Shipton-on-Cherwell: Manors and other estates

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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A P Baggs. W J Blair. Eleanor Chance. Christina Colvin. Janet Cooper. C J Day. Nesta Selwyn. S C Townley, 'Shipton-on-Cherwell: Manors and other estates', A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 12, Wootton Hundred (South) Including Woodstock, (London, 1990), pp. 257-259. British History Online [accessed 25 June 2024].

A P Baggs. W J Blair. Eleanor Chance. Christina Colvin. Janet Cooper. C J Day. Nesta Selwyn. S C Townley. "Shipton-on-Cherwell: Manors and other estates", in A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 12, Wootton Hundred (South) Including Woodstock, (London, 1990) 257-259. British History Online, accessed June 25, 2024,

Baggs, A P. Blair, W J. Chance, Eleanor. Colvin, Christina. Cooper, Janet. Day, C J. Selwyn, Nesta. Townley, S C. "Shipton-on-Cherwell: Manors and other estates", A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 12, Wootton Hundred (South) Including Woodstock, (London, 1990). 257-259. British History Online. Web. 25 June 2024,

Manors and other estates

Five hides at Shipton-on-Cherwell were among the estates granted to Eynsham abbey at its foundation in 1005, but the only abbey property recorded in the parish later was a rent of 10s. a year from the mill, which was exchanged with Robert de Gardino between 1213 and 1228 for land at South Stoke. (fn. 64) It was claimed c. 1100 that 5 hides at Shipton had belonged to Evesham abbey in the time of Abbot Aethelwig (1058-77) but had been taken from his successor by Odo of Bayeux. (fn. 65) There may have been some truth in the claim, but in 1086 Odo held only 2½ hides, which were held of him by Ilbert; Hugh de Grantmesnil held another 2 ½ hides which had been held by Aluric before the Conquest. (fn. 66) It appears that the original 5-hide estate had been divided into two shortly before or after the Norman Conquest.

The overlordship of Hugh de Grantmesnil's manor of SHIPTON passed, with that of Sibford Gower, (fn. 67) from Hugh to his son Ives, who mortgaged it to Robert de Beaumont, earl of Leicester. On Ives's death in 1102 Robert took possession of the estate, which remained in his family, passing to his great grandson Robert FitzParnel, earl of Leicester. From Robert FitzParnel the overlordship passed to his sister and coheir Margaret (d. 1235) wife of Saher de Quincy, earl of Winchester, and to her son Roger, of whom ½ knight's fee in Shipton-on-Cherwell was held in 1242-3. (fn. 68) On the death of Roger de Quincy, earl of Winchester, in 1264 his estates were divided among his three daughters, Shipton passing to Helen, wife of Alan la Zouche, of whom the manor was held in 1284-5. (fn. 69) From Helen the overlordship passed to her grandson, another Alan la Zouche, who held it at his death in 1314, and to his younger daughter Maud and her husband Robert Holand, Lord Holand. (fn. 70) Maud was succeeded by her son Robert (d. 1373) who was succeeded by his granddaughter Maud, wife of Sir John Lovel, of whom the manor was held in 1400. (fn. 71) Maud died in 1423, holding the ½ fee in Shipton, and was succeeded by her grandson William Lovel, Lord Lovel, who with his wife Alice was seised of two views of frankpledge in Shiptonon-Cherwell in 1454-5. (fn. 72) There is no further record of the Lovel overlordship. In 1569 the overlord was Edward Stanley, earl of Derby. He was succeeded by his son Henry (d. 1593) and grandson William Stanley, who held a court for the manor in 1620. (fn. 73)

A mesne lordship appears to have followed that of Ardley. (fn. 74) Ralph son of Roger gave 5s. in Shipton to Godstow abbey at its foundation in 1138-9; (fn. 75) the lord in 1201 was Robert son of Ralph, c. 1217 his son Ralph son of Robert, and in 1222-3 Ralph's brother Guy son of Robert. (fn. 76) Guy's son John FitzWyth was mesne lord in 1284-5, (fn. 77) but the mesne lordship was not recorded thereafter.

The demesne lord in 1201 was William son of Ralph, who was succeeded before c. 1217 by Roger son of Ralph; (fn. 78) both may have been brothers of the mesne lord Robert son of Ralph, and they seem to have been followed by Robert's son and successor Guy son of Robert, who appears to have held Shipton in demesne in the 1220s and 1230s. (fn. 79) Before 1241, however, Guy granted the manor to John of Paulton, who was lord in 1242-3. (fn. 80) The Paultons, whose chief lands lay in Somerset and Wiltshire, held Shipton for c. 200 years. John was succeeded before 1245 by Roger of Paulton who held until 1261 or later. (fn. 81) In 1268 and 1284-5 Thomas de St. Vigore was lord, perhaps in right of his wife or by lease, for at his death in 1295 he held no land in Oxfordshire. (fn. 82) John Paulton seems to have been lord in 1298 and 1307, but in 1314 Maud Paulton and her son Roger held the manor. (fn. 83) In 1332 and 1346 another John Paulton was lord; (fn. 84) he was presumably the John Paulton who held Lake in Wilsford (South) and Oare in Wilcot (Wilts.) and Ower in Eling (Hants). If so, he or a son of the same name was alive in 1361 but had been succeeded by his son Robert before 1374. (fn. 85) Robert's son Robert held Shipton-on-Cherwell at his death in 1400, and was succeeded by his brother William, who sold it in 1447 to Ralph Boteler, Lord Sudeley (d. 1473). (fn. 86) Shipton-on-Cherwell was one of the manors assigned in 1496 to Lord Sudeley's great-nephew, Sir John Norbury, who in 1497 settled it on his granddaughter Jane Halywell and her husband Edmund Bray, later Lord Bray. (fn. 87) Edmund Bray died in 1539, and in 1546 Jane, with her second husband Urian Brereton and her son John Bray, Lord Bray, sold Shipton-on-Cherwell to Henry Rathbone and his son Thomas. (fn. 88)

Henry Rathbone died in 1557, and Thomas died in 1594 leaving Shipton to his younger son John (d. 1614) who was succeeded by his daughter Alice. (fn. 89) Alice married Robert Standard of Whitehill in Tackley (d. 1660), and the manor passed to her son (d. 1698) and grandson (d. 1705), both called Robert Standard. (fn. 90) The last Robert left a son, another Robert Standard (d. 1706), and a daughter Barbara who, on coming of age in 1720, settled the manor on herself and her heirs with reversion to her maternal uncle Adolphus Meetkerke, a settlement confirmed by her will made in 1722. (fn. 91) Barbara Standard was declared a lunatic in 1730 and died unmarried in 1767 when, earlier attempts by her father's family to nullify the settlements of 1720 and 1722 having failed, the manor passed to Adolphus Meetkerke of Rushden (Herts.), son of Barbara's uncle, who had died in 1732. (fn. 92) The younger Adolphus was succeeded in 1784 by his son, another Adolphus, who in 1804 sold Shipton-on-Cherwell to William Turner. Turner was succeeded in 1853 by his son Vincent John, who sold the manor in 1867 to Joseph Prior of Woodstock, acting for the duke of Marlborough. (fn. 93) The Blenheim estate still owned most of the land in 1984, but the manor house and park were sold in 1915, and acquired in 1920 by Frank Gray, former Liberal M.P. for Oxford. Gray alarmed some of his neighbours by using the Manor for the rehabilitation of young tramps. The house was sold on Gray's death in 1935, and passed through several hands before being bought in 1971 by the entrepreneur Richard Branson. (fn. 94)

Shipton-on-Cherwell Manor is a large, irregular house of two storeys with gabled attics. In its centre is a 17th-century range, probably built by one of the Standard family as a cross-wing to a house which had its main range on the north. In 1660 the house contained a parlour, hall, six chambers, kitchen, cellar, pantry and buttery. (fn. 95) The northern range was rebuilt in the 18th century and was extended westwards in the early 19th century when there was some internal refitting, presumably by William Turner. Later in the 19th century the house was extended southwards, probably again by Turner or possibly by V. J. Turner's tenant H. Cole. (fn. 96) The 19th-century work presumably included the insertion of three 16th-century fireplaces in the main rooms. Frank Gray greatly extended the kitchen wing on the north side of the house (fn. 97) and appears to have renewed much of the exterior stonework. Richard Branson renovated the house and converted the outbuildings into recording studios. William Turner created a park around the house, acquiring in 1811 common rights in Kidlington which, at inclosure soon afterwards, were commuted for a block of land immediately south and west of the house. (fn. 98) Richard Branson dammed the small stream which had formed the parish boundary, creating a lake in front of the house.

The overlordship of the estate held by Ilbert de Lacy of Odo of Bayeux in 1086, later called SCORCHEBEEF'S after its 13th-century undertenants, passed to Ilbert on Odo's forfeiture in 1088. It then followed the same descent as Ilbert's Cassington manor, (fn. 99) becoming part of the honor of Pontefract held by the earls of Lincoln and the dukes of Lancaster. In 1235-6 the ½ knight's fee was held of John de Lacy, earl of Lincoln, and in 1284-5 and 1311 of Henry de Lacy, earl of Lincoln. (fn. 1) On the death of Henry of Grosmont, duke of Lancaster, in 1361, the 1/2 fee was assigned to his daughter Maud, but on her death the following year it reverted to his surviving daughter Blanche and her husband John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster. In 1401-2 it was held of the duchy of Lancaster, but in 1486 the tenure was unknown. (fn. 2)

By c. 1200 the demesne lord was Simon Scorchebeef who was succeeded by his son Geoffrey and by Geoffrey's son Simon who held from c. 1220 to c. 1250. (fn. 3) In 1283 and 1284 John Scorchebeef was lord, but in 1284-5 the manor was held by Maud Scorchebeef, perhaps his widow. (fn. 4) By 1311 she had been succeeded by another John Scorchebeef who held until 1336 or later. (fn. 5) In 1349 John's son Thomas granted his land in Shipton-on-Cherwell to his brother Nicholas, who at once sold it to Philip of Brize Norton who sold it to John de la Chaumbre of Baldon. (fn. 6) John died c. 1402 and was succeeded by his son William Baldon (d. 1419) who was followed by his son Thomas Baldon (d. 1437). (fn. 7) From Thomas the manor passed to his daughter and coheir Agnes, whose husband William Brome of Holton was lord in 1454 and 1457; in 1469 it was settled on Agnes and her second husband Geoffrey Gate and Agnes's heirs. (fn. 8) Robert Brome, presumably Alice's son, died seised of the manor in 1486 and was succeeded by his son Christopher who died before 1510. (fn. 9) Christopher's son John, who came of age in 1514, sold the manor in 1532 to four men acting for New College, Oxford. (fn. 10) New College leased the estate in three portions, Scorchebeef's farm, Chittam's, and Hanwell's, to a succession of tenants. From 1588 Scorchebeef's, from 1629 Chittam's, and from 1666 Hanwell's were leased to the holder of the other Shipton manor, until 1901 when the duke of Marlborough gave up the tenancy. (fn. 11) The bulk of the college estate was sold to Shipton Syndicate Ltd. in 1921. (fn. 12)

The Scorchebeef manor house stood north of the church, on or near the site occupied in 1984 by the outbuildings of Shipton Manor. The medieval house was burnt down in the earlier 16th century and rebuilt by New College's lessee Henry Bailey before 1564. By c. 1623 it had been demolished. (fn. 13) The site was assigned to Adolphus Meetkerke at inclosure in 1768.

The hospital of St. John the Baptist, Oxford, acquired an estate of over 100 a. in Shipton-on-Cherwell in the 13th century, mainly between c. 1230 and 1257, by a series of small gifts or purchases from Simon Scorchebeef and other members of his family, from his tenants, notably Peter of Shipton, and from the rector, Walter. (fn. 14) In 1454 the hospital leased its estate to William Brome for 99 years, and in 1457 it sold the freehold to him and the land was reabsorbed into the Scorchebeef manor. (fn. 15)

Between 1220 and 1230 Peter of Shipton and Parnel his wife granted the Templars 4 a. in Shipton-on-Cherwell, which passed to the Hospitallers. (fn. 16) In 1544 the estate, a croft and 5 ½ a., was granted, with Hensington manor, to Sir Robert Tyrwhitt and Thomas Kydall, who sold it the same year to Jerome Westall. (fn. 17) The estate, then 12 a., descended with Hensington manor until in 1629 John Whitton sold it to Henry Coles and William Abbot. (fn. 18) In 1662 Alice, widow of William Abbot, sold to Robert Standard 12 a. formerly in the tenure of John Whitton or Henry Coles, (fn. 19) and the land was absorbed into the Standards' manor.

Between c. 1270 and 1280 Adam son of Thomas of Kidlington granted Oseney abbey a messuage and 6½ a. of land in Shipton-on-Cherwell. The estate passed to Christ Church which sold it to V. J. Turner in 1859. (fn. 20)

Two acres given to support anniversaries in the church were granted in 1552 to John Wright and Thomas Holmes, two London speculators, who sold them in 1553 to Thomas Parret of Oxford. Parret sold the land in 1561 to Henry Coles of Shipton, whose widow Catherine sold it in 1610 to Ralph Claris; Claris sold the 2 a. to New College in 1619. (fn. 21)


  • 64. Eynsham Cart. i, pp. 25-7, 156.
  • 65. R. R. Darlington, 'Aethelwig Abbot of Evesham', E.H.R. xlviii. 188-9; cf. M. Gelling, Early Chart. Thames Valley, p. 125.
  • 66. V.C.H. Oxon. i. 405, 428.
  • 67. Ibid. x. 234.
  • 68. Bk.of Fees , ii. 821.
  • 69. Feud. Aids, iv. 156.
  • 70. Cal. Inq. p.m. v, p. 255; Cal. Close, 1313-18, 116-17, 155.
  • 71. P.R.O., C 137/22, no. 29; Complete Peerage, vi. 528-32.
  • 72. P.R.O., C 139/6, no. 51; Inq. p.m. (Rec. Com.), iv. 264.
  • 73. B.L. Add. Roll 59146; P.R.O., C 142/350, no. 59.
  • 74. V.C.H. Oxon. vi. 8-9.
  • 75. Godstow Eng. Reg. i, p. 29.
  • 76. Oxon. Fines, p. 20; Rot. Welles, i (L.R.S. iii), 54; Oseney Cart. vi, p. 103.
  • 77. Feud. Aids, iv. 156.
  • 78. Oxon. Fines, p. 20; Rot. Welles, i. 54.
  • 79. Magd. Coll. Mun., Shipton-on-Cherwell 8b, 10a, 27.
  • 80. Ibid. 21, 30; Bk. of Fees, ii. 821.
  • 81. Rot. Grosse. (L.R.S. xi), 488; Oseney Cart. vi, pp. 103-4.
  • 82. Cal. Chart. R. 1257-1300, 100; Feud. Aids, iv. 156; Cal. Inq. p.m. iii, p. 148.
  • 83. Bodl. MS. Top. Oxon. c 55, f. 62; Cal. Inq. p.m. v, p. 255; P.R.O., E 179/161/10.
  • 84. Magd. Coll. Mun., Shipton-on-Cherwell 19b (1); Feud. Aids, iv. 177.
  • 85. V.C.H. Hants, iv. 551; V.C.H. Wilts. vi. 214; x. 195; Cal. Inq. p.m. xi, p. 169; xiv, p. 82.
  • 86. P.R.O., C 137/22, no. 29; ibid. CP 25(1)/191/28, no. 12; Complete Peerage, xii (1), 421.
  • 87. Cal. Close, 1500-9, p. 68.
  • 88. P.R.O., CP 25(2)/34/230, no. 39; Complete Peerage, ii. 287.
  • 89. O.R.O., MS. Wills Oxon. 187, f. 149; ibid. 55/1/36; P.R.O., C 142/350, no. 59.
  • 90. Par. Colln. 257-8; O.R.O., MSS. Wills Oxon. 61/2/2; 62/4/41.
  • 91. Blenheim Mun., box 122; O.R.O., MS. Wills Oxon. 93, f. 289.
  • 92. New Coll. Arch., 1506; Blenheim Mun., boxes 123, 125.
  • 93. V.C.H. Herts. iii. 267-8; Blenheim Mun., boxes 123, 125.
  • 94. Inf. from Estate Office, Blenheim Palace, and from Mr. I. Pearson, Shipton Manor; F. Gray, The Tramp, 62-70; V.C.H. Oxon. iv. 254.
  • 95. O.R.O., MS. Wills Oxon. 61/2/2.
  • 96. Sale Cat. 1862.
  • 97. O.R.O., Misc. Budd. IV/6.
  • 98. W. Wing, Annals of Kidlington, 5-6; O.R.O., Kidlington incl. award.
  • 99. Above.
  • 1. Bk. of Fees, i. 448; Feud. Aids, iv. 156; Cal. Inq. p.m. v, p. 156.
  • 2. Cal. Inq. p.m. xi, p. 109; Cal. Close 1360-4, 208; Feud. Aids, vi. 625-6; Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen. VII, i, pp. 32-3.
  • 3. Magd. Coll. Mun., Shipton-on-Cherwell 1, 2b, 4b, 10b, 11b, 14b; Oseney Cart. vi. 102.
  • 4. Magd. Coll. Mun., Shipton-on-Cherwell 6; New Coll. Arch., 12660; Feud. Aids, iv. 156.
  • 5. Cal. Inq. p.m. v, p. 156; New Coll. Arch., 12658.
  • 6. New Coll. Arch., 12655, 12665-6.
  • 7. Ibid. 12671, 12664; V.C.H. Oxon. vii. 172.
  • 8. Magd. Coll. Mun., Shipton-on-Cherwell 1a; New Coll. Arch., 12662; Cal. Close 1468-76, 66.
  • 9. Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen. VII, i, pp. 32-3; Cat. Anct. D. v, pp. 396-7.
  • 10. New Coll. Arch., 12670.
  • 11. Bodl. MSS. Ch. Oxon. 1873-1934, passim; New Coll. Arch., 8943.
  • 12. Inf. from the New Coll. Land Agent, Mr. C. B. Harwood.
  • 13. O.R.O., incl. award; Bodl. MSS. Ch. Oxon. 1877, 1898.
  • 14. Magd. Coll. Mun., Shipton-on-Cherwell 1, 1b, 2, 3b, 4, 10, 10a, 10b, 12a, 12b, 14, 15, 19, 24, 26, 29.
  • 15. Ibid. 1a; New Coll. Arch., 12662.
  • 16. Sandford Cart. ii, pp. 212-13; Corpus Christi Coll. Oxf. MS. 320, f. 26.
  • 17. L.& P. Hen. VIII, xix (2), pp. 185, 418.
  • 18. P.R.O., C 142/303, no. 131; Blenheim Mun., box 122.
  • 19. Blenheim Mun., box 122; O.R.O., MS. Wills Oxon. 62/4/41.
  • 20. Oseney Cart. iv, p. 137; Blenheim Mun., box 123: abstract of title.
  • 21. New Coll. Arch., 4828.