Stanton Harcourt: Introduction

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

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.


A P Baggs. W J Blair. Eleanor Chance. Christina Colvin. Janet Cooper. C J Day. Nesta Selwyn. S C Townley, 'Stanton Harcourt: Introduction', in A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 12, Wootton Hundred (South) Including Woodstock, (London, 1990) pp. 267-274. British History Online [accessed 18 May 2024].

A P Baggs. W J Blair. Eleanor Chance. Christina Colvin. Janet Cooper. C J Day. Nesta Selwyn. S C Townley. "Stanton Harcourt: Introduction", in A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 12, Wootton Hundred (South) Including Woodstock, (London, 1990) 267-274. British History Online, accessed May 18, 2024,

Baggs, A P. Blair, W J. Chance, Eleanor. Colvin, Christina. Cooper, Janet. Day, C J. Selwyn, Nesta. Townley, S C. "Stanton Harcourt: Introduction", A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 12, Wootton Hundred (South) Including Woodstock, (London, 1990). 267-274. British History Online. Web. 18 May 2024,


STANTON HARCOURT, (fn. 73) a large parish formerly comprising 3,740 a., lies between the rivers Thames and Windrush c. 2 ½ miles (4 km.) south of Eynsham and 6 miles (9 ½ km.) west of Oxford; it includes the villages of Sutton and West End, and in the Middle Ages there were settlements at Pinkhill in the north-east and at Hamstall (later Armstalls Farm) in the north-west. (fn. 74a) The name, meaning Stone tun, probably refers to the prehistoric stone circle known as the Devil's Quoits, formerly south-west of Stanton Harcourt village; the suffix, from the family which held the main manor, had been added by the mid 13th century. (fn. 75) Until the 12th century the parish included Northmoor; South Leigh remained a chapelry until 1868, but was a separate township with its own boundaries from the Middle Ages. (fn. 76)

The ancient parish was mostly compact in shape with, on the north, two tongues projecting into Eynsham parish around Hamstall and Pinkhill, and on the south-west a tongue of meadow land projecting into South Leigh; it also included, in South Leigh, a detached block of 283 a. which contained Tar wood, and another 8 a., formerly Parson's wood. A third detached portion, 2 a. of meadow, lay in Northmoor parish near Newbridge Mill. All the detached areas were removed from Stanton Harcourt civil parish between 1883 and 1885, reducing its area to 3,447 a.; in 1932 a further 53 a. of meadow land in the south-west were transferred to South Leigh, reducing Stanton Harcourt to 3,394 a. (1,374 ha.). (fn. 77)

On the east the ancient boundaries followed the Thames from north of Bablock Hythe to Pinkhill Lock. (fn. 78) On the west the early boundary with Bampton parish, (fn. 79) described in 1318, followed the Windrush to Beard Mill; it then followed a path, probably running south-east and roughly parallel to the river, as far as 'Wyrlak', a watercourse apparently in the Linch hill area which flowed through Northmoor to the Thames. (fn. 80) Later the boundary followed Medley brook, a meandering stream straightened in the mid 19th century, and the river Windrush. (fn. 81) On the north the boundary with Eynsham, described c. 1005, (fn. 82) ran up Limb brook to Tilgar's ditch, possibly the northward turn west of Foxley Farm which in the 19th century brought Armstalls within Stanton Harcourt parish. The deviation probably represents the outline of an estate of 1 hide perhaps formerly in Eynsham but incorporated into Stanton by the early 12th century; (fn. 83) the hide was later divided between Eynsham abbey and one of the Stanton Harcourt manors, (fn. 84) but there is no evidence that the division involved any realignment of the parish boundary. Elsewhere the boundaries followed fields, although on the west, where the holdings of Stanton Harcourt and South Leigh tenants lay intermingled, they remained confused until inclosure in 1774. (fn. 85)

Much of the parish, including Stanton Harcourt, West End, and parts of Sutton, lies on the river gravels of the Summertown-Radley and Thames flood-plain terraces. The nature of the soil was reflected in 18th-century field names such as In the gravel and Gravel allotment; in the 19th century the soil was said sometimes to form a hard conglomerate, which damaged ploughs and could be reduced only by blasting. (fn. 86) On the Thames flood-plain are extensive alluvium deposits, which extend west along Limb brook and towards Sutton and West End, and include the site of Pinkhill; there is also alluvium in the south-west by the Windrush. Along Sutton Lane, east of the Eynsham-Northmoor road, and in the north-west around Hamstall, the underlying Oxford Clay reaches the surface. (fn. 87) The eastern half of the parish is low-lying (c. 65 m.) and flat; until drainage schemes in the mid 19th century it often flooded, and was used mostly as pasture and meadow. (fn. 88) Further west the land rises to c. 70 m., reflected in the name Hangle field which denotes a gentle slope; Linch hill, a steeper incline near the southern boundary of the parish, was so named by the early 17th century. (fn. 89) Barrow hill, recorded in 1605, refers to the Bronze-Age barrow formerly in the open fields south-west of Stanton Harcourt village; Pinkhill, earlier Pincle, denotes a small enclosure. (fn. 90)

Figure 16:

Stanton Harcourt c. 1820

Woodland lay mostly in the detached parts of the parish in South Leigh. Parson's wood, attached to the rectory estate and comprising c. 6 a., was coppiced by the 16th century, and was a pasture close by 1627. (fn. 91) Tar wood once extended to cover much of South Leigh, (fn. 92) and was probably identical both with woodland measuring 1 league by ½ league recorded in Stanton Harcourt in 1086 and with the Harcourts' wood of 'Piriho' mentioned in the 13th century; a yearly forest cense of £3 owed for the wood in the 12th century was pardoned by Richard I. (fn. 93) Assarting began before 1086, when 1 ½ hide at 'Pereio' contained land for one ploughteam with 12 a. of meadow, and there were assarts in 'Piriho' in 1235. (fn. 94) By the early 17th century closes and leys, later called Wood farm, extended down the west side of Tar wood within Stanton Harcourt parish; the wood was reduced further during the mid 19th century. (fn. 95) Friars wood, in the main part of the parish on its northwestern edge, (fn. 96) was cleared for pasture during the 17th century or late 16th; it was presumably named after the Hospitallers, who held Sutton manor. (fn. 97)

Crop marks suggest that a prehistoric route connecting the iron fields of north Oxfordshire with the Berkshire chalklands may have crossed the Windrush near Beard Mill. (fn. 98) Stanton Harcourt, West End, and Sutton Green lie along a winding road further east, leading north to Eynsham and the Witney-Oxford road, and south to Northmoor and the crossing of the Thames at Bablock Hythe, where there was a ferry by the 13th century. (fn. 99) A 4th-century Roman trackway running west of and parallel to the road south of Stanton Harcourt village, then branching west towards Linch hill and east towards the Thames, suggests that the roads follow an ancient pattern. (fn. 1) There may have been another crossing of the Thames at Cox Hythe, but by the 18th century there were no roads to it from the villages. (fn. 2) The road from Cogges and Witney, mentioned in 1616, (fn. 3) enters Stanton Harcourt from the west at Blackditch.

In 1767 the road leading north from Stanton Harcourt branched into two; the western fork running across the site of the later Friar's Farm to South Leigh was suppressed at inclosure, leaving a sharp bend in the modern road, but partly survives as a footpath. (fn. 4) Further north a second branch road ran along the parish boundary near the site of Hamstall into Eynsham, but disappeared soon after the inclosure of Eynsham in 1802. (fn. 5) In the south, an ancient track leading towards Northmoor from the 'cross tree' on West End Lane was confirmed as a public footpath in 1774, but in 1819 was marked only by a field boundary; (fn. 6) the chamfered base of a medieval cross, presumably that called West End cross in 1630, was still visible at the junction in 1972. (fn. 7) The modern road from Blackditch to Beard Mill and Hardwick was laid out at inclosure, although traces of ditches parallel to the road in Vicarage field suggest an earlier trackway; (fn. 8) New Road, linking Lower Sutton with the Stanton Harcourt to Eynsham road, was laid out in the late 19th century. The Blackditch bypass, necessitated by heavy traffic connected with commercial gravel extraction, was completed in 1983. (fn. 9)

The villages were linked with the open fields and with the outlying mills and farms along the Windrush by a network of minor footpaths. (fn. 10) Sutton Lane, along which most of Sutton village is aligned, and Steady's Lane, formerly King's End Lane and presumably named after the 17th-century family called King, linked the villages with the common. (fn. 11) At inclosure bridle paths were laid out from Pinkhill Farm to Steady's Lane and West End, across an 18th-century stone bridge called Pinkhill Arches; the bridge was blocked in the 20th century to prevent flooding. (fn. 12)

There were fords across the Windrush at Pipard's Mill, where there was a bridge, since removed, in 1607, and at Long Guy meadow; footbridges crossed the Thames at Pinkhill weir and Langley weir probably from the Middle Ages. (fn. 13) Bell bridge, where the road from Stanton Harcourt to Eynsham crosses Limb brook, was Bag bridge in the 15th century, perhaps derived from Bugga's brook, the earlier name for Limb brook; it was known as Back bridge in the 17th and 18th centuries. (fn. 14)

By 1847 there were carrier services to Witney and Oxford. (fn. 15) Until the early 20th century the nearest telegraph and money-order office was at Eynsham, but the village schoolmaster opened a post office in Stanton Harcourt before 1861, run initially from the schoolhouse, and by 1876 from no. 15 on the main street near the manor house. (fn. 16) It was moved to the cottage later called the Old Post Office before 1913, and to no. 26 in the early 1970s. (fn. 17) The nearest railway stations, opened in 1861 and closed in the 1960s, were at Eynsham and South Leigh. (fn. 18)

There is extensive evidence of prehistoric settlement, mostly on the well drained gravels but also on the Thames flood-plain and around Pinkhill. (fn. 19) The Bronze-Age barrow (fn. 20) formerly ½ mile south-west of Stanton Harcourt contained a rich Wessex culture burial; it was partially levelled c. 1777 and removed c. 1850, and in 1940 the site was destroyed by the building of an airfield. Other Bronze-Age finds include rubbish pits, suggesting settlement and stable mixed farming, in Vicarage field, where there was also a short-lived early Iron-Age settlement; later Iron-Age settlement was mostly in the south-west around Linch hill and on the site of the airfield.

The Devil's Quoits, a henge monument c. 1,200 yd. south-west of Stanton Harcourt, (fn. 21) was used throughout the late Neolithic and Beaker periods, and comprised an embanked stone circle c. 280 ft. across, composed of 30 or more stones; it was mostly destroyed in the Middle Ages to make way for cultivation, some of the stones being broken and possibly re-used in Stanton Harcourt church. One of the three remaining stones was used as a bridge in the late 17th century and again in the late 19th or early 20th, but was replaced following protests from the Harcourts and local people. Only one of the stones was in situ in 1940 when the airfield was built over the site, later used for gravel workings, and the stones were buried; in 1988 there were plans to restore the monument incorporating the buried stones. (fn. 22) A tradition that the Devil hurled the stones from Wytham hill during a game of quoits was current by the late 17th century; (fn. 23) the idea that the monument commemorated a Saxon victory at Bampton in 614 originated in the late 18th. (fn. 24)

Romano-British settlement was scattered: a late Iron-Age site near Linch Hill corner was periodically reoccupied until the late 1st century, and in the earlier 2nd there was a settlement comprising wattle-and-daub buildings within a ditch near the Old Vicarage; a 4th-century cemetery was excavated near Linch Hill. (fn. 25) Finds have been made near Pinkhill Farm, beyond Steady's Lane, and in Stanton Harcourt village. (fn. 26)

In the late 6th century or early 7th the Bronze-Age barrow was used as a pagan cemetery by a small group presumably living nearby. (fn. 27) By the 9th century settlement was probably already concentrated on the modern villages. Sutton, or South tun, which lies north of Stanton Harcourt, was probably named in relation to Eynsham, although there are crop marks and Saxon pits to the north near University Cottages. (fn. 28) West End, so called in the 13th century (fn. 29) and at the south-east corner of the parish on the edge of the river gravels, presumably owed its origin and name to the Thames crossing at Bablock Hythe. Pinkhill and probably Hamstall were occupied or reoccupied by the mid 12th century; their names suggest their origins as isolated outlying farms. (fn. 30)

In 1086 there were 83 tenants recorded at Stanton Harcourt, and a cottager and a servus at 'Pereio', probably the area around Tar wood. (fn. 31)

By 1279 there were at least 36 villeins and cottagers at Stanton Harcourt and West End, 17 at Sutton, and 8 at Pinkhill, and 10 of those listed under South Leigh apparently lived at Hamstall; (fn. 32) including unlisted free tenants there may have been up to 80 households in the parish. The population may have already fallen slightly by the mid 14th century, when over half the villeins on Stanton Wyard manor died of plague; (fn. 33) most of the deaths were probably at South Leigh, however, and in 1377 there were 117 adult males recorded at Stanton Harcourt and 76 at Sutton, suggesting that the death-toll, although serious, was less than in some Oxfordshire parishes. (fn. 34) Pinkhill and Hamstall, mentioned in 1334, were not recorded in 1377, when some of those listed under Sutton probably still lived at Pinkhill, and a few listed under South Leigh may have still lived at Hamstall. (fn. 35)

The population of the parish as a whole had probably recovered by the early 16th century, when Stanton Harcourt and West End had at least 52 taxpayers and Sutton 25. (fn. 36) In 1642 there were 262 men and women over 18, (fn. 37) and in 1662 hearth tax was levied on 43 households in Stanton Harcourt and 31 in Sutton. (fn. 38) The population was 412 in 1759, when there were 92 houses; (fn. 39) in 1774 there were said to be only 60, but by 1801 there were 88 housing 504 people. The population continued to rise until the 1870s, when it fell from 624 in 1871 to 541 in 1881, probably largely through emigration as at South Leigh. After 1901 it remained under 500 until the Second World War, when it was increased by the influx of service personnel connected with the airfield, and in 1951 it was still 960. By 1961 it had fallen to 699, but rose to 774 by 1981. (fn. 40)

The early nucleus of Stanton Harcourt village was presumably the church and nearby manor house, described below; the earliest remaining parts of the church are 12th-century, but the size and independence of its parish in the early Middle Ages, despite its proximity to Eynsham and Bampton, suggest that it was an early ecclesiastical centre. (fn. 41) The main street connects the church and manor house on the south with Parsonage House on the north; its distinctive course, forming a reversed C-shape, results partly from its skirting around the grounds of Parsonage House, rebuilt on the site of a medieval rectory, and of the 15th-century manor buildings. By c. 1600 there were houses near the rectory on or near the sites of All Souls House, All Souls Cottages, and no. 26; (fn. 42) the cottage called nos. 14-15, on the main street opposite the manor house, is possibly late 16th-century. Several other houses along the main street and Steady's Lane are probably mid to late 17th-century in origin, among them nos. 8-9, 11 and 12, Thatchings (no. 25, dated 1671), and nos. 1-2 and 5-7. (fn. 43) Further north Smithy Cottage (no. 30), opposite Blackditch, originated as a cruck-framed hall-house of three bays, reconstructed in stone possibly during the later 16th century; expansion of the village along Blackditch, mentioned by name in 1540, (fn. 44) may represent a late phase, and Blackditch Farm dates from 1654. (fn. 45)

Sutton was more scattered from an early period, and in the 16th century Over and Lower Sutton comprised separate tithings; (fn. 46) Over End cross was mentioned in the 17th century. (fn. 47) At the northern end, buildings lie on the edge of a gravel terrace around what was formerly an open rectangular green, already diminished in the mid 18th century and inclosed in 1774; Nicholls' Farm (nos. 48-9), north-west of the former green, is partly cruck-framed and possibly medieval in origin, and Tudor Cottage, to the south, is early 17th-century. (fn. 48) At the southern end of the village there was a house on the site of Lower Farm, on the edge of the former common, by the 12th or 13th century, and several surviving cottages originated as timber-framed hall houses, amongst them Duck End Cottage, which incorporates two bays of a former cruck-framed house. (fn. 49) The name Duck End, recorded in 1841, perhaps denotes a ditched inclosure. (fn. 50) Sutton Lane, presumably the Sutton Street mentioned in 1687, (fn. 51) which links the two ends, lies mostly on Oxford Clay; by the mid 18th century there were buildings scattered along its length, many of them since demolished, but continuous building along the lane did not occur until the 20th century. (fn. 52)

West End existed by 1279, when only one tenant definitely lived there. (fn. 53) In the 16th century it formed a separate tithing, but was probably never more than a small group of houses by the road from Stanton Harcourt to Bablock Hythe. In the 19th century it was deemed to include Pimm and Tawney's Farms ½ mile to the north and two cottages over the parish boundary in Northmoor. (fn. 54)

The hamlet at Pinkhill, occupied until the mid 15th century or later, lay south-east of Pinkhill Farm on ground which does not flood; it comprised stone and wattle-and-daub houses with crofts, arranged along a village street running north and south. The site was built up with layers of sand and gravel to avoid waterlogging, and there are traces of drainage channels. (fn. 55) There was a house there in 1594 and 1672, (fn. 56) presumably the predecessor of the later Pinkhill Farm, and the site may never have been completely abandoned.

The hamlet of Hamstall probably included the site of the later Armstalls Farm. (fn. 57) Eynsham abbey held half the hide associated with the settlement, but field names incorporating 'Hamstall' occur only in Stanton Harcourt and there is no evidence that Hamstall extended into Eynsham parish. (fn. 58) The settlement was closely associated with South Leigh, and perhaps originated in connexion with South Leigh's colonization during the 11th and 12th centuries or earlier. (fn. 59) Field names on South Leigh's eastern edge, where the boundary remained ill defined until 1774, include Hamstall piece and Hamstall cow common, (fn. 60) and in the late 12th century part of the Hamstall hide, then in the king's hands, seems to have been included with an escheat at South Leigh by Exchequer officials; (fn. 61) in 1279 and the earlier 14th century Hamstall's inhabitants were taxed with South Leigh's. (fn. 62) The site was still partly occupied in 1389, when 3 or 4 tenants of Eynsham abbey held cottages and lands there, but by 1467 all or most of the tenements were apparently held by one man. (fn. 63) There may have been a farmhouse in the late 17th century, and in the early 18th a holding there of 2 yardlands was described as a farm, (fn. 64) but by c. 1767 there was apparently only a barn. (fn. 65)

During the later 17th century and the early 18th consolidation of holdings resulted in the rebuilding of several of the more important farmhouses. Nicholl's Farm was modernized and extended southwards in the late 17th century, but in the 19th became two labourers' cottages (nos. 48-9). (fn. 66) Flexney's House, north of Blackditch, was also extended in the 17th and 18th centuries. (fn. 67) Outlying farmhouses built or rebuilt during the 17th century included those at Beard Mill and Cutmill, that later called Tawney's (dated 1647 and extended in the 18th century), West End House (formerly West End Lower Farm), and possibly Payne's Farm. Lower Farm, probably 17th-century, was remodelled c. 1726; Pinkhill Farm, an early example of a doubledepth farmhouse, was rebuilt c. 1714, and Pimm Farm, formerly West End Upper Farm, in the mid 18th century. (fn. 68) All were rebuilt in stone and slate, in contrast to the earlier buildings which, except for the manor house and possibly the medieval rectory, were timber-framed and thatched.

Some older houses in the villages were rewalled in stone, among them Smithy Cottage and nos. 14-15 Stanton Harcourt, and many more were modernized by the insertion of chimney-walls and upper floors. (fn. 69) Leena Cottage (nos. 28-9), at the northern end of Stanton Harcourt south of Blackditch, was built in the early 18th century of coursed limestone rubble and was still thatched in 1924. (fn. 70) Timber-frame construction continued, however; Pinkhill Cottage at Duck End and no. 22 (White Cottage) at Stanton Harcourt are both early 18th-century, and although much altered were originally timber-framed and probably thatched. (fn. 71)

Parliamentary inclosure in 1774 created larger holdings, and several farmhouses were built or extended during the 19th century. Walsh's Farm, later the Old Vicarage, was built on the rectory estate in the early 19th century, incorporating an existing 17th-century range on the north. (fn. 72) About the same time Armstalls Farm, so called by c. 1875, was newly built on or near the site of Hamstall; it was mostly demolished during the earlier 20th century, and had disappeared by 1970. (fn. 73a) Elms Farm at West End was rebuilt in stone c. 1820 on or near the site of an earlier homestead, and alterations were made to the neighbouring West End Farm; Sutton Farm was built in red brick shortly before 1871, when the earlier house was sublet as a cottage. (fn. 74a) Many farms remained centred on older buildings, however, some of which were said in the later 19th century to be inferior or dilapidated. (fn. 75a) Cox's Farm, still thatched and timber-framed in 1924, was derelict by the 1940s, and was later rebuilt. (fn. 76a)

In the villages there was little new building between the early 18th century and the later 19th; Goldenbridge Cottage, at Duck End, formerly two houses, was built c. 1830, and additions were made to other houses in the 18th century. (fn. 77a) During the late 18th century and the 19th several cottages were subdivided to accommodate the rising labouring population, amongst them the houses on Steady's Lane, nos. 14-15 and 28-9, and, at Sutton, Pinkhill Cottage and nos. 38-9, nearly all occupied by agricultural labourers in 1881. (fn. 78a) By c. 1870 overcrowding was serious, and E. W. Harcourt converted pantries, hovels, and outbuildings to provide extra living space, besides undertaking general repairs and improving sanitation; subdivision continued, however. In the 1870s several cottages had lean-to pigsties, which Harcourt thought offensive and ordered to be removed; earlier in the century the parish clerk had a pigsty in the churchyard. (fn. 79a)

At Stanton Harcourt nos. 53-4, opposite the manor house, were newly built probably in the late 1870s, (fn. 80a) but most new building was at Sutton, where New Road was laid out between 1876 and 1899. (fn. 81a) Houses at its eastern end were occupied mostly by agricultural labourers in 1881; (fn. 82a) the Methodist chapel was built by c. 1887, and Swelcombe and the Gables by 1899. (fn. 83a) Other 19th-century additions to the parish included University Cottages, built c. 1870 on the Sutton-Eynsham road, and in Stanton Harcourt the new brick schoolhouse added to the back of no. 21 in 1871. (fn. 84a) At West End over 20 labourer's cottages were listed in 1841, probably including houses attached to Tawney's and Pimm Farms. (fn. 85a) In 1924 there was a thatched and timber-framed cottage attached to West End Farm, but most of the cottages at West End were demolished in the earlier 20th century. (fn. 86a)

In 1702 the parishioners asked for an unlicensed alehouse newly opened at Pinkhill weir to be suppressed. (fn. 87a) There were then two licensed alehouses in the parish, one of which may have been the later Harcourt Arms, mentioned by name in 1775; the building, probably late 17th-century, was extended in the early 19th. (fn. 88a) The Dog, also mentioned in 1775, and the Crown, mentioned in 1780, had closed by 1787. The Fox inn, so named by 1847, was newly built in the earlier 19th century, and was a public house by 1841. (fn. 89a)

During the 20th century large housing estates were built north of the road junction at Blackditch and immediately west of Stanton Harcourt village; there was also infilling along Blackditch, Sutton Lane, and the main street at Stanton Harcourt and at West End. (fn. 90a) There were 14 council houses by 1936, and 85 in 1977, over 40 houses being built between 1945 and 1962. Some of the older cottages on Sutton Lane became derelict and were demolished; Greensleeves, south of Blackditch, was built before 1962 partly with re-used material. (fn. 91a) Foxburrow Close, south of New Road in Sutton, was laid out by 1970, and Burr Close, south of Sutton Lane, in the late 1970s. In 1977 West Oxfordshire district council recommended that future building should be limited to infilling, but c. 1985 a new estate comprising over 35 houses was built in Flexney's paddock, north of Blackditch. (fn. 92a) Infilling in Stanton Harcourt and along Sutton Lane continued during the 1980s, and in 1988 virtually all the vacant plots north of Stanton Harcourt's main street had been built on. The primary school, behind the main street on Parson's lease, was built c. 1970; (fn. 93a) the village hall, north of Blackditch, was built by the British Legion after the First World War and extended after 1945. (fn. 94a)

Until the Second World War the domestic water supply was from wells, which most older cottages possessed. (fn. 95a) A water tower built on the wartime airfield still supplied the village in the 1970s. (fn. 96a) There was no public sewerage in 1936, and only a few houses had been connected by 1962; the system was completed during the early 1970s, with a local treatment works near Sutton. (fn. 97a)

The military airfield, built in 1940 and used by Whitley bombers, took several hundred acres of farmland south-west of Stanton Harcourt. (fn. 98a) It and its buildings were abandoned after 1945, and were mostly derelict in 1988, when some of the land was used for pasture. By the 1960s there were scattered agricultural buildings on the site, and in the 1970s hangars at its northern end near Blackditch were adapted for warehousing. (fn. 99a) From the early 1950s until c. 1973 the former officers' mess was used as a school, (fn. 1a) and in 1988 another building was used as the Harcourt estate office.

There were small gravel pits in the south part of the parish by the early 17th century. (fn. 2a) Gravel working on the site of the former airfield and between Beard Mill and the Old Vicarage was authorized c. 1954, and another pit was opened near Linch hill, extending southwards from West End Lane to the parish boundary. By 1978 many of the sites had been worked out and were flooded; that adjoining West End Lane was converted into a trout lake, and in 1976 the Vicarage pit, north of the Hardwick road, became a nature reserve. Worked-out pits on the former airfield remained unlandscaped in 1988, when much of the site was used for processing, offices, and haulage routes; extraction continued in the south-west around Cutmill Farm. In 1978 Oxfordshire county council recommended that no new workings north and east of existing sites should be allowed. (fn. 3a)

Alexander Pope, a friend of the 1st Viscount Harcourt, completed his translation of Homer at Stanton Harcourt manor house during the summers of 1717 and 1718 and contributed epitaphs for monuments in the church. The tower in which he stayed, over the private chapel, was known as Pope's Tower by the early 19th century; a pane of glass from his study, with an autograph inscription, was removed to Nuneham Courtenay for safe keeping before 1809. (fn. 4a) Charles Vyner Brooke, Rajah Muda of Sarawak, lived in Harcourt House as a tenant of the Harcourts from c. 1911. In 1907 King Edward VII is said to have visited the parish while staying at Nuneham Courtenay. (fn. 5a)

The village stocks, probably 18th-century and owned by the lord of the manor, stood in 1876 on the main street of Stanton Harcourt outside the Harcourt Arms, where they remained in 1988. They were restored in 1958, but needed repair in 1974 and 1982. (fn. 6a)


  • 73. Much research for this article was undertaken by Mr. A. Tomkinson, whose help with the text is gratefully acknowledged.
  • 74. O.S. Maps 1/25,000, SP 40/50 (1981 edn.); ½,500, Oxon. XXXII. 10-12, 14-16, XXXVIII. 2-4, 6-7 (1876 edn.); 6", Oxon. XXXII. SE., SW., XXXVIII. NE., NW. (1883 and later edns.); Harcourt estate office, map of 1819.
  • 75. P.N. Oxon. (E.P.N.S.), ii. 282; Eynsham Cart. i, p. 287; Feud. Aids, iv. 163.
  • 76. Above, S. Leigh; below, Church. Northmoor is reserved for treatment in a later vol.
  • 77. O.S. Map 6", Oxon. XXXII. NW., SW. (1883 and later edns.); O.S. Area Bk. (1877); Census, 1881-91, 1951; O.R.O., RO 277; ibid. Stanton Harcourt incl. award.
  • 78. Cf. P.N. Berks. (E.P.N.S.), iii. 731-2.
  • 79. Reserved for treatment in a later vol.
  • 80. Exeter Cathedral Arch., D. & C. MS. 2865 (ref. from Dr. J. Blair); O.R.O., MS. Wills Oxon. 51/4/10; below, Econ.
  • 81. Davis, Oxon. Map (1797); below, Econ.
  • 82. Eynsham Cart. i., pp. 23-4; Grundy, Saxon Oxon. 33-6; above, Eynsham, Intro.
  • 83. Eynsham Cart. ii., p. 172.
  • 84. Below, Manors.
  • 85. Stanton Harcourt Incl. Act, 13 Geo. III, c. 102 (Priv. Act), 10-12; O.R.O., Stanton Harcourt incl. award.
  • 86. Bodl. MSS. d.d. Harcourt e 7, d 23; Harcourt Pps. [1872-1905], ed. E. W. Harcourt, i. 49-50.
  • 87. Geol. Surv. Map 1/50,000, solid and drift, sheet 236 (1982 edn.).
  • 88. Below, Econ.; Bodl. MS. d.d. Harcourt, d 23.
  • 89. Oxon. Fines, 128; Bodl. MS. d.d. Harcourt c 47/4; cf. P.N. Elements (E.P.N.S.). i. 233, 252.
  • 90. Bodl. MS. d.d. All Souls, c 244/50, p. 1; P.N. Oxon. (E.P.N.S.), ii. 282; P.N. Elements (E.P.N.S.), ii. 64; below.
  • 91. Bodl. MSS. d.d. All Souls, c 189/14, c 193, c 194/17.
  • 92. Above, S. Leigh, Intro.
  • 93. V.C.H. Oxon. i. 404; Pipe R. 1159 (P.R.S. i), 34; 1161 (P.R.S. iv), 27; B.L. Lansd. MS. 860A, f. 38v.; Oxon. Fines, 100, 128-9. Perry furlong, west of Tar wood in Home field, was mentioned in 1685: O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. c 2123/28, rot. 3; cf. P.N. Oxon. (E.P.N.S.), ii. 283, 461.
  • 94. V.C.H. Oxon. i. 405; Oxon. Fines, 100, 128-9.
  • 95. Bodl. MS. d.d. All Souls c 192/58; ibid. MS. d.d. Harcourt d 23, p. 4; O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. c 2123/28, rot. 1; O.S. Map 1", sheet 13 (1830 edn.), 45 (1833 edn.); O.S. Map 6", Oxon. XXXII. SW. (1883 edn.); below, Econ.
  • 96. B.N.C. Mun., drawer 107: S. Leigh Sale cat. and map (1875).
  • 97. P.R.O., E 318/22/1183; Bodl. MSS. d.d. Harcourt c 47/19, 32; P.N. Elements (E.P.N.S.), i. 186
  • 98. Oxoniensia, xxix/xxx, 50-3.
  • 99. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 733; F. S. Thacker, Thames Highway (1968), ii. 87.
  • 1. Oxoniensia, xlv. 113; below.
  • 2. Bodl. MS. Top. Oxon. b 21, ff. 18, 20 and v., 22v.; ibid. MS. d.d. Harcourt c 266, p. 23 (with estate map of 1819 in Harcourt estate office); Jefferys, Oxon. Map. (1767).
  • 3. Bodl. MSS. Ch. Oxon. 760-1.
  • 4. Jefferys, Oxon. Map (1767); Davis, Oxon. Map (1797); O.S. Map 1/25,000, SP 40/50 (1981 edn.); O.R.O., incl. award.
  • 5. Jefferys, Oxon. Map (1767); Davis, Oxon. Map (1797); Harcourt estate office, map of 1819; O.S. Map 1", sheet 45 (1833 edn.).
  • 6. O.R.O., incl. award; Jefferys, Oxon. Map (1767); Harcourt estate office, map of 1819.
  • 7. County Mus., P.R.N. 3749; Bodl. MSS. d.d. Harcourt c 47/4-5; b 4/2, f. 17.
  • 8. O.R.O., incl. award; Jefferys, Oxon. Map (1767); Settlement Patterns in Oxon. Region., ed. H. J. Case and A. W. R. Whittle, 104, 117.
  • 9. O.R.O., CCA 4521; Oxf. Mail, 4 May 1979; below.
  • 10. Bodl. MSS. d.d. Harcourt c 47/4; c 47/33, f. 9; b 4/2, f. I.
  • 11. Jefferys, Oxon. Map (1767); O.R.O., incl. award; cf. ibid. MS. Wills Oxon. 196, f. 245; Bodl. MS. d.d. Harcourt b 4/2, f. 4.
  • 12. O.R.O., incl. award; County Mus., P.R.N. 1086.
  • 13. Bodl. MS. d.d. Harcourt c 52/1; O.R.O., incl. award, roads; below, Econ. The name Long Guy, presumably French gué, was recorded in the 16th century: Bodl. MS. Top. Oxon. b 21, f. 4.
  • 14. P.R.O., SC 2/197/38; Grundy, Saxon Oxon. 34; Bodl. MS. d.d. Harcourt b 4/2, ff. 8, 15v., 19; O.R.O. incl. award; O.S. Map 1", sheet 45 (1833 edn.).
  • 15. P.O. Dir. Oxon. (1847 and later edns.).
  • 16. Ibid.; Kelly's Dir. Oxon. (1883 and later edns.); P.R.O., RG 9/904; Rep. Com. on Children and Women in Agric. [4202-1], p. 350, H.C. (1868-9), xiii; O.S. Map ½,500, Oxon. XXXVIII. 3 (1876 edn.); cf. Bodl. MSS. d.d. Harcourt e 27, p. 25, e 25, p. 12.
  • 17. O.S. Maps ½,500, Oxon. XXXVIII. 3 (1913 edn.), SP 4005-4105 (1970 edn.); 1/25,000, SP 40/50 (1981 edn.).
  • 18. Above, Eynsham, Intro.; S. Leigh., Intro.
  • 19. County Mus., P.R.N. 1666-7, 3055-6, 8344, 8723, 12918, 13927; Oxoniensia, viii/ix. 19-63; x. 16-41; xvi. 5-22; xx. 1-28; xxviii. 1-52; xxxi. 1-27; Settlement Patterns Oxon. ed. Case and Whittle, 81-7, 103-117.
  • 20. Cf. Plot, Nat. Hist. Oxon. (1705), 333; S. Simpson, Agreeable Historian (1746), iii. 783; below.
  • 21. O.S. Map 6", Oxon. XXXVIII. NE., NW. (1883 edn.); Oxoniensia, viii/ix. 20.
  • 22. Oxoniensia, viii/ix. 24-34; xxxix. 96-7; Bodl. MS. Top. Oxon. d 192, ff. 319, 328; Oxf. Times, 22 July 1988.
  • 23. Bodl. MS. Top. gen. c 24, f. 67; cf. ibid. MS. Top. Oxon. d 192, ff. 317, 319.
  • 24. T. Warton, Specimen of a Paroch. Hist. Oxon. (1783), 47-8; Kelly's Dir. Oxon. (1883 and later edns.).
  • 25. Oxoniensia, viii/ix. 47-60; xx. 7-12; xlv. 112-23; Settlement Patterns Oxon. ed. Case and Whittle, 115-16.
  • 26. County Mus., P.R.N. 3057, 3381, 3934, 8328-30, 9227.
  • 27. Oxoniensia, x. 33-4, 41.
  • 28. County Mus., P.R.N. 8220, 8723, 8748.
  • 29. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 856.
  • 30. County Mus., P.R.N. 1086, 851; Deserted Villages of Oxon. 30, 41; Deserted Medieval Villages Research Group, 12th Rep (1964), 19-20; P.N. Oxon. (E.P.N.S.), ii. 282; P.N. Elements (E.P.N.S.), i. 231-2, ii. 64.
  • 31. V.C.H. Oxon. i. 404-5; above.
  • 32. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 855-7; P.R.O., E 179/161/10.
  • 33. P.R.O., E 179/161/8, 9, 10; Cal. Inq. p.m. ix, p. 305.
  • 34. P.R.O., E 179/161/42; above, S. Leigh, Intro.
  • 35. R. E. Glasscock, Subsidy 1334, 242; below.
  • 36. P.R.O., E 179/161/194.
  • 37. Protestation Returns, 91-3.
  • 38. P.R.O., E 179/255/4, m. 285.
  • 39. O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. d 557, f. 61.
  • 40. Ibid. d 565, f. 145; Census, 1801-1981.
  • 41. Below, Manors, Church.
  • 42. All Souls Mun., Hovenden map IV. 11.
  • 43. Cf. D. o. E., Revised Hist. Bldgs. List (unpubl.); A. Pacey, Duck End (priv. print. 1985), 28-30, 57-60.
  • 44. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xvi. 139.
  • 45. Cf. Pacey, Duck End, 53, 59; D. o. E., Revised Hist. Bldgs. List (unpubl.).
  • 46. Below, Local. Govt.
  • 47. Bodl. MS. d.d. Harcourt b 4/2, ff. 16v., 17.
  • 48. Jefferys, Oxon. Map (1767); Davis, Oxon. Map (1797); O.R.O., incl. award; cf. Pacey, Duck End, 37-40, 57-9.
  • 49. County Mus., P.R.N. 5703; Pacey, Duck End, 45-61.
  • 50. P.R.O., HO 107/890; P.N. Elements (E.P.N.S.), i. 132.
  • 51. Bodl. MS. d.d. Harcourt b 4/2, f. 15v.
  • 52. Jefferys, Oxon. Map (1767); Davis, Oxon. Map (1797); below.
  • 53. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 856.
  • 54. Below, Local Govt.; Census, 1871; P.R.O., RG 9/904; Bodl. MSS. d.d. Harcourt d 23, p. 12; c 277, lease of W. End Upper Fm.
  • 55. County Mus., P.R.N. 1086; Deserted Medieval Vil lages Research Group, 12th Rep. (1964), 19-20; B.L. Harl. Roll F. 33.
  • 56. P.R.O., C 78/105; O.R.O., Misc. Lancs. VI/6.
  • 57. County Mus., P.R.N. 851; O.S. Map ½,500, Oxon. XXXII. 11 (1876 edn.).
  • 58. Bodl. MS. d.d. Harcourt d 23, p. 2; below, Manors; cf. Eynsham Cart. i., p. 228.
  • 59. Above, S. Leigh, Intro.
  • 60. O.R.O., S. Leigh tithe map; ibid., Stanton Harcourt incl. award; above, S. Leigh, Intro.
  • 61. Pipe R. 1189 (Rec. Com.), 106; 1190 (P.R.S. N.S. i), 11; below, Manors.
  • 62. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 856-7; P.R.O., E 179/161/8, 9, 10; cf. Bodl. MS. Top. Oxon. b 21, f. 27.
  • 63. B.L. Harl. Rolls E. 32, F. 19, F. 33; below, Econ.
  • 64. P.R.O., E 134/31 Chas. II/East. 17; Bodl. MSS. d.d. Harcourt c 47/32; c 47/33, f. 45.
  • 65. Oxf. Fnl. 9 Oct. 1790; Jefferys, Oxon. Map (1787); Davis, Oxon. Map (1797).
  • 66. Bodl. MS. d.d. Harcourt e 25, p. 14; Sale cat., Harcourt Settled Estates (1924), 20-1: copy in Bodl. G. A. Oxon. c 226.
  • 67. Below, Manors.
  • 68. Cf. County Mus., P.R.N. 5703, 2304, 1086; Pacey, Duck End, 7-9; D. o. E., Revised Hist. Bldgs. List (unpubl.); Bodl. MS. d.d. Harcourt c 273/24; below, Econ.
  • 69. Above; cf. Pacey, Duck End, 62-5.
  • 70. Sale cat., Harcourt Settled Estates, 29; D. o. E., Revised Hist. Bldgs. List (unpubl.).
  • 71. Cf. Pacey, Duck End, 26-7.
  • 72. O.S. Map 1", sheet 13 (1830 edn.); D. o. E., Revised Hist. Bldgs. List (unpubl.); below, Church.
  • 73a. O.S. Maps 1", sheets 45 (1833 edn.), 94 (1939 edn.); l/2,500, Oxon. XXXII. 11 (1913 edn.), SP 4008-4108 (1970 edn.); B.N.C. Mun., drawer 107: S. Leigh Sale Cat. (1875); H. C. D. Cooper, 'Saxon Bound of Eynsham', Top. Oxon. vii.
  • 74a. Harcourt estate office, map of 1819; O.S. Maps ½,500, Oxon. XXXII. 15; XXXVIII. 3, 7 (1876 edn.); Bodl. MS. d.d. Harcourt c 266, p. 29.
  • 75a. Bodl. MS. d.d. Harcourt c 266.
  • 76a. Sale cat., Harcourt Settled Estates, 21; Pacey, Duck End, 11.
  • 77a. Cf. Pacey, Duck End, 9-10, 65, 69.
  • 78a. Bodl. MSS. d.d. Harcourt e 25, pp. 12-15; e 27, with loose sketch map; P.R.O., RG 11/1513; cf. Pacey, Duck End, 12, 65-73.
  • 79a. Bodl. MS. d.d. Harcourt e 27; Rep. Com. Women and Children in Agric. [4202-1], p. 350, H.C. (1868-9), xiii; O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Archd. Oxon. c 104, f. 239.
  • 80a. Bodl. MSS. d.d. Harcourt e 25, p. 15, e 27, loose sketch map; O.S. Map ½,500, Oxon. XXXVIII. 3 (1876 and 1899 edns.)
  • 81a. O.S. Map ½,500, Oxon. XXXII. 15 (1876 and 1899 edns.).
  • 82a. Bodl. MS. d.d. Harcourt e 27, p. 134 and map; P.R.O., RG 11/1513.
  • 83a. O.S. Map ½,500, Oxon. XXXII. 15 (1899 edn.); below, Nonconf.
  • 84a. Bodl. MS. d.d. Harcourt e 27, p. 134; O.S. Map ½,500, Oxon. XXXII. 15 (1876 edn.); below, Educ.
  • 85a. P.R.O., HO 107/1731; cf. Jefferys, Oxon. Map (1767); Davis, Oxon. Map (1797); O.S. Map 1", sheet 13 (1830 edn.).
  • 86a. Sale cat., Harcourt Settled Estates, 43; local inf.; cf. O.S. Map 6", Oxon. XXXVIII. NE. (1900 edn.).
  • 87a. O.R.O., QSR Mich. 1702.
  • 88a. Ibid., Trin. 1701; ibid. vctlrs' recogs.; D. o. E., Revised Hist. Bldgs. List (unpubl.).
  • 89a. O.R.O., vctlrs' recogs.; P.O. Dir. Oxon. (1847); P.R.O., HO 107/890; Harcourt estate office, map of 1819; O.S. Map ½,500, Oxon. XXXII. 15 (1876 edn.).
  • 90a. O.S. Maps 6", Oxon. XXXII. SE.; XXXVIII. NE. (1900 edn.); SP 40 NW., SW. (1972 edn.).
  • 91a. Social Services in Oxf. District, ed. A. F. C. Bourdillon, i. 302; Stanton Harcourt Rep. and Policy Statement (W. Oxon. District Council, 1977): copy in Westgate Libr., Oxford; Oxf. Times, 13 July 1962; Pacey, Duck End, 28.
  • 92a. O.S. Map ½,500, SP 4006-4106 (1970 edn.); Stanton Harcourt Rep. and Policy Statement, 1, 6-7; Flexney's Paddock, Stanton Harcourt: Development Control Brief (W. Oxon. District Council, 1984): copies in Westgate Libr., Oxford.
  • 93a. O.S. Map ½,500, SP 4005-4105 (1970 edn.); below, Educ.
  • 94a. Oxf. Times, 13 July 1962.
  • 95a. Sale cat., Harcourt Settled Estates.
  • 96a. Oxf. Times, 13 July 1962; Witney Gaz. 18 Feb. 1971.
  • 97a. Social Services in Oxf. District, ed. A. F. C. Bourdillon, i. 302; Oxf. Times, 13 July 1962; Witney Gaz. 18 Feb. 1971; O.S. Map ½,500, SP 40/50 (1981 edn.); Stanton Harcourt Rep. and Policy Statement (1977), 2.
  • 98a. Oxoniensia, x. 16; O.S. Maps 6", SP 40 NW., SW. (1972 edn.); Witney Gaz. 18 Feb. 1971.
  • 99a. Stanton Harcourt Rep. (1977), 1, 5; Stanton Harcourt Manor Ho., old estate office, Farm Rep. 1965, in possession of Hon. Mrs. A. Gascoigne.
  • 1a. Below, Educ.
  • 2a. Bodl. MS. d.d. All Souls c 244/50, p. 1; O.R.O., incl. award.
  • 3a. Stanton Harcourt Area Minerals Plan, Consultative Doc. (Oxon. C.C. 1978), passim; Co. Map Large Scale Inset, Stanton Harcourt: Land for Working of Minerals (Oxon. C.C. 1954): copies in Westgate Libr., Oxford; Oxf. Mail, 16 Dec. 1976.
  • 4a. Corresp. of A. Pope, ed. G. Sherburn, i. 418, 433, 482-511; G. S. Harcourt, Acct. of Stanton Harcourt (1808), 19, 24; Gent. Mag. lxxxix (1), 393-4; O.S. Map ½,500, Oxon. XXXVIII. 3 (1876 edn.); below, Manors, Church.
  • 5a. Kelly's Dir. Oxon. (1911, 1915); Bodl. MS. d.d. Harcourt b 45, p. 41.
  • 6a. County Mus., P.R.N. 5874; D. o. E., Revised Hist. Bldgs. List (unpubl.); O.S. Map ½,500, Oxon. XXXVIII. 3 (1876 and later edns.).