Lew: Local government

Page 97

A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 13, Bampton Hundred (Part One). Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1996.

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From the 13th century to the early 19th tenants of Bampton Earls manor attended that manor's Bampton court, which in the 17th century and probably later appointed a constable, tithingman, and herdsman. Tithingmen for 'Lew hundred', presumably representing freeholders and tenants of other manors, were also elected at the annual view at Bampton, where they made their presentations. (fn. 1) Osney abbey's tenants attended the abbot's court at Black Bourton by the 14th century and until the Dissolution. (fn. 2)

After Lew church was built in 1841 the chapelry appointed usually two chapelwardens, called churchwardens from 1857 and supported from rates. (fn. 3) There was one warden in 1990. (fn. 4) The township levied its own highway rate by the early 19th century, and presumably appointed a surveyor as in the 1850s. (fn. 5)

The township's stocks and whipping post were in good repair in 1688. (fn. 6) A collector or overseer was recorded in 1642, and in 1767 a dilapidated farmhouse owned by Oxford university, apparently University Farm, was used as a poorhouse. (fn. 7) In 1775-6 £42 was spent on relief, between 1783 and 1785 an average of £35, and in 1803 £225, just under 20s. per head of population. (fn. 8) Expend iture rose by 1813 to c. 37s. per head, fell in 1815 to 25s., but by 1818 had risen to 48s.; in the 1820s it was much lower, falling by 1828 to c. 16s. per head (total expenditure £200), though by 1832 capitation was again over 20s. (fn. 9) In 1803 regular out relief went to 16 adults and 31 children, c. 20 per cent of the population, and occasional relief to 25 others; 21-26 people, perhaps including children, were helped regularly between 1813 and 1815, and 13-18 occasionally. (fn. 10)

After 1834 Lew became part of Witney union, and from 1894 of Witney rural district. In 1974 it became part of West Oxfordshire district. (fn. 11)


  • 1. Arundel Castle, MS. M 535; Longleat House (Wilts.), NMR 3315, passim; Bampton Hund. R. 24 n.
  • 2. Bodl. MSS. Ch. Oxon. 312-13, 333; P.R.O., REQ 2/413/90; Oseney Cart. vi, p. 240.
  • 3. O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. c 746, f. 14v.; Lew Church Bk. 1842-88, in custody of vicar and par. officers of Bampton.
  • 4. Oxf. Dioc. Yr. Bk. (1990), 87.
  • 5. D. & C. Exeter, MS. 6016/8, notes re division of parish c. 1845; Lew Church Bk. 1842-88.
  • 6. Oxon. Justices in 17th Cent. (O.R.S. xvi), 85.
  • 7. Protestation Rtns. and Tax Assess. 2, 7; Oxf. Univ. Arch., SEP/Q/25.
  • 8. Poor Abstract, 1804.
  • 9. Ibid. 1818; Poor Rate Returns, H.C. 556, p. 135 (1822), v; ibid. H.C. 334, p. 170 (1825), iv; ibid. H.C. 83, p. 157 (1830-1), xi; ibid. H.C. 444, p. 153 (1835), xlvii; Census, 1801-41.
  • 10. Poor Abstract, 1804, 1818.
  • 11. O.R.O., RO 3251, pp. 201-3; RO 3267.