Manors & Estates
In 1086 Chalgrove Manor was assessed at 10 hides and the smaller Rofford Manor at 3 hides. The former, repeatedly divided by the Crown to reward Royal Supporters, was partitioned in 1233 between the Barentin & Plessis Families, creating 2 separate Manors, and in the 1480s Barentin’s and a 3rd of the Plessis Manor (called Argentein’s) were acquired by Magdalen College, Oxford. Another 3rd (called St Clares) was given to Lincoln College, Oxford, in 1507, while the remaining portion (Ellesfield’s), including the present-day Chalgrove Manor, descended from 1594 with an Ancient Freehold centred on Langley Hall. Magdalen’s Estate was sold in 1942 when it covered 1,104a, & Lincoln’s (212a) in 1950–1. The Langley (formerly Langehull) Estate then covered 185a, the Parish’s remaining Land being divided among numerous Freeholders. From the Middle Ages to the 20thC Chalgrove Manor also included Gangsdown (in Nuffield) & Berrick Salome, which were in the same Ownership by 1086.
Rofford remained an Independent Manor until the 20thC, although by 1925 the Liberty as a whole was divided amongst 3 separate Estates totalling 570 acres. Chalgrove Airfield, constructed in 1943, took in 700a from several Farms & Estates and remained in State Ownership in 2015.
Descent to 1233
In 1066 Chalgrove was held freely by Thorkil, and in 1086 (as part of the Honour of Wallingford) by Miles Crispin (d.1107), who also held Berrick Salome & Gangsdown. During the earlier 12th century it was probably held by members of the Boterel Family as Constables of Wallingford Castle, passing in 1154 to Peter Boterel (d.1165). Thereafter it Escheated to the Crown, which periodically assigned parts to Royal Servants. Around 1190 Prince John Granted it to Hugh de Malaunay (d.1221) as 2 Knight’s Fees, including Gangsdown, Berrick, & Rycote (in Great Haseley). It reverted to the Crown c.1210 but was restored in 1212, and passed briefly to Malaunay’s son Peter. Another 25 Librates were held in 1212 by Thomas Keret.
In 1224 the Crown Granted ½ the Manor to Hugh Despenser & ½ to Hugh de Plessis, Drew Barentin, & Nicholas Boterel. It was re-Granted to Peter de Malaunay in 1226 and to Theobald Crespin in 1228 but returned to the Crown in 1229 when the entire Manor was divided amongst Hugh de Plessis, John de Plessis, & Drew Barentin. Hugh’s 3rd was given on his death in 1231 to William de Huntercombe, who was deprived in 1233. The same year the whole was Partitioned between John de Plessis & Drew Barentin, creating 2 separate Manors each reckoned at a Knights Fee.
The Divided Manors, 1233–c.1600
Barentin’s Manor Drew Barentin (d.1264 or 1265) was succeeded by his son (or possibly nephew) William Barentin (d.1290 or 1291). The Manor then passed in the direct male line to Drew (d.1329), Thomas (d.c.1364), Thomas (d.1400), Reynold (d.1441), Drew (d.1453), & John Barentin (d.1474). John’s son John was beset by financial difficulties, and in 1485 sold the Manor to Thomas Danvers on behalf of William Waynflete, Bishop of Winchester, who used it to endow Magdalen College, Oxford.
Plessis’s & Related Manors
John de Plessis (d.1263), 7th Earl of Warwick, was succeeded by his son Hugh, who in 1279 gave the Manor to his daughter Margaret. She married the Royal Justice Sir William de Bereford (d.1326), Lord of neighbouring Brightwell Baldwin, and was succeeded by their son Edmund de Bereford (d.1354) and by Edmund’s illegitimate son Sir John (d. c.1356). Following John’s death the Manor was divided among Edmund’s 3 sisters Agnes, Margaret, & Joan, and John’s illegitimate brother Baldwin (d.1405).
Agnes (d.1375) married John Argentein, their share passing to their son John (d.1382) and to John’s illegitimate son William (d.1419). He was succeeded by his grandson John Argentein (d.1420) and granddaughters Joan & Elizabeth, the latter inheriting her sister’s portion in 1429. In 1455 Elizabeth’s son John Alington sold the Manor to Richard Quatremain and others, who in 1459 sold it to John Barentin (d.1474). In 1483 it passed to Richard Harcourt (d.1486), whose grandson Miles sold it in 1487–8 to Thomas Danvers on behalf of Magdalen College.
Margaret’s share (known later as St Clare’s) passed from her and her husband James Audley to their sons William (d.1365) & Thomas (d.1372), then to Thomas’s son James (who died young) & daughter Elizabeth. Later it was held by Philip St Clare (d.1408), the elder James’s great-grandson. Philip’s son John (d.1418), a Minor, was succeeded by his brother Thomas St Clare (d.1435) and by Thomas’s 3 daughters, the share passing by marriage to Richard Harcourt. In 1496 Miles Harcourt sold it to Edmund Hampden of Woodstock, who in 1506 sold it to the Bishop of Lincoln, and the following year it was given to Lincoln College, Oxford.
Joan’s share passed from her & her husband Gilbert de Ellesfield to William de Ellesfield (d.1398), who also held Baldwin de Bereford’s portion. Their combined Estate, which on later evidence included the Plessis Manor House, passed to Williams daughter & granddaughter, ½ being held by Joan wife of Thomas Loundres, and ½ by Joan wife of John Hore. The 2 parts seem, however, to have been reunited by John’s son Gilbert Hore (d.1453) and presumably descended to Gilbert’s son John (d.1471) and granddaughter Edith, who married Rowland Pudsey. The Manor remained in the Pudsey Family until 1594 when it was sold to Benedict Winchcombe of Noke. Thereafter it descended with Winchcombe’s Langehull or Langley Estate, passing to the Halls and in the 18thC to the Blounts.
Chalgrove Manor Houses
Reconstruction of Barentin’s Manor House in the late 14thC, looking North. Hall & Cross Wing lie North of the Main Courtyard, with an adjoining 3-Bay Chapel & Kitchen to their right, and Farm Buildings in the foreground.
Barentin’s (Harding’s Field)
Until the Manor’s Partition in 1233 there was only one manor house, situated North-West of the Church in present-day Harding’s Field. Excavation revealed traces of late 12th or early 13thC buildings, associated possibly with Hugh de Malaunay and assigned later to the Despenser & Huntercombe shares of the Manor. Drew Barentin constructed a more extensive Moated complex probably c.1255, which included a 3-Bay Stone-built Hall, a Bakehouse or Brewhouse, and a Dovecot. Re-used Voussoirs from a high-quality 12th-century doorway came possibly from the earlier buildings. In the early 14thC (when Chalgrove was the Barentins‘ principal mainland Seat) the house was remodelled and extended to provide additional services & accommodation, creating an L-plan. Other domestic buildings (possibly including a detached Kitchen & Bread Oven) occupied the North side of a central Courtyard, to the South of which lay a large Stable Block & Barn. The House was further extended in the late 14thC by the probable addition of a Chapel & new Kitchen, while new Buildings on the Courtyards Southside may have included a cattle byre & cart house. In the mid-15thC the Barentins moved to Haseley Court (in Little Haseley) and abandoned the Chalgrove House, which was probably largely demolished in the 1480s.
Chalgrove Manor (Plessis’s)
Manor Farm. Manor House, now House. Early 15thC, left Wing rebuilt c.1500: 16thC rear extensions. Large Timber-framing: tension braced & jettied Gable ends of side Wings, with Close Studding to left, & Crown Post to right. Gabled old tile roof; 16thC brick Ridge Stack & right end Stack of Stone finished in Brick. Hall and flanking Wings. 2-Storeys; 4-window Range of 1:2:1 fenestration. 20thC door to right of Hall set in largely restored moulded frame (original |Jamb to left); 20thC windows. 16thC 2-Storey rear Ranges, of single-Bay to left and 2-Bays to right: of square Timber-framing with brick infill. Mid-19thC rear outshut.
Interior: right Service wing has moulded quartered Beams and open Fireplace in front room, and 4-Bay arch-braced Collar-Truss Roof above with concave pointed Windbraces & stop-chamfered clasped Purlins; chamfered door frame within and garderobe shute behind 3rd truss from Front. Early 15thC Hall has a finely detailed 5-Bay Collar-Truss Roof with arch braces sprung from beneath wall plate. 2-pairs of similar Windbraces and moulded Butt Purlins to each Bay; Central Bay has seating for Smoke Louvre. Screens passage bordered by Timber-framed wall with chamfered door frame to right and early 15thC Screens to left, which has moulded frame and 5-Bays of grooved planks divided by miniature Buttresses: early 15thC moulded rear doorway with carved spandrels. Late 16thC floor and inserted Ridge Stack: full set of chamfered & stopped Beams and joists and Open Fireplace on Ground Floor; 1st-Floor has late 16thC moulded Stone Fireplace and central Timber-framed Partition with painted grey studding. Left Parlour Wing: quartered roll-moulded Beams with cusped Joists, late 16thC moulded Beams with cusped Joists, late 16thC moulded Stone Fireplace and late 17thC painted grained panels in Front room similar Fireplace and late 16thC inserted ceiling above: Collar-truss of c.1500 with curved Windbraces and chamfered tie Beam. Queen-post Truss in 16thC rear extension. 17thC ribbed doors around house. The right Wing probably predates the similar Hall Range: the design of the Roof has close links with the Manor House at Ewelme. The 1st Manor House on the Site was built for John de Plessis (Earl of Warwick) in 1232-40.
OS Map 1919 Sth Oxon XLVI.8 (Chalgrove)
The existing Chalgrove Manor off Mill Lane occupies the Site of the Plessis-Bereford Manor House. John de Plessis probably began building there c.1240 when he received 30 tree trunks from the King, with further Grants following in the 1240s–50s. By 1336 the Site, surrounded by a Moat, covered over an acre, encompassing a Hall, Byre, Stable, 3 Barns, and a Granary. Probable survivals include a 13thC Oak Screen and a Stone window-mullion re-used in the present House unless they were imported from the Barentin Site or elsewhere. Certainly, the House appears to have been at least partly Stone-built.
From the mid-15thC, the House was replaced in Stages, creating a Timber-framed successor comprising a Hall, 2 Jettied & Gabled Cross-Wings, and a 2-Storeyed Porch. The North Wing (tree-ring dated to 1444–68) was built 1st, presumably by the Hores or a Lessee, and has a braced Collar-Beam Roof, finely moulded Beams, & expensive close-studding. Probably it served as a Parlour with a Solar (or Chapel) above. The Hall (built c.1488) was originally open to a 5-Bay arched Collar-Beam Roof of exceptional quality, associated possibly with the Oxford Master Mason William Orchard, and was lit by a large Oriel window. The South Wing was added in similarly lavish style c.1503–05, and the North-Wing Parlour became a Buttery. During the 16thC, the House and Services were extended to the Rear and the Hall was ceiled over, Brick Chimneys replacing its former open Hearth & Louvre, while the South Wing’s Roof was raised to create an Attic Room. A 16thC Timber-framed Gatehouse (part of a continuous line of Buildings fronting the Street) survived until the 1970s.
The House’s 16th & 17thC occupants are not known, but in 1662 it was probably one of several Taxed on 6 hearths, occupied by members of the White, Child, Quatremain, & Wiggin Families. Such Lessees were perhaps responsible for painted panels of c.1680 in the South Wing, and for other 17thC improvements. Later modifications included removal of the Porch, and in the 19th century the East-facing Front was rendered and new windows inserted. The House’s present appearance reflects work since 1977 by Paul & Rachel Jacques, who removed the render and restored the Timber-framing & Fenestration. Restoration of the North & South Fronts revealed evidence of 15th & 16thC Garderobes, while the West-facing rear wall, largely of red & blue Victorian Brick, overlooks a 16ft-deep Well.
The Manors From 1900
Magdalen College retained the united Barentin’s & Argentein’s Manors until the 20th century and from the 19th extended its Holdings. In 1900 it bought the Langley Estate & Chalgrove Manor Farm (the former Ellesfield portion) from the executors of G R Blount, and in 1901 added the former Rectory Estate (Houndswell Farm, 78a). Langley and some other property was sold in 1922, and in 1942 the College’s remaining Estate (still 1,104a) was sold to former Tenants including S C Franklin (d.1948) and P H Fleming, who bought Manor Farm. Franklin’s Estate (728a) was sold in 1949 to R N Richmond-Watson of Brightwell Baldwin, while Manor Farm passed in 1970 to Roy Brown. In 1977 he sold the House (Chalgrove Manor) to Paul & Rachel Jacques, who bought the Lordship from Magdalen College in 1995. Lincoln College sold its Estate to the Air Ministry and others in 1950/1, construction of Chalgrove Airfield in 1943 having already taken up parts of both the Lincoln & former Magdalen Estates.
In 1086 Rofford was held of the King by Saswold and was pledged to Robert d’Oilly. By the late 12thC it belonged to Robert of Wheatfield, whose widow Isabella received Dower there in 1196, and whose brother Henry of Wheatfield (d.1226) later held it of the d’Oilly Barony as ½ Knight’s Fee. Henry was succeeded by his son Elias (Lord in 1243) and grandson Henry (d. by 1264), whose son Elias sold 2/3rds and reversion of the remaining 3rd to John de St Valery in 1275. John’s son Richard was Lord in 1279 but sold the reversion to Hugh Despenser in 1309, when the Life Tenant was Philip de Hoyville.
Hoyville’s wife Mary was taxed there in 1327, but in 1316 Rofford was held with Chalgrove by Drew Barentin & William de Bereford. By 1346 Oliver de Bohun held it of Hugh Plessis (d.1350), succeeded by Hugh Plessis (d.1363) and by Margaret de Warbelton (d.1365), who held it of the d’Oilly Fee with reversion to the Despenser’s. Instead, the Manor reverted to the Crown, and in 1367 was Granted to the King’s Yeoman John of Beverley. In 1377 it was bought by John James (d.1396) of Wallingford, whose son Robert sold it in 1408 to his brother-in-law Reynold Barentin (d.1441) of Chalgrove. Thomas Danvers acquired it with Chalgrove in 1485 and, following an abortive sale to Magdalen College, sold it in 1498 to Henry Colet (d.1505). From him, it passed to William Barentin (d.1549) of Little Haseley
In 1540 Barentin sold Rofford to John Frost. It seems later to have been acquired by Sir Christopher Hatton, passing with Warpsgrove to the Molynses & Simeons and (probably) to Sir Robert Dormer in 1631. Thereafter the Descent is unclear, but by the early 18thC the Owner was Anthony Collett of Bourton-on-the-Water (Glos), and in 1753 the Manor was sold by Daniel Holworthy to Charles Greenwood. He sold it in 1799 (with c.210a) to Nathaniel Ludbrook, who in 1802 sold to the Graziers Christopher & Thomas Reeves. William Cox of Dorchester followed in 1840, and at Inclosure in 1843 owned 326 acres. His successor Thomas Cox Mortgaged the Estate, which in 1868 was sold to C R Powys; following additions he held 393a in the Liberty’s Eastern part and in adjoining Chalgrove, other Landowners in 1910 including the Rev Hilgrove Cox (147a) & Great Haseley’s Tayler-Blackall Charity (28a). Powys’s Tenant C H Rowles bought the Manor in 1915 and was succeeded by B C Rowles before 1943 when most of the land was Requisitioned (and later Purchased) for Chalgrove Airfield. In 2013 the principal remaining Landowner was Jeremy Mogford.
Rofford Manor House
An undocumented Manor House possibly existed in the Middle Ages. The present Rofford Manor is, however, a late 17th-century Farmhouse extended c.1730–40, and known formerly as Greenings. By 1738 it belonged to the Colletts, who may have installed its early 18thC moulded Fireplaces, elaborate Panelling, and other fittings. It Descended with the Estate until 1957 when the Air Ministry sold it to W E Hazell of Little Haseley, but by the early 1980s it was largely derelict until bought by Jeremy Mogford, a Managing Director, and his wife Hilary. They restored it and created a celebrated Garden. The House itself is of coursed Limestone rubble with Ashlar Quoins, a Gabled tiled Toof, and a main Front of 4 irregular Bays, its 2-Storeys & Attics lit by 18th & 19thC casements & sashes.
Large numbers of Freeholds developed between the 11th & 13thCs, some arising, perhaps, from the Crowns repeated divisions of Chalgrove Manor over the period. The most important included the Langehull & Quatremain Estates, though many were less stable and cannot be traced beyond the Middle Ages. Part of the Langehull Estate was held from Wallingford Priory, the Parish’s largest Ecclesiastical Landholder, while smaller holdings belonged to the Knights Templar and the Hospital of St John the Baptist in Oxford. Several other Freeholds continued beyond the Middle Ages, and at Inclosure in 1843 c.30 Landowners were allotted a total of 620 acres. The Rectory Estate (held by Thame Abbey from 1319 and later by Christ Church, Oxford) then comprised c.60 acres.
The Langehull (later Langley) Estate
Adam de Langehull was a prominent Freeholder by the early 13thC when he Granted Land to the Knights Templar, and in 1279 his descendant Thomas son of John de Langehull held 2 Yardlands from William Barentin and 6 from the Prior of Wallingford, besides having his own Tenants. In 1327 Robert de Langehull was Chalgrove’s 5th highest Taxpayer (paying 7s 8d), while Simon de Langehull served with the Black Prince in Gascony in 1356. Thomas de Langehull paid Poll Tax in 1377.
The Wallingford Priory Land was subsequently held by Edward Woodward (d.1496) and his son Thomas, who retained it in 1536 when it was called Bossynges Place alias Langhulles. It passed later to Henry Bradshaw (d.1553) of Noke, Chief Baron of the Exchequer, to Bradshaw’s son-in-law Thomas Winchcombe (Owner in 1568–71), and by 1576 to Thomas’s son Benedict (d.1623), who added the Ellesfields‘ share of the Plessis Manor and was succeeded by his sister Mary Hall. By 1571 the Estate was called Langhull Manor. Ownership remained with the Hall’s until at least the 1680s, although for much of the 17thC both House & Land were let to the Quatremains. The Halls’ Noke Estates were largely sold in 1707, and by 1774 ‘Langley Hull‘ belonged to Joseph Blount, Esquire, remaining in the Blount Family until bought by Magdalen College (with Chalgrove Manor Farm) in 1900. The Estate was sold in 1922 to the Tenant George Nixey, whose family retained most of it in the early 21stC.
Mansion House (Langley Hall)
The Langehulls’ House (at Mill Lane) was rebuilt in the 16thC, and largely demolished in 1980. The 16thC House included several elaborately decorated rooms, among them a Hall, Great Parlour, Gallery, Chapel Chamber, & Spice Loft, and in 1662 it was probably Taxed on 7 hearths, the highest assessment in the Village. It was later remodelled with a stuccoed Georgian Façade of 4-Bays, retaining 2 mullioned windows at the side and an original Chimney with 2 diamond-shaped brick Shafts. A 17thC brick-built Lodge was erected possibly by the Quatremains while surviving Outbuildings include an 18thC Barn with a Queen-strut Roof.
In 1163–78 William Quatremain was granted 2 hides in Chalgrove by his relative Gilbert Foliot (Lord of Cuxham), to be held as ¼ Knights Fee. The Holding was divided in 1203 when ½ was granted to Hugh de Pageham and ½ to the Quatremains: by 1279 both parts were held as 1/8th Knights Fee, the Quatremain’s part under Geoffrey of Lewknor, who held from Merton College, Oxford, as Foliot’s successor. Merton remained Overlord until 1517 when it transferred its rights to Magdalen College, and in 1321 the Quatremains’ share comprised a Chief House, 4 Yardlands (84a), 6a of Meadow, 14a of Pasture, and 9s Rent. William Forthey (d.1487), who married the Quatremain heiress, performed Homage for the Estate in 1485, presumably ending the Family connection. Nonetheless, the Quatremains remained a prominent and exceptionally wealthy Family in the Parish until the 18thC.
Chalgrove’s valuable Rectory Estate was given to Thame Abbey in 1319, passing in 1542 (after the Abbeys suppression) to Oxford Cathedral, and in 1546 to Christ Church, Oxford. The size of the Medieval Glebe is uncertain: in 1341 only £4 13s 4d income came from Glebe and small Tithes (compared with £20 from Great Tithes), and the Estates 60–70a extent in the 18thC may partly represent later acquisitions. Shares in the Tithes belonged to Bec Abbey (£3 6s 8d in 1291) & Wallingford Castle (£2), both following 11th-century Grants by Miles Crispin (d.1107); some of the Bec Tithes belonged by 1428 to John (d.1435), Duke of Bedford and by 1476 all had passed to St Georges Chapel, Windsor. Thame Abbey latterly leased its Rectory Estate, in 1495 to the Vicar, and in 1534 (for 41 years) to Roger Quatremain. A few additional acres of Glebe lay in Berrick Salome, with whose Tithes they passed to the Vicar of Chalgrove in the later Middle Ages.
Christ Church continued to Lease both Land & Tithes, in 1554 for 41 years at £14 annually, and in the 17thC for 3 Lives or 21 years. Lessees were to repair the Chancel, give a fat Wether (castrated ram) or 135 4d at Audit, and pay part of the Rent in wheat & malt. An agreement over the division of the Parish’s Tithes was reached with the Dean & Canons of Windsor in 1561. In 1771 the Rectory Lands covered an estimated 60a in the Open-fields, valued at £35 17s a year, while the Tithes were worth £232. The Lessee in 1799 (at £80 a year) was John Hatt, based at Rectory (later Houndswell) Farm off Church Lane.
Following an abortive Sale in 1803 Christ Church continued to issue 21-year Leases and in 1813 the Farm (then 68½a) had a rental value of £120. Some buildings were in disrepair, and the Tenant considered the Tithes over-valued at £635. The Tithes were commuted in 1841 when Christ Church was awarded an annual rent-charge of £435, and St Georges Chapel, Windsor, £170 for the former Bec Tithes; the Glebe was exchanged at Inclosure 2 years later for 3 Allotments totalling 59 acres. The Land (but not the Tithe-rent) was sold in 1877, passing in 1901 (as Houndswell Farm) to Magdalen College, which sold it with the Manor in 1942. The Farmhouse was demolished in the early 20thC.