Stadhampton, a Parish in the District of Abingdon & County of Oxford; on the River Thame, 5-miles E by N of Culham R Station, and 6 N of Wallingford. It had a Post-Office under Wallingford. Acres, 620. Real property, £1,537. Pop, 329. Houses, 75. The Living is a p Curacy annexed to Chiselhampton. The Church is good; and there was a Baptist Chapel and a Free School. Dean Owen, Chaplain to Cromwell, was a native.
The Ancient Parish comprised 623 acres. In 1932 Stadhampton was enlarged to 2,426 acres for Civil purposes by the addition of Chislehampton & Ascott, formerly in Great Milton Parish & Brookhampton, formerly in Newington Parish & the Hundred of Ewelme.
The Northern boundary of the Ancient Parish of Stadhampton followed Haseley Brook from Hangman’s Bridge to its confluence with the Thame; the Western Boundary followed the Thame, the Southern Cuxham Brook, which joins the Thame near Chislehampton Bridge. To the East there is no prominent natural feature and the old Boundary followed the Milton–Thame Road Southwards from Hangman’s Bridge and then with many indentations, dictated by the Field Boundaries, ran south to Cuxham Brook.
There are Meadows to the North & South along the Courses of the Brooks and by the River Thame on the West, where the Land is liable to Floods. The Farm Land lies, as it must always have done, to the North & East of the Village. There is no Woodland & comparatively few trees, although in the mid-16thC the Parish had been far more thickly Wooded than Chislehampton, and a Map of 1742 shows that there was plenty of Timber in the Hedges. The Parish is relatively flat, being mostly below the 200-ft contour line. The greater part of it lies on Clay: Kimmeridge Clay in the Centre & South West, Gault in the South & East. There is a Gravel deposit in the South-west, and a broad belt of Alluvium by the Thame with lesser deposits along the Haseley & Cuxham Brooks.
Since the 12thC the place has been called ‘Stodham‘ or ‘Stadham‘, which may mean ‘River Meadow where horses are kept’. The ‘Ton’ is a later addition, perhaps influenced by the propinquity of Brookhampton & Chislehampton. The Village lies in the South-east corner of the Parish. The Church fronts the Green, and the Farmhouses & Cottages are spaced round it at widely separated intervals, and along the road to Oxford. The Hearth Tax returns of 1665 show that in the 17thC there were a number of fair-sized houses: 6 with 5 or more hearths & 5 with either 2 or 3 hearths. The largest with 8 hearths was occupied by Timothy Doyley, one of the Chief Landowners, but he had been obliged in 1657 to transfer the Ownership with other Property to his son Robert, who undertook to pay his Debts. John Owen, a noted Divine & friend of the Doyleys, had the next largest House. When he was ejected in 1659 from the Deanery of Christ Church he bought an Estate at Stadhampton, his birth-place, and retreated to a ‘fair dwelling House’ there. A Map of 1742 gives an exact picture of the Village some 80-yrs later. It was made for William Ives, a Gentleman and an Oxford Mercer, and shows his substantial House and some 6 others, besides Cottages bordering the Green or lining the Lanes leading from it. It shows too that the layout of the Ancient Village was essentially as it is today. In the Middle was the ‘Towne Greensworde’, as it was termed in 1619, and which in later times at least amounted to 15 acres. At the end of the 18thC, in 1781 & 1795, it was being let by the Overseers for a Rent of £28 & £30 respectively. On it were probably the Stocks & the Pound mentioned in 1798/99, when Richard Hood was appointed Hayward to Pound the Cattle on Stadhampton Green & Copsen Lane. The Green was reached from the South by the Road from Brookhampton & Chislehampton; Milton Lane, which was Hedged, led off from the North-west corner, and the Chalgrove Road, also Hedged, from the East. The Brookhampton/Milton Road between 1770 & 1875 formed part of the Turnpike which ran from Aylesbury to the Oxford Road near Shillingford. One of these, Cat Lane by the Manor-House, is mentioned in the 13thC; it or another ‘Common Footpath’ was Ploughed up about 1300, a Trespass for which the Village was fined 12d and a further 6s-8d for concealment. Another, Cobstone (or Copsen) Lane, served the Fields in the North of the Parish. In 1798/99 more than 6s was expended from Parish Funds on the repair of its gate & railings. On the South, Mill Lane led down to Cuxham Brook and to the Mill, while another Lane served ‘the Homes’, a row of Cottages and their gardens which in 1786 formed part of Robert Peers’ Chislehampton Estate.
During the latter half of the 18thC there was an increase in the number of houses: by 1811 there were 44. Two of the new Cottages still stand near the Church: one is of Chequer Brick and has a Stone inscribed i.e. 1755, and the other, Vine Cottage, is of rubble Stone, has dentilled eaves and late-18thC gothic windows. Further expansion took place in the 1st half of the 19thC and there were 78 dwellings in 1851. Many of these were in School Lane as well as in the Main Street; some were constructed of Brick, others of Stucco, and most of the Cottages were of rubble. The Kennels of the South Oxfordshire Hunt were built in 1884 at the North-east end of the Green. In the 20thC there was another period of building activity and a Council Housing Estate of 16 houses now lies between the River and the old Main Street of the Village, where a Petrol Station has superseded the Smithy. Although there had been some recent demolition of the older houses, notably of some 16thC Cottages, a number of ancient buildings dating from a variety of Periods, still remained in 1958. Among them is Doyley’s early-17thC Farmhouse to the North of the Green.
It is a Stone building of 2-Storeys. It has flanking Chimneys with diagonal Shafts and 3 Gabled Dormer windows. The Front has been partly modernised in the 19thC, but the Gabled back of the House has been little altered. At the East end of the Green and approached by a Lime Avenue is the 17thC Farmhouse, now called a Manor-house.
Farmhouse. Early 17thC, remodelled mid/late 19thC. Limestone rubble with Ashlar Dressings & Timber-framing with Plaster & Brick infill; old plain-tile Roof with Brick Gable stacks. L-plan. 2-Storeys plus Attics. Symmetrical 3-window rubble front, with chamfered Plinth, has a central Gabled Ashlar Porch sheltering a 17thC Doorway with a 4-centred arched ovolo-moulded surround, recessed spandrels, and a 19thC ribbed door. Outer Bays have 3-light 19thC stone-mullioned windows and there is a matching 2-light window over the Porch. Roof has 3 Gabled 19thC Roof Dormers. End walls are of rubble with remains of Timber-framing at 1st-Floor, and have massive Brick Chimney projections, each tapering to 2 diagonal Shafts. Rear Wing, returning to left, has 1st-Floor Timber-framing with heavy diagonal braces to the lower panels, and is contemporary with the front Range.
Interior: not inspected but likely to be of interest.
Front probably also had 1st-Floor framing. Occupied by Timothy D’Oyley before 1657.
It is built of rubble with Ashlar quoins and was originally rectangular. It retains some of its original mullioned windows; its 3 hipped Dormer windows have 18thC casements; over the panelled doorway there is a later Hood of moulded wood supported by scroll brackets. The house next to the Manor-Stone with Brick dressings. The front was stuccoed in the late 18th or early 19thC. An early-19thC Farmhouse near the Church and the early-19thC Vicarage are the only other substantial Houses left on the Green.
Vicarage, now House. Probably early 17thC, remodelled & extended early 19thC. Roughcast walls; Welsh-slate roof with rendered stacks. Double-depth plan. 2-Storeys & 3-Storeys. 3-window front has, to right, a wide Gabled projecting Bay with two 12-pane sashes, that at Ground Floor in a rectangular recess. Earlier Bays have, to left, 3-Floors with 16-pane Sashes plus, in the angle, a further Sash above a Stone Doric Porch sheltering a Sash Door with margin lights and a rectangular overlight. 19thC garden front, returning to right, has shallow rectangular recesses flanking an Arched recess, plus a central Gable, but has 12-pane Sashes only to the outer Bays. Shallow-pitched roof has wide boxed eaves & Ridge Stacks, that over the earlier Range with 5 Shafts. To left of front is a low Lean-to Service Range.
Interior: early 19thC cornices, Fireplaces & Stair; stop-chamfered Beams & Joists, massive central Stack and fragments of Timber-framing in earlier Range. Early 19thC cast-iron reeded column Pump, with Domed Cover, against front wall of Service Range.
Ash Cottage: Pair of Cottages, now one House. Early 18thC. Extended 20thC. Limestone rubble with some brick dressings; possibly some Timber framing; Thatch Roof with Brick Stacks. 2 single-unit plans. One storey plus Attics. 2-window Front has, to right, Plank Door and 3-light casement, both with segmental Brick Arches, and to left 20thC casement. At 1st-Floor are 2 Dormers under swept eaves. Roof has Stacks to centre & right Gable wall. Upper part of rear wall (above extension) is Weatherboarded and is probably Timber-framed. Left Gable wall is also Weatherboarded and was formerly a Party Wall.
Interior not inspected. Formerly a row of 3 Cottages.
There are a number of picturesque Cottages of the 17th & 18thCs. They are mostly built of rubble, although some are of colour-washed Stucco. Timber framing remains in the gable ends of a few; the infilling is mainly of Brick, but some wattle & daub survives. Some Thatched & Stone-tiled Roofs are also to be seen. A group of Cottages of this date was pulled down in 1957 to make way for a new road to the Council Houses. The present Village Hall, close by the Church, is an ancient Stone building that may once have been a Barn.
In Council House Lane there are other 17thC dwellings: one, an L-shaped building, is now 4 Cottages; it is Timber-framed on a rubble Base, and has Brick or wattle & daub infilling: the steeply pitched Roof is Thatched. On the Main Street there is the 17thC Bakehouse. It is built of coursed Stone, bears the date 1658, and is Thatched. It was used as a Bakery until about 1914.
The ‘Black Horse‘ is dated FG 1751: it is built of rubble, has Brick quoins & dressings and Brick dentil eaves. This house may once have been called the ‘Wheatsheaf‘, for an Inn of that name was recorded in 1831. The ‘Crown‘, another of Stadhampton’s Inns, was Licensed in 1825 and remains a Public House. In the 1st half of the 19thC the Baptist Chapel (1837) and the School were built and some Cottages of this Period are distinguished by their red, yellow & blue Bricks. A row of 20thC houses, built after the 1st & 2nd World Wars, have been added to School Lane.
National events impinged on the Parish in the 17thC. During the Civil War Troops often passed through Stadhampton on account of its nearness to Chislehampton Bridge. Prince Rupert rode through on his way to Tetsworth in June 1643, and returned by the same route after his Victory at Chalgrove.
There appears never to have been a Manor of Stadhampton in the Middle Ages. At the time of Domesday the Township evidently formed part of the Demesne Lands of the Bishop of Lincoln’s Dorchester Manor, which were assessed at 59¾-Hides, far too large an area for Dorchester alone. The Stadhampton Estate & Grange were included in a survey of the Manor made in the 2nd quarter of the 13thC and they remained in the possession of the Bishops of Lincoln until 1547, when Bishop Holbeach surrendered Dorchester Manor to Edward VI. The Medieval Estate appears to have been larger than the 19thC Parish, which covered 623 acres, for 37 Virgates were recorded in the 13thC and 39 in 1551. The 3½ Virgates with Meadow & Pasture, which Bishop Burghersh Granted to Richard of the Chamber in or before 1333, had presumably reverted to the Bishop by 1547. Stadhampton remained with the Crown until Elizabeth Granted Dorchester Manor to Henry, Lord Norreys of Rycote. He died in 1601, and was succeeded by his grandson Francis, later Earl of Berkshire (d. 1622).
The Norreys Family appears soon to have alienated a large part of its Stadhampton Property. In the early 17thC the Wilmotts were in possession of 6½ Yardlands, 2½ of which were sold by Richard Wilmott in 1637 to Sir Robert Dormer of Dorton (Bucks.) Another Messuage and 2½ Yardlands had been sold by Henry Lord Norreys in 1586 to John Wise of Drayton. In 1611 this Property was conveyed by Robert Doyley & Peter Wilmott, the Trustees of John Coale to whom Wise had sold it, to John Cobbet. Cobbet Leased it to John Allen of Berwick Prior (Newington) for 99-yrs in 1621, and in 1632 Sir Robert Dormer, already a substantial Landholder in the Parish, bought the Lease for £800. In the 18thC the Property was attached to Studdridge Manor in Stokenchurch (Bucks.). In 1732, when it was known as Stadham Farm and comprised about 70 acres, it was Mortgaged to Richard Carter of Great Haseley. In 1738 Lt-Gen James Dormer (d. 1741) Quitclaimed to him all Title & Interest in the Estate.
Terriers of 1619 & 1650 indicate that Timothy Doyley of Chislehampton was a substantial Landholder in the Parish. In 1657 the latter conveyed his House & Lands in Stadhampton, with appurtenances in Brookhampton & Newington, to his son Robert, in consideration of the latter’s undertaking to pay his Debts. As the Hearth tax of 1665 shows, he continued to occupy the House. Robert, by his Will of 1669, settled his Stadhampton Property on his wife Jane (née Loggon) for life. Thereafter its Descent is not clear.
By the 18thC the Wise’s were Owners of the greater part of the Parish, including Stadham Farm, the former Doyley Estates, and some lesser Freeholds. In 1740 Robert Wise agreed to sell his Property to Oriel College, and a number of draft Agreements were drawn up. There was some suspicion that the Vendor had fraudulently inflated the value of the Estate, and there was talk of repudiating the bargain, but it was eventually carried out. Oriel, however, was unable to purchase the whole of Doyley’s Farm and part of it was conveyed to Christ Church and to Mrs Elizabeth Ives. Christ Church, owing to the dispute with Wise, did not receive its share of the Property, amounting to nearly 44 acres, until 1749.
In 1785 the Land-Tax Assessments record no less than 15 ‘Proprietors’, although some of them, including the Tenants of the 44-acre Christ Church Estate, were in fact Leaseholders. The Jones Family owned the Tithes and paid the heaviest Tax, but the Oriel Estate was probably larger, as it was in 1850. Robert Peers of Chislehampton owned 51 acres in 1786 and by 1850 the Peers Holding had increased to 81 acres. The only other sizeable Freeholds were those of Mr Aubrey, which by 1832 was in the possession of the Rev Shaw Hellier, who had 85 acres in 1850; and of Mr Cripps: in 1850 John Cripps had 89 acres.
Stadhampton Parish Tithe Map 1849
At the time of the Tithe Award (1850) Oriel College & William Jones of Stone Hall, Haverfordwest, owned 138 & 132 acres respectively, the latter being designated Lord of the Manor. In 1854 Charles Peers was given the Title and, in 1887, William & Thomas Franklin. It remained with the Franklins at least until 1920.
Up to 1912 or so the pattern of Land Ownership had undergone little change since 1850. The Franklins owned the Manor-house and about 160 acres, the former Jones’s Estate. Oriel, which in 1867 had bought a further 43 acres of Meadow Land for £2,300, now had 181 acres; Christ Church had 34 acres, the Rev J W Peers 81 acres, and R S Hellier 85 acres.
In 1921, however, Oriel sold its Estate to H Pether for £4,600, and 4-yrs later the Christ Church Property (Manor farm) was purchased by T W White for £840. In 1926 & 1927 Magdalen College purchased both Properties and the Doyley Estate of 215 acres was again united. In 1929 the College bought Church Farm (196 a.) from T Dunn and so became owner of about 2/3rds of the Parish. The Peers & Hellier Lands (c. 200 a.) were in the possession of C J Buswell.
The Parish Mills were an important Economic Asset. When the Bishop of Lincoln’s Estate in Stadhampton was Surveyed in the 2nd quarter of the 13thC there were 2-Mills. The Abbot of Dorchester rented one and 1½ Virgate of Land for 20s, and the other, ‘Heewere‘, was rented for 10s by the Prior of Holy Trinity (i.e. Christ Church), Canterbury. Five acres of Mill Land were Leased separately, and among the Tenants of 2 Virgates was Hugh, Miller of ‘Stadham‘. In 1279 these Mills, called ‘Brokmellen‘, were being Farmed each year by the Bishop for 47–4d, but the Tenants are not recorded. In 1300 the Farm of the Mill(s) was increased by 4s. At the time of the 1551 Survey Robert Allen was Tenant of a Watermill at a rent of 33s-4d. His Copyhold dated from 1537 and obliged him to carry out repairs at his own expense, except for the purchase of wood. There is no mention of a 2nd Mill. By 1564, when Dorchester Manor was in the hands of the Crown, the Mill was so decayed that the Manor’s Overseer declared that it could not be repaired for less than £54-12s-8d. However, John Doyley, the chief Landowner, at the request of the Tenants, paid for the repairs and gave £10 for 2-Millstones. In return the Mill was Farmed to him by the Crown for 60-yrs at 33s-4d a year, with reservation of large trees, underwoods, minerals, and Quarries. Before 1608 the Tenure of ‘2 Watermills under one Roof’ was divided between Dame Elizabeth Peryam, Widow of Sir William Peryam, late Chief Baron of the Exchequer, & Lord Francis Norreys of Rycote. In 1608 Lord Norreys sold both to Sir John Dormer of Dorton (Bucks.), who Leased them in 1625 to William Kirke, a local Miller, for 21-yrs at £6 a year, with the obligation to pay the original rent of 33s-4d to the Crown. William Dormer Leased them for 27-yrs from 1653 to Richard Latham & his son John, on the same conditions.
In 1720 John Dormer Mortgaged the Mill to John Chambers. Between 1785 & 1832 it was in the possession of the Cripps Family, and the Towertons were the Lessees until 1829, when they were succeeded by Edward Reynolds, who was still the Tenant in 1832. He appears to have sub-Leased it for a Document of 1830 describes Henry Towerton as the ‘Miller at Stadham‘. As the Mill was not situated on the River Thame it did not directly concern the Sewers’ Commissioners, but in 1801 they ordered part of the Cuxham Brook, which provided it with Water, to be cleansed.
The Mill itself is not mentioned in the 1850 Tithe Award Schedule, although Christ Church owned the Mill Close and part of the Garden as it had done since at least 1741. At the beginning of the 20thC Mrs Franklin owned the Mill and R Bobart, whose Family had been Tenants of Christ Church in 1850, was the Tenant. The Mill was still working in 1939.
Economic & Social History
There is no specific information about Stadhampton in Domesday Book as it formed a part of the Bishop of Lincoln’s Dorchester Manor. The whole was assessed at 59¾-Hides and the facts supplied about it are comparatively meagre. The earliest detailed Survey of the Bishop’s Estate here that has survived was made in the 2nd quarter of the 13thC. It names 26 Virgaters, each paying 4s-9d rent and owing the same Services as those of Chislehampton; 5 holders of 2 Virgates, each owing double the rent, Services and ‘Wudeway’ due from a single Virgate; and 2 Tenants, who each held 2½ acres of Mill Land at rents of 5s & 4s with the obligation to Mow at 2 of the Bishop’s Autumn Boon-works. In addition, Walter Bunte held a Virgate for special Services: he took care of the Bishop’s Ploughs & seed, saw that the Meadows were properly Scythed & gathered, that the Corn was duly reaped & collected, and that the Ricks & Haycocks were properly constructed & covered. If necessary, he was to go to the nearer Manors for the provisions of the Bishop and the Steward, and also to London with corn for sale or delivery to the Bishop’s Barns. The 1st day he was to travel at his own expense, but afterwards at that of the Bishop. It is noteworthy that the Manor was producing a Surplus for the Market, for one of Bunte’s Services was to accompany the Reeve to the Markets to sell corn and collect the proceeds. While there he was to purchase everything necessary for the Ploughs. When required by one of the Bishop’s Servants he was to be present at Episcopal Business. He had also to perform occasional Agricultural Services: he was to Plough 2 acres of the Bishop’s Land at his own cost and another 2 acres, the Bishop providing his food; and Harrow 1 acre if he had his own Plough, or if he shared one, he and his Partner had to Harrow it. He owed 2 Boon-works in Autumn with his whole Family except for his wife & daughter or his mother, if he had no daughter. The Bishop provided food at the time of the Farrowing Service and the Boon-works. Walter also owed Merchet, Heriot, Leirwite, a Fine for his Land after the death of his father, and an aid to the Lord whenever it was demanded.
Of the Free Tenants, John of the Bridge & Alexander the Smith each held a ½-Virgate for 4s and the Abbot of Dorchester held 1½ Virgates & a Mill for 20s., with the right to Pasture 8 Cows and a Bull with the Bishop’s animals. Alexander also held 1 Virgate for which he owed the Service of making at his own cost 6 Ploughs, except for the Ploughshare. He was also to have an acre of corn & another of rye, but if he did not perform the Services he was to pay 5s-6d Assize Rent.
In the Survey made in 1279 16 Tenants were said to hold a Virgate & a Messuage for 5s & Services; 4 held 2 Virgates each & a Messuage for 10s & Services; 5 held 2½ Virgates each & a Messuage for a rent of 12s-5d. and services; 5 held a ½ Virgate & Messuage for 2s & Services. For their Services the Tenants had to Plough each year 2 acres of the Demesne; Scythe the Meadow & lift the Hay; Reap in Autumn for 3½ days without food being provided and for 2 days with food provided; and Cart the corn until it was all carried. A Tenant could not marry his daughters or sell his foal or ox without Licence; and he had to take the Bishop’s corn to Market at his Will. Besides these Villein holders of Virgates, there was a Free Tenant, Henry Ferant, who held 4 Virgates & a Messuage for a rent of 22s a year & Services. He had to carry Brushwood for a day on his own Land and afterwards on the Bishop’s; Cart for 2 days in Autumn with his Tenants, the Bishop providing food. He also had to do Riding Service in addition to the Autumn Boon-work and be present at every Dorchester Hundred Court. His Ancestors, the Survey records, used to be Free like Sokemen and do 40 days’ Service for the King in Wartime. They had to provide their own Lance & Helmet of Iron. This Service, however, was withdrawn by the Bishop.
This Survey appears in some respects to be less thorough than the earlier Survey made for the Bishop. Only 29 Landholders, Free & un-Free, are listed in 1279 compared with 39 in the earlier Survey. The latter number includes the Prior of Canterbury and the Abbot of Dorchester, the Lords of the Mills, but the others appear to have been resident. The number of inhabitants is high in relation to the small area of the Parish, and the 14thC Tax-Assessment Lists indicate that the Community must have consisted of men of comparatively modest wealth. In 1327 there were 28 Contributors to the 20th compared with 21 at Chislehampton, but the total Tax paid was only a few shillings higher. After the reassessment of 1344 the Village was rated at more than a 3rd less than Chislehampton, a decline in prosperity for which no explanation has been found. If there was any decline in population in the later Middle Ages owing to the engrossment of Holdings, it was on a much smaller scale than at Chislehampton. In 1524 there were 24 Contributors to the Subsidy compared with 9 at Chislehampton.
A 1551 Survey of Dorchester Manor shows that there were then 12 Copyholders at Stadham, of whom 1 held the Mill only, 7 had 4 or more Virgates apiece, and 5 more than 1 Messuage. One Tenant had 3 Messuages & 4 Virgates, while another held 1 messuage & 1½ Virgates, with 2 Cottages & 4 Virgates in reversion. A small fee of 2d to 4d was required for Licence to make a sub-Tenant. Each of the 40 Yardlands carried right of Common for 16 sheep, 2 beasts, and 1 horse, a total of 760 animals. Compared with Chislehampton the Parish was well Wooded for there were said to be 244 large timber trees and 1,465 altogether.
Six persons had their Goods assessed at £3 for the 1577 Subsidy, and Thomas Stacy, who was assessed at £12, is clearly the substantial Yeoman of that name who was holding 1½ Virgates with another 4 in reversion in 1551.
In the mid-17thC there were 4 Open Arable Fields. Whaddon Field lay in the South of the Parish and included Lank Furlong on the West & Lillands on the East, part of it abutting on Ascott Field hedge. Forry Field was in the North towards Haseley Brook; but it is impossible to locate Bickwell or Swansey Fields. It is by no means certain that there was a 4-Field system of cultivation. In 1650, for instance, Robert Bird’s Holding was unequally distributed, consisting of 6 acres & 6 yards in Whaddon Field, 4½ acres and 1 Land in Swansey Field, 3½ acres in Forry Field, and 3 acres and 2 yards in Bickwell Field. He also had 2 acres of Meadow ground, the right to cut Hay in certain Meadows and in Cutted & Watchett Ways, 3½ Leys which amounted to 2 acres, and Common appropriate to a Yardland for 2 cows or other beasts, 2 horses mares or geldings & 20 sheep.
There are some indications that the Yeoman Farmer here as elsewhere in the neighbourhood was prosperous and respected. John Cobbett, for instance, who in 1615 was claiming an exclusive right to a Church Pew, which he had built for himself and his Family next to the Seat of John Doyley, was Granted an Hereditary Right to it. The Hearth-tax returns of 1665, moreover, show that Yeoman Families were occupying substantial houses: Robert Bird & Edward Wise each returned 5 Hearths. Another indication of prosperity and of a fairly populous Village at this Period is the number of Craftsmen: a Cordwainer, Blacksmith, Maltster & Harness-maker are mentioned in 1692, a Tailor in 1719.
Inclosure came in 1675, presumably through the initiative of the Doyleys, but no details of the negotiations have been found. The Riotous Assembly of 1692 in which 7 of the Stadhampton Yeomen, some of their Labourers & 4 Village Craftsmen were involved may have been caused by dissatisfaction with the changes made, particularly as it is stated in the later Tithe Award that there were ‘numerous disputes’ at this time.
Stadhampton Parish Tithe Map 1849
A Map of 1742, which includes most of the present Parish, gives a good Picture of conditions in the mid-18thC. If the Land was not all Inclosed in 1675 it certainly was by this date and was held by about 8 Principal Tenants. One of these was William Ives, an Oxford Mercer, who had a Leasehold Estate of some 88 acres. Half of this later formed the Estate acquired by Christ Church in 1749 and was Leased for £2-16s-8d up to the middle of the 19thC. The Fines for a 7-year Lease amounted to £34 between 1757 & 1792, £66-15s between 1799 & 1806 and thereafter fluctuated considerably, being £114-12s-4d in 1824 and £82-4s-9d in 1831 & 1838. In 1820 the Leasehold Estate was valued at £1,345.
A Tenant of Stadham Farm, part of Oriel College’s Estate, in the late 18th & early 19thC was the experimental Farmer Thomas Smith of Chippinghurst and Stadhampton. He was an Expert on the cultivation of Flax and he may well have grown it on his Land in the Parish. In a letter to another well known Farmer, Sir Christopher Willoughby of Marsh Baldon, a Member of the Board of Agriculture, he said that Flax should be sown about April immediately after Ploughing on ‘a lively Land where there is a depth of soil’ and at 2½ bushels to the acre. Before sowing the ground should be harrowed, and the Crop hand weeded afterwards and Barned in August ‘to beat the seed off and water the Flax’. It was best sown on Land which had not been Ploughed for a long time and he considered a moderate Crop to be 30-stone an acre & 12 bushels of seed.
In 1793 Smith, in answer to the Board of Agriculture’s Questionnaire, gave a description of Farming in the Parish and its neighbourhood. The soil he considered to be rich, dry & fertile; and capable of great improvement by watering as the Meadows by the River Thame were extensive and little above the usual height of the water. Very little of the old Pasture had been broken up and so grew only natural herbage. There was insufficient Woodland. The stock was chiefly cows & sheep with a few breeding mares, but little improvement was made as the calves & lambs were sold off when fattened. The grains were wheat, beans, pease, barley & oats. As there were many Farms of different sizes and Tenant Farmers of different opinions there was no uniform management, but he divided his own Land into 8 equal parts, one, the strongest land near the centre of the Farm, he kept in grass as a sheep-walk, sowing ryegrass, broad & Dutch clover. The other 7 parts he sowed in rotation with wheat, turnips for spring feed for ewes & lambs, oats, pease for which he Dunged the Land and after Harvest folded it with sheep, wheat, winter vetches, spring vetches, turnips & barley with broad clover. After the 1st crop of vetches he manured the Land with Cart Dung and when the vetches were up again spread coal ashes at 30 bushels to the acre. Ploughs used in the District were of 2 sorts—one with 2 wheels; the other with none, being generally used for light work. Horses rather than Oxen were chiefly used. As a result of Inclosure rents had risen, more corn was raised on light soil, turnips, vetches & clover were cultivated, more stock was kept, and consequently there had been a ‘great improvement’. In general he considered that all the un-Inclosed Waste Lands would be improved by Inclosure, and that nothing would be equal to general Inclosure for improving the quantity & quality of stock. He regarded tithes as one of the main obstacles to improvement. For common work wages were 1s-2d a day, which was from 6 o’clock in the morning until 6 o’clock at night, and 2s at Harvest, when work continued from sunrise until sunset.
In the late 18thC there were 12 different Tenants & 2 Owner Occupiers of Small Holdings. Only 2 Farms, one of them Oriel’s, were of any size. By 1850 there were 4 Tenants of more than 80 acres, and William Bobart’s Farm of 203 acres, Leased from 3 different Landowners, was by far the largest. There were 9 acres of Small Holdings. There was a fairly high proportion of Meadow or Pasture Land, 240 acres as against 340 of Arable. There were 19 acres of Common or Waste in the Parish, 1 acre of Wood or Oziers and the Village Green comprised 15 acres. There were 20 Gardens & buildings.
By the beginning of the 20thC the usual tendency for Farms to increase in size is evident at Stadhampton. The 3 Principal Tenant farmers held 85, 209 & 203 acres respectively. In 1929 there were 2 large Tenant Farmers: a 3rd Farmer had purchased the Lands he had formerly Tenanted and was Farming 206 acres on his own Account.
Considering the small area of the Parish, Stadhampton appears to have always been fairly well populated. In 1676 the Compton Census recorded 85 adults. Because Stadhampton formed part of the Peculiar of Dorchester no 18thC population returns were made to the Bishop, but Thomas Smith in 1793 stated that the population would be increased if the Land Inclosed was not Let in too large Farms. At the 1st Official Census of 1801 the population was 193 and it increased steadily to a peak figure of 401 in 1851. For the remaining decades of the Century it declined and was 253 in 1901. Between 1931 & 1951 there was an increase from 277 to 284.
An Overseers’ Account Book (1781–99), throws some light on the conduct of local affairs at the end of the 18thC. The annual account of the Overseers, which was rendered from Easter to Easter, was allowed at a Vestry Meeting and later verified on Oath before 2 of the Justices. Their income consisted of the rent of the Village Green, which varied between £24 & £30, a few Cottage rents, and the Poor-rate. Out of this they paid the ‘Poor Bill’, invariably the largest single item, and the ‘Bills’ of the other Parish Officers: the Churchwardens, Constable, Surveyors & Clerk. There is no clue to what exactly these Bills were for. Both the Churchwardens and the Constable received comparatively large sums, ranging from £3 to £7. In 1798 it was agreed that the 2 Overseers should hold a Vestry at Stadhampton Church on the 1st Monday in every month, at 4 pm in winter and 6 pm in summer. It was still their Business among other things to appoint the Hayward and regulate the Pasturing of animals on Stadham Green & Copson Lane. The Hayward was ‘to Pound all kind of cattle at 2d belonging to the inhabitants and 4d to every person out of the Parish, geese at the same price, found trespassing’. The Owner of unringed pigs was to forfeit 1d for each.
Expenditure rose steadily from £36-13s-5d. in 1780–1 to £70-9s-8¾d in 1794/95. It jumped to £174-6s-4¼d in 1795/96, but then declined slightly, being £143-11s-8½d in 1797/98. The Poor Bill itself, always the largest of the Parish Bills, increased from £22-1s-2d. in 1780/81 to £142-13s-1½d in 1795/96. In 1781 2d in the £1 on Property rated at £821-5s had realised £6-16s-10½d: in 1796 a 2s-8d rate produced £134-1s-2d.
A number of items in the Poor Accounts are of special interest: in 1791 £1-13s– 4d was expended on the purchase & spinning of 30-lb of Flax; in 1797, £2-7s. on Spinning-wheels. Later Accounts record numerous payments for Spinning, which was apparently done at home. The able-bodied Poor were sent out as ‘Roundsmen’, the Parish paying them about 6d a day. Thomas Smith noted at about this time that there was no employment for the poorer sort of workmen & children in winter and ‘they are much to be pitied’. Other sums expended were for the upkeep of the Village Green, particularly of its Ditches and in 1795, £9 was spent on the repair of 2 of the Parish Houses and £1-18s on Coals for the Poor. In a Visitation return of 1802 Stadhampton Green was declared to be appropriated to the Poor.
An incident in 1830 illustrates the discontent among the working population caused by the fear of unemployment. Men from the Parish broke a Threshing-machine at Little Milton. In their Defence it was argued that they had been over persuaded by neighbours from Drayton, and that the belief among the Labouring Classes that the destruction of Machines was sanctioned by the Government had become general. Sickness & old age, however, were the main causes of Pauperism: in 1838 there were 10 Paupers in the Parish, 3 of whom were old & infirm, the remainder sick.
Stadhampton & Chislehampton, now in Cuddesdon Deanery, were once in Dorchester Peculiar. In the 11thC like other Churches in Dorchester Hundred they probably formed Prebends for the Secular Canons of Dorchester, then the Cathedral Church of the Diocese. Although the See was moved to Lincoln in 1092, soon after the death of Bishop Remigius, the Canons retained possession of the Churches. When Bishop Alexander suppressed the Secular Canons in about 1140, and replaced them by Austin Canons, the endowments of the Secular Canons were evidently transferred to the new Order.
The Churches at Stadhampton & Chislehampton are 1st specifically mentioned in a Papal Bull of 1146, when Dorchester Abbey was confirmed in its possession of them. The Bull states that Bishop Remigius had Granted them Dorchester Church and its Chapels. The Abbey retained them until its Dissolution in 1536. In 1146 they were described as Chapels of Dorchester and in 1291 as Capellae Prebendales, and although during the Middle Ages Stadhampton at least had Parochial status, as a sign of Dependence on the Mother Church it paid 7s a year to the Abbey for the right of burial. In the 18thC a similar payment was made to the Churchwardens of Dorchester.
It is possible that in the Middle Ages Chislehampton did not acquire full Parochial status. It may, for instance, have always buried its dead at Stadhampton. In the post-Reformation Period it certainly came to be regarded as in some sense a Chapelry of Stadhampton, and did not become a fully Independent Parish until 1763, when its new Church was built. It had, however, a large degree of Independence: from the 16thC at least it had its own Churchwardens, and in the 18thC, and no doubt earlier, its own Overseers and Poor Rate. Its inhabitants were baptised & married in their own Church, but since they had no Churchyard were buried at Stadhampton, except that the Peers family built a Vault in Chislehampton Church in 1749 . A payment had to be made to Stadhampton for everyone buried in the Churchyard there. In practice Chislehampton at this time was so much a separate Parish that the Curate stated that they formed 2 Parishes ‘as separate as Cuddesdon & Garsington‘.
In 1763, when the new Church at Chislehampton was built, Charles Peers gave the Land for a Churchyard, and in the same year the Chislehampton Registers, which had previously been part of the Stadhampton ones, were started. Since then Chislehampton has been in reality a separate Ecclesiastical Parish. As some Chislehampton Families attended Service at Stadhampton and continued to be buried at Stadhampton, and as both Churches were served by the same Curate, the 2 Parishes were, however, usually considered as one.
In the 18th & 19thCs there was discussion as to whether the Churches formed separate Livings. In 1750 the Curate wrote that they had always been distinct and that he was summoned to the Visitation at Dorchester separately for the 2 Parishes. Curates were no doubt always Licensed separately for each Church, even though the nominations were made together. All doubt about the position was removed in 1841 when the Livings were formally united as a Perpetual Curacy. Hitherto the Benefices were sometimes called Perpetual Curacies, sometimes ‘Impropriate Curacies’ or Donatives. The last 2 were certainly the more accurate descriptions, for the Patron was able to appoint and ‘turn out’ the Minister at pleasure. In 1868 the Benefice became a Titular Vicarage.
In the Middle Ages no Vicarage was endowed in either Church, and therefore their Parish Priests were not Presented to the Bishop for Institution. They were Licensed by the Official of Dorchester Peculiar until about 1835, when the Bishop of Oxford began to License them.
After the Dissolution of Dorchester Abbey the Rectory and Right of Presentation to Stadhampton, with which Chislehampton was evidently included, were Granted in 1542 to Christ Church. The College later lost them, for in 1607 the Parsonages of Stadham & Chislehampton were Granted to Cope Doyley, the son of the Lord of Chislehampton Manor & John Cobbet, a Stadham Yeoman, for a rent of £13. In the following year Doyley & Cobbet divided the Rectory, which was to be the subject of many Legal transactions, into 2 parts. The 1st remained with the Doyley Family and Descended with Chislehampton Manor to the Peers Family, the present Patrons. This part consisted of the ‘Mansion House’ of the Rectory, the Churchyard of Stadhampton, the Obventions & Tithes of Chislehampton, and the Right of Presentation of a Minister to say Divine Service in both Churches ‘in as large and ample a manner as it has been’, and involved responsibility for the Chancel of Stadhampton Church. Cobbet’s share consisted of the Tithes of Stadhampton and some Glebe Land. This part was sold in 1620 to Sir John Dormer, and has since belonged to a number of Lay Proprietors.
No valuation of the Joint Rectory has been found before that of 1535, when it was worth £18-6s-8d. Later the Doyley half of the Rectory probably became united with Chislehampton Manor. In 1746 it was stated that the Manor was Tithe free. The Stadhampton Tithes were commuted at the Inclosure of 1675 for £95, a sum confirmed by the Tithe Award of 1850 when there were 2 Tithe Owners. It is interesting to note that the holder of most of the Tithes, about 8/9ths, paid a Land Tax Assessment of £8-4s-6. out of a total of £78-12s for the Parish.
The Curate of Stadhampton, who probably also served Chislehampton, was receiving £5-6s-8d a year in 1526 from Dorchester Abbey. The post Reformation Curate, who had no settled endowment, received a Stipend from the Patron. In the 1st half of the 18thC this consisted of £26 a year, or 10s a Sunday, plus Sunday Dinner for the Curate and the care of his horse. But in 1746 Sir John Doyley, who had been obliged to sell his Chislehampton Estate, reduced the Stipend to £20 and ceased to ‘take care’ either of the Parson or his horse.
In 1750 Queen Anne’s Bounty augmented the Joint Living by £400, and in 1754 by another £400, while Charles Peers settled on the Curate £16 a year for Chislehampton and £12 and a Tenement for Stadhampton. In the early 19thC the value of the 2 Livings was about £50. Between 1810 & 1843 Queen Anne’s Bounty gave another £1,400 and the Peers Family £500. But it still remained a Poor Living, in 1955 worth only £149, when it was held with Drayton St Leonard.
During the Middle Ages the Churches, which were only a mile apart and probably generally shared a Priest, were at times served by the Augustinian Canons of Dorchester. This was certainly not so either in 1317, when the Chaplain accused the Abbot & 2 Canons of opening 2 Coffers of his at Stadham and stealing among other things 8 Charters & 9 Bonds, or in the early 15thC, if the evidence of Ralph Carnell can be accepted. He was a young Canon who, at the Episcopal Visitation of Dorchester Abbey in 1445, complained, among other things, that the Abbot had sent him against his Will to take charge of Stadhampton, which had formerly been served by a Secular Chaplain. The Abbot described Carnell’s violence & sins, including incontinency with a ‘Stadham‘ woman, while Carnell accused the Abbot’s men of Armed Assault, of wounding him & imprisoning him.
When the same Priest served both Churches, Services were held alternately in each. In the late 14thC the people of Stadhampton claimed that when Mass was celebrated in Chislehampton, Matins & Vespers should be said at Stadham, whereas the Chislehampton Parishioners wanted those Services also in their own Church. The dispute was settled by the Bishop in favour of Chislehampton. This Appeal to the Bishop shows that although Dorchester Peculiar was free from Archidiaconal Jurisdiction, it was not Free from the Bishop’s. After the Reformation it was exempt from both. The Churchwardens of Stadhampton & Chislehampton attended the Visitations at the Peculiar Court of Dorchester and made their Presentments there until the early 19thC, when they became subject to the Bishop’s Visitation. Although the Peculiar survived in some form until c. 1847, Chislehampton & Stadhampton, because they had been augmented by Queen Anne’s Bounty, submitted to the Bishop’s Visitation in 1796, 1802, 1823 & 1834.
After the Reformation the Churches always had the same Minister. One late-16thC Curate named Evans, one of the many Welsh Churchmen in the County, got into trouble with the Peculiar Court, and when Excommunicated & Prohibited from saying Divine Service, answered that he would continue to Serve & Preach until he was removed ‘with strong hand’. The next year his successor was summoned before the Court for irregularities in the Service: he answered that he always said the Service according to the Book of Common Prayer except when he Preached, and then he said part of it; and that in Chislehampton he could not wear a Surplice because there was none. Later Curates, such as the early-17thC Walter Chaundler, remedied this deficiency by wearing the Stadham Surplice for Service at their other Church. Chaundler (d. 1614) was ‘a faithful Minister and zealous Preacher of God’s word’, who resided in Stadhampton Parish with his Family and was buried there. One of his Parishioners, for the ‘love that he bore him,’ built him a Tomb in the Chancel. Henry Owen, ‘a Nonconformist all his days’, probably followed him as Curate. His son John, a prominent Congregationalist Minister, was born at Stadhampton in 1616, when he himself is said to have been Minister, and from then until 1662 Puritan influence generally prevailed in the 2 Parishes. A note in the Register by Robert Morgan, who became Curate in about 1641, throws light on the Chaos in the administration of the Religious life of the Village during the Civil War. He says that the Register was not found for above 2-yrs after his coming so that many names were not Registered.
The Puritan sympathies of Sir John Doyley & his wife led to the removal of Morgan and the institution of John Hartcliffe, brother-in-law of John Owen, Henry Owen’s son. Hartcliffe seems to have replaced Morgan in the late 1650’s, and John Bilstone later noted in his Copy of the Register that in the time of Cromwell names were ‘totally obliterated with a wicked design’. Hartcliffe was in his turn suspended in 1662 and a period of neglect followed. In 1663 the younger John Doyley & his wife were Presented for not having provided a Minister for the Easter Day Service and the Churches were reported to be without a settled Minister. Robert Morgan was then reinstated, but in 1671 the Churchwardens of Chislehampton Presented that ‘our Minister who was constant with us’ is now dead and that since then there has been ‘not Common Prayer nor Preaching.’ The Doyleys continued to take little interest in the Church and in 1687 and again in 1694 it was reported to be without a settled Minister.
Zeal for the Anglican Church not unnaturally declined among the Parishioners: in 1717 the Curate presented them at the Dorchester Court for refusing to pay the Church Rate towards the repair of the Church. From about 1728 to 1766, however, the Parish had the benefit of a resident Minister, John Bilstone, and, after 1748, a liberal Lord & Lady of the Manor, Charles Peers & his wife Katherine, who constantly attended the Church Services with their whole Family. Bilstone’s interest in his Pparish is indicated by the beautifully written Copy he made of the ‘Stadham‘ Register (1567–1772) with the object as he said of preserving ‘what may be a very great use in adjusting property amongst posterity’. The differences which arose with his Parishioners in the 1760s appear to have been due to Zeal rather than to Neglect. In 1761 he was accused of not performing the Duty according ‘to the ancient and accustomed method’ and was Presented again by the Churchwardens in 1764. He retaliated by accusing them of having neglected to present certain ‘Public Offences & Enormities’ committed in the Parish. Bilstone, no doubt, encouraged Charles Peers to provide in 1763 a new Church at Chislehampton. When it was consecrated by the Bishop of Oxford, Bilstone preached a Sermon in which he praised his Patron for his munificence in building this ‘Sacred Edifice’ instead of a magnificent pile for his own use. He concluded his Eulogy by saying that Peers‘ liberality & constant attendance at Church was a proof that wealth need not always alienate the mind from Religion. Bilstone died in 1766 and was succeeded in 1769 by John Witherington Peers, the son of the Lord of the Manor, who continued to hold the Living until his death in 1835. He was a Pluralist and never lived in the Parish.
In 1797 Thomas Fry, memorable for his work for the neglected Parishioners of Toot Baldon, was acting as Curate. In 1802 there were 40 Communicants at Stadhampton & 30 at Chislehampton. There was one Service every Sunday and 4 Communion Services in the year at each Church. The children attended a Sunday School recently started at Stadhampton. By 1812 the Curate was no longer resident, but came out from Jesus College, and the number of Communicants had dropped by 1823 to 16 at Stadhampton, where there were 56 Families, and to 12 at Chislehampton, where there were 16 Families including the Household of the Lord of the Manor.
After the building of the Vicarage House in 1836 at a cost of about £830, largely contributed by the Peers Family, the Parishes had a permanent resident Minister. Services were held regularly and in Stadhampton the Congregation so increased that by 1891 it could be called one of the finest in the District.
Chislehampton Church, on the other hand, was largely dependent on the Tenant of the Manor-house as the Village was so small. ‘If Chislehampton House were empty the Church would have to be closed down,’ wrote the Vicar in 1922, for many of the Parishioners preferred to go to Services at Stadhampton, & Chislehampton Church was considered more as a Private Chapel, although open to the Public.
The Church of St John the Baptist at Stadhampton is a small Stone building comprising a Chancel, Nave, Aisles, and 18thC Western Tower. The Church was considerably altered in the 19thC. The circular Font appears to be the only survival from the building that is known from documentary evidence to have existed in 1146. Major alterations were carried out in the early 15thC. The Chancel Arch was then rebuilt and a North Aisle was constructed. The Aisle is divided from the Nave by an Arcade of 3-Arches with plainly moulded Capitals. It has an early Perpendicular window of 2-lights at the East end. The windows in the North Wall, which have square heads on the external wall, were perhaps inserted later in the 15thC. The North Door is now not used.
There is a record that the Church was restored in 1588, and the Chancel appears to have been rebuilt early in the 17thC. The Priest’s Door of this period remains, but the windows were altered in the 19thC. The date 1600, cut on the Southeast Quoin, may possibly commemorate this reconstruction. Presentments at the Peculiar Court show that the fabric continued to give trouble. In 1623 the Belfry, perhaps a Wooden one at that Period, was reported out of repair, and in 1626 the Churchwardens were Presented for leaving the Pavement of the Church in decay. Much interest was taken at this time in the Interior Furnishings of the Church. A Reading-desk – inscribed IP 1611 – and a Pulpit were installed. New Pews were made in 1636, 3 years after Sir Robert Dormer of Ascott had been given permission to build a Pew for his Family under the Pulpit ‘at his own proper cost’. The Church was probably beautified or repaired after the Restoration, for the date 1663 was at one time inscribed in plaster in the Gable of the North Aisle.
By 1721 the condition of the Tower was serious and in 1727 the Churchwardens Petitioned to be allowed a ‘competent’ time in which to repair or rebuild it. It was finally rebuilt, with money raised by subscriptions from the Parishioners, by Richard Belcher, a Mason of Little Milton. Delafield, writing in about 1740, says that Belcher cut his Initials on a Stone on the East side of the Tower with the date 1731. As it was Presented in Court that the Tower was still out of repair in 1736, it is probable that it was rebuilt in 1737 and that Delafield mis-read the date. It is not shown in Buckler’s Drawing, and there was no trace in 1958 of the date or initials. The Tower is of 2 Stages and is ornamented with Urns at each of its 4 Corners. The original West Doorway was altered in 1875.
The seating accommodation was increased about the same date by the erection of a West Gallery, presumably for the Singers. The Parishioners of Stadhampton, Ascott & Brookhampton subscribed £15 for it in 1736. In 1744 a fine Royal Arms of Queen Elizabeth, carved in Oak, was presented by the Curate, John Bilstone, and hung over the Chancel Arch. The Arms are blazoned and the supporters, a Lion and a Dragon, are painted ‘in their proper colours’. Beneath is the Legend, ‘Reginae erunt nutrices tuae, Isai. 49: 23.’ In the 19thC the Arms were removed to the Tower Arch.
Minor deficiencies were reported in the 2nd half of the Century. In 1750 the Chancel Floor was out of repair; in 1746 the windows, and the Patron, Charles Peers, was asked to mend them. Both were again in need of repair in 1790. In 1809 the Roof was mended.
In 1875, however, the state of the Fabric and the need to enlarge the Church led to a ‘thorough’ restoration at a cost of £1,309. The Architect was E G Bruton of Oxford. A drawing of 1821 by Buckler shows that the Church then comprised a Medieval Chancel, Nave, & North Aisle, and the 18thC Western Tower. At the restoration the Ritual Chancel was extended ‘some 10-ft further West’ by placing the Choir Stalls, Pulpit, etc in the East Bay of the Nave. A new East window was inserted and the other Chancel windows were restored. A small Arch was added at the East end of the North Arcade to make room for an Organ. A completely new South Aisle was built, and the whole Church re-Roofed. The 17thC Pulpit & Reading Desk and the old Box Pews were removed. So no doubt was the West Gallery for the Singers and the raised large Pew in the North Aisle, which Parker thought much disfigured the Church. New fittings, Reading Desk, & Pews of pitchpine were substituted. The 10 Commandments, painted on 2 Boards, were placed on the East wall. The ‘remarkably sweet toned’ Organ, made by a former Curate, was replaced. In 1882 the Chancel was provided with new Panelling & a Reredos. The last has since been removed and the Panelling has been concealed by Velvet Curtains. In 1924 a Faculty to place a Cross & Candlesticks on the Altar was Granted. A legacy of £200 left by Mrs Ellen Lyon was spent in 1910 on a Clock for the Tower. Electric light & heating were installed in 1933 & 1951 respectively.
There are several Brasses (now on the North & East walls of the North Aisle): one to John Wylmot (d. 1498) and his wife Anne; another to John Wylmot the younger (d. 1508) and his wife Alys; 2 to 12 children, apparently Wylmots, but it is not clear to which Family they belong; and one to another child, Dorothy Clarke (d. 1654), whose mother was a Doyley. There is a large black marble Floor Slab behind the Altar to Sir John (d. 1709) & Margaret Doyley (d. 1706/7). It bears the Arms of Doyley impaling Cholmondely. In the Chancel is a Marble Tablet, signed Henry Westmacott, London, to Sarah Beavis (d. 1783), relict of Arthur Beavis and daughter of Sir Charles Peers. It bears the Arms of Beavis impaling Peers. In the Tower there are 2 large Marble Wall Tablets. One to John Eels (d. 1755), a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy, was erected by his nephew James Jones, the son of Ann (d. 1791) & James Jones (d. 1767) of Wrexham, both buried at Stadhampton to whom Eels left his Estate. The other one is to Ann, wife of Charles Edward Jones of Great Milton (d. 1784). An old Parish Chest remains in the Church.
In 1552 there was a Chalice & Paten of Silver gilt, a Brass Pix, Cross & 2 Candlesticks, and various Vestments & Altar Cloths. The present Plate consists of a Chalice dated 1712 and inscribed Thomas Wise & Edward Winter, Churchwardens 1713; a Pewter Flagon of 1840 and 2 Pewter Dishes.
In 1552 the church had 3-Bells. A complete new Ring of 4 was Cast in 1621 by Henry Knight. Of these 2 remain but the other 2 existing Bells were Cast in 1883 & 1884 by Mears & Stainbank of London.
There is a Stone Cross in the Churchyard, a Memorial to the dead in the 2 World Wars. It was originally designed by H S Rogers of Oxford and was erected in about 1920.
The earliest Register dates from 1567. There is a gap between 1618 & 1627 and until 1762 Chislehampton Entries are included. Bilstone made 3 Copies for the years 1567–1762, one for Stadhampton and 2 for Chislehampton.
There was no recorded Roman Catholicism in Chislehampton, and at Stadhampton the only record is of 2 Poor women who were said to be Papists in 1708.
There is evidence of strong Puritan influence at Chislehampton & Stadhampton as early as the Reign of James I. John Doyley, Squire of Chislehampton and ‘a Great Friend to the Gospel,’ was a Patron of Robert Harris, afterwards a celebrated Puritan Preacher & President of Trinity College. When the Plague struck Oxford in 1604 he prevailed on the young man to preach at Chislehampton and in the neighbourhood. Doyley’s wife Ursula, ‘a woman of an extraordinary knowledge & piety’, also came from a leading Puritan Family and was sister to Sir Anthony Cope of Hanwell, one of the leading anti-Episcopalians in the Country. Doyley presented to the Living of Stadhampton Henry Owen, ‘a Nonconformist all his days’, and father of the Congregationalist Minister, John Owen. John Owen was called ‘the Metropolitan of Independency, the Achitophel of Oliver Cromwell‘. When just before the Restoration he was ejected from the Deanery of Christ Church because of his moderation, he retired to a Stadhampton House. There he ‘called together some of his Party to Preach and many of his Disciples went from Oxon to hear him … but they being several times silenced by Soldiers of the Militia and sorely threatened that Congregation was broken’. There were said to be as many as 30 or 40 of the ‘Godly Party’ meeting in his House, and on one occasion in 1661 his house was raided by the Militia and 6 or 7 cases of Pistols were removed. In 1665 he was indicted at Oxford for holding a Conventicle, but he had powerful Royalist friends and was never imprisoned. Although he left Stadhampton in the 1660s and became an outstanding Nonconformist Preacher in London, he must have kept up his connection with the neighbourhood, since in 1677 he married as his 2nd wife Dorothy, Widow of Thomas Doyley, younger brother of Sir John Doyley of Chislehampton.
The Doyleys were noted for their Nonconformist sympathies even after the Restoration. After the suspension in 1662 of John Hartcliffe, Owen’s brother-in-law, who had been Presented to the Living by John Doyley, John Doyley and his wife, and a few others were constantly Presented for absence from Church and for not receiving Communion. Similar Presentments continued into the 1670s, and the Compton Census of 1676 gives 2 Dissenters for Chislehampton & 7 for Stadhampton. In 1717 a number of Parishioners were presented for not paying their Church-rates, but Nonconformity seems to have declined during the 18thC for in 1802 there was reported to be none.
The Evangelical influence of the Peers Family of Chislehampton probably checked the growth of Dissent in the 2 Villages in the 19thC. None was recorded in Chislehampton, but in the larger Village of Stadhampton it made some progress. In 1810 the House of George Goatley was Registered for Nonconformist Worship. In 1834 no Dissenters were returned ‘except a few Ranters’, but a year later the Curate of Stadhampton, J C Philpot, seceded from the Church of England and later became prominent as a Particular Baptist. He was the Minister of the Meeting-place Licensed in 1835. Two years later a Chapel was built that seems always to have been associated with the Particular Baptists. In 1854 it was said to have a Congregation of 15, most of whom came from a distance. The Congregation did not increase and in the early 20thC the Chapel was closed. In 1924 the building was sold.
No information has been found about children’s schooling before the 19thC. A Sunday School was set up in 1800 and in the early years of the Century a Day-school was established through the generosity of the Peers Family. The Day-school was held 1st in the Church or in a hired Room, but in 1807 Robert Peers restored a Coach-house for the use of the School. The new Schoolroom was opened with great ceremony in 1808 and 50 children from Stadhampton, Chislehampton, and some neighbouring Parishes attended in that year. It must have been one of the 2 Day-schools recorded in Stadhampton in 1815, and was probably the School which was said to be conducted by the Sunday School Manager and attended by children from Chislehampton & Brookhampton. The other School consisted of 6 boys & 9 girls.
The Peers School had no Endowment at 1st, but an Annual School Sermon was Preached and a collection afterwards made for the support of the School. In 1818 Mrs Mary Peers & Mrs Sarah Stevens Peers gave £100 in Consols to Endow the School, and the Peers Family became Governors of the Foundation. The Official Report of 1833 states that the School was a Day & Sunday School supported partly by the Peers Charity and the Payment of 1d a week from each child, but chiefly by Voluntary Contributions.
A Private School was opened in Stadhampton in 1832 and was attended by 46 boys & girls, but it does not seem to have been long-lived for in 1854 only one mixed School supported by Endowment & Pence existed. About 70 children attended from both Chislehampton & Stadhampton. The Peers School, classified as a Church of England School, continued on the old lines until the 1870s, but in 1878 it was replaced by a Board School, built at Brookhampton with accommodation for 80 children . A School Board of 5 Members for Ascott, Chislehampton & Stadhampton had been set up and it decided to use the Peers Charity for rewards for regular attendance at the new School. Children from these 3 Villages and from Newington attended. The building was enlarged in 1894 and again in 1904 so as to hold 117 children, but the average attendance was 82. In 1931 the School became a Junior school for children up to the age of 11; 58 attended in 1943 and 69 in 1954. The Seniors were transferred to Great Haseley. It was known in 1954 as Stadhampton County School.
At an unknown date one Righton gave £25 to the Poor of the Parish. Between 1707 & 1750 £1-5s. arising from this Charity was paid to the Poor and was being paid in the late 18thC. In 1800 £18, presumably drawn from the Capital, was applied to the purchase of a Cottage to be occupied by a Parish Pauper. The interest on the residue together with £1, the rent of the Cottage, was distributable to the Poor. In the early 19thC the distribution was irregularly made but in 1820 £7-15s., representing 7 years’ accumulated interest, was paid to 136 persons. By 1871 the Cottage had been sold and the income of the Charity was being applied to the Rates. In 1925 280-lb. of flour, purchased out of the income, was distributed to 20 persons and in 1932 the custom was to distribute 6 or 7-b. of flour to ‘certain persons’ every 2-yrs. It was ruled in the same year that the benefit of the Charity should be limited to the inhabitants of the Ancient Parish. In 1956 the income was 13s-4d. It was not then distributed nor had it been in the 2 preceding years.
In 1749 the poor were receiving 6s, the interest on ‘Mrs. Ann Wise’s Legacy’. It appears to have been lost by about 1823.