A History of the County of Berkshire: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1924.
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Radelea, Radclege (xii cent.).
The parish of Radley included in 1831 the 'liberty' of Thrupp and Wick and part of the township of Kennington, and covered altogether 3,550 acres. Kennington was made into a separate ecclesiastical parish in 1866. (fn. 1) In May 1900 the extra-parochial district called Bagley Wood was added to Radley. (fn. 2)
The parish lies in a curve of the River Thames, which forms its eastern and southern boundaries. The fisheries in the river have always been a valued possession of the lords of the manor. The ground rises gradually from the banks of the stream, but is nowhere higher than 300 ft. above the ordnance datum. It reaches this height on the north side of Radley Park at Sugworth, a farm-house which represents an ancient manor.
It seems that the monks of Abingdon had a house in the park. The 'site of the manor' was in the possession of William Butler in 1538. (fn. 3) George Stonehouse built himself a mansion here in the reign of Elizabeth, of which traces are said to remain in the gateway and the walled garden. (fn. 4) This house was superseded by a new building, Radley Hall, which Hearne saw in process of erection in 1727. (fn. 5) This was the residence of the Stonehouse and Bowyer families till the early part of the 19th century, when Sir George Bowyer let it. It was first occupied by a Nonconformist school, but had been vacated before 1847, when Dr. Sewell fixed upon this house as a suitable building for St. Peter's College. Radley Hall is a square Georgian building with a main cornice of stone. The school buildings surround an open quadrangle with the chapel on one side and the hall on the other. They are of red brick and stone in the 'Perpendicular' Gothic style, and the hall has a projecting oriel towards the end. The chapel is seven bays long with a seven-light east window and four-light side window.
The church of St. James is just outside the park, at its south-east corner; near it is the vicarage, a modern red brick building with the old vicarage adjoining it. The latter is a 15th-century building of two stories, timber framed and standing north and south. The upper floor projects and has a moulded cornice. The entrance doorway has a four-centred head with foliage spandrels of the 15th century. At the north end is a stone chimney stack, but the interior has no features of interest.
The old village of Radley stands near the banks of the Thames to the east of the park. Between the two villages is Radley station, on the Great Western railway, surrounded by a cluster of modern houses.
The 'liberty' of Thrupp and Wick lies to the south of Radley township, and is bounded on two sides by the river. Wick Hall, which is now a mansion of some size inclosed in a park, was only a farm till 1889, when it was enlarged and improved. It is the residence of Mrs. Dockar Drysdale. It is recorded that at Thrupp, a tiny hamlet to the south of Wick, the River Thames was in the time of Abbot Ordric (1052–65) diverted from its course, to allow the boats of the citizens of Oxford a freer passage. (fn. 6) Possibly it has been altered again since then. It is difficult now to recognize the stream as it is described in the 16th century. There was then a backwater running from 'Gowsey,'on the north side of a common called Nyett Common, to an Eyett called Pooke or Porter's Eyett, and thence to the Abbey Mills. This was called Thrupp Water or Nyett Ford. The main stream ran round the south side of 'Nyett Common.'According to George Stonehouse, the fishery in Thrupp Water belonged to the manor of Radley. (fn. 7) William Blacknall and Richard Tesdale, who were holding the Abbey Mills, claimed it against him. They also manipulated the lock at Abingdon so as to 'exalte and sloppe the watercourse,'flooding lands within the manor of Radley. There is no such backwater at the present day.
The township of Kennington is a long, narrow strip of land to the north-east of Radley, and between Bagley Wood and the river. Its boundaries in the 10th century were given as follows: 'From the Thames staith to Wulfric's broc; up Rigeweorthe to the old dike; from the dike out to Rigeweorthe hall; then to the hedge; along the hedge to Bagganwurthe; by the edge (of the road) till it comes to Scaecling aecere; then out to Stanford; then to the Thames to the Island across over the bridge to Ceanewylla and the stream out of the Thames; along the Thames till it comes to Hyrd Ige; then out again to Wulfric's Broc.' (fn. 8) A third part of an 'island' lying in a stream between Kennington and Sandford by granted to the church of St. Nicholas of Sandford by Roger de Sandford between 1170 and 1180. (fn. 9)
There is a small village at Kennington with a church dedicated to St. Swithun. On the north side of the road is the manor-house, a 16th-century building. It is now L-shaped on plan and is two stories high, the lower part of stone and the upper of timber-framing. The front is original, but all the windows have been modernized. The east side has a moulded string-course dividing the stories, and below it are several single, three and four-light windows with stone mullions and rounded heads of Elizabethan character. The upper story is now rough-cast. A 16th-century window remains on the west side of the wing, and there was formerly a basement, but all its windows are now blocked. Inside the wing two rooms, one above the other, have each plastered ceiling beams with modelled enrichments of fruit foliage and a moulded cornice round the walls. The chimney stacks are of ashlar with attached pilasters on each face and moulded capitals. The garden at the back is inclosed with walls very largely of ashlar and contains several moulded stones, one with ball-flower ornament, said to have come from a destroyed church or chapel. At the side of the house are two gateways, the outer of early 17thcentury date with side piers capped with stone balls. The piers of the inner gate have attached pilasters, but the tops are ruined.
The hamlet called 'Little London' lies to the south-west on the edge of Bagley Wood. An Inclosure Act for Kennington township was passed in 1802. (fn. 10)
Radley Park is in the centre of the parish, and has at the present day an area of 136 acres. It was in existence as early as 1262, (fn. 11) and probably it was at that time of much greater extent. Hearne noted in 1714 that the old park seemed to have been large, though the present park was 'small and mean,' (fn. 12) and remarks elsewhere that 'abundance of woods have been destroyed hereabouts, particularly a great deal of the fine park of Radley, to which the scholars of Oxford used so much to resort.' (fn. 13) The custody of the park is said to have been granted by Henry de Frilford, Abbot of Abingdon (1260–2), to a certain John. (fn. 14) It was settled in 1316 on Alexander le Parker, with remainder to his son Henry, to whom Abbot John Sutton (1315–22) was said to have granted the service from the park in fee to the disadvantage of the house. (fn. 15) Henry le Parker and Henry and John his sons are mentioned in 1348. (fn. 16) William Radley granted the custody of the park to Thomas Golafre and his wife for life in 1371. (fn. 17) In 1387, however, the king granted the office, with a carucate of land, a yearly robe and other special profits, to John Middleton. (fn. 18) The grant was disputed by Thomas Hanney, Thomas Croke and others, all parsons of neighbouring churches, to whom William Radley had granted the reversion. (fn. 19) The patents were annulled, and in the next year Thomas Hanney alienated the 'bailiwick' in mortmain to the Abbot of Abingdon for the maintenance of the fabric. (fn. 20) References to wood bought in the park for hedges and fuel appear in the accounts of the abbey in the 15th century. (fn. 21)
The soil of the parish is gravel, on a subsoil of Kimmeridge Clay and Alluvium. About a third of the parish is under cultivation, and a succession of grain crops is raised.
The date of the grant of RADLEY to Abingdon Abbey is not known. The name first occurs in the late 12th century, when Radley provided wax for the altar of the abbey church, (fn. 22) and the tithe from the men of Radley was devoted to the fabric. (fn. 23) In the second of these entries Radley is said to be in 'the tenure of Barton.' (fn. 24) This indicates that it was included in the Domesday Survey in the 40 hides of the abbot's large manor of Barton. (fn. 25) 'Barton and Radley' were entered together in the accounts of the abbey in 1538 as though they formed a single estate, but it is certain that courts were held at Radley before the Dissolution. (fn. 26)
In 1538 Radley was surrendered to the Crown with the other possessions of the abbey. (fn. 27) In 1545 the king still held the manor, (fn. 28) and appointed as his bailiff and collector George Manser. (fn. 29) Two years later, however, a grant in fee was made to Thomas Lord Seymour of Sudeley, (fn. 30) Lord High Admiral of England, after whose attainder in 1549 (fn. 31) Edward VI granted the manor to his sister the Lady Elizabeth, (fn. 32) who seems to have held it till she succeeded to the throne.
In January 1559–60 Elizabeth sold the manor to George Stonehouse, (fn. 33) one of the clerks of the Green Cloth. (fn. 34) At that date William Butler was still the lessee, but Radley soon became the residence of the Stonehouse family, and remained so till the end of the 18th century. In 1560 George Stonehouse settled the manor on himself and his wife Elizabeth, with remainder to their eldest son William in tail, (fn. 35) and contingent remainder to younger sons. William succeeded, and in 1628 had a grant of the dignity of baronet. (fn. 36) He died four years later, (fn. 37) and his eldest son and heir John only survived him by a few months. (fn. 38) George, the second son, succeeded. (fn. 39) He was Sheriff of Berkshire in 1637–8 (fn. 40) and a member of Parliament for Abingdon for many years. Sir George was a Royalist, and in 1649 paid a heavy fine for his estates. (fn. 41) His eldest son and heir was George Stonehouse, who, however, lost his inheritance through the 'antipathy' felt for him by his parents. Sir George left the estates to his second son John, (fn. 42) and attempted to secure to him the baronetcy also by surrendering the old patent of 1628, and securing in 1670 a new one with a remainder to John Stonehouse. (fn. 43) The legality of the surrender seems to have been doubtful, and the elder branch of the family bore the title till it died out in 1740. (fn. 44)
John Stonehouse had a son and heir John, who succeeded him in or about 1700, and was himself succeeded by his son another John. (fn. 45) The latter, on the death of his cousin in 1740, became entitled to both baronetcies. (fn. 46) His brother William succeeded him, and was in possession in 1768. (fn. 47) James, the brother of William, died unmarried in 1792, leaving the estates by his will to his niece Penelope Lady Rivers for life, with remainder to his nephew George Bowyer. (fn. 48) The latter was made a vice-admiral in 1794 for his gallantry under Lord Howe at Ushant. (fn. 49) He was created a baronet in the same year, and succeeded to the Radley estate in 1795. (fn. 50) Curiously enough, he also possessed a double baronetcy, for in 1799 he succeeded his elder brother Sir William Bowyer, bart., of Denham (co. Bucks.). (fn. 51) He died in the same year, and was succeeded by his son and heir George, who lived till 1860. (fn. 52) Owing to an unfortunate attempt to find coal on his estate this Sir George Bowyer got into financial difficulties, and was obliged to lease the manor-house to a Nonconformist school. (fn. 53) In 1847 a new lease was made for twenty-one years, this time to the founders of Radley College. (fn. 54) The lease was renewed to run till 1910, but in 1889 the council of the college was able to purchase the buildings and park, which it now owns. (fn. 55)
The manorial rights remained in the Bowyer family for some time longer. In 1860 George son and heir of the last Sir George succeeded. (fn. 56) He was followed by his brother William, (fn. 57) who alienated portions of the estate to Mrs. Dockar Drysdale of Wick Hall. In 1901 Sir George Bowyer, his nephew and heir, sold the manor to this lady, who is its present owner.
KENNINGTON (Chenigtun, ix cent.; Chenitun, x–xi cent.; Kenitune, Keintone, xii cent.) was probably of more importance than Radley before the Conquest. In 956, two centuries before there is any mention of Radley by name in the abbey records, (fn. 58) King Edwy made a charter granting Kennington to the priest Byrhtelm. (fn. 59) The latter conveyed it to Æthelwold Abbot (fn. 60) of Abingdon in exchange for Crydan Bricge (? Curbridge, Oxon.). Rainbald, a military tenant, had 5 hides in Kennington and Sunningwell in the time of William I as part of 1½ knight's fees there and in Garford, Boxford, Cumnor, Frilford and Longworth. (fn. 61) Berner had the Kennington and Garford land at the Domesday Survey, while Rainbald was still the tenant in Frilford. (fn. 62) In 1166 1½ knight's fees were held under the abbot by Hugh son of Berner, perhaps the Hugh de Sunningwell mentioned in the abbey rules. (fn. 63) Geoffrey de Sunningwell was in possession of this fief in the late 12th century and was succeeded by Henry de Sunningwell. (fn. 64) Henry had a brother and heir Hugh and a sister Idonea who married William de Wodecot. Hugh's son Nicholas was sued for the land in Sunningwell in 1241 by Idonea on the ground that Hugh was a sub-deacon and Nicholas was a bastard. The suit failed on a technicality, (fn. 65) and in the next year, when Nicholas was outlawed for the murder of his brother, he was in possession of two-thirds of the Kennington and Sunningwell lands, the remainder being held by Ysold widow of Henry de Sunningwell. (fn. 66) Nicholas was pardoned in 1243, (fn. 67) but his lands seem to have been previously granted to Robert de Wyleby, who in a return of about that year is given as tenant of the estate. (fn. 68) According to a chronicle of Abingdon Abbey John de Blosmevile (Abbot 1241–56) bought the 'manor of Sunningwell' for the abbey at great expense. (fn. 69) This statement is confirmed by another return, apparently of slightly later date, in which the abbot is said to be the tenant of the lands of Nicholas de Sunningwell. (fn. 70) It seems that from this time Kennington was retained by the abbey. (fn. 71) It belonged in the 15th century to the chamberlain. (fn. 72)
In 1547 land in Kennington was granted to John Lyon, together with the manor of Norcott, (fn. 73) the descent of which it followed until 1679. (fn. 74) Its history for some time after this date is very obscure, but it seems finally to have been purchased by the Mordaunt family. (fn. 75) John Mordaunt (fn. 76) was lord of the manor in 1742, (fn. 77) and Charles Henry Mordaunt, Lord Peterborough, who was presumably his kinsman, was owner of the manorial rights and nearly all the land in the township in 1802–3. (fn. 78) By the middle of the 19th century the manor was the property of the Bowyers of Radley. It has since followed the descent of Sunningwell (q.v.), passing with that manor to Mr Edgar Norton Disney of Ingatestone (Essex).
In the accounts of the chamberlain of Abingdon for 1428–9 'Freryncourt in Kenyngton' is mentioned (fn. 79); 60s. rent was paid for it to the chamberlain, and 16d. was paid by him for ward due at the castle of Windsor. (fn. 80) Presumably this was the 'grove called Fruerncourte' which belonged to the abbey at the Dissolution. (fn. 81)
In 1538 John Croke was holding a messuage here, which in 1609 was called the 'manor' of Kennington. (fn. 82) He still held it at his death in January 1620–1. (fn. 83) The lease of a capital messuage in Kennington was in dispute between William Daunderege and various other persons at a date between 1558 and 1579. (fn. 84)
Land here was granted to Littlemore Priory about 1250 by Robert de Wyleby. (fn. 85) It was held by the priory at its dissolution, (fn. 86) and was granted by Henry VIII to Cardinal Wolsey. (fn. 87) After his attainder it was granted to Henry the Eighth's College. (fn. 88)
SUGWORTH (Suggewurthe, Sogoorde, xi cent.), commonly called from the 10th century SAWCERS or BORROWSLEYS, must have been granted to Abingdon Abbey with Barton, of which manor it was originally a member. (fn. 89) At the end of the 11th century Warin was holding 4 hides of the abbot for the service of half a knight's fee. (fn. 90) The vill was held in this way by military tenants for some time. In the latter part of the 12th century Moyses was holding 3 hides here, (fn. 91) and John de Chereburk and Thomas de Hynton were holding the estate for half a knight's fee at different times in the mid-13th century. (fn. 92) In 1316 the abbot seems to have held Sugworth in his own hands, (fn. 93) and in 1428 he was returned as holding it for a fourth part of a knight's fee. (fn. 94)
Six years after the surrender of the abbey Sugworth was granted to Richard Snowe of Chicksands. (fn. 95) He sold it to John Lord Williams of Thame, (fn. 96) on whose death in 1559 (fn. 97) it passed to Margery wife of Henry Norreys, one of his daughters and co-heirs. (fn. 98) Lord and Lady Norreys sold it in 1587 to John Doyley of Merton (co. Oxon.), who died in possession six years later. (fn. 99) He had four daughters and co-heirs, Margery, Katherine, Anne, and Elizabeth. (fn. 100) The youngest died unmarried in 1599. Of the three survivors (fn. 101) Margery married Sir Edward Harrington, whose father Sir James Harrington her mother had married as her second husband, Katherine became the wife of Sir William Dyer, and Anne of Thomas Gower. (fn. 102) The two-thirds of Sugworth held by the younger sisters were both bought by the Harrington family in 1604. (fn. 103) Ten years later Sir Edward and Lady Harrington sold the manor to William Stonehouse of Radley. (fn. 104) From that time Sugworth has followed the descent of the manor of Radley (fn. 105) (q.v.). The manorial rights have now lapsed, and Sugworth consists only of a single farm.
THRUPP (Tropa, Thropa, xii cent.) appears in the rules of Abingdon Abbey as providing cheese for the refectory and eels for the monks 'kitchen. (fn. 106) The copyholders of this hamlet are mentioned in 1538, (fn. 107) when WICK, which forms with Thrupp a single 'liberty,'appears only as' Le Wyke Ferme' and 'a messuage and two virgates called Wykes.' (fn. 108) Thrupp and Wick were both granted with Kennington to John Lyon, (fn. 109) and in 1579 were called manors. (fn. 110) They were probably, however, subject to the courts of Kennington. The estate followed the descent of that manor at least till 1679. (fn. 111) In 1826 it appears to have belonged to the Rt. Hon. William Sturges Bourne. (fn. 112) In the middle of the 19th century first Wick and then Thrupp were acquired by William Dockar, (fn. 113) whose daughter Mrs. Dockar Drysdale is the present owner.
The church of ST. JAMES consists of a chance' 26 ft. 6 in. by 14 ft. 6 in., nave 48 ft. 6 in. by 17. ft. 3 in. with south aisle and south transept together making a width of 26 ft. 9 in., and west tower 8 ft. 9 in. square.
The south transept is apparently of 14th-century date, but the whole of the rest of the church was rebuilt in the 15th century, and the nave is a particularly interesting example of timber construction. The building suffered severely during the Civil War, when Radley formed an outpost of the Royalist garrison of Oxford. It was at this period that the north aisle and transept of the nave were destroyed and the existing north wall built in their place. The church was considerably restored in 1902.
The chancel is of the 15th century and has a three-light traceried east window with a four-centred head. In the side walls are three-light square-headed windows of similar date, one on each side, and there is also a priest's door in the north wall. The east end has diagonal buttresses terminating in modern pinnacles, and on the east gable is an old cross carried up from a hood corbel on the east wall. The side walls of the chancel are embattled. The chancel arch is modern and takes the place of an old arch of oak, the remains of which now lie in the vicarage garden. On the east side of the north respond is a moulded corbel embedded in the wall.
The nave has two threelight windows with square heads in the north wall. In the eastern the lights are plain, but in the western they have cusped heads. The south aisle is separated from the nave by a row of oak posts resting on stone bases. The angles are chamfered off, and from the inner faces spring curved braces, forming an arcade of five fourcentred arches. The south transept has a two-light east window, and a similar window in the south wall; both have pointed heads and uncusped lights, and the mullions are modern restorations. In the south wall is a trefoilheaded piscina, apparently of the 14th century, and the roof is of the trussed rafter type and open to the ridge. The south aisle has a three-light square-headed 15th-century window in the south wall, and further west a south doorway of similar date with a four-centred arch. At the west end of the aisle is a two-light square-headed window, on the sill of which is a stone taken from near the chancel arch with a consecration cross. The nave roof is of king-post type, the tie-beams being supported on carved oak supports of modern date; the pent roof of the aisle has been largely renewed. In the south doorway is a panelled oak door inscribed 'Rodericus Lloid 1656.' The south porch is a modern timber structure.
The west tower is three stages high and finished with an embattled parapet; the walls are faced with ashlar. The ground stage has a pointed 15th-century tower arch with a modern inner order and side shafts. The two-light west window is square-headed and of the same date restored, and the west doorway below it is pointed with a square label and quatrefoils in the spandrels. The second stage is lighted by a square-headed window in the south wall, and the bell-chamber has a two-light square-headed window in each face, all of the 15th century. On the east face of the tower, immediately above the nave roof, is the inscription 'H. Perrin flattened this roof 1703.'
In the churchyard, to the north of the church, the foundations were recently discovered of the north transept and aisle, destroyed in the Civil War.
There is a stone altar with a panelled front, much restored; behind it is an elaborately carved modern oak reredos, gilded and painted. The stalls, six on either side of the chancel, are of early Renaissance character with carved divisions and feet; the misericordes have each a cherub-head bracket. At the back are crocketed and panelled canopies, each bay having a flat ogee head and a cusped and panelled back, with a straight cornice above finished with a carved cresting. The crockets to each bay are of different design, and the spandrel carving and cusping is of great variety. The stone pulpit is modern, but at the back is fixed a very fine example of a late Gothic oak canopy. It is in three bays with angel pendants to the front, a richly traceried cresting and a traceried fringe to the soffit. At the back is a row of traceried Gothic panels. The lower portion consists of linen-fold panelling apparently pieced together. It is said that this piece of furniture was originally the canopy to the Speaker's chair in the House of Commons, and was a gift to the church by William Lenthall, Speaker of the Long Parliament. The font has a circular bowl of mid-13th-century date, ornamented with a rich arcade of semicircular arches resting on carved pilasters of varying designs with capitals and bases; this was long put to secular use, and was restored to the church in 1840.
On the south side of the altar is a handsome marble and alabaster monument (fn. 114) to Sir William Stonehouse, bart., of Radley (d. 1631), and his son Sir John Stonehouse (1632), erected by Elizabeth daughter of John Powell and wife of Sir William. On a broad altar tomb, with a slab of Purbeck marble, rest the alabaster recumbent effigies of Sir William in a ruff and long black gown and his lady. At the head is a smaller figure of Sir John dressed in armour and kneeling upon one knee. In front of the tomb are kneeling figures of two sons, five daughters and four chrysom children. The canopy at the back has a semicircular arch, cornice and cleft pediment, and an achievement of the arms of Stonehouse. There are also four other shields, two of them Stonehouse impaling Powel, Or a cheveron gules between three lions' feet razed gules, Powel alone and Stonehouse quartering Powel. On the same wall, further west, is a diminutive brass plate to Margaret Lady Stonehouse (d. 1694).
The windows of this church contain a remarkable collection of royal heraldry in stained glass. It appears to be of two dates, the earlier belonging to the latter part of the 15th century and the later tc the time of the Tudors. In the middle light of the east window are the arms of Henry VII supported by a red dragon and a white greyhound, and in the side lights are a kneeling bishop with Resurrection figures behind and a group representing the return of the prodigal. In the tracery are figures of our Lord, St. Peter and two angels. In the north window of the chancel are the king's arms encircled by the Garter, and in the side lights two Tudor roses crowned and gartered. In the south chancel window the first light has the royal arms as represented in the east window; in the second the shield is supported by the antelopes of Henry VI; in the head of this light is an angel. The third light has the arms of Henry VIII supported by a crowned leopard and a dragon gules. The background is diapered with the initials H.R. In the window on the north side of the nave the middle light has a full-length figure of an angel holding a shield of the arms of Bowyer. The third light has the shield of Henry VI supported by spotted antelopes and is diapered with H.R. The third light has the arms of Henry VIII with the leopard and dragon supporters. In the south aisle window the first light has a royal arms twice repeated, the lower with leopard and dragon supporters. The second light has a richly jewelled mitre at the head and the royal arms encircled by the garter below in a cartouche. The third light has two shields of France and England, the lower supported by a leopard and the boar of Richard III. In the west window is a half-length portrait said to be of King Henry VII. In the churchyard, to the south-west of the church, is a mid-17th-century panelled altar tomb of stone.
There are six bells: the treble is inscribed 'Abel Rudhall of Gloucester cast me, 1754'; the second inscribed 'Prosperity to this parish, A.R. 1754'; the third 'Peace and good neighbourhood, A.R. 1754'; the fourth 'When you us ring, we'll sweetly sing, A.R. 1754'; the fifth 'Hark to our melody, A.R. 1754'; the tenor is modern. There is also a ting-tang inscribed 'Henry Wright made me, 1617.'
The plate includes a flat paten dated 1571, but without marks, a cup, London, 1605, an almsdish of circa 1700 bearing a shield of arms, a chief indented with three heads thereon, and a flagon, London, 1705, with the Stonehouse arms. There is also a modern set of cup, paten and credence paten. A brass almsdish belonging to the church is probably Flemish work of the 16th century and is inscribed 'Wart der infridech.'The brass cross head is probably foreign work of early 16th-century date. It has the figures of the Virgin and Child with the symbols of the Evangelists on the arms.
The registers previous to 1812 are as follows: (i) mixed entries 1599 to 1741; (ii) mixed entries 1741 to 1812, marriages to 1754. only; (iii) marriages 1754 to 1812. In 1643 are recorded the burials of several troopers and officers killed during a skirmish in connexion with the siege of Oxford. Their names are indicated by small marks in the margin.
The church of ST. SWITHUN, Kennington, was rebuilt in 1828, and is a rectangular stone structure, three bays long, in the Norman style, with a slated roof and western bellcote containing one bell. The west door is of similar character, and each bay is lighted by a round-headed window.
The church of Radley existed in 1284 as a chapel to St. Helen's, Abingdon. (fn. 115) As such it was in the gift of the abbot. Its status after the Dissolution was undefined. Down to the 19th century it was called a chapel of St. Helen's. (fn. 116) On the other hand various inhabitants in the 16th century gave it as their opinion that Radley was a 'parish of itself.' (fn. 117) It had the right of marriage, christening, and burial, (fn. 118) and though the Crown appointed vicars nominally to the vicarage of St. Helen's with the chapels of Drayton and Radley, (fn. 119) the living was actually treated as a donative, and the collation was in the hands of the lords of the manor. (fn. 120) In 1783 the vicar of St. Helen's put on record the fact that though he was presented, instituted and inducted to Drayton and Radley, he enjoyed 'no other advantage than the trifling annual acknowledgement of 3s. 4d. for the one and 5s. for the other.' (fn. 121)
About 1863 the trustees of St. Peter's College, Radley, purchased three presentations to the living from Sir George Bowyer, who was then patron. (fn. 122) They presented the three successive wardens of the college to the benefice. After the last of the three, Mr. Wilson, had retired, the council acquired the permanent right of advowson, (fn. 123) which it holds at the present day.
The date when a chapel was first built in Kennington is uncertain. It is first mentioned in 1538. (fn. 124) In 1714 the inhabitants of Kennington considered that their church was of great antiquity, 'older than Radley or Sunningwell.' (fn. 125) It was a chapel of ease to Sunningwell, dedicated to St. Swithun, and the Stonehouse and Bowyer families, as patrons of Sunningwell, presented an incumbent in the 18th century. (fn. 126) In 1802 the chapel had been allowed to fall into ruin, (fn. 127) and it was not rebuilt till 1828. In 1866 Kennington was formed into a consolidated chapelry, and the patronage was assigned to the Bishop of Oxford. (fn. 128) In the following year it was transferred to the College of All Souls, Oxford, in exchange for the right of presentation to the living of Cadmore End. (fn. 129)
James Davis, as stated on a tablet in the church, left £100, the interest to be applied at Christmas in the purchase of three coats, value each £1 1s., for three poor men, being fifty years old. The legacy is represented by £105 consols, producing £2 12s. 4d. yearly.
In 1877 Martha Bristow, by her will proved at London 24 October, bequeathed £150, the income to be applied for the use of the poor. The legacy, less duty, was invested in £142 9s. 7d. consols, producing £3 11s. yearly. The income is applied in the distribution of blankets.
The sums of stock are held by the official trustees.
Kennington, St. Swithun's.—In 1900 Mrs. Mary Dale Rowley, by her will proved at Oxford 8 June, bequeathed £1,600, the income to be applied in providing annuities of 5s. a week to at least three poor labouring women, or men, members of the Church of England, and over sixty years of age, who have resided in Kennington for at least two years, and continue to reside there, the annuities to be called the Mary Rowley Pensions. The trust fund consists of £1,392 2s. 3d. India 3½ per cent. stock with the official trustees, producing £48 14s. 4d. yearly. Three pensioners receive 6s. weekly.