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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In the century after its foundation the town prospered, acquiring a fair in addition to its original market, (fn. 66) but it remained a small community of tradesmen, craftsmen, and royal servants. Service in the park and household is denoted by 13th-century surnames (fn. 67) such as Parker, Porter, Franklin, Despenser, and Marshall; other names were derived from the building crafts of mason, carpenter, thatcher, and slater, the metal crafts of smith, ironmonger, and plumber, the textile crafts of weaver, dyer, and napper, the clothing trades of tailor and wimpler, the leather crafts of tanner and parchmenter, and the victualling trades of butcher, baker, and vintner. There were turners, a chapman, a harper, and a potter. Evidence adduced for a substantial pottery industry in Woodstock is weak, (fn. 68) requiring the assumption that ovens recorded in the town in 1279 were pottery kilns. Surnames derived from places suggest that most townsmen were recruited from the immediate market area, but there were men from Warwick, Aylesbury, and Marden (Herefs.). Although no early inns were mentioned, it may be significant that the site of one of the principal later medieval inns, the George (later the Marlborough Arms), belonged in 1279 to one of the leading townsmen, Adam Bennet. (fn. 69) Property was concentrated in relatively few hands: the c. 140 houses were held by only 97 rent-payers, and Adam Bennet, Robert Marshall, John at Green, Richard Marden, and the hospital of St. John, Oxford, owed over a third of the total rental. (fn. 70) The hospital's estate had been granted in the mid 13th century by wealthier townsmen, including Marshalls, Turners, Caperuns, and Nortons. (fn. 71)
In 1306, when taxed as demesne at a twentieth, c. 43 contributors paid a total of only c. £3 5s., less than nearby Hanborough or any Oxfordshire market town except Eynsham. (fn. 72) In 1327 Woodstock's assessment of c. 40s. was paid by only 18 inhabitants, of whom 7 paid more than 3s. (fn. 73) In 1334 the town was assessed on total wealth of only c. £38. (fn. 74) Population seems to have declined in the later Middle Ages, and in the early 16th century Woodstock remained among the smallest and least wealthy Oxfordshire towns. (fn. 75) In 1523–4 half c. 60 contributors paid the lowest rate of 4d. on their wages. (fn. 76) Higher subsidy assessments in 1541 and 1547 were accounted for chiefly by the inclusion of Leonard Chamberlain, steward of the manor and park, who in 1547 paid as much as £8 for his lands. (fn. 77) By 1581 the town's assessment and the distribution of its wealth was similar to that of small market twons such as Deddington. (fn. 78)
Late-medieval decline encouraged the concentration of property in fewer hands, a process evident in other small Oxfordshire towns: (fn. 79) in 1468–9 there were only 52 rent-payers, of whom Henry Dogett, three members of the Marshall family, Thomas Spilsby, and William Faulkner, St. John's hospital, and the chapelwardens paid almost half the total rents. (fn. 80) The leading townsmen were drawn from a range of occupations characteristic of small towns, and many who were probably engaged in only local trade reached aldermanic rank: (fn. 81) the bakers John Norris (fl. 1480) and William Cornwell (d. 1552), the butchers William Wise (fl. 1504) and William Skelton (fl. 1580), the tailor John Careless (fl. 1470), and the shoemaker Edmund Aynger (fl. 1580) all became mayor. Some may have combined their trade with innkeeping, notably John Norris who held the Crown in Market Place, while William Cornwell was also a brewer. (fn. 82) Men with probably wider contacts were Richard Bailly (d. 1461), chapman of Woodstock and haberdasher of London, and Robert Austen, variously called chapman and mercer, who as mayor in 1470 apprenticed one of the wealthy Marshalls of Standlake to teach him the business of mercer, wax chandler, and cap maker. (fn. 83) Henry Dogett (d. 1491), whose trade is not recorded, held estates in north Berkshire, was an official of Eynsham abbey, and may have been engaged in the wool trade. (fn. 84) The mercer John Wallis (fl. 1498) probably owned Woodstock's best preserved latemedieval house (no. 6 Market Place) (fn. 85) and seems to have been succeeded there by the mercer John Barnes (or Baron), ten times mayor in the early 16th century.
Weavers, some fairly prosperous and one a German immigrant, were recorded in the 15th century, (fn. 86) and the proportion of the market area devoted to wool and the number of mercers and drapers suggest that the wool and cloth trades were important. In the 1550s a Woodstock man who was neither a woollen nor a staple merchant was reported for buying large quantities of wool contrary to statute. (fn. 87) Brewers, brewhouses, and malthouses were mentioned, (fn. 88) and in 1571 there were at least 17 privately owned malt querns, mostly held by innholders and victuallers, who were challenging the monopoly claimed by the owners of Woodstock mill. (fn. 89)
The town's leaders were only moderately wealthy: John Barnes was taxed in 1523–4 on goods worth £40, William Cornwell on £20; (fn. 90) in 1552 Cornwell's personalty was valued at £108, (fn. 91) but many 16th-century councillors had personalty valued at much less. A few were associated with the royal park. Thomas Croft (d. 1488), a royal servant who shared with his brother the control of Woodstock manor, had commercial interests in London, Bristol, Gloucester, Hereford, Oxford, and Aylesbury, and he endowed a chantry at Woodstock with extensive property in Oxfordshire and Bristol. (fn. 92) In 1468 he held the George inn and two other Woodstock houses, later acquiring more houses and shops and a brewhouse in Old Woodstock. (fn. 93) Edmund Hampden, steward of the manor from 1486, and Robert Whitehill, comptroller of the park from 1496, acquired large houses in the town, and in 1523–4 Margaret Whitehill, widow, was assessed on goods worth £20. (fn. 94) Later stewards, the Chamberlains, and comptrollers, the Whittons, were dominant in the 16th-century borough and their landholdings outside the town were reflected in high subsidy assessments. (fn. 95) Richard Andrews (d. 1554), mayor in 1551, prospered as an agent for the sale of monastic estates: (fn. 96) in 1537, when described as a 'little gentleman' of Oxfordshire, he was living at Yarnton, (fn. 97) and was described between 1542 and 1549 as of Hailes (Glos.), although apparently established at Chaucer's House in Woodstock before 1547. (fn. 98) Andrews was brother-in-law to Leonard Chamberlain, with whom he was closely associated in monastic sales. (fn. 99) Jerome Westall, mercer, innholder, and mayor by 1554, was licensed in 1568, as a groom of the Chamber, to import wine; (fn. 1) he, too, was associated with Leonard Chamberlain's land transactions and owned several Woodstock houses, including one of the principal inns, the Bull. (fn. 2)
Trade attracted outsiders to the town. In 1461 John Pargetter, ironmonger of Chipping Norton, bought a shop in Market Place which his family held for a century. (fn. 3) William Dister (d. 1520) of Bicester acquired two houses in Market Place, later the endowment of a Bicester charity. (fn. 4) A Northampton dyer owned a High Street shop in 1500, (fn. 5) and in 1499 William Harcourt of Cornbury, esquire, acquired the Bull inn. (fn. 6) John Exnyng, a London grocer and staple merchant, acquired some of the Marshalls' Woodstock houses in the late 15th century, later selling them to Sir Thomas Danvers of Waterstock. (fn. 7) In 1553 John Crossley, a Kidlington draper, bought a house in Market Street (later part of the Woodstock Arms) from an Oxford draper, and soon afterwards moved to Woodstock and became mayor in 1558. (fn. 8) In 1566 a London draper was keen to establish a foothold in the town. (fn. 9)
No craft guild seems to have been established, but the corporation regulated trade and supervised apprenticeship arrangements in the borough; the mayor as clerk of the market had wide powers. (fn. 10) The charter of 1453 quit freemen from toll throughout the kingdom, a privilege still recognized in Oxford in 1835. (fn. 11) The exclusive right of freemen to trade in the borough was reinforced by bylaws restricting the activities of 'foreigners': in 1580 it was ordered that none should work in Woodstock except for a freeman, and all journeymen were to be hired for at least a year and in the presence of the mayor. (fn. 12) In 1608 an Oxford saddler was imprisoned for illegally trading outside the market, but an Oxford goldsmith was given exceptional permission to trade in Woodstock while the king was in residence. (fn. 13) Exclusive trading was maintained in the 1660s, (fn. 14) but statutory changes made enforcement increasingly difficult, particularly in the early 18th century when the town contained large numbers of Blenheim workmen. A bylaw of 1705 ordering distraint of unfree traders was repeated in 1715 and 1726, when a test prosecution apparently failed. (fn. 15) Unfree traders were occasionally fined, but in 1769 the council recorded a legal opinion that freemen's exclusive trading rights were unenforceable. (fn. 16) In the 1830s none could remember assertion of the privilege. (fn. 17)
Reference to Woodstock's poverty in the mid 16th century was probably exaggerated, since townsmen were able to rebuild many of the former chantry houses granted to the corporation in 1565. (fn. 18) The grant of additional markets and fairs in that year was followed by an Act in 1576 making Woodstock a staple town. George Whitton, alderman and M.P., probably instigated the Bill and certainly paid for the new wool market; there may have been pressure, too, from Sir Henry Lee, steward of the manor and sheep farmer on a large scale. (fn. 19) The corporation provided a wool barn, and several late 16th-century townsmen were woolmen, some evidently linked with Cirencester. (fn. 20) The new market was only a limited success: in 1602, while defending the borough's privileges as a staple town against the Crown's patentee, the mayor noted that there were only c. 5 townsmen trading in wool and yarn, and although in 1617 all local fellmongers were ordered to trade there the corporation's income from the wool beam fell steadily. (fn. 21)
The dominance of distributive and victualling trades in the town's economy continued in the 17th century. Of the 34 mayors between 1580 and 1700 at least 15 were in distributive trades, including 8 mercers, 3 woollendrapers, 2 ironmongers, a grocer, a haberdasher of hats, and a chandler and fishmonger. At least 12 were in food and drink trades, including 5 innkeepers, 2 vintners, 3 bakers, a maltster, and a butcher; the vintners and two of the bakers also kept inns. The remaining mayors comprised a cutler, 2 glovers of whom one was principally a woolman, and 4 whose trades are unknown. (fn. 22) As elsewhere distinctions between distributive trades were becoming less precise: Thomas Woodward (d. 1668) was variously called mercer and grocer, Richard Hinton (d. 1690) mercer and draper. John Bradshaw (d. 1614), mercer, sold large quantities of cloth, thread, and buttons, but also raisins, sugar, spices, salt, soap, tobacco, aniseed, and gunpowder. (fn. 23) Thomas Sparrow (d. 1678), mercer, who sold a similar range of goods, including cloth valued at over £100, also had a tallow chandler's workshop. (fn. 24) Alexander Johnson (d. 1681), mercer, like Sparrow used the Grocers' Company arms on his trade token, and his shop contained cloth, haberdashery, groceries, and salters' wares. (fn. 25) John Bradshaw's personalty was valued at £180 and that of his brother William (d. 1616), also a mercer, at over £200; their father Ralph (d. 1606), woolman and draper, left goods worth over £400. (fn. 26) Of the Metcalfe family of drapers in the early 17th century William (d. 1608) had shops in Woodstock and Bicester, owned several houses, and besides his 'mansion house' built a large new house in Park Street (nos. 2–8); (fn. 27) his sons Thomas and William both became aldermen. Robert Cooper (d. 1662), ironmonger and alderman, left personalty worth £480, including large quantities of iron in his workshop and malt, grain, and cattle on his Hensington farm. (fn. 28) The later 17th-century mercers Thomas Sparrow and Alexander Johnson left personalty worth £666 and over £700, and Johnson's sons Edmund (d. 1688) and Benjamin (d. 1715), mercers and aldermen, left over £1,000 and £1,600. (fn. 29) John Davies (d. 1711), formerly apprenticed to Benjamin Johnson, also left over £1,000; his widow Grace, Johnson's niece and beneficiary, later married Edward Ryves, town clerk, whose career as a prosperous lawyer and landowner was perhaps founded on her inheritance. (fn. 30)
In 1580 George Whitton complained that the council was monopolized by victuallers 'to the utter decay of the poor'. (fn. 31) In 1608 an inquiry into the dearth of grain named 29 residents with stocks of malt or grain for brewing and baking, and 17 were councillors. (fn. 32) The licensing justices usually distinguished five or six 'ancient inns' from common alehouses, of which there were c. 20 for much of the 17th century; (fn. 33) in 1611 three of the inns were held by aldermen. (fn. 34) In 1616 one alderman was a maltster and the other four were innkeepers, although two had other occupations, and of the common councillors at least six owned inns or alehouses. (fn. 35) The principal inns in the earlier 17th century were the Bull and the Crown in Market Place: (fn. 36) Alderman Thomas Bradshaw (d. 1613) of the Bull left personalty worth c. £240, including costly clothes and books, and a later landlord Joseph Harris (d. 1635), mercer and alderman, left c. £125. (fn. 37) John Glover (d. 1643), baker and innkeeper of the Crown, left more than £200. (fn. 38) Alderman Thomas Williams (d. 1636), baker and innkeeper of the Rose and Crown, was of a family prosperous in Woodstock from the mid 16th century; he probably built the surviving Ancient House (no. 20 High Street). (fn. 39) The vintners William Rayer (d. 1619) and his son Thomas (d. 1662), prosperous aldermen, kept the Bear inn; a later landlord, Edward Fennymore (d. 1700), maltster, made bequests of c. £800. (fn. 40)
Malting and brewing were practised on a large scale by Thomas Browne (d. 1621) who rented a malthouse by the river (later the White Hart inn) and built another at his new house in Park Street (later Fletcher's House); his relict Joan (d. 1625) had malt and barley worth £126, and grew hops. (fn. 41) Jerome Kyte of Chaucer's House also had a riverside malthouse in 1611, and when he opened a brewhouse in 1612 the council stipulated, perhaps because he was a magistrate, that no victualler should be obliged to buy from him; Kyte owned the Talbot inn, a brewhouse in Oxford, Bladon mill, and several houses, and his personalty was worth c. £350. (fn. 42) Other gentlemen apparently concerned in malting and brewing were Benjamin Merrick (d. 1675), who lived at the house later Woodstock House and at his death had a malthouse and malt valued at £400, (fn. 43) and Sir Littleton Osbaldeston (d. 1692) who had a brewhouse at Fletcher's House. (fn. 44) John Williams (d. 1681) built a malthouse on the Back Green, (fn. 45) and the Parker family of maltsters had a malthouse behind no. 14 Oxford Street by 1683. (fn. 46) The ironmonger Edward Silver (d. 1684) and the mercer Benjamin Johnson (d. 1715) both owned malthouses. (fn. 47)
Tradesmen's tokens were issued in the 1650s by the mercers Alexander Johnson, Thomas Sparrow, and Thomas Woodward, and the innkeeper and glover Thomas Painter (d. 1654) of the Three Cups inn (no. 18 Market Place); Painter's son Thomas (d. 1711), a chandler, took over the inn and was many times mayor. (fn. 48) The migration to Woodstock in the later 17th century of tradesmen and craftsmen from market towns such as Bicester and Deddington suggests some revival of the town's economy: they included apothecaries, maltsters, and braziers. (fn. 49) Among 17th-century craftsmen making wills but failing to become councillors were builders, blacksmiths, tailors, shoemakers, glovers, coopers, and barbers. Roger Sturgis (fl. 1612), barber, was also a surgeon. (fn. 50) The importance of coopering is suggested by the designation in the early 17th century of the north side of High Street as Copperyware Street, but few coopers were recorded. Tailors and shoemakers, never wealthy, were not numerous, although in the early 17th century the south side of High Street was designated Shoemakers' and Glovers' Row. (fn. 51) A local rhyme which presumably predates the town's reputation for gloves implies that Woodstock was best known for its bacon, (fn. 52) but no specialist curers were recorded before the 19th century. A bell foundry was established in Woodstock in the 1620s by James Keene (d. 1654), perhaps in 1628 when he agreed to cast a bell in part payment for his freedom of the borough. (fn. 53) He was succeeded by his son Richard, possibly owner of the Bull inn from the 1660s. (fn. 54) The Keenes were recorded at several addresses, notably the later no. 52 Oxford Street, (fn. 55) but the site of their foundry, apparently closed in the 1680s, has not been firmly identified. (fn. 56)
Assertions about Woodstock's early importance as a gloving centre are unsubstantiated. A Woodstock glover was indicted for Lollardy in 1415, (fn. 57) and regulations of c. 1580 for the fell market restricted resident glovers to two buyers and foreign glovers to one. (fn. 58) The few glovers recorded in the 16th and 17th centuries included three who were prosperous enough to become aldermen, but all may have derived their wealth from other occupations: John Phillips, alderman in 1580, was briefly the lessee of Woodstock mill, (fn. 59) William Fly, mayor in 1618, was also a wool merchant, (fn. 60) and John Raunson, who died as mayor in 1611, may have been primarily a dealer in wool and fells. His stock in 1611 included no gloves, but a quantity of wool, 1,660 large sheepskins, 33 buckskins, some 'soft skins' and white leather, and, in a limepit near the river, a further 350 sheepskins, 25 doeskins, and 3 buckskins: the total value of his personalty was only £66. (fn. 61) Other glovers seem to have been poor, and Andrew Homes, who had a limepit behind his house near Woodstock mill, was twice accused of receiving stolen goods. (fn. 62) Anthony Wood and Robert Plot, aware of the important Oxford glove industry, made no reference to gloving in Woodstock, nor is there evidence that in the 16th century and early 17th Woodstock gloves were prized for their quality or were presented to kings and queens by Oxford university. (fn. 63) In 1611 a Woodstock man, when choosing presents, bought plain gloves in Woodstock but expensive gloves in Oxford. (fn. 64) The known makers of the gloves given regularly by the university to kings at Woodstock were Oxford men. (fn. 65) The identification of surviving gloves of Elizabeth I as Woodstock gloves was apparently first made in the mid 19th century, long after Oxford's reputation for gloves was forgotten, by a Woodstock glove master who likened their cut and style to gloves still made in the town. (fn. 66a)
The glove industry's decline in Oxford began in the later 17th century and was complete by the mid 18th. (fn. 67a) It flourished simultaneously at Woodstock, albeit on a small scale, probably because the town's few established glovers supplied luxury goods to fashionable visitors to Blenheim and thus withstood competition from cheaper products. Woodstock was known for wash leather gloves by the 1690s and by the mid 18th century its reputation was for expensive gloves of the best wash leather. (fn. 68a) There is no evidence of a migration of Oxford glovers to Woodstock. Its freedom from guild regulations and easier access to rural out-workers may have helped gloving there, although it is not known whether out-workers were employed on a large scale until the later 18th century. In 1768 only 40–50 men and women, earning 8s.–9s. a week, were said to be employed in the industry. (fn. 69a) Apprentice glovers were rarely recorded, and there seem to have been only two or three established masters in the earlier 18th century: (fn. 70a) Alderman Samuel Heath (d. 1726), who left personalty worth as much as £636 and was succeeded by his son Samuel (d. 1767), probably worked at nos. 2–4 High Street; (fn. 71a) John Norman (d. 1760), fellmonger and glover, and his sons Laurence (d. 1754) and Richard (d. 1779) owned nos. 44–6 Oxford Street and probably had their workshop there: (fn. 72a) Richard, who may have derived his wealth from other sources, was many times mayor.
By the mid 18th century Woodstock was renowned also for its manufacture of polished steel. (fn. 73a) Horseshoe nails were re-used (fn. 74a) to produce distinctive, highly polished, studded jewellery and objects such as watch chains, buckles, scissors, buttons, and boxes. (fn. 75a) Woodstock jewellery was noted for its unusual lustre and its use of screwed studs rather than rivets, which eased polishing. (fn. 76a) It was sold in London and its international reputation was spread by fashionable tourists: in 1759 buckles were ordered for the king of Prussia, and in 1768 the king of Denmark, on a visit to Blenheim, bought gloves and steel. (fn. 77a) Because of elaborate decoration even small items such as scissors were 'amazing dear', selling for 30 gn. or more. (fn. 78a) The corporation in 1802 paid c. £38 for a box in which to present to Viscount Clifden the freedom of the borough; (fn. 79a) a Garter star for the duke of Marlborough cost 50 gn., and a 2 oz. chain sold in France for £170. (fn. 80a)
The craft's introduction to Woodstock was attributed locally to an early 18th-century whitesmith, Henry Metcalfe. (fn. 81a) Assertions that it was established much earlier derive solely from a poetic reference of 1598 to a man's ruff which 'did eate more time in neatest setting/ Then Woodstocks worke in painfull perfecting/ It hath more doubles farre, then Ajax shield': Thomas Warton assumed in the 1780s, when the fame of Woodstock jewellery was at its height, that the allusion was to the 'laboured nicety' of the craft, but the only Woodstock work likely to have been familiar to the 16th-century author was the legendary labyrinth 'of Daedalian workmanship' associated with 'Fair Rosamund'. (fn. 82a) There is no reference to steel work in Woodstock earlier than the 18th century, and although blacksmiths and braziers were recorded regularly there were no whitesmiths, the likeliest practitioners of the craft. In 1695 a smith called Hunt was admitted to the freedom as 'an ingenious man', (fn. 83a) but the nature of his skill is not known.
Henry Metcalfe (d. 1738) bought his freedom as a gunsmith in 1715 (fn. 84a) and by 1718 was taking apprentices as a whitesmith. His son Henry (d. 1807), nine times mayor from 1753, called himself whitesmith and polished steel worker. Together the Metcalfes took on at least 15 apprentices between 1718 and 1776, (fn. 85a) the earliest being George Eldridge (d. 1764), a master by 1734 and later one of the town's principal steel workers; (fn. 86a) his son George (d. 1814) and grandsons George (d. 1834), William (d. 1815), and John Eldridge (d. 1824) were all steel workers. (fn. 87a) Other masters included Alderman Thomas Grantham, grocer and steel worker (d. 1776), (fn. 88a) established by 1734, his son Thomas (also d. 1776), and two of their apprentices Thomas Wyatt, established by 1766, and William Harrison (d. 1807), established by 1768. (fn. 89a) Robert Kerwood (d. 1831) was the son of a steel worker, William (d. 1806), who was apprenticed to George Eldridge in 1743. (fn. 90a)
George Eldridge (d. 1814) was steel jeweller to the queen; (fn. 91a) he lived and worked at the large block of houses and shops east of the town hall (no. 2 Market Place, no. 1 High Street), rebuilt by his father. (fn. 92a) The Metcalfes may have worked at no. 17 High Street which they owned from c. 1734. (fn. 93a) The Granthams lived at no. 15 Market Street but may have worked steel at a shop bought c. 1764 from George Eldridge, the site of no. 5 High Street. (fn. 94a) Thomas Wyatt in 1764 had his workshop in High Street, apparently on the site of no. 24. (fn. 95a)
In 1768 the steel industry employed 20–30 hands, journeymen earning between 15s. and 2 gn. a week. (fn. 96a) Competition from cheaper Birmingham and Wolverhampton wares was intense by the 1780s, (fn. 97a) and in 1807 mass-produced products from the Midlands were blamed for the collapse of Woodstock's industry, which by then employed fewer than a dozen men. (fn. 98a) George Eldridge (d. 1834) had turned to his family's other interest, gloving, and was later called variously ironmonger, brazier, and tinman. (fn. 99a) Two steel workers were recorded as late as 1830 and occasional steel items were said to have been made until the 1860s. (fn. 1a)
The building of Blenheim in the early 18th century brought sudden prosperity to the town, providing direct employment for building craftsmen, carters, and labourers, and creating demand for lodgings, goods, and services. Some townsmen established flourishing businesses while others overreached themselves and suffered badly as the Blenheim debt accumulated. (fn. 2a) By 1728, when the building was almost complete, it was noted that the townsmen were generally poor. (fn. 3a) Even so the palace and park permanently benefited the town by providing direct employment and the benefits of tourism.
The town's e´lite was drawn from a wider range of occupations. Of the 30 18th-century mayors 12 were in the distributive trades, including 3 apothecaries, 2 mercers, 2 grocers, 1 draper, 1 ironmonger, and 3 (all members of the Hatley family) who were haberdashers of hats but may have derived their wealth chiefly from malting; the food and drink trades were represented by 3 innkeepers and a maltster, and there were 3 carpenters (all Simmonses), 2 carriers, 2 glovers, 2 whitesmiths, a saddler, a tailor, a smith, a cabinet maker and auctioneer, and an attorney and banker. (fn. 4a) The Hodgkinson family of drapers, later called Hodgkinson Bobart, were established in the early 18th century at nos. 2–8 Park Street where the Prescott family continued as mercers and drapers throughout the 19th century. (fn. 5a) Thomas Grantham (d. 1776) was succeeded in his grocery business at no. 15 Market Street by William Carter, whose family continued there until the 1850s. (fn. 6a) The Brotherton family of ironmongers prospered from the late 17th century: John (d. 1727), apprenticed in and later a freeman of Oxford, was six times mayor of Woodstock from 1694, and was succeeded in the business by a son Josiah (d. 1744), Josiah's wife Elizabeth (d. 1762), and other Brothertons until c. 1830. (fn. 7a) The Brothertons were for much of the 18th century at no. 6 Market Place, moving to no. 9 before 1770. (fn. 8a)
Apothecaries increased in number as Woodstock developed as a social centre. Zachary Hindes (d. 1737) settled in the town in 1688 and several other apothecaries in the early 18th century. (fn. 9a) Hindes's son Zachary (d. 1777) passed on his business at no. 5 Market Place to his partner George Coles (d. 1814), who called himself surgeon; (fn. 10a) Coles's son George (d. 1841), mayor and surgeon, was a fellow of the Linnaean Society and his son George was a medical practitioner in Woodstock until the 1860s. (fn. 11a) Another prominent 18th-century apothecary, Alderman Richard Bartholomew (d. 1798) of Bartholomew House (no. 9 Market Street), also practised medicine and his son-in-law Charles Heynes (d. 1836), was an apothecary and surgeon. (fn. 12a)
The demand for professional services brought prosperity to lawyers, particularly to successive members of the Ryves and North families, town clerks; (fn. 13a) by the early 19th century there were two firms of solicitors besides Henry North. (fn. 14a) New occupations such as auctioneer and house agent emerged in the later 18th century: in the 1790s John Churchill and his son Benjamin were cabinet makers, upholders, and auctioneers, and by the 1820s there were three auctioneers in the town. (fn. 15a) Joseph Brooks, mayor in 1794, was an attorney, agent to the duke of Marlborough, and a founding partner in 1790 of Oxford's University and City bank; in 1805 he opened a bank in Woodstock at no. 12 Oxford Street, combining with it a servants' agency, brokerage office, and house agents. On his death in 1807 he was in financial difficulty and his property, which included the Marlborough Arms, was sold. The bank was carried on by Cox & Morrell of Oxford until the 1840s. (fn. 16a)
Malting remained important in the town: the Hatleys, hatters and maltsters, and Miles Parker (d. 1719), a maltster also concerned in the financial administration of the Blenheim works, built two of the town's notable early 18th-century houses, (fn. 17a) and the Grove family probably at Fletcher's House and Henry Taylor and later the Priors at Chaucer's House were prominent maltsters. (fn. 18a) Improved transport brought prosperity to the town's many inns, particularly the Marlborough Arms and the Bear, and provided employment for wheelwrights, coachmakers, and other related trades. Adam Bellinger was operating a carrying service to London by 1708 and was involved in transport of materials to Blenheim; in the later 18th century the Bellingers ran a twice weekly service to London. Another Adam (d. 1794), carrier and corn factor, and his son John (d. 1803) were aldermen, and built no. 14 Market Street; the Bellingers continued as corn factors into the late 19th century. (fn. 19a)
A tradition of local building seems to have survived the completion of Blenheim. The Simmons family of carpenters owned much property; (fn. 20a) Joseph and John Chapman (d. 1794, 1799), carpenters, and John Churchill (d. 1796), cabinet maker, were also builders. (fn. 21a) Resident masons included the Paine family, (fn. 22a) George Pearson (d. 1763, who bequeathed six houses and over £200, John Staveley (d. 1746), (fn. 23a) and his apprentice John Hooper (d. 1772), who owned a quarry at Bladon and left bequests of over £900; Hooper was the mason for Woodstock's town hall in 1766, and his work elsewhere included the shell of Nuneham Courtenay house. (fn. 24a) The Scriven family of plumbers and glaziers (fn. 25a) and the Weller family of slatters and plasterers prospered in the 18th century. (fn. 26a) Of 18th-century tradesmen leaving wills those in the food and drink trades formed the largest group, particularly innkeepers, butchers, and bakers. Woodstock tradesmen patronized by Blenheim in 1784 included also 2 shoemakers, 2 weavers, and 5 tailors. (fn. 27a)
There are signs in the later 18th century that Woodstock's market declined as Oxford's market flourished. (fn. 28a) The glove industry, however, expanded rapidly and by the 1790s there were six manufacturers, of whom three also made leather breeches and one was principally a draper; another man was a specialist breeches maker. (fn. 29a) In 1807 the demand for breeches was said to have declined but output of gloves had multiplied in the previous decade from 20–30 dozen pairs a week to 350–400 dozen. Woodstock's speciality remained elegant wash leather gloves, flexible and durable; doe skin gloves might cost 5s. but were expected to last a year. Between 60 and 70 men, earning 21s.–30s. a week, were employed in preparing and cutting leather, and the gloves were sewn by 1, 400–1,500 women, mostly out-workers in surrounding villages, earning 8s.–12s. a week. (fn. 30a)
The principal late 18th-century manufacturers were the Cross, Money, Eldridge, and Dewsnap families. (fn. 31a) In 1788 Richard Cross, Knap Money, and Joseph Dewsnap were convicted for evading stamp duty on gloves. (fn. 32a) The Cross family had workshops behind no. 26 High Street and Richard Cross (d. 1807) probably built the imposing no. 24 High Street; later the family also had a retail glove shop near the park gate. (fn. 33a) Knap Money (d. 1790) may have worked from no. 6 Oxford Street, (fn. 34a) but from 1809 the Moneys were established at no. 10 Oxford Street before moving in the 1850s to Hope House (no. 14), where they used the former malthouse range for gloving until the 1930s. (fn. 35a) In the 1770s Sarah Eldridge ran a gloving business next to her brother's steel jewellery shop at no. 1 High Street, (fn. 36a) bequeathing it in 1800 to her nephew George Eldridge (d. 1834), who was a leading manufacturer in 1807 but later ceased gloving. (fn. 37a) Joseph Dewsnap (d. 1812) probably had his workshop on the site of the Feathers hotel in Market Street. (fn. 38) By the 1820s there were at least 14 glovers, including 5 at Old Woodstock, (fn. 39a) which remained an important centre of the industry; leather dressing was carried out there, and in the period 1810–20 at least 9 families of leather dressers were resident. (fn. 40a) The expansion of the industry was stimulated by outsiders: in 1813 there was a London glover at Manor Farm, Old Woodstock, and after his bankruptcy another company from outside Woodstock continued business there until 1823. (fn. 41a) The prominent gloving families of Webley and Godden moved to Old Woodstock in the 1820s from Worcester and London, and by the 1870s many of the town's skilled glovers were from Worcester and Yeovil (Som.). (fn. 42a)
Dependence on gloving exposed the town to the sharp fluctuations of the trade. By the 1830s Woodstock was 'not flourishing' and its decline after 1815, reflected in a 25 per cent fall in property values and a steep increase in poor rates, (fn. 43a) was attributed to increased imports of gloves in the later 1820s. The rise in poor rates, however, had begun earlier, only c. 200 out of a population of c. 1,400 were engaged in gloving, and few glovers received poor relief; a more likely cause of distress was the permanent reduction of the Blenheim household after 1817. Some alleged that output of gloves had halved in the decade from 1824 but others pointed to a recovery, particularly in exports, claiming that there was no serious unemployment despite the fall in prices, profits, and wages. (fn. 44a) Industrial unrest was evident by 1830 when two glovers, James Hedges and George Dewsnap, were convicted for using the truck system and their effigies burned outside their houses. (fn. 45a)
Failure to establish a railway link until 1890 adversely affected the town's markets, coaching inns, tourist trade, and primary industry; the hinterland which it provided with goods and services diminished. Economic distress, particularly acute in the 1840s, continued to be attributed to the state of the glove industry, (fn. 46a) but the problem was wider: even at its height, gloving remained small-scale and employed relatively few townspeople. In 1841 only 85 of c. 1,800 residents in the borough and Old Woodstock were directly engaged in the industry, and in 1851 only 180 out of c. 1,690. (fn. 47a)
In 1839 the number of manufacturers was reduced to nine, employing 120–150 men and over 1,000 women. The principal glovemaster, Richard Taylor (d. 1841), lessee from 1823 of Manor Farm, Old Woodstock, was employing 30 men and producing 150 dozen pairs of gloves a week; another prominent glover, Samuel Green of no. 11 Park Street, employed 12 men and over 100 women, producing 50–60 dozen pairs. In 1839 both men were demanding a direct rail link between Oxford and London, for by then Woodstock glovers imported processed leather from London and sent most of their finished goods there. (fn. 48a) The characteristic Woodstock glove, renowned for its 'lily white appearance' and conventionally called doe skin, was made from sheep skin, dressed and dyed locally, and finished on the flesh side of the skin. Until the First World War the army ordered white, pipeclayed gloves in large quantities. Heavier deer skin gloves continued to be made, but in 1839 no kid gloves, while cheaper tanned leather gloves, finished on the fur side of the skin, were not introduced until later in the 19th century. (fn. 49a) Lack of reference to Woodstock fellmongers or tanners in the 18th century suggests that the importation of partially finished leather was long established.
In 1842 the Woodstock glovers petitioned against proposed tariff reductions on imported gloves. (fn. 50a) The bankruptcy of Benjamin Billing Cross in 1840 was followed by financial difficulties for other leading glovers in the next decade, and later the prominent J. N. Godden was temporarily insolvent. (fn. 51a) Estimates of total output ranged from 350 dozen in 1847 to 600 dozen in 1852 (fn. 52a) but trade remained very variable in the 1850s; there was industrial unrest, particularly in factories where the truck system was operated. (fn. 53a) In 1866 the Woodstock glovers were condemned for their dependence on commission from London firms, which frequently left them without orders for months, and it was alleged that they usually employed only 100–150 workers, mostly in Old Woodstock; the glovers' claim that trade was steady, providing employment for a minimum of 200 men and 1,500 women, was probably exaggerated, since in 1861 there were only c. 200 male glovers in the whole county outside Oxford. (fn. 54a) Some machine stitching had been introduced by 1871, when there were at least 11 resident machinists; total numbers in the industry had increased to c. 210 in the borough and Old Woodstock, but during the 1870s there was a decline to fewer than 100. (fn. 55a)
Until the introduction of purpose-built factories in the late 19th century gloving was carried on in small workshops, often behind houses in the central streets. By 1851 Sampson Godden was at no. 50 Oxford Street, which became one of the principal glove factories; he was employing 6 men and 70 women, and continued to use the glove workshop at Manor Farm into the 1860s. (fn. 56a) J. N. Godden, employing 150 workers, lived in Park Street but may have worked elsewhere, and in 1855 took over the former cockpit in Rectory Lane (fn. 57a) which remained a glove factory until the 20th century. William Ryman, the largest employer in 1851 with 43 men and 600 women, lived in Brook Hill on the later gas works site, but seems also to have worked in Old Woodstock. (fn. 58a) In the 1860s he was briefly established at nos. 22–4 Oxford Street, which had been a glove workshop in the early 19th century and was later taken over by Christopher Daggett, (fn. 59a) who in 1871 was Woodstock's largest glove manufacturer with 42 employees; (fn. 60a) Benjamin Disraeli visited Daggett's workshop in 1873. (fn. 61a) In 1871 H. K. Money employed 30 workers at Hope House and Edmund Webley, earlier established in Old Woodstock, employed 32 workers at no. 58 Oxford Street. (fn. 62a) Other long established gloving sites were the buildings on the southern corner of Market Street and Oxford Street, occupied by the Mears family of glovers for much of the 19th century, and no. 10 Oxford Street which, after the Moneys moved, was occupied by Thomas Edwards and his successor Eden Brice, both specialist manufacturers of sports equipment; Brice later moved to the workshop at nos. 22–4 Oxford Street. (fn. 63a) After 1871 Richard Lay, a tobacconist at no. 11 Market Place, turned to gloving and in 1881 was employing 30 workers. (fn. 64a)
The opening of the railway in 1890 encouraged outside firms to invest in and fully mechanize Woodstock's glove industry, and by the 1930s, after the closure of the Moneys' workshop, all the main factories were branches of larger enterprises; the number of out-workers was reduced to fewer than 200, and there were 90 men and 150 women in the Woodstock factories, which produced 750–800 pairs of gloves a week. Leather dressing in Woodstock had largely died out and although expensive deer and doe skin gloves were still made the chief product was cheaper, mass-produced gloves. (fn. 65a)
In 1889 (fn. 66b) a London company, Pullman's, built a factory at Hensington, at first called the Woodstock Glove Co. but R. & J. Pullman's from the early 20th century; it closed in 1966. (fn. 67b) By 1891 the Worcester company of Frank Bryan had opened a factory at Glove House in Old Woodstock which produced sports gloves until the 1960s. Webley's premises at no. 58 Oxford Street were taken over by Atherton & Clothier of Yeovil in 1915 and a factory added; (fn. 68b) the firm closed c. 1957. Godden's cockpit factory was taken over c. 1908 by A. G. Spalding Bros. and was occupied by successive companies, including Dent & Allcroft of Charlbury, who bought the premises in 1943 but ceased gloving there soon after the war. (fn. 69b) Crutch's glove factory in New Road, Hensington, was opened c. 1924 and closed in the 1950s. (fn. 70b) In 1953 Pullman's factory employed 100 workers and 200 out-workers, but soon after its closure only 35 people in Woodstock were employed in gloving. (fn. 71b) A. R. Lay's at no. 11 Market Place was continued as a glove factory by the Blenheim, later the Glyme, Glove Co. and by L. E. Clothier from c. 1969 until its closure in the 1980s. By c. 1910 Benjamin Webley had a glove factory in the former industrial school behind his house, no. 24 Park Street; in 1967 the premises were taken over by Woodstock Leathercraft Co., (fn. 72b) the only Woodstock glove manufacturer to survive in 1987.
Although Woodstock declined as a market town in the 19th century it retained a range of shops and services which far exceeded the needs of its own population: it provided not only for its market area but for Blenheim's flourishing tourist trade. (fn. 73b) In 1830 the shops included 5 grocers and tea dealers, 5 general shops, 4 drapers and a haberdasher, 3 stationers (one a bookseller), a chemist, a watchmaker, several ironmongers, and many butchers and bakers; there were 6 shoemakers, 7 tailors, and 8 milliners or hatters, of whom many probably had shops. Professional services were provided by a bank, 3 doctors, and 2 solicitors, and there were 15 inns or alehouses. The building and metal trades were well represented, and there were 3 wheelwrights, 3 saddlers, and a coachmaker; there were 3 coal merchants, 2 corn dealers, and a currier and cheese factor. (fn. 74b) Increasing economic problems from the 1840s were reflected in futile efforts to expand the market and to establish rail links, and from c. 1844 the Marlborough Arms was closed as an inn for over ten years. The decline of Woodstock's trade and consequent fall in property values was attributed directly to the passing of the coaching era. (fn. 75b) Even so the town retained as many as 9 grocers and 9 drapers, and the number of solicitors increased to four. (fn. 76b) Woodstock Savings Bank, recorded from the 1830s until the 1890s, operated from a rented room in the town hall. (fn. 77b) In 1841 Gillett & Tawney of Banbury opened a bank at no. 15 Market Street, which moved to no. 16 Park Street in the 1870s and was taken over by Barclays in 1919. (fn. 78b) About the same time the National Provincial (later National Westminster) bank opened a branch at no. 16 Market Place. (fn. 79b)
At the Great Exhibition of 1851 Woodstock was represented by deer and sheep skin gloves by Elizabeth Money and a machine for separating and cleaning seeds designed by John Gillam, landlord of the Bear Hotel, who was made an honorary freeman. (fn. 80b) John Fardon (d. 1865), from a Deddington clockmaking family, made long case clocks at no. 6 Market Place from 1805, and clockmaking was continued by his son and daughter-in-law at no. 3 Market Place until the early 20th century. (fn. 81b) John Dean, ironmonger at no. 9 Market Place by 1849, sold cattle troughs and other ironware made at his Blenheim Foundry at Sturdy's Castle: he established a branch at Oxford by 1866 and soon afterwards moved there permanently. (fn. 82b) John Parker, upholsterer and cabinet maker, who employed 9 assistants in 1871 at no. 18 Market Place, manufactured a patent earth closet, of which, allegedly, over 20,000 were in use. (fn. 83b)
Poor communications were reflected in the period 1851–71 by a fall in the number of carriers from 4 to 1, and of solicitors and doctors from 10 to 6; otherwise there was little change in the occupational structure, except for the increase in glovers. (fn. 84b) By 1900 the range and number of shops and services was broadly similar to that of 1830. The effect of the railway and later the motor car on the tourist trade was reflected by the 4 cafe´s and 3 boarding houses which supplemented the town's inns and public houses in the 1930s. The owner of the Marlborough Arms, however, attributed the notable revival of his trade to the Second World War, which brought first Malvern College and then government employees to Blenheim Palace, and an influx of middle-class refugees from London. (fn. 85b) After the war another hotel, the Dorchester (later the Feathers) was opened. The reduction in the number of drapers, tailors, and furniture sellers in the early 20th century suggests that better communications were enabling Woodstock people to buy elsewhere. (fn. 86b) By 1967 over 60 residents were employed in hotels and catering; the town's 54 shops included 5 antique shops and 4 cafe´s, (fn. 87b) and by the 1980s the dependence on tourism was even more marked.
Long lived businesses, besides those mentioned above, included Banbury's, drapers, at nos. 18–20 Oxford Street since the 1850s. (fn. 88b) Gabriel Banbury (d. 1911), apprenticed in Woodstock from Burford in 1829, was first established in High Street; he and his son John prospered and became influential figures in the town. (fn. 89b) W. C. Brotherton (d. 1928), descended from a junior branch of the prominent 18th-century Brothertons, set up a boot and shoe warehouse in the 1870s, married into the Banbury family, and extended his business to include furniture, china, and ironmongery. He moved c. 1879 from Oxford Street to no. 6 Market Place, and from c. 1900 until 1977 the family business was carried on in the High Street premises, later Brotherton's Wine Bar. (fn. 90b) No. 1 Market Street was a chemist's shop from 1834 until c. 1968. (fn. 91b) Freeman's butchers at no. 10 High Street occupies a site used as a butchers' shop continuously from the later 18th century, and possibly from the mid 17th when Thomas Brown, butcher, was occupant. (fn. 92b) No. 48 Oxford Street, where Wiggins's bakery closed in the 1970s, was probably a bakery in the early 19th century. (fn. 93b) In c. 1849 William Budd, an established baker in Woodstock, took over no. 18 High Street from James Gibbons, baker, probably a relative, and the bakery remained in the Budd family until closed in 1938. (fn. 94b) William Eccles (d. 1876), printer, was established in the 1830s at no. 7 Market Place, moving in 1851 to no. 5 where his son William (d. 1885) worked as printer, stationer, bookseller, and postmaster; the firm published a guide to Blenheim which passed through many editions. (fn. 95b) From the 1930s Miss J. M. Shelmerdine worked as a hand printer and later founded at no. 11 Park Street the Samson Press, which continued until c. 1970. (fn. 96b)
Light industrial firms were established after the Second World War, notably Owen Mumford's makers of medical equipment in the former glove factory at nos. 58–60 Oxford Street from the 1950s, moving to a new factory in Brook Hill c. 1972. (fn. 97b) Hensington works, the former Pullman's glove factory, was occupied by several small firms, mostly concerned with building supplies, until demolished in the 1980s. (fn. 98b)
Markets and Fairs
When Henry II founded the borough he granted a Tuesday market of which the tolls were to be paid to the Exchequer. (fn. 99b) In some years the tolls were included in the farm of the borough, (fn. 1b) but for much of the 13th century and early 14th the bailiffs of Woodstock manor accounted annually for tolls of between £2 and £3. (fn. 2b) In 1565 Queen Elizabeth I granted an additional, Friday, market for wool and other wares, allowing the mayor the profits of weighing wool, and ordering the use of weights similar to those of Cirencester (Glos.). (fn. 3b) Woodstock's status as a staple town from the later 16th century briefly stimulated the wool market. (fn. 4b) The Friday market was still recorded in the late 18th century but was probably moribund: an early 19th-century rector pointed to its neglect as a potential cause of economic decay. (fn. 5b) The Tuesday market was said to be well attended in 1852 but declined sharply thereafter; (fn. 6b) a monthly sheep and cattle market on Tuesdays, planned in connexion with a proposed railway, (fn. 7b) began in 1869, and there may have been no weekly market thereafter. (fn. 8b) The cattle market flourished in the later 19th century, and a thousand sheep were regularly sold. (fn. 9b) By 1912 it was in decline but continued on a small scale until 1930; it was revived as a fortnightly market in 1932 and abandoned after a year. (fn. 10b)
In 1250 Henry III granted a three-day fair at the feast of St. Matthew (21 Sept.), for which no toll was payable to the king. (fn. 11b) Before 1318 another fair was established at the feast of St. Mary Magdalene (22 July), the dedication day of Woodstock's chapel; by then both fairs lasted two days, but at the request of the tenants of Woodstock manor were extended in 1319 to eight days before each feast and eight days after. (fn. 12b) Both fairs were confirmed at the incorporation of the borough in 1453, but for five days each. (fn. 13b) In 1565 the borough was granted two additional, four-day, fairs at Lady Day and the feast of St. Nicholas (6 Dec.). (fn. 14b) In the early 17th century the four fairs each lasted one day. (fn. 15b) In 1656 the corporation asked for additional fairs on Whit Tuesday and All Saints day, (fn. 16b) and the abortive borough charter of 1688 granted a three-day fair on the Tuesday after Candlemas. (fn. 17b) Fairs may long have been held on those days without formal authority, for although no additional fairs were granted in the borough's governing charter of 1665 (fn. 18b) the Whitsun and All Saints day fairs were evidently traditional in the mid 18th century, (fn. 19b) and a Tuesday market in February was later acknowledged as a cattle fair. (fn. 20b)
Under the Act of 1751 the four authorized fairs were put back 11 days, (fn. 21b) so that in the late 18th century the seven fairs were held on the second Tuesday after 2 February, 5 April, Whit Tuesday, 2 August, 2 October, the Tuesday after 1 November, and 17 December. A fair on 1 December was sometimes listed. (fn. 22b) In the 1720s the Lady Day and Magdalene fairs were publicized as leather fairs. (fn. 23b) During the 18th century several fairs, particularly the St. Matthew's fair, were noted for cheese; large quantities were sold there in the 1760s and 1780s, and in September 1796 over 200 tons of cheese were pitched there, although sales were 'dull'. In 1806 the October cheese fair was 'never better attended'. (fn. 24b) The fairs in February and on 17 December were the chief cattle fairs, the August fair was noted for cherries, and the Whitsun fair was partly a pleasure fair; some fairs were noted for horses, of which large numbers, mostly cart horses, were brought for sale in September 1796. (fn. 25b) Except for the fair on 1 December all survived until the mid 19th century; in 1852 the February cattle fair, immediately following a popular cattle fair at Reading (Berks.), was said to be flourishing. (fn. 26b) Proposals of 1843–4 to establish a wool fair in July seem to have failed, (fn. 27b) and by the 1860s the cattle and cheese fairs had ceased, leaving only a 'statute fair' on the first Tuesday in October. It was partly a hiring fair but by the 1870s hiring was dying out and it became chiefly a pleasure fair. (fn. 28b) A fair on that day continued in the 1980s. An August sheep fair was briefly revived in 1893. (fn. 29b)
For most of their history the markets and fairs were held in the central streets, whose changing names reflected the principal divisions of the market. (fn. 30b) Most stalls were erected and dismantled on the day, (fn. 31b) although the butcher's stalls or shambles seem to have been permanent. Other structures associated with the market were the open ground floors of the medieval guild hall and the 18th century town hall, the roofed bench around the High Cross, and the shambles or market house of 1766. (fn. 32b) The later 19th-century cattle market centred on the green at the junction of Oxford Street and Rectory Lane, but there was a separate sheep market, probably further north in Oxford Street, and pigs were sold in Market Street. (fn. 33b) In 1888 the cattle and pig market was moved into the large yard behind the Old Angel inn, later the National Westminster Bank, and the sheep market to the open space in front of the town hall. Later the yard was given up, but by 1909 the inconvenience of a street market was causing concern and from 1912 until 1933 the yard was again used, although sheep were also penned in Market Place. (fn. 34b)
The borough charter of 1453 granted the assize of bread and of ale to the mayor, and the charter of 1565 allowed him to hold piepowder courts at the fairs. (fn. 35b) Although royal clerks of the market were barred from the borough by the charter of 1453, the corporation welcomed clerks general and clerks of the verge during the frequent royal visits of the late 16th century and early 17th, and allowed them to declare the assize. (fn. 36b) Usually, however, the mayor acted as clerk of the market, and at regular courts of assize, after the jury had presented the current market price of grain, he set the prices of bread, ale, and sometimes a wide range of other products. (fn. 37b) The jury also presented breaches of the assize and offences relating to weights and measures, and the same court checked and sealed private measures. (fn. 38b) In the 1670s the corporation's new Exchequer standard was used to check the measures used in the villages for which Woodstock was the market town, an area stretching north to the Tews and to Eynsham and Islip in the south-west and south-east. (fn. 39b) The corporation's measures, including the bushel of 1670 and weights purchased in 1782, are preserved in the town hall. (fn. 40b) Although the corporation continued to check measures into the 19th century no formal declarations of prices were recorded, and an isolated reference to an assize of bread in 1804 may have been to the court of Wootton hundred. (fn. 41b)
The council made market regulations and appointed minor officials such as watchmen for the fairs. (fn. 42b) By the mid 18th century two aletasters, usually elected in the court leet, were called clerks of the market. (fn. 43b) In the 17th century the serjeant-at-mace and town crier were usually employed as market officials, and in 1838 they were clerks of the market. (fn. 44b) Regulations of 1580 imposed restrictions on the length of stalls and defined areas where certain goods might be sold; only three common bakers, presumably nominated on a rota, were allowed to sell bread on market and fair days; co-operation with foreigners which might lead to the evasion of tolls was forbidden, and some tradesmen, notably glovers, were restricted to employing no more than two buyers, presumably to prevent unfair bidding. (fn. 45b) Later regulations concerned forestalling and regrating, and the placing of new stalls for shoemakers, butchers, and braziers. (fn. 46b) In 1680 those refusing to pay stallage were threatened that they might lose their right to place stalls before their doors. (fn. 47b) In 1735 laws governing the sale of grain by sample within the borough were reinforced by rewards offered to informers. (fn. 48b) When the new shambles opened in 1766 butchers were forbidden to sell meat from their own premises during markets and fairs. (fn. 49b)
The profits from weighing wool, granted to the mayor in 1565, were diverted in 1580 to the common chest, (fn. 50b) and thereafter were usually farmed by a townsman concerned in the wool or cloth trades. In 1628 the corporation acquired a new wool beam. (fn. 51b) In 1598 the wool was farmed for £5 a year, but a reduction to £1 by 1606 and 2s. by 1684 (fn. 52b) reflects the diminishing scale of Woodstock's wool market. The profits of the sheep market also passed in 1580 from the mayor to the common chest. (fn. 53b) In the early 17th century cattle tolls, collected by the crier, yielded between £2 and £4, mostly taken at the four fairs. (fn. 54) From 1635 the tolls were leased, yielding £8 a year in 1636. (fn. 55b) In 1652 they were let for 20 years at only £4 a year, the lessee agreeing to clean the market place. (fn. 56b) In 1673 the rent of tolls was raised to £10 and remained unchanged in 1684. (fn. 57b)
Stallage yielded between £6 and £8 a year in the early 17th century, and from 1637 the serjeant and crier were paid for collecting it; (fn. 58b) the country bakers paid separately for their standings beneath the High Cross from 1622. (fn. 59b) By the mid 17th century stallage was let to the serjeant, and some townsmen, notably Thomas Glover of the Crown inn in Market Place, were granted long leases of the 'pitch and shew' of stalls in front of their houses; the corporation received little more than £5 a year in all. (fn. 60b) In 1661, when the serjeant was again accounting directly for stallage, the corporation set rates ranging from 1s. for braziers to 1d. for seedsmen but in 1680 all stalls were charged 2d. (fn. 61b) In 1684 stallage was let for £8 and the Crown inn's stalls were still let separately. (fn. 62b)
From 1685 stallage and tolls were usually granted together on long leases, except in the 1730s and 1740s when cattle tolls were let separately. (fn. 63b) From 1732 the main lease included the profits of weighing cheese, formerly assigned to the mayor. (fn. 64b) Stalls in the new shambles of 1766 were usually let individually, but from the 1790s were sometimes let together. (fn. 65b) Excluding the shambles the stallage and tolls yielded rents to the corporation of c. £20 for much of the 18th century; there was a brief increase to £31 in 1766 but a steady fall thereafter. (fn. 66c) In 1769 corn was quit of toll for three years and in 1776 corn tolls were given up; in 1781 sheep and cattle were declared toll free except at fairs. (fn. 67c) Falling rents from toll and stallage probably reflect a continuing decline of the market, particularly during the Napoleonic wars. (fn. 68c) In 1825 tolls were 4d. for horses, 2d. for cattle, and 8d. a score for sheep, but many local villages and towns secured exemption while others refused to pay; all stalls and standings were by then charged 1d., except those of the butter and egg sellers beneath the town hall, which were free. (fn. 69c) By 1830 the rent of tolls and stallage, nominally £8 a year, was many years in arrears, and after the restoration of the corporation in 1839 no income from that source was recorded. (fn. 70c)
When the monthly cattle market was revived in 1869 tolls were 2d. for cattle and ½d. for sheep. (fn. 71c) The corporation contributed towards prizes awarded each year at a special 'annniversary' market. (fn. 72c) Until 1906 a council officer collected tolls and allotted pens, but thereafter tolls were let to a firm of auctioneers for £30 a year, out of which the council paid the rent of the Angel yard. (fn. 73c)
The mills sometimes called Woodstock mills predated and lay outside the borough in Old Woodstock. (fn. 74c)