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 c. 2 carucates in Lower Haddon, later LITTLE HADDON manor, were held of William de Valence by John of Haddon for rent and tallage totalling 29s. 11d., perhaps following a recent grant since the holding was not mentioned in Henry Ill's bestowal of Bampton manor on William in 1248. (fn. 1) Before 1324 Aymer de Valence regranted the estate, later 10 yardlands, (fn. 2) to the same or another John in fee simple, to be held of Bampton manor for quitrent of 29s. 11d.; (fn. 3) the sum was still owed in the 18th century, though in 1496 and later the manor was said to be held for knight service as ½ or 1/10; knight's fee. (fn. 4)
John granted the estate to John Laurence de la More, who before 1331 gave it to his son Thomas (later Sir Thomas) de la More or at More, knight of the shire in 1340, 1343, and 1351. (fn. 5) It passed probably to Thomas's son Thomas (d. c. 1393), a royal justice, to that Thomas's son Thomas (d. by 1424), to the youngest Thomas's brother Robert More (fl. 1445), and to Robert's son John More (d. 1493); (fn. 6) thereafter it passed to John's relict Ellen (d. 1495) and grandson John (d. 1542), to that John's son Thomas (d. 1561), to Thomas's son William (d. 1608), and to William's cousin John More, to whom William's relict Hester gave up a life interest. (fn. 7) In 1608 John conveyed a moiety to his relative Bartholomew Peisley, who had already acquired an interest and was then living at Haddon, but the following year the moiety was sold back. (fn. 8) John More later mortgaged the estate, and in 1625 sold it to Sir Edward Yate (d. 1645), Bt., of Buckland (formerly Berks.), apparently to clear his debts; (fn. 9) it descended with Buckland until the late 18th century, passing through marriage in 1690 to the Throckmortons of Coughton (Warws.). (fn. 10)
In 1793 trustees appointed by Sir Robert Throckmorton (d. 1791) sold it to a firm of Chipping Norton bankers, who in 1803 sold it to Edward Whitaker of Bampton. Whitaker heavily mortgaged the estate and died in 1825, leaving it in trust, but by a Chancery order of 1834 full ownership was vested in the surviving mortgagee, Rear Admiral Robert Jackson, who had sued the trustees and beneficiaries under Whitaker's will for non-payment of the interest and capital. (fn. 11) In 1842 Jackson sold the estate to George Churchill (d. 1857), duke of Marlborough, who vested it in trustees; (fn. 12) though it was still called a manor in 1845 manorial rights were not mentioned later and had probably lapsed, and thereafter the estate was usually described as a farm. Following an abortive sale in 1894 it was sold by the Blenheim estate to the tenant, R. C. Nisbet, between 1920 and 1924. (fn. 13)
There was a manor house presumably in 1279, when John of Haddon held 6 yardlands in demesne, and certainly by 1331, when Thomas de la More was licensed to have an oratory in his house there, (fn. 14) though until the 16th century not all lords may have resided. (fn. 15) Probably the house stood on the site of Lower Haddon Farm, whose west wing contains on the ground floor a richly moulded and beamed ceiling of the late 16th century or early 17th, and which was presumably the house or 'capital messuage' with a grange mentioned frequently between 1581 and 1625. (fn. 16) After the Mores sold the manor the house was let to farmers, and was taxed on probably 7 hearths in 1662 and 1665; (fn. 17) in the 18th century a central chimney was inserted, and the large room with the beamed ceiling was divided into two rooms and a passage, presumably following the demolition of an earlier parlour wing on the west. A much-altered eastern cross wing, now containing an entrance hall, staircase, and kitchen, was later enlarged by the piecemeal addition of a parallel range along its east side, and in the early 19th century the old and new wings were both given a new south front. The older parts of the house seem to have been entirely refaced and refenestrated later in the century.