Ducklington: Nonconformity

Pages 148-149

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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The possibility that Roman Catholic worship was maintained after the Reformation in Ducklington church and Cokethorpe chapel is discussed elsewhere. (fn. 1) The principal known recusant was Edward East who moved from Bledlow (Bucks.) before 1577, making his house a Catholic centre where masses were said. (fn. 2) East's daughter and heir Dorothy married Thomas Fitzherbert (d. 1640), who later fled the country, became a Jesuit, and Rector of the English College at Rome. (fn. 3) Among other recusants at Cokethorpe in the late 16th century and early 17th was the gentry family of Heywood which included a Benedictine monk and probably a secular priest. (fn. 4) The Cokethorpe group seems to have dispersed in the earlier 17th century, and only isolated Roman Catholics were recorded in the parish thereafter. (fn. 5)

In 1678 there were 3 Quaker women and 2 other dissenters in the parish, and 5 dissenters were listed in 1683. (fn. 6) Two Anabaptists were attending Cote chapel (in Bampton parish) in 1738 and a Ducklington farmer and his wife regularly attended there in the later 18th century. (fn. 7) By 1802 there were said to be no dissenters, but a few years later the rector admitted that a few parishioners probably attended 'conventicles' at Witney. (fn. 8) In 1817 several families were attending meetings there, mostly Methodist, and Wesleyans were reported regularly in Ducklington thereafter. (fn. 9) In 1827 Witney's Wesleyan minister registered a meeting house in Ducklington; (fn. 10) the meeting was briefly included in Witney's local preaching plan but was given up in 1832. (fn. 11) In 1854 a few reported dissenters of unstated denomination included two farming families. (fn. 12) Congregationalists from Ducklington were attending Witney chapel at that time, and in 1861 an inhabitant was a Wesleyan preacher. (fn. 13) Primitive Methodists from Witney were active in Ducklington in the 1860s, and occasionally later. (fn. 14)

In 1868 a Baptist chapel was built on the Witney road on land provided by the Cook family and under the auspices of Cote chapel. (fn. 15) Ducklington remained part of the Cote circuit despite efforts to make it independent in 1914. In 1901 the congregation was large enough to be expected to contribute £10 to circuit funds. In the mid 20th century there were 20-30 adult members and a flourishing Sunday school. (fn. 16) In 1990 the chapel had a resident minister and a membership of 17 adults and 26 children. (fn. 17) The chapel, to a design by H. Lee of Bristol, was built of limestone in Gothic style; it was renovated in 1901. (fn. 18)

From the 1890s Baptists attached to the Cote circuit met in a rented room in Hardwick. A chapel was being planned in 1912, but disagreements reduced support; in 1913 members walked to Ducklington for evening services. In 1917 the Hardwick meetings ceased. (fn. 19)


  • 1. Above, church.
  • 2. Above, manors; Cath. Rec. Soc. xxii. 110; lvii. 122; Bodl. MS. Top. Oxon. d 602, ff. 283-4, 411.
  • 3. Bodl. MS. Top. Oxon. d 602, ff. 380-1; D.N.B.
  • 4. Bodl. MS. Top. Oxon. d 602, ff. 284, 291; H. E. Salter, 'Oxon. Recusants', O.A.S. Rep. (1924), 17, 25, 40, 46, 53-4, 56, 58; Stapleton, Cath. Miss. 181.
  • 5. e.g. Compton Census, 423; Bp. Fell and Nonconf. 66, n. 229; W. O. Hassall, 'Papists in Early 18th-cent. Oxon.', Oxoniensia, xiii. 80.
  • 6. O.R.O., BOQM I/ii/1, s.a. 1676-7, 1683; O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. d 708, ff. 95v.-96; Bp. Fell and Nonconf. 38.
  • 7. e.g. O.R.O., MSS. Oxf. Dioc. d 555, 558, 561.
  • 8. Ibid. d 566, d 570.
  • 9. Ibid. d 576.
  • 10. Ibid. c 645, f. 86; ibid. Cal. Q.S. viii. 84.
  • 11. Ibid. Acc. 1060, I/i/6 a, ff. 5-6, 10, 16, 34, 43.
  • 12. Wilb. Visit. 51.
  • 13. e.g. O.R.O., WCC I/1, f. 55; I/2, s.a. 1861; P.R.O., RG 9/906, s.v. Dix, Chas.
  • 14. O.R.O., Ace. 1060, II/1 b, 1 c.
  • 15. Baptist Union Corpn., file 1367/4; J. Stanley, Ch. in the Hop Garden, 209; Baptist Mag. (1868), 732; Bodl. MS. Top. Oxon. b 78, ff. 68-9.
  • 16. Regent's Park Coll., Oxf., Cote Ch. Bk. 1882-1972.
  • 17. Baptist Union Dir. (1990-1), 111.
  • 18. Baptist Mag. (1868), 732; Regent's Park Coll., Cote Ch. Bk. s.a. 1901.
  • 19. Stanley, Ch. in the Hop Garden, 215; Regent's Park Coll., Cote Ch. Bk. 1882-1972.