Crowell Parish

Crowell (St Mary), a Parish, in the Union of Thame, Hundred of Lewknor, County of Oxford, 5-miles (East South East) from Tetsworth; containing 169 inhabitants. It is situated at the Foot of the Chiltern Hills and comprises 987 acres, of which ¾ are Arable & the remainder Woodland, with 62 acres of Common or Waste: the Soil on the Hill is Chalky and on the Lowlands Light.  The Living was a Rectory, valued in the King’s Books at £7-9s-d and in the Patronage of Baroness Wenman: the Tithes have been commuted for £240, and the Glebe consists of 9½-acres, with a Glebe House.  The Roman Iknield Street passes through the Parish

CrowellParish1839.gifCrowell is a small and a remarkably narrow Parish.  It stretches from the Lower Icknield Way, which forms its Northern Boundary, for 3-miles in a South-Easterly direction and is never more than ½-mile wide. The Northern part of the Parish lies in the plain to the North of the Icknield Way, but to the South, the ground rises precipitously to 800ft on the Top of the Chiltern Ridge and then Slopes gently down a Spur of the Chilterns until it regains the 400-ft Contour Line.  It comprises 996-acres and so far as is known its area has not changed since Anglo-Saxon times.  The Southern foot of the Parish now juts out into Buckinghamshire, its Eastern Boundary Southwards from Town Farm has always been the County Boundary, but its Southern Boundary, which follows Colliers Lane, has only coincided with the County Boundary since Stokenchurch was transferred to Buckinghamshire in 1896.   Except for about 100-acres of cultivated Land on the Ridge and another 100-acres which were sufficiently level for cultivation at the South-Eastern tip of the Parish, the Hill part of Crowell is thickly Wooded.  Crowell Hill Wood lies about 600ft up, and High Wood & Crowell Wood lie on the Ridge and the Southern slopes of the Parish.

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Richard Davis’s Map Of Oxfordshire 1797
Surveyed by a local man, Richard Davis of Lewknor and published in 1797. This large Map consists of 16 sheets at an impressively detailed scale of 1:31,680 or 2in to 1-mile. No more than 200 copies were ever made, the evidence is based on all sets of the Map having manuscript serial numbers – this Image is part of No.34.  Very few complete copies survive.  In terms of what the Map shows, a clear break has been made from the Saxton-led Traditional County Map, as here far more detail than previously is featured. Not only are County & Hundred Boundaries, Rivers & Streams, Towns & Villages, Parks & Woodland depicted, but here we have Roads, Tracks, Hedges, indeed every Field can be seen, and relief is beautifully represented by the use of hachuresDavis was also Topographer to His Majesty, George III.

Of the 3-Roads which once crossed the Parish from West to East only one, the Main Watlington-Princes Risborough Road is still in use. The other 2, the Icknield & Lower Icknield Way, were shown as Principal Roads on Davis’s Map of 1797 but were Grass Tracks by 1839.  They were declared Public Bridleways by the Inclosure Award of 1882 and were still so in 1958.  In 1797 there was a Road running Southwards from the Village up the Hill to the Farms on Crowell Hill, the later Town Farm & Crowell Hill Farm, and on to Sprigg’s Alley & Radnage, but since the early 19thC the Hill part of this Road has been no more than a Track.  The Houses on the Hill can now only be approached by the Road up Chinnor Hill.
OS Map 1897 Sth Oxon XLVIII.1 (Crowell; Radnage)
OS Map 1919 Sth Oxon XLVII.4 (Aston Rowant; Kingston Blount, Crowell)

The Watlington-Princes Risborough Railway opened in 1872 and was made a Branch Line of the Great Western in 1883.  The nearest Halt was at Kingston Blount.  British Railways closed the Line to Passengers in 1957. 

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The Village grew up at the source of the only Stream in the Parish, the Pleck, and spread along the old Road to Crowell Uphill and the Modern Highway from Watlington to Princes Risborough.  What is left of the old Village – there were only 22 Dwellings in the whole Parish in 1951, compared with 40 in 1851 – is dominated by the Flint-built Church which stands raised above the Road.  The ‘Catherine Wheel’, Public House facing a small Green, backs on to the Churchyard and behind it lies the Rectory.  The Smithy that was once here has gone.  The present Inn is a comparatively modern building, but Davis’s Map of 1797 marks a House on its Site & Martha Floyd was Licensed as an Innkeeper in 1753.   The Floyds, it may be noted, was one of the leading Village Families and its members were often Churchwardens.  The old Inn was probably destroyed in the Fire of 1859 when many of the half-Timbered Dwellings were burnt down and 8-families were made Homeless.

How the Inn got its name is not known, but it may have been a consequence of Crowell’s connection with the Stafford Family, which sometimes used a Burning Cartwheel for its Badge. At Richard III‘s Coronation, for instance, Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham, displayed it prominently.  The earliest documentary evidence, however, for Crowell’s Inn comes from the 18thC Vestry Minutes.  Meetings were habitually held there.  Behind the Inn, screened by the well-timbered Garden, is the Rectory, which was also rebuilt in the 19thC.  The earliest Record of the old Rectory is found in the mid-17thC Hearth Tax.  It was then a comparatively modest dwelling for which Tax on 3-Hearths was paid.  It was partly rebuilt by Edward Hind (Rector 1722–30) but was later Leased & by 1818 was said by the Rector to be uninhabitable.  In 1822 it was rebuilt at a cost of £760.  The present Regency Building of white-washed Brick is one of the few known Works of the Architect John Biago Rebecca of Leicester Square, London.  It is of 2-Storeys and has a Slate Roof with wide Flat Eaves.  The North-west Front was originally a symmetrical design of 3-Bays with projecting Centre and a wide-arched Doorway.  The Doorway has a radiating Fanlight & Side-lights. The small West Front has one Bay with French Casement Windows on the Ground Floor & the South-East Front has a large half-Octagonal Bay with a hipped Slate Roof.  Like so many Rectories of the Period, it has a fine Garden & View.  Close by are the Rectory Stable & Barn, the one constructed of Flint & Brick, the other of Weather-boarding.  Adjoining Cottages of Flint with Brick Dressings were built after the Fire of 1859.  The 19thC Cottages harmonise well with the older Buildings. They are symmetrically designed with 3 upper Casement Windows of 2 lights & 4 lower ones.  Each has a glazed central Doorway.  A row of 3 Cottages nearby are of the same date or possibly slightly earlier.  Chequer Brick was used for one and Flint with Brick Dressings & Quoins for the other 2. All 3 have a continuous Slate Roof. Four Farmhouses lay to the North of the Village Street in 1839, one of them converted into Tenements.  Of the 4, only Ellwood House with its Farm Buildings remains.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is elwoodhousesout.crowell.jpgEllwood House 
Farmhouse. Mid 16thC with later alterations. Red Brick with some random flared headers; old plain-tile Roof, Gableted to left; Brick lateral Stacks to the rear. 2-Storey, 6-Window Range.  Plank Doors with glazed tops to left & right of Centre. 3-light painted Stone ovolo-moulded Mullion Window with Hoodmould to right. 2-light painted Stone ovolo-moulded Mullion Windows to left and right of Centre. 4-light wood mullion & transom window to Centre. Two 2-light Casements with top-lights and segmental Brick heads to left.  2-light casement with top-light to 1st Floor left. 4-light wood mullion & transom window to 1st-Floor centre.  2-light painted Stone ovolo-moulded Mullion Window to right of Centre.  3-light painted Stone ovolo-moulded Mullion Window to right.
Right return: 2-Storey angled Bay of Brick with some random uncoursed Stone rubble to Ground-floor; plain-Tile hipped Roof. 20thC French window with side-lights to the Ground Floor. Round window to each side of Bay to 1st-Floor. Rear: Catslide Roof, with cross-Gable to the Right of roughcast Timber-framing.  To left and right of Centre are lateral Chimney Stacks with 3 diagonally-set flues.
Interior not inspected but reputed to have richly moulded ceiling Beams.
History: Thomas Ellwood, Quaker and friend of John Milton was born here in 1639. (VCH: Oxfordshire, Vol.8, 1964, p.82).

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Ellwood House is of considerable Historic interest.  It dates from the 16thC.  The back Elevation of the present Building is Gabled & Timber-framed with Brick-&-Flint infilling. There are 2 massive Chimney-Stacks each with 3 Diamond Shafts. The Front is built of Chequer Brick, but this probably conceals a Timber-Frame.  At the North-east end of the House, there is a 3-sided projection which once had Stone-mullioned Windows on the Ground Floor.  A moulded Dripstone extending around the 3 sides and an 18thC window of one light with moulded Stone Jambs remain. The other Side window has been blocked up and 19thC French Casement windows have replaced what was perhaps a 3rd Mullioned window of Stone.  The hipped Roof of old Tiles and the 3 Oriel windows date perhaps from the 17thC. The original House has been extended, probably in the 17thC at the Southwest end by 2-Bays and is flanked by a large Chimney with one Diamond Shaft. The Front Door Entrance has on one side a Stone-Mullioned Window of 3 lights with a moulded Dripstone above and 2 small 2-light windows with Stone mullions set just below the Ground-floor Ceiling level.  The Mullions of all the 16thC windows are moulded.  The principal rooms both on the Ground & 1st-Floors have finely moulded Ceiling Beams and carved Ornamentations at the intersection of the Main Beams.  The Outbuildings were all Ancient & Thatched; the Barns are L-shaped and made of Weatherboarding on a Flint Base, the Granary is Timber-framed with brick infilling and was raised on Stone Straddles.

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Elwood House – Rear – Note the Brick Infill & Timber-Framed Granary on Straddle Stones

Straddle Stones – The Base stones Taper towards the top with an overlapping Capstone placed above, making it almost impossible for a rodent to climb up and into the Hay or Grain stored above.  The Air could freely circulate beneath the stored Crops and this helped to keep it dry.  A wood Framework was placed onto the tops of the Stones, the Staddles being arranged in 2 or 3 rows, giving 15 or more Stones. The Hayricks, Tithe Barns, Granaries, etc. were built on top of this frame.
The House is named after the noted Quaker & Friend of John Milton, Thomas Ellwood, who was born there in 1639.  He recounts in his Autobiography how his father Walter Ellwood, JP, had a ‘Pretty Estate‘ in the ‘little Country Town‘ of Crowell, ‘in Lands, and more as I have heard in Monies‘. Walter Ellwood had acquired this Property through his mother, the Heiress of Walter Gray, both Rector & Patron of Crowell.  His son Thomas spent the formative years of his life at Crowell: he attended the Grammar School at Thame for a short time and was a frequent Visitor at Thame Park, the Home of his Godfather Lord Wenman.  The fact that the Tax was paid in the 1660s on 10-hearths suggests that his Crowell House may have been larger then than now.  The Ellwoods left the Village in about 1665, the year in which Thomas Ellwood had a momentous conversation with Milton.

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John Milton’s Cottage Chalfont St Giles in 1903

Ellwood says that after reading the manuscript of Paradise Lost, he asked the Poet what he had to say of ‘Paradise Found‘, and this Milton told him led to the writing of Paradise Regained. The Quakers faced fierce Persecution from the Constables & JP’s of Bucks.
John Ovey“in all which he was Deficient; for he was but a Fellmonger by Trade, accustomed to ride upon his pack of Skins, and had very little Estate, as little knowledge of the Law, and of but a mean Presence & Appearance to look on.”
From the Account given of John Ovey of Watlington by the Quaker, Thomas Ellwood, it appears that Ovey was a Fell-monger, (hides & skins) accustomed ‘to ride upon his pack of skins‘, and had always been profoundly Religious ‘from his childhood to his old age‘.  He was so well thought of for ‘his zeal & honesty‘ by the Parliamentarians that, though otherwise unsuited for Office, he was made a Justice of the Peace, a ‘Register’ of Births, Deaths & Marriages, and an Oxfordshire Commissioner for ejecting Scandalous Ministers.  Ellwood says that as a Justice of the Peace he had neither an Estate to defray the expenses of the Office, nor sufficient knowledge of the Law, nor a presence of mind or body ‘to keep Offenders in some awe‘.  He also relates how Ovey, an old friend of his, had read and ‘greatly esteemed‘ the Writings of Isaac Pennington, written before he became a Quaker, and how Ellwood had taken Ovey to visit Pennington at his house at Chalfont.  The 2-men walked there from Stokenchurch, ‘entertaining each other with grave & religious discourse‘. At Chalfont, Ovey met not only Pennington but George Whitehead and other Quakers from London & elsewhere, who had Assembled for a Monthly Meeting.

Such Meetings were Illegal and Ovey escaped Arrest by a party of Soldiers, who broke up the Meeting, by hiding while the Quakers made no attempt to avoid Arrest.  He was afterwards very ashamed of his ‘Cowardice‘.   Ellwood states that he could not remember whether Ovey was an Independent or a Baptist Teacher, and those who were Meeting at Ovey’s House in 1669 were reported to be ‘mixt of Presbyterians, Anabaptists etc.‘.  Elwood himself was then described by the Authorities as a ‘Notorious Ringleader‘.

The House was later occupied by Dr Richard Fellows, Professor of Physic at Oxford University and a friend of Thomas Delafield, the Antiquary & Vicar of Great Milton, who Records that Fellows died at Crowell where he Practised for some years.  His connection with this House is established by the fact that many of the hand-made Bottles for which he was noted have been dug up in the Garden.  In the 19thCEllwood House was 1st used as a Farmhouse and was then divided into Labourers’ Cottages until it was bought in 1876 by Joseph Hill of Kingston Blount.  He was a Member of a Family that had been living in the Village since 1767.  He restored the old House and left it to his son Joseph Hill, a well-known Farmer & Hunting man, who was still occupying it in 1958.

Manor Estate
In 1086 William Peverel, the Nottinghamshire Baron, who had only 2 Oxfordshire Estates, held one assessed at 10 hides in Crowell.  Before the Conquest, it had been held by Alwin, who was also Lord of Emmington.  In the 13thC the Manor was held for a Knight’s Fee,  but in the 14thC for a ½-Fee.  Crowell evidently went to Richard de Riviers (d.1107) on his marriage to Adelisa, William’s daughter, and descended with their heirs, the Earls of Devon.  Crowell is recorded in 1163 when a payment for it of 5s was made to the Exchequer by the Sheriff, presumably during the Minority of Baldwin, the 3rd Earl. 

In the early 13thC, Crowell was apparently given to Margaret FitzGerald as Dowry on her marriage to Baldwin de Riviers, son of the William de Riviers to whom the Earldom had reverted in 1193.  On Baldwin’s death in 1216 she was forced by King John to marry the notorious Fawkes de Breaute.  After his downfall, Crowell, stated to have belonged to the Lord of the Isle of Wight and Earl of Devon, was put in the Custody in 1224 of Waleran le Tyeys (Teutonicus), but was later returned to Margaret.  After Margaret’s death in 1252, her son Baldwin, Earl of Devon, having predeceased her, her grandson Baldwin succeeded to the Earldom.  The Overlordship of Crowell followed the Descent of the Earldom until at least 1375.  It was then stated in the Inquest on Elizabeth Courtenay, the Widow of Sir Hugh de Courtenay (d.1349), that it was to revert to her father-in-law, the Earl of Devon.  By 1376 it was held of the Mavtravers of the King as of Wallingford Honour and continued down to the 18thC to belong to the Honour and its successor Ewelme Honour.

Since the 13thCCrowell had been connected with the Honour because Lewknor Hundred had been Granted along with the Honour by Henry III to his brother Richard, Earl of Cornwall.  For this reason, therefore, Crowell is found paying £1 a year in 1255 to the Earl instead of to the King as before.  In 1305, when the Honour was in the King’s hands, he received £1-10d. from the Steward of the Honour for Crowell, since the Manor was in the Chiltern 4½ Hundred and paid its Taxes to the Steward of the Honour.

In 1255 Thomas de Bréauté, who also held Heyford Warren, was Tenant of the Manor. It is likely that he was the son of Margaret de Riviers by Fawkes de Bréauté and the Thomas de Bréauté who was Tenant in 1279 and died between 1284 & 1293 was possibly the grandson.  He evidently died childless and in 1293 Sir John de St. Helen, Lord of Long Wittenham (Berks), who had been Granted Crowell by the Overlord Isabel de Forz, Countess of Aumale & Devon, obtained Livery.  Thomas de Bréauté’s Widow Elizabeth received £5 a year in Dower from the Manor.  Sir John was succeeded in 1295 by his daughter Beatrice, the wife of Sir Giles de Braose of Buckingham, who held the Manor by the courtesy of England.  Sir Giles died in 1305;  his son and heir John succeeded to Buckingham Manor, but Crowell, which was his wife’s Inheritance, went to his daughter Lucy, a child of 7-yrs. The Custody of Crowell, therefore, fell to the King, who sold it to Walter of Aylesbury, a Royal Justice, for 100 Marks to be paid to the Merchants of the Spini of Florence.

In 1312 Lucy, then the wife of Robert Mautravers came of age and obtained possession of her mother’s Lands. Robert was a member of the Mautravers Family of Lytchett Matravers (Dors), perhaps a younger son of Sir John (d.1341),  and with him began the long connection between Crowell & Dorset Families.  He was alive in 1317, but dead by 1321, when his Widow received Licence to enfeoff their son John with the Advowson of the Church & various Lands in Crowell.  Lucy took as her 2nd husband John Pauleshott, and in 1333 they Conveyed the Manor to Robert Syfrewast of Hook (Dors) and his wife Joan, as part of the Marriage Settlement of their daughter Elizabeth to Lucy’s son John Mautravers.  In 1342 the Syfrewasts settled Crowell on Elizabeth & John Mautravers.  John Pauleshott was reported, perhaps mistakenly, to hold a ½-Fee in Crowell in 1346; the Manor was not included among his possessions at his death in 1354.  By this time John Mautravers, who apparently lived at Crowell, was dead, and his son John was a child of 10 in the Custody of the Prince of Wales.  This John, who inherited Hook from his mother, married a Somerset heiress, Elizabeth d’Aumarle, and became a prominent Dorset Knight.  His Widow was given possession of Crowell on his death in 1386.

John Mautravers left as his heirs 2 daughters, Maud the wife of Peter de la Mare of Offley (Herts), and Elizabeth, aged 8.  By 1399 his Widow Elizabeth had taken as her 2nd husband Sir Humphrey Stafford (d.1413) of Southwick in North Bradley (Wilts), father of John Stafford, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Sir Humphrey’s eldest son, another Humphrey, was married to John Mautravers’s daughter Elizabeth. By a Settlement made in that year, the elder Sir Humphrey and his wife Granted their Right in half of Crowell to the younger Sir Humphrey and his wife.  Elizabeth’s sister Maud, who had married as her 2nd husband Sir John de Dinham, a Devon Knight, already held the other half.  Maud died in 1402 without children and her half of the Manor reverted to her sister Elizabeth.  Elizabeth died in about 1426 and her husband, the younger Sir Humphrey Stafford, known as ‘of the silver hand‘ perhaps he used an Artificial Arm after losing his own in a Quarrel, died in 1442.  Their heir was their granddaughter Avice, daughter of their eldest son Richard, and the wife of James Butler, Earl of Ormond & Wiltshire (d.1461).  Avice died without children in 1457 and Crowell was inherited by another Humphrey Stafford, the son of Richard’s younger brother John.  He, too, died childless in 1461.  His heir was his cousin Humphrey, son of William, the youngest brother of Richard & John. This Humphrey was born in 1439, Knighted by Edward IV on the Field of Towton, and Executed in 1469 for Rebellion only a few months after being created Earl of Devon.  On his death, his large Estates were split up between the 3 daughters of his father’s sister Alice and they were at once allowed to take possession of his Lands.  Very little is known of the Manor at this time, but it would seem that it may have been years before a final Division was made, for the Presentations to Crowell Church in 1472 & 1484 were by a group of Feoffees headed by William of Waynflete, Bishop of Winchester.  Crowell was eventually allotted to Eleanor, Alice Stafford’s daughter by her 2nd husband Walter Talboys.  She was the wife of Thomas Strangeways (d.1484), who had settled in Dorset, and Crowell descended from them to their son Henry (d.1504) and then to his son Giles, who in 1541 sold it to Sir John Williams, later Lord Williams of Thame.  By his Will Lord Williams (d.1559) devised a life interest in Crowell, Lewknor, and other neighbouring Manors to his 2nd wife Margery,  who in 1560 married Sir William Drury (d.1579), one of Elizabeth I’s trusted Agents in Scotland & Ireland.  Her 3rd husband was James Croft, a younger son of Sir James Croft, Controller of Elizabeth I’s Household.  However, in 1576 she and Drury appear to have alienated Crowell to Ralph Skydmore of Burnham (Bucks).

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Sir Henry Norreys

Lord Williams’s heirs were his 2 daughters by his 1st wife Elizabeth: Isabella, wife of Sir Richard Wenman, Ancestress of the Wenmans of Thame Park, and Margaret, Elizabeth I’sown black crow‘ and wife of Sir Henry (later Baron) Norreys of Rycote.  Crowell was to be divided between them.  The Norreys half of the Manor, which consisted probably of about 400 acres,  descended, after the death of Lord Norreys in 1601 with Albury, Beckley, and a number of other Oxfordshire Manors, to the Earls of Abingdon,  who held it until the late 19thC.  It was bought in about 1880 by Joseph Hill of Kingston Blount.  In 1900 he was succeeded by his son Henry Joseph Hill,  who lived at Ellwood House and was the Principal Landowner in the Parish.  Manorial Rights no longer existed.

On Sir Richard Wenman’s death in 1572 the Wenman half of Crowell was Settled on Isabella as her Dower.  She lived at Thame Park with her 2nd husband, Richard Huddleston.  Her half of the Manor is mentioned for the last time in a Fine of 1576.  It is possible that some of the Manor Lands, like the Wenman half of the Advowson, were Mortgaged or Sold at this Period.  However, the fact that the Wenmans bought back the whole Advowson by the end of the 17thC indicates an Interest in Crowell, and in the late 18th & in the 19thCs the Family had an Estate there and were called Lords of the Manor.  In 1842 Lady Wenman held about 200-acres of Land; but in the early 20thC the Wykeham-Musgraves held the Estate and by 1911 it had apparently been Sold to the Clerke Browns of Kingston Blount.  In 1935 Mrs Clerke Brown was called Lady of the Manor. AnthropicFarmUnits

Economic & Social History
There is no evidence for the Occupation of Crowell before the coming of the Anglo-Saxons, and the descriptive character of its name, usually considered a sign of comparatively late Settlement, suggests that they settled there at a later Period than at the neighbouring Emmington. Crowell, meaning Crows’ Spring or Stream, lies at the source of a feeder of the River Thame, at the 1st sign of water below the Northern Slopes of the Chiltern Ridge.  Before the Conquest it had been held freely with Emmington.  The high assessment of 10 hides is in marked contrast to the small amount of Arable land recorded. Only 2 Furlongs of Woodland were actually mentioned, but there is likely to have been more Beechwood than that on the Hills.  There was said to be land for 5 Ploughs, though the Demesne Farm had 2 Plough Teams worked by 4 Serfs and 15 Villeins (villani) and 5 Bordars possessed another 7, making a total of 9.  The value of the Estate had risen from £6 to £7 since the Conquest, and the fact that it had risen to £10 by 1255  suggests that much of the available land was still uncultivated at the time of Domesday.  If the Virgate then contained 18 acres as later, there may have been only about 360 acres of Arable in 1086. Twelve acres of Meadow were also recorded.  By 1279, however, it seems as if all the outlying land was under the plough, for some 756 Arable field acres were then held in Demesne or by Tenants.  As in so many other Oxfordshire Villages, it is probable that at some date after 1086, perhaps early in the 12thC, much new land was cleared on the Ridge, on its Northern and Southern slopes, and at the Southeastern tip of the Parish towards Bennet End. The Map suggests that the cultivation of land on the northern slopes was merely an enlargement of the original Field system and may have marked the beginning of a change from a 2 to a 3-Field system. The fields on the Ridge itself may also have been attached to Crowell Village rather than to any independent Settlement: in 1839 certainly each Farmer who had a share in the Open fields in the Plain had some of the Inclosed Lands on the Hill, but on the other hand the name ‘TownsFarm suggests the existence of former habitations.  It is likely that there was once a Hamlet on the Southern Boundary of the Parish; the fields there seem to have been laid out in strips and not to have originated as Inclosures in the Woodland. As late as 1844 this land was described as ‘Common Field Land‘, and field names (Great Lob, Little Lob, Great & Little Berrylands), as well as the way in which the Owners held alternate long strips of land there, indicate the former existence of Open fields.

The Jurors in 1279 reported that the Demesne consisted of 12 Virgates and that the Lord’s 12 Villein Virgaters and 7 half-Virgaters held 7½ Virgates. The Customary Tenants paid Rents of 2s-4d for a Virgate and 1s-10d for a ½-Virgate.  These were low compared with those paid on the neighbouring Manors of Chinnor and Kingston, but the Crowell Villeins owed heavy Summer Services as well. The Virgater had to work 3 days a week from Midsummer to Lammas (1st Aug) with one man at whatever task the Lord wanted, and to provide food for himself and his man.  He had to work 5-days a week from Lammas to Michaelmas (19th September) and also owed 2 bedreaps.  His daughters could not marry without the Lord’s permission. The Smith had to provide Ploughshares for 2 of the Lord’s Ploughs instead of the normal Services. The whole Village was further burdened with 20s Hidage to the Earl of Cornwall and 10d for the Ward of ‘Bigenheg‘. There were 3 Free Tenants who held 12½ Virgates in Holdings of 2s-d, and 6 Virgates respectively.  Two owed Suit of Court and one paid a pound of Pepper a year, the other a Penny. The 3rd, Guy the Falconer, paid 1d and 10s to the Nuns of Winchester.  His appearance calls to mind the extensive Woodlands on the Ridge and the important part they must have played in the economy of the Villagers.

An extent of 1349 records that there were still 21 Customary Tenants as in 1279, divided into Bondmen and Cottars.  In an extent of 1359, there were 22 Customary Tenants: 14 Virgaters, 6 half-Virgaters, and 2 Cottars.  The Black Death seems to have had little effect on the number of Holdings, but there had been changes since the 13thC.  Assized Rents had increased slightly: in 1279 Customary Tenants paid £2-5s-6d, in 1341 £2-9s-d and in 1349 £2-13s-d,  The value of works was not given until 1349 when their total value was £4-16s-3d.  In 1359 it was £5-11s-11½d, but this included Martinmas (11th Nov) Rents of about 36s and it is clear that the value of works had decreased: the works of each Virgater were now valued at 4s-d as against 5s-6d in 1349.  In 1349, the 14 Customars had still owed 44 days’ work in the year and the Services in 1359 added up to about 55 works.  They included 10 days’ work between Midsummer (24th June) and Lammas (1st Aug), as well as 1 day’s hoeing with 2 men and 2 days’ mowing with 1 man, 23 days’ reaping and 13 days’ collecting straw between Lammas and Michaelmas; and 1 day’s Fallow ploughing, 1 day’s Winter ploughing, and 1 day’s Harrowing at the Spring sowing.  One of the Cottars owed 6 days’ reaping with 1 man, which was worth 9d and he paid 18d Rent for his 3-acre holding.  Other small Rents were paid: in 1349 the Customars paid 36s aid and 1s-3d.  Churchscot at Martinmas; in 1359 each paid 1s-d Martinmas Rents. Extents do not say whether the works were commuted either in part or wholly, although it seems very probable at this period that they were.  In 1321 the Demesne Farm was estimated as 1 Carucate, 30 acres of Arable (i.e. 102 a), 10 acres of Meadow, and 200 acres of Wood.  In 1349 it included 80 acres of Arable (perhaps only 2/3rds of the total with 1/3rd Fallow unrecorded), valued at 40s or 6d an acre. There were 8 acres of Meadow worth 8s, Pasture worth 4s, and Wood worth 5s.  In 1359 the Arable acreage was said to be 180 acres and was worth £4-10s at 6d an acre; the Meadow (10 a) was now worth 1s-6d an acre. There were 10 acres of Inclosed Pasture worth 10s and Woodland worth 10s. It is possible that the differences in acreages recorded may be due to greater accuracy in making the extent or the Farm may have expanded: it may be significant that no Free Tenants are mentioned in 1359.  Two Water-mills were attached to the Estate. A Miller was recorded among the Tenants in 1279, and in 1349 the Mills were valued at 40s a year, perhaps their rentable value; in 1359 Mill profits were 10s.  Court profits were small in 1359 when they were valued at 2s a year.

Throughout the 14thC, the Community was comparatively small & poor.  Fifteen inhabitants were assessed for the 16th in 1316 and 27 for the 20th of 1327.  Only 2 paid more than 2s on either occasion and Crowell’s total contribution, both before and after the Reassessment of 1344, was one of the smallest in the Hundred.  For the 1377 Poll Tax, there were 40 Contributors.

There is little evidence for the arrangement of the Medieval Fields. The extent of 1349 suggests that there were 3 Fields and this was still so in the 19thC when they were called Lower, Middle, & Upper Field.  Two of these fields, Lower FieldLower Middle Field, are mentioned in 17thC documents.  There is insufficient evidence to say much about the progress made in Consolidating Strips.  In the 17thC, the Glebe was still partly scattered in different Furlongs: 6 acres had been consolidated and lay in one piece; the rest was in 2-2-acre and 2-1-acre pieces. There were some fair-sized Farms beside the Manor Farm: several of the surrenders and Grants of Copyholds (usually for 3 lives), made in the Manorial Court, were for Holdings of 4 Virgates.

Among the Regulations made in the surviving 17thC Court Rolls was one in 1632 that no Tenant should pay more than 12d as Heriot; another in 1657 that a Tenant might keep 20 sheep and 1 cow for every Yardland; and one in 1658 that no man should keep sheep in the Cowlease & Meades between Lammas (1st Aug) and 18 November, or put them in the wheat or peas Fields until they had been completely harvested.

The Tenants of Crowell all had a right to the Underwood in the Woods.  In 1657 the large Timber included oak, ash, beech & elm, and their shroud was ordered to be used for the hedges, ‘mounds’ & fences.  Each Tenant had Common Rights attached to his House in ‘Hill Wood‘, a custom which seems to be comparable to the ‘Hillwork‘ enjoyed at ChinnorKingston Blount.

The Community remained small after the Reformation: there were only 7 Contributors to the Subsidy of 1525; 15 householders were Taxed in 1662, and 10 in 1665, 2 who had paid in 1662 being discharged on account of Poverty. These Farmers all had fair-sized Farmhouses with 3 to 4 Hearths a piece.  There does not appear to have been any great increase in population in the late 17thC; the Compton Census recorded 44 Adults.  Rawlinson’s note made about 1718 that there were not above 10 people in the 10 houses in Crowell who were not in need of Alms, appears to be an error unless some disaster such as Fire had overtaken the Village.

Thame1676JLPlott
Robert Plot ‘s Map of Oxfordshire 1676

Natural History of Oxfordshire ~ Robert Plot

Information about 18thC farming in Crowell comes from Robert Whittlesee, who Surveyed the Earl of Abingdon’s 400-acre Estate in 1728. He stated that it was composed chiefly of Arable land, ‘the greater part of it a very good clay‘, a little part under the Hills was ‘poor and near the chalk‘, and the Lands on the Hills were a strong loam, valuable mainly for ‘their convenience‘ as Inclosures. The Common, however, was of little or no value and was heavily burdened as the Stint allowed was 60 sheep to a Yardland. There was a very small proportion of Meadow, 16 acres altogether, and a considerable amount of Woodland. Of the 88 acres, valued at £50, 8 acres were described as Common Wood. The wood was cut once every 14 years and then yielded 14 loads an acre, generally sold at 13s a load. The Common Wood yielded about 5 loads a year. The Earl’s Tenants consisted of William Deane, Leaseholder of 110 acres, 3 Copyholders, farming 107, 68, and 27 acres respectively, 1 Copyholder with a half-acre, and 3 Freeholders paying small annual Rents of about 2s 6d each. The method of Arable husbandry was to grow 2 crops to a Fallow, the soil, according to Whittlesee, being strong enough to bear it and being ‘now in good order‘. He did not consider the Estate could be much improved but advised that when ‘the times grow better for farming‘ the rent of the arable should be raised to 10s a year per acre.
Crowell Tithe Map 1840
At the end of the 18thC, Francis Kimber, the biggest Farmer in the Parish, won the praise of Arthur Young for his advanced methods. He had changed the old cropping system of barley-beans-fallow, wheat-beans-fallow and dung, to fallow-wheat-beans. About a 3rd of the Land was by Agreement under clover and vetches, and the best wheat crops resulted from sowing wheat after clover.  After this wheat crop, Kimber penned his sheep on the field as a preventive of slugs.  He hoed his beans 2 or 3 times and so had clean crops in contrast to the couch-infested crops found everywhere else in the District. He spread rags, bought from London at £8-10s a ton or £10 delivered, at the rate of 6 cwt. to the acre on his clover leys and found that they lasted longer than any other manureKimber’s success as a Farmer can be traced in the returns for the Land Tax.  In 1786 his land was assessed at under £12, in 1795 at over £14 and in 1815 at over £23.  Throughout this Period he had also held the Tithes which were assessed at £10.

During the Century the Village may have grown slightly in numbers.  In 1738 there were an estimated 8 houses and 5 Cottages; in 1771 there were said to be 6 farmers and 12 labourers and by 1802 there were 30 families.

Compared with that of its neighbour Emmington, the Ownership of Land at Crowell was varied. Besides the principal Landowners, the Earl of Abingdon & Lord Wenman, there were in 1786 5 others with moderate-sized Properties, 6 with Smallholdings assessed, at under £2 for the Land Tax and 5 who were probably Owners of Cottages & Gardens only.  By 1815 there were 10 Landowners, including 2 former Tenants who had bought their Farms.  Of the Tenants, the Kimber Family and others had increased the size of their Farms.  The Tithe Award of 1842 gives a more detailed picture of the Ownership and use of the Land. The Woodland covered about 250 acres, the 2 Chief Owners being the Earl of Abingdon & Baroness Wenman with over 100 acres each. Most of the Land below the Hill was still cultivated in Strips although there had been some consolidation, but on Crowell Hill there were Arable Inclosures & Paddocks.  All this Land was divided between 4 Farms of 225, 136, 90, and 53 acres and a Smallholding of 21 acres. Two other Smallholders had Land on the Hill only.  The Earl of Abingdon with 227 acres, and Baroness Wenman & John Hyde with 92 acres each were the Principal Landowners.

The 104 acres of Arable land adjoining Bennet End at the South-eastern tip of the Parish was all farmed by the non-resident Robert Bennett.  Part of this Land was owned by the Earl of Abingdon and part by James Bennett & Joseph Allcock.

Inclosure came earlier here and in the Land on the Hill than in the rest of Crowell.  Most if not all the Land on Crowell Hill was Inclosed by the 17thC: 4 separate closes are mentioned in 1634 & 1652 and Robert Whittlesee wrote in 1728 of the Inclosed Land here.  When the Earl of Abingdon’s Crowell Estate was put up for sale in 1844 the Hill Land was described as ‘Ancient Inclosure‘.  There was also some Inclosure nearer the Village during the 17thCWalter Ellwood was Presented at the Court Baron in 1652 for Inclosing 2½ acres in Honey Furlong, and a part of the Common Naight; in 1657 he was Presented again for Inclosing the Great Naight, ‘which ought to be Common at Lammas‘, and for having taken 3 acres of Arable out of the Common Field.  In 1728 the greater part of the Inclosures around the Village was said to be Lammas ground,  and an 1844 Sale Catalogue also describes the Meadowland North of the Village as part of Lammas Mead and as old Inclosure.  A large part of the Open fields (380 acres), however, was not Inclosed until 1882 and was the last in the County and almost the last in the Country to be Inclosed.  The chief Allotments were 163 acres to the Devisees of the Will of P T H Wykeham, the Owner of the one-time Abingdon Estates; 75 acres each to the Devisees of the Will of Baroness Wenman and to T A Champion; 35 acres to the Rev William Burrows; and 27 acres to A H Clerke Brown of Kingston BlountCrowell Hill Common (34 a.), described in 1728 as of little or no value, was left un-Inclosed. Of the other 28 acres of Common land recorded in 1839, the Cowlease was Inclosed and the considerable roadside herbage was allotted to the Owners of the adjoining Land.  The Stint for the Common was fixed at one sheep per acre, less than a 3rd of the allowance stipulated in 1728.

In common with other Oxfordshire Villages, Crowell had suffered from the effects of the long-drawn-out Wars of the late 18thC. The problem of Poor Relief, however, although expenditure was sometimes above the County average, was less severe than in the larger Villages of Chinnor & Kingston lying on either side.  In 1803, for example, Crowell’s Rate was 6s-3d compared with the average Rate of 4s-6d for the County.

In the early part of the Century, the Population increased slowly, rising from 149 in 1801 to 169 in 1841. It then remained stationary until a sudden rise to 203 was recorded in 1871, which may possibly be explained by a housing shortage in Chinnor, where numbers were also rising although to a lesser extent.  At this time almost all the male population were Farm labourers. The Census of 1851 recorded only a few other occupations: there were 3 Chair-turners, a Chair-bottomer, a Wheelwright, a Carpenter and a Victualler, and 16 women Lacemakers.  The effect of the Agricultural Depression was consequently severe and by 1891 the number of Crowell’s inhabitants had dropped to half the 1871 figure.  Hard times for the Farmer gave Joseph Hill his opportunity: a successful Straw-dealer engaged in supplying straw to the London Stables and bringing back Rags to Oxfordshire, he was able to take over 3 of the 4 Farms in the Village.  There were 6 Frmers living in the Parish in 1854 & 5 in 1869, but by 1887 only Joseph Hill’s Bailiff appears as a Farmer in Kelly’s DirectoryJohn Sulston, formerly a Farmer, had retired to the ‘Catherine Wheel‘.  In 1911 Joseph Hill was Farming 386 acres of the 460 acres of Land ‘below the Hill‘, and the 105 acres on the Hill were Farmed by 3 Tenants of the Rev James Davis, who had bought the Manor in 1876; Mr Clerke Brown of Kingston owned the 97 acres at the South-east tip of the Parish & 74 acres near the Village.

According to the Agricultural Survey of 1914 over 70% of the Farmland was then under the Plough. Equal quantities of barley, wheat & oats were grown (18 to 20% of each). The proportion of barley was higher, but that of wheat lower than in the neighbouring Parishes, which had the highest wheat acreages in the County.  Turnips were grown on 12% of the Land.  Crowell also had fewer sheep than her neighbours, only 30 per 100 acres.  There was still an exceptionally small amount of permanent Pasture, under 30% for practically no cattle were kept. There were less than 4 cows & heifers per 100 acres in the Parish.  Beside the Farmland, there was still the Woodland.  Its extent had slightly increased since 1839 and in 1911 covered 262 acres.

The 1st half of the 20thC saw a continued decline in Population.  Numbers had dropped from 78 in 1931 to 56 in 1951.

Parish Government
Overseers’ Accounts have survived for the Periods 1672 to 1712 and 1718 to 1736.  The 2 Overseers made collections for the Poor from time to time as needed: in the 1670s, for instance, 10 collections a year were generally made, the total received being about 10 guineas.  In 1675 when the names of the Contributors were listed there were 24 including Sir Francis Wenman and Lord Norreys.  In the last 2 decades the number of collections varied between 1 and 7 a year, but for the years 1702 to 1705, there was always only 1 a year, each collection bringing in about £1. The Levies evidently depended on the number and needs of aged widows or widowers. The East Family was for many years the only problem. For more than 40 years widow East was a regular recipient of payments; in 1678 Thomas East was removed from ‘our Liberty‘ and in 1682 10s was spent on the widow’s house.

Vestry Minutes for the years 1865 to 1885 throw some light on local affairs in the 2nd half of the 19thC. The Vestry met 3 or 4 times a year.  Until 1894 the chief Business of the March Meeting was to elect the Overseers of the Poor and a ‘Way’ Warden; the other Meetings elected Churchwardens and levied Poor Rates. Until 1879 the Meetings were held at the ‘Catherine Wheel‘, but later moved to the Sunday-School Room.  After 1894 only Churchwardens were elected and there was only one Easter Vestry when the Accounts were presented.

Poor Relief was provided by a Rate and out of the Poor’s Land Charity.  In the 1860s & 1870s, the Rate varied between 1s & 3s a year, a shilling being the usual rate imposed by a Vestry; there is no information after 1878.

Schools
There is mention of a Writing Master in Crowell in 1713, but there is no further information about his School.  In 1808 the children were sent either to Chinnor or Kingston Blount and the Parish was said to be too small to have its own School.  There was still no School in 1818 when the Poor were said ‘to need the means of education’  but by 1833 there was a Day-school where 30 boys and girls were taught.  It was supported partly by the Rector and partly by Payments from the children’s parents. The Rector and, to a small extent, 1 or 2 of the farmers also supported a Sunday School for 30 children.  Both schools existed in 1854, but the older children went to the Day-school in Chinnor at the Rector’s expense.  In 1871 there was a Private School attended by 12 boys and girls.  This had closed by 1878 and the children later attended the Schools at Aston Rowant or Chinnor.  In 1956 they went to Chinnor Church of England School.

Charity
John Stopes
, Rector of Crowell (d.1668), gave to the poor of his Parish about 4 acres of land.  It was called the Poor’s Close, and its annual Rent of £2 in 1738 and £2-7s-6d in 1823 was distributed annually to the Poor in sums varying in 1823 from 6d to 4s according to need.
In the late 19thC the land was let out in Allotments, but as it lay beyond Crowell Hill Wood, it was inconvenient for the Cottagers and in 1919 it was leased for £4 a year.  This sum was distributed annually between 50 & 75 Parishioners until 1939 & in 1956 the £4 was being distributed to 5 Poor persons.

Jacksons Oxford Journal 29th September 1849
Aston & Crowell – We class these 2 Parishes together on Account of there being no Service in the former, owing to the Church in Aston undergoing a complete renovation; but the Vicar, the Rev Robert Williams, was not idle: in the afternoon he did Duty in Crowell, when the Church was crowded to suffocation & numbers had to go away, not being able to find room.
Jacksons Oxford Journal 27th December 1856
Petty Sessions, Watlington Division 20th December:-
Edwin North, Landlord of the Catherine Wheel, Crowell, charged by Thomas High with keeping his House open for the Sale of Beer after 12pm on Saturday night the 13th instant, was fined full penalty of £5, and costs 10s: allowed 6-days for payment; in default, a Warrant of Distress to be issued to Levy the same, and, in case of deficient effects, to be imprisoned for 3 calendar months.
From Jacksons Oxford Journal 6th August 1859:-

Fire – On the 28th ult. an alarming fire broke out at Crowell, about 4.30pm in the afternoon, which destroyed 10-houses & cottages, with Barns, Stables, Hayricks, 2 Pigs, etc.  The furniture in the Cottages was also nearly all destroyed, as well as the Tools & Stock, with the House, of Mr Cooper, CarpenterWheelwright. The Fire appears to have been occasioned by 2 little children,  who, having procured some Lucifer-matches, attempted to make a Bonfire near Mr Hill’s Farm, which caught Fire and spread as above.  Several other buildings were in much jeopardy, by catching Fire from sparks from the burning mass, but by the exertions of the Parties present with the Engines, they were preserved.  The Engine belonging to the Earl of Macclesfield, together with the one from Thame, rendered great Service; and nothing could exceed the determined manner in which the poor people worked to save the Property.  The Buildings are mostly insured in the County, Globe & Royal Exchange Offices. Now 8 Families are homeless. One poor woman, who had been confined on the previous day, was, with her infant, obliged to be taken out of bed; she was removed to the house of Mr Abel HillStevens, the Landlord of the “Catherine Wheel,” was absent, but a great deal of his furniture was removed & saved; his wife & 3 children were sheltered for the night at the RectoryJ Brown Esq, A H C Brown Esq, A Wykeham, Esq, the Rev Williams, and other Gentlemen, were there till a late hour.
Thame Gazette 2nd August 1859:-
Crowell – Alarming Fire.
A messenger arrived here on Thursday evening, from Crowell, requesting assistance of our Engine, from what we could learn of him, Property to a vast amount was in imminent danger of being destroyed.  On reaching the Village a most appalling spectacle presented itself.  The Fire in a short space of time had extended over an area of some 4-5 acres of ground, the wind being high together with the dryness of the Season, it was utterly impossible to stay the fury of the flames on the several places that had taken Fire.  Immediate attention was directed towards those that had hitherto fortunately escaped; cloths, sheets, blankets, etc, were thrown over the Ricks & Buildings, and a copious supply of water was poured on them.  The Fire was occasioned by some children making a bonfire in Mr Hill’s Rickyard close to the Barn, which adjoins the “Catherine Wheel” Public House. The whole of these premises were burnt to ashes, also a Rick of Straw. The
Church which stands close to the Inn Yard, narrowly escaped; at one time we thought it almost impossible that the Sacred Edifice would be saved from the devouring element.  At this moment the wind took a slight turn, the burning embers flying & dropping in all directions.  At the back entrance to the Rectory, a Thatched Building standing only a few yards from the “Wheel” was quickly covered with 8-blankets, and well saturated with water; this wise precaution saved the whole of the Rev J Beauchamp’s Property, and we are sure the Service rendered at this particular spot will not be forgotten. The Cottage of James Harding together with 2 others belonging to Rev Beauchamp were the next to take Fire, these were totally consumed.  The buildings of Mr Cooper, viz:- his own dwelling house & 2 cottages which with his Stock in Trade, furniture, etc, were nearly all consumed.  Thence to a small Farmyard occupied by Mr Hill, in which and just around it stood 3 other cottages, all sharing the same fate. Every exertion was used to save one of the latter-mentioned cottages, on its being known that a poor woman was lying in bed, having been confined only the day previous, but all to no purpose, and in this delicate state she was removed to the house of Mr Abel HillThe Fire still spreading reached a Stable & 2 Hay Ricks of Mr Heybourn’s which were consumed. The Engine belonging to the Rt Hon the Earl of Macclesfield, together with the one from Thame rendered great Service; nothing could exceed the determined manner in which the poor people worked to save the Property under the direction of the several Police Officers.  The buildings are
mostly insured in the County, Globe & Royal Exchange Offices. The poor cottagers’ positions are most distressing. there are 8 Families homeless and scarcely a particle of clothing or furniture left in a few houses.  Stevens the Landlord of the “Wheel” was absent, a great deal of his furniture was removed & saved; his wife & 3 children were sheltered for the night at the Rectory.  J Brown, Esq, Arthur H C Brown Esq, A Wykeham, Esq, Rev Williams, and other Gentlemen were there till a late hour.
The Spectator 6th August 1859
By the burning of 2 Villages – Buttermere in Wiltshire & Crowell in Oxfordshire – nearly 100 persons, men women & children, have been deprived of their homes, and placed in great distress. Both Fires occurred during the day when nearly all the adults were in the Harvest-field and none but children & old folks were in the cottages. It is supposed that some of the children, left to themselves, played with Lucifer matches and thus set their homes on fire. Something should be done for the sufferers by Public subscription.
The Annual Register for 1859 [Aug]
Disastrous Fires In The Rural Districts – A great number of Fires have occurred in our Country Villages, arising, in most instances, from the careless use, in others, perhaps, from the criminal application, of Lucifer Matches. Buttermere in Wiltshire and Crowell in Oxfordshire, have been thus laid in ashes, while all the able-bodied inhabitants were labouring in the Fields. [continues]
In 1829, Scots Inventor Sir Isaac Holden invented an improved version of Walker’s Match and demonstrated it to his Class at Castle Academy in Reading, Berkshire. Holden did not Patent his invention and claimed that one of his Pupils wrote to his father Samuel Jones, a Chemist in London who commercialised his process.  A version of Holden’s Match was Patented by Samuel Jones, and these were sold as Lucifer Matches. These early Matches had a number of problems – an initial violent reaction, an unsteady flame and unpleasant odour & fumes. Lucifers could ignite explosively, sometimes throwing sparks a considerable distance.  The term “Lucifer” persisted as Slang in the 20thC (for example in WW1 song Pack Up Your Troubles) and Matches are still called Lucifers in Dutch.

Thame Gazette 7th March 1871
Crowell – Discovery of a Human Skeleton
On Monday the 20th ult, the
“Navvies” when digging Ballast on the new Line of Railway passing through Crowell Upper Field, discovered a perfect Skeleton, about 2½-ft below the surface, on Land in the occupation of Mr A Hill.  According to opinion, appearances, & firm state of the bones, the body could not have been there more than 18 or 20-yrs. Unfortunately parties were allowed to disconnect, break up, and carry away parts of the frame, which has made sexual proof difficult, although it is hoped the remaining parts can be taken charge of, and carefully conveyed by Superintendent Sears to Watlington, for Surgical Examination, will be sufficient to remove the present uncertainty, especially as strong suspicion prevails that the remains are those of a young woman named Ratley, who mysteriously disappeared from her service with Mr Robinson at Stokenchurch, at about the time above stated, and has not been seen or heard of; a Shawl belonging to the missing young woman was found at the time in Crowell Wood, in the direction and about midway between Stokenchurch and the spot where the Skeleton was found, which now seems to strengthen and confirm the belief that she was the victim of some fiendish (and at present undiscovered) Assassin, and that the now discovered remains are those of the missing & unfortunate young woman.
Thame Gazette 13th June 1871
Crowell – Cattle Poisoned by Eating Paint
About a fortnight ago, Mr Abel Hill
had a Stirk die, in one of his Fields at Sydenham, and on Tuesday last, a labourer (who works for Mr Witney) called and told him that a Heifer was bad.  Mr East Veterinary Surgeon, of Risborough, was sent for, and on examining the animal found that Tetanus had set in, and declared the symptoms to be of such a character as those produced by Poison. On his calling the following morning, the Heifer was dead & 4 more unwell; these were put in the Cowhouse; Mr Hill went there about 3.00am on Thursday morning, 2 more were dead and a 3rd lying with his head resting on one of the dead beasts, the 4th was standing in a stupefied state, which also died on Friday.  A postmortem examination of the bodies was made, and it was found that the animals died from the effects of eating lumps of dried Ppaint, which had been spread on the Land in some Manure purchased by Mr Hill.
Jacksons Oxford Journal 27th March 1875
Petty Sessions, Watlington:-
Mr Randall Cooper, of Crowell, Wheelwright, was charged by Mr Morris, of Thame, Inspector of Nuisances, with allowing a filthy Privy on premises belonging to him to overflow a Footpath at Crowell; ordered to pay costs, and to remove the nuisance within 14-days.
Highway-rates were allowed for the Parish of Crowell and the Liberty
of Chalford, and a Poor-rate for the Parish of Britwell.
Jacksons Oxford Journal 22nd June 1878
The Open Common Fields” in the Parish of Crowell, in the County of Oxford.
In Pursuance of the Directions of “The Commons Act 1876,” Section 31, – Notice is hereby given that we, the undersigned, being 2/3rds parts in number and value of the persons seized possessed of, entitled to or otherwise interested in the said Open Common Fields, intended by virtue of the Provisions of an Act passed in the 6th & 7th-yrs of the Reign of his late Majesty King William IV. Chapter 115, intituled “An Act for Facilitating the Inclosure of Open & Arable Fields in England & Wales,” to Inclose the said Open Common Fields, after the expiration of 3-Months from the date of this Notice – Dated this 21st day of June, 1876. Signed
Phillip Thomas Herbert Wykenham, Arthur H C Brown, H W Burrows, Aubrey Wenman Wykenham-Musgrave, W Hatton, T A Champion.
Jacksons Oxford Journal 31st August 1878
Crowell – The Inclosure
A 1st Meeting was held on Thursday the 22nd inst, at the Catherine Wheel Inn. Mr Henry Birch, Solicitor, having been Sworn, read the Act of Parliament referring to the Inclosure.  The Commissioners, Messrs, W T Franklin & A R Howland, then proceeded to Settle the Boundaries.  Some other preliminaries having been got through, the Meeting Terminated. There were also present Arthur H C Brown, Esq, Rev J Churchill, Vicar, Messrs G Sheen & W Sheen, A Hill, T Franklin, and the Surveyors (Messrs W Webster & W Neighbour).
Jacksons Oxford Journal 12th July 1879
Petty Sessions:-
John King & Moses Sewell, of Crowell, Labourers, were Summoned for Trespassing in search of Game at Crowell on the 15th ult.  The Case was proved by PC – W H Tipping. Fined 1s & costs 8s-3d each.
John Bowler of Crowell, Labourer, was summoned by Mr William Clark for taking Game without a Licence at Aston Rowant on Sunday the 12th ult. Fined 10s & costs 11s.
Jacksons Oxford Journal 25th July 1885
Watlington Petty Sessions 18th July
Frederick Green, of Crowell, labourer, who did not appear, was fined £1 & 10s
costs, or 14-days Imprisonment, for driving a Wagon & Horses without Reins on the
16th July.
Jacksons Oxford Journal 28th November 1885
Chinnor – Sale of Freehold Cottages

The following 12 Freehold Cottages, with Out-Buildings & Gardens, situated at Crowell, Watlington & Stokenchurch, were disposed of by auction at the Royal Oak Inn (Stockenchurch), by Messrs Mumford & Bond on Wednesday last :-
Lot 1, 3 Brick, Flint & Slated Cottages, with Out-offices & Gardens, situate at Crowell Oxon & occupied by Messrs G Holland, N Allan, & J Young, at rents amounting to £10-10s. per annum; sold to Mr J Hill, Kingston Blount, for £115.
Lot 2, 4 Brick & Thatched Cottages adjoining Lot 1 & occupied by Messrs. H North, S Humphreys, and others, at annual Rents amounting to £12-10s; Mr Hill also became the purchaser of this lot at £140.
Lot 3, 2 Brick, Flint, & Slated Cottages, with Wheelwright’s Shop, other Offices & Yard, near to the previous Lots, and occupied by Messrs G H Cooper and B Hill, at £8 per annum; this Lot was knocked down to Mr T Busby, Chinnor, at £150. – article continues about Sale of properties elsewhere.
Bucks Herald 7th January 1888
Crowell – Daring Highway Robbery
On Friday Evening December 30th as a man named Larner was returning home from work across Chinnor-hill, a ruffian rushed upon him, violently knocked him down, took 5s from his pocket, and then hastily beat his retreat.
Bucks Herald 14th January 1888
Accident – On Tuesday evening last, as Mr J Stevens, District Postman, was proceeding up the Crowell-road to collect the letters from the Wall Post Box, the night being extremely dark, he accidentily stepped upon a large Stone, which caused him to fall heavily to the ground, injuring his wrist. It is hoped that he will soon be able to resume his duties.
Bucks Herald 28th January 1888
Crowell – Fall from A Rick
On Wednesday afternoon, 18th inst., as a labourer named Humphry, in the employ of Mr Sheen, was on a newly-built Stack of Straw, he fell from the top to the ground beneath, severlay injuring both his wrists & bruising his left leg.
The London Gazette 27th May 1913
Diseases of Animals Acts 1894 to 1911 – continued.
The following Areas are now “Infected Areas” for the purposes of the Swine-Fever
(Regulation of Movement) Order of 1908 – continued.
Oxfordshire. – An area in the administrative county of Oxford comprising the Parishes
of Sydenham, Emmington, Chinnor & Crowell (26th May 1913) [continues]