Cogges: Nonconformity

Pages 72-73

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 1622-3 fines for recusancy were demanded from Edward Sleepe the younger, gentl Sleepe, labourer. (fn. 94) No papists were recorded thereafter.

In the 1660s in Cogges, as in Witney, protestant dissent was widespread, probably encouraged by the absence of a resident lord or curate. During an extended vacancy of the curacy from 1667 at least nine nonconformists, four of them living in Witney, were invited to preach there; six or more were Presbyterians or Independents who had mostly been ejected from Oxford university, and they included Henry Cornish, Henry Langley, and John Troughton. (fn. 95) Of the others John Dunce or Dunch may have been an Independent or Anabaptist; Samuel Packe, 'a scholar of no university' and said to be a London tradesman, and Thomas Wordon, 'a spreader of sedition', were probably Anabaptists. (fn. 96) Meetings of up to 200 people, some probably from Witney or elsewhere, were held every Sunday in Cogges manor house, reportedly with the permission or even encouragement of Francis Blake, the non-resident lord. The organizers were Richard Crutchfield, who also paid the preachers, and Edward Wise, then living in the manor house; both were Blake's servants or bailiffs. (fn. 97) Crutchfield also invited dissenters to preach in the church, the keys of which were once stolen for the purpose. (fn. 98) In 1668 the bishop asked the vicar of Witney to obstruct such preachers, and when Dr. Gregory, the Witney schoolmaster, prevented a preacher from speaking Crutchfield publicly denounced the clergy and led a large part of the congregation to hear the preacher in the manor house. (fn. 99) Francis Hubert or Hubbard, Packe, and Worden were also alleged to have attacked the clergy, and Wise was excommunicated. (fn. 1) Dissent presumably persisted but no nonconformists were returned in 1676 and only one Anabaptist in 1682. (fn. 2)

Quaker meetings were held in 1666 in the house of Elizabeth White, where 10 Friends were arrested and sent to the house of correction. Edward White was noted as a Quaker freeholder in 1680 and Elizabeth White, Hester Bird, and J. Wareing were returned as Quakers in 1782. (fn. 3) Corn and hay were taken from Michael Reynolds for non-payment of tithes in 1688 and in the 1690s (fn. 4) The Quaker group probably persisted: in 1759 and 1768 one Quaker was returned, and in 1796 two Quaker families, said to be in very low circumstances. (fn. 5)

During the early 19th century, when Newland expanded into an industrial suburb of Witney, Methodism spread from the town into Cogges parish. In 1802 and 1805 there were thought to be few dissenters, but in 1824 a small Methodist chapel was built at Newland with 100 free sittings. (fn. 6) Dissenters, Wesleyan and Independent, mostly attended chapels in Witney, the Cogges chapel being used only occasionally; in 1851 on Census Sunday there was only an afternoon service attended by 60 people. (fn. 7) In the 1870s nearly half the population were dissenters of different denominations, (fn. 8) and in the 1890s Wesleyan membership in Newland was probably rather over 30. (fn. 9). In 1907 there were 28 members, but numbers gradually fell to single figures by 1930. (fn. 10) Newland chapel remained open in 1988, when there was one Sunday service and a weekly felloship.


  • 94. 'Oxon. Recusants', O.A.S. Rep.. (1924), 35-6.
  • 95. Calamy Revised,, ed. A. G. Matthews, 131, 137, 165, 280, 314, 494; O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Archd. Oxon. c 119, ff. 90-97v.
  • 96. O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Archd. Oxon. c 119, ff. 90v., 94v., 127; ibid. MS. Oxf. Dioc. c 93, f. 138; V.C.H. Glos.. vi. 47; Bp. Fell and Nonconf.. pp. 61 n., 70 n.
  • 97. O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. c 9, f. 210v.; ibid. MS. Oxf. Archd. Oxon. c 119, ff. 90 sqq.; Bp. Fell and Nonconf.. 46-7; cf. Bodl. MS. d.d. Harcourt c 95/12.
  • 98. O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. c 93, f. 138; ibid. MS. Oxf.
  • 99. Ibid. MS. Oxf. Archd. Oxon. c 119, ff. 94v.-95v., 126v.-127v.
  • 1. Ibid. ff. 90-111; ibid. MS. Oxf. Dioc. c 9, f. 228.
  • 2. Compton Census,, ed. Whiteman, 423; Bp. Fell and Nonconf.. 72 n.
  • 3. Besse, Sufferings,, i. 571; O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. d 708, f. 94; Berks. R.O., Oxon. Quarterly Meeting min. bk. s.a. 1680.
  • 4. Besse, Sufferings,, i. 576; Berks. R.O., MS. Sufferings.
  • 5. O.R.O., MSS. Oxf. Dioc. d 555, f. 145v.; d 558, f. 161; Bodl. MS. Top. Eccles. e 1, ff. 115v.-116.
  • 6. Ch. and Chapel, 1851,, no. 120.
  • 7. Ibid.; O.R.O., MSS. Oxf. Dioc. d 179, f. 118; c 332, f. 138; d 180, f. 301; Wilb. Visit.. 41.
  • 8. O.R.O., MSS. Oxf. Dioc. c 338, f. 114v.; c 344, f. 118v.
  • 9. Ibid. Witney and Faringdon Methodist Circuit 1/1 f-g.
  • 10. Ibid. I/1 g-i; XI/5 a.