Yarnton: Nonconformity

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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'Yarnton: Nonconformity', in A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 12, Wootton Hundred (South) Including Woodstock, (London, 1990) pp. 487-488. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/oxon/vol12/pp487-488 [accessed 1 March 2024]


In 1634 the Irish wife of Ellis Perrott, member of a prominent Yarnton family, refused to conform, but her correction was left to her husband. (fn. 35) The Spencers married into Roman Catholic families, (fn. 36) and in 1646 Sir William Spencer (d. 1657) was allegedly recusant. (fn. 37) The only self-confessed Catholic was Sir William's grandson William (d. 1683). (fn. 38) John Goad, vicar 1646-60, was supposed to have become a Roman Catholic in 1660, although not acknowledging his conversion until 1686. (fn. 39) In 1706 one Roman Catholic, possibly a servant of the Spencers, was reported. (fn. 40)

In 1828 John Fordred, a Wesleyan minister from Oxford, applied for a licence for John Preedy's cottage in Yarnton to be used as a meeting house. (fn. 41) The cottage may have stood at the east end of Gravel Pits Lane. (fn. 42) Contributions to the Wesleyan circuit collections were received from Yarnton in 1829, but no later mention has been found. (fn. 43) In the 1830s Henry Bulteel of Oxford preached at Baptist meetings in Yarnton. Although only eight Yarnton people were reckoned to attend, large crowds came from neighbouring villages. (fn. 44) From the mid 19th century nonconformist preachers from Oxford were attracting a sufficient following to affect church attendance. In the 1840s Primitive Methodists met in a stable. (fn. 45) By 1854 John Herbert's cottage near the Oxford-Woodstock road was licensed for prayer meetings, and dissenters also met at Southby's Farm, then occupied by Thomas Johnson. There were said in 1854 to be 20 dissenters who never came to church, even though their preachers had agreed not to hold meetings before 6 o'clock in the evening. (fn. 46) Prayer meetings held in two cottages during 1866 were reputedly attended by c. 16 people, (fn. 47) and the number of dissenters reported in the later 19th century varied from 14 to 30. (fn. 48)


  • 35. Bodl. G.A. Oxon. c 317/15.
  • 36. Stapleton, Cath. Miss. 185-7.
  • 37. O.R.O., Cal. Oxf. Presentation Deeds II, f. 104.
  • 38. Wood's Life, iii (O.H.S. xxvi), 73.
  • 39. Wood, Athenae Oxon. (3rd edn. 1820), iv. 268; Stapleton, Cath. Miss. 187.
  • 40. Oxoniensia, xiii. 81; Stapleton, Cath. Miss. 187.
  • 41. O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. c 645, f. 113; ibid. MS. d.d. Oxf. Methodist Circuit c 8, a and d.
  • 42. Ibid. tithe award and map; V. Thomas, 'Sanitary Survey of Yarnton' (1853), 3.
  • 43. O.R.O., MS. d.d. Oxf. Methodist Circuit e 3; ibid. b 1-7.
  • 44. Bodl. MS. Top. Oxon. b 18, ff. 90, 95v.
  • 45. O.R.O., MSS. Oxf. Dioc. c 646, f. 196; c 647, f. 70.
  • 46. Ibid. tithe award and map; Thomas, 'Sanitary Survey', 4, 21; Exeter Coll. Mun., N.III.6, mortgage of 1852; Wilb. Visit. 170. Herbert's cottage survived in 1983 towards the east end of Cassington Road.
  • 47. O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. c 332, f. 484.
  • 48. Ibid. c 335, f. 448; c 338, f. 468; c 347, f. 473.