Begbroke: Local government

Page 10

A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 12, Wootton Hundred (South) Including Woodstock. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1990.

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Local goverment.

There were the usual parish officers, but little is known of their administration, churchwardens' accounts surviving only from 1831 and vestry minutes from 1858; (fn. 51) no overseers' accounts have been traced. Parish government was heavily influenced during the earlier 19th century by the curate, Vaughan Thomas: he took on the office of parish surveyor c. 1820 in order to push through improvements to Begbroke's roads, (fn. 52) and saw to it that absentee landlords did not allow settlement in the parish by families likely to prove a charge on the rates. (fn. 53)

The community's small size, and Thomas's vigilance, ensured that pauperism was not a major problem in the parish. In 1776 only £9 was spent on the poor but in 1803 £33; that increase, however, raising expenditure to 7s. per head of population, was less than elsewhere, and there were only three adults on regular outrelief. (fn. 54) It was not considered worth while to appoint an assistant overseer. (fn. 55) The number on regular relief rose to seven by the end of the Napoleonic Wars, and expenditure increased thereafter, with occasional remissions. Highest expenditure was £1 14s. per head of population in 1818; the total fell to 14s. in 1822 and 1827 but rose again to £1 8s. shortly before Begbroke became part of Woodstock poor law union in 1834. (fn. 56) In 1932 it was transferred from Woodstock to Witney rural district, and in 1974 to Cherwell district. There was no parish council until 1952. (fn. 57)


  • 51. O.R.O., MSS. d.d. Par. Begbroke b 3, e 3.
  • 52. Ibid. c 4, item a.
  • 53. Ibid. items c, d.
  • 54. Poor Abstract, 1804, 406-7.
  • 55. O.R.O., MS. d.d. Par. Begbroke c 4, item c.
  • 56. Poor Abstract, 1818, 360-1; Poor Rate Returns, H.C. 556, p.138 (1822), v; H.C. 334, p. 173 (1825), iv; H.C. 83, p. 161 (1830-1), xi; H.C. 444, p. 156 (1835), xlvii.
  • 57. O.R.O., RO 15; RO 3251.