A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 7, Dorchester and Thame Hundreds. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1962.
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The modern parish of Clifton Hampden dates only from 1819, for until then Clifton was nominally a chapelry of Dorchester. (fn. 1) The boundaries of Clifton, however, appear to have remained unchanged from Saxon times until 1932, when they were enlarged by the addition of the civil parish of Burcot. (fn. 2) The area was thereby increased from 1,245 acres to 1,924 acres. The only natural boundary of the ancient township and virtual parish, with the history of which this article is concerned, was the River Thames in the south.
At its lowest point, on the Thames, the parish lies 154 feet above sea level, but rises steadily to 250 feet on its northern boundary. (fn. 3) At the east end of the village the land rises sharply to form a cliff on which stand the church and the manor-house. The soil consists largely of Lower Greensand, though there is a small patch of Gault on Clifton Heath and a stretch of Alluvium north of the Thames extending from the eastern boundary of Culham to Burcot. (fn. 4)
The main Dorchester to Abingdon road runs through the parish from east to west, keeping to the higher ground away from the river. This highway was of great antiquity (fn. 5) and was the parish's main means of communication, but it appears to have been neglected in the 16th and 17th centuries and by 1736 was in 'a ruinous state'. In that year an Act of Parliament established a turnpike trust for the area between Henley and Abingdon and empowered it to levy tolls for the maintenance and repair of the road. (fn. 6) Further Acts were passed in 1755, 1781, 1802, 1821, and 1841. (fn. 7) The trust set up a toll-gate at the eastern approach to the village where the garage now stands. The highway now runs to the north of the lower part of the village, but originally took a loop through it and thence ran up the hill between the present parsonage and churchyard to rejoin the main road after passing through the grounds of the manor-house. (fn. 8) It is not clear when exactly the alteration was made: Hucks's estate map of 1786 (fn. 9) shows only the loop road, but the present main road appears to be marked on Davis's map of 1797. (fn. 10) The bulk of the original road through the lower village remained in use in 1958, although the eastern end was blocked up in 1843 and 1882. (fn. 11) Two minor roads, Baldon Way, of which part was originally called Watery Lane, and Thame Lane, which crosses Clifton Heath, were probably also ancient roads. Thame Lane formed a cross-country link between Culham and the market town of Thame via Chislehampton. It was in use until the present century, chiefly for the sheep and cattle trade between Oxfordshire and Salisbury. (fn. 12) The remaining road, from Long Wittenham, joins the loop road in the lower village by a bridge over the Thames. The bridge, built by Richard Casey, is a red brick structure in the Gothic style, and was erected in 1864 by Henry Hucks Gibbs, lord of the manor, from a design of Sir Gilbert Scott at a cost of £3,617. The bricks used were made in a kiln on Clifton Heath. (fn. 13) The construction of the bridge was authorized by Act of Parliament, power to levy a toll being granted. (fn. 14) In 1946 the bridge was purchased from Baroness Aldenham by the County Councils of Berkshire and Oxfordshire for £1,850 and freed from toll. (fn. 15) The bridge replaced an ancient ferry and ford and lies slightly above the ferry. The ford met the ferry on the Berkshire side of the river and crossed diagonally to the Oxfordshire bank to a point just below the church. (fn. 16) The ferry was in existence in the early part of the 14th century when a certain John Broun was ferryman. In 1493 the ferry was demised by Roger Roper of Watlington to Exeter College, Oxford, (fn. 17) in whose hands it remained until it was purchased by Henry Hucks Gibbs in 1861. (fn. 18) The ferry had a large boat, capable of carrying a man and a horse. (fn. 19)
The Thames at Clifton has always been difficult to navigate. There is a hard rock bed full of halfsunken ledges in the neighbourhood of the bridge, (fn. 20) and near Long Wittenham the course of the river is circuitous and the stream rapid. A river survey of 1811 refers to the difficulties and dangers of navigation near Slade's Eyot close to Long Wittenham, many disasters having occurred at Wittenham Point. (fn. 21) As late as 1826 the Lord Mayor of London, returning from a visit to Oxford, was delayed a long time near Clifton ferry because of the low depth of water. (fn. 22) The difficulties of the navigation at Clifton were one of the problems that the Oxford-Burcot Commission had to consider after its establishment by Acts of 1605 and 1624, (fn. 23) but it was not until the Thames Navigation Commission was set up in 1751 (fn. 24) that any serious remedial step was considered.
In 1771 a proposal was made to cut a channel from Clifton ferry to a point just above Culham Pound Lock with the object of by-passing Culham and Sutton Courtenay, but the proposal was dropped. (fn. 25) In 1789–90 the towing path from Day's Lock to Culham Bridge was constructed, the path crossing from the Berkshire to the Oxfordshire side of the river at Clifton ferry. (fn. 26) The difficulty around Slade's Eyot, however, remained, and in addition there were complaints of exorbitant tolls at the Eyot. (fn. 27) A cut through Clifton Mead to avoid the awkward loop in the river opposite Long Wittenham seems to have been first suggested in 1802; (fn. 28) and in 1811 it was decided to construct a pound lock at Clifton ferry. (fn. 29) Work was begun in 1820 and was completed in 1822, at a cost of £5,420. (fn. 30) The weir near the west end of the cut was made in 1835. (fn. 31)
The village of Clifton Hampden lies partly to the south of the main Abingdon-Dorchester road and partly on both sides of the lower section of Baldon Way. Its first name means 'tun on a cliff' and is of Anglo-Saxon origin. (fn. 32) Its second, for which there is no documentary evidence before 1726, (fn. 33) is an unusually late addition to the original name, and it has therefore been suggested that Hampden may really be Hampton, a common ending for villages in the vicinity. (fn. 34) There is, however, no real reason to doubt that Hampden is a family name and was added, perhaps, when Miles Hampden was lord of the manor in the 1530's, to distinguish the village from Clifton Ferry on the Berkshire side of the river. (fn. 35) It may be noted, however, that Miles Hampden's maternal grandfather is described in a 16th-century pedigree as of 'Clifton Ferris'. (fn. 36)
Lord Torrington described the village in 1792 as 'one of the prettiest and flemish-looking villages I ever saw', (fn. 37) and in 1958 Clifton was still remarkably attractive and well-kept with a number of timber-framed Elizabethan or early-17th-century cottages and farmhouses. There was much rebuilding in the 18th century and many of the new houses reflect the increased desire for comfort and privacy that characterized the period. An 18th-century house, for instance, adjoining Upper Town Farm, is a brick-built building of two stories. Both it and a neighbouring 18th-century cottage of brick and thatch are screened from the road by a brick and stone wall, overtopped by a large yew hedge. There is also a grass verge in front.
Some of the old buildings appear to have been malthouses in the 17th and 18th centuries: in 1726 there were three in the village, one on the north side of the London road, a second on the east side of the green, and a third on the west side of the green. (fn. 38) It is not certain whether the present village inn, the 'Plough', was one of these or not: the building is old, but was first recorded as one in 1821. The 'Fleur de Lys' was mentioned in 1786, (fn. 39) and continued as an inn until at least 1864. (fn. 40) The third inn was perhaps a house, altered in the late 18th century, near the bridge. It is now two cottages, but is traditionally held to be an ancient hostelry.
Except for the late-18th-century Fullamoor Farm, close to the parish boundary, (fn. 41) the three farmhouses are all in the village, but they are now private residences. Two of them date from the 16th and 17th centuries. The oldest is 'Ridges', a timberframed building with modern extensions. This farm seems to be the one described in a survey of the village in 1726 as the 'capital messuage called the Farm'. (fn. 42) Lower Town Farm dates from the 17th century: a timber-framed wing with brick filling survives at the back. A south wing of two stories with attics was added in the 18th century, the initials A.R. and E.P. and the date 1771 being inscribed on the brickwork. The picturesque farm outbuildings, consisting of large weather-boarded barns with halfhipped roofs, also date from the 18th century.
The church, manor-house, and Vicarage stand on the cliff at the east end of the village. The manorhouse was built between 1843 and 1846 as a parsonage and was used as such by the incumbent until 1905, when it became the residence of Alban, 2nd Baron Aldenham. (fn. 43) Built from the designs of Sir Gilbert Scott at a cost of £3,900, it is a grey, stone building in the revived Gothic style of the Victorian period. Additions were made in 1864–5 by the incumbent, the Revd. J. L. Gibbs. (fn. 44) From 1939 to 1943 the building housed a private nursing home evacuated from London, but has since reverted to its former status, and in 1958 was the residence of Sir Geoffrey and Lady Gibbs. The Vicarage has a longer history than the manor-house, the succession of the property being traceable from 1755. The house was largely rebuilt in 1923–4, but its south side dates back to about 1780. (fn. 45) It was purchased, together with 8 acres of land, by Anne Noyes, lady of the manor, in 1831; in 1832 she conveyed the house and land to the Bishop of Oxford and the Revd. Joseph Gibbs for use as a parsonage. (fn. 46) It was used as such until 1843 and became again a parsonage in 1905.
The parish hall, opened in 1896, was built by Henry Hucks Gibbs to commemorate his elevation to the peerage as Baron Aldenham. In 1898 it was adapted as a reading-room. (fn. 47)
To the north-west of Watery Lane is a substantial early-18th-century house built of brick with horizontal fascias of stone. Behind the house were stables and a coach-house; these have been converted into cottages. The house is apparently not mentioned in the survey of 1726, but is shown on Jefferys's map of Oxfordshire of 1767. After serving as a school and a nursing home it became once again a private residence. Nineteenth-century and modern cottages on the road leading from the church to the AbingdonDorchester road are of the same general character as the rest of the village. They are of one story or of one story and an attic, and are built of brick and stone and are thatched. Eight post-war council houses have been built outside the village.
The Civil War of the 17th century saw some military activity in the neighbourhood. After the occupation of Abingdon by roundhead troops in May 1644 the parliamentarians began to make sorties into the Dorchester area to raid royalist communications with Oxford. (fn. 48) On 6 May 1645 the roundhead commander at Abingdon, Major-General Richard Browne, marched to meet Cromwell at Dorchester, (fn. 49) at which time some parliamentary soldiers were quartered in Clifton. (fn. 50) Early in 1646 a minor engagement took place near Clifton when a force of roundheads from Abingdon clashed with some of the royalist garrison of Wallingford who had been drawn away from their headquarters by a stratagem. Some 50 cavaliers are said to have been captured. (fn. 51)
The Second World War led to the establishment of the Royal Naval air station. It was closed in 1956, but was re-opened in the same year as an Admiralty Storage Depot, covering 592 acres and extending into the parishes of Culham and Nuneham Courtenay. (fn. 52)
Henry Hucks Gibbs, first Baron Aldenham (1819– 1907), financier, antiquarian, and a benefactor to the village, has been perhaps the only resident of importance. A devoted churchman, he is said to have possessed the finest collection of copies of the Book of Common Prayer in English hands. (fn. 53)
Clifton was not mentioned by name in Domesday Book, but there can be little doubt that it was surveyed under Dorchester, and was a part of the endowment of the Bishopric of Dorchester. When the bishopric was transferred to Lincoln in about 1070 Clifton was also transferred. (fn. 54) The bishop, however, was compelled to enfeoff much of his Oxfordshire land, including Clifton, to meet the heavy burden of providing 60 knights for the king's service and retained only the overlordship of Clifton. This followed the descent of Dorchester manor when in the 16th century Dorchester passed to the Norreys family and later to the earls of Abingdon. (fn. 55)
During the medieval period Clifton was divided amongst three of the bishop's knights. The Le Moine fee, or CLIFTON or HAMPDEN manor as it became later, descended from the fee which a Robert Monachus held of the Bishop of Lincoln in 1166. (fn. 56) Robert le Moine, probably a son if not the same person, held the fee by 1201, and William le Moine had succeeded him by about 1212. (fn. 57) Either he or a son of the same name was in possession soon after 1225. (fn. 58) Details of succeeding tenants are not recorded, but the fee clearly remained in the family and in 1279 Philip le Moine was the bishop's tenant. His fee included property in Burcot and South Stoke and seems to have comprised about one-third of Clifton parish itself. He paid scutage to the bishop and owed suit to Dorchester hundred court. (fn. 59) By 1300 John le Moine had inherited the property, (fn. 60) and he or a son was returned as one of Clifton's lords in 1316 and paid the highest tax contribution for the parish in 1327. (fn. 61) In 1346 John, son of John le Moine, held his father's lands in Clifton, Burcot, and South Stoke. (fn. 62)
In the 1350's, however, John le Moine seems to have granted John Loveday of Goring rights in the reversion of Clifton manor, as it was now called. He and Loveday were jointly concerned in transactions over Clifton, Burcot, Holcombe, and Drayton in 1358. (fn. 63) Loveday died in 1361, and in 1362 his heir Elizabeth and her husband Henry de Aldrynton granted various estates, including land in Clifton and the reversion of Clifton manor, to Thomas de Aldrynton and others; (fn. 64) Le Moine still had a life interest in the manor. (fn. 65) Some time before 1380 Sir Hugh de Segrave, a former Treasurer of England, had acquired the Aldrynton rights in Clifton manor. He had also purchased other property in Clifton, for example, that of Ralph son of Thomas Cook. In 1380 Segrave granted much of his land to William of Wykeham; amongst the grants were £11 rent from Clifton manor, 'sometime of John Moyne', properties which had once belonged to John de Louches of Garsington, Thomas Cook, and Adam de Shareshull, and the reversion of Clifton manor, at that time held by Robert Maundeville and his wife for life. (fn. 66) At the same time Thomas de Aldrynton gave up his rights in the property, (fn. 67) and in 1382 Nicholas Drayton of Dorchester, who was related to Sir Hugh de Segrave, released his rights in Clifton and Burcot manors and property. (fn. 68) William of Wykeham seems to have intended to endow New College, Oxford, with the property, and in 1381 was granted a licence to alienate Clifton and other manors to St. Mary's College, Winchester. (fn. 69) The college administered the manor, which was still farmed by the Maundevilles, until 1390, but seems to have disposed of it about that time. It is likely that both Burcot and Clifton manors were acquired by Sir John Drayton of Kempston (Beds.) (fn. 70) and later of Nuneham Courtenay. Drayton, a soldier of fortune, was the son of the Nicholas Drayton who had had rights in the manor in 1382, and he certainly possessed land in Clifton in 1405. (fn. 71) He died in 1417, leaving two daughters and coheirs, Joan and Elizabeth. (fn. 72) The latter, who married first Christopher Preston of Slapton (Northants.), and second John Wenlock of Wenlock (Salop), who was created Baron Wenlock in 1461, apparently acquired Clifton as a result of a division of the Drayton lands in 1432. (fn. 73) Three years later she and Wenlock made a grant of the manor for life to John Delabere, clerk, later Bishop of St. David's (1447–60). (fn. 74) When he died the manor reverted to Elizabeth, and on her death about 1461 passed to Richard Preston, doubtless her son by her first marriage. (fn. 75) He died, an idiot, in 1489, holding the manor of the Bishop of Lincoln 'as of the manor of Dorchester'. (fn. 76) His daughter and heir Elizabeth, said to have been feeble-minded since birth, was thrice married: to Richard Danvers, Edward Hampden, and Nicholas Lovett. (fn. 77) After Elizabeth's death in 1521 (fn. 78) her third husband retained the manor during his lifetime. (fn. 79) By 1535 her heir Miles Hampden was lord of the manor, but the Yonges, who held Bradleys manor in Clifton, had a lease of it from Lovett. (fn. 80) Miles Hampden was succeeded by his son Richard and grandson Thomas. (fn. 81) About 1599 Thomas Hampden sold Clifton manor to Sir Michael Molyns of Clapcot (Berks.), who was also lord of a Chislehampton manor. (fn. 82) At his death in 1615 Sir Michael was said to hold the manor of Francis Lord Norreys of Rycote as of Dorchester manor. (fn. 83) In about 1618 his son Sir Barentine Molyns conveyed the manor to Edmund Dunch, lord of a second manor in Clifton. (fn. 84) Thereafter, the two manors followed the same descent. (fn. 85)
The Burcot fee, known as CLIFTON manor in the 16th century, formed a second estate in Clifton. It belonged in the 12th and 13th centuries to the Burcot family, who were mesne tenants of the Bishop of Lincoln's fee in Clifton, Holcombe, and Drayton, and apparently only under-tenants in Burcot itself. (fn. 86) In 1166 the fee cannot be identified with certainty among those listed as belonging to the bishop. (fn. 87) By 1201 Nicholas son of Bartholomew, perhaps the Bartholomew de Clifton who occurs in 1176, (fn. 88) held land in Clifton and was also returned as tenant of the bishop's fee at the same time. (fn. 89) In 1212 he was termed Nicholas de Burcot. (fn. 90) Either he or a son, also Nicholas de Burcot, held the fee by at least about 1225, (fn. 91) and another Nicholas, presumably of the next generation, was in possession in 1279. As chief lord of the fee under Dorchester he then held in Drayton, Holcombe, and Clifton, but he was also under-tenant of 7 virgates of the Le Moine fee in Clifton, Burcot, and South Stoke, and of 2 virgates of the De Baldindon fee in Burcot. (fn. 92) His property passed to a son John, (fn. 93) but by 1346 the Abbot of Dorchester was returned as tenant of the fee. (fn. 94)
Dorchester Abbey had been under-tenant of the Burcots' Clifton property since 1279 at least, when the whole estate save for a ½-virgate was either in its farm or paid rent and scutage to the abbey as mesne tenant. (fn. 95) The property remained in the abbey's hands until the 16th century. (fn. 96) The abbey also paid a quitrent to Miles Hampden in 1535, which suggests that the abbey's estate still included his manor, perhaps as successors of the 13th-century under-tenants, the Burcot family. (fn. 97) The king seized the lands on the dissolution of the abbey, and they were retained by the Crown until 1560 when Elizabeth I granted them to John Doddington and John Jackson. (fn. 98) By 1592 William Dunch of Little Wittenham (Berks.) was in possession, (fn. 99) and he held the manor on his death in 1597. (fn. 100) His son Edmund (d. 1623) was succeeded by a grandson, another Edmund (d. 1678), and Edmund's son Hungerford (d. 1680). Hungerford's heir Edmund, a celebrated Whig politician of the 18th century, squandered his patrimony. (fn. 101) On his death in 1719 he bequeathed to his three daughters and coheirs not only his lands in Oxfordshire and elsewhere, but also debts amounting to £26,000, and to meet these debts a private Act of Parliament permitted the sale of lands. (fn. 102) In 1726 Clifton manor was purchased from Dunch's trustees by Robert Hucks (d. 1745), a London brewer and M.P. for Abingdon. (fn. 103) The estate remained in the hands of the Hucks family until 1814 and was enlarged by various purchases. (fn. 104) On the death of Robert Hucks's son and successor, another Robert, who had become a lunatic, it passed by inheritance to Anne and Sarah Noyes, nieces of Robert (II). (fn. 105) By a deed of partition of 1815 the manor and lordship of Clifton became the property of Anne Noyes. (fn. 106) When Anne died in 1841 she left the estate to her sister Sarah, and after her to her cousin, the banker George Henry Gibbs, heir-at-law to the Hucks family. (fn. 107) On the death of Sarah in 1842 G. H. Gibbs succeeded to the property under the terms of Anne's will; (fn. 108) he died at Venice in 1842 and was buried at Clifton. (fn. 109) His son Henry Hucks Gibbs (d. 1907), created 1st Baron Aldenham in 1896, still held the manor in 1891, but gave it to his son Alban, 2nd Baron Aldenham, who was returned as chief landowner in Clifton in 1903. He died in 1936 and his son, the 3rd baron, died in 1939. Lillie Lady Aldenham, widow of the 3rd baron, held Clifton manor until her death in 1950, when she was succeeded by Sir Geoffrey Gibbs, nephew of the 2nd baron. (fn. 110)
A third fee in Clifton, later known as BRADLEYS manor, developed from the estate of an Adelinus de Clifton—a successor of the Domesday Iseward—who held 2 fees of the Bishop of Lincoln in 1166. (fn. 111) The 2 fees must have included, then as later, land in Burcot, the Baldons, and South Stoke as well as in Clifton. (fn. 112) By 1201 Richard, son of a William, who was probably the heir of Adelinus, held the 2 fees and was still in possession about 1212. (fn. 113) As in Marsh Baldon he was succeeded by his daughter Agnes, who held the fees in about 1225, and they later passed to a family called De Baldindon, probably by marriage. (fn. 114) William de Baldindon held Clifton property by 1247 (fn. 115) and in 1279 he or a son held the 2 fees in Clifton, Baldon, and South Stoke in chief of the bishop and for scutage and suit at Dorchester hundred court. Apparently the Baldon property formed one fee and the Clifton and neighbouring lands another. (fn. 116)
It may be assumed that the Clifton property descended to the Bradleys in the same way as the Baldon estate, but details are lacking. In 1316 John 'de Bradele' was returned as one of the lords of Clifton and Burcot. (fn. 117) His successor can perhaps be identified as the John de Bradecote (? Bridecote or Burcot) who held a ½-fee in Clifton and Burcot in 1346, although nothing has been found to link Geoffrey of the Chamber (de Camera), the previous tenant of the ½-fee, with the Bradleys. (fn. 118) It is not clear what happened to the Bradleys' estate over the next 70 years. It seems to have come into the hands of the Le Moines, the other Clifton-manor tenants, but reverted to the Bradleys. In 1428 Robert 'de Bradele' held a ½-fee in Clifton, and Burcot, which had previously belonged to John le Moine. (fn. 119) He also held the Le Moines' ½-fee in Clifton, Burcot, and South Stoke, but this was perhaps a temporary arrangement. (fn. 120) His son John seems to have succeeded him in the same year. (fn. 121) Thereafter there is a gap in the descent until 1512, when John Lewes and his wife Agnes conveyed the manors of Baldon and Clifton to Robert Froston, (fn. 122) and in 1513 Bishop Audley purchased both Little Baldon and Clifton for his chantry in Salisbury Cathedral. (fn. 123) Clifton was evidently not retained, for in 1530 William Yonge of Basildon (Berks.) and Little Wittenham held a messuage and farm called Bradleys. (fn. 124) In 1543 his son Roger sold Bradleys manor, said to be worth £10 19s. a year, to Sir John Pollard of Nuneham Courtenay, (fn. 125) who had also acquired the Baldon estate. (fn. 126) The estates passed to his brother Sir Anthony Pollard in 1557; his Clifton manor was described as Bradleys manor held of Lord Norreys as of his manor of Dorchester. (fn. 127) Pollard had also acquired lands in Clifton, which had belonged to Littlemore Priory. (fn. 128) The Clifton property must have descended like Little Baldon to Anthony's kinsman Lewis Pollard, (fn. 129) who in 1636 made a will saying that his executors should sell Broadlease manor (i.e. Bradleys) to pay his debts. (fn. 130) The manor was sold soon after, perhaps before his death in 1640; (fn. 131) but by 1726 it had apparently been absorbed into the Hucks estate of Clifton Hampden, for in an estate survey of that date 5 acres described as 'Bradleys Piece' were freehold of the manor. (fn. 132)
About 1487 the Abingdon Guild of the Holy Cross acquired land in Clifton from Joan Hopkins alias Yonge of Clifton, and it later passed to Christ's Hospital, Abingdon, successor to the Fraternity of the Holy Cross. The property consisted originally of strips in the Middle and Lower Fields together with meadowland; but after inclosure it comprised 6 acres of meadow, south of the London road, and 17 acres of arable, north of the road. In 1866 Henry Hucks Gibbs, lord of Clifton manor, bought the property from the hospital for £2,500. (fn. 133)
Economic and Social History.
Crop markings near Fullamoor Farm may indicate a Romano-British site, but continuous settlement probably dates from the Anglo-Saxon period. The place was undoubtedly colonized by early Saxon settlers who gave it its name of Clifton, (fn. 134) but there is little information about the village's layout and system of landholding until the 13th century. In 1086 it was included in the lands of the Bishop of Lincoln's Dorchester manor and is therefore not described in detail in Domesday, although a number of its tenants must have been counted in the population of the bishop's lands, and its meadow land must also have been included in the survey. (fn. 135) The village may have shared in the general prosperity of the bishop's estates, which rose in value after the Conquest, but presumably then as later there was much waste land.
An early-13th-century record shows that Clifton was a typical open-field village. When Bartholomew de Clifton granted St. Frideswide's Priory a ½virgate of arable and 2 acres of meadow the ½-virgate was made up of 11½ acres distributed in strips (6 × 1 a.+2 a.+3 a.+½ a.) throughout the fields or furlongs: on 'Sandhilla', 'Scanland', in 'Shorthmede', and other places; the meadow was in strips too (1 a.+½ a. +½ a.). (fn. 136) Clifton does not appear in the survey of the bishop's Dorchester estates made in the second quarter of the century, (fn. 137) for the bishop had divided it all between three of his knights and kept no land to farm himself; (fn. 138) and although Clifton was surveyed in 1279, it is difficult to be certain how much land was under cultivation, as the Le Moine estate extended into other parishes and the account is far from clear. Moreover the meadow is not mentioned and it is unlikely that this was not important then. Sir Philip le Moine's estate was the largest with about 13 virgates, 17 acres. (fn. 139) William de Baldindon had 8 or 9 virgates and Nicholas de Burcot had about 3 virgates besides being under-tenant of about 4 virgates of the Le Moine fee in Clifton. These mesne tenants had let out all their land, a fact which probably accounts for the comparative freedom of Clifton's population. Only 8 tenants were said to do customary works, of which 2 were cottagers. Most of the tenants paid only rent and scutage for their holdings. (fn. 140) The most important lay under-tenant was Geoffrey de Lewknor, lord of Harrowden (Northants.) and a landowner in many parishes in the neighbourhood of Clifton. His 10 virgates of the Le Moine fee are entered twice under both Burcot and Clifton, and must have been divided between the two parishes. (fn. 141) The Abbot of Dorchester was another substantial under-tenant with rights over most of Nicholas de Burcot's estate and over 1 virgate of the Baldon fee. At least 3 free tenants and 1 customary tenant held under him. Some of Clifton's tenants had the virgate or ½-virgate holdings typical of many open-field villages, but this was by no means universal: a Nicholas le Carter had 5 virgates, but had let out 3, and there were 2 holdings of 2 virgates and 1 of 1½ virgate. (fn. 142)
In the 14th century Clifton supported only a moderately prosperous community, considering its extent, which in modern times was 1,245 acres, and it is likely that even more of it was sandy waste than is the case today. Its contributions to early-14thcentury taxes were comparatively small. In 1306 the Abbot of Dorchester contributed 6s. 7d., and in 1327 John le Moine, one of the lords, paid a high contribution of 10s. 1d., but otherwise the contributors seem to have been of modest means. Most of the 16 assessed paid under 2s. in 1306; in 1327 out of 33 assessed 10 paid 2s. to 4s., and 22 others under 2s. (fn. 143) The only clue to the size of the community in the late Middle Ages comes from the poll-tax returns of 1377, when 79 adults paid the tax. (fn. 144)
The land in the 14th and 15th centuries still continued to be divided between the three estates, although in the case of the Burcot land the lordship had passed to Dorchester Abbey. The Le Moine estate was farmed out and in 1389 Robert Maundeville and Cecilia his wife paid £16 3s. 4d. for the yearly rent of the manor. (fn. 145)
By the 16th century Clifton was one of the more valuable of Dorchester's estates, yielding £7 2s. 10d. a year in assized and customary rents. (fn. 146) Bradleys estate, consisting of the manor and a messuage and farm called Bradleys and other land in Clifton and Burcot, was leased by a Clifton husbandman for £4 a year in 1530, and the property was sold for £210 in 1543. (fn. 147) The Hampden estate was also leased for a term of years and stocked 300 sheep about this time. (fn. 148) From the 1523 subsidy list it appears that besides Dorchester Abbey and Abingdon Hospital there were 15 other contributors. The total contribution was a modest one of 32s. 6d. (fn. 149)
By the end of the 16th century most of Clifton had become part of the Dunch estate, which extended across the river to Little Wittenham, and the successors of the Dunches gradually acquired rights over the whole parish. The Dunch family lived at Wittenham and the Pollards leased Bradleys estate, so there was no resident squire in the village. (fn. 150) The Richard Keate who was occupying a five-hearth house in 1665 may have been the tenant of the manor. (fn. 151) The 17th-century hearth-tax returns indicate that apart from half a dozen husbandmen or yeoman farmers who had substantial houses with three to five hearths each, the rest of the inhabitants were of comparatively modest means, if not actually poor. For the tax of 1662 the collector reported that 24 'with only one hearth apiece will not pay' and that he could find nothing in the village on which to distrain. (fn. 152) In 1665 12 householders were listed, but 3 were discharged on grounds of poverty. (fn. 153) That there were only 9 taxpayers in 1665 is particularly significant when contrasted with the record of the Compton Census of 1676 which gives 130 adult inhabitants (i.e. of 16 years and over). (fn. 154)
Clifton was an open-field village until the late 18th century. In the 15th century there were three fields called East, Down, and Ham Fields, (fn. 155) which by 1726 had become respectively Upper Field (243 a.), Middle Field (210 a.), and Lower Field (266 a.). (fn. 156) Their furlong names, e.g. Moor and Fullamoor, indicate their state before being brought into cultivation. (fn. 157) It is possible that at one time more land had been under the plough than in 1726, for the surveyor said that part of the Heath called the Breach appeared to have been tilled formerly. There was practically no inclosure except for closes in the village and little consolidation of lands. Twenty-three of the 45 manorial tenants held land in the common fields, and their separate strips rarely contained more than 1 or 2 rods and at the most 2 acres. Clifton Mead meadow (117 a.) consisted of furlongs of between 1 and 10 acres, and was divided annually by lot according to the number of yardlands held. The crop from Burcot mead (21 a.) was taken by Burcot tenants, but commonage belonged to Clifton. Three tenants had rights over the Moors and the Church's Ayte (19 a.), which were presumably grazing land. Fully one-sixth of the parish (288 a.) was common, waste, or road. (fn. 158)
The River Thames played an important part in the village economy. The tenants of the manor had fishing rights in half the stream from Burcot to the Knapps (a small area by the ferry on the south bank of the river), in the whole stream from the Knapps to the Fortys, and from there in half the stream up to Slade's Eyot. Tenants also had the right in summer to drag stones from the stream along the under side of the cliff for the purpose of building fences and walls or for mending roads. (fn. 159)
About twelve of the 46 houses and cottages in the village in 1726 were freehold. Two or three cottages only seem to have been held by copy and the rest were held by lease normally for three lives, although in some cases for twelve years or a term of years. (fn. 160) Twenty-two tenants (i.e. nearly half the total number of householders) had only small closes with less than an acre of land attached and no land in the fields, and nine had less than 10 acres. Abingdon Hospital with 10 acres and the lord of the manor with 26 acres were among the eight farmers with holdings of 10 to 30 acres; there were four mediumsized farms with 40 to 80 acres and only two large farms. The Sawyers had 153 and the Dunches 173 acres. (fn. 161) The Dunch property was probably let to a tenant farmer and was known as The Farm or Clifton Farm House, part of which had been settled on Elizabeth Dunch in 1713. In 1765, when it came completely to the Huckses, it comprised about 290 acres of which 50 were furze and heath. (fn. 162)
Clifton Hampden was inclosed by Robert Hucks about 1770, and Richard Davis's map of 1797 shows the whole parish under plough save for land near the meadow. (fn. 163) In 1793 two of Hucks's tenants, Thomas Latham of Fullamoor farm and another, said in their replies to the Board of Agriculture that the inclosures were very large ones and that the farms also were large. They listed as the advantages of inclosure an increased rent, greater quantity and quality of produce, and improved stock, and maintained that the long leases helped. (fn. 164) Both these returns and Arthur Young's survey in 1809 show that Clifton farmers were quite progressive, particularly the Lathams of Fullamoor farm. Turnips and clover were said to 'answer exceedingly' and a flexible rotation of crops was in use—wheat with rye-grass, fallow for turnips or vetches, barley or oats, and clover. Latham was experimenting with potatoes in 1809, a crop which was to do very well later. He also cultivated 'a remarkably fine' crop of swedes. Sheep were reared, a cross between the Berkshire and Leicestershire breeds being favoured, and Thomas Latham was quoted as an authority on them by Young. Since inclosure Latham had carried out a good deal of drainage and had laid underground drains of wood and bushes. The method of manuring was to spread dung and coal ashes, or to fold sheep on the land. The farmhouses were described as good and well situated. (fn. 165) Over this period there were three, and after about 1816 four, tenant-farmers on the Hucks (later Noyes) estate. (fn. 166) The farms—Fullamoor, Lower Town, Upper Town, and Ridges—having 250 to 300 acres each were comparatively large for the county. (fn. 167) The manor and lordship of Clifton Hampden, which was in fact these four farms, amounted in 1815 to 1,093 acres and was valued at £1,492 a year, and between 1785 and 1832 it was assessed for land-tax purposes at £70 a year. (fn. 168) There were nine other small proprietors paying together another £10 of the tax. (fn. 169)
There is no evidence that inclosure resulted in de population, although precise population figures are not available for the 18th century. In 1793 the principal farmers maintained that population had increased rather than diminished (fn. 170) and the Census Reports show a steady rise between 1801 and 1871. (fn. 171) The parish registers suggest that many families mentioned in 1726 had died out or removed and had been replaced by others. (fn. 172) There may have been some emigration in the 1830's, for there was much unemployment in the village: expenditure on the poor rose from £88 in 1803 to £177 in 1835. (fn. 173) By 1854 expenditure had fallen to little over £100. (fn. 174) Agricultural wages, as elsewhere in Oxfordshire, were low: the standard rate in 1793 for dayworkers was 1s. 2d. a day, 1s. 6d. at haytime and 2s. at harvest; many, however, worked at task rates. (fn. 175) To provide work a brickworks was started on the Heath by H. H. Gibbs, the lord of the manor, (fn. 176) and two bricklayers were recorded in the 1851 census. Other trades included carpenters (one the keeper of the Plough Inn), a builder, who kept the 'Fleur de Lys', four shoemakers of the same family, three blacksmiths, again of one family, a basket-maker, a dress-maker, a baker, and a grocer. The railway provided some work to labourers and porters, and there were the four farms employing labourers. (fn. 177)
In 1867 the condition of cottages in the village was described in a government report as 'fair', and the principal owner was said to have 'every desire' that it should be good; all the cottages had gardens and some farm labourers had allotments for potatoes. The supply of water to the cottages was under examination and by 1868 some improvements had been made in sanitation after an outbreak of typhoid had been caused by an open ditch carrying the sewage of a large boarding school and some adjacent cottages. (fn. 178) At this period the Gibbs family were steadily buying up houses and land in the parish. In 1879, for example, H. H. Gibbs bought the holding (63 a.) of the Parsons family, (fn. 179) and by 1904 only three houses, one being the Vicarage, were not owned by the lord of the manor. As elsewhere farms were being amalgamated: one tenant occupied two of the parish's four farms, Upper and Home farms, and so farmed 473 acres. There were 50 cottages and 13 houses besides the farmhouses; the brick-kiln and smithy were still in use and a Co-operative Wholesale Society shop had been opened. (fn. 180) At the last census (1901) there had been 290 inhabitants. The population continued to fluctuate around this figure in the first three decades of the century. By 1951 it had dropped to 271. (fn. 181)
In 1939 and in the 1950's there were two farmers, Home, Upper Town, and Lower Town farms being occupied by one tenant, Fullamoor farm by another. (fn. 182) Mixed farming remained characteristic of Clifton in the 20th century, although the bias lay towards arable farming and there was little increase in the number of cattle kept. Sheep were kept, 50 and under for every 100 acres. The main arable crops were wheat, barley, beans, and oats, and in 1914 potatoes were considered to be highly successful. (fn. 183)
The chapel of Clifton was a daughter chapel to Dorchester Abbey and formed part of the abbey's endowment. The main endowment of the abbey consisted of churches of the hundred of Dorchester, the endowment no doubt going back to Saxon times. Until 1140 the abbey was a foundation of secular canons, but about that time the canons were suppressed by Bishop Alexander and the endowments transferred to Augustinian canons. (fn. 184) It is likely that there was a building on the site of the present church in Saxon times and that it was served by the prebendaries of Dorchester. (fn. 185) The first mention of the chapel seems to be in 1146 when Pope Eugenius III confirmed the possessions of Dorchester Abbey. The confirmation mentions six daughter churches, including Clifton. (fn. 186) The chapel is again mentioned in 1163 when the abbey's right to Clifton with its tithes along with the abbey's other chapels was confirmed. (fn. 187) Unlike most of Dorchester's 'chapels', Clifton apparently did not have full parochial rights until the 19th century. It is called a parish in the mid-16th century; it had its own churchwardens then, (fn. 188) and in 1578 its parish registers begin. But in the 16th century its church is, also, called a chapel, in 1714 a chapel-of-ease of Dorchester, and in 1817 'a chapel for the tenants' of the manor. (fn. 189)
In 1625 Clifton is recorded as having no churchyard, (fn. 190) and apparently baptisms and burials took place at Dorchester, as it was agreed they should still do in 1797. (fn. 191) In 1819, when Clifton got its own churchyard, full parochial status was probably attained. (fn. 192) In the Middle Ages Clifton was subject only to the abbey's jurisdiction and was exempt from episcopal and archidiaconal control. The Reformation inevitably affected the administration of the chapel. After the dissolution of the abbey Dorchester church and its daughter churches retained their separate jurisdiction as the peculiar of Dorchester, which held its own court, dealing with wills, administrations, marriage licences, presentments, and the like. (fn. 193) The peculiar probably ceased to exist about 1847, when Clifton became part of Cuddesdon deanery, but earlier in the century, because the living had been augmented by Queen Anne's Bounty (see below), Clifton came under the jurisdiction of the bishop, although not that of the archdeacon. It was visited by the bishop in 1802, and again from 1834 onwards, (fn. 194) and he began to license its curates in 1830. (fn. 195)
From its foundation the church was appropriated to Dorchester and there never was an endowed vicarage. The living in the post-Reformation period was thus apparently a pure donative, i.e. the patron could appoint to the living without presentation of his nominee to the bishop. (fn. 196) This remained so until the early 19th century. By 1808, after being augmented by Queen Anne's Bounty, it had become a perpetual curacy. (fn. 197) Since 1868 it has been called a vicarage. (fn. 198) Dorchester retained the rectory, that is all the income from the church and the responsibility of appointing and paying the chaplain, until the dissolution of the abbey in 1536. It appears that the abbey had begun to grant leases of the rectory in the early 16th century, for in the 1520's it was in the hands of William Yonge of Little Wittenham. (fn. 199) In 1535 the parish was farmed for £9. (fn. 200) At the Dissolution the rectory was acquired by the Crown, but in 1542 was granted to the Cathedral Church of St. Mary, Oseney, Oxford, as an endowment for the new bishopric of Oxford. (fn. 201) The scheme to make St. Mary's the cathedral church of the new diocese did not, however, materialize, and the Crown consequently retained the rectory. In 1545 the Crown sold it to John Pollard and George Rythe. (fn. 202) About 1591 Pollard granted a 21 years' lease of the rectory to Robert Baker and John Cox, to begin in 1593, (fn. 203) but in 1604 Pollard and his son Lewis Pollard gave a 21 years' lease to John Cox of Abingdon, yeoman. Cox was to pay a fee of £250 and a rent of £25 a year. He was to receive all tithes, but had to provide a curate. (fn. 204) In 1615 James I licensed Lewis Pollard to sell the rectory to Anthony Peisley and Richard Allam; (fn. 205) but Pollard did not dispose of the rectory and the advowson to Peisley until 1629. The price was £500, the yearly value being stated as £38. (fn. 206) Yet in 1663 the yearly value of the rectory was put at £85. (fn. 207) The Peisleys, a yeoman family of Clifton, retained possession of the rectory until 1727, when Robert Hucks purchased it from another Anthony Peisley, an Oxford bookseller. The Hucks family kept it until 1814, when it passed by bequest of Robert Hucks (II) to Anne Noyes, and similarly to the Gibbs family, in whose hands the rectory and advowson remain. (fn. 208) Tithes were extinguished by a deed of merger under the Tithe Act of 1836. (fn. 209)
The value of the living has varied greatly from time to time, and to some extent has depended upon the whim of the impropriator. In 1526 it was worth £5 6s. 8d. (fn. 210) In 1656 the curate received £12, (fn. 211) but this was the highest sum paid until the end of the 18th century, for by the grant of 1545 the impropriator was required to pay only £5 6s. 8d. (fn. 212) About the beginning of the Hanoverian period the impropriator paid the curate a pittance of £6 10s. a year; in 1739 rather more than £10 was paid. (fn. 213) George Powell received £30 when appointed to the curacy, and this was increased to 50 guineas in 1806; in 1815 the stipend was further augmented to £80 a year. (fn. 214) The increased income was obtained by various means. In 1801 Queen Anne's Bounty set aside £200 for Clifton; in 1819–21 £2,100 more to meet benefactions mainly from the patrons, (fn. 215) whilst Anne Noyes made the stipend of £80 a permanent charge on Fullamoor farm. Other benefactions brought the funds of the living to £3,170 by 1830. After 1850 the funds were further enlarged by bequests from the Gibbs family (fn. 216) and by the difference in the value of the two houses exchanged in 1905. The result was that in 1913 the funds stood at £11,907, together with a rent charge of £100, bringing the gross income to £457. (fn. 217) After 1920 the vicar's stipend was further increased by the yearly interest from £100, bequeathed by a former vicar, N. C. S. Poyntz, in trust to the Oxford Diocesan Board. (fn. 218)
Before about 1140 Clifton was supposedly served by one of the prebendaries of Dorchester. (fn. 219) After the abbey's refoundation until the Reformation the chapel was probably often served by canons from the abbey, a fact that explains the almost complete absence of names of pre-Reformation curates. (fn. 220) In 1343 there is a reference to a grant to Nicholas, clerk of Clifton; in 1526 Hugo Bunting was curate. (fn. 221)
After the Reformation there was no resident minister, the parish being served by whoever was available. Thus at the end of the 16th century the curates of Drayton served Clifton. (fn. 222) In the 17th century it was served at different times by the incumbents of Culham, Long Wittenham, and Dorchester. In 1714, because of the smallness of the stipend offered, the minister had 'deserted' and there were said to have been no services for six months. The patron finally prevailed upon George Parry, a Fellow of Oriel College, to take the services, for having married 'foolishly one that hath nothing' he was forced to 'take up with small inconsiderable incomes'. (fn. 223)
After Robert Hucks bought the village the chapel was served for a time by the Vicar of North Moreton (Berks.), but later the parish registers from 1754–97 give the names of no fewer than 24 different clergy. In the 1790's only one service a month was being held. (fn. 224) However, this was changed after 1797 when George Powell, Fellow of Balliol, began a 33 years' ministry. He lived in Oxford and came over to Clifton to conduct services. It is said that a bell was rung to warn parishioners that a service was due when his horse was seen crossing Clifton Heath. (fn. 225) In 1802 Powell reported that there was morning service every Sunday, and also on Christmas Day and Good Friday; and that the Holy Sacrament was administered three times a year to seven or eight communicants, (fn. 226) but in later years the chapel warden complained of his neglect. (fn. 227) After 1830, when Joseph Gibbs was appointed to the living, and until 1923 the church was served by several members of the Gibbs family. (fn. 228)
The church of ST. MICHAEL AND ALL ANGELS is beautifully situated on a cliff at a bend of the Thames and is approached by a flight of some 30 steps. It consists of a nave with north and south aisles, a chancel, a south chapel, a vestry, and a south porch. There is no tower, but a bell turret rises above the west end of the nave. The church was virtually rebuilt in 1843–4, (fn. 229) and there were further substantial alterations between 1864 and 1866. (fn. 230)
The surviving arcade on the south side of the nave shows that the old chapel dated from the latter part of the 12th century. A north aisle and a south chapel were added in the 14th century, but the building was still of modest size. Sketches made before the 19thcentury rebuilding show it as small and squat, with a continuous sloping roof broken by dormer windows and a wooden bellcote. (fn. 231) The dormers lighted a west gallery which was a post-Reformation addition.
During the 18th century the church seems to have suffered badly from neglect. Between 1775 and 1779 it was said to be in a ruinous state. (fn. 232) In 1779 John Ridge, churchwarden, was excommunicated for failure to have the church repaired. (fn. 233) Repairs costing £112 were, however, carried out under the direction of John Wyatt of Oxford in 1779–80. The south side of the church was partly rebuilt; there were minor repairs to the north side and to the bellcote; and the roof was relaid. (fn. 234) The south porch was rebuilt in brick in 1819. (fn. 235)
The restoration of 1843–4 was undertaken by Sir Gilbert Scott with funds from a legacy of G. H. Gibbs, supplemented by his widow and son. The cost was £1,800. It amounted almost to a rebuilding, and Scott himself described what he did as 'not a strict restoration', for 'we had hardly anything left to restore—it is rather a refoundation (keeping in the main to the old plan)'. (fn. 236) The style adopted was that of the early 14th century, and Scott designed an elaborate 'Founder's tomb' for Gibbs on the north side of the chancel.
The additions of 1864–6 were also the work of Scott. The north aisle was enlarged and a vestry and organ chamber were added at its east end. (fn. 237) The rebuilt north wall contains three imitation Decorated windows and one genuine Early English lancet reused from the old building. Low down on the outer wall near the west end is a 12th-century carving representing a boar hunt. It was probably the tympanum of the original doorway.
In 1899 dormer windows were inserted in the roofs of the north and south aisles.
Externally, little of the medieval fabric remains except the 14th-century south chapel. The interior is a mixture of genuine medieval architecture with the revived Gothic of the Victorian era. The south arcade of the nave consists of four transitional Romanesque arches with foliated capitals and moulded bases. There is a piscina in the wall of the south aisle. At the east end of the aisle a 14thcentury arch gives access to the small south chapel. The north aisle is separated from the nave by an arcade of four arches with continuous mouldings. There is no chancel arch, a screen only dividing the chancel from the nave.
The furnishings are all Victorian. In 1864 the chancel, previously used for the incumbent's family, was refitted with stalls and the choir placed there; in the same year the pulpit and reading desk were removed and a new pulpit, forming part of the screen, was inserted; an oak screen erected in 1843–4 was replaced in 1864 by a low screen, and in 1867 the upper part of the screen, made in brass by Hart & Son from a design by Sir G. G. Scott, was put up. The figures of St. Michael and the Angels are by J. F. Redfern. The year 1864 saw also the appearance of a new organ. (fn. 238) In 1873–4 the reredos and retable were erected (designer C. Buckeridge, constructor Daniel Bell); the mosaics are by Clayton and Bell. (fn. 239) Before 1873 a picture of Ecce Homo stood above the stone altar. (fn. 240) The east window of the chancel, inserted in 1873, is also by Clayton and Bell. (fn. 241) There are two stained-glass windows in the south side of the chancel: the first, a small one, is a representation of St. Michael and is by Pace; the second, inserted in 1913, is to the memory of the Venerable Alfred Pott (1822–1908), vicar 1875–82, and his wife, and is by H. W. Bryans, a pupil of C. E. Kempe. (fn. 242) Nearby is a brass commemorating John Lomax Gibbs (vicar 1864–74). A sanctuary light, hanging before the altar, is the gift (1921) of his children who made provision for its continual burning. (fn. 243) The 19th-century font of early Gothic style replaces a leaden one melted down and used to repair the roof in the early 19th century. (fn. 244) The brass candelabra are Victorian; the church is now lit by electric light, which was installed in 1935. (fn. 245) The memorials to the fallen of the two world wars are at the east end of the north aisle; they were dedicated in 1920 (fn. 246) and 1945. In the chancel is the 'Founder's tomb' commemorating George Henry Gibbs (1785–1842). The only other memorials are brass plates to members of the Gibbs family. In the churchyard, however, is a memorial to the first Lord Aldenham, who died in 1907. It is in the form of a cross with an octagonal base and shaft. It was designed by Walter Tower, nephew and pupil of C. E. Kempe. (fn. 247)
There is a chime of five bells—treble, second, third, fourth, tenor. The oldest of these is the tenor, made in 1844 and recast in 1907. The others were inserted in 1907 and are by Mears and Stainbank. The former bells were by C. and G. Mears. In 1552 the chapel had two bells. (fn. 248)
The church has little plate, none of it old. A chalice, paten and flagon, all silver-gilt and hallmarked 1844, are by I. J. Keith. Another silver-gilt paten is hall-marked 1863. A modern brass almsdish is undated. (fn. 249)
There was no churchyard until 1819, burials taking place at Dorchester. In that year Anne Noyes gave ground for the purpose. (fn. 250) A lychgate of carved oak stands at the north entrance to the graveyard; it was erected in 1843–4.
The registers begin in 1578.
Roman Catholicism was fairly strong in Clifton until about the middle of the 17th century. Lists of recusants in the reigns of James I and Charles I give fourteen names. (fn. 251) Most of these belonged to the Princes, a yeoman family which intermarried with the Days of Dorchester, another papist yeoman family, who were widespread in the neighbourhood. (fn. 252) In the 1620's George Prince served as churchwarden, but this may have been a case of co-operation between the churches, (fn. 253) and in 1641, of the twelve recusants listed in Clifton, nine were members of this family. (fn. 254) Until the 1670's they were constantly presented by the churchwardens for not attending church; (fn. 255) the Compton Census of 1676 listed four papists; and in the late 17th and early 18th centuries several members of the family were Roman Catholics. (fn. 256) The last record found of the recusancy of this family in Clifton was in 1720, when George Prince and his son John were stated to be Roman Catholics. (fn. 257)
There is no record of Protestant dissent until the 19th century: in 1802 there was said to be none, (fn. 258) but in 1833 the house of James Styles was registered for nonconformist worship, (fn. 259) and in about 1846 dissent was strengthened by the foundation of Crake's school, whose master and pupils were mainly nonconformist. (fn. 260) The farmer who owned the buildings was also a nonconformist, and in 1854 his family, another family, and the school were said to contain about 100 dissenters. (fn. 261) There continued to be a large group of dissenters until the school was removed in 1868. By 1878 only eleven were left. (fn. 262)
There is no record of any school in Clifton before the beginning of the 19th century, although the register of marriages shows that a fair number of people were able to write. In 1802 there was a school where children learned the catechism, (fn. 263) and in 1808 it was recorded that the poor 'upon such terms as suit them' (fn. 264) sent their children to a dame to learn to read. (fn. 265) By 1818 there were two schools, one for 15 children and the other for 6 or 7 infants. (fn. 266) The first lapsed and was restarted later. In 1833 it had 20 pupils and there were 12 in the infant school. (fn. 267) A Sunday school had been begun in 1828.
Crake's school, a private academy, seems to have been opened in 1846. It occupied the 18th-century house in Watery Lane, the stables and coach-house being converted into dormitories. In the 1850's it was known as a commercial school and was managed by a dissenter with about 30 pupils. (fn. 268) In 1866 it was called a grammar school and had about 30 boys, most of them dissenters. (fn. 269) About 1868 the school removed from the village because of a fever outbreak. (fn. 270)
The present village school for boys and girls was established in 1847, (fn. 271) under a trust deed dated 15th October. It was affiliated to the National Society. A new schoolroom for 100 children and a master's house were erected at the expense of William Gibbs, brother of G. H. Gibbs, the late lord of the manor. (fn. 272) In 1854 there was one room for boys and girls and another for infants, where girls were taught needlework in the afternoons. (fn. 273) There was also an evening school in winter, which it is said had not the desired effect, partly for want of an efficient master. (fn. 274)
In 1871 there were 75 children attending the National school, (fn. 275) but this number decreased to about 60 between 1887 and 1906. (fn. 276) The lighting and ventilation were improved in 1894, (fn. 277) and in 1909 an infants' room was added on the south side. (fn. 278) The attendance had increased to 70 by 1929 (fn. 279) and in the autumn of 1934 the school was reorganized as a junior school for children up to the age of 11 years, the senior children being transferred to Dorchester. (fn. 280) There were 30 children in 1938 including some from Burcot. In 1948 children from Culham junior school went to Clifton and there were 54 children on the school-roll in 1954. The school was changed from aided to controlled status in 1951. (fn. 281)
Leonard Wilmott, by deed of 1608, gave a rent charge of £1 issuing out of lands in Clanfield to be distributed on Good Friday to the unrelieved poor of Clifton Hampden. The gift was regulated by a charity decree of 1617, and was being regularly administered in 1823. (fn. 282) Since 1865 the money has been distributed with the Noyes charity, (fn. 283) and since 1933 a single body of trustees has administered it with the Noyes and Talbot charities. (fn. 284)
Mrs. Anne Noyes, of Gloucester Place, Marylebone (Lond.), by will proved 1842, left £1,000 to be distributed in clothing, coal, or bread to the poor of the parish. (fn. 285) In 1931 and in 1955 the income of this and Wilmott's charity (£25–£26 together) was spent on coal. (fn. 286)
The Revd. Joseph Gibbs, a former perpetual curate, by will proved 1864, left £556 stock, the interest to be applied to the salary of an organist in Clifton Hampden church. (fn. 287) The income (£14) was so spent between 1926 and 1931, but in 1953–5 was devoted to church expenses. (fn. 288)
Anthony Talbot, of Catford Bridge (Lond.), a native and sometime a sergeant-major in the 2nd Foot Guards, by will dated 1888, gave £15 stock, the interest to be applied to six aged and needy parishioners at Christmas. He desired that the recipients should maintain his parents' graves in the churchyard. (fn. 289) In 1905 and again in 1953–5 the income was being applied to graveyard maintenance, but in 1926–31 to six or fewer needy persons according to the terms of the benefaction. (fn. 290)