Denton, the Settlement in the Valley, lies to the South of the Ancient Parish in the depression between Cuddesdon & Garsington; though still only a Hamlet it has long formed a separate Civil Parish, to which Chippinghurst was added in 1932. Its area in 1951 was 845 acres. The Cottages are grouped round the Green and along the Road from Chippinghurst to the Bridle Path, which was in 1586 the ‘Highwaye from Oxford to Denton‘. Upperfield Farm and some of the Cottages date from the 16th & 17thCs; a Timber-framed Granary from the 16thC & Lower Farm is a much altered 18thC House. Manor Farm, standing on the Garsington Road, was built in 1904. There are no Shops or Public Houses. Denton is an Ancient Manor and had its own Civil Parish, but in the 20thC it was merged with neighbouring Cuddesdon.
The earliest parts of Denton House date from the 16thC; they still contain 2 Tudor Fireplaces, a fine Jacobean Staircase dated 1614, a Room with Oak Panelling of the same Period, and another with Ash Panels of about 1700. The main parts of the Building were, however, built in the 18thC, the tall Ashlar & Rubble Exterior being refaced in 1759. A long Hall traverses each Floor. Alterations were made in 1900 and again in 1934 (the latter being planned by S W Neighbour of London, Architect & executed by Messrs Cullum of Wheatley). The Garden stands in a Large Inclosure, next the Road to Garsington, which runs round it. Its Walls contain fragments of late Medieval Tracery including the original East window from Brasenose College Chapel, and part of the Library Windows, brought to Denton during alterations to the College in 1844-45. Across the Road there are 17thC Stables, with a large Pigeon-Loft, a 15th or 16thC Barn (formerly larger), with the date 1696 above a Cusped window of moulded Stone.
Denton House Garden Wall. Late 17th-early-18thC & mid 18thC with mid-17thC features. Limestone rubble with some Ashlar Dressings & Brickwork. Earlier section runs from North of the House along part of the East side and around the North & West sides of the Garden. It is 2.5 to 3M high and has a tapering coursed- rubble Coping. Set into the wall are Gothic Survival Windows of c.1665 by the Mason John Jackson, brought from Brasenose College, Oxford in 1844-45. On the North is a large 5-light window with oval wheel Tracery under a pointed Arch, formerly the East window of the Chapel. On the West are 6 round-headed windows of cusped lights from the Library. The South wall has a flat coping.
Immediately South of the House begins a mid-18thC section which returns Northwards to the Front. It is of Banded rubble & Ashlar with a Brick lining in Flemish Bond. Opposite the Main (South) Front of the House, also immediately North in the East wall, are mid-18thC Doorways with 3-centre Arched Heads & Moulded Architraves with Key-blocks. The Main Gateway in the East wall, immediately South of the House, is probably late 17thC It has a 3-centred Arch in a Rectangular surround with Key-block & Imposts which continue over flanking Pilasters; above is an open Segmental Pediment with a central Cartouche & Pedestal.
Mansion – 16th & 17thC, re-modelled mid-18thC. Limestone rubble with Ashlar Dressings; plain-Tile Roof with Brick Stacks. Double-depth Plan of 5 x 3-Bays. 3-Storeys. Symmetrical mid-18thC 5-window (South) Front with central Segmental-Arched Door with moulded Architrave & Keyblock under a Segmental Stone Hood on Consoles; above are narrow Sashes, 8-pane to 1st-Floor with moulded round-cornered Architrave & Keyblock, and 4-pane to 2nd-Floor with rectangular Architrave; flanking at each Floor are pairs of narrow renewed sashes with roll-moulded Surrounds & Keyblocks; the wall has plinth, moulded Storey-bands & a heavy Cornice below a plain Parapet. To right is a Single-Storey 1-Bay wing with an 18thC Sash. Additional 20thC Sashes have been inserted either side of the central 1st-Floor window. Return Front to left has remains of 17thC moulded String-courses & simpler Keyblock surrounds, probably earlier. Return front to right has some 18 Sashes, 2 Leaded Cross-windows and 2 Bell-shaped Lead Rainwater-heads with Dolphin crests and the date 1757. Rear has 17thC String-courses and remains of a 17thC moulded-Stone window-surround. Concealed Roof of 3 Spans with a Timber Bellcote.
Interior: Central Cross-Hall at each Floor with a large Oak Open-well Stair at the rear with flat moulded Balusters and the date 1614 on Panelling and a large moulded Stone Tudor-Arched Fireplaces a smaller similar Fireplace is in a 2nd-Floor Room immediately above. To right of the Entrance Hall is a Room with 18thC Chestnut & Elm full-height Fielded Panelling with a Dentil Cornice. At the rear but now internal are remains of a 16thC stone-mullioned window with ovolo-moulded 4-centre arched lights.
The Hamlet of Chippinghurst, which crowned the 200-ft-high Knoll in the Valley south of Denton, is today represented by the Tudor Manor-house and its modern Dower-House. It was reconstructed by the Architect Fielding Dodd in 1937, when a new Wing was added; it was used as a Maternity Home during the WW2. There is now no trace of the Medieval Manor-House or of the former Hamlet. The only evidence we have for the history of the Building is that it had 9-Hearths in 1665. The only communication with the outside world is by the Cuddesdon–Chislehampton Road, or, when there are no Floods, by the Footpath and by Stepping Stones across the River Thame to Little Milton.
Manor House. Late 16thC, reconstructed & extended 1937 by Fielding Dodd for James McDougall. Coursed Limestone Rubble with Ashlar Quoins; plain-Tile Roof with Brick Stacks. U-Plan. 2-Storeys. Main Entrance in South Wing is flanked by projecting East & West Wings forming North-facing Court. 16thC Pyramid-roofed 3-Storey Turret in South-east angle has a 2-course Stone Weathering at Storey height and, in the Top Stage, a Leaded Oak-frame window with 3 internal diamond mullions. Except for the adjacent Chimney-Stack with Diagonal Shafts and a blocked single-light window, both in the East Wing, the remainder of the work facing the Court is 20thC. The East front, the details of which are copied throughout, has a moulded Plinth Stone Eaves-Cove & Ashlar Storey-band, and forms a range of 4 x 4-light Windows with, at 1st-Floor, a singl-light Window between the pair to left of Centre. Ground-floor Windows have Labels and the Sills of the 2 Windows to left of Centre have been lowered. The 4-centre Arched Doorway to right is concealed by a Stone & Tiled Porch with a similar Doorway under a Label. The Porch Gable has a Parapet with Console Kneelers and an obscured Datestone. The Gable Walls of the Range have projecting Stacks: to left with old Brick Diagonal Shafts and an ornamental Lead Sun Dial; to right beside a 16thC 2-light Stone-mullioned Window. Interior: Drawing Room in East Wing has restored Tudor-arched Stone Fireplaces with moulded surrounds. Generally extensively re-modelled. Extending from the East Front are Stone walls: to right incorporating a 16th-17thC 4 centre arched Doorway; to left with Doorway to walled Garden on the South side of the House. Walled Garden has 18thC Brick walls in Flemish bond with flat Stone copings. Brick Piers to South have moulded Stone cornices and 20thC Wrought Iron Gates.
James McDougall was the inventor of Self-raising Flour.
The Medieval Community of Denton formed a complex Tenurial pattern. From 956 to the Dissolution Abingdon Abbey was the Overlord, most of the Land being held after the Conquest by Tenants by Military Service, who performed Castle Guard at Windsor. In 1279 Denton, then described as a Hamlet of the Manor of Cuddesdon, was divided into 3 Main Holdings. The Abbot of Abingdon held 17-Virgates in Demesne, of which 15 were held in Villeinage, and 2 pertained to the Church. Secondly, there were 2-Hides which had been held by the Templars since about 1240 when they had received the Manor of Sandford, to which these Lands pertained. Philip de Stocwell held of the Templars, one of the Hides being held of him in Villeinage, and the other, as 1/8th of a Knight’s Fee, by Reynold de Gardino, perhaps a son of the John de Gardino who had held both hides before the Templars had received Sandford. Four Tenants held of Reynold – Julian, Thomas, Peter de Gardino, presumably his Kinsmen & John de Warewik – and paid annual money rents, while 7 sub-Tenants held of John & 3 of Thomas. Thirdly, Henry de Mache, or Henry of Wheatley, held directly of the Abbot 1-Hide in Denton, which with 2 hides in Wheatley made up ½ Knight’s Fee. The burden of the Foreign Service of Castle Guard at Windsor fell upon Reynold de Gardino & Henry of Wheatley. The Demesne Lands of Denton were administered by the Abbey’s Steward at Cuddesdon. After the dissolution of the Temple in England in 1308 the Hospitallers became the Abbey’s Tenants of the Hides which went with Sandford Manor.
After the Dissolution Denton was divided between several Owners, none of whom had Manorial Rights. The Capital Messuage at Denton, with 4-Virgates of Land, 22 houses & cottages, and 31 other Virgates in Cuddesdon & Denton, was held in Chief by George Barston at his death in 1607. His Heir, John, who succeeded at the age of 11, had moved to his Chippinghurst Property by 1622, and sold the Denton Land to William Piers, Bishop of Peterborough. The Bishop left the Land to his son John, who sold half the Estate & Manor-house to E Budgell, a ‘sad villain’, according to Hearne. John Piers lived in a neighbouring Farm, and in spite of a number of disputes with Budgell allowed him to live in the whole House in 1725. Later Owners were William Mills (c.1795) of Teddington (Middx), his nephew George Henry Browne (d.1831), and his son Thomas Browne, the Rev Walter Sneyd, who obtained the Property in 1841, Captain George Wayne Gregorie (in 1871), the Rev William Urquhart (in 1885), & Sir Edward Loughlin O’Malley (in 1892). In 1934 Brigadier General C A L Graham became the Owner. The House now has only 12 acres of ground. Throughout this post-Reformation period, the Owners of Denton House were in practice the Squires of the Village, although they had no Manorial Rights.
The Queen’s College has been one of the Principal Landowners in Denton since the 16thC. John Pantrea gave 2 Messuages called ‘Bromeslands‘ and all his Denton Property to the College by Will dated 1530, the previous Owner of this Land having been John Brome of Holton. Another Parcel of Denton Land came to the College from William Dennison, so that by 1559 the College had acquired a large share of Land in the Village, including ‘Pollard’s Close‘, held by the Wellys Family since 1438. The College Property was attached to its Manor of Toot Baldon.
In 1720 & 1730 Lord Parker bought Land in the Village, including 3-Yardlands of 90-acres held by the Munt Family from 1564 (when they bought it from their Landlord) until 1706. In the 19thC, 1st the Earl of Macclesfield and then Magdalen College became Landowners, as successors to the disintegrated Whalley-Gardiner Estate at Cuddesdon. Magdalen & Queen’s Colleges were the Chief Landowners in 1953.
The name of Chippinghurst Manor, meaning ‘the Hill of Cibba‘, appears as ‘Cibbaherste‘ in Domesday Book. The Saxon Settlement there was part of the Estate Granted to Abingdon in 956, but by 1086 the Hamlet & Land assessed at 3-Hides had passed to the Count of Évreux, who held it of the King. There were 2-Ploughs & 1 Serf on the Demesne & 4 Villeins with 2-Ploughs tended the rest. The Estate seems to have been in Royal Hands by the early 12thC, for Henry I gave St Frideswide’s 12 Thraves in Chippinghurst. This Grant was confirmed in 1157-58 by Adrian IV as 3 acres in ‘Chenbenhurste‘. In 1108 William, Count of Évreux, and his wife Helewis founded the Priory of Noyon (Noyon-sur-Andelle) & bestowed on it all his English Lands, including Chippinghurst. Although the Manor was not recorded among the possessions of Noyon in 1242-43, the Hundred Rolls confirm that the Priory continued to be the Overlord. It was deprived in 1414, when Henry V gave Chippinghurst to his own Foundation at Sheen, which retained it until the 16thC.
The Manor House was occupied by under-Tenants in the 13thC. In 1254-56 John, son of William (one of the Family which took its name from the Village), paid Noyon Priory a Fee-Farm rent of 60s, a sum which remained the normal rent until the end of the Medieval Period. In 1279 John of Chippinghurst held 3 of the 12 Virgates of the Manor in Demesne; 7 Virgates were held in Villeinage at his will, and the remaining 2 Virgates were held by an under-Tenant, Walter de Esthulle. The Chippinghurst Family were Tenants until the 16thC, and also held Land in Denton. John Chippinghurst (Chebenhurst) died Seised of the Manor in 1511, when it was worth £21 & held in Socage. Thomas (d.1517), son of John, held the Manor of John Brome of Holton, who was presumably holding of Sheen. v It appears, however, that after the Dissolution Brome succeeded to the Overlordship, for in 1539 he was Granted the Tithes of Chippinghurst. There is no later record of the Overlordship.
Thomas Chippinghurst’s son Robert succeeded to the Manor as a Minor, and from him it descended to his uncle Robert Chippinghurst; complicated litigation followed (1538–44), from which it appears that John Barantyne had custody of the Deeds, Thomas Stretley certain Rights in the Manor, and that 6 different persons claimed Annuities from it. Stretley’s Rights were acquired in 1563 by John Doyley (d.1569) of Chislehampton and his son Robert. John’s sons subsequently went to Law over their Rights to Annuities from his share of the Manor. John Doyley’s 2nd son John died in 1623, Seised of the Land in Chippinghurst and of part of the Manor, but he had already sold in 1605 the Capital Messuage, certain Lands, ‘Chibnes Weare‘ & Fishing Rights (from ‘Oxclose‘ to Denton Field) to George Barston, his son-in-law. Barston, Owner also of the Capital Messuage of Denton (d.1607), was succeeded by his son John, who conveyed his Chippinghurst Property in 1633 to Thomas Iles.
It seems clear from the later descent of this Property that it was regarded as a Manor, but there is no mention of a Manor in the Inquisition post mortem on George Barston, nor in the Conveyance of 1633. Iles, the new Squire, was Professor of Divinity & Principal of Hart Hall at Oxford. In 1652 the Chippinghurst Property was conveyed to Solomon Ady; in 1656 to Thankfull Owen, President of St. John’s College; and in 1677 to Peter Elliot, MD, who left ‘Chibnes‘ Farm to his Godson Peter Hele in 1682. In 1738 another Peter Elliot made an Agreement about the Estate with Henry Vavasour. It is not clear how the Manor came to be the Property of William & Mary Webb, who in 1771 conveyed it to William Parker. He immediately Conveyed it to John Greenwood, whose Family retained the Property until 1903, when it passed to the Rev Arthur Wheeler, then in 1931 to James McDougall (inset) of the Flour Firm, and finally to Colonel E C Bowes.
James Gladstone McDougall, 1878-1935. Born in Blackheath, died at Chippinghurst Manor, Oxon. Became Managing Director of Wheatsheaf Mills, Millwall, in 1912.
Economic & Social History
The population of Denton was small & of moderate Wealth in the Medieval Period. Most of the inhabitants were holding small Parcels of Land, and there were possibly only about 30 households. Some 21 names are listed in the assessment of 1327; only one Taxpayer paid 14s and the majority paid 3s & under. In 1665 only 4 had sufficient wealth to make a return for the Hearth Tax. A list of those liable for payment of Church Rates in 1688 gives a fuller picture. Three of the 15 listed (Munt, Pokins & Smith) held 3¼, 3½ & 3-Yardlands; 5, including Piers, the Owner of Denton House, held 2 or 2¼-Yardlands; while the other Tenants held 1½-Yardlands or less. In 1841 the population reached 163, its maximum for the Century; in 1863, 159 people lived in 34 houses; the population in 1931 was 140, and in 1951, 89.
The earliest record of Inclosure for Pasture at Denton dates from 1504 when 4 people were alleged to have lost Employment as a result. At about this time there were said to be 300 acres of Pasture in the Panor and 40 of Meadow to only 300 of Arable. The same process of Inclosure was going on at the neighbouring Hamlet of Chippinghurst where a Butcher who Leased 200 acres destroyed 4 houses and displaced 16 people by Inclosing. There were still 94 strips being cultivated at the time of the Tithe Award in 1843. In 1848, when Inclosure was completed, 356 acres out of 527 were already Inclosed. The Earl of Macclesfield was allotted 249 acres, the Queen’s College 144 (including 174 & 101 acres of old Inclosure respectively), William Aldworth 83 acres, and the Bishop of Oxford 29, the other allotments being less.
Cuddesdon Tithe Map
Denton’s Valley Land is heavy Kimmeridge Clay (‘Stronge-londe‘ in 1293), though there is varying Sand, Ironstone & Limestone on the Hill up to Cuddesdon. The position of the Arable Land in 956 suggests that Denton already had a separate Field System from Cuddesdon. In 1300 the name of one of the Fields, ‘Hupfelda‘, is mentioned, and this may be identified with one of the 2 Fields, Upper & Lower, in existence in 1769. In the post-Reformation Period there are some details of the price of Denton Land: from 1566 to 1617 the standard rent for a Virgate was 13s-4d; and the Sale Price in the former year was 30-yrs’ Purchase. In 1618 an 80-yrs’ Lease of 2 Virgates cost £400; they were then sublet for £23-15s, and the Lease surrendered the next year for £500. The Denton Virgate seems to have varied in size; it was 17½ acres in the late Medieval Period, but 24 acres in 1564.