Yelford: Local government

Pages 214-215

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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In 1279 there was a twice-yearly view of frankpledge for the Hastings manor, and the Greys' manor in Hardwick, Brighthampton, and Yelford had view of frankpledge and other liberties, including gallows. (fn. 1) Courts for the Hastings manor presumably ceased when the estate came into single ownership, (fn. 2) but in the early 17th century a tithingman was allegedly still nominated for that part of Yelford, and suit was paid to Bampton manor, whose lord had waifs, strays, and felons' goods in Yelford: there may have been confusion with the hundred court. (fn. 3) Sixteenth-century tenants of the former Grey manor paid suit to Hardwick's courts, (fn. 4) which until the 1580s nominated a separate tithingman for what was sometimes called East Yelford, (fn. 5) namely the holdings, mostly open-field, east of the Hastings estate. (fn. 6) In the 1840s, and presumably until inclosure in 1853, tenants of Wadham College's Yelford estate, descended from the Grey manor, were still attending Hardwick's courts. (fn. 7) Mid 16th- century courts held nominally for Yelford Walwyn manor, but apparently serving other small Walwyn estates in the area, presumably ceased when Yelford Walwyn was absorbed into the Hastings estate. (fn. 8)

The distinction between the Hastings (later Lenthall) inclosed estate and the rest of Yelford persisted in later parochial arrangements, tenants of the open-field land being taxed with Hardwick and in the care of its officers (fn. 9) while the Lenthall estate was governed from Bampton. In 1708 rates payable to Bampton for the Lenthall estate, assessed at 11 yardlands and by then regarded as the whole of Yelford, were reduced on appeal: it was found that Yelford had paid poor-rates to Bampton for at least 50 years, had called occasionally upon the services of Bampton's overseers, but paid for its own highway maintenance and incurred few other costs. (fn. 10) Bampton's overseers continued to serve Yelford until 1758 when, after a dispute, responsibility seems to have been placed on the Lenthalls. (fn. 11) The Yelford for which poor-relief expenditure was recorded in the early 19th century was only the Lenthall estate: sometimes c. £8 was spent, but in several years no poor were recorded. (fn. 12) From 1834 Yelford belonged to Witney union, from 1894 to Witney rural district, and from 1974 to West Oxfordshire district. (fn. 13)


  • 1. Bampton Hund. R. 50, 63. For Hardwick manor, above, Ducklington, local govt.
  • 2. Above, intro., econ. hist.
  • 3. P.R.O., E 134/8 Jas. I/Trin. 3.
  • 4. For court rolls 1541-7, 1561-9, and 1533-1878, P.R.O., SC 2/197/43; Bodl. MS. Top. Oxon. b 21; St. John's Coll. Mun., XI. 9-22.
  • 5. e.g. St. John's Coll. Mun., XI.10 (152, 154).
  • 6. Above, intro.
  • 7. e.g. St. John's Coll. Mun., XI. 22, pp. 6, 23.
  • 8. B.L. Add. MS. 38961; above, manors.
  • 9. Above, intro.
  • 10. O.R.O., QS/1708 Epiph./20.
  • 11. Ibid. MS. d.d. Par. Bampton b 10, ff. 21v.-22; ibid. b 11-13, passim.
  • 12. Poor Abstract, 1818, pp. 352-3; Poor Rate Returns, H.C. 556, p. 135 (1822), v; H.C. 334, p. 170 (1825), iv; H.C. 83, p. 157 (1830-1), xi; H.C. 444, p. 153 (1835), xlvii.
  • 13. O.R.O., RO 3251, pp. 201, 203; RO 3267.