm house after the death of Sir Charles Cope of Bruern in 1781. (fn. 29) Only the south-west tower and the south side of the quadrangle were left, but some of the bricks from the demolished building were used to construct farm out-houses. (fn. 30) By 1902 the building, when let to G. F. Berkeley, was dilapidated. Berkeley's first wife, Caroline, was responsible for the restoration of the house and the gardens. She also added the modern east wing, which was built in the same style as the surviving Tudor wing. (fn. 31) In 1957 a private tutorial establishment was opened in the Castle. (fn. 32)
The grounds, covering 17½ a. in 1904, with fishponds and woods, (fn. 33) were more elaborate in the 17th century when the royalist Sir Anthony Cope (d. 1675) was living at Hanwell. Plot said that there were waterworks in a 'House of Diversion' built on an island in one of the fishponds to the northeast of the house. There was a ball tossed by a column of water and an artificial shower. (fn. 34) He also described the mill erected in the Park by the ingenious and 'great virtuoso' Sir Anthony. It was of 'wonderful contrivance' and not only ground the corn for the house, but also turned a very large engine for cutting the hardest stone, after the manner of lapidaries, and another engine for boring guns. It was similar to a mill at Tusmore. (fn. 35) There are traces of the foundations of unidentified buildings on the slope of the hill to the south of the house. The park had another mechanical curiosity in the 17th century which was still there in the mid-18th century, when Jonathan Cope of Bruern Abbey, M.P. for Banbury, seems occasionally to have lived there. This was a water-clock which showed the hour 'by the rise of a new gilded sun moving in a hemisphere of wood'. (fn. 36) The castle grounds were still considerable in 1962, but the original plan has been much altered. A lake has taken the place of a 'succession of ponds one below another'. (fn. 37)
Hanwell Castle was originally known as Hanwell House or Hall. (fn. 38) It was built of brick with stone dressings, and was one of the earliest examples of the use of brick in the area. Prints and drawings suggest a quadrangular plan with towers at each of the four corners, but in fact, as the plinth of the existing south range demonstrates, the house was built round three sides of a court, which was open to the east. (fn. 39) The main entrance was in the west front, which, according to Skelton, measured 109 ft. and formed a symmetrical composition with the gatehouse in the centre. (fn. 40) It was approached by a road, now overgrown, which ran past the parsonage, down the hill, and through a gateway, of which the 17th-century piers remain. In the gatehouse itself was an oriel window with a medallion above it containing the portrait of a man. Bays projected from the ranges on either side of the gateway. The corner towers were similar to the remaining southwest tower: they were each of 3 stories, with 2 octagonal turrets rising above the roofs at the angles. The remaining south range is of 2 stories, and contains the kitchen, with 2 capacious fire-places placed back to back. The centre of the north front is marked by an oriel window, beneath which projects the modern porch. In the 18th century there was a 'gallery' connecting the house with the chancel of the adjoining church. (fn. 41)
The house was assessed on 27 hearths for the tax of 1665, one more than Broughton Castle. (fn. 42) When Rawlinson wrote in the early 18th century he thought the most remarkable things about the house were its 'fine gallery and many excellent paintings in the windows'. (fn. 43) This gallery was mentioned in an inventory of the house made in 1557 in which the following rooms were listed: hall, parlour, 2 great chambers, middle chamber, back chamber, gallery, gallery chamber, sepulchre, armoury, Thos. Hyll's chamber, My Lady's chamber, buttery, kitchen, dish-house, and store-house. The 'household stuff' was valued at £87 10s. (fn. 44) When Sir John Cope died in 1638 about 30 rooms were listed including the Queen's chamber and Mr. Dod's chamber. (fn. 45)
During Elizabeth I's reign Sir Anthony Cope (d. 1614) and his family kept great state at Hanwell. Ten of his children were baptized in the church from 1587 onwards. (fn. 46) Although his hopes of entertaining the queen there were never fulfilled he did entertain James I in 1605 and 1612. (fn. 47) Besides royal visitors Sir Anthony entertained Puritan divines. (fn. 48) Fuller tells how 'some riotous gentlemen, casually coming to the table of Sir Anthony Cope, were half-starved in the midst of a feast, because of refraining from swearing (meat and drink to them) in the presence of Mr. Dod' — i.e. John Dod, minister of Hanwell and friend of Sir Anthony. (fn. 49) His son Sir William (d. 1637) also twice entertained kings, James I in 1616 and Charles I in 1637. (fn. 50)
During the Civil War Sir William's grandson Anthony was a minor and nothing is known of the treatment of the house, but the church and parsonage evidently suffered damage from the Parliamentary troops quartered in the village. (fn. 51) During the first siege of Banbury in 1644 Colonel Fiennes, commanding the Parliamentary forces, made a stand south of Hanwell; on 27 June Sir William Waller was there and demanded reinforcements; two days later he moved nearer to Banbury and the Battle of Cropredy Bridge was fought. (fn. 52) In the next year the inhabitants of Hanwell petitioned the Warwickshire Committee of Accounts for the payment of charges when troops were quartered for 9 weeks. (fn. 53) Elizabeth Cope is said to have had Royalist sympathies, and her son when he came of age engaged at Hanwell in secret plans which led up to the restoration of Charles II. (fn. 54) After the Battle of Worcester Richard Allestree, who had acted as an intermediary between Charles II and the Royalists, was persuaded by Sir Anthony to live with him at Hanwell. He was there for several years and continued his activities as a go-between. (fn. 55)
Manor and Lesser Estate.
Both before the Conquest and in 1086 HANWELL manor was held by the Saxon Lewin or Leofwine, (fn. 56) who also held lands in Cowley and Chinnor. (fn. 57) In the 12th century Hanwell, like Chinnor, was probably in the possession of the Vernons. (fn. 58) Hanwell was certainly held in 1218 by Warin, son of Richard de Vernon. (fn. 59) The manor was described in 1235–6 as 1 knight's fee and in 1242–3 as ½ fee held of Roger, Earl of Winchester. (fn. 60) Since this Winchester overlordship is not mentioned again it may well be an error arising from an association of Hanwell with Chinnor, which had been forfeited by Warin's kinsman Walter de Vernon and subsequently granted to Saer de Quincy, Earl of Winchester. (fn. 61) Warin survived his eldest son Warin (fl. 1234), (fn. 62) and died between 1247 (fn. 63) and 1249 when his lands were divided between his widow Alda, his son Ralph, (fn. 64) and his grandson Warin son of Warin. (fn. 65) Hanwell fell to the share of Ralph, (fn. 66) who died in 1251. (fn. 67) The custody of his heir, a minor, was granted to Guy de Lusignan, (fn. 68) but Hanwell was entrusted to a Richard de Vernon who claimed rights as overlord. (fn. 69) Ralph's heir was his daughter Eustacia, but Hanwell later passed to his illegitimate son Sir Ralph, to whom Eustacia formally released her right c. 1311. (fn. 70) The Ralph de Vernon who was lord of Hanwell in 1316 (fn. 71) was probably the son of Sir Ralph (fn. 72) and evidently held the manor in his father's lifetime. (fn. 73) The younger Ralph was dead by 1319 when his father granted Hanwell to his daughter-in-law Margaret for her life. (fn. 74) 'Old Sir Ralph' was still alive in 1329 (fn. 75) but was probably dead by 1334 when his younger son Richard, Rector of Stockport (Ches.) and ultimate remainder man of his father's lands under a settlement of 1325, (fn. 76) granted the reversion of Hanwell after Margaret's death to his kinsman John de Vernon. (fn. 77) Margaret seems to have been dead by 1340 when Sir Ralph de Vernon, who was probably son of another Richard, illegitimate son of 'old Sir Ralph', and who succeeded to the barony of Shipbrook about this time, (fn. 78) granted Hanwell to John de Vernon. (fn. 79) John, who was perhaps a younger son of Ralph and Margaret de Vernon, (fn. 80) was lord of Hanwell in 1346 (fn. 81) and was succeeded there by his son Edmund (fn. 82) by 1379. (fn. 83) Edmund died in 1380 (fn. 84) and in the following year a group of feoffees, probably his executors, conveyed Hanwell to Sir Richard Abberbury. (fn. 85) Sir Richard, the founder of Donnington Hospital (Berks.), was dead by 1401 (fn. 86) and was probably succeeded first by his brother Thomas and then by his nephew, Sir Richard the younger. (fn. 87) In 1415 the latter conveyed Hanwell to Thomas Chaucer and a group of feoffees. (fn. 88) In 1426 the manor was claimed against Thomas Chaucer by James de Vernon, greatgrandson of Sir Thomas de Vernon of Lostock (Lancs.) a younger son of 'old Sir Ralph', (fn. 89) but Chaucer held Hanwell at his death in 1434. (fn. 90) Chaucer's relict Maud then held the manor, but on her death in 1436 (fn. 91) it passed to her daughter Alice, wife of William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk. Hanwell then followed the descent of the Dukedom of Suffolk (fn. 92) until Edmund, Duke of Suffolk (d. 1513), conveyed it to William Cope in 1498. (fn. 93)
William Cope died in 1513 and by his will Hanwell manor was to pass to his second son Anthony when he reached the age of 26. (fn. 94) Anthony had obtained Hanwell by 1518; (fn. 95) he was knighted in 1547 and died in 1551. (fn. 96) His eldest son and successor Edward Cope died in 1557 leaving as heir his eldest son William, a minor. (fn. 97) William appears to have died before reaching his majority, for Hanwell descended to Anthony, his younger brother, three times Sheriff of Oxfordshire and a prominent member of Parliament for both Banbury and Oxfordshire under Elizabeth I. He was knighted by her and created a baronet in 1611. He died in 1614 leaving debts amounting to over £20,000 and having settled Hanwell on his heir William and William's wife Elizabeth. (fn. 98) Sir William, several times M.P. for Banbury and Oxfordshire, died in 1637, and his son Sir John in 1638. (fn. 99) The latter's son, Sir Anthony, succeeded to the baronetcy at the age of six, and throughout the Civil War Hanwell manor was probably in the keeping of his mother Elizabeth (née Fane), daughter of Francis, Earl of Westmorland (d. 1629). Sir Anthony was several times M.P. either for Banbury or Oxfordshire between 1660 and his death in 1675. (fn. 100) All his children died in his lifetime; his relict, Mary Gerard (his cousin), became insane in 1676 (fn. 101) and William Spencer her brother-in-law was appointed her committee under a commission of lunacy. By his will in 1675 Sir Anthony gave his brother and successor in the baronetcy, Sir John Cope, a life estate in Hanwell but laid down that Sir John should be succeeded only by a son, if any, by some other wife than his present one, Anne Booth. Mary, Lady Cope lived at Hanwell until her death in 1714, and since Sir John had not married a second wife Hanwell passed at his death in 1721, under a further provision of Sir Anthony's will, to Sir Jonathan Cope, of Bruern, grandson of Jonathan Cope of Ranton Abbey (Staffs.), a younger son of Sir William Cope (d. 1637). (fn. 102) Sir Jonathan died in 1765 and his grandson and successor Sir Charles in 1781. Sir Charles's only son, Sir Charles, also died in 1781, and his estates were divided between his sisters Catherine Ann and Arabella Diana. (fn. 103) Catherine, relict of the elder Sir Charles, married Charles Jenkinson, later created Earl of Liverpool, who held Hanwell in trust for his step-daughter Arabella (fn. 104) until her marriage in 1790 to John Frederick Sackville, Duke of Dorset. (fn. 105) After the duke's death in 1799 Arabella married Charles, Earl Whitworth, with whom she held Hanwell until her death in 1825. (fn. 106) Hanwell then passed to her younger daughter Elizabeth, wife of George John West, later Sackville-West, Earl de la Warr (d. 1869). (fn. 107) In 1946 Herbrand, Earl de la Warr, made over the estate to his son William, Lord Buckhurst, by a marriage settlement. (fn. 108)
In 1540 Sir Thomas Pope (d. 1559) was holding 5½ yardlands in Hanwell which may have been part of his Wroxton manor. (fn. 109) Sir Thomas sold this land to the Crown in 1540 and it was still retained by the Crown in 1553. (fn. 110) The further descent of this land is not known.
Almost nothing is known in detail of parish government at Hanwell until the end of the 18th century. An undated entry in the parish register indicates that the law relating to vagrants was strictly enforced: a widow, who was taken by the watch for begging, with her five children, was whipped according to law by the constable and sent with a pass to Herefordshire, where she was born. (fn. 111)
Parish rates in 1776 raised £104, of which £98 was spent on poor relief. By 1784–5 expenditure on the poor had risen to £170 out of £183. (fn. 112) Of the parish records only overseers' accounts for the periods 1792–9 and 1821–7 survive. Two overseers were chosen yearly, each accounting for 6 months. Weekly payments were given, ranging from c. 4s. 6d. to c. 9s. 6d., to a number of persons. Between 1794 and 1796 the number on the list rose from 8 to 15 or more, at a cost of £40 to £70 a half year. The parish also used the roundsman system; between 6 and 11 men were paid weekly in the winter months of 1794–5, rising to 16 or more in 1797–8. In the summer this number fell considerably and then cost between £10 and £20 compared with £40 or more. Occasional expenses included payments of rent and repairs to the houses of the poor, payments for illness and for medical care, payment of an apprentice's premium, and an £8 fine to the justices for not finding a man for the Navy. The overseers regularly met the constable's disbursements. They also bore the loss made on the sale of cheap coal and bread to the poor. In 1794 the loss on coal, and in 1795 the loss on bread was c. £10. In all £230 was spent on poor relief in 1794–5, and £285 in 1796–7, the peak year in the first set of accounts. (fn. 113) Apart from some charity, and relief of the itinerant poor by the constable or by the churchwardens when he was absent, (fn. 114) this was the sum of poor out-relief. In 1796–7 £2 was spent on timber and boards at a workhouse but no expenditure on a workhouse is mentioned elsewhere. (fn. 115)
Expenditure had fallen by 1802–3; £102 was spent of £167 raised, all on out-relief, the remainder going on church rates, county rates, and highways. Five adults, with 19 children, received permanent relief, 50 occasional relief. Of the total number 5 were permanently unable to work. (fn. 116) By 1821 costs had risen enormously. There is no direct reference to roundsmen but a note on the last page of the account book states that, no payments for labour 'to roundsmen or otherwise' would in future be allowed in the overseers' accounts. The weekly list now had 16 to 20 people on it. Occasional payments increased and the supply of cheap coal and bread was continued. In 1821–22 total payments were £350; they fell in the next year to £263 but rose again and remained at c. £350 until the end of the accounts in 1827. (fn. 117)
The parish became part of the Banbury Union after the 1834 Act, and in 1834–5 of £243 10s. levied £175 was spent on out-relief. This fell to £130 out of £195 in the next year, (fn. 118) and again in 1851–2 to £129, raised by a rate of 1s. 7½d. (fn. 119)
In 1086 there were 10 ploughs in use in Hanwell (although there was said to be land for only 8), of which 3 with 6 serfs were on the demesne, while 20 villani and 2 bordars worked 7 ploughs. The value of the manor had risen from £5 to £7 since 1066. Besides the arable 14 a. of meadow land were mentioned. (fn. 120)
In the 14th century Hanwell was a village of medium size and, with the exception of the lord, there was no villager of outstanding wealth. For the tax of 1316 only one tenant paid as much as 2s. 6d. and in 1327 all 24 tenants paid under 2s. (fn. 121) A great part of the tax was paid by the lord — in 1306 he and his daughters paid nearly a third of the village's total assessment. (fn. 122)
At this time the economy was based, as in other north Oxfordshire parishes, on a 2-field system. One field lay to the west of the village and the other to the east, and holdings were probably equally divided between the two. (fn. 123) Evidence for the size of holdings is lacking except for a survey of Sir Thomas Pope's land in Hanwell made in 1553 when it was in the king's hands; there were then 13 tenants holding some 5½ yardlands. All, save Sir Edward Cope, held by customary tenure at rents ranging from 5s. for ¼ yardland to 30s. for 1½ yardland. (fn. 124) By 1680 and possibly earlier the 2 fields had been replaced by 4 and a terrier of the rector's yardland records that it was divided between the fields into about 47 parcels. (fn. 125) An earlier terrier of 1601 shows that, as in other neighbouring parishes, each field contained leys. There was or had once been a dole meadow where land was assigned by lots. (fn. 126)
Some farmers probably profited by the price revolution of the 16th century. There were 8 contributors to the subsidy of 1523, though their assessments were small, one being assessed on £8 worth of goods and the rest on £4 to £6 worth. (fn. 127) In 1572 there were 5 farmers prosperous enough to be assessed besides Sir Anthony Cope, who was by far the richest man in the parish. (fn. 128) Although there may have been others of equal wealth who escaped taxation, it seems plain that by this time there had been some concentration of wealth in a few hands. Inventories of members of those yeoman families who were assessed in 1572 show considerable wealth, particularly when compared with those made in the poorer Chiltern country. James Hazelwood (d. 1689), for example, was worth £228 in goods. (fn. 129) Other families like the Bullers and Grants acquired wealth in the 17th century, or were newcomers to the parish. Edward Buller (d. 1666) had £109 worth of chattels, and two Grants had goods worth as much as £317 and £386 in the early 18th century. (fn. 130) The Bullers remained a leading Hanwell family into the 20th century: in 1904 they were renting three of the principal farms, but by the 1950s they had almost died out. (fn. 131) Other 17th-century families such as the Bortons and the Haineses were represented in the 20th century by cottagers. (fn. 132) The prosperity of Hanwell's farmers is also reflected in the number of substantial farm-houses. There were 7 with 3 or 4 hearths in 1665 and many of these were later enlarged. (fn. 133)
The crops normally grown were wheat, pease, barley, and oats, but there were at least 100 a. under woad at the end of the 16th century. (fn. 134) Although most farmers kept a few cattle, pigs, and sheep, arable farming was their mainstay. In the selection of inventories examined at least two-thirds of the value of each farmer's property was in his arable crops; (fn. 135) 17th-century terriers of the rector's glebe of 1 yardland show that the greater part of his land was arable, (fn. 136) a characteristic of the economy which persisted into the late 18th century when the only pasture or meadow in Hanwell were the fields around the mill and along the brook in the east of the parish. (fn. 137)
There is little evidence of early inclosure and Hanwell probably remained largely an open-field parish until the 18th century. In c. 1768 Sir Charles Cope, lord of the manor, who probably already owned most of the land, (fn. 138) bought out the common rights of copyholders, life- and lease-holders, and other proprietors than the rector, and inclosed the parish. New farm-houses outside the village were built; the trend towards farms of bigger acreage was encouraged, and capital investment accompanied experiments in farming practice. (fn. 139) In 1785 there were 9 farms of which 3 were probably over 150 a., and 6 smaller holdings of under 50 a. (fn. 140) By 1832 the number of landholders had declined to 10; there were still 3 large farms but some of the smallholders had disappeared. (fn. 141) From c. 1788 Thomas Wyatt had been the chief farmer in the parish. (fn. 142) Arthur Young considered him a progressive farmer and his farm an example of 'capital husbandry'; he noted his 'remarkably fine cows' of the long-horned breed, which though they gave less milk than his short-horns were less voracious and yielded milk of a rich quality. By tethering his horses on vetches, a custom of which Young disapproved, he was able to follow his vetches with swedes, which lasted for April and May feeding, and then he sowed the same land with roots again. Young also described the machine which Wyatt used for slicing swedes for sheep fodder; he commented also on this introduction of Swedish turnip, which was beginning to be preferred in Oxfordshire, on Wyatt's sowing of spring wheat, which he used twice in a course, and on his use of a scuffler in preparing the land for wheat. (fn. 143) Praise was also given to another Hanwell farmer, who benefited both the poor and himself by leasing land to them for potatoes and then planting the enriched land with wheat. (fn. 144)
Hanwell's farmers at this time were all tenants and the whole parish belonged to the lord of the manor as it continued to do into the 20th century. In 1904 there were 6 farms: Hanwell Fields or Bismore Hall, the only farm in the south of the parish, Spring farm and Hanwell Park farm, all between 240 and 300 a. in extent; and 3 of between 110 and 160 a. (fn. 145) Arable no longer predominated and there was 51 per cent. permanent pasture. (fn. 146) Some sixty years later mixed farming was still the rule, and the number of farms was approximately the same. (fn. 147)
Although Banbury was close at hand and the parish was not large, the village had its own craftsmen or tradesmen in the 18th century and was largely self-sufficient. (fn. 148) In 1811 52 out of 56 families were engaged in agriculture. (fn. 149) In the later 19th century the agricultural depression caused a decrease in the number of agricultural workers and rural craftsmen, and in the 20th century new farm techniques, improved transport and the industrial growth of Banbury, led villagers to find work in Banbury rather than on the farms. (fn. 150)
A rent of ½ mark from Hanwell's mill, which stood on a tributary of the Cherwell in the extreme west of the parish (fn. 151) and was known by the 16th century as Moor Mill, was granted by Sir Warin de Vernon (d. ante 1249) to the canons of Ashby (Northants.), for the souls of himself and his wife Alda. (fn. 152) Warin's son Ralph granted the mill, the ½ mark rent and a cottage there, with land and a meadow, and the multure and suit of Hanwell's tenants. He also promised to build no other mill. (fn. 153) In 1291 the mill was valued at £1 13s. but by the 16th century the priory let it for only 26s. 8d. a year. (fn. 154) Edward Bailly, husbandman of Drayton, took a 24-year lease of it in 1527; in 1535 he demised the remainder of the lease to John Wright of Hanwell, miller, who conveyed it in 1538 to Anthony Cope, of Hardwick, the lord of the manor. (fn. 155) Cope paid rent to the king, who had taken over the priory's possessions in 1536. (fn. 156) In 1545 the mill was granted to two members of the Lawley family. (fn. 157) In 1615 Sir William Cope mortgaged it to Manasses Cowper, of Arlescote (Warws.) for £300. Part of the agreement was that Cowper should have land on Mill Hill in the South-West Field on which to build a windmill. (fn. 158) Presumably Sir William paid off the mortgage within three years, as stipulated, for the proprietorship of the mill remained in the Cope family. The Misses Cope of Hanwell were the owners in 1784 when an attempt was made to improve the mill by increasing the flow of water. Apparently this proved impracticable and led to trouble with local farmers. Sixteen proprietors of Wroxton meadow alleged that the water in the brooks had been more than doubled and that this, with the removal of trees, mere-stones, and other landmarks, had caused an estimated £66 worth of damage to their meadow. (fn. 159) The mill was being worked by the Allen family in 1854; it was still in operation as a water-corn-mill in 1891 but by 1895 it had closed down. (fn. 160)
The earliest indication of a church at Hanwell is a reference to its rector in 1154. (fn. 161) The advowson probably belonged to the lord of the manor in the mid-12th century as it did in 1234 when the first recorded presentation was made. (fn. 162) Since then the descent of the advowson has followed that of the manor. Four presentations were made by feoffees between 1406 and 1409. (fn. 163) There was a royal presentation in 1558 on account of the minority of William Cope, and another in 1694 because of the lunacy of Mary, Lady Cope. (fn. 164) In 1946 Lord de la Warr transferred the patronage to his son, Lord Buckhurst, but the last two presentations have been nominations by the Bishop of Oxford at the request of the patron. (fn. 165)
The rectory, which was never appropriated, was endowed with all the tithes in the parish and with a small glebe. The living was valued at £6 13s. 4d. in 1254, at £7 6s. 8d. in 1291, and at £17 16s. in 1535, when Anthony Cope, lord of the manor, was leasing the tithes and glebe and paying the rent to the rector. (fn. 166) In the early 17th century the rectory was worth £100 and in the early 18th century £160. (fn. 167) In 1768, when the parish was being inclosed, Sir Charles Cope, who owned the whole parish except for the glebe, arranged with the rector to pay £146 a year in place of all tithes, and at the same time the rector was released from the obligation of keeping a bull and a boar. This agreement was ratified by the Inclosure Act of 1783. It stipulated that the sum the rector received, which had been calculated as the equivalent of 71 qr. of wheat, could be reassessed every 21 years. (fn. 168) From that time the value of the rectory depended largely on the price of grain. (fn. 169) The open-field glebe of apparently 1 yardland or c. 20 a. was described in terriers of 1601 and 1680. (fn. 170) At inclosure the glebe with its right of common was exchanged for 27 a., which the rector still owned in 1946. (fn. 171)
Almost no record has been found of medieval church life at Hanwell and little is known of its medieval rectors. The rector in 1154 seems to have been a rural dean; reference was made to the Rector of Hanwell's deanery, presumably the later Deddington deanery. (fn. 172) In the 13th century Ralph de Vernon, a member of the family of the manorial lords and patrons, may have been rector (fn. 173) and Robert de Vernon certainly held the living in 1343. (fn. 174)
From the 13th century onwards a high proportion of rectors (about one third) were university graduates. Among them were two who were probably members of prominent local families — the Ardens of Drayton and the Danverses of Calthorpe. Gilbert de Arden (ante 1295–1317) was a pluralist and a prominent royal servant, and John Danvers (1390–1406) was a Fellow of New College, Oxford. (fn. 175) Both these men were likely to have been non-resident for at least part of the year. At the end of the 15th century, on the other hand, Master William Andrew (1491–1528) seems to have resided. The churchwardens made a number of complaints against him at the visitation of 1517–20, of which the chief were that he kept a woman in the parsonage and that he allowed sheep to pasture in the churchyard. A charge that he refused to open the churchyard gates to allow old people in perhaps means that the normal entrance was by way of a stile. (fn. 176) Non-residence seems to have been common in the 16th century at Hanwell: in 1541 the rector obtained a licence to be non-resident (fn. 177) and his successor's absence is perhaps implied by the fact that the parsonage was let in 1549. (fn. 178)
Non-residence may have stimulated the growth of Puritan sentiment which became important in Hanwell in the 17th century through the influence of the Cope family, patrons of the living. The Copes were deeply concerned with theological problems. Sir Anthony (d. 1551) was engaged in a theological dispute with the Vicar of Banbury in 1540, and among other works wrote a meditation on the Psalms. (fn. 179) His grandson, Sir Anthony (d. 1614), was a 'hot Puritan' who was imprisoned in 1587 for introducing into the House of Commons a Puritan version of the Prayer Book and a bill for abrogating the existing ecclesiastical law. (fn. 180) As early as 1584 the curate Jonas Wheler, who may also have been schoolmaster at Banbury, (fn. 181) was excommunicated for refusing to say services on Fridays and Saturdays. His church wardens were also excommunicated for not presenting him and for obstinately refusing to present him. (fn. 182) Wheler's crime was evidently a refusal to conform rather than any neglect of his flock, for he preached every Sunday and once during the week. (fn. 183) In 1584 Sir Anthony Cope, having been 'much wrought upon' by the preaching of John Dod, a young Cambridge Fellow, presented him to the Hanwell living. (fn. 184) There Dod spent 20 years and there his 12 children were born. His house became a centre of Puritanism for a far wider area than north Oxfordshire: on Sundays and Wednesdays he usually had 8 to 12 people dining with him and he spent much time 'among them in spiritual exhortation and conference'. He preached twice every Sunday as a rule, catechized on Sunday afternoon, held a lecture on Wednesdays, and also lectured at Banbury. (fn. 185) Other ministers were sometimes invited to preach at Hanwell, notably Robert Cleaver, Rector of Drayton, and his close friend, the Puritan divine Thomas Cartwright. (fn. 186) Dod and Cleaver together published a work on the Ten Commandments in 1603 which was based on sermons preached at Hanwell and probably also at Drayton. The volume, dedicated to Sir Anthony Cope, earned for Dod the title of the Decalogist. (fn. 187) He was said to have converted 'hundreds of souls' and was consequently envied by neighbouring ministers, who, although they did not preach themselves, did not care to see their congregations go elsewhere. He was 'questioned' from time to time in the bishop's court, and in 1593, after a special examination at the request of Archbishop Whitgift, he agreed to conform in all ways except for wearing the surplice and crossing children in baptism. (fn. 188) Complaints must have continued, however, for in 1606 or 1607 he was deprived. Nevertheless he went on living at or near Hanwell and received 'good affection' from Sir Anthony Cope. (fn. 189)
Dod's popular support created difficulties for his successor, Robert Harris, another learned divine and eminent preacher. (fn. 190) Harris found that his new congregation remained loyal to their ejected pastor, particularly as Harris differed in his preaching from Dod on several points. He was in time accepted, however, for he had the backing of Sir Anthony Cope and of Dod himself. He married the sister of William Whateley, the Puritan Vicar of Banbury, and again the parsonage became a resort for earnest Puritans, particularly for young Oxford Fellows, so that it seemed 'a little academy'. (fn. 191) Harris maintained strong links with other north Oxfordshire Puritans, among them Cleaver of Drayton, and Lancaster, an outstanding Cambridge scholar, (fn. 192) while with Dod he daily read a chapter of the Bible in Hebrew. (fn. 193)
Harris was at Hanwell for about 40 years and his influence was felt much further afield, for he sometimes preached in London, Banbury, Deddington, and Oxford. (fn. 194) It was said that at Easter and Whit Monday 'troops of Christians from all quarters, many miles distant' flocked to Hanwell. (fn. 195) The sermon which he preached at Sir Anthony Cope's funeral in 1614 and published as a pamphlet (fn. 196) acquired a great reputation, especially among the Banbury Puritans. He is said to have had such success at Hanwell itself that there was no one who would refuse to be prepared for the Lord's Supper by him. (fn. 197) He was in no sense a Presbyterian or Independent, being tolerant on matters concerning church government.
In August 1642 he was driven from his house by royalist soldiers who had occupied the village. (fn. 198) He returned later, had royalist soldiers quartered on him, and held services which were attended by the royalists, but before the end of the year he had been ejected. (fn. 199) What then happened at Hanwell is uncertain. The parish register was carried off by soldiers in 1642 and was not found again until 1649; (fn. 200) Harris's goods were 'seized upon' and his living was said to have been given to another; in 1653 Harris, who had been appointed President of Trinity College, Oxford, called himself 'late pastor of Hanwell', (fn. 201) and in the same year, when a new register was begun for Hanwell in accordance with the Act of Parliament, a Walter Harris appears as 'minister and register'. (fn. 202)
With the new rector, George Ashwell (1658–94), Puritan influence ended. He was a royalist who had been preacher to Charles I during his stay in Oxford. (fn. 203) He was utterly opposed to all heresies and schisms and remained until his death in 1694 a strong supporter of the Established Church. In his will he professed his faith in it and his gratitude for having been able to serve it. (fn. 204) He was a scholar and in 1663 published his Gestus Eucharisticus, which he dedicated to Sir Anthony Cope, and much of his later writing was devoted to preserving church unity against the threat of the nonconformist movement in Banbury. He was also a devoted parish pastor: he preached 2 sermons on Sundays and catechized in Lent; he visited the sick; and baptized the young and old; when he came to the parish there were several who had not been baptized, but by 1682 there was none. (fn. 205) He lived a frugal life, despite his large house, 3 servants and goods valued at over £422, and set a vigorous example of piety and simplicity to his parishioners. In his will he desired his executrix to give 'small practical books' to those of his parishioners who would profit by them and others to his friends among the gentry, the Wenmans, the Dentons, and the Spencers. (fn. 206)
Ashwell's successor, William Wyatt, cannot have been resident for more than half the year, for he was Public Orator at the University and Principal of St. Mary Hall. (fn. 207) He had a curate, however, to serve Hanwell. (fn. 208) Another rector, John Loggan (1717–22), son of the engraver David Loggan, was formerly a Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford. (fn. 209) Later in the century non-residence became common: one rector (1725–49) spent part of his time in Hanwell and part in his other parish, while his successor, who held office until 1802, was never resident, (fn. 210) but had resident curates. During the years when Hanwell was served by Thomas Gill, curate in 1797 and after, the parishioners were well cared for. He was a 'conscientious, discreet, diligent man' who was content with his small stipend, as he had an adequate income from two other churches. (fn. 211) Throughout the century 2 Sunday services were held, the sacrament was given 4 times a year, and the children were catechized in Lent. (fn. 212) The lively interest of the parishioners in their church is demonstrated by the great attention paid to maintaining its fabric. (fn. 213)
The patron Lord Whitworth presented in 1805 L. K. Pitt, who had been chaplain to the British Factory at St. Petersburg when Whitworth was Ambassador in Russia, but Pitt never came to Hanwell having received permission from the bishop to stay on at St. Petersburg. (fn. 214) His resident curate at Hanwell was stimulated by the increase of Methodism in the neighbourhood into making great efforts, (fn. 215) particularly in the field of education. (fn. 216) After Pitt's death in 1813 members of the Pearse family were rectors or curates for a century. (fn. 217) Vincent Pearse (1861–1912), who followed his father as rector, rebuilt the parsonage, repaired the church, increased the number of communion services from 4 to more than 12 a year, held a Sunday school and a night school in the winter for the boys, and ran a clothing club. Dissent nevertheless remained strong: Pearse reported that a half to two-thirds of the population attended church but that many of these also attended dissenting services. (fn. 218)
Since 1946 the living of Hanwell has been held in plurality with the vicarage of Horley and Hornton. Hanwell parsonage was sold and the rector lives in the larger village of Horley, a mile distant. (fn. 219)
The church of ST. PETER comprises chancel, nave, north and south aisles, south porch, and western tower. (fn. 220) It was almost entirely rebuilt early in the 14th century, and has many of the characteristic features of the Decorated style as practised by the Oxfordshire masons. The only remaining features earlier than 1300 appear to be the font, which is ornamented with intersecting arcading of c. 1200, the north and south doorways (both 13th-century), the tracery of the east window of the south aisle (late-13th-century, perhaps reset), and the northern portion of the east wall of the same aisle. The disparity between the sizes of the north and south aisles may be due to the influence of the plan of the former church, and differences between the tracery of their windows suggest that the northern (and narrower) aisle may be slightly later in date. Both north and south nave arcades are, however, of identical design, and form part of a single build with the tower, which stands on arches within the west end of the nave. As the west wall of the tower is also of one build with the west walls of the two aisles, it is clear that the rebuilding of the church, although possibly spread over a period of years, formed part of a single architectural scheme.
The principal feature of the interior is the sculptured decoration of the nave arcades, whose capitals are ornamented with the busts of men and women with linked arms. On the north side the capitals have a battlemented cresting, and on the south they are surmounted by standing figures of minstrels playing musical instruments. (fn. 221) Similar carvings are found at Adderbury, Bloxham, and Drayton. At Hanwell the full scheme of decoration was never completed, for the capitals beneath the tower remain in a rough state ready for the carver. The external cornices of the north and south walls of the chancel are also elaborately decorated with grotesque sculpture, similar to that at Brailes (Warws.), Alkerton, Adderbury, and Bloxham. (fn. 222)
In the late 14th or early 15th century the clerestory was added and a new roof was constructed. The weather-mould of the earlier roof can be seen above the chancel-arch and on the east wall of the tower. Buckler's drawing of 1824 shows the new roof, (fn. 223) of which the main timbers still remain. Late in the 15th or early in the 16th century 3 flat-headed mullioned windows were inserted in the north wall of the north aisle. In the south-west angle of the south aisle there is a medieval fire-place: its chimney is decorated with crocketed pinnacles and is similar to one at Horley.
In 1686 altar rails were given by William Spencer and the rector George Ashwell wainscoted the chancel. (fn. 224) In the 18th century the fabric was maintained in good order: in 1775 the archdeacon found it necessary to order only minor repairs, including the repaving of the floor. (fn. 225) In 1763 when the leads of the nave were stripped off on the north side by a violent wind, the estimated cost of repair was £310 and it was 1767 before the money was raised. The work was then begun and completed in the same year. (fn. 226) The new paving of the church with Hornton stone was begun in 1773 and completed in 1774. The porch was also paved and the way from the parsonage gate to the north church door. The church was re-pewed at the same time, a new gallery was erected as well as the 'long seat' in the south aisle for farmers' men and servants. During the paving of the church the pulpit, reading desk, parsonage pews, and clerk's seat were removed to new positions for the 'greater convenience of the whole congregation'. (fn. 227) In 1774 the church clock, which has no face, was repaired and placed in a specially made recess. (fn. 228) The proportions of the chancel were impaired in 1776 when a vault was made beneath it for the Cope family. The floor was raised so high that the seats of the sedilia were level with the floor and 5 steps had to be built between the sanctuary and the nave. Two windows had already been blocked by large memorials to the Copes. In the 19th century the floor was restored to its former level, (fn. 229) but the church largely escaped 19th-century restoration: its external appearance still closely resembles Buckler's drawings of 1823 and 1824. (fn. 230)
New heating apparatus was installed in 1880, (fn. 231) and in 1949 and 1951 faculties were granted for installing electric lighting and heating in the chancel. A faculty for an organ was obtained in 1923. (fn. 232) The stone pulpit is dated 1940.
The church once had a series of wall paintings extending the whole breadth of the chancel. These were uncovered in 1841 when the whitewash was removed, but they could not be preserved. (fn. 233)
The heraldic glass described by Rawlinson (fn. 234) has been destroyed, but a few fragments of medieval glass survive in the west window.
In the south aisle there is the recumbent effigy of a woman, once part of a mid-14th-century tomb; above the altar in the north aisle there is a fragment of 14th-century sculpture which probably came from the side of this tomb: it consists of 5 figures of weepers in niches. (fn. 235) In the chancel is a large alabaster monument with figures of Sir Anthony Cope (d. 1614) and his wife. It is flanked by Corinthian columns supporting obelisks. (fn. 236) On the floor are two brasses of 1662 and 1671 to the infant children of Sir Anthony (d. 1675); on the south wall are memorials to Jonathan Cope (d. 1765) and his wife Mary (d. 1755), and to Sir Charles Cope and his son (both d. 1781). (fn. 237) A cartouche in the south aisle commemorates Dorothea (d. 1656/7), wife of Walter Harris, and there are memorials to a rector and a curate, George Ashwell (d. 1694), and Thomas Gill (d. 1777). A memorial slab, now in the south aisle, to another rector, Fitzherbert Potter (d. 1749), was part of a tomb accidentally destroyed in 1952. (fn. 238) In the north aisle 3 funeral helms of the Cope family are preserved.
The church possesses a fine Elizabethan chalice and paten cover, which is engraved 1574. (fn. 239) This may have been the gift of Charles Spencer, who lent a silver flagon, chalice, and paten for the use of the parishioners, intimating that he might later make it a gift. (fn. 240)
There is a ring of 5 bells, all cast in 1789 and 1790. (fn. 241)
The registers, which date from 1586, are complete except for a gap for the Civil War period. (fn. 242)
There was only one nonconformist in Hanwell in 1676, (fn. 243) probably an Anabaptist woman of whom the rector complained in 1682. Apparently some Hanwell parishioners also attended the Presbyterian conventicle in Calthorpe House, Banbury. (fn. 244) In 1714 William Glaze, 'a professed Presbyterian', late of Hanwell, was keeping a school at Neithrop, (fn. 245) and there were occasional references to a Hanwell Anabaptist throughout the 18th century. (fn. 246)
From 1802 the Horley Methodist chapel apparently attracted some Hanwell parishioners. (fn. 247) By 1814 there was at least one professed Methodist family, (fn. 248) in 1822 William Gunn's house in Hanwell was licensed for meetings which were clearly Methodist, (fn. 249) and in 1823 an itinerant preacher was visiting the village. (fn. 250) Although there were said to be no dissenters in 1834 (fn. 251) there was an average attendance at William Gunn's house of 47 in 1851; in 1854 meetings were held there on Sunday evenings but there were no regular teachers. (fn. 252) By 1878 nearly half the inhabitants of Hanwell were thought to be dissenters and the 'Unionists' held meetings on the village green. (fn. 253) A Methodist chapel, built in the later 19th century, with seating for 80, was in use in 1965. It was served by ministers from Banbury and Brailes (Warws.), and its membership was five. (fn. 254)
About 1812 the curate established two Sunday schools, (fn. 255) one for 12 very young children, and another for about the same number of older boys. They were supported by the parish and were conducted to a very limited extent on the National Society's plan. Although the Sunday school teachers in 1815 were willing to adopt the new scheme proposed by the National Society, it was then considered that there were not enough children in the surrounding area to warrant it. (fn. 256) In 1823 the school received money from a charity. (fn. 257)
By 1834 a day school had been established, though there was still no infants' school. Twelve boys and 14 girls attended at their parents' expense and in the Sunday school, supported by contributions, there were 20 boys and 15 girls. Both schools received support from the lord of the manor, the rector, and some of the farmers. (fn. 258) In 1848 George, Earl de la Warr, gave a cottage to be used both as a school and a residence for the schoolmaster. (fn. 259) In 1854 the parish clerk was master and c. 30 children attended the day school and c. 50 the Sunday school. (fn. 260) In 1859 there were 33 children attending the day school and 38 the Sunday school. It was reported that it was not possible to retain the children in Sunday school after they had left the day school, and that a night school had been attempted without success. (fn. 261) Seven years later, however, the rector was able to report that a night school for labouring boys was fairly attended for so small a parish. (fn. 262)
A school was built in 1868 through the exertions of the rector, and the old cottage school was converted into a teacher's house. (fn. 263) The school, which was run in conjunction with the National Society and the Church of England, was intended for the children of labourers and other poor persons. The parents paid rates of 3d., 2d., and 1d. weekly according to their means, and in 1869 an annual grant covered all other expenses. (fn. 264) Attendance had risen from 30 in 1869 to 35 in 1871. (fn. 265) Although there was accommodation for 53, the situation seems to have been considered unsatisfactory, since in 1872 a School Board was formed compulsorily. This Board leased the school under restrictions approved by the National Society, (fn. 266) and in 1875 there were 49 pupils, of whom 45 paid 1d. and 4 paid 2d. weekly. (fn. 267) The maximum accommodation at the school was 65, and the average attendance about half that. (fn. 268) By 1890 the school received a Parliamentary grant, which, with payments from the rates and fees, made up the whole income. (fn. 269) The 1894 and 1900 returns, however, do not mention payments of school pence. (fn. 270) The school, which had had a roll of only 17 in 1952, was closed in 1961 and the infants transferred to Horley, the juniors to Hornton, and others to Banbury. (fn. 271)
In 1728 James Jenkinson, Rector of Drayton and formerly Rector of Hanwell (1723–5), gave £10 for the use of the poor, and Mrs. Butterfield gave £3; both sums were vested in the lord of the manor and his successors. The income of 13s. was received and distributed regularly until 1780; payment then ceased until 1818 when arrears of £16 5s. were collected. From this sum every adult received 2s. 6d. and every child 6d. Except in 1823, when the income was used to augment the school funds, the money was distributed annually to deserving poor for about a century. (fn. 272) In 1926 the charge was commuted for £26 and invested. (fn. 273) Between 1928 and 1932, when accounts ceased for 20 years, the interest was 14s. a year and 13 poor persons were each given 1s. yearly. In 1955 the income was 13s. and the balance in hand £7 8s. 10d., of which £3 was spent on logs given to 6 aged or needy families. (fn. 274)
When Hanwell was inclosed c. 1768 34 a. and a cow pasture of 15 a. were allotted to the poor in return for their right to gather fuel on the commons. By the Inclosure Act of 1783 this land was put under the guardianship of the churchwardens and the overseers. (fn. 275) No further reference to it has been found.