Cassington: Nonconformity

Pages 52-53

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 1592-3 two women were returned as recusants in Cassington; one of them, Mary Boone, remained in the parish until 1624, and other members of that family were returned as recusants until 1635. The Catholic Reynolds family held an estate, later Reynolds farm, in the parish from c. 1612, but were not returned as recusants until 1619. William Reynolds and his wife Elizabeth were among the six recusants in the parish in 1624. (fn. 76) William and Edmund Reynolds refused the Protestation oath in 1641. In 1676 there were four papists, among them, presumably, Christopher Reynolds, who with two others was returned as a recusant in 1682 and 1685. (fn. 77) Although he sold most of his land in 1700, Edmund Reynolds the younger remained in the parish until 1723 or later, possibly as undertenant of the rectory, and he and other members of the family were among the two or three recusants reported in Cassington in the early 18th century. (fn. 78) In 1738, however, the three or four papists in the parish were 'of the lowest rank', and in 1759 and 1768 the only papist was an ageing labourer. (fn. 79) The remains of a chapel at Reynolds Farm apparently survived until the early 20th century. (fn. 80)

Six dissenters, at least three of them Anabaptists, were reported in Cassington in the 1680s, (fn. 81) but there is no further record of protestant nonconformity in the parish until 1820 when the vicar reported one Baptist family, who had left by 1823. (fn. 82) In the 1830s Cassington people attended an 'Anabaptist' meeting house in Yarnton licensed by H. B. Bulteel, (fn. 83) and in 1829 J. Hinton, presumably the minister of the Baptist chapel in St. Clement's, Oxford, signed the application for a meeting house licence in Cassington, but there is no further evidence of Baptist activity there. Between 1827 and 1843 at least eight other applications for meeting houses were made, two of them certainly, and the rest probably, by Wesleyans whose numbers in that period fluctuated between one and twelve. (fn. 84) In 1854 the vicar reported that itinerant preachers often visited cottages in the parish and that there might be as many as 50 dissenters, and in 1872 over half the population was said to attend three dissenting meetings. (fn. 85) Ranters or Primitive Methodists were reported in 1866 and built a chapel in 1870. (fn. 86) It had closed by 1982.


  • 76. Recusant Roll, 1592-3, (Cath. Rec. Soc. xviii), 259; H. E. Salter, 'Oxon. Recusants', O.A.S. Rep. (1924), 22, 29, 31, 33, 35, 40, 42, 54.
  • 77. Protestation Returns, 76-7; Compton Census, ed. Whiteman, 423; Bp. Fell and Nonconf. 66-7.
  • 78. Par. Colln. 76; W.O. Hassall, 'Papists in Oxon.' Oxoniensia, xii. 80; O.R.O., Cal. Q.S. Rolls, ix, ff. 422v.-476v., 765-774v.
  • 79. Secker's Visit. 34; O.R.O., MSS. Oxf. Dioc. d 555, f. 97v.; d 558, f. 105v.
  • 80. Stapleton, Cath. Miss. 194; inf. from Prof. J. M. Wallace-Hadrill, Reynolds Farm, Cassington.
  • 81. Bp. Fell and Nonconf. 66; O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. d 708, f. 106v.
  • 82. O.R.O., MSS. Oxf. Dioc. d 578, f. 47v.; d 580, f. 53v.
  • 83. Bodl. MS. Top. Oxon. b 18, f. 90; cf. V.C.H. Oxon. iv. 255; below, Yarnton, Nonconf.
  • 84. O.R.O., MSS. Oxf. Dioc. c 645, ff. 54, 82, 105, 154, 175; c 646, ff. 143, 192; ibid. MS. d.d. Oxf. Methodist Circuit.
  • 85. Wilb. Visit. 28; O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. c 338, f. 86v.
  • 86. O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. c 332, f. 108; datestone on bldg.