A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 5, Bullingdon Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1957.
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Shotover, three miles east of Oxford, is a prominent ridge rising out of the Headington Plateau to 599 ft. above sea-level. Its northern slope is mainly park-land belonging to Shotover House while its southern slope is covered with gorse and bramble. The grassy top of the ridge, the Plain, had all been bought by Oxford University and the Oxford Preservation Trust by 1939. It is distinguished by its pine trees planted in the 19th century and its fine views of Oxford and the surrounding country.
Geologically the ridge is of some interest, being composed of a number of strata. Kimmeridge clay is visible in the lower reaches of the area, Portland sand covers the greater part, and Ironsand covers the heights to a depth of some 20 ft. and accounts for their barrenness and rich red colour. (fn. 1)
Shotover was for centuries part of the royal forest stretching over a number of parishes and known as the Forest of Shotover and Stowood. Its size in 1660, just before disafforestation, was 932 acres. (fn. 2) It was an extra-parochial area until, under an Act of 1857, (fn. 3) it became two civil parishes called Shotover and Shotover Hill Place. (fn. 4) In 1881 both these were joined to Forest Hill to form the civil parish of Forest Hill with Shotover. (fn. 5) The ancient fields of Open Magdalen (46 a.), Open Brasenose (25 a.), and Elder Stubbs (32 a.), which had also lain as extra-parochial areas in the vicinity, became part of Headington. (fn. 6)
The name Shotover had proved difficult for etymologists. There was an attempt to read into it Chateau Vert (the supposed name of the royal hunting lodge), but it is now generally held that it derives from the Old English scēot ōfer, a steep slope. (fn. 7) There have been popular traditions that it was a hill 'shot over' by Robin Hood or Oliver Cromwell. (fn. 8)
Until 1775, when the new turnpike was constructed, (fn. 9) the main Oxford-London road traversed Shotover Plain and brought the parish some notoriety as well as several distinguished visitors. Queen Elizabeth, for instance, arrived at Shotover Lodge after her visit to Oxford in 1566, (fn. 10) and in 1624 Charles I stayed there and knighted his host Timothy Tyrrell the elder. (fn. 11) Others of note were met at the foot of Shotover on their way to Oxford. The Moroccan ambassador was so welcomed by the scholars of Oxford in 1682, having stopped at Shotover House on the way (fn. 12), and in 1711 all the coaches of Oxford and 400 or 500 horse met Dr. Atterbury, the new Dean of Christ Church, at Shotover hill. (fn. 13) The flying coach first travelled from Oxford to London in one day in 1669, (fn. 14) and thereafter much is heard of bills for repairs of the highway. The bill was £35 5s. for the years 1687–9, (fn. 15) and £85 in 1690; (fn. 16) and improvements done in 1688 without orders led to a long struggle for payment. (fn. 17) Highwaymen also frequented the old road, as John Wesley discovered in 1737. (fn. 18) After 1775 the old road fell into comparative disuse. It is now unmetalled where it passes over Shotover Plain and is hardly used by cars except in summer. The spot where it used to cross into Wheatley parish by a ford across the stream is marked by an old mounting-block. (fn. 19)
Shotover House lies to the north side of the ridge, and away from the present residential community. In the medieval period a house, probably on or near the present site, was the residence of the bailiff of the forest. (fn. 20) It was repaired in 1598 and was reported to need repair again in 1640. Sir Timothy Tyrrell and his son Timothy Tyrrell the younger (fn. 21) rebuilt the house. In 1665 Timothy the younger stated that he had spent nearly £2,000 on building and inclosures, (fn. 22) and a survey of 1660 mentions two piles of buildings as the work of the father and son.
The largest of these piles is of freestone 47 foot long and 26 in breadth, and contains upon the first story a small porche and wainscoted hall and a verry faire parlour or dyning roome, the second story 3 faire lodging roomes over which are as many garretts, and under this pile is one sellar and pantries, a kitchen and buttrie (this fronts to the west). The second pile being of wood and playster contains 2 lower rooms upon the lower floor, 3 small ones upon the second and 3 garretts overhead, and is 40 foot in length and 24 in breadth (this to the south).
There was also a brewhouse, three stables, a barn, dairy, work-house, granary, coach-house, several gardens and nurseries stored with young trees, and six small fishponds. (fn. 23) Evelyn visited the mansion in 1675, found it 'a sweete place', and commended Sir Timothy's plantation of oaks and other timber. (fn. 24)
Sir James Tyrrell, the next owner, was responsible for another rebuilding. He died in 1718 and desired that it should be inscribed on his tomb that he 'built the house at Shotover and made the gardens there'. (fn. 25) The architect may have been William Townsend. (fn. 26) General James Tyrrell (1718–42) decorated the interior of the house, (fn. 27) and Augustus Schutz, who followed Tyrrell, worked on the gardens 'every year making openings to an extensive country not before altogether excluded'. (fn. 28) Wings to the house, built by Joshua Sims, were added after 1854.
As it now stands, and mainly as rebuilt in the early 18th century, the house is large with seven bays and rusticated pilasters at the corners and an entablature over the first floor. The three central bays project slightly beneath a roof of Westmorland slate. The stone is from the Haseley quarries and not from Headington as might be expected. (fn. 29) The position of the house, built on the side of the hill, allows the state rooms to be approached from the front as if they were on the ground floor. In the days of Schutz and Drury (fn. 30) there was a chapel adjoining the portico. Its ornamental details have perished except for two scalloped niches. It was converted into a kitchen in the mid-19th century. There is a two-storied stable of rubble, built with squared quoins; it has moulded eaves, and a tiled roof with a central wooden cupola with arched openings and leaded roof with ball finials.
In the gardens an avenue on the west leads from an octagonal pond to a square stone obelisk with spiked iron ball finial. A cross-walk, called Cathedral Walk because of the interlacing branches overhead, approaches an octagonal temple with a shallow plaster dome, standing on the highest point in the park, and commanding a view of the Chilterns on the east. Both this temple and the obelisk were designed by William Kent, though his design for the obelisk was altered, perhaps by Sir James Tyrrell himself. On the east a lawn slopes to a tree-lined canal, terminated by a Gothic temple of three arches surmounted by a battlemented pediment with finial. (fn. 31)
On the north side of Shotover there are two 18th-century houses, the gardener's house and the Grove, once the keeper's house but now the bailiff's. Both buildings are two-storied and are built of rubble. The main residential area along the old London road is a string of privately owned houses, some dating from before 1914, and others more recent, some built of cast cement. There is a small farm, a pig farm (Round Hill), and a saw-mill. The community has no church, chapel, school, or tavern.
Bailiwick and Manor.
In Domesday 4½ hides of forest in Oxfordshire, held by one Rainaldus for £10, included Shotover and Stowood. (fn. 32) The same rent was paid by the Rasur family in 1130 and 1154, (fn. 33) but in 1157–8 it was divided into two portions (£7 and £3), (fn. 34) which probably indicates that Shotover was separately held, for in 1190 the sheriff accounted for £3 for the forest of Shotover. (fn. 35) Shotover at this date probably included Stowood, as it certainly did throughout the period of the forest bailiwick. This bailiwick, first mentioned in the reign of Richard I, covered the whole area of the 'forest', which included several independent manors, subject to forest laws. Like other forests, it included many parcels of arable which had been cleared and were farmed in the ordinary way. Its centre was the demesne land of the bailiff, a hide of land called DEREHYDE (fn. 36) which ranked as a separate Shotover manor, independent of the neighbouring manor of Headington, (fn. 37) a fact obscured by the occasional use of the words 'the manor of Headington' to describe the Shotover estate. (fn. 38)
An inquest of 1223 reveals that Shotover had been granted by Richard I to Philip Mimekan as an independent serjeanty with the forest bailiwick. (fn. 39) The serjeanty, valued at £5, was still in his hands in 1219, (fn. 40) but in 1230 John de Neville paid 20 marks for it, Mimekan's son being in prison. (fn. 41) Neville held it until 1235, (fn. 42) when Philip Mimekan, the son of Peter and grandson of the first Philip, obtained seisin. (fn. 43) Philip's son Philip became the heir in 1250, (fn. 44) but being a minor the bailiwick and serjeanty were held by the Crown during his minority. (fn. 45) He came of age in 1264, (fn. 46) and held the estate until 1309, when he granted it to John de Hadlow, lord of Boarstall (Bucks.). (fn. 47) The latter's title seems to have been questioned by the expectant heir of Philip Mimekan, for in 1315 Philip quitclaimed his right, and in 1316 Alice his widow quitclaimed her right to dower. (fn. 48)
In 1331 John de Hadlow settled the bailiwick on himself for life and then on his son Richard with remainders. John's last illness and his son's death in 1343 explain the grant during pleasure in 1345 to his kinsman Hugh de Hildesle. (fn. 49) In 1346 Hadlow left the bailiwick to his grandson and heir Edmund, (fn. 50) but as Edmund was a minor it was held by his mother and her second husband Sir Richard de Hildesle (Ildesley), (fn. 51) and then by Philip de Buketot. (fn. 52) Edmund died in 1355, leaving his sisters Margaret and Elizabeth as his heirs, (fn. 53) and in 1361 the bailiwick was held by Margaret and her husband John Appleby (fn. 54) and then by Elizabeth and her husband Edmund de la Pole. (fn. 55) The latter held it by the courtesy of England on his wife's death. (fn. 56) His estates passed to two coheirs in 1419. The husband of the elder, Robert James, received the bailiwick that year, (fn. 57) and it then passed to his son-in-law Edmund Rede. (fn. 58) The Rede family held the bailiwick (fn. 59) until 1547, when Leonard Rede sold it by licence to Thomas Dynham, his son-inlaw. (fn. 60) Dynham's son in turn sold it, or 'the office of Steward of Shotover and Stowood' as it was then called, to Henry Norreys of Rycote, and Margaret his wife, in 1588. (fn. 61) The bailiwick remained in the Norreys family (fn. 62) until about 1613, when it came to Timothy Tyrrell the elder, whose family held the office until the disafforestation under Charles II. (fn. 63)
The traditional explanation of the granting of the bailiwick and the Derehyde to (Sir) Timothy Tyrrell is that, as master of the buck hounds to the Prince of Wales, he had been wounded while holding a buck's head for the prince to sever, and obtained it as a reward. (fn. 64) The grant was confirmed by James I (fn. 65) and by Charles I, who extended it for the lifetime of Sir Timothy's son, Timothy the younger. (fn. 66) This son married Elizabeth, daughter of James Usher, Archbishop of Armagh, (fn. 67) and was often resident at the new house in Shotover. (fn. 68) Shotover was leased to him in 1663 on payment of £50 to the Crown and £50 to the Bishop of Oxford, (fn. 69) who had acquired some rents in the forest. (fn. 70) The lease was renewed for 31 years in 1666, (fn. 71) and the Tyrrells continued to be Crown lessees until 1742. Timothy the younger, who died in 1701, was succeeded by his son James, and in 1718 by his grandson, General James Tyrrell. (fn. 72) The general's successor was his friend Augustus Schutz, (fn. 73) who bought the property outright from the Crown in 1745. (fn. 74) The new owner, however, appears to have stayed scarcely more than a few weeks together at Shotover. (fn. 75) He was succeeded in 1757 by his son Thomas, (fn. 76) the last of the line, (fn. 77) on whose death in 1839 the estate passed to a relation G. V. Drury, who in 1854 sold it to Gammie Maitland. (fn. 78) Maitland overspent his fortune (fn. 79) and finally sold the estate to Colonel James Miller in 1871. (fn. 80) It belonged in 1953 to Major A. Miller. During the Second World War the house and estate were used successively as Canadian Military H.Q. and as an engineers' school. Since the property's return to Major Miller it has become a model estate.
Economic and Social History.
The medieval community at Shotover centred upon the manor of the Derehyde, a hide of land, the precise location of which cannot be traced, held in demesne by the bailiff. In 1279 he had a messuage there and eleven cottagers held of him. (fn. 81) By 1311 the number of cottagers had risen to fourteen, each paying money rents of from 2s. to 4s. (totalling 35s. 4d. in all) and performing a few days' agricultural services a year, including five days' reaping in the autumn. (fn. 82) Twenty cottages are mentioned in 1358 (fn. 83) and in 1361 the rents, which were then only 31s. 4d., were paid by freeholders. (fn. 84) It may be that the cottagers had been enfranchised after the Black Death. The manor itself at this date included a messuage with garden and dovecote, worth 3s. 4d., and 100 acres of land, worth 2d. an acre. (fn. 85) The entire estate was valued at £3 in 1358, 1419, and 1432, (fn. 86) but at only £2 in 1490. (fn. 87) The bailiff held a manorial court, took profits of assizes of bread and ale, and held view of frankpledge. The 'hallmote of the forest', however, mentioned in 1361, (fn. 88) probably refers to the forest court which he would summon in his capacity as bailiff.
This small community is not easy to trace, for in most medieval records it is merged with that of Headington. There was never any family of importance, save those who successively held the bailiwick. The community, bound to the bailiff by tenure of his manor, was probably too humble to provide the staff needed by the bailiff for the administration of his bailiwick, such evidence as there is pointing to a choice of foresters and deputy bailiffs from families resident outside Derehyde. The Derehyde tenants, like those of neighbouring villages within the forest bounds, were probably drawn into forest administration only as individuals with certain rights of common and certain dues to pay to the bailiff for use of the forest.
The population appears to have decreased during the post-Reformation period. In 1550 there were 10 messuages and 5 tofts in the Derehyde, (fn. 89) and in 1660 there were only 8 cottages, (fn. 90) and a lodge built for one of the forest officials some time before 1558. (fn. 91) After this period there is little information; in 1754 and in 1830 there were three freeholders in addition to the owner of Shotover House. (fn. 92) In 1841 there were 177 inhabitants in 21 houses, six other houses being uninhabited and three in building. (fn. 93) In 1931 the population was said to be 83, (fn. 94) and in 1951 it was 3,325 together with Forest Hill.
The history of Shotover before 1660 is inextricably bound up with that of the forest to which it gave its name. From the perambulations of 1298 and 1300 and another undated medieval record, (fn. 95) we can follow its boundaries. It included the whole of Headington with Barton and Wick, and Marston parishes and parts of others: Elsfield, Wood Eaton, Islip, Noke, Beckley, Stanton St. John, Forest Hill, Wheatley, Horspath, and Cowley. (fn. 96) Under Henry II the forest had reached as far as Harpsford (Wheatley) Bridge, but parts had been disafforested by 1298. (fn. 97)
The general outlines of forest history are well known. Here it is noteworthy that the bailiwick of Shotover and Stowood appears to have been largely independent of the warden of the whole forest area between Oxford and Stamford Bridge. Royal writs were addressed direct to the bailiff, (fn. 98) and forest justices seldom interfered. (fn. 99) By the 14th century he had ceased to perform his duties in person, and even before this the bailiwick had become hereditary. (fn. 100) By 1337 the bailiff had authority to appoint a deputy. (fn. 101) In fact the bailiwick, which ranked as a grand serjeanty held for the service of finding someone to keep the forest, came directly under the Crown for matters of forest administration. (fn. 102)
The bailiff's deputy is first mentioned in 1337, when John de Louches held the post. (fn. 103) He was succeeded by Philip of Baggesore, (fn. 104) John le Venour, (fn. 105) Robert Gannage, (fn. 106) Peter atte Wood, (fn. 107) and William Makkeneye (fn. 108) in the period up to 1392. In 1466 Edmund Rede, then bailiff, successfully claimed the right to appoint a deputy. (fn. 109) Subsequent holders of the office have not been traced. The deputy was assisted by four yeomen foresters, and two forest grooms, to use the 17th-century rendering of the 14th-century terms valetti forestarii, and garciones forestarii. (fn. 110) There were two verderers chosen by the sheriff, and not the usual four. (fn. 111) There were also agisters and regarders, in accordance with normal forest administration. The foresters were known as rangers in the later medieval and post-Reformation period, some of whom were appointed for life, (fn. 112) receiving 6d. a day in the later medieval period, (fn. 113) but only 4d. by 1536. (fn. 114)
This royal forest played a large part in the life of the surrounding countryside. Lords of manors were accustomed to supply refreshment for the foresters, (fn. 115) and neighbouring towns and villages were allowed to send pigs into the forest if they had no common. In 1363 Noke could send 12, Islip 20, Woodeaton 6, Elsfield 8, Beckley 10, Forest Hill 12, Wheatley 10, the two Horspaths 18, and the two Cowleys 12 (the figures covering the whole forest) at a rate of 1s. 6d. a pig, (fn. 116) a third of which went to the bailiff in 1279. (fn. 117) In Edward III's reign the ministers' accounts contain a note of non-payment of pannage for Shotover. (fn. 118) The specially favoured, such as St. John's Hospital, sometimes obtained exemption from payment of the due. (fn. 119) The list of the bailiff's perquisites, in addition to pannage, included agistments payable at the swanimote court for pasturing of cattle by villages with no common (in 1452 this amounted to 28s. 7¾d. and 18 bushels of wheat), hens and eggs (cokshotes) from collectors of dry wood, payment of 'chiminage' from those who drove their beasts through the forest, windfall wood, tops and lops, deer browse, old coppices and hedges, all 'waifs and strays' including bees, the right to fell enough wood to pay for servants' clothing, the money levied from exemptions from the regulations for lawing of dogs (mentioned in 1279 but apparently lapsed by 1452) and the profits of the transgressions of the vert. (fn. 120) All these nevertheless did little more than cover expenses of keeping the forest, if we are to judge by statements made in 1490. (fn. 121)
Administration of the forest was complicated by royal grants of land or rights within it. There were several privately owned woods which originated in this way. The Templars received easements in the forest from Stephen (fn. 122) and Maud, (fn. 123) and exemption from assart from Henry III. (fn. 124) In 1278, however, they were accused of wrongly inclosing forest land. (fn. 125) In 1231 Godstow nunnery obtained confirmation of part of Hillesdon wood in free alms, quit of waste and regard. (fn. 126)
Littlemore Nunnery had 27 acres in the forest in 1259, under similar conditions, in lieu of an earlier grant of firewood. (fn. 127) This wood, called 'Swalewenhale', had been wasted in 1363. (fn. 128) Oseney Abbey held a wood called 'Wodemanneshull', (fn. 129) and in 1520 Oseney were receiving leaf silver and waifs and strays. (fn. 130) In 1307 Eynsham Abbey was licensed to hold Eton Wood, provided that venison were well kept and the covert preserved, (fn. 131) a reminder that these owners of private woods were committed to preserving the king's deer and his forest.
Studley Priory had a demesne wood within the forest, from which it could sell underwood, (fn. 132) and at the Dissolution the prioress was paying 'leaf silver' to the swanimote court. (fn. 133) The royal grant of a wood in 1246 to the Hospital of St. John, (fn. 134) in lieu of a previous right to firewood, (fn. 135) was the origin of Magdalen Wood, later Wood farm.
In addition to grants of land, there were many other privileges. The right to take timber or firewood was the subject of many grants. From the time of Richard I Godstow Nunnery had the right to send two carts daily for underwood (fn. 136) and in 1342 the abbess was licensed to send three weekly. (fn. 137) Timber for building was provided for Wallingford and Oxford castles, (fn. 138) St. John's Hospital (for their Chapel of St. Mary), (fn. 139) the Dominicans and Franciscans of Oxford, (fn. 140) the royal houses and lodge at Brill, (fn. 141) and for many private individuals. (fn. 142) In 1525 Shotover timber was used for Cardinal College, (fn. 143) and in 1611 Bodley's Librarian received some originally intended for works on the Thames. (fn. 144) The demands for the Royal Navy curtailed other grants during the postReformation period, (fn. 145) but as late as 1640 Jesus College was asking for timber. (fn. 146)
Grants of royal venison were another cherished privilege. The Templars had ten bucks annually (fn. 147) and Abingdon Abbey two bucks and a doe, venison from Windsor having proved rather 'high'. (fn. 148) There were many other grants, (fn. 149) and the king's table at Windsor was sometimes replenished from Shotover. (fn. 150)
Offences committed within the forest, either against the king's venison or the vert, were the province of the keeper of the bailiwick in the case of minor infringements of forest law, or the justices of the forest in eyre for cases of major offences, including those touching venison. (fn. 151) For this purpose Shotover had its own pound and stocks. (fn. 152) Offences against the venison involved individuals from the highest to the lowest, frequently including some by the scholars of Oxford. (fn. 153) In 1589 the university objected to punishment under martial law of the President and College of Magdalen who had 'disorderlie hunted her Majesty's deer', trouble having arisen over their charter granting them hunting rights. (fn. 154) In 1586 Lord Norreys, then keeper of the forest, arrested scholar poachers and was assaulted by a battery of stones thrown at him from Magdalen tower. (fn. 155) In 1640 Sir Timothy Tyrrell was ordered to seek out all in the neighbourhood who had greyhounds, mongrels, hand-guns, crossbows, nets, traps, or other engines to destroy deer. (fn. 156) Similarly there had to be continual vigilance for offences against the vert, generally by owners of woods or other land in the forest, who were likely to make assarts or purprestures or both. (fn. 157)
The decline of the forest in the neriod immediately preceding the disafforestation of 1660 is clearly shown in contemporary reports and surveys. Commissions of inquiry were frequent; (fn. 158) that of 1628 stated that the nine coppices of Shotover (900 a.) were worth only about 20 marks a year, and the eight of Stowood (600 a.) about £20. Shotover was the worst decayed, Redhill and Quarry coppices being utterly wasted. There were some 20,563 timber trees and 4,115 others in Shotover, and 6,718 timber trees and 970 others in Stowood. The timber had been commended by the royal shipwrights 'to be the best timber in the kingdome for shippinge, both for hardness and toughnes thereof being not apt to rend or cleave'. However, the woods were decayed; there had been hedge-breaking, unnecessary felling, unlawful browsing, unreasonable pasturage in the coppices, and mowing of grass. Cottagers were partly to blame, but Sir Timothy Tyrrell and the underkeepers were the chief culprits. They had taken good trees as 'dotards', having skilfully removed the tops and arms beforehand, sold timber without warrant, put cattle and deer into coppices still in their first two years' growth, and cut unlawful browse and mowing hay. The commissioners noted that the building of Sir Timothy's new lodge had led him to fell many sound oaks, that the woods had decayed above £4,000 in ten years, and that Sir Timothy should be called to answer as Lord Norreys had been before him. There were about 400 deer in Stowood and the same number in Shotover, but there would be scarcely 100 apiece if matters were not remedied. The king had lately received only two brace a year. (fn. 159) The commission finally alleged that each underkeeper had gained more in a year than the king in five, (fn. 160) and recommended strict control, and enforcement of the forest laws. This latter point was met by the last forest court held for Shotover, in 1636, when enormous fines were levied. (fn. 161)
The crux of the matter was that the period of decline coincided with growing demands for timber, principally from the navy. (fn. 162) In 1632 there is the significant statement that owing to decay of timber in the Forest of Dean, the New Forest, and Waltham Forest, Shotover and Stowood were the only sources of supply. (fn. 163) Yet there were continual complaints of difficulty, chiefly because of Tyrrell's obstructions, (fn. 164) one accusation stating that the forest had depreciated by £20,000 in five years owing to him. (fn. 165) In 1631, of 14,000 oaks marked for the navy (4,000 for present and 10,000 for future use), many were alleged to be of little worth. (fn. 166) Further, there were difficulties about obligation to transport the timber from the forest. It was held that neighbouring counties should help with this work, as they did in the defence of the realm, and appeals were lodged against the duty. (fn. 167) In 1635 merchants were offering tenders to do the work. (fn. 168)
There was also difficulty with the Earl of Lindsey, who had been granted a 51-years' lease of the timber in 1628. Of this, 6,000 oaks were initially reserved for the navy, and the earl was committed to inclosing a park of 250 acres to protect the neighbouring cornlands from the deer. (fn. 169) Nevertheless, his lease raised an outcry, particularly from the university. (fn. 170) A sub-committee of the Council of Trade reported that the timber was needed for the navy, (fn. 171) and as a result sales were forbidden in 1631, save for trees already felled, those for the navy, for building at St. John's College, and for works on the Thames. (fn. 172) Lindsey conducted a long defence, asserting that felling for the navy had recently been unprofitable, and accusing Tyrrell of despoliation. (fn. 173)
Such was the story of waste and decay which the Civil War helped to complete. It is reasonable to suppose that encroachments went unchecked in this disturbed period, and it is known that, during the siege of Oxford, wood from Shotover was seized for firewood. (fn. 174) Damage was almost certainly done by the royalist troops who were constructing 'new works' there in 1643, (fn. 175) and when Fairfax captured the hill in 1645 (fn. 176) there may have been further devastation. Certainly by 1660 the forest was not deemed worthy of inclosure as a park. (fn. 177) A survey taken then revealed that Shotover contained 932 acres in nine coppices, valued at 4s. an acre, and that not one coppice was of any profit for timber; the total value of the forest, including Stowood, was assessed at £370. There was no timber ready for sale save a solitary oak on the highway valued at £1. (fn. 178)
Inclosure within the forest is recorded in the 15th and 16th centuries. Magdalen College defined the bounds of its property with merestones in 1485 (fn. 179) and in 1513 obtained permission to inclose the college woodland for periods of seven years, permanent inclosure being forbidden under the forest laws. (fn. 180) The college set about planting trees and making new hedges. (fn. 181) In 1582 Lord Norreys urged the inclosure of the coppices, as deer were dying because cattle belonging to newly established cottages were eating all the herbage, and the gates on highways were being left open. (fn. 182) By 1629 the nine royal coppices of Shotover had locked gates, (fn. 183) but it appears from the inquiries during this period that hedges were ill kept and encroachments common. In 1660 only two coppices in Shotover and five in Stowood were completely inclosed. (fn. 184)
On disafforestation those with rights of common were compensated by grants of land (641 a. in all), and the rest—562 acres in Shotover and 421 in Stowood—was leased by the Crown. The lessees were given permission to inclose, build, and plough, since the waste land was judged unfit for park-land. (fn. 185) The progress of inclosure is not known in detail. A map of 1715 shows the highway passing through uninclosed land, (fn. 186) but Arthur Young reported that arable and pasture were inclosed. He also praised the turnips growing on the belt of red sand which stretched across Shotover. (fn. 187) The inclosure award of 1824 concerned the area known as Shotover Hill, anciently Quarry Coppice. This land had been found unsuitable for cultivation in its uninclosed state, and was therefore parcelled out between those with rights to common or a claim to land in the old coppice. (fn. 188)
By 1871 the owner of Shotover House was busy improving old hedges; (fn. 189) in 1878 the people of Wheatley were reported to be 'very jealous' of their 20-acre common, which they nevertheless finally agreed to exchange. (fn. 190) In 1871 inclosures made by Magdalen College were destroyed by rioters from Headington; (fn. 191) in fact much of the opposition to inclosure arose over disputed rights to the land, particularly over the remnants of old rights to common or to land granted in compensation.
Despite these outbreaks, the owners of Shotover House were bent on improvement and technical advance. Mr. Maitland, who bought the estate in 1854, was misguided, for he overstocked the land with sheep, which died in large numbers. (fn. 192) He was a truculent landlord, attempting to block a pathway from Wheatley to Shotover (fn. 193) (a scheme thwarted according to the evidence of the inclosure award), and carrying a riding crop on his rounds, with which to strike his employees. His programme of improvementled him to bankruptcy, but his successor, Colonel Miller, made Shotover into a model farm. He rebuilt the farm buildings, restocked the farm with about 1,000 sheep, and undertook the planting and felling of some 2,000 to 3,000 fir-trees annually. There are now 300 to 400 sheep on the farm. The number of other farmers has dwindled from four in 1841 (fn. 194) to two, excluding the very small Round Hill farm on the old road. Most of the inhabitants are now either retired people, or have work in Oxford.
Quarrying must have been carried on in Shotover in the medieval period, though as most quarries in the neighbourhood were in the forest of Shotover it is difficult to be sure when reference is made to a specific Shotover quarry. After disafforestation in 1660 the quarry area covered 5 acres (fn. 195) and was worth £5. (fn. 196) A protracted dispute arose over its boundary with the lord of Headington manor, since the old Quarry Coppice had been allotted to Headington on disafforestation, and it was alleged that the lessee of Shotover had dug pits within it. (fn. 197) In 1824, when Quarry Coppice was inclosed, all the quarries in this area were granted to Edward Latimer, an Oxford wine merchant, in settlement of the costs of litigation over them. (fn. 198) But the days of the quarries' importance were almost over; stone from Shotover used to build Holton Park was said in 1819 to have crumbled within three years. (fn. 199) The last instance of their use was in 1820, when Magdalen College reopened their quarry to get stone for their new building on the present site of Hertford College. (fn. 200)
Another source of profit were the ochre deposits found in the forest. Robert Teswell, surveyor of the woods, was interested in selling ochre as early as 1611. (fn. 201) In 1677 Dr. Plot, the scientist, described the ten kinds of earth enclosing these deposits, the fourth stratum being white clay which was good for pipes and for making 'models, gargils, antiches'. The sand he declared good for glass and the whitest known. (fn. 202) The poorer quality ochre was soaked, beaten into cakes and then dried on trestles. (fn. 203) It was largely used for Oxfordshire wagons. The deep pits are now deserted, (fn. 204) although until 1914 pipe-clay was dug for use in soap manufacture.
On the north side of the old road are derelict brickyards in an area where Kimmeridge clay rests on Corallian rocks, and is overlain by Portland Beds. Even in 1908 many smaller pits that were once used for brick and tile earth had been closed 'owing to their inability to compete with the larger brickyards', (fn. 205) and the industry was finally killed by the larger undertakings on the Bedfordshire-Buckinghamshire border.
The Shotover residents have never possessed a church of their own, and, since the area was extraparochial, did not pay tithes or rates to any other church. It appears from the parish registers of Forest Hill that the Tyrrells attended the church there (see Forest Hill). The Schutz family worshipped at Holton, where memorials to them may still be seen. The chapel in Shotover House, in use in the days of the Schutzes and of their successor, G. V. Drury, attracted others. Choristers from Wheatley sang there and Joseph Cooper regularly attended, although a churchwarden of Wheatley. Services in the chapel must have ceased when the new wings of the house were built in the mid-19th century.
For schooling, Shotover children have usually gone to Sandhills, Wheatley, Holton, and Thame.