Parishes: Waterstock

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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, 'Parishes: Waterstock', in A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 7, Dorchester and Thame Hundreds, (London, 1962) pp. 220-230. British History Online [accessed 21 May 2024].

. "Parishes: Waterstock", in A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 7, Dorchester and Thame Hundreds, (London, 1962) 220-230. British History Online, accessed May 21, 2024,

. "Parishes: Waterstock", A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 7, Dorchester and Thame Hundreds, (London, 1962). 220-230. British History Online. Web. 21 May 2024,

In this section


The ancient parish covered only 653 acres. (fn. 1) It lay in a bend of the River Thame which bounded it on the north and west; on the east its boundary followed a brook and then continued with several right-angled turns along what was probably the line of furlongs in the open fields. (fn. 2) Large hedgerow elms still mark its course. The Draycott road also marked a part of the eastern boundary. The Thame-Oxford road and the main London-Oxford road which it joins, formed the southern boundary of the parish.

In 1886 the parish was enlarged by the addition of Tiddington Mead (11 a.), formerly in Albury parish, by Draycott village, and by 250 acres from the Oxfordshire part of Ickford parish. (fn. 3) Thus Waterstock's eastern boundary mainly followed the Ickford road. In 1954 Draycott village with 60 acres was transferred to Tiddington-with-Albury, and Waterstock's acreage was reduced to 903 acres. (fn. 4)

The soil is gravel and loam on Kimmeridge Clay and alluvial soil is found in the meadows bordering the Thame. (fn. 5) The parish is low-lying and is mostly within the 200-foot contour, is liable to floods in the north-west and rises to 225 feet in the south-east only.

The main approaches to the village have probably always been from the south by the road leading from the Thame-Oxford road, or from the east by the Tiddington-Ickford road. (fn. 6) It is possible that the first of these was the 17th-century 'Gysgire'. (fn. 7) In the early 17th century there are several documentary records of Lincroft Bridge near some leyground (fn. 8) and to Lincroft which is shown on a 17th-century sketch map. (fn. 9) The name, in fact, goes back to the 12th century. (fn. 10) There does not seem to have been a stone bridge over the Thame until in 1790 Diana Ashhurst built the present Bow Bridge and a carriage road over Little Mill Meadow to connect with Curson's carriage road from Waterperry House and bridge over Back Ditch. (fn. 11) The bridge has a single brick arch and solid outcurving parapets with a stone coping.

Waterstock's nearest station is at Tiddington. The Wycombe and Oxford railway, running except for one short stretch to the south of the parish boundary, was opened in 1864. (fn. 12) It absorbed 15 acres of Hedges Great Ground, which was paid for at the rate of £200 an acre. (fn. 13)

The village stands near the river about 200 feet up, and centres round its church and manor-house. (fn. 14) Long ownership in one family has resulted in a well preserved village, mainly composed of 17th- and 18th-century farm-houses and cottages, built of local brick. It has never been large, but except for a short period in the 19th century it seems to have been more populous in the Middle Ages than it has ever been since. (fn. 15) Eighteen householders were listed for the hearth tax of 1662 and in the 18th century about fifteen to seventeen houses were recorded. (fn. 16) In 1665 there were four substantial farm-houses with two to six hearths apiece besides the big house and smaller houses. Many of these houses still survive. The oldest dwellings in the village are four timberframed Elizabethan or early Jacobean cottages: they are of brick construction, and are built in pairs on opposite sides of the road. Their hipped roofs of thatch are swept down at the ends over one-story extensions. They have irregularly spaced casement windows that are mostly leaded. Two of the ancient farm-houses in the village street are still used as such: Home Farm and the adjoining Park Farm. The first is L-shaped and dates mainly from the 17th and 18th centuries. The 17th-century wing is at right angles to the road and consists of two stories; it is timber-framed with brick infilling and the tiled roof is half-hipped at the end fronting on the road. The north-west elevation of this wing has a timberframed gable to the right hand, a rectangular chimney-stack to the left hand, and one gabled dormer window. The wing to the north-west is built of 18th-century brick and has a tiled roof. The farm has an ancient thatched barn and a 17th-century granary which is built of brick and timber. Park Farm is a house of two builds: it stands back from the road and appears to be of 18th-century date, although it may incorporate some of an older building. The west front has three bays and is of ashlar stone. Members of the Bull family have been tenants of both these farms for several generations. (fn. 17) The farm-house, once Church Farm, lies opposite the church, but it is now three cottages. It dates from the early 18th century and is a two-story house of rubble facing north. It has casement windows, mostly of four lights with mullions and transoms of wood and leaded panes; a six-panelled door and a low stone wall separating it from the street. The schoolhouse (now two cottages) and the cottage for a schoolteacher next door also date from the 18th century. The school has a beam with the date 1751 on it. (fn. 18)

There have been some 19th- and 20th-century additions: some cottages of red brick with slate roofs, the stone pump-house at the entrance to the manor, dated W.H.A. 1898, and a war memorial that was erected on the small green after the First World War. The pond which used to be at the cross roads has been filled in, (fn. 19) but the stream running beside the road to Home Farm remains. No council houses have been built in the village.

The manor-house has experienced a number of rebuildings. Nothing of the medieval house now survives, but as it was successively lived in by several important families of Oxfordshire gentry it must have been a house of some size. The Bruleys inhabited it in the 13th and 14th centuries and the Danvers family in the 15th century. (fn. 20) John Danvers and his wife were given papal licence to have a portable altar to be used for the saying of mass for themselves and their household. (fn. 21) At the end of the century Thomas Danvers brought distinction to the village: he was a member of three parliaments and also actively assisted in the foundation of Magdalen College, for he was the friend of Bishop Waynflete and the new learning. (fn. 22) It was from his Waterstock house that Danvers wrote in 1494 to President Mayhew of Magdalen College telling that he was busy with the affairs of the college and other learned institutions, and that he was in communication with the king and the king's mother Margaret, Countess of Richmond. (fn. 23) The windows of the house were decorated with heraldic glass, for in his account of the painted glass still there in the 17th century, Anthony Wood mentions the arms of Danvers and the related families of Bruley and Verney. (fn. 24) Later the house was occupied by the Caves and then by the Crokes. (fn. 25) Some details of the building in Sir George Croke's day are known. It was by then one of the larger houses in the county and was taxed on 23 hearths in 1665. (fn. 26) The arms of Croke and related families as well as of Danvers were in the windows of the upstairs drawing-room, the great and little parlours and the hall. (fn. 27) Plot shows the house on his map of Oxfordshire, and in his account of unusual trees cultivated in the county he mentions the abele tree grown by Sir George Croke, that 'learned and curious botanist', who was one of the earliest members of the Royal Society. (fn. 28)

The Crokes were strong supporters of the parliamentary cause and when General Ireton wrote from Waterstock on 16 April 1646, about his preparations for the siege of Wallingford, (fn. 29) it may be supposed that he had his headquarters at the house of George Croke, a friend of Baxter and Hampden. (fn. 30) This house was pulled down in 1695 and was replaced by a red-brick one in the time of Sir Henry Ashhurst. (fn. 31) The new house, begun in 1695, was being completed in 1696 when Mr. Thomas Hodges, joiner, of St. Dunstan's, Stepney, was commissioned to wainscot the hall and passage-way leading to the south-west part of the mansion. He undertook to use 'good dram stuff'; to make and fix handsome stone mouldings round the windows of the hall, and 'breakes' in the cornice over each of the windows; to make and fix a seven-penny cornice round the hall; make doors of eight or ten panels with six-inch stone moulding round the door cases, 'pullexions to be laid into both sides'. He was to be paid 3s. a yard for most of the work, but 2s. 4d. for the wainscot in the passage. (fn. 32) In 1787 Sir Henry Ashhurst, the eminent judge, took down this building, and erected a new mansion of stone rather higher up the slope above the church. The foundation stone was laid in 1787 and the family moved in in 1791. (fn. 33) According to a manuscript memorandum among the family papers the architect was 'Sir Richard Coucerell', presumably an error for S. P. Cockerell (1754–1827). (fn. 34) The south-east and entrance front were of five bays with the centre bay and its pediment slightly projecting. The entrance on the ground floor was by a double sixpanelled door in a Doric surround with sidelights and a stilted arched fanlight. On the first floor there was a central Venetian window with engaged Ionic columns. There was a string-course at the first floor level and a modillioned cornice and a hipped roof of slate. The wall swept up in the north-east corner to a square garden-house. Sir Henry Ashhurst improved and enlarged his garden by taking part of the churchyard in exchange for certain undertakings to the rector. (fn. 35) and it was perhaps in his day that the bricks from the old house were used for making the walled garden. It was, however, in 1807–8, in the time of his son W. H. Ashhurst, that the grounds were laid out 'under the direction of Sir John Hopper' (presumably the architect Thomas Hopper is meant). (fn. 36) The ornamental water shown on the tithe map of 1848 may belong to this date. (fn. 37) The 18th century house was pulled down in 1953, owing to the expense of its upkeep, (fn. 38) after the servants' quarters, a square stone building of two stories attached to the main house by a corridor, had been converted in 1953 by Major and Mrs. Ruck-Keene into a modern dwelling. Their house is of four bays and has a one-story extension to the left hand. The stone cartouche of arms, formerly over the central door of the stable courtyard, is above the entrance door; a marble mantlepiece, moved from the old mansion, is in the drawing-room; and the staircase is a copy, on a reduced scale, of the Georgian staircase of the old mansion. The builders were Hinkins & Frewin Ltd. of Oxford. The stables, built in the form of a courtyard, and lying to the south-east of the old mansion and the present house, remain. They are built of stone and are probably contemporary with the 1787 house. They are entered through stone gatepiers.

The only other gentleman's house in the village is the Rectory. It was repaired in 1787 by Mrs. Ashhurst, the mother of Sir Henry, for the new rector, R. B. B. Robinson. (fn. 39) In the main it is an 18thcentury stone house of two stories, but an older wing remains. The south-west front is of three bays. The 19th-century bay window extending from the ground floor to the second floor was added before 1857. (fn. 40) The veranda with pent roof across the front is also later. The house had a well-laid-out garden with some fine trees, which include a female gingko. (fn. 41)

Away from the village street and approached by a road across the fields is the picturesque mill-house on an island in the Thame. It is in origin a 15th-century house, but has been rebuilt in the Elizabethan period. Its plan is L-shaped: it is timber-framed with brick filling, and has two stories. In the south front there is one half-hipped gable to the left hand, and two gabled dormer windows to the centre and right. The casement windows and entrance door are irregularly spaced. Inside, one of the timber beams has the initials of Sir Henry Ashhurst carved on it and the date 1693. All the timber used is uncut tree trunks. The oldest part of the house is the stone walling in the south-west corner.

The village has been associated with a number of families of interest who held the lordship and resided at the manor-house. (fn. 42) The Ashhursts who were resident from 1691 to the mid-20th century may, perhaps, be specially mentioned. An event of minor importance, but of some local interest, occurred in 1695 when Sarah Smith, the sister-in-law of the vicar, Charles Hinde, (fn. 43) married in Waterstock church White Kennett, (fn. 44) then Vicar of Ambrosden, but later to be distinguished by high preferment in the church and as the author of Parochial Antiquities in the counties of Oxford and Bucks. (fn. 45)


An estate, assessed at 5 hides, at Waterstock was held freely by the Saxon Alwi in the time of the Confessor. In 1086 it was held by Sawold 'of the fee of St. Mary of Lincoln'. (fn. 46) This Sawold should perhaps be identified with the Sawold who was one of the bishop's knights and held 4 hides of the manor of Thame. (fn. 47) As later evidence shows that Waterstock was a member of Thame manor throughout the Middle Ages the identification seems highly probable, and it must be supposed that the Domesday scribes duplicated the entry relating to Sawold. (fn. 48) In the early 16th century the bishop still received a relief of 50s. on the death of the lord of Waterstock. (fn. 49)

In the earliest list of the bishop's knights in 1166 the holder of the fee is not named. (fn. 50) A Richard Foliot, however, had land in neighbouring Waterperry in about 1190, (fn. 51) and the family had held land in Waterstock at an earlier date, for Richard's father, possibly Bartholomew Foliot, (fn. 52) had granted it to Oseney Abbey. (fn. 53) The Foliots' relatives, the Chesneys, were overlords of Albury, another neighbouring parish. (fn. 54) As one of them was Robert de Chesney, Bishop of Lincoln (1148–66), it is not unlikely that Bishop Robert enfeoffed the Foliots with Waterstock. Bartholomew Foliot, a knight, and known to have had a tenant there in 1218, (fn. 55) was certainly in possession of the manor in 1235 or 1236, when he presented to the church, (fn. 56) and perhaps as late as 1250. (fn. 57) He had been succeeded by Sir William Foliot, probably by 1255 and at latest by 1268. (fn. 58) The latter was dead by 1276 when his widow Agnes latter was dead by 1276 when his widow Agnes claimed a house and ½-virgate in Waterstock as her dower. (fn. 59) William Foliot's heir was Katherine, his daughter apparently by his first wife, (fn. 60) who carried the estate to the Bruley family through her marriage with Sir Henry Bruley, knight of the shire for Oxfordshire in 1297. It remained in the family for five generations. Sir Henry was returned in 1279 as lord of Waterstock (fn. 61) and as the holder of a ½-fee in 1305. (fn. 62) He was presumably dead by 1315, when Katherine settled the manor on her second son John, to be held of her during her lifetime at a rent of £50 and after her death for a rose. (fn. 63) Her heir was her eldest son (or grandson) William, who inherited the family manor of Aston Bruley in White Ladies Aston (Worcs.) (fn. 64)

John Bruley was lord of the manor in 1316 and 1327. (fn. 65) The date of his death is uncertain and his heir according to the herald's pedigree was John. (fn. 66) He appears to have been succeeded at Waterstock, however, by a Thomas Bruley: in 1346 John Bruley was returned as holding the manor, 'sometime held by Thomas Bruley'. (fn. 67) It is likely that this Thomas was John Bruley's younger brother whom he had presented to the rectory, and that he acted as guardian to John II when he was a minor. (fn. 68) John II, who was probably the husband of Bona Fitzellis and collector of the subsidy in Oxfordshire in 1350, (fn. 69) may have been dead by 1361, when Thomas Bruley is said to have presented a certain Thomas atte Fortheye on the death of the rector Thomas Bruley, (fn. 70) but it is more probable that John was still patron and that the appearance of 'Thomas' as patron is the result of a scribal error. (fn. 71) By 1372 at all events John II was dead and his heir John III was a minor. (fn. 72) The boy may never have succeeded, as in 1380 Waterstock was in the possession of William and Agnes Bruley. (fn. 73) The suggestion that William Bruley was John's son is hardly possible and he was more probably a cousin, a descendant of Henry, the youngest brother of John (I) Bruley. (fn. 74) There seems little doubt that his wife Agnes was his cousin and the descendant of William Bruley, John I's eldest brother or nephew. (fn. 75) The fine made by Agnes and William in 1380 implies that Agnes had a claim to Waterstock in her own right: they settled the pro perty first on the heirs of their bodies; secondly on the heirs of Agnes by a second marriage; and thirdly on the collateral heirs of William. (fn. 76)

William Bruley, knight of the shire for Oxfordshire in 1395, outlived his wife and their son John, who had married Maud Quatremain, sister and coheiress of Richard Quatremain of Rycote. (fn. 77) Before 1423, however, he had enfeoffed his granddaughter Joan and her husband John Danvers, of Epwell in Swalcliffe and later of Colthorpe in Banbury, with Waterstock manor. (fn. 78) Danvers, who represented the county in three parliaments, and built up a large landed estate, was returned as lord in 1428 (fn. 79) and appears to have died shortly after 1448. (fn. 80) His widow Joan married as her second husband Sir Walter Mauntell of Nether Heyford (Northants.) and they presented to Waterstock church in 1467 and 1469. (fn. 81) Much of John Danvers's property went to his sons by his first wife, but Thomas, his eldest son by Joan Bruley, succeeded to his mother's lands. (fn. 82) He married twice, first a daughter of James Fiennes, Lord Saye and Sele, and secondly Sybil Fowler, member of a family with whom the Danvers family was already connected by marriage. (fn. 83) Danvers died in 1502, (fn. 84) leaving the manor for life to his widow, who lived until 1511 (fn. 85) and outlived both the next heir, her brother-in-law Sir William Danvers (d. 1504) of Thatcham (Berks.) (fn. 86) and the latter's son John (d. 1508). (fn. 87) The infant son of John Danvers, also called John, was his father's heir, but he died in 1517 and his heirs were his four sisters. (fn. 88) One of these died, and by an arrangement presumably made between the three survivors, Waterstock passed to Elizabeth, the second eldest, and her husband Thomas Cave of Stanford (Northants.). (fn. 89) He obtained licence to take possession of his wife's lands in 1522. (fn. 90) By a fine of 1528 the manor and advowson were settled on Thomas and Elizabeth with remainder to the heirs of Elizabeth should Thomas and Elizabeth have no issue. (fn. 91) The Cave family, who acquired in the same way the neighbouring manor of Tiddington, (fn. 92) became by this marriage lords of Waterstock for almost a hundred years. Sir Thomas was knighted in 1553 and died in 1558. (fn. 93) One of his younger sons, Edward, (fn. 94) appears also temporarily to have held Waterstock. He was living in the manor-house in 1574 (fn. 95) and was probably the Edward Cave of Bampton who presented to Waterstock church between 1576 and 1580. (fn. 96) However, Roger Cave, Sir Thomas's son and heir, who married Margaret Cecil, sister of Lord Burghley, held the manor at his death in 1586 and settled it in tail male on his four sons. (fn. 97) The eldest, Sir Thomas Cave, succeeded, and in 1610 he and his brother Sir William sold Waterstock to George Croke, the grandson of John Croke of Chilton (Bucks.), the purchaser of Studley Priory. (fn. 98) Sir George, who became a noted judge, was buried at Waterstock in 1642, leaving his wife Mary a life interest in the manor. (fn. 99) Since their son died young, Croke's heir was his nephew George Croke, son of Henry Croke (d. 1642), Rector of Waterstock. (fn. 100) He married Jane, daughter of the parliamentary leader Sir Richard Onslow, (fn. 101) and was knighted in 1660. According to Wood, he 'ran out his estate' and got into debt. (fn. 102) On his death in 1680 Waterstock, by then encumbered by mortgages, (fn. 103) was divided between his two daughters, Elizabeth, wife of Sir Thomas Wyndham, Bt., of Trent (Som.), (fn. 104) and Sarah, who later married Henry Wigmore. (fn. 105)

In 1691 they sold the manor for nearly £16,000 to Sir Henry Ashhurst, Bt., (fn. 106) who already owned the neighbouring Emmington manor. His descendants lived in Waterstock until the mid-20th century and were prominent in the life of the county. Sir Henry, who served in Parliament for many years, was, like his father Henry Ashhurst, a London merchant and a friend of Richard Baxter, (fn. 107) but he settled at Waterstock and died there in 1711. He was succeeded by his son Henry, who died childless in 1732, when the title lapsed. (fn. 108) The estate was inherited by the latter's niece Diana, the wife of Thomas Henry Ashhurst (d. 1744), a distant cousin and a member of the Lancashire branch of the family. (fn. 109) Their son Sir William Henry Ashhurst (d. 1807), a well-known judge, (fn. 110) was succeeded by his son William Henry Ashhurst, M.P. (d. 1846), (fn. 111) and his grandson John Henry Ashhurst (d. 1885). The son of the last, William Henry, died in 1929 (fn. 112) and his daughter, Gladys Mary Ashhurst, J.P., was the last member of the family. (fn. 113) On her death in 1949 Waterstock passed to her nephew, Major Henry W. A. Ruck-Keene who now (1959) lives at Waterstock.

Economic and Social History.

Nothing is known of any early settlement at Waterstock, but the name, meaning 'water place', indicates an AngloSaxon origin. In 1086 it was assessed at 5 hides, 3 of which were in demesne, with 2 ploughs and a mill worth 9s. 5d. There were 5 serfs, the only inhabitants mentioned, and 36 acres of meadow. The jurors declared that there was sufficient land for 5 ploughs, and a marginal note states that there had been that number in King Edward's time, 3 of them on the demesne. The value of the estate had appreciated from 20s. to no less than 50s. (fn. 114)

By 1279 the servile element in the population had disappeared, and there had been considerable tenurial development. The lord of the manor had 10½ virgates in demesne, together with a fishery and a mill. His tenants held a further 12 virgates. Among them were 8 virgaters who each paid 5s. rent and services to the same value, and 2 cottagers who paid 6s. and rendered services worth 2s. There were also 5 free tenants, 4 of whom held a total of 4 virgates and paid rent amounting to 6s. 8d., while a fifth held a ½-virgate of one of the others in socage. (fn. 115)

The 14th-century tax assessments support the impression given by the hundred rolls of a village with few tenants, all of whom had small holdings. In 1306, for instance, out of 17 persons taxed only 3, including Henry Bruley, lord of the manor, were assessed at more than 2s. (fn. 116) In 1327 of 25 taxed for the 1/20th 10 paid 2s. and over. The total assessment was £2 7s. (fn. 117) Under the new assessment of 1334, the total rose to £3 2s. 4d. for the 1/15th. (fn. 118)

Only 51 persons over fourteen were listed in the poll tax of 1377, (fn. 119) possibly as a consequence of the Black Death and subsequent economic changes. The returns for the subsidy of 1523 indicate that there had been a concentration of wealth since the early 14th century and perhaps some decline in population. There were eleven contributors to the total tax of £1 7s. 8d. The only gentleman in the list, presumably the tenant of the manor, was the only man of means, with goods worth £17 compared with the better-off yeomen with goods worth £8 and £7. (fn. 120)

Glebe terriers of 1601 and 1609 give the earliest details of the field system. (fn. 121) These show that there were three arable fields grouped round the village. To the south lay Conygere Field, which was renamed South Field in the later terrier. The old name survived in the Warren close and field of 17th- and 18thcentury indentures and the Warren of the 1848 tithe award map. (fn. 122) To the east was Gravelly Field, said to have been called so on account of its soil, but renamed East Field in 1609. To the north of this lay the North East or Hamm Field, as it was anciently called. (fn. 123) In addition there was Lincroft in the northwest, an island of some 40 acres of ley ground that was divided into two series of 2-acre strips. South of Lincroft lay the small 2-acre glebe meadow, Moor meadow, and the Cowleys. (fn. 124)

The earliest recorded in closure was made in about 1530 when some pasture was inclosed to form West Field. (fn. 125) Further inclosure apparently took place between 1601 and 1609, for the later terrier was said to have been made 'since the inclosure'. (fn. 126) It is not clear what had been done, for the glebe lands still lay unconsolidated in ½-acre strips in each of the common fields. But the South Field was now in two parts— apparently a new division of the old Conygere Field, the parsonage having 7 ½-acres in one field and another 7 in the other. This could be an indication of a change from a 3- to a 4-field system of cultivation. There were 2½ glebe acres in each of the other fields. The later terrier also shows that all three arable fields were hedged, and this may have been done since 1601, when there is no mention of other than private hedges. There is specific mention of the new hedge in North East Field. (fn. 127)

It is clear that considerable inclosure of demesne land took place in the 17th and 18th centuries. An instance of this may have occurred in 1618, when George Croke was given permission to convert 180 acres of arable to pasture. (fn. 128) In 1663 Sir George Croke mortgaged the Windmill Ground of 105 acres to Edward Honywood, a London citizen and ironmonger. This land was said to be inclosed and to have been at one time converted into tillage but later laid down for pasture. (fn. 129) The year before when it had been leased for 21 years, together with the Mill Close of 10 acres, the rent was £133. (fn. 130) In 1676 'further pastures' of 92 acres adjoining Windmill Field were in the occupation of two of Croke's tenants. (fn. 131) As late as 1749 part of Windmill Field (adjoining Mill Close) was said to have been 'lately' inclosed, although perhaps this should not be taken too literally. (fn. 132) In 1680 Lincroft, which had earlier been divided up into strips, was said to be in the occupation of Sir George Croke himself. (fn. 133) In 1676 he had mortgaged a number of closes and meadows, all said to be demesne land, which formed a fairly compact block of land in the north of the parish. The aggregate of their rents was £202. (fn. 134) In the same year he had mortgaged other land, mainly meadow, situated in the southern part of the parish, which produced £199 rent. (fn. 135) It seems likely that most if not all of these lands were inclosed.

In the latter half of the 18th century there was one landowner, the Ashhurst family, in Waterstock, and four principal tenants. (fn. 136) In 1749 the Ashhursts had leased lands to Stephen Radford at a rent of £200. By the terms of his lease he was permitted to plough Windmill Field, together with some neighbouring land, a third at a time. Each third could be maintained as arable for five years and used for five crops only and was then to be returned to pasture, the whole to remain pasture for the last five years of the term. He was also allowed to cultivate other fields for five years, but at the end of that time he was to sow grass and to reconvert to pasture under penalty of £5 an acre for neglect. (fn. 137) A Radford remained as tenant until at least 1832. (fn. 138) A second tenement was leased for 21 years in 1760 to Humphrey Eaton. (fn. 139) His main arable land lay in Thameswhy Ground immediately to the north of the Oxford–Thame road and consisted of 30 acres which he had to plough in 10-acre lots for four years and four crops of corn, which meant that over a period each third lay fallow one year in three. He could plough other lands for the first five years of his term, but in the fifth they were to be sown with grass. He was to pay £223 rent, and £10 less in the last year of the term. Eatons held the farm until at least 1821, after which it apparently passed to the Parsons family. (fn. 140) of the other two tenements assessed in 1785 much less is known. (fn. 141)

As elsewhere in the neighbourhood there may have been an increase, though a small one, in population in the last quarter of the 18th century. The first official census of 1801 recorded 114 inhabitants. (fn. 142) Earlier returns of the number of houses in the parish gave 16 in 1768 and 15 thirty years earlier. (fn. 143) If these figures are accurate there would appear to have been little change in population since the second half of the 17th century. Eighteen householders were listed for the hearth tax of 1662 and 55 adults over 16 were returned for the Compton Census of 1676. (fn. 144)

Arthur Young gives some account of farming at Waterstock at the beginning of the 19th century. He describes the land as all grass, which seems to have been an exaggeration, and as for the most part inclosed pasture. (fn. 145) The grass lands were good and mostly let, the meadows for 50s. and the pasture for 40s. an acre. (fn. 146) Two tons of hay were taken from every acre at the first crop, and one at the second, although it was considered bad for the land to take a second crop. (fn. 147) W. H. Ashhurst appears as a progressive dairy farmer. He had planted cabbages (for cattle food), when these were still uncommon in Oxfordshire, and had brought in short-horn cattle, which were fed on hay, not straw, in the winter. The butter was sent under contract to London. (fn. 148)

In the first half of the 19th century there were four and, after 1821, three tenant farmers, Ashhurst keeping the smallest acreage in his own hand. (fn. 149) James Parsons, who farmed 158 acres at a rent of £257, went bankrupt in 1832. He was mainly a cattle farmer, but he also kept some sheep and raised crops of wheat, barley, oats, and beans. He had a malt-mill and granary which, together with other effects, were valued at £55 8s. 6d. (fn. 150)

The 1848 tithe-award map gives the first comprehensive view of Waterstock. To the west along the bank of the Thame lay a belt of meadow and grassland which broadened out to occupy the whole of the north-west corner of the parish, while the arable land was concentrated mainly in the north-east and south. The total acreage was 653, of which 269 acres were arable and 348 meadow and pasture. Three tenants occupied farms of 244, 208, and 166 acres respectively. (fn. 151)

For most of the latter half of the 19th century there were two tenant farmers. A document of 1876 gives details of the farming methods imposed by the landlord. The tenant was to cultivate the arable according to a 'five-field system of husbandry', 3/5 in wheat, barley, or oats, 1/6 left fallow for turnips and vetches for feeding sheep and horses, and 1/6 in clover, beans, or pulse. Not more than two white straw crops were to be grown in succession and even then they were not to be of the same kind. The tenant was to consume on the farm all hay, turnips, straw, fodder, and chaff produced there, and to spread all dung on the fields. At least twice in a summer he was to cut the thistles on the pasture lands. (fn. 152)

In 1885, when W. H. Ashhurst took over the Waterstock estate on the death of his father, there were two farms of 206 and 326 acres, the tenants paying rents of £412 and £630 respectively. (fn. 153) Ashhurst probably kept about 116 acres in his own hand, as his father had done. (fn. 154) On the estate were 20 cottages, their rents ranging from £2 5s. to £2 12s.

There were three farms in 1939, Home farm and Park farm in the village, and Lower farm on the Thame–Oxford Road, (fn. 155) and the same number in 1959. At both dates mixed farming was practised.

The presence of gravel had long been known and in an 18th-century lease Sir George Croke had reserved his rights to dig for it in return for proper compensation. (fn. 156) In 1924 Highways Construction were permitted to dig gravel for two years at a rent of £10 an acre plus royalties. The workings lay just to the north of the village and the contractors were allowed to lay a light railway to connect them with a siding on the G.W.R. line south of the OxfordThame Road. (fn. 157)

During the first 30 years of the 19th century the population had risen fairly steadily from 114 in 1801 to a peak of 142 in 1831. It then fluctuated until a new peak of 147 was reached in 1861. Thereafter there was a steady decline until in 1901—despite the addition of Draycott to the parish—there were only 108 persons. (fn. 158) This trend was continued in the 20th century, and by 1951 there were 96 persons in the civil parish. (fn. 159)


A mill at Waterstock is mentioned in both Domesday Book and the hundred rolls. (fn. 160) In 1528 there was said to be both a water- and a horse-driven mill. (fn. 161) In indentures and fines of the 17th and 18th centuries two water grist mills and one windmill are commonly mentioned. It is unlikely, however, that there were two water-mills under separate roofs. In 1676 the water grist mill with a little meadow was worth £30 a year. (fn. 162) In 1697 Sir Henry Ashhurst leased to Richard Lamboll, formerly of Thame, for 21 years and at an annual rent of £50 the corn and water-mills under one roof, a dwelling-house, and two portions of meadow containing 6 acres, as well as the corn and windmills under one roof on Windmill Ground, together with Mill Close containing about 10½ acres. Sir Henry reserved to himself and his tenants the right of pulling up the floodgates every year from 1 May to 10 October, if floods threatened their property. (fn. 163) In 1725 there was a similar lease to Richard Lamborne of Lamborn (Berks.) for a further 20 years and at the same rent. (fn. 164)

The mill was built on a small island in the Thame, the water passing over weirs on both sides, the larger weir on the west or Waterperry side providing the water for the mill race—it was apparently this weir which was rebuilt in 1846 by John Collins of Wolvercote at a cost of £150. (fn. 165) By 1957 the mill and millhouse had been converted into a modern dwelling. No trace remains of the windmill.


The earliest evidence for the existence of Waterstock church, a rectory in Cuddesdon deanery, dates from about 1190, when the parish had its own priest Elias. (fn. 166) The first recorded presentation was made in 1235 or 1236 by Bartholomew Foliot, the lord of the manor. (fn. 167) Since then the descent of the advowson has followed that of the manor. In 1372, during the minority of John Bruley, Robert Woubourne of Milton was patron, and in 1380 John Salveyn for an unexplained reason. In the 15th century the Danvers family succeeded the Bruleys as patrons; in 1467 and 1469 Joan, the widow of John Danvers, and her second husband Sir Walter Mauntell presented; in 1517, during the minority of John Danvers, William Boughton presented, and in 1528 Danvers's three sisters and their husbands did so. The advowson passed with the manor to one of these, Elizabeth and her husband Thomas Cave, and remained with the family until George Croke bought it in 1610. The presentation of 1551 was sold, however, to a group which included John Smith, Provost of Oriel College, (fn. 168) and in 1576 the queen presented by lapse. (fn. 169) In 1691 manor and advowson were bought by Sir Henry Ashhurst, who came from a family with Puritan sympathies. (fn. 170) In 1709, in order to preserve 'serious godliness' in the parishes of which he was patron (Waterstock and Emmington), he made arrangements, if his son should die without sons, for trustees to choose two ministers 'that believe and preach the old doctrinal articles commonly called Calvinistical'. The trustees included several well-known Presbyterian divines and Edmund Calamy, the historian of nonconformity. The lord of the manor was to present one of the two selected ministers to the living. (fn. 171) At each vacancy each trustee was to receive 20s. with which to buy a 'book of divinity'. Although Sir Henry's son died without sons, it is not clear if this method of choosing a rector was ever used. The advowson remained with the Ashhursts until the death of Miss Ashhurst in 1949. The patrons in 1957 were her executors.

There have twice been attempts in the 20th century to unite the livings of Waterstock and Waterperry, but though held together, they remain separate benefices. (fn. 172)

In the Middle Ages the rectory was a rather poor one, worth £4 in 1254 and £5 6s. 8d. in 1291. (fn. 173) By 1535 its value had risen to £10 16s. ½d. (fn. 174) In the early 17th century it was said to be worth £100, (fn. 175) but soon after this it was impoverished by an arrangement made sometime before 1659 between the rector and the lord of the manor. The lord, who owned the whole parish except the glebe, agreed to pay the rector a modus of £40 a year instead of tithes. (fn. 176) Accordingly, the value of the rectory, derived from this £40 and the glebe, rose little between the mid17th and the mid-19th centuries. In 1716 it was worth £55, in 1806 only £64 10s., (fn. 177) and in 1847, when the question of commuting the tithes was raised, J. H. Ashhurst claimed that on the basis of this composition the parish was tithe free. (fn. 178) The Tithe Commissioners, on the other hand, considered the modus 'absolutely void' (fn. 179) and in 1848 the tithes were commuted for £250. (fn. 180)

The small glebe was first mentioned in 1341 (fn. 181) and its earliest terriers date from 1601 and 1609. (fn. 182) In 1806 it consisted of 12 acres, the greater part of which lay next to the rectory. (fn. 183) In 1790 the rector had given Sir William Henry Ashhurst, who was rebuilding the church, ¾-acre of glebe in return for a promise that in the future the lord of the manor would be responsible for the upkeep of the chancel. (fn. 184)

Medieval rectors, in spite of the comparative poverty of the living, held it as a rule for many years. They never exchanged it for a better one and most of them died at their posts. (fn. 185) Examples are Master John de Hadenham (c. 1235–68); Thomas Bruley (1326–61), probably a younger brother of the lord of the manor, who acted as feoffee for Waterperry manor; (fn. 186) John Kent (1423–67), who acted as feoffee for the Danvers family; (fn. 187) and Master John Brown (1469–99), who is portrayed in one of the church windows. (fn. 188) It seems likely that these clerks were resident. Proof of residence in 1405 comes from an account of a robbery. The rector's church and house were then broken into and coverlets, sheets, jewels, and household utensils worth 20 marks belonging to him and the churchwardens were stolen. (fn. 189)

In the early 16th century the wills of Sir Thomas Danvers (d. 1502), who was a generous benefactor to the church building, (fn. 190) and of his widow Sibyl (d. 1511) show the close connexion between the church and the family living at the manor-house. They were both buried in the church and both left instructions for services to be said for them there. Two Oxford scholars were to say daily mass for Sir Thomas, and on the eight principal feasts these masses were to be said in Waterstock; two Oxford scholars were likewise to say services for Dame Sibyl, but only once a year in Waterstock on the day of her anniversary. (fn. 191) The rector at the time of their death, Robert Wright (1501–16), to whom Sir Thomas left a bequest of 13s. 4d., was a witness of Sibyl's will. (fn. 192) He was probably dead by the time of the episcopal visitation of about 1520, when the church was found to be comparatively well cared for: the only faults noted were that the font was kept unlocked and some windows were broken. (fn. 193)

Later in the century the parish had some highly educated rectors, but they only held the living for short periods. Richard Bruern (1551–9), who may have had to resign it as he did his Oxford professorship because of immorality, (fn. 194) was succeeded by Thomas Bruern (d. 1561), once a Fellow of Brasenose College. (fn. 195) John Tatham, rector in 1576, was Rector of Lincoln College; (fn. 196) and John Rider, who was perhaps rector in 1580, was a well-known lexicographer who became a bishop. (fn. 197)

In the early 17th century, when George Croke was patron, he gave the living to two of his nephews: Charles Croke (rector in 1616), who was later chaplain to Charles I; (fn. 198) and Henry Croke (1618–42), also Canon of Lincoln and Wells, who may, like other members of the Croke family, have been more sympathetic to Puritanism. The inventory of his goods at his death indicates that he was of a scholarly character: his Waterstock house had a 'study chamber', and there were books there to the value of £40. (fn. 199)

After the Restoration the living was held for nearly 50 years by Charles Hinde (1677–1725), described by Hearne as 'the pettifogger of Waterstock'. (fn. 200) He was presented by Sir George Croke and was clearly on excellent terms with Croke's successor, Sir Henry Ashhurst. He shared the interest of his most dearly beloved patron in the history of the church building. Hearne also relates that he was regretful that the old village custom of holding 'prones (homilies) and wakes' had ceased. (fn. 201) Hinde was succeeded by Edward Lewis (1726–84), an author and a strong opponent of Roman Catholicism, who also held the other Ashhurst living of Emmington. (fn. 202) He lived at Waterstock, but on Sundays he went to Emmington while a curate from Oxford, who received £20 or £25 a year, took the services at Waterstock. (fn. 203) Throughout the century two services and one sermon were given on Sundays, and the sacrament was administered four times a year. (fn. 204) In the second half of the century the rector said prayers, which anyone could attend, on Wednesdays, Fridays, and saints' days at the Ashhursts' house. (fn. 205)

On Lewis's death a characteristic 18th-century arrangement was made. The antiquary John Gutch served the church with a curate from 1785 to 1789 and kept the living warm for the son of the Rector of Albury, who was at that time a student at Oxford. (fn. 206) The young R. B. B. Robinson (rector 1790–1826) (fn. 207) duly succeeded, and lived at Waterstock in the Rectory which the Ashhursts had rebuilt for him. They also presented him to Emmington. (fn. 208) From this time the parish almost always had a resident rector. To this fact and to the piety of the Ashhursts may perhaps be attributed the fact that no papists and no protestant nonconformists were recorded in the 18th or 19th centuries.

During the century the number of communicants increased steadily. In 1738 there had been less than 20; in the early 19th century there were between 30 and 40; in 1854 over 50 and over 60 in 1878. (fn. 209) James H. Ashhurst (1856–96), a younger son of W. H. Ashhurst and Rural Dean of Cuddesdon, brought a new fervour into the religious life of the parish. He increased the number of communion services from the four of 1854 to over twelve a year; continued the Sunday school, gave religious instruction in the day schools; and held a well-attended night school in winter. In his time nearly everyone in Waterstock went to church. (fn. 210)

The church of St. Leonard is a stone building of various dates comprising a chancel, nave, north aisle, western tower, and north and south porches. The early medieval church was rebuilt at the end of the 15th century by Thomas Danvers and his first wife, a daughter of James Fiennes, Lord Saye and Sele (fn. 211). An inscription below the arms of Danvers which was in a window in the north aisle and which was recorded by Anthony Wood indicates that they began the work by rebuilding the nave. The inscription ran: 'Orate pro animabus … filiae Jacobi Finys, qui istam ecclesiam fecerunt anno gratiae MCCCCLXXX.' (fn. 212) A north aisle dedicated to St. Ann was being built in 1501, for Thomas Danvers directed in his will, dated November 1501, that the 'aisle' be finished 'in as goodly hast as it may be and covered with lead'. (fn. 213) A new chancel, which he had begun, was also to be finished under the supervision of his second wife Sybyl Brecknoke (neé Fowler). (fn. 214) He directed that he should be buried in the chancel 'before St. Leonard'. His monument, described by Wood, no longer exists. (fn. 215)

The windows of the new building were filled with painted glass mostly of 15th and early 16th-century date. Nothing further is known of the history of the fabric until 1692, when Sir Henry Ashhurst was given permission to take over part of the north aisle (28 ft. by 12 ft.) as a 'dormitory' or burial place for his family on condition that he kept it in repair and beautified it. (fn. 216) The fabric was apparently neglected in the first half of the 18th century, for in 1758 the archdeacon ordered that elder bushes and banks of rubbish should be moved from 'the foundation of the walls of the church'; that part of the walls and tower should be repointed, the pavement of church and chancel should be laid and made even, and a new door should be made on the north side. (fn. 217) In 1789 the church was again reported out of repair and in 1790 nave and chancel were rebuilt by Sir W. H. Ashhurst. (fn. 218) Early 19th-century drawings of the church and an account of the same period record that the chancel had an east window of three lights without tracery and no side windows; that there were two windows in the south wall of the nave, each of three round-headed lights under a square label and that the nave had a flat ceiling with a cornice; that the north aisle with its perpendicular windows and the west tower of three stories with a parapet and small bellcote had been left in their original state except for the addition of the clock on the east face of the tower. (fn. 219)

[Waterstock church]

In 1845 chancel, nave, and tower all needed repair. The estimated cost was about £30. (fn. 220) No major repairs were executed until a thorough restoration was carried out during 1857–8 under the direction of the architect G. E. Street. The builder was George Wyatt of Oxford. The church was under-pinned, a brick gutter put round it and the earth removed from the foundation; the south wall of the nave was repaired, two new windows and a door being inserted in place of the old ones; the plaster ceiling was removed so as to open up the nave roof, and a battlemented cornice was added. The gallery erected at the west end at some unknown date was abolished. A new chancel arch was built; a new east window, copied from one at Great Milton church, was inserted and the chancel ceiling was raised so as to show the point of the window. The chancel and north aisle were reroofed, the north wall of the aisle having been made 3 feet higher. A new vestry and a south and a north porch were built. The church was repaved, Minton tiles being used for the chancel, and it was reseated and refurnished. Parishioners gave a new pulpit, lectern, prayer desk, altar rails, and font. The medieval font, 'plain and round', had to be replaced as it no longer held water. Thomas Willement did three painted windows (i.e. the east and west windows and a small one in the chancel); Castell of London painted the Belief, the Lord's Prayer and the Commandments, and three texts for the back of the altar for use on festivals. The total cost, including the gifts of furniture, windows, and the two new porches, was about £1,500. (fn. 221)

Further alterations were made later in the century. In 1861 the east window in the north aisle was given by Mrs. Ashhurst and in 1872 the painted reredos of the Last Supper and altar dado, consisting of panels with painted figures of saints and prophets, was given by the Revd. J. H. Ashhurst. (fn. 222) In 1888 a new belfry floor was made and a clock was placed in the tower. (fn. 223)

There was another restoration in 1930. The roof was stripped and covered with slates; the church was refloored and put in 'complete order'. (fn. 224) Electric light has since been installed.

The chief glory of the medieval church was its painted glass. Only that in the three top lights of the Ashhurst window in the north aisle has survived the various restorations, but Anthony Wood visited Waterstock in May 1668, and has left a detailed record. (fn. 225) In the chancel window were the arms of France and England quartered, and the arms of the Bruley, Quartermain, and Danvers families. In the north window of the nave were the figures of two men 'all in blew', each kneeling before a desk, one a clergyman the other a layman, and the pictures of three saints above them. (fn. 226) This window was commissioned, according to the inscription underneath, by Master John Brown, once rector of the church, in memory of himself, his father Thomas Brown, and his mother. Master John Brown (rector 1469–99) and his father may be identified with the figures in two of the surviving fragments. (fn. 227) The other surviving fragment is 13th-century glass. The rest of the glass described by Wood was probably commissioned by Thomas Danvers or his two wives, either for the windows of the nave after it was rebuilt in 1480 or for the north aisle after 1501. The armorial glass included the arms of many families with which the Danvers were allied by marriage, those for instance of Brancastre, Pury, Verney, Fowler, and Brecknoke. There were also painted figures of Thomas Danvers and his two wives, and over them the pictures of three female saints, identified by Wood as Barbara, 'Trinitas', and Anna; a figure of Thomas Danvers, esquire (presumably one commissioned before his investiture as a knight in 1501); (fn. 228) and of John Danvers, esquire.

There was formerly an inscription which ran: 'Orate pro animabus Johannis Danvers et domine Johanne et heredis Johannis Bruly et Matildae Quatermayne uxoris sue quondam patronorum istius ecclesie.' There were also inscriptions to the following: Henry Danvers and his wife Beatrice, the daughter of Sir Ralph Verney; Richard Danvers of Prestcote; Sir John Fray and his wife Agnes; William Fowler and his wife Cicely; and William Danvers and his wife Anne. Anne died in 1531 (fn. 229) and seems to have been the last of the Danvers family to be commemorated. Wood also describes a figure of a bishop with his crozier resting on his shoulder, wearing his mitre and 'praying'. The last figure had an inscription beneath with the names of George Neville, Archbishop of York (1464–76), William Waynflete, Bishop of Winchester, a friend of Thomas Danvers, and Thomas Danvers himself. Another figure of a bishop surmounted the archiepiscopal arms of York quartering Montague, Monthermer, and Neville. (fn. 230) In the east window of the north aisle were the arms of Croke and Bennett. As this is the only glass commemorating the Croke family recorded by Wood, all the rest being in the windows of the manor-house, it is possible that the available window space was filled by 1610, when George Croke became lord of the manor. (fn. 231) The Ashhurst window in the north aisle seems to have been mostly inserted just before 1852. It is mentioned in Gardner's directory for that year, but not in the architectural guide of 1846. Fortythree shields fill three lights and illustrate the genealogy of the Ashhurst family from Adam de Ashhurst, 'sans date', to John Henry Ashhurst, 1848. Most of the shields in the east light have Ashhurst in the dexter and the sinister half is left blank for the use of posterity. (fn. 232) Later in the century an oval panel painted with an achievement of arms and the inscription 'John Warner and Elizabeth Ashhurst married 29th April 1755', was inserted in the middle of the east light. It is signed W. Peckitt 1769 and is contemporary with some of his glass in New College chapel. (fn. 233) The last marriage commemorated was in 1881: the work was inferior and the enamel has already faded. The church also has some wallpaintings: these were noted in 1887, but are no longer visible. (fn. 234) Between the north and south doors are the matrices of two brasses, one an early 15thcentury half-effigy of a man, the other possibly of a priest. (fn. 235) In the centre aisle is a marble gravestone with the remains of an inscription in Lombardic letters: + William: De: La: Ba …… Merci. It was probably to William de la Beche. (fn. 236)

The principal monument, with arms, in the church is to Sir George Croke, Justice of the King's Bench and lord of the manor (d. 1641/2). The inscription has been ascribed to Matthew Hale. (fn. 237) It was moved from the chancel in 1858 to the north aisle. A black marble gravestone to Dame Mary, his widow (d. 1657), and another to Charles Hinde, rector (d. 1725), were also moved from the chancel and are also in the north aisle. There are memorial tablets to the following: the rector's son Francis Hinde of London (d. 1720) and his wife; Dame Frances Allin (d. 1743), daughter of Sir Henry Ashhurst; Edward Lewis, rector (d. 1784) and his wife; Sir William Henry Ashhurst (d. 1807); Robert Robinson, Rector of Waterstock and Emmington (d. 1826) and his wife; and William Henry Ashhurst, Esq., M.P. (d. 1846).

The Edwardian inventory records one chalice. (fn. 238) The church now possesses two Elizabethan silver chalices, one hall-marked 1569 and the other 1570 with the maker's mark Ak; both have lost their paten covers. There is a large silver paten with foot dated 1715 and bearing the initials C.J. for Joseph Clare, and a silver flagon of 1863. There is a 16th-century pewter paten, and a pewter tankard flagon. (fn. 239)

A medieval bell inscribed Sante Nicholae si was recast by Gillett of Croydon in 1888, and so were two bells dated 1616 and 1664 and originally made by Henry Knight and Richard Keene respectively. (fn. 240)

In 1697 the south side of the churchyard was said to be too narrow, so that the graves lay exposed 'to the scandal of the Christian church'. Since part of the Ashhursts' house stood within the north side of the churchyard, Sir Henry Ashhurst gave some land on the south in exchange. He also promised to build a 'handsome' churchyard wall of stone coped with brick and a 'handsome' pair of gates with iron bars. (fn. 241)

In 1858 the boundary wall on the north side of the churchyard was replaced by an iron railing set in stone and a new south gate was made at a cost of £38. (fn. 242)

The registers date from 1580. (fn. 243)


No information about schooling in the village has been found before the 19th century. There was a day school by 1805 and in 1808 ten children were being taught to read there. (fn. 244) A Sunday school with 13 children, supported by Mrs. Ashhurst, was set up in 1808. (fn. 245) Between 1815 and 1818 another day-school was opened and in 1818 there were 18 children attending the two day-schools and 16 attending the Sunday school. (fn. 246) The situation was much the same in 1833, when the schools were described as a day school for 7 girls, supported by the squire, an infant school with about 10 boys and girls, who were paid for by their parents, and the Sunday school with 16 boys and 7 girls. (fn. 247) It is difficult to follow the fortunes of these schools, but it is probable that there was some continuity between them and the school of 1854, described as 'complete for week and Sunday', and the Church of England school that existed in 1871. (fn. 248) The Church school was a mixed school run on National Society lines; it had an average attendance of 25 at the end of the 19th century. (fn. 249) The school was apparently reorganized in 1903–4, for Waterstock Church of England School was said to have been opened in 1904. (fn. 250) Lack of numbers led to its being closed in 1916 and the children later went to Tiddington school. (fn. 251)


None recorded.


By will proved in 1631 Ambrose Bennett, of London, no doubt a relative of Lady Mary Croke, (fn. 252) charged certain lands in Rotherhithe with a rent of £8 a year for the benefit of the poor of Waterstock at Lady Day and Michaelmas. (fn. 253) At the end of the century the money was not paid for several years and the churchwardens and overseers of Waterstock, and of two other parishes which had received similar bequests, exhibited a bill against John Bennett in Chancery. In 1704 he promised to make regular payments. (fn. 254) These were regularly made throughout the 18th century and accounts were kept from 1707 of the distribution of the money. In 1823 20 poor people benefited, the sums granted varying between 5s. and 12s. according to the size of individual families. (fn. 255) In 1877 the rentcharge was redeemed for £267 stock. (fn. 256) The income in 1923 and again in 1937 was £6 13s. 4d. (fn. 257) but the method of its distribution at that time cannot be ascertained.

The parishioners of Waterstock have the right to send almspeople to Croke's almshouses in Studley. (fn. 258)


  • 1. Census, 1841; the Census, 1851–71, gave the area as 653 a. and the survey of 1881 gave it as 678 a.: O.S. Area Bk. (1882).
  • 2. O.S. Map 6", xxxiv, xl (1886).
  • 3. O.R.O. L.G.B.O. 19610, 19618.
  • 4. O.R.O. R.O. 616.
  • 5. V.C.H. Oxon. i, map between pp. 4–5.
  • 6. O.S. Map 6", xxxiv, xl (1886).
  • 7. Oxf. Archd. Oxon. b 41, f. 135.
  • 8. e.g. ibid.
  • 9. d.d. Ashhurst d 9.
  • 10. Oseney Cart, iv. 405.
  • 11. d.d. Ashhurst d 8. For the Cursons of Waterperry see V.C.H. Oxon. v. 298.
  • 12. E. T. Mac Dermot, Hist. G.W.R. ii, 595.
  • 13. d.d. Ashhurst d 10: contemporary note.
  • 14. O.S. Map 1: 2,500, xl. 4 (1881). For name see below, p. 224.
  • 15. See below, p. 225.
  • 16. See below, p. 225.
  • 17. Inf. Mr. C. R. Bull, Waterstock.
  • 18. See below, p. 230.
  • 19. Bodl. Tithe award map (1848).
  • 20. See below, p. 223.
  • 21. Cal. Papal L. 1431–47, 233.
  • 22. Macnamara, Danvers Family, 156–7.
  • 23. Ibid. 162–3.
  • 24. Par. Coll. iii. 323–7.
  • 25. See below, p. 223. For Edward Cave see Par. Coll. iii. 324.
  • 26. Par. Coll. iii. 321–2, 324–7.
  • 27. Hearth Tax, Oxon. 45.
  • 28. Plot, Nat. Hist. Oxon. (1705), 175.
  • 29. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1645–7, 419.
  • 30. For Sir George see Sir Alexander Croke, Genealogical History of the Croke Family, ii. 556–7, additions, 377.
  • 31. Ibid. 559.
  • 32. d.d. Ashhurst d 9.
  • 33. Ibid. d. 10: a late 19th-cent. note. Bricks on the site of the old house have been dug up in recent times. For a view see plate facing p. 221.
  • 34. d.d. Ashhurst d 10: late 19th-cent. notes.
  • 35. Ibid. d 10.
  • 36. Ibid. d 10: late 19th-cent. note.
  • 37. Bodl. Tithe award.
  • 38. Inf. Mrs. Ruck Keene.
  • 39. MS. Top. Oxon. b 220, f. 135b.
  • 40. Par. Rec. Plan of 1857.
  • 41. Inf. the Rector, the Revd. G. S. S. Gillott.
  • 42. For them see below.
  • 43. See below, p. 227.
  • 44. Hearne, Remarks, viii. 400; Par. Reg.
  • 45. D.N.B.; V.C.H. Oxon. v. 25–26.
  • 46. V.C.H. Oxon. i. 403. For Sawold and the hidage of Waterstock see above, p. 114.
  • 47. e.g. Feud. Aids, iv. 167, 182, 198.
  • 48. See above, p. 114.
  • 49. Queen's Coll. MS. 366, f. 38b.
  • 50. Red Bk. Exch. (Rolls Ser.), 374–6.
  • 51. Oseney Cart. iv. 405.
  • 52. Ibid. 388. For Bartholomew Foliot see also Farrer, Honors, iii. 235 (c. 1165–82).
  • 53. Oseney Cart. iv. 405.
  • 54. See V.C.H. Oxon. v. 9.
  • 55. Fines Oxon. 59.
  • 56. Rot. Grosse. 446.
  • 57. He witnessed a charter dated c. 1250: Boarstall Cart. 98.
  • 58. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 38; Rot. Graves. 220.
  • 59. Macnamara, Danvers Family, 221.
  • 60. Ibid. 222.
  • 61. Rot. Hund. 11. 821. For him see Moor, Knights of Ed. I, i (Harl. Soc. lxxx), 152.
  • 62. Queen's Coll. MS. 366, f. 34b. Macnamara wrongly dates the list of tenants as made in 1300: Danvers Family, 57. Cf. Bk. of Fees, 40 for the ½-fee in 1209–12.
  • 63. C.P. 25(1)/189/16/117, dated as 1315 by Macnamara, op. cit. 222.
  • 64. V.C.H. Worcs. iii. 559.
  • 65. Feuds. Aids, iv. 167; E 179/161/9.
  • 66. Visit. Oxon. 186.
  • 67. Feud. Aids, iv. 182.
  • 68. See pedigree in Macnamara, Danvers Family, 224 and list of medieval presentations in MS. Top. Oxon. d 460.
  • 69. Visit. Oxon. 44; V.C.H. Bucks. iv. 81; Cal. Fine R., 1347–56, 269.
  • 70. Linc. Reg. ix, f. 276d.
  • 71. Cf. Macnamara, op. cit. 224–5.
  • 72. Linc. Reg. x, f. 355d.
  • 73. C.P. 25(1)/191/23/13.
  • 74. See pedigree in Macnamara, op. cit. 224.
  • 75. Ibid. Agnes's correct pedigree is given in Genealogist, N.S. XX. 157.
  • 76. C.P. 25(1)/191/23/13.
  • 77. Macnamara, op. cit. 225. For Maud see W. F. Carter, The Quatremains of Oxon. 58–59; for William see Macnamara, op. cit. 225.
  • 78. Linc. Reg. xvi, f. 142; cf. C.P. 25(1)/292/66/86.
  • 79. Feud. Aids, iv. 198.
  • 80. Macnamara, op. cit. 101. He was certainly alive in 1441: Cal. Papal L. ix. 233. For his career see Macnamara, op. cit. 95–101.
  • 81. Macnamara, op. cit. 101; Linc. Reg. xx, ff. 244d, 246d.
  • 82. For Thomas see Macnamara, op. cit. 155–70; J. C. Wedgwood, Hist, of Parl. (Biographies), 256–7; above, p. 221.
  • 83. Macnamara, op. cit. 155. For Sybil see also below, p. 228.
  • 84. For his will see ibid. 167–9; for his tomb see below, p. 228.
  • 85. C 142/26/52. For her will see Macnamara, op. cit. 171.
  • 86. C 142/24/62. For his will see Macnamara, op. cit. 178–9.
  • 87. C 142/24/62(2), 63. For his will see Macnamara, op. cit. 186–7. He died in 1508: C 142/32/36.
  • 88. C 142/32/36; Macnamara, op. cit. 187.
  • 89. For the Caves see Bridges, Northants. i. 579–80; Sir A. Croke, Genealogical Hist. of Croke Fam. (1823), i, table 22.
  • 90. L. & P. Hen. VIII, iii (2), p. 892.
  • 91. C.P. 25(2)/51/366/Mich. 20 Hen. VIII.
  • 92. V.C.H. Oxon. v. 11 and vi. Corrigenda.
  • 93. W. A. Shaw, Knights of England, ii. 67; Bridges, Northants. i. 579.
  • 94. V.C.H. Oxon. v. 11.
  • 95. Visit. Oxon. 44, 154; cf. Req. 2/78/105.
  • 96. Dunkin MS. 439/2, f. 276b; Kennett, Paroch. Antiq. ii. 414.
  • 97. C 142/213/148.
  • 98. C.P. 25(2)/339/East. 8 Jas. I. For Croke see D.N.B.; Croke, Hist. of Croke Fam. i. 561–605; V.C.H. Oxon. v. 63, 76.
  • 99. d.d. Ashhurst c 5, abstract of title.
  • 100. Croke, op. cit. i. 556, 601.
  • 101. d.d. Ashhurst c 5, no. 9; Par. Coll. iii. 322; and above, p. 221.
  • 102. Wood, Life, ii. 136; Wood, Fasti, ii. 139. For him see Foster, Alumni, and Kennett, Paroch. Antiq. ii. 492.
  • 103. For mortgages see d.d. Ashhurst c 5 and d 6, passim; C.P. 25(2)/587/Trin. 1653; 588/Trin. 1654; 709/East. 28 Chas, II; C 5/169/29.
  • 104. G.E.C. Baronetage, iv. 57; cf. C.P. 25(2)/710/Mich. 32 Chas. II.
  • 105. d.d. Ashhurst c 5, abstract of title; C.P. 25(2)/863/Trin. 2 Wm. & Mary.
  • 106. d.d. Ashhurst c 4; c 5, abstract of title.
  • 107. F. J. Powicke, "The Revd. Richard Baxter and his Lancs. Friend Mr. Henry Ashhurst,' Bull. John Rylands Libr. xiii. 323–5. d.d. Ashhurst c 1 is a book of his business letters. For his father see D.N.B.
  • 108. G.E.C. Baronetage, iv. 151. For Ashhurst genealogy see Burke, Land. Gent. (1937, &c.); Wood, Life, ii. 137 n. For family see also d.d. Ashhurst b 1, d 9.
  • 109. For them see V.C.H. Lanes. iv. 100.
  • 110. See D.N.B.
  • 111. For him see W. R. J. Williams, Parl. Hist, of Oxon. 79; below, p. 225.
  • 112. For him see E. Gaskell, Oxon. Leaders (c. 1900).
  • 113. Many of her papers are in d.d. Ashhurst c 10–11, c 15–17.
  • 114. V.C.H. Oxon. i. 403.
  • 115. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 821.
  • 116. E 179/161/10.
  • 117. E 179/161/9.
  • 118. E 179/164/7.
  • 119. E 179/161/41.
  • 120. E 179/161/198.
  • 121. Oxf. Archd. Oxon. c 142, ff. 75, 79.
  • 122. d.d. Ashhurst d 6; Bodl. Tithe award.
  • 123. Oxf. Archd. Oxon. c 142, ff. 75, 79.
  • 124. Oxf. Dioc. c 449; d.d. Ashhurst d 9; Bodl. Tithe award and map.
  • 125. Oxf. Archd. Oxon. c 142, f. 75.
  • 126. Ibid. f. 79.
  • 127. Ibid. ff. 75, 79.
  • 128. B.M. Add. Ch. 39971 (27).
  • 129. d.d. Ashhurst d 6 (uncat.): deed of 1680.
  • 130. Bodl. MS. ch. Oxon. 413.
  • 131. d.d. Ashhurst d 6 (uncat.): indenture of 1690; cf. C 5/169/29.
  • 132. Bodl. MS. ch. Oxon. 4150.
  • 133. d.d. Ashhurst d 6: mortgage indenture.
  • 134. Ibid.: 1681 mortgage assignment.
  • 135. Ibid.: 1683 deed.
  • 136. O.R.O. Land tax assess.
  • 137. Bodl. MS. ch. Oxon. 4150.
  • 138. O.R.O. Land tax assess.
  • 139. Bodl. MS. ch. Oxon. 4152.
  • 140. O.R.O. Land tax assess.
  • 141. Ibid.
  • 142. V.C.H. Oxon. ii. 222.
  • 143. Oxf. Dioc. d 560; Secker's Visit.
  • 144. E 179/255/4; Compton Census.
  • 145. Young, Oxon. Agric. 12, 217.
  • 146. Ibid. 217.
  • 147. Ibid.
  • 148. Ibid. 173, 273–4.
  • 149. O.R.O. Land tax assess.
  • 150. d.d. Parsons d 7.
  • 151. Bodl. Tithe award.
  • 152. d.d. Ashhurst d 10 (uncat.).
  • 153. Ibid.
  • 154. d.d. Ashhurst d 11 (uncat.).
  • 155. Kelly, Dir. Oxon. (1939).
  • 156. Bodl. MS. ch. Oxon. 4141.
  • 157. d.d. Ashhurst d 8; d 10.
  • 158. V.C.H. Oxon. ii. 222; and see above, p. 220.
  • 159. Census, 1931, 1951.
  • 160. V.C.H. Oxon. i. 403; Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 821.
  • 161. C.P. 25(2)/51/366.
  • 162. d.d. Ashhurst d 6: 1683 indenture.
  • 163. Bodl. MS. ch. Oxon. 4142; d.d. Ashhurst d 8.
  • 164. Bodl. MS. chs. Oxon. 4145, 4146.
  • 165. d.d. Ashhurst d 10.
  • 166. Oseney Cart. iv. 405.
  • 167. Rot, Grosse. 446. For medieval presentations see MS. Top. d 460.
  • 168. Oxf. Dioc. d 105, p. 141.
  • 169. O.A.S. Rep. 1919, 245.
  • 170. See above, p. 223.
  • 171. Bodl. MS. ch. Oxon. 4257. Among the other trustees were Richard Mayo, a London minister, and his son; William Tongue and Samuel Rosewell, 2 London Presbyterians; Matthew Henry, a Chester minister, and his son (for all these see D.N.B.); and Michael Pope, a Bristol minister.
  • 172. d.d. Ashhurst d 10, 1914 and 1925 letters. In 1951 they were considered as united: Census, 1951: Eccl. Areas.
  • 173. Lunt, Val. Norw. 306; Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 31.
  • 174. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), ii. 171.
  • 175. Dunkin MS. 439/2, f. 176.
  • 176. d.d. Ashhurst d 10, 1847 case. The arrangement was said to be ancient in 1659.
  • 177. Oxf. Dioc. c 155, f. 48; c 449, f. 55.
  • 178. d.d. Ashhurst d 10, 1847 case.
  • 179. Ibid. 1847 decision.
  • 180. Bodl. Tithe award.
  • 181. Inq. Non. (Rec. Com.), 134.
  • 182. Oxf. Archd. c 142, pp. 75–82. For an exchange of less than an acre with manor lands see d.d. Ashhurst d 10, 1666 indenture.
  • 183. Oxf. Dioc. c 449, f. 55.
  • 184. Bodl. MS. ch. Oxon. 4154.
  • 185. For a list of rectors see Macnamara, Danvers Family, 226; for a corrected list of medieval ones see MS. Top. Oxon. d 460.
  • 186. Cal. Inq. p.m. xiii, p. 127.
  • 187. C.P. 25(1)/292/66/86.
  • 188. See below, p. 229.
  • 189. Cal. Pat. 1408–13, 460–1.
  • 190. See below, p. 228.
  • 191. Macnamara, Danvers Family, 167–9, 171–3.
  • 192. Ibid. 167, 173.
  • 193. Visit. Dioc. Linc. 1517–31, i. 138.
  • 194. For him see D.N.B.
  • 195. Brasenose Reg. (O.H.S. lv), 8; O.A.S. Rep. 1920, 244.
  • 196. For him see A. Clark, Lincoln Coll. 49.
  • 197. O.A.S. Rep. 1920, 246; for him see D.N.B.
  • 198. For him see Sir A. Croke, Genealogical Hist. of the Croke Family (1823), i. 506–10; Wood, Fasti, i. 423–4.
  • 199. MS. Wills Oxon. 13: inv. of H. Croke (d. 1642). For him see Croke, op. cit. 552–4, 556; Foster, Alumni.
  • 200. Hearne, Remarks, iii. 123.
  • 201. Ibid. viii. 400.
  • 202. For him see D.N.B.; d.d. Ashhurst d 14: 1676 conveyance.
  • 203. Oxf. Dioc. c 652, ff. 75–76; d 560. One curate was said to be 'in daily expectation of much better things'.
  • 204. Secker's Visit.; Oxf. Dioc. d 554, d 557, d 565.
  • 205. Oxf. Dioc. d 557; c 327, p. 94.
  • 206. Ibid. c 327, p. 94.
  • 207. For his father Christopher Robinson see V.C.H. Oxon. v. 14.
  • 208. Oxf. Dioc. c 327, p. 94; MS. Top. Oxon. b 220, f. 135b; Oxf. Dioc. c 449, f. 55.
  • 209. Secker's Visit.; Oxf. Dioc. d 549, p. 63; Wilb. Visit.; Oxf. Dioc. c 344.
  • 210. Oxf. Dioc. c 332, c 344.
  • 211. Macnamara, Danvers Family, 155.
  • 212. Par. Coll. iii. 322.
  • 213. Macnamara, Danvers Family, 167–8: his will.
  • 214. For her see ibid. 155–6, 170–4; and for pedigree see Bodl. G.A. Oxon. 4° 687, 321–2.
  • 215. Par. Coll. iii. 321.
  • 216. d.d. Ashhurst d 10, Faculty.
  • 217. Oxf. Archd. Oxon. d 13, f. 51b. For seats being out of repair in 1726 see ibid. c 116.
  • 218. Ibid. c 109, ff. 300–1.
  • 219. MS. Top. Oxon. b 220, ff. 135–6: drawing from south and account of c. 1810; ibid. a 69, no. 571: Buckler drawing from NE. (1822).
  • 220. d.d. Ashhurst d 10.
  • 221. Par. Rec. MS. notes; d.d. Ashhurst d 8, Papers on restoration; MS. Top. Oxon. d 92, f. 189b.
  • 222. Par. Rec. MS. notes.
  • 223. Ibid.
  • 224. Ibid.
  • 225. Wood, Life, ii. 136; Par. Coll. iii. 321 sqq.; Bodl. G.A. Oxon. 4° 687, 321–4.
  • 226. Par. Coll. iii. 323.
  • 227. See list of medieval rectors in Macnamara, Danvers Family, 226.
  • 228. Ibid. 164.
  • 229. Ibid. 181. For the related families see ibid. passim and W. F. Carter, Quatremains of Oxon. passim.
  • 230. Bodl. 1373, 1 64, 90.
  • 231. See above, p. 223.
  • 232. For an account of the glass see Lamborn, Arm. Glass, 165.
  • 233. For Peckitt see D.N.B.
  • 234. Bodl. G.A. Oxon. 4° 697: newspaper cutting, 1887.
  • 235. MS. Top. Oxon. d 196, ff. 391, 393.
  • 236. Ibid. f. 392.
  • 237. Gardner, Dir. Oxon. (1852).
  • 238. Chant. Cert. 117.
  • 239. Evans, Ch. Plate.
  • 240. Ch. Bells Oxon. 431–2.
  • 241. d.d. Ashhurst d 8: 1697 indenture.
  • 242. Ibid. d 10; Papers on restoration.
  • 243. Those up to 1812 are in d.d. Par. Waterstock c 1–2.
  • 244. Oxf. Dioc. c 327, p. 242; d 707; c 433.
  • 245. Ibid. d 707; c 433.
  • 246. Ibid. c 433; Educ. of Poor, 732.
  • 247. Educ. Enq. Abstract, 757.
  • 248. Wilb. Visit.; Elem. Educ. Ret. 320.
  • 249. Kelly, Dir. Oxon. (1887, 1891, 1903).
  • 250. List of Sch. 530; Vol. Sch. Ret. 36.
  • 251. Inf. Oxf. Educ. Cttee (1956).
  • 252. She was a Bennett: Sir A. Croke, Genealogical Hist, of Croke Fam. (1823), ii. 565.
  • 253. P.C.C. 29 St. John. It was made in 1630, not 1636, as in 8th Rep. Com. Char. 560.
  • 254. Bodl. MS. ch. Oxon. 4255; ibid. 4258 is an extract from the will.
  • 255. 8th Rep. Com. Char. 560–1; Oxf. Dioc. d 555.
  • 256. Char. Com. file 18064.
  • 257. Ibid. Accts. file.
  • 258. V.C.H. Oxon. v. 76.