Brightwell Baldwin Church


Religious History
Brightwell had a well-endowed Parish Church by the early 13th century, founded probably in the 11th or 12th century by one of the Lords of Brightwell Parks Manor, who owned the Advowson. Its Medieval and early post-Medieval Rectors were mostly non-resident Pluralists, who employed Chaplains or Curates and included some eminent Churchmen; from the late 17th century, however, most Rectors resided. Roman Catholicism remained strong in the 16th and early 17th centuries, particularly among Landholding families, but had died out by 1676. Thereafter neither Catholicism nor Protestant Nonconformity had any significant following.

Church Origins & Parochial Organisation
In the 9th century, Brightwell belonged to the Bishop of Worcester’s Pyrton (or Readanora) Estate and may have been subject to the Minster Church at Pyrton.  No Ecclesiastical dependence was evident by the mid 13th century, however, when Brightwell’s Church was served by an Independent Rector.  The earliest surviving Stonework in the Church dates from the early 13th century and its dedication to St Bartholomew was Established by 1506.  From 1918 the Rectory was held in Plurality with the combined Parish of Cuxham-with-Easington, and from 1979 both Parishes were served from Ewelme The arrangement was formalized in 1985 with the creation of the United Benefice of Ewelme, Brightwell Baldwin and Cuxham-with-Easington.
Patronage belonged by the 13th century to the Lords of Brightwell Parks Manor.  The Bishop of Chichester in 1244 & Oliver of Skelbrooke in 1265 Presented as Guardians of Park Family Minors, and in 1419 Henry Soulby & John Eseby were Patrons for a turn by virtue of their Lease of a part of Parks Manor called Well House.  On the division of Parks Manor c.1450 the respective Owners of the 3 shares were, in theory, entitled to make alternate Presentations, although in practice all the Rectors until 1509 (when the Estate was reunited) were Presented by persons interested in the Stonors‘ 2 shares.   John Cottesmore, Lord of Brightwell Baldwin, was prevented from presenting in 1502.

In the post-Medieval Period Patronage belonged to Owners of the Brightwell Estate, which included Brightwell Parks.  Herbert Westfaling was apparently Presented twice, 1st in 1572 and again in 1577; the latter Presentation, made by the Crown at the Petition of the Archbishop of Canterbury, perhaps righted an earlier irregularity  The Crown Presented for a turn in 1632, as did William White of Westminster (Middx) in 1800.  Following the break-up of the Brightwell Estate in 1942, F W Lowndes-Stone-Norton retained the Advowson until 1952, when he transferred it to R N Richmond-Watson of Brightwell Park. From him it passed in 1958 to F D Wright of Brightwell Park(whose son-in-law Brigadier J N B Mogg inherited it in 1994. He remained a Joint Patron of the United Benefice in 2013.
Glebe, Tithes,  Other Endowments
In the Medieval Period, the Church was among the wealthiest in Aston Deanery, worth 20 marks (£13 6s 8d) in 1254, £18 in 1291, and £13 6s 8d in 1340 (including Glebe & Hay Tithes worth £4 13s 4d.  In 1526 the Rector received £12 6s 8d and the Curate £5 6s 8d.  By the early 18th century the Rectory was worth c.£16 a year, and in 1798 the Rector Sir Martin Stapylton, Bart, paid £770 of his own money for a perpetual exemption from Land Tax on the Parsonage, Tithes & Glebe.  At inclosure in 1802 the Tithes were commuted to a Corn Rent, whose value was reviewed every 14 years based on local Market Prices: in 1802 it was set at £356 1s, rising to c.£460 in 1816 but falling to c.£300 for the rest of the 19th century, and to only £150 in the period 1901–29. In 1929 it was increased to £310 and continued to be reviewed.  Total gross income in 1895 was £353 (£303 Corn Rent and £50 from the Glebe), although net income fell to only £135 in 1907 & 1924, recovering to £194 in 1953 and £458 in 1963 In 1977 part of the Endowment Income was diverted to the Diocesan Stipends Fund.


The size of the Medieval Glebe is unknown but probably corresponded with the later Glebe Farm. Its Farmhouse on the Village Street dates from the 16th or 17th century, and in 1798 its 38a were let to a neighbouring Farmer.  At Inclosure in 1802, the Rector was allotted 46a, and the Farm remained intact until 1953 when sold to its Tenant.  Land belonging to the Rectory House was sold in 1979, though the Parochial Church Council retained its Church House at Upperton (built in 1908). 

Endowments towards Church repair included 10s a year from Charitable Lands bought in 1688, incorporating a gift towards repairs from the Squire John Stone (d.1704). By the 19th century, 20s Rent from Bell Acre in Upperton was also used for repairs, perhaps reflecting an ancient endowment.  A separate Charity in support of the Fabric was Established in 1989.
Rectory House
Until 1804 the Rectory House occupied a Site on the North side of the Village Street c.200M East of the Church.  Though described as ruinous in 1517 in 1665 it was Taxed on 14 hearths, and in 1733 it contained at least 13 Rooms including a parlour, dining room, wainscot room, best chamber, maid’s chamber, pantry, cheese room, dairy room, & cellar.  One of the principal rooms contained Painted Glass displaying the Arms of the Rectors John Howson (1608–28) & Richard Vesy (1705–32), and of the Squire & Patron Carleton Stone (d.1708).   In 1741 the Rector Allen Corrance obtained permission to demolish Outbuildings called the Milk House, old Hall, & old Stable or Woodhouse. 

By 1801 the house was in poor condition and the Rector Sir Martin Stapylton left £500 to his successor for repairs.  Instead, Stapylton’s successor Samuel White constructed an entirely new House c.100M to the South-East on the Southside of the Street, on a Site given in exchange at Inclosure in 1802.  The Building (erected in 1804) is Classical in design, with a double-pile Plan & M-shaped Mansard Roof; it has 2 Principal Storeys with a Basement & Attic, and its main Front is Stuccoed with 3-Bays.  In 1805 it was described as ‘newly built of Stone & Brick, Covered with Tile, and surrounded by the Garden’.  It was sold in 1979 when the Rector moved to Ewelme.

Pastoral Care & Religious Life
The Middle Ages
Around 20 Rectors are known before the Reformation, of whom several were Oxford Graduates.  Walter ‘Parson of Brightwell (recorded 1227–43) was succeeded in 1244 by John de Ander and in 1265 by Ralph Aunfrey ‘the Welshman’ (dictus Walens), who resigned in 1282 on his Promotion as Archdeacon of Wiltshire.  Probably he was non-resident, and the Chaplain Richard of Rutland, who held land in the Parish in 1279, may have served the Church on his behalf.  Another Chaplain mentioned in 1295 perhaps deputed for William of Apperley (Rector 1294-c.1301), a King’s Clerk with Preferments in Warwick & Aberdeenshire, who was succeeded by 2 Apperley relatives. Walter Park (1304–10), a relative of the Lord & Patron Thomas Park, may have resided, but his successor Hugh Wace (1310–33), related presumably to the Waces of Ewelme, was a Pluralist Licensed to Study for 7 years at Oxford.  Again much of his Parish Work was presumably performed by Stipendiary Chaplains, including (in 1320) one Adam

Later Medieval Rectors included John Soulby (1419-before 1432), a prebendary of Ripon (Yorks WR) presented by a relative, and succeeded by his illegitimate son John Crosby. The latter was Rector by 1432 when he obtained Papal Rehabilitations for his illegitimacy and for fatally stabbing a Glover, and after Studying at Oxford he held Brightwell in Plurality with a Prebend & Canonry in Lincoln Cathedral, where he became Treasurer.  His successor Robert More (Rector 1477–97) is commemorated by a Brass in the Chancel, and perhaps resided; Nicholas Bradbridge (1502–33), however, a former Headmaster of Eton College, obtained a Doctorate from the Italian University of Turin in 1509, and held the Benefice in Plurality with various Canonries & Prebends.  His Parish duties were performed by a string of Curates, who in the 1520s were paid £5 6s 8d a year.  Symptomatic of the absence of a Resident Rector was the poor repair of the Rectory House & Chancel, which in 1517 were both described as ruinous, with window glass missing in the Chancel.

Nevertheless, the Church was well supported by Parishioners. In 1279 several Tenants’ Rents went towards maintaining lights in the Church, mainly to the Virgin, and one provided a pound of Wax annually to support a light to St Paul.  A rare survival in the Church is the Monumental Brass of John the Smith (fl 1371), a local man of Peasant Stock, which bears one of the earliest English Inscriptions.  Now positioned on the wall of the North Aisle, it was originally placed in the Floor of the Nave near the Font.  Popular beliefs are hinted at in 13th-century references to a Holy Well, presumably a Spring in the Parish.

More readily apparent is the contribution of Resident Lords, who presumably supported the Church’s enlargement in the 14th & 15th centuries. Members of the Park Family, as Patrons, were probably buried in the Church from an early date, and a Stone shield in the chancel, bearing the Park Arms, may be from a lost tomb of John Park (fl. 1394) and his wife Isabel, which survived in 1658.  A roundel of Painted Glass in the Chancel’s East window bore the Park Arms and an inscription to the same John, misread by the Antiquary Anthony Wood, and now incorrectly restored in the Chancel’s South-West window.  Another 14th-century Glass commemorates the Resident Berefords, who acquired a Private Chapel in their Manor House c.1397, while a late 14th-century Oak Chest bearing a painting of St George in full armour on Horseback may have been a gift of Sir Baldwin Bereford (d.1405), reflecting his Knightly Status.

The Cottesmore’s, Lords from 1432, also Patronized the Church, perhaps adding the Chapel of St Anne in which Sir John Cottesmore (d. c.1510) requested burial.  Sir John (I) Cottesmore (d.1439) and his wife were buried in a prominent position in the Chancel, while his great-grandson William (d.1519) requested burial in the same grave and left a black gown and 10s to the Church.  Despite such devotion, William’s Widow Alice (who later married Thomas Doyley) was accused in the early 16th century of Lollardy, allegedly speaking out against Pilgrimage & Religious Images and in favour of Lay Priesthood.  Presumably, she recanted and was certainly still living in 1550.
The Reformation to 1800
During the Reformation, the Rectory continued to attract eminent and mostly non-resident Pluralists. John Cottisford (Rector 1533–40), a Canon of Lincoln Cathedral from 1538 and later a member of the Commission to search for Heretical Books, was succeeded by William Geffrey (1541–58), who held numerous posts and from 1546 was Chaplain to the King.  Edward Jordan was probably his Curate in 1553Herbert Westfaling (Rector 1572–86) was a former Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity at Oxford University, becoming University Vice-Chancellor in 1576 & Bishop of Hereford in 1585.  His successor Nicholas Bond (1586–1608) was also Vice-Chancellor & Chaplain in Ordinary to the Queen.

John Howson (1608–28), Richard Corbett (1628-32), & William Paul (1632–65) all served as Bishop of Oxford whilst remaining Rector: Howson from 1619, Corbett from 1628, & Paul from 1663Howson provided a Pew for his wife and may have installed the Jacobean Pulpit & Tester, and Glass in the Chancel’s South-West window displays both his & Corbett’s Arms.  William Paul, Chaplain to Charles I by 1635, was deprived of his Livings during the Interregnum, when John Leigh of Cheshire may have served Brightwell. Having regained them at the Restoration Paul subsequently endowed a Parish Charity, and is buried with his wife and son at the Chancel’s East End.

Most later Rectors were less eminent and probably resided more frequently, several of them being buried or commemorated in the Chancel.  James Stopes (1732–4) & John Edwards (1734–40) both held the Living in Plurality with neighbouring Britwell Salome, while Martin Stapylton (Rector 1750–1801), a relative of the Squire Francis Lowe, served in person until 1785 when he inherited a Baronetcy and his Family’s Ancestral Home of Myton Hall (Yorks. NR).  Thereafter he employed Curates until his death in 1801, their £75 Stipend in 1799 being one of the highest in the County,

In the early years of the Reformation, some Parishioners maintained traditional beliefs. Two Wills proved in 1545 contain Bequests of money to the Rood light, and Elizabeth Wakelin left 10s. for Masses for her Family, and 4d. for those attending Church to say mass for her soul.  The same year John Rose, a Husbandman, Willed that ‘5 Masses in Honour of the 5 pious & glorious wounds of our saviour Jesus Christ be said in the Church of Brightwell, serving Parishioners & all Christian Souls’.  Several people left grain & animals to the Church in the 1550s–60s, but by then Parishioners’ Wills were conventionally Protestant.

Roman Catholicism persisted longer amongst Brightwell’s Landholding Families. Sir Adrian Fortescue, later venerated as a Catholic Martyr, lived there for some years before his arrest & execution in 1539, although the true reasons for his downfall remain unclear.  The Simeon Family, resident Lords from 1596, were certainly Catholics: Anne, wife of John Simeon, was fined £260 for Recusancy in 1603, and John’s son George (who married into the Catholic Vaux Family of Harrowden, Beds) was convicted of Recusancy in 1607.  His 3rd wife Margaret was among 7 Parishioners fined for absence from worship in 1624.  By contrast, Sir Dudley Carleton, Viscount Dorchester, sought a household Pew in the Parish Church on acquiring the Estate in 1630.  Roman Catholicism had apparently disappeared from Brightwell by 1676 when no Dissent was reported, and the following year the Parish’s ‘Christian Unanimity’ was partly attributed to the ‘exemplary Piety & Prudent conduct’ of the Squire John Stone.  Stone not only gave £10 for investment towards Church repairs but erected a large Baroque Monument in the North Chapel, which he partly appropriated as a Family Mortuary Chapel.  He also maintained a Private Chapel at Brightwell Park.

18th-century Rectors maintained that neither Catholicism nor Protestant Nonconformity had any adherents, blaming poor Church attendance on Sunday-afternoon Cricket, the Poor’s lack of decent clothing, and an Ageing Population. The pattern of Services remained constant, comprising 2 Sunday Services with a single Sunday Sermon, and Prayers (when a Congregation could be raised) on Holy Days, Wednesdays, & Fridays. Communion, held 4–5 times a year, attracted 30–40 Communicants in 1738, but only a 12 in 1799, and children were catechised in early summer.  Sacramental bread was paid for by a Household Rate, which was being levied by 1587 and which was charged at 2½d in the Pound c.1732. Bellringers were paid on principal occasions, notably Gunpowder Treason Day (5th November) & the Monarch’s Birthday.
Since 1800

RectoryCottageSamuel White (Rector 1801–41) oversaw Building of the new Rectory House in 1804, and initially served the Parish in person. The early years of his incumbency saw miscellaneous improvements to the Church, whose walls were whitewashed and repainted with the Commandments in 1802, while the Altar, Pulpit, Reading Desk, and Vestry were repaired in 1805. New Communion Plate was purchased in 1803, the previous set having been stolen in 1797, although the Chancel remained in poor repair.  In 1807 White was appointed to hold in Plurality the wealthier Perpetual Curacy of Hampstead (Middx), where he mostly lived for the rest of his incumbency.  In 1808 he engaged an Oxford-based Curate to serve Brightwell in his absence, and following reprimands from the Bishop he arranged for a Curate to occupy the Rectory House, receiving a salary of 60 guineas. At least 8 Curates came & went between 1808 & 1841, and Church attendance remained low, with only 8 Communicants recorded in 1808 & 16 in 1823.

BarrelOrganGeorge Day (Rector 1841–90) resided permanently, marrying a daughter of the Squire & Patron William Francis Lowndes Stone.  By 1854 he preached twice on Sundays, and in 1858 introduced a monthly Communion, although attendance remained static with 20–30 regular Communicants and an average Congregation of 100–120 (under half the population).  Small numbers of Protestant Dissenters were also recorded, meeting outside the Parish. Day ran both a Sunday School & Adult Evening Classes in the Winter and in 1868 raised a Mortgage to fund urgently needed Chancel repairs.  In 1844 his mother-in-law Mrs Lowndes Stone donated a newly made Barrel Organ from Brightwell Park, and a large 17th-century Italian oil painting depicting the finding of Moses (which in 1845 hung in the Dining Room of Brightwell Park) may have also been given during Day’s incumbency. It was sold in 1988, when a replica was made to hang in the North Aisle.

Hilgrove Coxe (1890–1914), a ‘strong character’ who was ‘sometimes at loggerheads with some of his Parishioners’, oversaw several alterations to the Church, including restorations of the Nave (in 1895), the Porch (1905), and the West Tower (1911).  He himself gave a Litany Desk, Seat, and pair of Brass Candlesticks, and Parishioners paid for a new Bible & Tower Clock.  A Churchyard extension consecrated in 1892 was the gift of R F Lowndes-Stone-NortonCoxe introduced a daily Morning Service and increased Communion from monthly to weekly, although a Boys’ weekly Bible Class suffered from intermittent attendance.


Coxe’s 20th-century successors also served Cuxham-with-Easington, and few Rectors stayed for more than a decade.  Thomas Hainsworth (1914–31) oversaw the installation in 1920 of a WW1 Memorial Plaque, and in 1938 Sidney Reade (1935–42) donated a Pipe Organ believed to have come from the Bishop’s Palace at Cuddesdon.  A Silver Chalice & Paten were given by Harry Home (1949–55) in 1953 on the Jubilee of his Ordination. Ieuan Williams (1971–80), who from 1976 was also Curate-in-charge of Britwell Salome & Ewelme, became the last resident Rector of Brightwell Baldwin, moving to Ewelme Rectory House in 1979.  In the early 21st century Church Services were held on most Sundays, regularly accompanied by a Choir, and the Bells were rung for Services at least twice a month.


Church Architecture
For a small rural Parish Brightwell has a relatively substantial church, in part reflecting Patronage by successive Resident lords. The earliest dateable Fabric is 13th-century (presumably replacing an earlier structure), but the present building dates primarily from the 14th & 15th centuries, comprising Chancel with North Chapel, 4-Bay Nave with North & South Aisles and South Porch, and 3-Stage West Tower. The whole is constructed of coursed limestone rubble with Ashlar Dressings & Tiled Roofs, and was only lightly restored in the 19th & 20th centuries.

Church from the SE in the c.1950, with a gathering of the South Oxfordshire Hunt

The 13th-century Church was Aisleless with a West Tower. Nothing survives of the 13th-century Nave, but the Chancel retains a deeply-splayed 13th-century Lancet (now partly blocked) in the North Wall, while the Southside of the Tower has a semi-circular Stair Turret of similar date.  Both Nave & Chancel were rebuilt in the Decorated Style in the early 14th century when the Aisles and a South Porch (rebuilt in 1905) were added. Surviving 14th-century features include the Octagonal Font, a Priests Door on the Chancel’s Southside, and an Aumbry & 2 trefoil-headed Piscina recesses, one of the latter in the South Aisle.  Several windows retain 14th-century painted Glass, including a Virgin Annunciate (moved from the Chancel’s East window to the South Aisle in 1868), and a Soul-Weighing in the North Chapel, depicting Saints Peter & Paul above.

The West Tower was raised to 2 (or possibly 3) Stages in the 15th century when it probably acquired the Ring of 3 Bells recorded in 1553. The 15th-century Tenor (cast at Wokingham) survives.  A square-headed window containing 15th-century glass, depicting the Annunciation, was inserted into the Chancel’s South-West corner probably by the newly arrived Cottesmore’s: the Judge Sir John Cottesmore (d.1439) is buried in the Chancel close by, under a Monumental Brass depicting him and his wife Amice and their 18 children. A 2nd Brass on the north wall contains a long Latin verse inscription lauding Cottesmore’s concern for Justice and the Rights of the Church.  The Family may have also been responsible for the 15th-century North Chapel, which was perhaps the Chapel of St Anne in which Sir John Cottesmore requested burial in 1510.  Access from Chapel to Chancel was through a Doorway at the East end and a (now blocked) Arch at the West, where an adjacent Squint gave sight of the High Altar.  The Chapel’s own former Altar is marked by a Piscina in the South-East corner, while the 3-light East window contains an inserted panel of early 15th-century Glass depicting Christ Crucified between the Virgin & St John the Evangelist. 16th-century additions include the Tomb Chests of John Carleton (d.1551) and his son Anthony (d.1576), and in 1630 the Chapel contained the Pew of the ‘Mistress of Brightwell‘, said then to be ‘in decay‘ and ‘too much out of hearing‘.

Lords’ Memorials Brightwell Baldwin Church. Left: Brass to Sir John Cottesmore(d. 1439), wife Amice, & their 18 children. Right: Stone Family Memorial, erected c.1670 by John Stone (d.1704)

Two Bells were recast in 1637, and in the late 17th century the North Chapel was divided into 2 rooms, creating a Vestry on the East and a Mortuary Chapel for the Stone Family on the West, accessed from the North Aisle. A large Baroque Monument of black & white Marble against the Chapel’s East Wall was installed c.1670 by John Stone (d.1704), initially in Memory of his father & grandfather, whose Memorials in London were destroyed in the Great Fire. Three (originally 4) white flaming Urns are set in black niches, above which is a Cornice with crests and a Skull set against a painted background of Smoke & Flames. Other Monuments, Inscriptions, & Hatchments to members of the Stone, Lowndes Stone, Lowe & Lowndes-Stone-Norton families were added subsequently, the most recent (in 1994) in Memory of Fletcher William Lowndes-Stone-Norton (d.1983).

The Towers 3rd Stage was added or rebuilt during the 18th century, featuring Crenellations, Blind Lunettes, & Crocketed Pinnacles. Otherwise most later building work was restorative. The Chancel was restored in 1868 to designs by John West Hugall of Sutton Courtenay (Berks): its South wall was rebuilt, the East window restored, and the Roof renewed, while the Floor was raised and a new Communion Table, Altar Rails, Stone Reredos, & Seating were provided.  Restoration of the Nave & Aisles followed in 1895 to designs by S S Stallwood of Reading (Berks), at a cost of £1,200. The South Aisle was raised & re-roofed, its windows restored & reglazed, and the South Door replaced, retaining its Medieval Lock.  Box Pews were mended & Benches replaced by new Oak Seats, a new Floor was laid (with some Medieval Floor Tiles reset near the Font), and the Hanoverian Royal Arms above the Chancel Arch were repainted and the date 1895 being added.  Later work to Smallwood’s designs included the erection of an Oak Chancel Screen in 1903 (replacing an irreparable Medieval original), and rebuilding of the South Porch in 1905 as an exact replica of the Medieval original, in memory of Richard du Cane (d.1904), Estate Manager to the Brightwell Estate.  Stallwood also oversaw the restoration of the West Tower in 1911, when a Clock was installed and the Ring was increased to 6.  A 16th-century Sanctus Bell was retained, and all 7 Bells were rehung in 2001.

Charities & Poor Relief
By 1587 the Parish housed Paupers in at least 2 Church Houses, of which one (as in 1708) was probably at Upperton. Several Parishioners made one-off bequests of Money or Grain to the Poor in the 16th & 17th centuries and in the 17th some endowed Charities. The Yeoman Robert Taylor (d.1603) left £8 Stock for an Annual distribution, which was increased by William Parsons (£3 in 1619), Edmund Lane (£6 in 1629), and Richard Deane (£9 in 1661).  The Rector (& Bishop of Oxford) William Paul (d.1664) left £20 to be invested in lands to support an annual distribution to 9 Paupers from the Parish on St Pauls day (25th January), and his wife Rachel added a further £20.  In the 1660s John Pamplin of Cadwell and Ralph Spyer respectively donated £5 & 20s for investment in Lands for the Poor, while the Squire John Stone gave £10 for Investment in Lands to support Church Repair. 

In 1668 all those donations (totalling £82) were used to buy 10a of land in Benson, which was vested in a body of 6 Trustees. The annual income of 825. was divided into 3 parts: 40s for the St Paul’s day distribution, 10s for Church Repairs, & 32s for general distribution to the Poor.  The pattern continued for much of the 18th century, although in the 1730s the Vestry briefly divided the income equally between Church & Poor.  By the 1820s the Church’s share of the Annual Income (then £10) remained 10s, but 2/3rds of the residue was given by the Rector ‘to objects of his selection‘, whilst the remaining 3rd was distributed to the Poor at the Churchwardens’ discretion.  A Scheme of 1902 set the Church’s share at 10/82nd parts, the residue going to the Poor.  Nineteen Parishioners received Coal that year, and in 1949 6 residents were each given 185 4d,  the Charity eventually lapsing following the death of the Rector Martin Garner in 2008.

William Paul’s sons Christopher & James left between them a further £30, James stipulating that profits from his share should be given to 10 Church-going Paupers on St James’s day (25th July).  In 1671 the gifts were combined with Paul Family Charities in St Giles’s Parish, Oxford, and used to buy Land in Eynsham: Brightwell Baldwin’s share of the income was 3/27th parts, which on average produced 17s 6d a year in the 18th century.  The Parish’s share rose during the 19th century to almost £7, and in 1920 (when it was again under £2) 6 Parishioners received Coal from the Charity.  The Eynsham Land was sold in 1931.

Some 15a of Common at The Grove was set aside for the Poor to cut furze under a Manor Court Ruling in 1789.  Following its Inclosure in 1802 the Inclosure Commissioners charged the Owner (William Lowndes Stone) with an annual £10 payment to the Rector & Churchwardens, to be distributed in Fuel.  In 1949 the Charity provided Coal for 24 Parishioners but lapsed in 2000.

The Parish Poor Rate was levied at 1s in the Pound in 1761 and in the period 1777–85 the cost of Poor Relief rose from £139 to £179, more than doubling to £480 in 1803.  By then 105 people including 60 children were being helped permanently and 4 occasionally, almost half the Population.  Expenditure reached £679 in 1813 when 39 people received permanent & 8 occasional relief, falling back to nearer £400 in most years over the following 2 decades.  In 1835, when Brightwell Baldwin joined the newly-formed Henley Poor Law Union, some of the Poor were set to work digging gravel.

In 1908 Church House at Upperton (designed by Spencer Slingsby Stallwood 1844-1922) was built to replace an existing Church House which had fallen into disrepair.  The £370 cost was met by the Rector Hilgrove Coxe, who retained the right to nominate the Tenant and to take the Rent during his incumbency It was subsequently Let by the Churchwardens, and still belonged to the Church in 2013.

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