Cassington: Local government

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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'Cassington: Local government', in A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 12, Wootton Hundred (South) Including Woodstock, (London, 1990) pp. 48-49. British History Online [accessed 25 April 2024]

Local goverment

The Montagus, and presumably their predecessors the Clintons, held courts for their manor, to which in 1279 the sheriff of Oxfordshire had entry once a year to hold view of frankpledge and collect 4s. Certainty money. (fn. 5) In 1320 pleas and perquisites of court were worth 4s.; in 1354 only 12d. (fn. 6) There is no later record of the court, which presumably Rep. Com. on Children and Women in Agric. p. 341. ceased with the disintegration of the manor in the 16th century. Godstow abbey claimed suit of court from its tenants, (fn. 7) but no court records survive. The courts probably ceased at the Dissolution.

Courts were also presumably held for the St. Valery manor. In 1279 the tenants attended view of frankpledge at Yarnton once a year, Richard, earl of Cornwall (d. 1272), having withdrawn their twice-yearly suit from the great hundred court of Wootton, and in 1296-7 perquisites of 12d. were recorded from the view of frankpledge for Cassington tithing. (fn. 8) The tenants continued to attend the honor court, at Thrupp, in the 15th and 16th centuries; business included the presentment of nuisances and of breaches of the assize of bread and of ale and the recording of land transactions. (fn. 9) Records of the Cassington manor court survive only for the 17th and 18th centuries, when it was held by the Elmes family and their successors the Allnutts and the dukes of Marlborough. It met in one of the tenants' houses, and its business included the presentment of encroachments, obstructions, and other nuisances and the election of a constable and tithingman. The amount of business declined in the 18th century. From 1732 or earlier until 1802 the dukes of Marlborough treated Cassington as part of their honor of Woodstock and held view of frankpledge for all their tenants there. (fn. 10)

Oseney abbey presumably held courts for its manor of Worton, having been freed from suit to the hundred court by Henry III. (fn. 11) Christ Church held courts for its Worton manor until 1774. In 1717 each tenant owed 2d. a year headsilver and a further 2d. for each yardland held, but the payment was not recorded thereafter, and in the later 18th century the only business seems to have been the recording of land transactions. (fn. 12)

In 1324 Michael Meldon owed suit to the three-weekly court at North Oseney for his Worton manor, (fn. 13) but the suit was not recorded thereafter, and was presumably combined with the suit owed to Thrupp for the Elmes's Cassington manor.

Cassington spent £55 on poor relief in 1776, an average of £113 a year between 1783 and 1785, and £309, or c. 16s. per head of population, in 1803. Between 1803 and 1834 the per capita rate varied from as much as c. £1 17s. in 1817, when the total expenditure was £743, to c. 15s. in 1825, but was usually rather high for the region. In 1831 the rate was c. £1 a head, total expenditure being £384 10s. (fn. 14) In the 1780s a small sum was spent on setting the poor to work, and in 1803, when there were 14 adults and 31 children on regular out-relief, the parish spent £4 on materials to employ them. Between 1813 and 1815 the numbers on regular out-relief varied from 17 to 21. (fn. 15)

Cassington was included in Woodstock poor law union in 1834, and in Woodstock rural district in 1894. In 1932 it was transferred to Witney rural district and in 1974 to West Oxfordshire. The vestry's functions were taken over by a parish council in 1894. (fn. 16)


  • 5. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 854.
  • 6. P.R.O., C 134/65, no. 3; C 135/127, no. 12.
  • 7. e.g. Godstow Eng. Reg. i. 316.
  • 8. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 854; Earldom of Cornwall Accts. 1296-7, i (Camd. 3rd ser. lxvi), 147.
  • 9. P.R.O., SC 2/197, nos. 16, 46; SC 2/212, nos. 3, 18, 20.
  • 10. Blenheim Mun., box 37.
  • 11. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 855.
  • 12. Ch. Ch. Arch., 3 d 1 11.
  • 13. P.R.O., C 143/163, no. 14.
  • 14. Poor Abstract, 1804, pp. 406-7; 1818, pp. 359-60; Poor Rate Returns, H.C. 556, p. 138 (1822), v; H.C. 334, p. 173 (1825), iv; H.C. 83, p. 161 (1830-1), xi; H.C. 444, p. 156 (1835), xlvii.
  • 15. Poor Abstract, 1804, p. 407; 1818, p. 360.
  • 16. O.R.O., RO 15; RO 229.