A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 11, Wootton Hundred (Northern Part). Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1983.
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Great Tew, a large parish of 3,007 a. (1,217 ha.) lies 16 miles (26 km.) north-west of Oxford and 8 miles (13 km.) south-west of Banbury on the edge of the north Oxfordshire uplands. (fn. 1) The name Tew may refer to a long ridge, of which there are several in the area, but the derivation remains uncertain. (fn. 2) The form Cyrictiwa (Church Tew) reflects Great Tew's importance as an early ecclesiastical centre: Nether Worton was a dependent chapelry until the 17th century, and Little Tew did not become a completely separate parish until c. 1857, though for some purposes it was largely independent long before. (fn. 3) Duns Tew, though geographically distinct, may originally have formed a single estate with the other Tews, (fn. 4) and it, too, may once have been ecclesiastically dependent on Great Tew, since the road running westwards out of Duns Tew was called Churchway.
The ancient township of Great Tew, like the modern parish, was compact in shape, bounded on south and north by ancient roads, while its western and eastern boundaries (with Little Tew and Sandford St. Martin) followed contours and small streams. The undulating terrain of the southern half, cut through from west to east by the river Dorn, rises to over 180 m. on the ridge south of the village. The northern half, though slightly lower over all, has sharper relief, cut through from west to east by a narrow central valley in which the village lies and by a wider valley in the north. Between the valleys stands the flat-topped ridge of Horse hill and Cow hill (15060 m.). The northern streams are fed by numerous springs, and meet on the eastern boundary. The southern half of the township lies on the limestone of the Great Oolite, except for two tongues of Upper Lias clay projecting from the west; the northern half is on the ironstone of the Middle Lias, cut through by streams to Lower Lias clay in the valleys. (fn. 5) The stonebrash south remained predominantly arable and open, with little woodland; the 'red land' north, traditionally pastoral, became thickly wooded as a result of 19th-century planting.
The road on the northern perimeter was the Deddington to Chipping Norton road, turnpiked in 1770 and disturnpiked in 1871; (fn. 6) in 1774 it seems to have cut off much of the tip of the parish, but had been rerouted round the boundary by 1815. (fn. 7) The southern boundary was formed by Green Lane, known also as London way, (fn. 8) an ancient route which was never metalled and remained a popular drove road into the 19th century; from the Chipping Norton area it ran south-eastwards to the drovers' inn at Cuckold's Holt (near the southern tip of Great Tew township) and so to Glympton and Wootton. (fn. 9)
Great Tew village formed the centre of a radial pattern of roads which was altered to an unusual extent from the 18th century. A way from the village to the northern boundary apparently ran north-eastwards from the Square to join a treelined avenue running for over a mile in a straight line from the centre of the park to the northern boundary. (fn. 10) The creation of the avenue, evidently well established by the mid 18th century, (fn. 11) may have involved the landscaping of an existing road; the possibility that such a road was Roman or Romanized is suggested by its straightness, its near alignment on an important Roman site at Beaconsfield Farm, and unconfirmed reports of metalled surfaces discovered in the northernmost section of the former avenue. (fn. 12) A 'street' in the southern half of the parish was mentioned in the 13th century. (fn. 13) That the avenue road was once used as a direct route to Banbury is suggested by the names Banbury Road ground and Banbury copse recorded along its route in 1774; (fn. 14) at the boundary it joined a track through South Newington, mentioned as the way to Tew in 1507. (fn. 15) By the late 18th century the road seems to have lost its importance as a through route, and soon afterwards the central section of the avenue was destroyed by J. C. Loudon's alterations described below. The northernmost stretch of Loudon's new northbound road of c. 1810 marks the line of the avenue, and a double line of trees survived between Lodge ponds and the park until recent times. (fn. 16)
The village was connected with Little Tew by Churchway, (fn. 17) and with Ledwell, in Sandford St. Martin, by Ledwell Lane in 1767, perhaps called a lane because it was confined between old inclosures at Beaconsfield and the park. A road running eastward from the Square along the north wall of the park to Nether Worton was declared a bridleway at inclosure in 1767. (fn. 18) Woodstock way, probably the Portway in the south field in the 13th century, ran from the south end of the village on a curving line to Poor Bridge across the Dorn, and so to Cuckold's Holt; (fn. 19) it was repaired in 1688 and 1809, but in 1818 the section north of Poor Bridge was replaced by a new road following the straight edges of the Beaconsfield old inclosures. (fn. 20) The bridge, also recorded as Fore and Wore Bridge, (fn. 21) was only a foot bridge with a ford in the 19th century; the road ceased to be used as a through route with the advent of motor traffic. The Enstone road was the 13th-century Woodway, crossing the Dorn at Woodway ford; (fn. 22) presumably it was the way to the royal forest of Wychwood. In the 18th century it ran south-west from the Green and past Court Farm to cross Churchway at the present Crossroads clump and continued northeastwards past Court Farm to the Green, but at inclosure only the section south of the crossroads was confirmed as a public road. (fn. 23) In 1800 the road was turnpiked, (fn. 24) and soon afterwards a new straight section was built from Crossroads clump to join a road running north-westwards from the village to the Banbury turnpike, (fn. 25) thus creating an early bypass. The road was disturnpiked in 1877; a toll house stood on its east side near the junction with Mill Lane. (fn. 26) Just north of the bridge at Great Pool (Great Pondtail Beds) a road branched off to Swerford, passing obliquely up Chescombe hill, but in 1818 it was replaced by a shorter link leaving the turnpike road further north. (fn. 27) A road called Norton way ran westward from the south end of the village, roughly on the line of the surviving track past Crimea Yard, and so across Little Tew fields to the Chipping Norton road; the road fell out of use in the early 19th century. A way called Millway branched southwards off Woodstock way to a ford at South mill and so towards Enstone, and another minor field road called Brylands way, between and parallel to Millway and Woodway, also forded the river. (fn. 28) A short driftway, apparently on the line of the surviving lane running northwards past Park Farm, connected the village with Cow hill pasture; in 1774 it was known as Clinkers, but an earlier name was Rudaway or Rodaway, presumably 'rother way'. (fn. 29)
Prehistoric remains found in the township include a Bronze Age barrow east of Hookerswell Farm and a polished flint axe of that period from French's hollow in the north. Neolithic or Bronze Age pottery was found near Round hill. (fn. 30) A standing stone of unknown date survives south of Beaconsfield Farm. (fn. 31) A Roman villa discovered at Beaconsfield Farm in the 17th century (fn. 32) was later found to have been a large courtyard house with tessellated pavements and a hypocaust, the dated finds being of the 3rd and 4th centuries. (fn. 33)
Anglo-Saxon settlement of the area, perhaps encouraged by the existence of cultivated fields around the villa, was probably early. A group of field names in Great and Little Tew (Ayelsbury, Ayelspit, Alepath) refer to a certain Aegel, whose name, whether that of a real man or a mythic hero, seems to have been given to earthworks, probably Roman. Another early field name refers to an unidentified Grimsditch. (fn. 34) An Anglo-Saxon inhumation was discovered at Beaconsfield Farm in 1965, (fn. 35) but the site eventually chosen by early settlers for a village was nearly a mile away from the Roman site. Despite its large extent Great Tew seems to have had only one centre of settlement, in contrast to Sandford, its neighbour on a very similar stretch of country. Except for Beaconsfield Farm, established after a partial inclosure by Sir Laurence Tanfield in 1622, two other farms established on old inclosures of unknown date in the far north, and two medieval water mills, (fn. 36) all the outlying sites were settled after the parliamentary inclosure of Great Tew in 1767.
In 1086 there were 53 recorded tenants at Great Tew, and by 1279 at least 75 households. (fn. 37) In 1377 only 165 adults were assessed for poll tax, (fn. 38) about average for a north Oxfordshire parish of Great Tew's size, but nevertheless implying considerable population loss during the 14th century, presumably through plague. By the mid 16th century the population had risen, for 64 persons were assessed for subsidy in 1544, (fn. 39) and some 15 other Great Tew families whose members escaped the subsidy were mentioned in contemporary wills, receiving the traditional bequests from the better-off to 'every poor cottager'. (fn. 40) The Protestation oath of 1642 was sworn by 166 adult males in Great and Little Tew, of whom c. 80 are identifiable from wills as residents of Great Tew, c. 30 of Little Tew, while the rest remain uncertain. (fn. 41) In 1675 a total of 326 adults in Great and Little Tew was recorded, suggesting that the population of the parish was fairly stable in the 17th century. In Great Tew itself 60 households were assessed for hearth tax in 1662, but in 1738, 1759, and 1768 vicars reported 95, 92, and c. 80 houses. (fn. 42) A detailed survey in 1778, however, shows that there were only 73 houses in the village, including the manor house, and 6 more in the fields (2 mills and 4 farmhouses); (fn. 43) it seems more likely that the estimates of 1738 and 1759 were too high rather than that inclosure had sharply reduced the housing stock. In 1801 there were said to be 72 houses, 87 families, and a total population of 402. The number of houses rose slowly throughout the 19th century to 102 in 1891; the population during that period reached peaks of 531 and 551 in 1821 and 1851, but was usually nearer 450. There was a shift away from the village, and in 1841, even if Court, Leys, and Park Farms are counted as village houses, there were c. 20 families living on outlying sites. (fn. 44) From the 1890s the population fell to only 334 in 1901, when 14 houses were vacant, and after holding its own for some decades fell sharply after the Second World War to 204 in 1951 and 211 in 1971. (fn. 45)
The village was built near the centre of the parish on the north facing slope of the central valley. The church stands alone just below the brow of the ridge, and close by it to the northeast was the former manor house, demolished c. 1800. (fn. 46) The imparkment which isolated the church and manor house from the village took place before the late 16th century; (fn. 47) though some houses may have been absorbed when the park was made, the lack of water on the hill top makes it likely that much of the medieval village, as later, occupied the lower slopes. Even so a medieval street linking the village and church was presumably deflected round the manor site, the new line marked by the row of houses facing the walled gardens. That group was probably well established by the late 17th century, the date of part of the vicarage house at the southern end of the row. (fn. 48)
Until the street plan was severely altered in the 19th century the southern street continued straight down the hill into the present main village street (Old Road) and so to the Green. (fn. 49) Near the present manor house a street branched north-eastwards along a spur to the surviving group of houses known as the Square; that street contained houses on the west side only, the other side occupied by the park boundary. Two tracks linked the streets across a shallow valley, the southernmost called Floods Lane. (fn. 50) Architectural evidence suggests that by the 17th century the built-up area also stretched, albeit more thinly, along lanes branching westwards and northwards from the Green.
When M. R. Boulton, son of the engineer Matthew Boulton of Soho, Birmingham, bought the Great Tew estate in 181516 he took over as the manor house from his predecessor, G. F. Stratton, a small house in the fork of the two main streets. (fn. 51) In 1818 he was authorized to close part of the eastern street and Floods Lane, and to provide a new straight link between the Square and the Green. (fn. 52) The link road eventually provided was not on the agreed line, but the eastern lane seems to have been closed and absorbed into the Wilderness in the park by 1833. (fn. 53) In the 1850s, however, Court Farm was given a porch 'from the Wilderness' (fn. 54) which was similar to other decorative features added to the village houses in the 1820s, so a house or houses in that area may have survived the closure. In 1855, to provide space west of the manor house, M. P. W. Boulton closed off the main south-north street, 'very precipitous, dangerous, and inconvenient', and built a new road curving further west to enter the Green through part of the school playground. (fn. 55) The hour-glass shape of the 18thcentury green had already been substantially altered by the building of a new school on its south side in 1852. (fn. 56) The result of the various street closures was to divide the village into three or four apparently unrelated groups of houses, which at least one contemporary observer thought damaging to the 'once picturesque village'. (fn. 57)
Even so the village has maintained a reputation, established by the mid 19th century, (fn. 58) for its outstanding appearance, and even its surviving 'plan' has been admired. (fn. 59) The houses and cottages, many of them in rows, are of the local ironstone, roofed with thatch or stone slate; they stand in box-hedged gardens against a background of large ornamental trees. The complete absence of modern housing, even the dereliction of some of the property, enhances the impression of a 'sylvan arcadia'. (fn. 60) Some of the houses date partly or wholly from the 17th century, but the scale of 19th-century renovation in traditional style or reusing old materials makes identification uncertain: the date 1636 and the arms of the Falklands on a cottage (no. 12) were evidently reset during 19th-century rebuilding, and even the date 1728 on an apparently authentic 18thcentury house (no. 6) may be one of several such datestones reputedly placed during 19th-century rebuilding to commemorate the birth date of Matthew Boulton. (fn. 61) There is no reason, however, to doubt the inscription in a cottage in the Square (no. 51) recording its erection by John Hiorn for John Stowe and his wife in 1680; (fn. 62) and the plan or detail of other houses such as the Falkland Arms, Court Farm, Leys Farm, and an L-shaped house (no. 62) at Keale's Corner, besides parts of many on the Green and Old Road, are clearly 17thcentury or earlier. Coursed rubble walls, stone mullions, plain dripmoulds, and ovolo-moulded wood mullions are common features of the early houses.
A suggestion that Great Tew was planned and rebuilt by the lord of the manor, Lucius Cary, Lord Falkland (d. 1643), seems to have been based on little more than the survival of a single datestone of that period and the allegation that his predecessor Sir Laurence Tanfield had deprived the inhabitants of timber, causing the houses to fall into disrepair. (fn. 63) Though Great Tew was very much an estate village, probably in single ownership by the mid 16th century, Falkland's tenants held leases for lives (fn. 64) and would hardly have submitted to lordly replanning without comment; it is unlikely, too, that any charitable rebuilding would have been overlooked in the various hagiographical accounts of Falkland's life or that of his wife, Lettice. Like most other villages in the region Great Tew was probably rebuilt in the 16th and 17th centuries by individual householders.
Among the comparatively few surviving 18th-century houses is Tulip Tree cottage on Brook Road, which has wooden mullioned and transomed windows, and a stone slate roof with dormers. The 19th-century rebuilding of Great Tew in accordance with consciously 'picturesque' designs was begun soon after M. R. Boulton's purchase of the estate. Later he was said to have 'rebuilt the village almost entirely in a very ornamental and singular style'. (fn. 65) The bulk of his early expenditure (181618) was on the mansion house and some of the principal farms, notably Tracey, Beaconsfield, and probably Park Farm. (fn. 66) The cottages began to receive attention in 1819, when over 1,600 was spent, and probably building continued in subsequent years for which accounts are lacking. (fn. 67) In 1820 the architect Thomas Rickman was engaged to work on houses in the village and is known to have made a number of designs, including one for a farmhouse and another for an ornamental well; (fn. 68) the latter was perhaps the 'Fons Tewensis' removed from Old Road in recent times, (fn. 69) although in 1860 there was also a stone fountain at the other end of the village. (fn. 70) Boulton was evidently an active and inventive participant in the rebuilding, (fn. 71) and it is not certain how much of the surviving early 19th-century work should be attributed to Rickman alone. In 1828 the young architect Thomas Fulljames, son of Boulton's Great Tew agent of that name and a pupil of Rickman, (fn. 72) was consulted over rebuilding the vicarage; (fn. 73) he may later have contributed to work on village houses as well as designing extensions to the manor house. After M. R. Boulton's death in 1842 Fulljames and Waller of Gloucester were M. P. W. Boulton's architects. (fn. 74)
The rebuilding of Great Tew was to some extent continuous, but much was achieved in the first concentrated phase, not only in the village but also over the rest of the estate. Outlying farms such as Beaconsfield were rebuilt on a generous scale, using ashlar and stone slate; by 1823 there were new ranges of farm building at Cottenham Farm, on the Beaconsfield road (Upper Park Farm), and on the turnpike road at Horse hill (Leys Field Barn), and by 1833 on the quarry site west of the village. (fn. 75) Several features of the earliest phase of cottage building may be distinguished, notably the use of sawn softwood for floors, coppice poles for the roofs, stone mullioned windows, dripmoulds with large diamond stops, stone door-heads, and elaborate stone porches. In some cases it seems likely that former outbuildings were converted and gaps between cottages infilled to form rows, though several rows existed before Boulton's time. (fn. 76) The planting of trees throughout the village was probably part of the original Rickman or Boulton plan. Thatch, though common, was not ubiquitous, but in 1840 M. R. Boulton, when asked by his agent to weigh the respective merits of stone slate and expensively insured thatch, chose thatch after characteristically detailed calculations. (fn. 77)
A tenacious myth concerning Great Tew is that the village was landscaped by J. C. Loudon, the Scottish agriculturalist and gardener, or that at least his progressive ideas influenced later rebuilding. (fn. 78) Loudon, an unabashed selfpublicist, made no such claims in his detailed accounts of a brief association with Tew, which was confined to laying out, at the invitation of G. F. Stratton, an extravagant and unsuccessful model farm in the years 180811. (fn. 79) The architectural aspects of that venture, which included a paper-roofed farmhouse (Tew Lodge) on Cow hill, (fn. 80) probably did not much impress M. R. Boulton, who only five years later was considering retimbering the roof to take thatch, making the windows frames fit, and reflooring with boards from the demolished mansion house. (fn. 81) Tew Lodge and its associated farmery, 'an immense stack of buildings', (fn. 82) were soon replaced by the solid, traditional, ashlar-built Cottenham Farm; only Loudon's threshing mill survived, and that was quickly converted to other uses. (fn. 83)
Loudon founded a short-lived 'agricultural college' at Great Tew in 1808, but it seems to have amounted to little more than a few pupils staying at his house. (fn. 84) He later claimed that his young Scottish ploughmen had rescued some of Great Tew's natives from the alehouse by demonstrating the virtues of milk, oatmeal, and vegetables. Loudon's more enduring impact, however, was on the landscape of the northern part of the estate, where North and South Drive, now partly overgrown, were built as farm roads, avoiding awkward gradients by following the contours of the northern valley; the Lodge ponds were created to provide power to the threshing mill, and some progress, though probably less than Loudon claimed, was made in draining the fields and grubbing up hedges. Above all Loudon was responsible for tree planting, particularly on Cow hill and along the new roads, where exotic trees still flourish. Though Loudon's planting programme was not completed, (fn. 85) he achieved much in a short time. When G. F. Stratton had taken over his father's estate in 1800 he had found it well timbered, and Arthur Young, shortly before Loudon's arrival, mentioned 63 a. of fine plantations; (fn. 86) they included belts of trees round the perimeter of much of the estate, small plantations on Cow hill and Round hill, at Conygree wood (east of Beaconsfield Farm), and in the park. (fn. 87) The Grove, south of the churchyard avenue, was already established by 1767, and it was there that the 'Tew Tree' stood, a giant silver fir providing a landmark for much of the 19th century. (fn. 88) When Stratton sold the estate to Boulton it contained well over 120 a. of woodland, excluding that outside the parish. (fn. 89) The Boultons continued a vigorous planting policy during the 19th century, (fn. 90) reinforcing the parklike appearance of much of the landscape.
Additions after the first phase of 19th-century -rebuilding include such houses as no. 31, a tall thatched ashlar cottage reputedly built for the estate foreman; the school of 1851; two pairs of 'pattern book' cottages with gabled dormers and lattice windows on the main road west of Court Farm; (fn. 91) buildings in the estate yard (Crimea Yard) of c. 1856, dominated by the tall chimney of the saw-mill's engine house, which once contained a beam engine; (fn. 92) a brickyard, long abandoned, north-west of Hookerswell Farm, which also dates from the mid 1850s and presumably included the pug-mill installed on the estate at that time; (fn. 93) and large kitchen gardens built in 18712 south of the road from Ledwell to Little Tew. (fn. 94) An undated 19th-century stone and wood structure, comprising a row of low gothic arches, stands in the garden of nos. 367, near a site known in 1767 as the Dog Kennel; it was apparently built to house beehives. (fn. 95) The village stocks survive in mutilated condition on the Green.
The surviving inn, the Falkland Arms, was so named by the 1830s. (fn. 96) A Swan inn was mentioned in 1666; in the 18th century and until at least 1815 there were two inns, the Pole Axe and the Horse and Groom. (fn. 97) Parish officers, careful to be evenhanded, lodged the travelling poor at both, and organized the annual parish celebration of May Day at one and of 'Gunpowder Treason' at the other. The Horse and Groom, held for much of the 18th century by the Worley family, probably became the Falkland Arms, since in 1818 Worley close lay just east of the surviving inn. (fn. 98)
At the beginning of the 20th century, despite its exceptional appearance, (fn. 99) Great Tew had much in common with its neighbours, but thereafter experienced few of the physical and social changes that transformed other villages. Long years in the hands of the Public Trustee after 1914 (fn. 100) saw a decline in the fortunes of the estate, the land under-exploited, the farm buildings sometimes neglected or abandoned, the population diminished, and vacant cottages in decay. One pair of cottages on the lane to Park Farm was demolished in the 1950s, and though there were few other total losses many cottages remained derelict in 1980. No new buildings were erected other than eight council houses on Butcher's Hill in the late 1940s, and a small sewage plant, built in the 1960s, to which about half the houses were connected; piped water was brought to the older houses in the 1960s.
From 1962 the declared policy of the estate was to revive agricultural prosperity and to restore village properties for families employed locally, thus preserving 'a rural community of rural workers'. (fn. 101) The unusual social structure of Great Tew, the absence of commuters, week-enders, or a 'retired professional element', aroused com ment as early as the 1950s, (fn. 102) but it was the continuing decay of some of the cottages which c. 1970 brought the local authority to question the nature and timing of the estate's policy. Thereafter Great Tew became the subject of local and national controversy, in which many of the major issues of rural planning were raised. (fn. 103) In 1978 the village was declared a conservation area. By 1980 several houses had been sold, but the community was still dominated by families working in and around the village; it retained a flourishing primary school, and was successful in defeating proposals that would have deprived it of a resident vicar.
Until acquiring its modern notoriety Great Tew was known chiefly as the home of the 'blameless' Lord Falkland (d. 1643), the subject of a sympathetic portrait by Edward Hyde, Lord Clarendon, who described in detail the witty and cultured circle that gathered around Falkland at Great Tew in the 1630s. (fn. 104) Falkland's wife Lettice (d. 1647) probably had a more direct impact on the life of the village through her care for poor and sick villagers, her provision of a school, and her policy of maintaining employment, although 'by another contrivement of her estate she might have received more profit'. (fn. 105) While a later landlord, Francis Keck (d. 1728) acquired a similar reputation for good works, (fn. 106) the behaviour of Falkland's grandparents, Sir Laurence Tanfield and his wife Elizabeth, brought Great Tew briefly to the attention of parliament; Sir Laurence's defence of his inclosing activities at Great Tew is weakened by the frequency of complaints about him elsewhere, and Elizabeth was accused of saying that the villagers were 'more worthy to be ground to powder than to have any favour showed them'. (fn. 107)
Manors and Other Estates.
Aelfric, abbot of St. Albans, later bishop of Ramsbury (from 990) and archbishop of Canterbury (995 1005), (fn. 108) was the earliest known holder of GREAT TEW. While abbot he had borrowed money using land there as security, and by will he left Tew to St. Albans abbey, subject to a life interest in at least 7 hides, perhaps the whole, held by Ceolric. (fn. 109) The abbey granted further life leases, between 1050 and 1052 to a widow, Tova, and her son, (fn. 110) and before 1066 to a prominent thegn Alnod of Kent (Chentisc). Some time after the Conquest Alnod's lands were seized and given to Odo, bishop of Bayeux. (fn. 111) A tradition survived at St. Albans that Abbot Paul (107993) at length secured the return of Tew from Odo, but was compelled by William II to grant it to Hugh de Envermeu, and that Abbot Richard (10971119) finally abandoned the abbey's claim. (fn. 112) The story is not unlikely, but Tew was included among Odo's lands in 1086. Hugh de Envermeu, whose brother succeeded Odo as bishop of Bayeux, was a supporter of both William II and Henry I and probably kept Tew until his death between 1111 and 1118. (fn. 113) It then reverted to the king and was in his hands in 1130. (fn. 114) A suggestion that King Stephen gave it to Ranulph, earl of Chester (d. 1153), though not improbable, lacks firm evidence. (fn. 115) Certainly the Crown lost possession for a time, for Henry II recovered Tew in 1165, probably as a result of a general inquiry into alienated demesne, and retained it thereafter. (fn. 116) It was given by Richard I to Ernulf de Mandeville, who was on crusade with the king, but had reverted to the Crown by 1194. Ernulf was probably a younger son of the Mandevilles of Kingham, descended from Geoffrey de Mandeville, earl of Essex (d. 1144). (fn. 117) In 1196 Tew was held by William de Hundescote, possibly a Flemish knight in royal service, (fn. 118) but before 1204, and probably during Richard I's lifetime, it was transferred to Ranulph, earl of Chester (d. 1232). The earl gave a portion of the manor to Hugh de Colonces, which reverted to him in 1204 when Hugh forfeited his English lands. (fn. 119)
The other, and larger, portion of Tew was granted by the earl c. 1206 to John des Praux, (fn. 120) probably one of his knights, who should be distinguished from a namesake, probably a relative, prominent in royal service in Normandy. (fn. 121) The grant was for the almost nominal service of knight. John des Praux was dead by 1233 and was succeeded by his nephew, another John des Praux, and c. 1241 by the latter's son Ralph. (fn. 122) In 1279 and 1284 the lord was John des Praux, who settled the manor in 1304 on his son Ralph (d. 1333). (fn. 123) Out of the portion remaining to him the earl of Chester, between 1226 and 1230, gave land at Tew to Baldwin de Vere, forming 1/20 knight's fee; (fn. 124) and what remained in the earl's hands at his death in 1232 was allotted to one of his coheirs, Hugh d'Aubigny, earl of Arundel, who by 1238 had given it in marriage with a sister to Roger de Somery. (fn. 125)
Thus Tew was divided in the 13th century between three lords. The overlordship, which went with the earl of Arundel's portion, was mentioned regularly until 1334; (fn. 126) before 1360 it had been transferred to Roger Mortimer, earl of March, possibly as a result of a settlement of claims between the two dynasties in 1354, and it was held by his successors. (fn. 127) Despite that descent Ralph des Praux in 1304 did homage to the future Edward II as earl of Chester, and the manor was said to be held of the honor of Chester as late as 1427. In 1352 Edward, the Black Prince, exercised rights of wardship over the Vere manor and in 1365 took fealty from the heir. (fn. 128)
On the death of Ralph des Praux in 1333 the Crown claimed Tew as royal demesne, (fn. 129) reviving a possible claim of 1249, (fn. 130) when a return was made of all freeholds there, (fn. 131) which may in turn have looked back to Henry II's recovery of Tew in 1165. In 13412, after coming of age, Ralph's son and heir William apparently vindicated his title. (fn. 132) He may earlier have been a ward of Simon Montacute, bishop of Ely. In 1340 he granted Tew for their lives to Amice, relict of Simon of Chelmscote, and her son John in return for maintenance for himself and his wife. (fn. 133) Amice also acquired 2 yardlands in Tew in 1345. (fn. 134) By 1398 the manor had passed to Alice, wife of John Wilcotes, whom she had married about two years earlier, apparently as her second husband; (fn. 135) she was heir of the Praux family or of the Chelmscotes, whose land in Warwickshire she and John held. (fn. 136) On Alice's death in 1413 John married Elizabeth, who after his death in 1422 retained a life interest in Tew, with her husband Richard Walkstead, until 1439 or later. Under John Wilcotes's will the manor passed to the daughter of his second marriage, Elizabeth, who before 1450 married Henry Rainsford. (fn. 137)
Their son William Rainsford died in possession of the manor in 1488, and it then descended from father to son for several generations: John, a minor in 1487, died in 1551; (fn. 138) William, who advanced himself in royal service and added to his inheritance by purchasing other lands in Tew during his father's lifetime, died in 1557; (fn. 139) Hercules (d. 1601) (fn. 140) ran into debt and towards the end of his life mortgaged much of his estate. (fn. 141) His son Edward Rainsford sold Great Tew in 1611 to Sir Laurence Tanfield, Chief Baron of the Exchequer. (fn. 142)
By then the other estates in the parish had merged with the principal manor. The fee created before 1230 for Baldwin de Vere was held in 1249 by Baldwin le Fleming (probably the same person) and in 1279 by John de Vere of his brother Baldwin. (fn. 143) In 1303 John's son Robert de Vere of Soulbury (Bucks.) mortgaged his Tew estate, (fn. 144) and probably as a result it was held in 1336 of Ranulph de Vere by a London citizen, Roger Chaunteclere; (fn. 145) he sold it in 1338 to the judge William Shareshull, from whom it passed by an exchange in 1339 to Thomas Purcel. (fn. 146) Thomas was dead by 1352, and his heir John, son of John Purcel, had seisin on coming of age in 1365. (fn. 147) Richard Purcel was recorded as lord of PURCEL'S manor in 1428 and in 14912 Thomas Purcel sold it to Richard Hall of Swerford (d. 1508). (fn. 148) It passed to Richard's son Edmund, a lunatic, and in 1536 was acquired by William Rainsford. (fn. 149)
The SOMERY manor passed in 1273 to the four daughters of Roger de Somery, who were recorded as holding 2 ploughlands in 1279. (fn. 150) One purparty came to the Lestrange family of Knockin (Salop.), and is represented by 10s. rent in Tew held by Roger Lestrange in 1349. (fn. 151) The rent was probably attached to the Lestrange manor in Bicester, and in 1597 a yardland in Tew was parcel of that manor. (fn. 152) Other portions of the Somery manor, including that belonging to Henry of Erdington in 1302, (fn. 153) probably formed the basis of a larger holding which took shape in the early 14th century: (fn. 154) in 1328 Rose, widow of John de Rivers, was suing Roger, son of Alan le Blount of Cottisford, for dower in 3 ploughlands in Tew. (fn. 155) In 1368 a third of a Tew manor was conveyed to Roger of Cottisford by John Lodewode and Eleanor his wife; (fn. 156) Roger was a bachelor of the Black Prince, who in 1352 gave him wardship of the Purcel lands in Tew. (fn. 157) In 1404 Thomas Cottisford conveyed three houses and other property in Tew to John Wilcotes, who may have acquired the rest of the Cottisford manor at about that time. (fn. 158)
A large freehold was created before 1249 by John des Praux, who gave 8 yardlands in marriage with a daughter, Sibyl, to Thomas Appleton. In 1261 Thomas and Sibyl gave the estate to William of Chalgrove for a term of years, later extended to a grant in fee. William held it in 1279. (fn. 159) In 1313 it was purchased from Thomas of Whelton for Godstow abbey, (fn. 160) which retained it until the Dissolution. In 1541 it was purchased from the Crown by William Rainsford. (fn. 161)
Thereafter the lords of the manor owned most of the land in the parish, and by the mid 18th century the few remaining small freeholds had been absorbed. (fn. 162) Sir Laurence Tanfield's heir was his only daughter Elizabeth, wife of Henry Cary, Viscount Falkland, but in 1625 Tanfield settled the succession after his own and his wife's death upon his daughter's children, (fn. 163) perhaps because of his daughter's conversion to Roman Catholicism or because she allowed her husband to mortgage her jointure. (fn. 164) After Tanfield's death in 1626 and that of his wife Elizabeth in 1629 Great Tew therefore passed to Lucius Cary, later Viscount Falkland. (fn. 165) After Falkland was killed at the battle of Newbury in 1643 his wife Lettice held the manor until her death in 1647, (fn. 166) and she was followed by their sons Lucius (d. 1649) and Henry (d. 1663), and by Henry's son Anthony (d. 1694), who had no surviving children. (fn. 167) The estate was purchased in 1698 with money left by Sir Anthony Keck (d. 1695), to be settled on his only son Francis. (fn. 168)
Francis died in 1728 and his son John and daughter Mary Dutton both died childless the following year; under Francis's will Tew passed to his nephew John Tracy in tail male with the proviso that the Tracys should take the name of Keck. (fn. 169) John Tracy's son Anthony Keck was a keen racing man and a minor political figure, thrown into some prominence by the Oxfordshire election of 1754 and the political activities of his wife, Lady Susan Hamilton. (fn. 170) His children were daughters, so after his death at Epsom races in 1767 (fn. 171) he was succeded by his brothers, Thomas and John. In 1774 the male line failed and the estate reverted to the descendants of Francis Keck's numerous sisters. Under a Chancery decree confirmed by a private Act in 1778 it was sold, to avoid a complex partition between six claimants. (fn. 172) In 1779 Thomas Edward Freeman, one of the coheirs, agreed to buy the whole estate, (fn. 173) but by 1780 the manor and much of the land (c. 2,000 a.) had been acquired by George Stratton, who in 1793 bought the remainder. (fn. 174)
Stratton had made his fortune in the East India Company. (fn. 175) Though buried at Tew in 1800 he may not have lived there much, for in 1783 the park and part of the mansion house were offered for lease as a working farm, and in 1794 the house was recorded as the seat of George Mackay, one of Stratton's Madras associates. (fn. 176) Stratton's son, G. F. Stratton, however, was a resident, improving landlord. In 181516, under pressure partly because of his costly agricultural experiments, (fn. 177) he sold the estate to Matthew Robinson Boulton, son of the engineer and industrialist Matthew Boulton. (fn. 178) M. R. Boulton died in 1842 and was succeeded by his son M. P. W. Boulton (d. 1894) and grandson M. E. Boulton, who died unmarried in 1914. (fn. 179) Thereafter the estate was administered by the Public Trustee, with M. E. Boulton's sisters Clara Gertrude (d. 1958) and Margaret having successive life interests. In 1962 Major Eustace Robb, grandson of M. P. W. Boulton's sister Mary Ann, inherited the estate; he had been living at the manor house since 1952. (fn. 180)
Until c. 1800 the manor house stood at the north end of a large court flanked by the surviving 17th-century walled gardens on the west, the churchyard on the east, and the churchyard avenue on the south. (fn. 181) The house, taxed on 40 hearths in 1662, (fn. 182) was a large E-shaped building of the early 17th century or before, with the main front to the south; there was a two-storeyed porch of c. 1600 with the main rooms to the east. The west wing was extended southwards to eight bays, perhaps in the later 17th century, and had its principal rooms on the upper floor. Some of the main rooms in the older part of the house were refenestrated in the 18th century. The surviving stable block and octagonal dovecot lay to the north west, but the grand wrought iron gates and limestone piers, probably built by Francis Keck c. 1700, (fn. 183) may have been moved to their present position when the house was demolished.
By the late 16th century there was a large park east of the house, (fn. 184) which in the 18th century was a deer park. (fn. 185) By 1767, and probably from the time of Francis Keck (d. 1728), it contained the southern end of an avenue which ran for more than a mile to the northern boundary of the parish; (fn. 186) another avenue ran eastwards from the house for half a mile, crossing the end of the north-south avenue. The avenues may have been part of an unfulfilled plan to build a new house near their intersection, on the lofty levelled platform near the Warren.
During the confusion over the succession to the Keck estate the house was probably neglected, and it was demolished by G. F. Stratton in the early 19th century, though parts evidently remained in 1815. (fn. 187) The main demolition may have been accomplished by 1803 when Humphrey Repton was invited to prepare plans for a replacement: he offered alternative classical or Elizabethan designs for a house to be built close to the intersection of the avenues, and proposed opening up vistas and creating a lake in the valley bottom. (fn. 188) Repton's proposals were not carried out and Stratton continued to live in a small, apparently early 18th-century, house on the village street close to the present stables; (fn. 189) it was sometimes referred to as a 'dower house', and was also reputedly occupied by 18th-century vicars, (fn. 190) but evidence is lacking. In 1815 it was one of two 'most gentlemanly cottage villas' regarded as suitable for occupation while a new mansion was building in the park; (fn. 191) the other was Loudon's farmhouse, Tew Lodge, evidently rejected by M. R. Boulton who spent much in the years 181619 in restoring Stratton's house. (fn. 192) In 1834 a Gothic library was added on the east, (fn. 193) its design apparently influenced by Toddington Manor (Glos.), which had apparently impressed Boulton; the library's architect was Thomas Fulljames. (fn. 194) M. R. Boulton seems hardly to have lived at Tew (fn. 195) and the house was probably altered little until M. P. W. Boulton took up residence there. In 1856, after he had created space west of the house by diverting the village street, (fn. 196) work began on a large Tudor extension by Fulljames and Waller of Gloucester. (fn. 197) There was also heavy expenditure at Tew Park in the period 186872, when additions included the large kitchen garden south of the village. (fn. 198)
In the 13th century the arable was divided for two-course cultivation but located in four fields of unequal size. A yardland (1232 x 1241) comprised 9 a. in South field, 3 a. in West field, 7 a. and 2 butts in North field. A holding of 7 a. (1280 x 1295) comprised 1 a. in North, 1 a. in West, 2 a. in South, and 1 a. in East field. A single acre was half in West, half in South field. (fn. 199) West and North fields seem to have been cultivated together, and South with East. South field was apparently the largest, and some of its medieval furlongs may be located: Cletilond was the post-inclosure Clatelands in the patch of Upper Lias clay north of Beaconsfield Farm, Bernhull was later Burn hill, north of Tracy Farm, and some of the furlongs adjoined Portway, the lane running south from the village towards Poor Bridge. West field included Nettucke, later Nattock, on the western boundary north of the Chipping Norton road, Merwelle, probably the stream dividing Great from Little Tew in that area, (fn. 200) and Hollewellehull, perhaps the later Hollow Way hill, south of the Little Tew road and west of the Enstone road. It included land near the pond (Great Pool) but probably did not extend further north. North and East fields probably touched in the area north of the park where the land slopes down to the streams; the area was known in the 17th century as 'North alias Nast field' and in the 18th as 'the two North fields'. (fn. 201) The medieval North and East fields both included land in Wolmarsham, but presumably stretched away from there in different directions. None of their furlongs have been identified, but it seems likely that North field included the potentially good arable on Horse hill, Chescombe hill, and Round hill, and perhaps some of the northernmost valley since its furlongs included two names ending in 'cliff' and one in 'combe'. East field, probably the smallest field as it was linked with the largest, presumably lay in the area of the later park. The demesne arable is likely to have been intermixed with the peasant holdings, and was said to be liable to common grazing when fallow. (fn. 202)
The 101 a. of pasture recorded in 1086 was probably on Cow hill and its slopes, later a large cow pasture. Post-inclosure fields named from Cow hill contained 156 a., a possible guide to its size. (fn. 203) The 288 a. of meadow recorded in 1086 included demesne meadow in Little Tew. In the early 13th century John des Praux gave away 48 a., which was all he held there: John held only two thirds of the demesne, and the meadow holding of the other two lords is presumably identifiable as the 25 a. in Little Tew disposed of in the inclosure award of Great Tew in 1767. (fn. 204) There was therefore some 215 a. of meadow in Great Tew, some of it along the river Dorn where post-inclosure field names suggest use of land for meadow, but the bulk of it in the two northern valleys and east of Cow hill on clay lands similar to those that accounted for the large Domesday meadows in Sandford and Nether Worton. Except for the glebe, however, later holdings seem to have had comparatively little meadow; an early 13th-century yardland included only a. of meadow, and in 1333 Ralph des Praux owned only 6 a. worth 12s. (fn. 205) Presumably much of the Domesday meadow, which may not have been valuable, had been encroached upon: there are 13th-century references to arable at 'Wolmarsham in the mead'. (fn. 206) A meadow called Cotman mead in 1622 (later Cottenham), comprising 12 a. near the junction of the two northern streams, (fn. 207) may once have been allotted to the cottars; an illegible name that could be read 'Tunmidus welle' (fn. 208) might indicate a Town mead to set beside the Cotman mead. No reference to lot meadow has been found. In several instances meadow was held in multiples of 12 a., and if, as seems likely, there were originally 300 a. of meadow, (fn. 209) those units may recall an earlier division of meadow among 25 hides.
In 1086 and 1130 Great Tew was assessed at only 16 hides, (fn. 210) but in 1624 the demesne comprised 36 yardlands, exempt from rates for the church and poor. (fn. 211) Late though that evidence is, it may point to the existence of 9 hides of inland which, because exempt from geld, escaped the attentions of the Domesday commissioners. An original assessment of Great Tew at 25 hides would correspond more closely to the other Domesday figures (land for 26 ploughteams and 22 teams in use), and with the division of the fields into 100 yardlands reported in 1624; (fn. 212) it would also mean that the three Tews made up a unit of 50 hides. (fn. 213)
The only known medieval yardland (19 a. and 2 butts) (fn. 214) suggests a theoretical 20 field acres to each, a figure supported by later evidence. When land was inclosed in 1622 c. 23 a. were given for each yardland, or c. 21 a. if common pasture is taken into account, and at inclosure in 1767 c. 20 a. were awarded for a yardland without pasture. (fn. 215) Those figures are gross, including fieldways and any common meadow there may have been, but are in stature acres, probably somewhat larger than the field acres of medieval yardlands. The relationship of occupied yardlands to fiscal units seems to have varied, for by 1279 there were more than 100 yardlands, (fn. 216) but late medieval contraction may have allowed fiscal and occupied yardlands to become identical.
In 1238 the sheriff was ordered to delimit the bounds between John des Praux's land called 'la Dun' and that of the two other lords called 'la Cohay', perhaps following an attempt by John to approve some of the pasture. (fn. 217) In 1268 and 1288 the lords of Little Tew protested against the des Praux practice of making an 'inhook' or hitch crop on the furlong called Costowe (later Costers, on the Dorn near the boundary with Little Tew), which interfered with their right to pasture on the fallow of Great Tew west of the Woodway. (fn. 218) The practice was abandoned, but probably continued elsewhere in the field. By the end of the 13th century the fields were probably fully developed: in 1279 there were 85 recorded yardlands, (fn. 219) to which should be added 4 yardlands of glebe, 6 ploughlands of demesne, and some cottage holdings, a possible total of over 2,300 a. under the plough, probably near the maximum possible.
In 1341 it was claimed that part of the land was uncultivated, (fn. 220) and there was probably further contraction after the Black Death, encouraging some early inclosure of which the date and extent are uncertain. By the end of the 16th century the park had been created, divided into Inner, Middle, and Outer Parks, (fn. 221) and probably already covering much of its later area, some 133 a. between the village and the eastern parish boundary. In 1604 Edward Rainsford said that apart from the park he only had pasture some distance from the manor house, (fn. 222) perhaps a reference to old inclosures in the northernmost valley and on the high ground to the north of it, comprising over 400 a. The existence of old inclosures there may be inferred from later evidence. Though it is not impossible that they were made later than those of 1622, whose extent is known, it is more likely that they represent an area of late medieval contraction, and were too long established to merit a reference during the controversies of the early 17th century. (fn. 223)
In 1622 Sir Laurence Tanfield, having begun by putting large sheep flocks on Cow hill, after much difficulty secured an agreement that he might withdraw from the common field 21 yardlands that were in his hands. Arbitrators chosen half by Tanfield and half by the tenants awarded to him, in place of his scattered strips, two blocks of land on the eastern side of the parish, comprising c. 125 a. north of the park up to Banbury copse and c. 380 a. south of the park, the area known later as Beaconsfield. Tanfield then inclosed, but his fences were broken by John Hiorn and seven other tenants, including some substantial farmers. They probably had a good case over Tanfield's treatment of Cow hill, but over the inclosure itself produced only vague allegations and small points of detail against Tanfield's claim that he had treated tenants for lives or years with as much consideration as if they had been freeholders. (fn. 224) The new inclosures stayed, and thereafter the inclosed land formed a continuous swathe round the north and east sides of the parish. There was also a small inclosure of c. 18 a. on the southern boundary, of unknown date but probably ancient; it was called the Parks and gave the adjacent area of open field the name of Park hill. (fn. 225)
The earlier inclosures may have been for sheep farming, though in 1675 John Poulton, tenant of Gascoigne's grounds and Pease lands (probably part of the northernmost inclosures), (fn. 226) owned 150 worth of corn as well as 13 horses, 29 cattle, and 240 sheep. (fn. 227) Another tenant of inclosed land was probably William Saunders, who in 1598 had 250 sheep and 11 cattle. (fn. 228) Portions of the park were sometimes let and occasionally ploughed, (fn. 229) and the surviving ridge and furrow may be of relatively late date.
After 1622 the open fields comprised 79 yardlands until the parliamentary inclosure of 1767, which disposed of 1,779 a. (fn. 230) Tanfield's tenants in 1624 alleged that they had pasture for 200 horses, 220 beasts, and 2,000 sheep, probably representing a stint of 2 horses, 20 sheep, and 2 beasts to a yardland, with perhaps 20 cottages with a cow common each. (fn. 231) There had been considerable expansion of the grassland acreage in the open fields by that date. In 1622, when the land was valued for inclosure, that in the North field, Horse hill, Cotman mead, and Cow hill was to be valued as grass or 'sward ground', that in the south as arable; (fn. 232) the Oolite and Lias soils were being turned to different uses, the arable on the Lias being laid down to grass, as at the Leys (north of Ley Farm, where ridge and furrow survives), Chescombe and Horse hills, and in the two North fieldsin all c. 225 a. In the 18th century some 157 a. of the greensward, including the 'hangings' on slopes of Chescombe and Horse hills, were in three divisions, of which one was thrown open each year to be grazed by the common herd in addition to the permanent pasture at Cow hill. When not so used the divisions presumably reverted to individual use by owners of strips for mowing or tied grazing. The top of Chescombe hill was on occasion sown with grass seeds and grazed by the sheep, but whether that was regular practice is not clear. (fn. 233) Perhaps because of the availability of private grazing the commons attached to an open-field yardland on the eve of inclosure were low for the region, only 2 cows, 1 horse, and 16 sheep. (fn. 234)
The management of the open fields remained in some ways conservative. In the 17th century, as in the 13th, it was possible to speak of dividing a holding by taking the sunny side, and hides were treated as known units in the field. In 1621 a yardland was described as 'some part in Goodsons hide, some part in Welles hide', referring to contemporary tenants in Tew who may have held part of those hides. (fn. 235) In 1759 the repair of a hedge along the river Dorn was the responsibility of owners of lands abutting on it, but where strips ran parallel to the stream repairs were to be done by 'the two outside hides'. (fn. 236) The arable in the later period of open-field farming lay south and west of the road from Great Pool to the village, taking in the whole south-western portion of the parish, in all c. 1,350 a. In April 1692 it was agreed to have a winter corn field all down the west side of Woodway, and as that area comprised about a quarter of the arable it seems likely that the rotation was one of three crops and a fallow. A 'horse hitch' was ordered, every yardland contributing a land, and commons being allowed for c. 80 horses; in 1692 the hitch was fairly close to the village at Great Pool, but in another year it was far away at Cuckold's Holt. There was a Sainfoin hill in 1692, and in 1756 sainfoin of two different sowings was mentioned. In 1761 the arable divided into nine sections under an elaborate eight-year rotation of turnips, barley with grass seed, hay, sheepwalk, oats, fallow, wheat, and peas; the sections were each perhaps 100 to 150 a. (fn. 237) By then the medieval system of open-field husbandry had changed beyond recognition.
The tenurial development of Great Tew was one of increasing complexity, as the original single manor became divided. In 1086 the manor had 6 ploughteams on the demesne worked by 14 servi, while another 16 teams were in use by the tenants, 31 villeins and 8 bordars. Its value, perhaps because of the forceful administration of Odo, had increased from 20 to 40, twice the average value per ploughland in Oxfordshire, and a level reached by few other manors. (fn. 238) In 1130 the manor was farmed by men of the vill for 36, but from 1168 the sheriff had to answer for the Domesday value of 40 after several years at lower farms. (fn. 239) Rents were low, for in 1194 the assised rent at Michaelmas amounted to only 18s. 9d.; (fn. 240) the maintenance of the farm depended therefore on successful demesne cultivation. In the period 116770 purchases included 680 sheep, 20 cows, 2 bulls, and 20 beehives; much seed corn was bought, and money was spent on manorial buildings including housing for the ploughmen (bovarii). (fn. 241) In 1196 allowances were made from the farm because stock was lacking, including 800 sheep, 20 cows, 20 sows, 20 beehives, and 5 ploughteams; since 24 oxen (enough for three ploughs) had been purchased the previous year, it seems likely that the number of demesne ploughs normally working had increased to eight. (fn. 242)
By 1279 (fn. 243) there were three manors in Great Tew, each with a demesne and tenants, and an 8-yardland freeholding of William of Chalgrove with villein tenants only, but the outlines of the earlier single manor could still be discerned. The Vere and Somery demesnes were said to be 1 ploughland each in 1249 (fn. 244) and 1279, but the Praux demesne, said to be 4 ploughlands in 1249 and 1333, (fn. 245) was only 3 in 1279. There were 10 cottages or cotlands on the three manors, several with 4 a. in the field, perhaps the original standard endowment of the bordars of 1086; the rent was 2s. or 2s. 6d., and by 1279 two had come into the hands of free tenants. A smith had 6 a. of land and 3 a. of meadow by service of supplying ironwork for the demesne ploughs (which had cost as much as 18s. in 1168), (fn. 246) or he could be asked to do the service of a yardland. Another 6-a. holding was known as 'revelond', presumably once the reeve's allotment, and there was a 'mulelond' for the miller, perhaps of the same size. The 'service' holdings perhaps ranked next above them. There were then 44 villeins, 20 holding 2 yardlands each and 24 (including the tenants of the Chalgrove freehold) holding 1 yardland. Their services were the same on all three manors; the tenant of 2 yardlands paid 3s. rent, and provided one man 5 days a week from 24 June to 1 August, then three men one day a week until 29 September. In addition there were two harvest boonworks (with all the man's household except his wife and shepherd) and three ploughing works and two carting services during the year. Other burdens were the obligation to malt 2 qr. of grain, and to pay toll on ale brewed, pannage of pigs, merchet, and aid. Single yardlands owed half that service. The services on a yardland were valued at 2s. 6d., which with the rent of 1s. 6d. came to 4s., presumably an old customary valuation; the villeins of the Chalgrove freehold paid 7s. 4d. or 8s. 4d. a yardland for all services except merchet. On the Vere manor there were two tenants in socage of hide each, paying 10s. rent and doing occasional services, in all 8 days' work a year. They were each entitled to have 10 oxen in the lord's pasture, (fn. 247) and their freedom of marriage was expressed dramatically: a socager with a marriageable daughter must give the lord's sergeant a spear or 4d. to escort her to her wedding for up to 20 leagues. Such tenures had perhaps evolved from those of a superior class of pre-Conquest peasantry.
Nearly all the freeholds in the 13th century were held of the Praux manor, but, except for that of William of Chalgrove, (fn. 248) little is known of their creation. In 1279, besides William, there were 11 free tenants with a total of 17 yardlands, a mill, 2 cotlands, and 2 of the service holdings. In 1249 there had been only 6 free tenants with 11 yardlands, a mill, and a cotland; (fn. 249) at both dates there were a couple of holdings held for life or lives. The apparent increase in freeholds during the 13th century is due largely to the appearance by 1279 of a 4-yardland tenement which may simply have been omitted from the 1249 survey. Its rent (2s. a yardland, half the standard villein obligation) was that of about half the freeholds of 1279, which perhaps all belonged to a single period. No freeholds seem to have been created under royal lordship in the 12th century: none were reflected in allowances against the farm. (fn. 250) Some, perhaps most, freeholds were enfeoffments by the earl of Chester before his grant to John des Praux. Certainly he gave hide to Roger Jugelet (fn. 251) and probably also the hide owned in 1279 by the Coventry family, who bore the same name as the earl's steward. (fn. 252) Some temporary grants may have become permanent, such as that of a mill of which the earl claimed the freehold against Thomas of Coventry in 1226, but which later was again the freehold of the Coventry family. (fn. 253) By contrast in 1247 the heirs of Gerald Musket failed to establish their right to 6 yardlands which Gerald had held partly of the Vere manor and partly of the Somery manor, (fn. 254) a freehold which presumably predated the earl's creation of the Vere manor in the early 13th century. Some freeholds may have arisen by the promotion of socage tenants like the two survivors of 1279: certainly in 124950 the relict of Alan Franklin claimed custody of his land and heir from Ralph des Praux on the grounds that the tenure was socage, but the outcome is unknown. (fn. 255) The Praux family, after the initial extravagance of giving away 8 yardlands with a daughter, seem to have created few holdings even for their younger sons, of whom several were prominent in Great Tew in the later 13th century but with only modest endowments. (fn. 256)
The early freeholds were of regular size (mostly 1 or 2 yardlands in 1249) (fn. 257) but in the later 13th century odd acres were being sold, enabling such men as John at the Lake, a villein, to build up a freehold of 15 a. by small acquisitions from the Jugelet and Franklin families. (fn. 258) By 1333 free rents on the Praux manor totalled 4 12s. 8d. compared with only c. 1 18s. in 1279, and the number of villein yardlands had declined from 38 to 33. (fn. 259) By 1422, however, the process seems to have been reversed, for John Wilcotes, successor to the Praux lords, had only 6 free tenants, holding 10 yardlands and a mill for a total rent of c. 1 8s.; at most 3 free tenants were of peasant status. (fn. 260)
For the subsidies of 1307, 1316, and 1327 the numbers taxed were 41, 56, and 47, but the average value of movables assessed rose from c. 38s. to 63s., while the share paid by Ralph des Praux fell from a fifth of the whole to about a fifteenth. (fn. 261) Though there was heavy depopulation in the 14th century (fn. 262) its impact is not documented. By the 16th century the population had probably recovered to 13th-century levels, and the distribution of wealth revealed by subsidy payments was not unusual. In 1524 the Rainsfords, father and son, were taxed on lands worth a total of 42 a year, but their contribution was overshadowed by that of Richard Busby, assessed on goods worth 230, who paid about two thirds of the tax on the parish. (fn. 263) Busby was presumably the heir of William Busby (d. 1513), who is commemorated by a brass in the church. Though he had important interests at King's Sutton (Northants.) and elsewhere he seems to have lived at Tew, as farmer of the impropriate rectory and possibly as lessee of some of the demesne; he was evidently a considerable sheep farmer, and his ownership of property in Uxbridge (Mdx.) suggests he may have been a merchant. (fn. 264) A further 49 men were taxed in 1524, 5 on goods worth 11 to 8, 10 on goods worth 7 to 3, 15 on goods worth 2, and 19 on wages of at least 1 a year. (fn. 265) For the subsidy of 1544, though none were taxed on wages, the minimum value of taxable goods was 1, and 64 persons were assessed. The Busby fortune had gone elsewhere; John Rainsford paid on land worth 20, 6 paid on goods worth 10 to 6, 30 on goods worth 5 to 2, and 27 on goods worth 1. (fn. 266)
Assessments for the hearth tax of 1662 confirm the impression of a community of small farmers under a single powerful landlord. Lord Falkland, was assessed on 40 hearths, four men on 4 or 5 hearths, five on 3, and the remaining fifty on 1 or 2 hearths. (fn. 267) The late medieval trend towards the elimination of freeholds had continued in the 16th century under the Rainsfords, and by the 17th century Great Tew was almost all in single ownership. It was a much admired estate, and it was said of Francis Keck (d. 1728) that he was 'the richest man and had the best estate . . . in Oxfordshire'. (fn. 268)
References to copyhold occur in the 16th century but not later. Tenants' long leases for years or lives were sometimes valued in their probate inventories, (fn. 269) but a man who in 1557 left 3 yardlands to his son 'if it should please my master to be good unto me as was his promise' was evidently without any settled copy or lease. (fn. 270) Though some wills show Great Tew farmers content to divide their holdings, (fn. 271) it was probably more usual to make arrangements like those of John Rimell in 1615, who left 2 yardlands to two sons 'without severance', the survivor to have the whole, (fn. 272) or like Nicholas Cross in 1670 to leave the main holding (3 yardlands) to the eldest son, a close to a second son, small legacies to two others, and blacksmith's tools to the youngest. (fn. 273) The size of holdings may be deduced from scattered references in some 48 Great Tew wills from the period 15571736, involving c. 100 yardlands in all. About 19 per cent concerned holdings of between and yardland, c. 27 per cent between 1 and 1 yardland, and c. 44 per cent between 2 and 3 yardlands; the last group accounting for over half the land mentioned; 10 per cent of the holdings were between 4 and 7 yardlands.
Assessments for land tax in 1762, shortly before parliamentary inclosure, reveal a different structure. Anthony Keck's assessment of 136 probably included the inclosed lands as well as his rents; the remaining 72 was paid by 40 landholders. A standard assessment of 15s. 8d. a yardland for open-field land may be discerned, though few holdings were exact yardlands. The small tenements of between and yardland now amounted to c. 40 per cent of the holdings, those of between 1 and 1 yardland to c. 24 per cent, the 2 and 3 yardland holdings to a mere 6 per cent, and the larger holdings of 4 to 9 yardlands to 30 per cent, the last group accounting for three quarters of the land (excluding Keck's holding). (fn. 274)
The evidence from wills greatly underrepresents the smaller landholders, and that from land tax assessments should also be regarded as approximate only, but the polarization into large and small holdings is marked. It seems likely, too, that long leases ceased to be renewed during the earlier 18th century, particularly for the larger holdings; only one long lease granted by Francis Keck is known, and that was for a pair of cottages. (fn. 275) In 1766 only 18 yardlands were held on leases for lives, and a year later only 14 out of a total of 79. (fn. 276)
The land tax assessments suggest that Keck's old inclosed land was valued some three times as highly per acre as the open-field land, (fn. 277) a strong incentive to proceed with inclosure. The award of 1767 gave the 12 life-lessees and 2 owners of cow commons a total of 262 a. The landowners of Little Tew received 19 a. for their common rights in Great Tew, and the only other allottee was Anthony Keck, who was awarded 288 a. for tithes and 1,169 a. for open-field lands. (fn. 278) Under the Act of 1766 all leases under 21 years and for rack rent had been cancelled, accounting for the 64 yardlands which Keck technically had in hand. By 1778 only three life leases remained, of 75 a., 28 a., and 8 a.; the newly inclosed land, held at rack rent, was divided into five holdings of under 100 a., four of 100200 a., and three others (211 a., 233 a., and 408 a.). The last was an amalgamation of Tracey farm (255 a.) and two smaller holdings that were soon separated, and probably had been so in the past. (fn. 279)
In the later 18th century there were thus c. 14 farms on the newly inclosed land, enough to have provided for the dozen tenants of 2 yardlands or more detectable in the tax of 1762. John Busby, one of the larger farmers in 1762, was represented in 1788 by his widow Elizabeth with 192 a., later Leys farm, which remained in the family for many years. (fn. 280) James Neville, prominent in 1762, held a life lease of 75 a. in 1778, and his family continued to farm there after that lease expired. Continuity in other cases seems to have been broken, though some of the new names of 1778 may represent undertenants not mentioned in 1762. One result of inclosure was to remove almost entirely the small holdings that in the mid 18th century and earlier had sustained numerous cottagers and craftsmen. The old inclosed land in 1778 was divided into four farms, two in the north (220 a. and 215 a.), both held by the Ryman family, and two in the Beaconsfield area (250 a. and 130 a.), the first, presumably an old established farm, held with 210 a. of adjoining new inclosure, the other, known as Sturche's in the early 19th century, worked from a farmhouse on the site of the surviving Beggar's Lodge. (fn. 281) Most of the newly inclosed farms were still run from the village in 1778, though there was one new farm in the south, Tracey Farm, and shortly afterwards another called Timms', later Hookerswell Farm; (fn. 282) Tracey Farm was presumably so named because it formed part of the jointure of Mary Tracy, relict of Thomas Keck. (fn. 283)
In 1800, when G. F. Stratton took over the estate from his father, it was regarded as 'one of the finest' in the county; (fn. 284) its buildings were in repair, the land free from incumbrances and surrounded by ring fences. Its 16 farms (including those in adjoining parishes) were let on 12-year leases to allow a 6-year rotation in which fodder crops played an important part. About 1,500 a. of the 3,700 a. of farmland were permanent pasture, mostly in the north part of the estate, providing grazing for over 2,000 sheep. Inclosure had led to an increase in rents, the arable fetching between 15s. and 26s. an acre, the pasture between 28s. and 40s.; (fn. 285) the total rental including the village houses was c. 4,000, and there were also some valuable plantations. Spurred on, however, by financial losses and Arthur Young's opinion that the estate was under-exploited, Stratton became involved in a short-lived and largely unsuccessful agricultural experiment. J. C. Loudon persuaded him that by adopting the Scottish system of convertible husbandry the estate's value could be more than doubled. Most of the existing tenants were bought out or leases were not renewed, with the intention of forming the estate (by 1814) into two large holdings, one of c. 1,800 a. for Loudon himself, the other of c. 1,500 a. let to Capt. Stenhouse Wood, presumably a man introduced by Loudon, though later the two quarrelled. (fn. 286) Loudon began farming some 639 a. on a 22-year lease at Michaelmas 1808, and acquired another 220 a. the following year; Wood's lease of nearly 1,100 a. began at Michaelmas 1809. The new tenants offered rents approaching 3 an acre, which, if the scheme had worked, would have raised the total rental to 10,250. Stratton reported enthusiastically on progress in March 1810, but in early 1811 Loudon departed, bought out by his landlord for what he later claimed was 'our mutual satisfaction and advantage'. (fn. 287) Wood stayed longer, but both he and Loudon's replacement, William Orson, an Irishman of whose methods Loudon strongly disapproved, had gone by 1814, Orson apparently clandestinely. (fn. 288) In 1815 Stratton put the whole estate on the market. (fn. 289)
It seems certain that Stratton lost heavily by the experiment, which even Loudon later admitted would be remembered in the county as 'a ruinous project of wild adventurers'; he reckoned, however, that Stratton retained a 'very handsome fortune', having sold the estate for twice what had been asked in 1807, though only half what would have been paid (but for problems over the title) by a purchaser in 1809. (fn. 290) The failure owed much to over-ambition by both landlord and tenants. (fn. 291) The tenants offered too much rent in the hope of recouping by advantageous subletting; though Wood sublet all his estate and Loudon some of his, apparently to other Scottish farmers, the arrangements were short-lived and in 1814 the vicar reported that 13 farms were vacant. (fn. 292) The landlord invested great sums in improvements at a time when prices were beginning to fall. The Scottish system of alternate arable and leys grazing, with its heavy emphasis on fodder crops and intensive stock rearing, was presumably introduced fairly easily on Wood's holding in the south of the estate, which was already mostly arable land in large fields; but Loudon's farm, on the 'red land' in the north, was mostly ancient pasture in small irregular fields. His description of the Great Tew experiment, though hardly explicit, hints that the difficulty of converting such land may have been decisive. (fn. 293)
Stratton's expenditure on Wood's holding, limited by the terms of the lease to 2,000, may have amounted to little more than building two threshing mills at Beaconsfield and Tracey Farms. (fn. 294) On Loudon's portion, however, the intention was to create, at the landlord's expense, a 'ferme orne' with large, regular fields linked by a new road system to an elaborate farmery and threshing mill, overlooked by Loudon's own house in its park of ornamental trees, with terraced walks, orchards, and nurseries. (fn. 295) The house and pleasure grounds (Tew Lodge), the farmery, the mill (whose power came from a large lake created by diverting existing streams), and much of the projected road plan were completed. Many hedges were grubbed up and new quicksets planted, though the larger trees were left standing. At times 132 men were working on the improvements in 180910. Loudon's estimate for the improvements was 4,000, but by 1810 11,600 had been spent, and another 5,600 on Wood's farm and on buying out leases; Loudon reckoned that c. 13,500 had been spent on his farm alone. There had been an unexpected rise in the cost of timber and labour; stone for the roads had to be carted from the south of the estate, since no suitable stone could be found in the north; the mill site was so low that the provision of an outfall involved costly excavations; the mill itself was 'larger than was required' and Loudon's house and farmery, though lightly constructed and roofed with treated paper, proved expensive. (fn. 296) Loudon apparently offered to pay all costs over 7,000, but in the event he seems to have paid only 1,750 for the house and garden. Though the effects of his experiment may still be discerned in the landscape, the farmery seems to have gone by 1823, replaced by the nearby Cottenham Farm, (fn. 297) and Loudon's house probably disappeared soon afterwards. The mill survived for many years, in altered form. (fn. 298)
The break in continuity caused by the eviction of local farmers was only temporary and several of the chief farms were held for much of the 19th century by long-established local families such as the Barlows at Park farm, the Nevilles at Court farm, and the Kimbers at Tracey farm. (fn. 299) In 1815 the farmland of Great Tew (c. 2,800 a. excluding the village and its closes) was put up for sale as 14 farms and a few small lots; there were 7 farms of between 300 a. and 200 a. and 5 others over 100 a. Over three-quarters of the land was arable, and of the c. 690 a. of pasture as much as 570 a. lay north of the lane from Ledwell to Little Tew; much of it lay in the park and on Carter's (later Park) farm immediately north of it. By contrast Giles's farm (named after an 18th-century farmer, Giles Ryman), which had been the principal site of Loudon's ploughing operations, contained no pasture. The other 'red land' farms, Tew Lodge (189 a.) and Checkley's farm (208 a. in the northwest), were only two-thirds arable. (fn. 300) There was some amalgamation of farms during the 19th century and in 1861 the principal ones were Park (460 a.), Cottenham (450 a.), Court (300 a.), and Ley farm (300 a.), and in the south Tracey (620 a.), Beaconsfield (430 a.), and Hookerswell farm (250 a.). Together the farms employed 76 men and 44 boys, and, as in 1851, there was a marked contrast between the high labour requirements of the largely arable southern farms and Cottenham farm in the pastoral north. (fn. 301)
In 1877 Great Tew was described as 'one of the best farmed parishes in the Midland counties'. (fn. 302) The cultivated area was usually c. 2,650 a.; the proportion of permanent grass increased from roughly a third in 1869 to nearly a half in 1911, and there was always about a tenth under rotation grass. The acreage of wheat fell in the same period from over 400 a. to less than 250 a.; barley varied only slightly from the 350 a. reported in 1869, while oats rose from 120 a. to over 300 a. and turnips (or swedes) fell from 350 a. to only 160 a. Cattle, pigs, and horses all increased in number, but sheep were reduced from 2,800 to 1,800, still a fairly high density for the region. (fn. 303) In 1914 the chief crops were wheat (23 per cent of the arable), barley (19 per cent), oats (11 per cent), and swedes (10 per cent). (fn. 304)
During the 20th century farming on the estate seems to have declined until a recovery in the 1960s. Several farms are now kept in hand, and a number of outlying sites have become redundant. Farming remains mixed, with grain crops, sheep, and cattle still important and no specialist developments such as market gardening. The contrast between the arable south and pastoral north continues.
The relatively large and concentrated population provided a living for numerous craftsmen, particularly carpenters, masons, blacksmiths, and tailors. George Stowe, carpenter, in 1556 left his tools to a nephew, and several other members of the family were recorded as carpenters in the 17th and 18th centuries. (fn. 305) Masons of the Hiorn family regularly made wills, (fn. 306) and several blacksmiths of the Barnes family were recorded. (fn. 307)
Three tailors made wills between 1611 and 1625. (fn. 308) A chapman in 1591 left a stock of ribbons, silks, and gloves; later there was a mercer, John Hiorn (d. 1662), probably followed by Alice Hiorn, spinster, whose cottage in 1668 included a shop with tape, thread, treacle, and nails. (fn. 309) In the same period there were bakers, shoemakers, a weaver, and a fuller. (fn. 310) John Alexander (d. 1673), a baker, issued a tradesman's token. (fn. 311)
Censuses of the earlier 19th century record between 13 and 21 families engaged in crafts and trades compared with 70 or more supported by agriculture. (fn. 312) In 1841 the craftsmen and tradesmen included 3 smiths, 3 tailors, 3 carpenters, 2 sawyers, 2 saddlers, 2 grocers, 2 butchers, 2 bakers, 2 masons, a painter, a carrier, and a publican. (fn. 313) By 1871 the building trades were more prominent, with 7 masons and 4 carpenters, a painter, a stonelayer, a brickmaker, and a bricklayer; most other trades had fewer representatives than in 1841, and there was only 1 smith, 1 butcher, and a combined grocer's, butcher's, and baker's shop employing 4 assistants. (fn. 314) In 1939 three shops were recorded, including the present post office and the butcher's shop. (fn. 315) In the 1950s the principal employment other than agricultural work was building and contracting, occupying 16 adults; there were 2 small agricultural engineering concerns, 2 saw mills, and a lime pit. (fn. 316) The estate's policy ensured that the traditional occupational structure survived into the 1980s.
Mills. There were two watermills in Great Tew by the 13th century. In 1226 the later southern mill was claimed by Ranulph, earl of Chester, as his freehold against Thomas of Coventry, who was said to hold it only by a lease. In 1230, however, the Vere manor recently created by the earl included a freehold mill, and it was that mill which Alice of Coventry held in 1249 and was still a freehold of the Vere manor in 1279. (fn. 317) In 1339 the mill was held with 7 a. of land and 15 a. of meadow. (fn. 318) The Praux manor in 1279 included a demesne mill, as in 1333. (fn. 319) Both mills presumably passed with their manors to the Rainsfords, and in the 18th century both were held of the Kecks. In 1778 the northern mill was held on lease by John Goffe for 13 and the southern mill by Thomas Baldwin for 12; both were corn mills. (fn. 320) By 1815 the southern mill had ceased working and the northern mill was held on a new 21-year lease for 25 a year. (fn. 321) That mill was probably abandoned in the 1830s, for in 1837 M. R. Boulton was investigating leaks in the watercourse at 'Old Mill' and in 1841 it was occupied by a farm labourer. (fn. 322) The foundations of the mill and remains of the leats which provided water for an overshot wheel survive in Mill Lane. (fn. 323)
Both ancient mills may have been victims of the new 'farm' mills built c. 1810. At Tew Lodge Loudon built a costly threshing mill, (fn. 324) which Boulton was considering adapting as a grinding mill as early as 1820 and was used for crushing bone for fertilizer by the 1830s. (fn. 325) It was still in use in 1852 but was marked as a disused corn mill on a map of 1881. There are some remains south of Cottenham Farm. (fn. 326) Two other small waterpowered threshing mills were built on farms in the south, one at Tracey Farm which was used for grinding corn into the 20th century, and whose machinery partially survives, and another shortlived mill at Beaconsfield Farm. (fn. 327) A steampowered saw mill and a pug mill were built on the estate by M. P. W. Boulton in the mid 19th century. (fn. 328)
In 1279 John des Praux had view of frankpledge in his liberty 'without the king's bailiff'; he also had waifs, and if a thief was caught in the liberty he might, after summoning a coroner, hang him on his gallows. (fn. 329) Courts leet and baron were held in Great Tew until at least the early 19th century: in 1817 they met at the Horse and Groom (probably the later Falkland Arms). (fn. 330) In 1692 a court met in April, but by the mid 18th century there seem to have been October courts only, which appointed constables, tithingmen, fieldmen, and haywards, and made orders for the management of the open fields. (fn. 331) The jury continued to supervise the fields and officers between courts. (fn. 332) The constables were supported by levies on the yardland, and income came also from letting a small amount of 'town land', which seems to have been lost at inclosure. (fn. 333)
The vestry appointed churchwardens, overseers, and surveyors of the highways. Little Tew had its own constable, churchwarden, and overseer by the mid 17th century and until it became a separate parish c. 1857, and though it remained ultimately dependent on the Great Tew vestry it collected its own rates; the Little Tew warden contributed a quarter of the Great Tew wardens' costs. (fn. 334) At Great Tew the churchwardens' income in the 16th century evidently came chiefly from customary payments of corn and malt: in 1567, presumably after a dispute, parishioners agreed in the archdeacon's court that payments should be bu. malt from a yardland. (fn. 335) Yardland levies were still used in 1763; (fn. 336) the open fields then comprised 79 yardlands, while Anthony Keck was assessed on 52 yardlands presumably made up of the 36 yardlands of demesne recorded in 1624 and a nominal 16 yardlands for impropriated tithes. (fn. 337) The 52 yardlands were assessed at only 7d. compared with 2s. 6d. for the other yardlands, perhaps because the demesne, as in 1624, was exempt from most local charges. Yardland levies were presumably replaced at inclosure in 1767 by pound rates, but in 1778 Beaconsfield farm was still exempt from rates, and it was also claimed that 'owners of estates' (probably only the lord at that date) were exempt from all taxes except land tax and militia payments. By the 1830s all paid rates. (fn. 338)
In 1776 the overseers spent 196 on poor relief, in 17835 a yearly average of 247, and in 1803 369, or c. 17s. a head of the population. (fn. 339) The overseers' total expenditure was usually less than 500 until 181213, when it rose to a peak of c. 680 (excluding militia and other charges) or 1 10s. a head. (fn. 340) Many of the farms were vacant at that time, (fn. 341) but the extra employment created by M. R. Boulton's rebuilding policies seems to have resulted in Great Tew escaping the crisis that affected most of its neighbours in that decade: total expenditure fell to as little as 386 in 18223 (including over 80 for coal to be sold cheaply to the poor). Costs rose gradually thereafter, and average expenditure on the poor in 18312 was 452, just over 1 a head. (fn. 342)
There are signs that in the 1760s the poor were sometimes set to work on such tasks as road mending. (fn. 343) In 1783 Great Tew had a workhouse and advertised for a contractor to farm the poor. (fn. 344) By 1803 there was no indoor-relief, but a rented workhouse was again in use in 181011; (fn. 345) it was still there in 1815, but as no indoor-relief was provided it may have been used as pauper housing. (fn. 346) Cottage rents were also being paid, and in 181516 cost over 30 a year. (fn. 347)
In 1803 there were 35 adults on permanent out-relief, and in the period 180717 numbers were usually between 30 and 50. Small numbers of roundsmen were mentioned, and in 1807 the parish was contributing 2d. a day towards the cost of each; the total of 16 men on the round in the winter of 181516 was evidently the result of a new policy, but roundsmen were not mentioned in later accounts, and numbers on regular relief also fell. (fn. 348) Employment again became a problem in the 1830s, and in 1835 the vestry agreed to pay 7s. a week to able-bodied labourers. (fn. 349)
The parish became part of the Chipping Norton poor law union, appointing its first guardian in 1836. (fn. 350) The vestry continued its oversight of many parish affairs, such as highway repair and providing coal for the poor. (fn. 351) In 1847 it organized a voluntary subscription to assist large families. (fn. 352) In 1894 a parish council was formed when Great Tew became part of Chipping Norton rural district, and in 1974 the parish became part of West Oxfordshire district. (fn. 353)
The church was established before the mid 11th century when the village was known as Church Tew. (fn. 354) The earliest known rector was William son of Ralph, who witnessed a late 12thcentury local charter. (fn. 355) The ecclesiastical parish included Nether Worton until the 17th century and Little Tew until c. 1857; there may have been a medieval chapel in Little Tew, and a new chapel built in 1853 was served at first from Great Tew. The benefices of Great and Little Tew were reunited in 1930. (fn. 356)
The advowson was given with the manor to John des Praux c. 1206, and in 1302 a later John des Praux granted it to Godstow abbey. (fn. 357) In 13089 arrangements were made to appropriate the living on the death of the rector John de Trillowe, and a vicarage was ordained. (fn. 358) John, who seems to have died between 1314 and 1316, (fn. 359) was later remembered as a benefactor to the abbey, while Margery de Dive, elected abbess of Godstow in 1316, was credited with the acquisition of Great Tew. (fn. 360) Godstow presented the first vicar in 1309, and retained the advowson until the Dissolution; (fn. 361) it was granted by the Crown in 1541 to William Rainsford, (fn. 362) and thereafter descended with the manor, although the Crown presented by lapse in 1781. (fn. 363)
In 1291 the rectory was valued at 50 marks, which in 1341 was said to have included 8 13s. 4d. for the glebe and hay tithes and 6 13s. 4d. for altar fees, the rest being presumably the tithes of corn, wool, and lambs. (fn. 364) In 1535 the farmer of the rectory, Richard Busby, was paying 20 3s. 4d. a year; a further payment to Godstow for various rents was probably for non-rectorial lands. Outgoings, however, reduced the net value to only 15 13s. 4d. (fn. 365) Thereafter the rectory was absorbed in the manorial estate: at inclosure in 1767 Anthony Keck was awarded 290 a. for his tithes. (fn. 366)
The rectorial glebe was presumably absorbed into the Godstow abbey's other Tew lands, passing to Rainsford in 1541. John des Praux's grant to the abbey in 1302 had included 2 a. and the reversion of 2 yardlands held by Stephen des Praux, (fn. 367) but in 1541 only the former Chalgrove estate of 8 yardlands, yielding 3 6s. 8d., and 'Our Lady lands', comprising 3 houses and possibly 3 yardlands rented at 23s., were mentioned. (fn. 368) A 'parsonage house' and 4 yardlands called the parsonage lands, held by a tenant of Edward Rainsford in 1608, (fn. 369) and a meadow called Parson's mead (c. 12 a.) held by Tanfield in 1622, (fn. 370) may represent a hide of former glebe, but more probably were so called because they were former Godstow property.
Under the terms of the appropriation of the living the vicar was to receive 6 13s. 4d. a year out of the rectory. (fn. 371) In 1526 the vicar was receiving 10, and although Rainsford in 1541 was expressly charged with providing that sum there was soon a return to the smaller stipend, (fn. 372) perhaps because the increase had been for additional services in a chantry. By the 18th century the stipend was regarded as a modus for vicarial tithes; the only vicarial tithes mentioned at inclosure in 1767 were those of certain old inclosures for which Anthony Keck was awarded c. 1 a. (fn. 373) The living was augmented from Queen Anne's Bounty in 1750, (fn. 374) reaching a total value of 12. 6s. 8d. in 1781. In that year it seems to have been agreed by T. E. Freeman, purchaser of the Keck estate, that the living (perhaps reflecting past practice) should be made up to 50 a year. (fn. 375) In 1783 George Stratton was paying 44 to the vicar, and presumably the remaining 6 came from the Bounty. At the same time T. E. Freeman, who retained part of the Keck estate, was providing 30, bringing the total vicarage to c. 80. (fn. 376) Freeman in 1781 had settled c. 75 a. on trustees, the income to pay land tax on that estate and on a new vicarage house shortly to be granted, then to provide 30 to the vicar, while the residue supported a school. In 1810, after much confusion, G. F. Stratton disencumbered the Great Tew trust estate by granting in exchange 56 a. in Middle Barton, which at that date was more profitable than the Great Tew land, though later the exchange was heavily criticized. (fn. 377) There was a further augmentation from the Bounty in 1793, and before 1805 all the Bounty money was invested in c. 19 a. of land in South Newington. (fn. 378) At the inclosure of Little Tew in 1794, largely as a result of agitation by the vicar, Samuel Nash, the vicarage was awarded 16 a. in return for serving the chapelry. (fn. 379)
In 1808 the clear improved value of the vicarage was 83, probably excluding the 30 from the trust estate which the vicar, wrongly, seems to have regarded as a grant solely for a lectureship. (fn. 380) An attempt by M. R. Boulton to augment the vicarage in 1830 was given up after a quarrel with the Bounty officials, (fn. 381) and in 1831 the vicar's income comprised 91 rent from land, the annuity of 44, and an additional payment from Boulton of 50, apparently reduced from 60 in recognition of his recent expenditure on the vicarage house. (fn. 382) When Little Tew parish was created in 1855 the glebe acquired by Nash was transferred to it. Great Tew was augmented in 1877 by a grant of 6 13s. 4d. from the Common Fund. (fn. 383) The vicarage house, the Barton land, and some stock were regulated by a Scheme of 1907, altered in 1978, which prescribed the proportion of the income that should be devoted to the school. (fn. 384) In the later 19th century the living was usually valued at between 150 and 200 net, and in 1930 at 212; the income of the combined benefices of Great and Little Tew in that year was c. 400. (fn. 385)
In 1662 the vicar, Henry Pewde (Perode, Peande), was taxed on a two-hearth house, but by 1738 there was no memory of a house belonging to the living. (fn. 386) Eighteenth-century vicars seem to have been housed by the Kecks, and in 1875 it was asserted that the house which formed the core of the Boultons' manor house had once been used as a vicarage. (fn. 387) After the death of Anthony Keck in 1767 there was evidently a problem over housing, but by 1781 the present vicarage house was in use, and in 1787 George Stratton conveyed it to trustees. (fn. 388) The house, bearing the date 1696 and the initials of William and Ann Franklin, (fn. 389) was much rebuilt by Stratton, whose initials with the date 1781 survive on the south gable, though he was reported to be building the vicarage house as late as 1796. (fn. 390) The house was in serious disrepair by 1815, (fn. 391) and M. R. Boulton carried out major alterations c. 1829. (fn. 392)
The 13th-century rectors included several members of the patron's family, including Drew des Praux, recorded in 1240, (fn. 393) and Simon des Praux rector 12931302, who was convicted of wasting the church's goods in 1296, when a coadjutor was appointed. (fn. 394) In 1244 Walter of Hasfield was presented by Ralph des Praux, subject to a pension of 25 marks payable to Humphrey of Bassingbourn so long as he bore himself as a clerk. (fn. 395) The rector presented in 1290 was Robert of Thorpe, one of the bishop of Lincoln's clerks, who was later dispensed to hold an additional three livings while not a priest. (fn. 396)
The medieval vicars appointed by Godstow abbey (fn. 397) were less eminent. Some served the living for long periods, notably John Taylor, 141952, John Warland, 145273, and Edmund Clerke, 14931521. The medieval church contained several chapels, including a chantry founded in 1325 by Edward Maybank and endowed with property in Fleet Street, London; Maybank had been granted by Godstow abbey a life lease of the 2 yardlands in Great Tew given with the advowson. (fn. 398) Margery de Dive, the early 14th-century abbess of Godstow, charged the rectory with payments totalling 6 13s. 4d. for her anniversary and those of John de Trillowe and others; the payments were made until the Reformation. (fn. 399) Thomas Wilcotes in 1471 gave land to Oriel College, Oxford, for obits for himself, his wife Eleanor, his father John, and others, including a dirge and mass at Great Tew; in the 17th century the college still arranged annual sermons there. (fn. 400)
In 1526 a chantry priest was paid 5 6s. 8d., and a pension of 33s. 4d. was paid to Edmund Clerke, the retired vicar, who also held another Godstow living. (fn. 401) His successor, Edward Gabett, seems to have been resident, (fn. 402) but in 1535 claimed to be paying a deacon 10s. and 1 qr. of oats yearly, and 1 bu. maslin weekly. (fn. 403) At the Reformation the chantry revenues may have been concealed. (fn. 404) As late as 1557 William Rainsford attempted to found another chantry, his will providing for the creation of a chapel in Great Tew church 'in all ways after the proportion and form' of William Fermor's chapel at Somerton; an endowment was to provide 10 a year for a priest, but probably the plan was never fulfilled. (fn. 405) From c. 1555 until 1595 the living was technically void, but John Shaw from 1557 was called variously vicar, clerk, and stipendiary curate, and Edward Bradford in 1563 was called curate and later vicar; in 1593, when perhaps very old, he was judged 'insufficient'. (fn. 406)
Many of his successors in the 17th century were active among their flock and probably resident, frequently participating in local willmaking. Edward Wardle was vicar for 33 years from 1595, and Henry Pewde, B.A., from 1628 until his death in 1671. (fn. 407) Henry Cockson (vicar by 1679) was excommunicated in 1693 for marrying someone without banns or licence; (fn. 408) though vicar of Sandford he probably lived at Tew, where he and his family were buried. In 1738 the vicar was fellow of an Oxford college, in term staying with the Kecks at Tew only at weekends, though longer in the vacation. (fn. 409) Thomas Jones, vicar in 1759, lived half the year on another cure, but Walter Thomas (d. c. 1780) claimed to be usually resident, though he did not say where. (fn. 410) Both Jones and Thomas employed non-resident curates from time to time, (fn. 411) suggesting that the vicars were paid more than the declared stipend of the benefice. During the 18th century there were two services and a sermon each Sunday, and communion three or four times a year for 20 to 40 communicants.
Samuel Nash, vicar 17901829, was also vicar of Enstone, but lived at Tew. He was a firm defender of his church's temporal condition, but seems to have been a troublesome figure. In 1793 one of his churchwardens reported him for keeping beasts in the churchyard, and complaints over his conduct of services and their inconvenient hours continued throughout his long incumbency: apparently he followed a morning service begun shortly before noon with an afternoon service ending at 2.30 p.m., presumably to fit in with his duties at Enstone. (fn. 412) He was reported in 1804 to have recovered from mental illness, but in 1830 M. R. Boulton referred to the 'late, insane incumbent' and alleged that during the past 20 years the parish had been deprived of 'all efficient pastoral superintendance'. (fn. 413)
During the 19th century there was the usual improvement in the service of the living. Nash's successor employed an assistant curate, and J. J. Campbell (vicar from 1844) held two services each Sunday at Great Tew and provided a curate to hold services in Little Tew; communion services were held once a month and at the great festivals. (fn. 414) Congregations of between 120 and 150 were recorded, but the considerable advance of nonconformity during the 19th century was also recognized; in 1857 the vicar saw the squire's absence from church as a special difficulty. (fn. 415) The number of services remained unchanged until the 1890s, when it was reported that there were two assistant curates, three or four services every Sunday, and more communicants. (fn. 416) The living was held in plurality with Little Tew for many years before the union of 1930. (fn. 417) In 1979 a plan to sell the vicarage house and serve Great Tew from a distance was opposed by the parishioners, who were able to show that the house was an endowed charity. The parish retained a resident vicar in 1981.
The church of ST. MICHAEL (fn. 418) comprises chancel, aisled nave, south porch, and west tower. (fn. 419) Of the 12th-century church only the south doorway survives, (fn. 420) but Norman masonry, including what may be the head of a window blocked by the overlapping north aisle, may be seen on the exterior of the north wall of the chancel; (fn. 421) the dimensions of the nave suggest that it retained its 12th-century width (only 18 ft.), though it was probably lengthened later. The aisles were built or rebuilt in the 13th century, divided from the nave by arcades of which the southern is lofty and stands on archaic square bases. The aisles were widened in the early 14th century, probably receiving ridged instead of lean-to roofs; the footings of a narrower south aisle may be seen at the east end. That both aisles were widened as part of a single scheme is suggested by the fact that the nave and aisles together form a square. Both aisles contained chapels, their sites marked by 14th-century piscinae with mutilated canopies. A new chancel arch was inserted in the early 14th century and the chancel largely rebuilt. A low-side window seems to have been blocked later in the century. The south porch is probably of the early 14th century, though it incorporates a crude and possibly earlier two-light window. The lower stages of the tower were built c. 1400 and the upper stages about a century later, though the top of the tower, in lighter stone, may be later still. The clerestorey, nave, and aisle roofs and parapets were probably added when the tower was heightened. The east window is also of c. 1500. A rood loft, approached by a staircase in the thickness of the south wall, may have stretched across the full width of the church; the east window of the north aisle was blocked and a new window inserted in the north wall c. 1500, presumably to light the loft or a gallery. A lean-to schoolroom added at the west end of the north aisle probably in the mid 17th century was pulled down in the later 18th century. (fn. 422)
The architect Thomas Rickman restored the church and chancel in 18278; the work included ceilings and sedilia and a piscina of four cusped arches in artificial stone in the south wall of the chancel. (fn. 423) Rickman may also have been responsible for the later alteration of the north side of the chancel to create a niche for a table monument with reclining marble figure by Sir Francis Chantrey (1834) in memory of Mary Ann Boulton (d. 1829); a 14th-century two-light window was partially blocked by the niche, and a corresponding window on the south side was altered to balance it. Plans to block the west window in the tower in 1831 and reuse the tracery (fn. 424) seem not to have been carried out, but before 1875 the west window of the south aisle was rebuilt in the style of one of the 14th-century north aisle windows. (fn. 425) In 1869, when a west gallery was removed, the tower arch was opened and a memorial window by J. Hardman inserted, the gift of the vicar J. J. Campbell. (fn. 426) There were few other structural alterations, but after major repairs in 19646 a consistory court met in the church to investigate the removal of ancient glass from some of the windows. (fn. 427)
The font is 15th-century. There are traces of wall-paintings of c. 1400 in the south aisle and on the west wall of the north aisle. (fn. 428) The church was largely reseated in the 1890s, (fn. 429) but there are some 15th-century bench ends. In the north aisle is a screen with linenfold panelling and tracery of c. 1500. (fn. 430) The pulpit is a three-decker of the early 19th century. The organ dates from the 1860s; there are several earlier references to the purchase of musical instruments. (fn. 431)
In the north aisle and chapel are the stone effigies of an unidentified knight (fn. 432) and lady of the early 14th century. In the chancel are brasses to John and Alice Wilcotes (d. 1422 and 1410) and to William Busby (d. 1513) and his wife Agnes; on the wall is a brass engraved with a representation of the Holy Trinity to which belongs a fragmentary inscription to William Rainsford (d. 1487). (fn. 433) A tablet erected in 1885 records the burial at an unknown site at Great Tew of Lucius Cary, Lord Falkland (d. 1643); the lead coffin of Henry Cary, Lord Falkland (d. 1663) was discovered in the chancel during repairs in the 1820s. (fn. 434) Other memorials include those to Frances Heyes (d. 1674), daughter of Rachel, Viscountess Falkland, to George Stratton (d. 1800), and to many members of the Boulton family, most of whom were buried in Birmingham until the later 19th century. Vicars commemorated include Henry Cockson (n.d.), James Ashton (d. 1790), Charles Dayman (d. 1844), and J. J. Campbell (d. 1882). There are many painted hatchments of arms, including those of the Tracy, Keck, and Stratton families. (fn. 435)
The plate includes a silver chalice of 1575. (fn. 436) Of a ring of eight bells given by Francis Keck in 1709 two have been recast, in 1785 and 1842; the ring is one of the finest in the diocese. (fn. 437)
The church is approached along an avenue of evergreens, and the churchyard is flanked by the ornamental trees of the park. The avenue probably formed the main approach to the former manor house; its stone entrance gateway, early 17th-century Italianate, has evidently been remodelled and may have been moved to its present position from the grounds of the demolished house in the early 19th century, the date of the wrought ironwork. The churchyard was extended on the south-west in 1921. (fn. 438)
One Roman Catholic in Great Tew was returned in 1676, but in 1738 there were none. (fn. 439) An increase of Roman Catholicism in the parish in the mid 18th century, which owed much to the proximity of the earl of Shrewsbury's chapel at Heythrop, probably mostly affected Little Tew where there were still a few Roman Catholics in the early 19th century. (fn. 440)
Forty-three Protestant nonconformists in the parish were returned in 1676. (fn. 441) 'Separatists' recorded earlier were all of Little Tew, (fn. 442) but Quakers were prominent in both Great and Little Tew in the 17th century and early 18th. John Evans and Thomas Reeves were gaoled in the 1660s for refusing the oath or non-payment of tithes, and between 1689 and 1729 some 6 Quakers resident in Great Tew were fined repeatedly for refusing tithes. (fn. 443) In 1738 there were 4 Quaker families in Great Tew, (fn. 444) who probably attended the South Newington meeting. Numbers decreased during the 18th century and none were recorded after 1778. (fn. 445)
From the later 18th century Little Tew was the centre of nonconformity in the ecclesiastical parish. No permanent chapel was founded in Great Tew, though many Baptists were reported in the village in 1834, and in 1854 the vicar said that a third of the villagers were Baptists or Ranters. (fn. 446) In 1869 it was estimated that 150 Primitive Methodists were meeting in a cottage in Great Tew, and in 1878 the vicar reckoned there were 30 nonconformist families. (fn. 447)
Lettice Cary, Lady Falkland (d. 1647), started a school for poor children; (fn. 448) though no details of her endowment are known, Great Tew appears on a list of 18th-century endowed schools. (fn. 449) A schoolroom, built at the north-west corner of the church and pulled down in the later 18th century, (fn. 450) was long disused. Vicars reported no school between 1738 and 1771, but in 1774 a voluntary charity school was said to teach 30 boys and girls to read and knit; four years later there was again said to be no school. (fn. 451) In 1781 T. E. Freeman (fn. 452) gave land in Great Tew to augment the vicarage and also provide 12 for a teacher for at least 10 boys and 10 girls; after much confusion over the endowment the land was exchanged for an estate in Middle Barton in 1810. (fn. 453) From the 1780s the teacher was usually paid an extra 3 a year to teach a Sunday school, (fn. 454) and was awarded a further 10 in 1815 when the school was apparently enlarged. After a Chancery inquiry in 1823, following allegations by the vicar, Samuel Nash, it was settled that the teacher should receive 12 for the 20 free pupils and 12 extra for every 20 children nominated by the trustees, who should also provide 10 a year for coal, books, and other school purposes. In 1825 a master and mistress were taking fees from the additional pupils, running a Sunday school with c. 16 raised by subscription, and paying for books from a collection in the church. The school building near the vicarage house was rented from M. R. Boulton. (fn. 455)
In 1818 there were two small dame schools in Great Tew and others in Little Tew; from 1823 that hamlet had its own endowed school. (fn. 456) By 1831 there were said to be only 18 boys and 17 girls at the Great Tew day school, compared with 75 attending the Sunday school, but the vicar claimed that no child over 6 years old who was not working was without schooling. There was no infant school and efforts to start an evening school had failed. (fn. 457) About 1845 the 35 pupils recorded were allowed free education, and the schoolmaster was receiving perhaps 25 from private pupils, c. 31 from the endowment, 10 for the Sunday school, and 8 16s. for keeping the parish coal account. (fn. 458) In 1847 the schoolmaster was also postmaster and tax collector. (fn. 459) In 1852 Boulton built a new school and master's house on the Green, stone buildings in traditional style with stone mullions and dripstones. (fn. 460) In 1854 the school was attended by 40 boys and 40 girls. (fn. 461) In 1867 a certificated master taught 95 pupils, of whom 35 were educated freely and the rest paid school pence. (fn. 462) At that time the whole rent of the charity estate (c. 70) seems to have been paid to the school, but by 1890 the vicar was again receiving the greater share, the school only 28. (fn. 463) The charity was regulated by a Scheme drawn up in 1907, which devoted two sevenths of the income from the Barton land to the school and divided the stock equally between the school and vicarage. (fn. 464)
Attendance declined to 64 in 1890, and in 1904 the school was transferred to the county council. (fn. 465) From 1923 it was attended by the children of Little Tew. The roll was 66 in 1935, and the following year the school was reorganized as a junior and infant school, with 31 children on the register, the seniors travelling thereafter to Chipping Norton. (fn. 466) In 1979 there were 43 children on the Great Tew school register. (fn. 467)
Charities for the Poor.
Edmund Hiorn (d. 1627) and Thomas Fletcher (d. 1641) each bequeathed 5 to the poor of Great Tew and John Sly (d. 1657) 5 to the poor of Little Tew; (fn. 468) in 1781 George Stratton, lord of the manor, invested those sums, with an additional gift of his own, in stock (known thereafter as the Poor's Stock) which yielded 1 4s. a year as a bread charity distributed at Christmas. (fn. 469) The income remained unchanged until in the 1960s the stock was reinvested to produce 5 a year, which was distributed in bread until 1976. (fn. 470)
Marianne Boulton, by will proved 1934, left 1,000 for the poor, which in 1967 was yielding 30, distributed to pensioners or large families. (fn. 473) A Scheme of 1977 amalgamated the Poor's Stock and Boulton's charity in a general charity for relief in need. (fn. 474)