Lower Haddon: Economic history

Pages 88-89

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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Lower Haddon may have had its own fields in 1279 when holdings were measured in yardlands, (fn. 1) but by the 17th century and probably much earlier the township had been fully inclosed, perhaps following 14thand 15th-century depopulation. (fn. 2) Apse wood, recorded in 1331 and presumably including later Hapse field (c. 24 a.) in the south-east, had been cleared probably by 1496 when no woodland was mentioned, (fn. 3) and in the 17th century was evidently inclosed meadow and pasture. (fn. 4) Around 30 a. of woodland mentioned in early 17th-century fines lay apparently in small coppices in the north-east and elsewhere, (fn. 5) and throughout the 19th century there was c. 3 a. of wood and coppice. (fn. 6)

In 1086 Haddon was surveyed presumably with Bampton. In 1279 there were 6 yardlands in demesne, and 3 freehold and 2 villein tenants each held ½ yardland; of the freehold tenements one owed 2s. and was sublet for 2s. 6d., though the others each owed 1d. only. The villeins each owed 20d. rent, besides unusually heavy labour services valued at 10s. 4d. (fn. 7) In the earlier 14th century the township was taxed separately from Bampton only in 1306, (fn. 8) when 13 inhabitants of Marsh and Lower Haddon paid a total of 25s. 8d.; excepting John of Haddon's payment of 7s., presumably for the demesne, contributions ranged from 9d. on goods worth 22s. 6d. to 3s. on goods worth 90s. A taxpayer assessed on c. 50s. was probably a freeholder, and another assessed on 60s. may have been a villein; (fn. 9) average personalty was slightly lower than in Bampton's other outlying townships.

Rents in 1331 totalled 31s. 11½d., (fn. 10) more than the total for rents and services in 1279, but Haddon seems to have suffered serious depopulation during the 14th century; by the later 15th, when there were only 3 houses, it had perhaps already been inclosed. (fn. 11) The Mores may by then have exploited much of the township directly, and in the 16th century they were taxed on lands valued at up to £80 a year. Some land was presumably let to the remaining inhabitants, and from c. 1625 the manor house and farm were let also. (fn. 12) In the mid 17th century and early 18th there were 3 chief farms held at rack rent, and some land was let to outsiders, including c. 95 a. held by Bampton and Black Bourton butchers in 1736. (fn. 13) By the 1770s the whole of Lower Haddon was let with land elsewhere as a farm of c. 500 a., for much of the 19th century to the Gilletts, (fn. 14) and in the 1920s it was sold as a single farm. (fn. 15)

Despite early inclosure, farming remained mixed. John More had over 200 sheep in 1540, pastured apparently in Lew, (fn. 16) and dairying and cheesemaking were recorded in the 17th and 18th centuries; some land was arable in 1625, and a tenant in 1710 had crops worth £100 besides dairy cattle, pigs, and 20 sheep. (fn. 17) In 1844 Haddon farm was 62 per cent arable and by 1894 over 70 per cent, though it was capable of supporting a good head of stock, notably sheep, and included piggeries and a sheepwash. (fn. 18) A shepherd was recorded in 1881. (fn. 19)

A broadweaver was mentioned in 1705. (fn. 20) A waterwheel on a small stream in the north-west and a 'mill house' (apparently only a barn or shed) some distance away were marked on a map of 1894, (fn. 21) but no other references have been found.


  • 1. Bampton Hund. R. 24, 26-7.
  • 2. B.L. Add. Ch. 38918; O.R.O., Bampton incl. award, plan V; above, intro.
  • 3. Cal. Pat. 1330-4, 88, 115; Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen. VII, i, P. 535; O.R.O., Bampton incl. award.
  • 4. B.L. Add. Ch. 38918.
  • 5. Ibid.; O.R.O., D.Y. V/i/2; D.Y. XI/i/2; cf. O.R.O., Bampton incl. award.
  • 6. O.R.O., Bampton incl. award; Blenheim Mun., shelf J 4, box 20, release 9 Dec. 1844; Bodl. G.A. Oxon. b 90 (12).
  • 7. Bampton Hund. R. 26-7.
  • 8. P.R.O., E 179/161/10.
  • 9. Cf. Bampton Hund. R. 24, 26-7.
  • 10. Cal. Pat. 1330-4, 88, 115.
  • 11. Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen. VII, i, p. 535; above, intro.
  • 12. P.R.O., E 179/162/234, E 179/162/320, E 179/162/341; above, manor.
  • 13. O.R.O., QSD E.1, pp. 94-7; ibid. D.Y. VI/ii/1; P.R.O., E 179/255/4, pt. i, f. 19; Hearth Tax Oxon. 223.
  • 14. Blenheim Mun., shelf J 4, box 19, settlement 10 Aug. 1782; ibid. box 20, release 9 Dec. 1844; P.R.O., RG 9/905; Oxf. Jnl. 14 Aug. 1773; Kelly's Dir. Oxon. (1883 and later edns.).
  • 15. Above, manor.
  • 16. Below, Lew, econ. hist.
  • 17. B.L. Add. Ch. 38918; O.R.O., MSS. Wills Oxon. 61/3/17, 174/3/8.
  • 18. Blenheim Mun., shelf J 4, box 20, release 9 Dec. 1844; Bodl. G.A. Oxon. b 90 (12).
  • 19. P.R.O., RG 11/1514.
  • 20. O.R.O., Cal. Q.S. i, p. 124b.
  • 21. Bodl. G.A. Oxon. b 90 (12).