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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Agriculture. The depopulation of Tilgarsley in the mid 14th century caused changes in the parish's open fields and tenurial structure which largely obscured earlier arrangements. Until then Eynsham and Tilgarsley had separate sets of fields, probably divided by the ancient boundary known as Tilgar's mere or ditch. (fn. 70) All early references to holdings in or at Tilgarsley seem to relate to places north and west of that ditch, (fn. 71) with the exception of some detached meadow land at Bitterall and elsewhere. (fn. 72) Later references to Tilgarsley, the evidence of field names and boundaries on pre-inclosure maps, and survivals such as common rights in many long inclosed fields north and west of Tilgar's mere (fn. 73) confirm that Tilgarsley's open fields occupied a broad swathe running south-westwards from near Elm Farm (Freeland) towards, and probably including, Twelve Acre farm; east and south lay the fields of Eynsham, west and north a large tract of heath and woodland which remained uncultivated until the 18th century.
Eynsham's medieval open fields were probably very similar to those mapped in 1615 and later, (fn. 74) except for a few arable furlongs north and west of Tilgar's mere which may have been added to Eynsham's fields after Tilgarsley was deserted. In the 17th century the arable furlongs lay north, west, and south-west of the town in three large divisions, South, Conduit, and North fields. In the 15th century the three fields mentioned were South, North, and Walton fields, the latter perhaps renamed Conduit field after a conduit house was built in the 16th or early 17th century. (fn. 75) There is slight evidence of an earlier, two-field, arrangement, for in the early 13th century 2 a. held by the Underwall family lay in two fields (campis). (fn. 76) Three fields were probably in use by the 14th century, for shortly after the abandonment of Tilgarsley the men of Hanborough, claiming their right to common on the Tilgarsley fallow, said that every third year was a fallow year: the abbot's assertion that the usual rotation was three crops and a fallow seems less plausible at a time when depopulation would hardly have encouraged the bringing of more land into cultivation. (fn. 77) A four-year rotation of crops within the structure of the three named fields was probably established long before the 18th century as the introduction of pulses into the fallow became widespread; in 1766 the sequence was wheat, pulse, barley, fallow. (fn. 78)
The Domesday description of Eynsham (fn. 79) makes no reference to Tilgarsley or its fields, but the figures evidently relate to the whole parish. In 1086 Columban the monk held of the bishop of Lincoln an estate assessed at 15 ½ hides and containing also demesne land for 2 ploughs which, as 'inland', was exempt from geld. The uneven hidation suggests that Columban's holding was part of an earlier, larger, estate. There was said to be land for 18 ploughteams and 18 were in use, 3 on the demesne and 15 held by tenants. Presumably by 1086 more demesne had been added to the inland, since 3 ploughs were needed to cultivate it. There was extensive meadow and permanent pasture, measured in 1086 as 255 a. and 100a. respectively. A large area of woodland (1 ½ leagues by 1 league 2 furlongs) was valued, when stocked, at 25s. A mill yielded 12s. and 450 eels. The whole estate was valued at £20, unchanged since the Conquest, unlike most of the bishop of Lincoln's lands which had greatly increased in value. The disturbed history of Eynsham after the Conquest may have hampered its development.
Unusually large quantities of woodland and meadow survived in Eynsham into the 18th century. In 1360 there were two woods, the Heyewode or High wood and the Frith, and between them a 'great heath', the whole said to be worth, in housebote and haybote, £5. (fn. 80) The Frith (later Thrift coppice) was small, said to be only 10 a. in 1306, (fn. 81) but the whole area of wood and heath was measured at 1,468 a. in 1650. (fn. 82) The Heath field was mentioned in 1005, and the bounds of the heath, evidently marked by crosses, were described in 1650 and mapped in 1769. (fn. 83) The bounds given for High wood in 1449 seem to have included the heath. (fn. 84) The extent of heath and woodland in 1769 was c. 1,780 a., (fn. 85) probably little changed since Domesday except for a few assarts in the Freeland area. By c. 1700 there were only two major wooded areas, Woodleys coppice (said to be 212 a.) and Blindwell coppice (78 a.), while the rest was referred to as the heath and Old Coppice, the latter an area of cleared woodland south of Woodleys. (fn. 86)
There was much dispute over whether Eynsham's woods and heath belonged to the royal forest of Wychwood. Henry I exempted the men of Eynsham from a hunting service known as stabilitas in the forest (fn. 87) but in 1300 a local jury asserted that Eynsham's woods had been afforested after 1154. (fn. 88) Fines paid by the abbot to the Crown in 1185 and 1190 for assarting, waste of timber, and overstocking with pigs (fn. 89) may have been incurred at Eynsham. In 1230 the abbot's right to allow estovers by view of his own foresters was limited by making estovers subject to the royal view, and in 1270 the abbot failed to regain the earlier privilege. (fn. 90) Before 1275 the abbot had made a small encroachment at Sand hill and an assart of 15 a., both apparently in forest land, and in the 1260s the abbot sold to Robert le Eyr an acre of arable on the heath near the modern Freeland. (fn. 91) The assart of 1275 was probably the cow pasture in Eynsham wood held c. 1284 by William of St. Owen and earlier by Walter of the New Forest. St. Owen's land lay next to Robert le Eyr's acre, and later St. Owen granted his interest to Oseney abbey which held a sheep croft near Blowens corner in 1298. (fn. 92) High wood, but not the Frith, was assumed to be in the forest in 1279 but both were excluded from it in a perambulation of 1298, confirmed by inquisition in 1300. (fn. 93) The bounds of 1298 touched Eynsham at the mill, and then ran northwards along the former boundary with Hanborough, along the tributary of the Evenlode known as the Caverswell brook, skirting Thrift coppice on the north, and passing east of the grange of Robert le Eyr to reach Blowens corner and so into North Leigh. In 1306 the abbot had to apply once more for custody of his woods but demonstrated that they were some way from the covert of the forest. (fn. 94) Again c. 1350 Thomas Langley, the royal forester, claimed that Tilgarsley's fields lay within the forest and there was a serious riot when he went to Eynsham to hold a court. (fn. 95) There are later references to High wood being in the forest, and Eynsham was not entirely free from such claims until Wychwood was severely reduced in area in the early 17th century. (fn. 96)
The claims of the men of Woodstock royal manor, particularly of Hanborough, to common in Eynsham's heath and wood perhaps originated as rights in the forest. About 1230 a jury asserted that an abbot of Eynsham in Henry II's reign had agreed that Hanborough men might run pigs in High wood in return for autumn boon works and gifts of a hen and ten eggs each, but denied their claim to cut furze on the heath. (fn. 97) When in 1356 Hanborough men damaged the abbot's crops by exercising common grazing in Tilgarsley they may have been taking advantage of Langley's attempted revision of Wychwood's precincts; the abbot found witnesses to show that Hanborough's rights were limited to the heath and High wood. Even so the Hanborough tenants, perhaps because of their relationship to Woodstock manor, continued to claim rights in Eynsham's fields in the early 18th century. (fn. 98)
The abbot's woods were supervised by a woodward who accounted annually. (fn. 99) The rights of Eynsham tenants in the heath and wood included estovers, grazing rights for swine, and the right to cut furze and fern on the heath. Pannage was paid and grazing was administered by a special court. (fn. 1) Furze and wood on the heath were exploited by later manorial lords: in 1608 Sir Edward Stanley's bailiff was exporting timber to Oxford from Eynsham wharf, and later Stanleys seem to have leased rights in the heath. In 1645 William Bailey and Roger Griffin, both prominent Oxford men, were selling large quantities of furze from Eynsham, and had evidently held leases there for many years. Some Eynsham men were also exporting furze from the wharf in quantities that suggest that they held similar leases. (fn. 2) The Jordans, lords in the later 17th century and early 18th, raised the rent of the furze and fern from c. £60 to £100 a year in 1713, but reckoned it was worth perhaps £300 more: they let it cheaply because they intended to dig coal and establish a warren on the heath, but both schemes failed, as did later attempts to exploit coal. (fn. 3)
The Domesday pasture of 100 a. was perhaps represented in later times by a permanent cow pasture on the Limb brook called Cow leys common, which was c. 120 a. in 1650 and 1802. (fn. 4) The 250 a. of meadow lay on the rivers Thames and Evenlode and their tributaries in the south-east and east. (fn. 5) An incomplete valuation of the abbey's demesne c. 1270 included 80 a. of meadow worth 20d. an acre, and by c. 1360 the demesne meadows were worth as much as £35. (fn. 6) The increase probably reflects an enlargement of the demesne after the Black Death. Nearly 350 a. of demesne meadow were surveyed, (fn. 7) while others (Partrichesmede, Lodemere, Mill moor, and one near Twelve Acre) seem to have been omitted. (fn. 8) The principal demesne meadows, for which boon works were usually exacted, were Wroughthey (later Wrothy) on the Thames, and Wyreshey (later Wersey) east of the Evenlode, but the abbot also held small pieces in the common or lot meadows.
Most demesne meadows were mown twice: some were reserved for the lord's use throughout the year, others were commonable from either Lammas or Michaelmas until Candlemas (2 Feb.). Overeyt was commonable from 24 June but no sheep were allowed and the lord's servants were ordered to keep out cattle until the adjacent Long mead was mown and lifted. Similarly Mill moor was to be protected until corn from adjacent demesne arable called Catsbrain was removed. (fn. 9) In 1328 a dispute over the immemorial intercommoning of Eynsham and Cassington parishes between Somerford in the east and Hythe croft in the west, and between the Thames and Eynsham mill, was resolved by agreeing that Cassington men might enter only after the hay was cut, sending in their beasts 'horn by horn' (in equal numbers) with those of Eynsham; they should keep out of Mill moor until corn was cut in Mill croft and Catsbrain. (fn. 10) Cassington men could also enter Wersey as soon as the abbot let his own cattle in. (fn. 11) Tilgarsley men had rights in certain meadow parcels which by c. 1360 had reverted to the demesne, notably in Beterdeye and Costloneit, north of the Cassington road, (fn. 12) and in the 15th century it was recalled that Bitterall, west of Mead Lane, had belonged to Tilgarsley. (fn. 13)
By 1360 some meadows were divided according to complex and probably ancient customs. In Stubfurlong and Longlete there were six parcels, of which the two largest were always demesne and the other four in alternate years the lord's and the tenants' lot meadow. Only certain tenants had lots, presumably as holders of traditional yardlands. (fn. 14) In Clayhythe (later Claywire) there were pieces assigned to the lord and to his beadle, and two pieces which, in alternate years, were the lord's and allotted, among seven tenants; when they were allotted, an extra or 'chopper' acre was set aside and divided between the tenants. There were other 'chopper' acres in meadows not surveyed c. 1360, for in 1615 Corpus Christi College shared in no less than ten such pieces. (fn. 15) Meadows with 'chopper' acres were still known as the 'changeable furlongs' in 1782, and complex rights survived until inclosure. (fn. 16) The alternation of rights by odd and even years may have been related to an original two-year rotation of crops in the open fields. The 'chopper' acre was presumably an extreme example of the striving after equity which is evident in other local lot-meadow customs.
Until the Black Death Eynsham had a demesne very large in proportion to the customary and freehold land. In 1279 the abbot's demesne was said to be 8 ½ hides (34 yardlands), while the villeins held only 23 yardlands, the freeholders c. 12 yardlands, and cottagers only a few acres; the total of c. 70 yardlands suggests that the cultivated area was much the same as the 18 ploughlands of 1086. (fn. 17) An extent of part of the abbot's estate c. 1270, dealing with 6 plough-lands of demesne and 4 ploughlands of villein land, probably omitted either Eynsham or Tilgarsley, (fn. 18) while the survey of 1279 seems to have omitted the burgesses of Eynsham and New-land; its format suggests that only Tilgarsley was surveyed but the acreage is clearly that of the whole agricultural part of the manor. Apparently the demesne arable had increased greatly since Domesday, partly perhaps because the abbey had taken over land held in 1086 by three knights; the knights' fees, probably established there by the bishop of Lincoln, were not mentioned later, unless a hide granted to the abbey before 1109 by Niel d'Oilly represents one of them. (fn. 19) The 34 villani and 33 bordarii of 1086 had been replaced by 1279 by 26 villeins, 20 freeholders, and 4 cottars. The villeins, of whom 20 were yardlanders and 6 half-yardlanders, paid no rent, but were tallaged, redeemed their children at the lord's will, and performed unspecified services. About 1270 the villeins worked for the abbot four days a week, and owed in addition 3 bedrips. (fn. 20) In 1279 the four cottars worked in summer only, at the lord's will.
Manumission of villeins in the early 14th century of 6s. 8d. (or 5s. for females) (fn. 21) but many of the tenants who died at Tilgarsley c. 1350 were nativi, and in 1360 the abbot was still asserting his full rights. (fn. 22) At least until the Black Death customary services continued to be performed: in the 1330s customary tenants of Eynsham and Tilgarsley were fined for leaving work too early, (fn. 23) and in 1345 twelve abbey tenants, claiming to be tenants of ancient demesne, complained of illegal burdens such as ploughing the lord's land thrice weekly and carrying out the whole range of agricultural services from sowing to threshing; they were expected to serve as reeves and to pay arbitrary fines and tallages. The abbot counter-claimed that three plaintiffs were his villeins, bearing the ordinary burdens of villeinage. Almost certainly the others failed to prove tenancy of ancient demesne, since Domesday Book stated otherwise. The quarrel perhaps arose because the abbey was reasserting services after commutation had been allowed, or because tenants were taking advantage of dissension over the abbacy. (fn. 24)
The diversity of size and conditions of tenure among the freeholds of 1279 resulted from frequent sales in the 12th and 13th centuries. The largest freehold was I hide at the Frith held by John of Leigh for 13s. 4d. a year, which may be traced to a grant by the abbey c. 1150. (fn. 25) Henry de la Hulle held ½ hide for 13s. 6d. rent, with mowing and carrying hay in the demesne meadows, three ploughings a year, and three bedrips with two men: he had also to supervise the harvesting. William Bacon owed 10s. and the same services for a yardland acquired by his family in the mid 13th century, (fn. 26) and Richard Bonvalet owed the same rent and probably the same services for a yardland sold to him c.1260. (fn. 27) Augustine Clerk held 1 ½ yardland for only 5s. a year and fewer services. The other freeholds were much smaller, though two holdings of 18 a. each, held of Henry de la Wade of Stanton Harcourt, and presumably by him of the abbey, probably represent a former yard-land. Eight freeholders held houses only.
Grants by the abbey were mostly in perpetuity but a few were for life only, (fn. 28) and grants for three or more lives and for terms of years were recorded in the 14th century. (fn. 29) Freeholds carried the obligation of suit at the manorial court, sometimes at the three-weekly court but more commonly at one or two of the 'great courts'. Some grants expressly forbade alienation to other religious houses or pledging to the Jews. (fn. 30) Urban tenements, omitted from the survey of 1279, evidently could be burdened with agricultural services on the demesne, particularly the three bedrips. (fn. 31) In 1366 the burdens upon Robert Jordan's free tenement and croft in Hythe End were expressed so fully in the cartulary that perhaps they provided an exemplar of the standard obligations of Eynsham tenants. Jordan owed suit at the Michaelmas and Hockday courts, hay making in Wrothy and Wersey, and three bedrips. His working day began before the bell for St. Mary's mass and was not to be interrupted without leave before the repast. His diet at the lord's table (bread, ale, and herrings) was carefully defined. (fn. 32)
Before the Black Death assize rents from Eynsham (over £15) and Tilgarsley (less than £2), together with a few from Cassington, Hanborough, and Swinford ferry, amounted to c. £19. Fines and perquisites included income from the view of frankpledge and from courts, and aids of £4 from Tilgarsley and only 34s. from Eynsham. Sale of tithe hay yielded c. 22s. but pannage only 8d. The reeve's total receipts were c. £37 10s., of which most was handed over to the cellarer. On the abbot's home farm sheep-farming was important, with a flock of 380 sheep and lambs after the death of nearly 400 from murrain. (fn. 33) Although labour services continued to be exacted, there was a large permanent labour force on the demesne. Liveries of malt from the abbey granary were distributed throughout the year to a beadle, 18 ploughmen, 2 shepherds, a swineherd, a dairyman, a woodward, a gardener, and a miller: recipients for shorter periods included 2 shepherds and a shepherd boy, a woodhewer, and an overseer ((messor) of the Grange croft, part of the Tilgarsley demesne. (fn. 34)
In 1316 only 23 Eynsham men were taxed on a total of £3 5s. 10d., while 20 Tilgarsley taxpayers were assessed on £3 0s. 6d. In Eynsham the four wealthiest men were assessed between 5s. and 4s., 7 others between 4s. and 3s., and the poorest at 1s. 3d. In Tilgarsley the freeholder John of Leigh was assessed on 6s. 8d., and the relict of Ralph the palmer on 6s. 1d.; otherwise assessments were spread evenly down to 1s. 1d. (fn. 35) In 1327 the 27 Eynsham taxpayers were assessed on £3 7s. 11d., with individual payments ranging fairly evenly between 1s. and 5s. 9d.; fewer than half the surnames of 1316 appeared in 1327. Tilgarsley appears to have been slightly more prosperous and stable, its 27 taxpayers being assessed on £4 5s. 11d., and a higher proportion than at Eynsham owing 4s. or more; three quarters of the surnames of 1316 survived in 1327. (fn. 36) Comparison with other Oxfordshire assessments suggests that Eynsham, with its single lord and largely villein community, was unusually poor rather than underpopulated. In 1377 there were 211 contributors to the poll tax (fn. 37) and it is unlikely that there were fewer adults in the parish in the early 14th century. In 1334 Eynsham's assessment of £44 10s. was the lowest of all Oxfordshire market towns except Woodstock, and much lower than Tilgarsley's £71 2s. 6d. (fn. 38)
After the depopulation of Tilgarsley its fields were mostly divided into closes, usually called crofts. (fn. 39) Field names, recorded only from the mid 15th century, are from families long associated with the village, perhaps those which survived to hold the newly divided land. In 1358 the abbey's income from Tilgarsley was £9 16s., but by 1414 and until the 1440s the 'crofts and pastures' of Tilgarsley yielded over £20. Probably in the early stages of reorganization much of the land lay vacant for lack of tenants. By 1467 the income had fallen below £15, but in that year much Tilgarsley pasture was held in demesne.
There seems to have been uncertainty in the later Middle Ages over which closes in Tilgarsley were demesne, partly because the area kept in hand for the lord's cattle varied over the years, but in general the medieval evidence for the location of the Tilgarsley demesne agrees with later evidence defining a tithe-free area. (fn. 40) The area included fields south and west of Bowles Farm, usually called Bold croft, le Bolde, and later the Bowles, where in 1390 the abbey retained a grange. (fn. 41) The only demesne in that area c. 1360 was the Grange crofts, (fn. 42) probably partly the later Grange closes, south-west of the Bowles, but perhaps covering the whole of what seems to have been the centre of the Tilgarsley demesne before the Black Death. Mean and Broad closes, on the west side of Cuckoo Lane, were also apparently Tilgarsley demesne in the 15th century, although not tithe-free later.
Twelve Acre and the adjacent Tiffens, over 200 a. of land which became the core of the later Twelve Acre farm, were also tithe-free and on the Tilgarsley side of Tilgar's mere, although sometimes reckoned as demesne distinct from Tilgarsley. Presumably Twelve Acre was once a piece of arable but by the late 14th century the name was applied to a wider area, and Green Twelve Acre and Little Twelve Acre, recorded in the 15th century, were linked with Tiffens in a tract of pasture usually kept in hand for stock-raising.
The location of the demesne in the Eynsham fields is more certain. By 1360 several consolidated arable pieces were worked from a farmstead on the site of Abbey Farm. There were said to be 14 ploughlands in Eynsham and Tilgarsley, but whether the increase since 1279 reflected the falling in of tenant land or merely a fuller survey is not certain: 10 ploughlands were on good soil, in South field, Ludmore, Lutteshulle, Catsbrain, Hythe croft, Mill croft, and Twelve Acre, while four were on poor soil in the Grange crofts. (fn. 43) Mill croft, Twelve Acre, and the Grange crofts were in Tilgarsley, while the Eynsham demesne was evidently that known later as the Farm pieces, principally two large blocks in the South field called in 1762 Long and Short Farm, and other blocks known as Farm Ludmore, Litchfield, Catsbrain, and Hythe croft. (fn. 44) The rich demesne meadows yielded £35 a year, and the demesne was valued in all at c. £88 a year. (fn. 45)
In the later Middle Ages the abbey retained a home farm of varying size, and disposed of surplus demesne or tenant land by creating copyholds, letting to tenants-at-will, and mostly by granting leases for terms of years. Assessed rents from free and customary tenants in Eynsham, together with small sums from tenants in Tilgarsley, Hamstall, Cassington, and Hanborough, rose only slowly from c. £18 10s. in 1358 to £28 in 1461; Newland, separately accounted for, yielded c. £4 in 1406 and £4 10s. in 1461. In 1389 the Eynsham rental included some 160 separate payments, ranging from a few pence for a market stall to 10s. for larger tenements with land. Some tenements recorded in late medieval rentals, such as the 'fee of Bonvalet' or the Frith estate in Tilgarsley, retained rents unchanged from their creation in the 13th century; the frequent new rentals were probably to remove anomalies caused by decayed, vacant, or amalgamated holdings. Arrears were sometimes over £40, notably in 1406 and 1441; in 1442 the fishery and a mill were unoccupied, and several central shops and cottages were derelict or unlet. The overall trend of assessed rents, however, suggests modest growth.
By 1406 income from demesne leases was £13 14s., but then hardly changed for half a century. In 1442 over £11 of that income came from over 50 tenants of small arable pieces, while £1 10s. was paid for a larger piece, 56 a. of arable in for excerpts by H. E. Salter, Bodl. MS. Top. Oxon. c 448, ff. 46 sqq.Hythe croft. Much demesne pasture in hand in the 1440s had evidently been let earlier in the century, and the amount of demesne meadow. also fluctuated: meadow leases yielded £6 16s. 8d. in 1443 but only £1 4s. in 1461.
The home farm, was run by a bailiff. Husbandry was mixed, with perhaps greater emphasis on stock-raising, dairying, and sheep farming. The Eynsham tenants had commuted their customary works by the early 15th century for an annual payments of c. £3 17s., and although they still contributed an aid (28s. in 1414) the abbot sometimes waived his claim. In 1385 the permanent staff on the home farm comprised a beadle and his boy, 12 ploughmen, 2 carters, 2 cowmen, 2 shepherds, 2 swineherds, a bullockherd, a dairyman, a woodhewer, and a gardener. At Michaelmas in that year the farm stock comprised 12 horses (probably draught animals), 157 cattle of all kinds, and a flock of c. 480 sheep, despite the loss of over 80 animals through disease. In 1377 and 1415 the farm maintained 6 ploughteams. Most purchases for the farm were made at local markets and fairs such as Oxford, Burford, and Woodstock. Each year the bailiff claimed allowance for a cock and hen presented to the sub-prior for blessing the oxen on St. Luke's day.
In 1393 the granger accounted for 532 qr. of malt, 383 qr. of wheat, 391 qr. of dredge, 109 qr. of pulse, and 53 qr. of oats: he was storing grain from Shifford and the tithe corn of Cassington, but the figures probably indicate roughly the proportion of the different crops grown at Eynsham; in 1415 the quantities of malt, wheat, and oats were very similar, but there were 669 qr. of dredge and only 30 qr. of pulse. By 1415 the permanent staff was smaller, including, for example, only 7 ploughmen, but was augmented by part-time labour. Then and later it was usual for some mowing to be contracted out, and at harvest extra labour was taken on: in 1453 the harvesters were paid 3 ½d. a day, and gloves were distributed among them.
By the 1440s much grazing land had been taken into hand. At Twelve Acre there was a sheephouse and a dairy and in 1443 as much as £15 was spent on quickset fencing and ditching in the west part of the parish; over 40 cartloads of hay from Wrothy mead were delivered to Twelve Acre and the adjacent Tiffens. The lord's flock was then only c. 400, but by 1453, despite heavy mortality, numbered over 1,000 at Michaelmas; there were also 21 horses, 152 cattle, and over 50 pigs. The following year murrain destroyed the entire flock of over 950 sheep, except for a ewe and her lamb. The demesne arable was still cultivated directly: in 1453 barley and oats were grown on 132 a. and 445 man-days were required to harvest the wheat and peas.
By 1467 the demesne grassland was almost all let. Twelve Acre, Tiffens, and Wrothy mead were held on a single three-year lease, as were the Bowles area and half of Grange close; Broad and Mean closes and the other half of Grange close were each leased separately. Other demesne meadows were 'sold' for the year: Wersey, for example, was held in 1467 (at c. 3s. an acre) by 24 tenants, some from as far away as Oxford and Woodstock. Much demesne hay was sold off by the cartload. Outsiders held some demesne arable, including Stephen Haville, a prominent Oxford brewer, (fn. 46) who held a six-year lease of Ludmore. The total income from demesne leases and 'sales' was £44 10s., while other rents from the manor (excluding Newland) yielded c. £45.
In 1467 there were 21 free tenants in Eynsham, paying c. £4 12s., and 2 in Tilgarsley paying 30s.; 59 customary tenants in Eynsham paid c. £20 for holdings ranging from a butcher's stall (6d.) to larger houses and land (c. 33s. 4d.). The non-demesne crofts and pastures in Tilgarsley were held by 26 customary tenants paying £14 13s., but some were held at will, as were many properties in Eynsham itself. Leases were commonly for three years. Many arable holdings were described as 'fallow and waste', particularly in and near the South field, though a lease of 44 headlands of 'meadow' in North field suggests that there, too, some arable had reverted to grass. The rise in rent income to nearly £100 was probably attributable to the creation of leaseholds from former customary land as well as to the suspension of direct exploitation of the demesne.
By 1470–1 the abbey had returned to demesne farming, including stock-raising: cattle worth over £85 were sold, including 36 bullocks to the mayor of Oxford (probably John Dobbs, grocer) and 20 to an Oxford butcher, William Lane; (fn. 47) over 160 cattle were bought, some from Here-fordshire. An undated roll of Edward IV's reign shows that the abbey's rent from Eynsham, Newland, and neighbouring hamlets was c. £59, while other sources such as the farm of the mill and fishery (c. £11), sales of wood, wool, animals, and leather (c. £50), and food to the abbey table (worth c. £35) brought the total income to c. £158. Wages to permanent staff cost c. £20 and extra labour was taken on for ploughing, haymaking, and harvesting. Expenditure on stock included c. £16 for 170 sheep. Crops in the field included 94 a. of barley and stored grain comprised chiefly barley (152 qr.) and wheat (64 qr.), but oats, and grey and green peas had also been grown. (fn. 48)
By 1518 assessed rents had risen to £67, and rents from small pieces of demesne, from the mills and fishery, and the former almoner's estate (which, as in 1442, yielded c. £6) brought total receipts to £84. Some larger leases were accounted for elsewhere, for the rent-collector was acquitted of Hamstall's rent because it was included in a lease of demesne.
Eynsham's assessment for the subsidy of 1523–4 reflected a relatively populous but not rich community. For the first payment 102 persons were taxed at a total of £9 19s. 4d. The chief taxpayers were Richard and John Barry (paying 52s. and 30s.) and Robert Lane (30s.), but only 6 others paid 5s. or more. Most paid 1s. on their goods or 4d. on their wages. (fn. 49) For the second payment 93 persons were taxed on a total of £7 4s. 2d. (fn. 50) Comparison with other Oxford- shire towns suggests that Eynsham, though more populous than Bampton or Charlbury, was similar in structure to other decayed towns such as Bicester, but lacked the wealthy individual taxpayers recorded in such places as Deddington and Burford; (fn. 51) by then it was a community mainly of farmers and monastic servants. The Barrys, however, were glovers who in 1505 had acquired the freehold of an estate (later Elm farm) long held by a family named Glover. (fn. 52) When John Barry died in 1546 his Eynsham holdings also included leases of the Freeland estate, Eynsham mills, and numerous closes, while his property elsewhere included a house in Oxford, where he was an alderman. Though nominally a glover he was farming on a large scale, disposing in his will (made in 1540) of some 1,900 sheep and lambs. (fn. 53)
Until the manorial estate was broken up in the later 17th century there was relatively little freehold in the parish, but substantial farms were formed under various tenures, including at least two major leaseholds created from the demesne: one was the Farm estate, comprising the 'Farm pieces' of arable and meadow worked from the site of Abbey Farm, the other based on Twelve Acre and the Tiffens, and sometimes held with Elm farm. (fn. 54) By the 16th century Twelve Acre formed an integrated farm with a house and farm buildings set in the centre of its fields. Whereas in the Middle Ages it had been largely pasture by 1605 it was extensively ploughed. (fn. 55) Before 1615, the lord, Sir Edward Stanley, resumed direct farming, reverting to grazing, and attempting to extinguish ancient common rights. Eynsham and South Leigh men rioted and broke fences, claiming grazing there from Michaelmas to St. Martin's day. (fn. 56) Their fate is unrecorded but in 1619 Sir Edward Stanley was still pursuing actions over common rights. (fn. 57) Even so the right of common for six weeks after Michaelmas seems to have been preserved, (fn. 58) and the owners of Twelve Acre continued until inclosure to pay a modus of £2 12s. 6d. to extinguish common rights there. (fn. 59) Other similar 'Michaelmas grounds' within the parish are mentioned below.
The demesne lessees were involved in tithe disputes in the late 16th century, apparently because they used common pasture such as Eynsham heath but withdrew their sheep for lambing to tithe-free areas such as the Tiffens or the Parks; it seems to have been agreed that only the lord's flock was exempt from tithe when pastured outside the demesne, and that animals belonging to the lessee of Twelve Acres were only exempt when on his own lands. It was asserted that the lord's flock, presumably that belonging to the lessee of the Farm, was limited to 400. (fn. 60)
In 1581, when Eynsham paid £5 17s. 4d. to the subsidy, the chief taxpayers were farmers, notably Edward Gunne, lessee of Twelve Acre, and Henry Clarke, lessee of the Farm. (fn. 61) Other prominent farming families were the Blackmans, the Martens, and the Harts, all frequently serving as manorial officials in the 16th century. The Harts were lessees of the rectorial tithes and the Parks area, where Thomas was grazing a dairy herd of 36 cows in 1581; (fn. 62) the armigerous Blackman family possibly farmed from the house later called the Gables, and the Martens probably from the later Shrubbery. (fn. 63) The Hampshires also established themselves in the late 16th century, and Joan Hampshire, widow (d. 1618), owned more cattle than any other testator of the early 17th century in the vale of Oxford: (fn. 64) in midwinter she had a mixed herd of 55. She kept a bull, fattened bullocks, maintained a dairy herd, and kept 18 horses, 17 pigs, and 288 sheep and lambs. In the field were 25 a. of wheat, rye, and maslin, and in store large quantities of grain and pulses; she also kept bees and poultry. She lived in style in a large new house, maintaining her old house as a working farm and store; her cheese chamber contained 100 lb. of butter and 60 cheeses, and the total value of her personalty was £512, excluding large bequests already made to her daughters. (fn. 65) In 1650 the family still held two farmhouses, one the later Wintles Farm on Mill Street. (fn. 66)
In 1650 the parish was measured at 5,244 a., of which the heath and woodland occupied 1,469 a., the common pasture Cow Leys 120 a., and roads and waste 115 a. (fn. 67) Of the remaining 3,540 a. only 396 a. (11 per cent) was freehold, and 507 a. (14 per cent) copyhold; some three-quarters of the farmland was either expressly leasehold or was classed as 'demesnes'. The 'demesnes', c. 460 a. made up of pasture closes near the abbey site, some meadows, the grounds at Twelve Acre (169 a.), and the mill and its hams, were clearly not the whole former demesne but the land then in hand. The large amount of leasehold land reflected the unusual development of the manorial estate after depopulation in the 14th century. Land use was also unusual, for only 1,139 a. were arable, while the rest (excluding the vast area of common and waste) comprised 482 a. of meadow and 1,920 a. of pasture. Of the pasture 85 per cent was either 'demesnes' or leasehold, and many closes were the late medieval 'crofts and pastures' of Tilgarsley. The former demesne meadows may be identified partly among the 'demesnes', partly among the leasehold estates; copyholders held only 98 a. of meadow, and freeholders 56 a. The arable, in North, South, and Conduit fields, comprised 240 a. of freehold, 296 a. of copyhold, and 602 a. of leasehold, almost half the last lying in the 'Farm pieces', the consolidated medieval demesne.
Of 107 landholders 58 held less than 5 a. Twelve men held 80 a. or more, and together their holdings comprised 70 per cent of the farmland. Such concentration was unusual in the area: in the neighbouring parish of Hanborough farms over 80 a. accounted for only 7 per cent of the land. (fn. 68) The late medieval redistribution of Tilgarsley seems to have encouraged the formation of larger holdings. In 1650 the largest was still the Farm (c. 332 a.), leased by Thomas Edgerley of Bletchingdon but probably, as later, sublet to several local men; (fn. 69) after its sale to the duke of Marlborough in 1715 it changed little until inclosure. (fn. 70a) Twelve Acre, apparently in hand but probably also let to several tenants, was soon afterwards sold to the Brices of Witney with the detached meadows, Bitterall and Wersey, to which the Brices added the Tiffens; thereafter the farm seems to have been worked as a single unit of between 250 a. and 300 a. (fn. 71a) The leasehold farm held by Mr. Hampshire and Mrs. Grainger in 1650 comprised c. 240 a. and was held with 53 a. of copyhold; the core of the holding became Wintles farm. (fn. 72a) A large group of leasehold pasture closes (176 a.) belonged in 1650 to John Green, who also held 104 a. of copyhold worked from a farmhouse at the south-west end of Acre End Street; Green also held 37 a. of freehold. Much of Green's land seems to have been held earlier by the Blackmans. (fn. 73a) The estate was broken up in the later 17th century, some of it passing to Merton College. (fn. 74a) Another farm remaining intact from 1650 until inclosure was Thomas King's, worked from the Shrubbery. (fn. 75a) Since the survey of 1650 usually named owners not occupiers, farms built up by undertenants are not discernible: the Wises, for example, who certainly combined their lease of Corpus Christi estate with other holdings in the later 17th century, (fn. 76a) were probably doing so in 1650.
From the 1650s the manorial leasehold was sold off, beginning with the Farm, the rectory, and Twelve Acre farm, and continuing in the later 17th century with sales by the Jordans to the Knapps, the Wasties, and others. (fn. 77a) By the mid 18th century the only leasehold rents payable to the manorial lords were for a few cottages on the edge of the heath; quit rents from copyhold yielded only £3 12s. but chief rents from freehold over £100. No farmland was by then attached to the manor, only the heath and woodland. (fn. 78a) A survey of 1762 (fn. 79a) omitted that area, but covered 3,560 a. of farmland, its measurements conforming fairly closely with the survey of 1650. The duke of Marlborough's Farm estate and rectorial barnyard still comprised 332 a., and the other chief landowners were Edward Ryves (c. 600 a.) and the trustees of the Twelve Acre estate (c. 280 a.), while a dozen others held over 50 a. each. Twelve Acre was probably the largest single farm, while there were at least nine others of over 100 a. James Wastie, for example, held over 200 a., partly freehold, partly leased from Oxford City and the duke of Marlborough. In 1769 the former Ryves estate, belonging to Elizabeth Holloway, (fn. 80a) comprised at least three separate farms. The duke's estate was divided between six tenants, of whom the two principal were Martha Chamberlain and James Wastie, whose joint tenancy agreement collapsed in 1763, when Wastie was distrained for £370 rent and George Brown became lessee of much of the estate. (fn. 81a) Martha Chamberlain had occupied the farmhouse (Abbey Farm) while Wastie held the tithe barn and yard to the south, then called Abbey Court.
Although the duke's arable was consolidated (as it had been when medieval demesne) in the various 'Farm pieces' in the open fields, his six tenants still held scattered strips in all the pieces, rarely holding more than two or three lands together. The pieces shared in the normal crop rotation of Eynsham's fields: George Castell, who held 62 a. of the duke's arable, sowed his strips with wheat, pulse, and barley in successive years, followed by a fallow year, and they were so grouped that in some years as much as 56 a. were under corn, in others only 40 a. Evidently the great South field was divided for cropping into north and south portions, for Long and Short farm were both so divided; of the other Farm pieces Litchfield, Farm Ludmoor, Hythe croft, and Ache hill seem to have been cropped with Conduit field, and Catsbrain with North field. (fn. 82a) Most farms were worked from Eynsham village, except for the long established farm at Freeland (fn. 83a) and a few small farms worked from Barnard Gate and Bowles. There seems to have been little specialization in the later 18th century even where, as at Twelve Acre, the limitations of open-field husbandry were absent: Twelve Acre and the much smaller Barnard Gate farm were both mixed farms with almost equal proportions of arable and grass. (fn. 84a) At Twelve Acre the tenant was encouraged to use clovers and sainfoin, and forbidden to sow hemp, flax, or woad; the ploughing of old pasture carried the usual penalties. (fn. 85a)
During the 18th century the lords of the manor re-emerged as major, resident landlords. Whereas the Perrotts in 1760 paid only £18 12s. land tax Robert Langford in 1785 paid £59. (fn. 86a) The increase reflected the purchase of land which included Twelve Acre farm (taxed at £21), and at least one other major farm worked from the later Redthorn House in Mill Street; when sold in 1801 the farm was called Blagrove's and comprised 164 a. (fn. 87a) The other major contributors to the total land tax of £287 in 1785 were the tenants of the Holloway estate. (£40) and James Preston for the Marlborough estate (£47); Preston also paid £6 for owner-occupied land. In all there were between 90 and 100 proprietors in Eynsham in the late 18th century. (fn. 88a)
Soon after buying Eynsham Hall and the manor in 1778 Robert Langford pressed for a general inclosure of the parish, claiming that land values in the parish would rise by at least £1,000 a year; (fn. 89a) merely to extinguish tithes would raise the value of open-field arable from 8s. to 15s. an acre, and of meadow from 21s. to 35s. Inconvenient common rights extended even to long-established closes in the north; Langford reckoned that 324 a. could not be planted with-out general agreement, since they were commonable from Lammas to Candlemas, and that another 443 a., though commonable for only six weeks after Michaelmas, would still appreciate by at least 2s. an acre if grazing rights were extinguished. Most of the Lammas and Michaelmas grounds, which were referred to in the mid 16th century, (fn. 90a) seem to have been in the former open fields of Tilgarsley: the principal Michaelmas grounds, for example, were Twelve Acre and Freeland grounds, while the Lammas lands included Broad close, near Bowles, belonging to Christ Church, Oxford. (fn. 91a)
Langford's proposals for the heath (fn. 92a) were only partially fulfilled. When he began in 1780 to inclose it near the newly-built Eynsham Hall there were riots and fence-breaking. (fn. 93a) Under a private Act of 1781 relating to the heath and Old Coppice, said to comprise 1,482 a., he was empowered to inclose 472 a. near the hall, while the rest was to remain as a common controlled by grass stewards appointed from among the principal farmers. The stint for a cottage was 1 horse, 1 cow, and 4 sheep, while each 20 a. of arable and meadow counted for one cottage common. (fn. 94a) In the event Langford inclosed more than the Act implied, for the 775 a. within his ring-fence were Woodleys Coppice (traditionally 212 a., but nearer 205 a.) and Blindwell Coppice (traditionally 78 a., by then largely covered by the site of Eynsham Hall); both were on the heath but were not expressly included in the Act. (fn. 95a) A particular local grievance was Langford's inclosure of an area known as Rumour north of the Witney-Woodstock road. Langford allegedly promised to compensate the parishioners with a ring of bells. The area was omitted from the inclosure award of 1802 and remained in dispute until 1807, when, under the name of Bell Closes, it was awarded chiefly to trustees for charitable uses, including the upkeep of the church bells. The land was sold at once to meet the costs of earlier legal action, and the charity seems to have been lost. (fn. 96a) Much of the land within the ring-fence of Eynsham Hall continued to be worked as farm land from Home Farm (on the site of the present Scott's House); in the late 18th century William Bolton was lessee of c. 250 a. there. (fn. 97a)
Eynsham's fields were administered in the late 18th century by officers appointed at the court leet. The herdsman was paid for each animal grazing Cow leys or the Lammas grounds; the cattle were marked on 1 August. The grass stewards were charged with providing three bulls for the commonable places until September. Owners of Lammas and Michaelmas grounds who wished to grow crops paid fines to keep cattle out until the harvest. (fn. 98a)
On the eve of inclosure cottage commons outside the heath and every 30 a. of open-field land were stinted at 1 horse, 1 cow, and 10 sheep. (fn. 99a) The stint, unchanged from the mid 18th century, probably implies a yardland of c. 30 a. In 1802 for summer commons (May to Lammas) it was found that there were 112 cottage commons and 47 ½ commons derived from acres. For Lammas commons the cottage commons numbered the same, but there were c. 60 commons derived from acres, since the duke of Marlborough's Farm estate qualified for Lammas but not summer commons. The stint after Lammas was three times the summer stint. For heath commons the stint was unchanged from 1781, and all property outside the heath qualified, including old inclosures: thus one common was attached to each of 112 cottages and 176 houses, and there was an additional common for each 20 a. of the 3,545 a. outside the heath, a total of 465 heath commons. Besides grazing rights, it was recorded that cottagers had the right to take furze on their backs for their own use as estovers, and on an agreed day to take fern for their own use in waggons.
The main inclosure of the parish was begun in 1800 and completed in 1802. (fn. 1a) Langford's partial inclosure left c. 3,344 a. of open-field land and heath, 1,930 a. being already inclosed. The remaining heath comprised 927 a., and there were 1,246 a. of open-field arable, 214 a. of meadow, 125 a. of common pasture in Cow leys, and a further 730 a. of land (a third of it arable) described variously as Midsummer, Michaelmas, or Lammas grounds, or 'common field closes' (88 a.), all subject to grazing rights; the rest was roads, paths, and waste.
Cottagers' rights were compensated in 1802 by an allotment of 84 a. The duke of Marlborough was awarded 662 a., of which 215 a. was for his great tithes, and the rest for his open-field land, mistakenly thought to be glebe. The vicar was awarded 101 a. and some rent-charges for his small tithes. Otherwise the chief allottees were the trustees of the Holloway family (511 a.), W. E. Taunton (325 a.), James Wastie (138 a.), the City of Oxford (122 a.), and Jonathan Arnatt (100 a.). When combined with the old inclosures the large estates thereafter were the Eynsham Hall estate (775 a.), the duke of Marlborough's (668 a.), the Holloway estate (635 a.), W. E. Taunton's (332 a.), Twelve Acre farm (278 a.), and James Wastie's (241 a.). There were only four other holdings over 100 a. The major change since the mid 18th century was the emergence of the Taunton estate, mainly at Freeland, acquired by purchase on the eve of inclosure. (fn. 2a)
Although inclosure did not immediately reduce the number of proprietors within the parish, which remained between 90 and 100 in 1809–10, (fn. 3a) it brought much former waste into cultivation and established a pattern of farms which survived into the 20th century. At Freeland W. E. Taunton not only laid out a park, but also developed a large farm by clearing the furze. In the early stages he used lime in great quantities, building several kilns to burn lime and make bricks. He rotated turnips, oats, rye grass, and clovers, but failed with wheat and barley. By 1807 he was cultivating c. 230 a., of which oats, the most successful crop, occupied 86 a. He also grazed 200 Berkshire sheep, which, in Arthur Young's view, was too few. (fn. 4a) Other outlying farmhouses established soon after inclosure included Foxley and Newfield in the south, City Farm north of the village, (fn. 5a) Little Green Farm on c. 143 a. sold by the Holloway trustees in 1805, (fn. 6a) and Ambury Close Farm on another part of the Holloway estate; small farms in the Barnard Gate area, besides the long established Barnard Gate farm, were Salutation, White House, and Grange Close farms, all established before 1841. (fn. 7a)
In 1831 agricultural occupations supported 244 of the 366 families in Eynsham. (fn. 8a) In 1834 there were said to be over 350 agricultural labourers working in the parish, of whom c. 20 lived outside; there was a surplus of labour, with an average of c. 40 unemployed. Wages were slightly higher than in most other Oxfordshire parishes. Some agricultural employment was available to women and children, and many women were involved in gloving or worked at the paper mill. In 1832 labourers' wages in Eynsham ranged, presumably for a married man, from 10s. to 12s. a week, with bonuses at harvest. Cottage rents were between 1s. 6d. and 2s. 6d. a week and most cottages had gardens; there were c. 50 a. of small allotments for labourers, pigs were kept, and benefit clubs were well supported. Relief by way of loans under the Sturges Bourne Act was given when requested. The vicar and one of the leading farmers, Samuel Druce, concluded that labourers might manage on their incomes and eat meat twice or thrice a week but certainly needed the established children's allowances, even though allowances were blamed for diminishing agricultural capital and labourers' industry. (fn. 9a)
A feature of farming in Eynsham in the earlier 19th century was the rise of the Druce family. (fn. 10a) At inclosure Joseph Druce (d. 1821), described in 1787 as a butcher, owned only c. 77 a. of freehold, including his farmhouse (now Abbey Stones) in Abbey Street, (fn. 11a) but was probably a substantial tenant farmer. Later he acquired much Eynsham land, (fn. 12a) and by 1851 his son Samuel (d. 1860) and other Druces farmed c. 1,000 a. (fn. 13a) Samuel was employing 22 labourers in 1834 and 32 by 1851: he was the duke of Marlborough's tenant at Abbey Farm. (fn. 14a) By the 1830s he was prominent in national agricultural circles, and became an authority on stockbreeding and the steward of several large estates. He had begun experimenting with a cross of the South Down and Cotswold breeds, and was said in 1860 to have brought Oxford Downs sheep into their 'present notoriety'. (fn. 15a) Joseph Druce (d. 1890) was tenant of Twelve Acre farm by 1851, employing 17 labourers; in the 1860s he and his brother Samuel (d. 1874) co-operated in advanced farming methods, including steam ploughing and extensive land drainage. (fn. 16a)
Other major farmers in 1851 included Thomas Blake, who employed 18 labourers on 400 a. and seems to have been tenant of both City and Elm farms. John Arnatt farmed over 200 a. from his house in High Street, and employed 13 men, while there were several other substantial farms such as Wintles (175 a. tenanted by William Day) worked from houses in the village. Some farms on and near the Eynmap. sham Hall estate may have been run as a unit, since several of the farmhouses were occupied by labourers. The estate labourers were paid partly in wheat, barley, and coal. (fn. 17a) By 1862 the estate comprised Home farm (410 a.), Salutation farm (126 a.), Little Green farm (108 a.), Blindwell farm (70 a.), and Barnard Gate farm (59 a.), all let. (fn. 18a) Later Brick Kiln and Ambury Close farms and the Freeland farms once owned by the Tauntons were added to the estate, but James Mason declined Twelve Acre farm, regarding it was a poor investment. (fn. 19a)
In 1834 it was estimated that there were 2,800 a. of arable, 2,200 a. of pasture, and 500 a. of woodland. (fn. 20a) Crops grown were described as 'the usual cereals and roots', (fn. 21a) and the extensive grassland encouraged dairying and sheep farming, although much of the clay land was said to be too wet to winter sheep. Specialist enterprises included a nursery and market garden on the abbey site, established by the Day family in the early 19th century and sold in 1867 to Milo Burgin, an Eynsham potato merchant. (fn. 22a) In the 1830s one Eynsham man was supplying bacon on a large scale to Oxford and elsewhere: he was said to kill 'an amazing number' of pigs, apparently over 500 a year, mostly imported from Ireland. (fn. 23a) Flax was grown in Eynsham in the mid 19th century, and was processed at Combe mill on the Evenlode, but the industry seems to have been short-lived. (fn. 24a)
In the later 19th century James Mason's agricultural experiments on the Eynsham Hall estate attracted attention. (fn. 25a) Until 1882 Mason let much of the estate and even considered giving up the home farm (260 a.), because it was so costly and unproductive as to 'make landlord farming contemptible'. (fn. 26a) When the agricultural depression threw much of his estate back into hand he developed a personal interest in farming. (fn. 27a) By the 1890s he farmed over 1,360 a. and eventually over 1,800 a., of which 800 a. were arable; much of the land was poor. Mason's methods were based on scientific experiment and exact book-keeping: he had his own laboratory, set up tank experiments, and kept a separate ledger account for each field. Experiments with chemically based top-dressings such as basic slag and 'black nitrate' were combined with deep ploughing to weather the subsoil and release potash, and the cultivation of leguminous crops to fix nitrogen. Having tried red clover he introduced lucerne, hardly used until then on the Oxford Clay, and established a rotation of lucerne (sometimes maintained for several years), followed by root crops, then corn. The result was much improved arable land, and rich permanent pasture. In 1896 the stock on the estate included a mixed herd of 225 cattle, a flock of over 600 lambs, and a pig herd of over 600, the last apparently by far the most profitable; all the stock, including the pigs, was run on the pastures for most of the year. (fn. 28a)
In 1916 a contrast was still drawn between the river gravel on which much of Eynsham lay, regarded as good for barley and sheep, and the plateau gravel and pebbly loam around Freeland, which, though sometimes productive, was difficult to work and too wet for sheep. At that date less than two fifths of the cultivated area was arable and the main crops were barley, oats, and wheat. (fn. 29a) Sugar beet was grown, particularly after the establishment of a small commercial factory at the wharf in 1927, which followed research at Eynsham into sugar production by Oxford university. (fn. 30a) Most farming remained mixed: in the earlier 20th century Twelve Acre farm carried large dairy herds as well as growing much corn, and turkey rearing was carried on there. (fn. 31a) Some small specialist undertakings, such as poultry farming, calf rearing, and fruit growing were established. (fn. 32a) In recent times the arable area was greatly extended, the creation of larger fields obliterating many ancient hedges, particularly those of old inclosures in the north where Tilgarsley lay.
Markets and Fairs
Between 1135 and 1140 Eynsham abbey was granted a market on Sunday. (fn. 33a) Henry II confirmed the grant, adding the right to hold two annual fairs in the weeks following Pentecost and the Assumption (15 Aug.). (fn. 34a) Pentecost was an obvious date for a fair because of the processions converging upon the town in the week following Whit Sunday, (fn. 35a) and the Assumption, as the abbey's dedication day, was probably a traditional day of festivity in the parish. In 1440 the abbot obtained the grant of a Monday market, since the Sunday market was by then 'useless'. (fn. 36a) In the later Middle Ages the Monday, portmoot administered the assize of bread and ale (fn. 37a) but the abbey's accounts include no reference to income from market tolls. Markets and fairs had probably ceased by the 17th century, although the right to hold them continued to be included in royal grants of the manor. (fn. 38a) In 1724 it was recorded only that Eynsham had held a Sunday market in former times. (fn. 39a)
By grants of Henry I and Henry II Eynsham abbey's goods, wherever purchased, were freed from toll. (fn. 40a) In Oxford that freedom seems to have been challenged, for in 1279 it was recorded that the vill of Eynsham paid the bailiffs of Oxford 6s. 8d. a year for quittance from toll. (fn. 41a) In the 15th century the fee was collected by two officers specially appointed by the portmoot. (fn. 42a) Although still paid in 1631, (fn. 43a) it was later commuted by a grant to Oxford city of two small pieces of open-field land called 'toll acres'; at inclosure these were replaced by an allotment of c. 1 a. on the edge of the later City farm. (fn. 44a) In 1835 the vicar, Thomas Symonds, was forced to remind the city corporation of Eynsham's privilege and in 1838 the 'men of Eynsham' were the only group free from Oxford tolls, except for freemen and soldiers. (fn. 45a)
From the late 19th century there were attempts to revive markets and fairs on a small scale. In 1897, for instance, the parish council agreed to allow a small 'show' in the Square at Whitsun, and again in September in the four days following St. Giles's fair in Oxford; the September fair was larger, stretching from the Square down Abbey Street and including the site of the later Roman Catholic church. (fn. 46a) In 1913 there were official complaints about the potential disturbance in the streets, (fn. 47a) but the fair continued until the Second World War and was succeeded in modern times by a carnival held in July. A monthly cattle market instituted before 1903 on a small site between Swan Street and Abbey Farm was last recorded in 1915. (fn. 48a) Some attempts were made to re-establish a street market and in 1933 there were complaints that stalls in the Square were injurious to local trade. (fn. 49a) In 1977 a small market was opened on Thursdays in the Square, under the direction of the parish council. (fn. 50a)
Trade and Industry
The foundation of New-land in 1215 implies local commercial prosperity but Newland failed as an urban experiment and by the early 14th century Eynsham was relatively poor and predominantly agricultural. It may be significant that in 1268 the abbey sold its wool in bulk to a Witney merchant rather than a local man. (fn. 51a) At least one early 13th-century Eynsham landholder was the son of a merchant (fn. 52a) but most later recorded occupations were in the usual range of village trades or were associated with service at the abbey. A group of fishermen, and names such as Robert the navigator (early 13th-century), (fn. 53a) point to the role of the river. A wharf was established before the mid 13th century. (fn. 54a) Taynton stone was transported thence to Merton College, Oxford, in the earlier 14th century, but although the wharf remained in regular use throughout the Middle Ages there is no indication that river trade brought prosperity to the village. (fn. 55a) The only medieval industries recorded were tanning and gloving. In 1344 Adam the tanner was mentioned, and another tanner, William Jakkes, in 1365; (fn. 56a) he may have been tenant of the abbey's tannery, let in the later Middle Ages for between £2 and £3 a year. (fn. 57a) Its location is unknown, but Jakkes held a tenement in Newland which included or abutted the site of the later tannery in Tanner's Lane. (fn. 58a) Gloving was carried on by the later medieval owners of Elm Farm (fn. 59a) and by the time of John Barry (d. 1546) had brought wealth to the family; Barry's interests, however, included sheep farming and milling (fn. 60a) and his gloving may not have provided much employment in Eynsham.
Eynsham's medieval shops, mostly in the market place, included stalls in the middle of the street and a butchers' shambles. In the later 15th century there were at least three butchers in the market place, two of them Foleys of Pinkhill (in Stanton Harcourt). In 1442, perhaps because of a temporary crisis, several shops were vacant. A smithy was let by the abbey with its equipment and craftsmen's tools. There were also bakers' and shoemakers' shops in the village centre. (fn. 61a)
Of 16th- and 17th-century shopkeepers William James (d. 1698), tallow chandler, was evidently also a general grocer, selling items such as sugar and tobacco. (fn. 62a) There were many representatives of village craftsmen such as bakers, shoe-makers, tailors, and smiths. (fn. 63a) A smithy in New-land Street, which survived in 1984, can be traced to the 18th century and may be older; (fn. 64a) it was worked for over 150 years by the Burdens, who in 1851 also worked another on the site of the garage in High Street. (fn. 65a)
In the early 18th century it was said that the trade of the town 'consists in Witney clothing' and spinning wool. (fn. 66a) Presumably Eynsham men and women continued to be employed as out-workers for Witney masters into the 19th century. (fn. 67a) No major Eynsham textile employers have been traced; a few 17th-century weavers were recorded, mostly poor. Besides paper making, (fn. 68a) the most frequently recorded industry was tanning. The Green family owed its rise to a tanner, John Green (d. 1615). (fn. 69a) In 1703 Thomas Hancock, tanner, left personalty worth over £275, including large numbers of hides and skins. (fn. 70b) In 1713 Thomas Day, tanner, bought grounds near Hythe croft which already contained lime pits, (fn. 71b) and his family worked the tanyard in Tanner's. Lane until the death of Robert Day in 1831, when Samuel Druce bought a yard with some 200 pits, a mill house, bark mill, and drying sheds, besides a new house, some farm buildings, and land; (fn. 72b) taining then ceased and the house and tanyard later became the Hythe Croft. (fn. 73b)
Several innkeepers brewed on a commercial scale in the 16th century, (fn. 74b) and malting and brewing remained important in Eynsham. A malthouse at the corner of Newland Street and Queen Street, attached to the later Gables, was established before the mid 17th century and was rebuilt by the Swann family c. 1820; (fn. 75b) William Swann was malting there in 1842, and the building was still a malthouse at the end of the century. (fn. 76b) There was another malthouse in Newland Street near the later Chapel Yard; (fn. 77b) in the early 18th century a tenant, John Ayres, built a kiln house and screen house there. (fn. 78b) The Humphreys family held the malthouse and associated brewery from 1743 until 1836. (fn. 79b) A later tenant, Thomas Horne, maltster, sublet the brewery to Charles Goodwin, who in 1851 was employing four men there. (fn. 80b) By 1852 Goodwin had established the Crown Brewery in Acre End Street, on a site partly occupied earlier by a malthouse belonging to the Wasties. (fn. 81b) The Newland brewery was turned into the cottages of Chapel Yard c. 1857, (fn. 82b) and the malthouse, which stood on the east side of the yard, was demolished later. (fn. 83b) The Crown Brewery was operated by Goodwin until the 1880s, and by the Oxford brewers G. H. Hanley and Co. until the 1890s. (fn. 84b) Later the building remained in use as a warehouse, and was used for cigarette manufacture during the Second World War. In 1984 a derelict stone and brick building survived. (fn. 85b)
There were at least two other malthouses in Eynsham in the early 19th century. One at the Grange, owned by Jonathan Sheldon, probably dated from the earlier 18th century when an Oxford brewer bought the property; (fn. 86b) another was owned by Samuel Druce, attached to his farmhouse in Abbey Street (later Abbey Stones). (fn. 87b) A brewery owned by Philip Hawkes in 1842 has not been identified, but before 1864 James Gibbons, farmer and grocer, had one which by 1876 occupied a large building north of High Street. (fn. 88b) It was first called Eynsham Brewery and later Gibbons & Co.; it was sold to Halls in 1912, but seems to have been closed soon afterwards and was later demolished. (fn. 89b) Blake & Co. opened a small mineral-water factory before 1877 and in 1881 employed four labourers. In the late 19th century the business was moved from the west end of Acre End Street to a factory off Mill Street. It was closed in the early 1930s, but Maurice Blake, who had opened a separate mineral-water factory in the Witney road, continued in the business until the 1960s. The Mill Street factory was demolished in 1976. (fn. 90b)
The importance of the river trade to Eynsham presumably increased with the improvement of Thames navigation between Burcot and Oxford in 1635: several Eynsham bargemasters were involved in river transport between Oxford and London in the 17th century. (fn. 91b) Fuel, particularly furze from the heath, was delivered in large quantities from Eynsham wharf to Oxford brewers and bakers in the mid 17th century, (fn. 92b) and agricultural produce was transported from the wharf to Oxford and London. (fn. 93b) In the 1690s the Eynsham wharfinger evidently ran several boats, and by the later 18th century the wharf contained several warehouses and a public house. (fn. 94b) It was owned by the Jemmett family, but from c. 1801 was leased to the Oxford Canal Company, which in 1849 bought the freehold. The company sublet to several traders, most of them importing coal and exporting agricultural produce. In the early 19th century Richard Parker of Witney and Eynsham was probably the largest coal merchant on the upper Thames, as well as trading in corn and salt, running a brickyard at Eynsham, and operating a fleet of Thames barges; before 1827 he built an office and salt house on Eynsham wharf. (fn. 95b) Others established at the wharf included the Bowermans, farmers and brickmakers until bankruptcy in 1835, (fn. 96b) Jonathan Sheldon, maltster and corn dealer, Samuel Druce, maltster and farmer, and William Day, farmer and timber merchant. (fn. 97b) Though Sheldon remained in business at the wharf until 1895, river trade declined sharply after the building of Eynsham station in 1861; boats last delivered to the wharf in the 1920s. In the 19th century several Eynsham men were involved in trade at the canal wharf established outside the parish on the Cassington road by the duke of Marlborough c. 1800. (fn. 98b)
In the 1830s only a third of Eynsham's families were supported by non-agricultural occupations, although many women supplemented the family income by gloving, probably for Wood-stock masters. The 19th-century village was well supplied with building craftsmen and shoemakers, and there was a growing number of shopkeepers, particularly grocers and bakers. In 1841 there was a watchmaker, a chemist, and a china dealer. (fn. 99b) There were a few professional men, including, usually, two doctors. The paper mill remained much the most important single enterprise but in 1881 another large employer was a builder, Walter Wilkins, operating from Mill Street with c. 70 labourers. (fn. 1b) A Bicester woolstapler, William Shillingford, in Eynsham by the 1830s, operated first from the former tanyard in Queen Street, moving in the 1850s to Newland House; in 1854 his wool stock in Eynsham was estimated to be worth £10,000. (fn. 2b) After his death in 1863 his son George continued as a woolstapler into the 20th century, moving from Newland House to Acre End House in the 1890s. (fn. 3b) Before 1883 George formed the Eynsham Sack Co. in conjunction with Lewis Wall, ropemaker, and remained manager until its closure c. 1900; (fn. 4b) it employed only five labourers in 1881, (fn. 5b) and the work was presumably carried out in the outbuildings of Newland House and Acre End House. (fn. 6b) Ropemaking was established in Eynsham by the early 19th century, (fn. 7b) and the Wall family, which also provided ropemakers in Burford and Banbury, settled in Eynsham by the 1830s, probably at the Rope Walk in Acre End Street which the family occupied until the 1890s. The Walls also manufactured rick-cloths, sacking, and horse-cloths; Lewis Wall, though involved in the Eynsham Sack Co., seems later to have manufactured sacks on his own behalf. (fn. 8b) There was still a ropemaker of the Wall family in Eynsham in the early 20th century, and a new rope walk at no. 80 Acre End Street was worked briefly by the Quainton family. (fn. 9b)
Bricks were made in Eynsham in the later 18th century, when Tilgarsley kiln was built at the north-east corner of the Eynsham Park estate; by 1796 it was in bad repair. (fn. 10b) In the mid 19th century the kiln, drying sheds, and a house and c. 25 a. of adjacent land were leased to the Bushnell family; before 1876 the brickworks had been moved to the east side of the road, (fn. 11b) and may have remained in use into the early 20th century as the estate brickworks. (fn. 12b) Some brickmaking in Eynsham was associated with the clearance of land after inclosure in 1802: at Freeland W. E. Taunton built several kilns to make lime for treating his newly cultivated land, and at least one was also used for bricks. (fn. 13b) It may have been the brick kiln south-west of Freeland green which fell out of use in the early 20th century. (fn. 14b) A larger brickworks on the Witney-Woodstock road, known variously as Freeland, Breakspeare's, and, in the early 20th century, Wastie's kiln, lay in Hanborough, though the Breakspeares were also recorded as brickmakers in Freeland. (fn. 15b) At least two kilns were built in the Barnard Gate area in the early 19th century, one by Richard Parker, the other, associated with Kiln Farm, by Richard Bowerman. (fn. 16b) Another kiln in the fields west of Eynsham, called Ludmore Kiln, may have been worked in 1861 by Jeremiah Clarke, brickmaker, who lived nearby and employed six labourers. (fn. 17b) For some years in the mid 19th century the Bushnells ran both the Kiln Farm and Tilgarsley works. (fn. 18b) By 1900 brickmaking at Eynsham had largely ceased. (fn. 19b)
The paper mill, though turned to other uses, remained the largest single employer until its closure in the 1920s. (fn. 20b) In 1927 a short-lived sugar beet factory was built at the wharf, and railway sidings were built for it. During the Second World War the building was used for military purposes, and thereafter as a warehouse, from 1955 as the premises of J. Harding (Eynsham) Ltd. (fn. 21b) and later as a depot for British Leyland; in 1984 the Oxford Instruments Group opened a large new factory on the site. By the 1930s the only other industrial concerns were the lemonade factory and the gas works. By then the Pimms, involved in building and related trades in Eynsham for over 150 years, ran an extensive business from Abbey Street. (fn. 22b) Eynsham had several garages and a large range of shops, including as many as five grocers, notably Pimm's in the Square (established in 1884) and Sawyer's in Newland Street (established in 1856). (fn. 23b) Gibbons's grocers and wine merchants in Lombard Street offered banking services from the late 19th century, and a bank was opened by Gillett & Co. in the building now the Co-operative stores in the early 20th century; it was taken over by Barclays in the 1930s and was later moved to Acre End Street and then Mill Street. (fn. 24b) After the Second World War Eynsham attracted several light industries, mostly established on an industrial estate on the Stanton Harcourt road.
Mills and Fisheries
In 1086 the abbot's mill yielded 12s. and 450 eels a year; (fn. 25b) almost certainly it was on the site of the surviving Eyn- sham mill on the river Evenlode. By the early 13th century there were three mills, probably under one roof since they were in single ownership. (fn. 26b) Most 13th-century references to mills (fn. 27b) probably relate to the abbot's mills on the Evenlode, but there may have been another mill on the upper Chil brook, where Miller's closes were recorded in 1650. (fn. 28b)
About 1230 and in 1275 it was claimed that the abbot had caused flooding in the Hanborough meadows by raising the level of his mill pool. (fn. 29b) In or before 1295 Cassington men broke the banks of the pool and diverted the stream. (fn. 30b) About 1270 the three mills were valued at 60s. and c. 1360 at £4 7s. (fn. 31b) By 1442 there were two mills, one let for £2, the other vacant and ruinous; soon both, which were under one roof, were working, and the rent rose to £6 in the 1450s. The miller was fined for excessive tolls in 1454. (fn. 32b) The lessee in 1518 was the glover, John Barry, who was succeeded in 1546 by his sons Lawrence and Richard. (fn. 33b) In 1589 two water mills and a fishery in Eynsham belonged to Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Ruffin, (fn. 34b) but the mills belonged to the manor in 1650 when the site and attached land comprised c. 9 a. (fn. 35b) The property was probably sold by the Jordans, since it was freehold in the early 18th century. (fn. 36b) In the mid 18th century the owner was Francis Eliot of Surrey. (fn. 37b)
Paper making was begun at the mills by a tenant, George Hagar, a London dyer who in 1682 obtained a patent and set up paper mills at Eynsham and elsewhere to make white paper for printed books. Soon, however, a former creditor was assigned Hagar's property at Eynsham, valued at over £1,500. (fn. 38b) By 1686 the lessee was Thomas Meales (d. 1706), who with his son Thomas (d. 1723) continued the manufacture of white paper, supplying that used for printing Bibles in Oxford. (fn. 39b) In 1723 the mill site included a corn mill and two others, one called the new mill, both well stocked with rags; there were separate moulding and drying houses. Meales was also a farmer with a flock of c. 140 sheep. (fn. 40b) In 1756, when the paper maker was Jervis Key, the mill was burnt down and rebuilt as a corn and paper mill. (fn. 41b) It passed before 1785 to Stephen Faichen, probably son of William Faichen, paper maker of Wolvercote; at his death in 1804 Stephen was described as an eminent paper maker. (fn. 42b)
In 1804 John Swann of Wolvercote mill bought Eynsham mill for his brother James, who succeeded him in the business in 1807; (fn. 43b) James became a pioneer of mechanized paper making by installing a Fourdrinier machine at Eynsham mill, (fn. 44b) to which he moved from Wolvercote in 1807. Both John and James Swann were friends of William Cobbett, supplying him with paper for the Political Register. Cobbett visited James at Eynsham mill, and perhaps later when he moved to the Gables. (fn. 45b) The Swanns were supplying paper to the Clarendon Press by 1805, (fn. 46b) and also produced the tarred paper which had a brief vogue as a roofing material popularized by J. C. Loudon. The material was used by the Swanns to roof Eynsham mill before 1811, and, probably later, on the malthouse at the Gables. (fn. 47b) Although James did not die until 1846 (fn. 48b) the business by 1837 seems to have been run by Henry Swann; there were then three mills, at Sandford, Eynsham, and Wolvercote, and about a third of the total production was sent to the Clarendon Press. (fn. 49b) In 1848 Henry Swann was bankrupt, but Swanns continued in business with partners into the 1860s. (fn. 50b) In 1856 Thomas Routledge, partner of John Swann of Eynsham, was pioneering the manufacture of paper from esparto grass; he left Eynsham c. 1862 (fn. 51b) but Routledge and Co. continued producing paper there from raw fibres until 1871. (fn. 52b)
From 1872 the mill was held by the Wakefield family until the Eynsham Paper Mills Co. was formed in 1889, with Stephen Wakefield as managing director. (fn. 53b) In 1881 the mill employed over 100 people. (fn. 54b) Its closure by 1893 was attributed to the importation of foreign paper and the mill's remoteness from good rail links, though the scandalous flight of the managing director may have been a contributory factor. (fn. 55b) In the early 20th century artificial leather board was manufactured at the mill by F. J. Bugg, (fn. 56b) and for some years after the First World War G. A. Shankland Ltd. ground bones there for glue manufacture; by then it was known as Isis Mills. (fn. 57b) The mill buildings, which from the early 19th century included a large flat-roofed paper factory designed by Daniel Harris of Oxford, and machinery worked by two large turbines on the Evenlode, (fn. 58b) were later demolished. The mill house, which bears the date 1691, was built or rebuilt by Thomas Meales (d. 1706), and was greatly enlarged before 1814, perhaps by the Swanns.
A corn mill, presumably worked by steam, stood behind the Grange in Acre End Street. (fn. 59b) It was associated with a malthouse, and by 1836 and until the 1880s was owned by Jonathan Sheldon, maltster, miller, and corn dealer. In 1881 he was employing eight labourers. (fn. 60b) Jonathan's son Thomas also acquired Osney mill in Oxford. (fn. 61b) In 1920 G. A. Shankland Ltd. of Isis Mills were manufacturing bedding at Grange mill. (fn. 62b) The mill building was later converted to domestic use.
Fishing rights may have been attached to the abbot's mill in 1086, since part of the rent was in eels, (fn. 63b) and in the early 13th century the miller had fishing rights on the Evenlode. (fn. 64b) About 1270 the abbot's free fishery was valued at 20s., presumably the Thames fishery for which the abbey had no warrant in 1279. (fn. 65b) In the 13th century and early 14th the Belgrave family leased the Thames fishery. (fn. 66b) About 1360 the Thames fishery was worth 73s., that on the Evenlode only 4s., but in 1389 the abbot's fishery, perhaps on both rivers, was yielding £46s. 8d. (fn. 67b) The fishery was vacant in 1442 but was let thereafter, in 1518 for £2 13s. 4d. (fn. 68b) The abbey at times had a salaried fisherman, perhaps merely supervisor of the abbey fishponds. (fn. 69b) In the 1560s the bounds of the lord's waters were perambulated by the jury of Eynsham's manor court, and fishing rights were mentioned as appurtenances of the manor and the mill until the early 18th century. (fn. 70c)