Sydenham Manor Estates

Manor & Lesser Estates
Before the Conquest Sydenham,  which was rated at 15 hides, was held freely by a certain Almar.  After the Conquest, it was given to William FitzOsbern, Earl of Hereford (d.1071), who was succeeded in England by his 2nd son Roger.  He forfeited his lands for rebellion in 1075.  In 1086 Gilbert de Breteuil was holding Sydenham at Rent of the King ‘of the fee of Earl William‘. He took his name from Breteuil, the Head of the Earl’s Norman Fief, and was an important Tenant-in-chief.  Sydenham was probably given with Chinnor to Hugh de Vernon and by 1146 it was held by his son Richard de Vernon.  Until the mid-13th-century, Sydenham followed the Descent of Chinnor and together they formed 1 Knight’s Fee.  It was, in fact, a member of the Manor and the men of Sydenham did Suit every 3 weeks at the Court of Chinnor.


After being forfeited by Walter de Vernon Sydenham was Granted in 1203 to Saer de Quincy and it was his son Roger who granted the Manor to Thame Abbey.  The Abbey had long been a considerable Landholder in the Parish and by 1237 had received Grants of at least 2½ hides.  In 1248 Roger de Quincy gave in Free Alms 1½ Carucate, said to be all his Sydenham Land, for an annual rent of £20 and 2 capons. The Abbot and his Sydenham Tenants were freed from doing Suit at the Earl’s Chinnor Court; the View of Frankpledge, which the Earl had held, was transferred to the Abbot; and the Earl retained only Free Warren and the Homage and Service of the Sydenham Freeholders.  In 1255 Roger de Quincy, Earl of Winchester, was still said to hold Sydenham which was then assessed at 13 hides, but before his death in 1264 he must have completed the Transference of Sydenham to the Abbey, for in 1279 the Jurors stated that the Abbot held the Manor as a ½-Fee by the enfeoffment of Roger de Quincy. The rent was 6s 8d and 2 capons at this time, although in 1270 it had been £21 a year.

In 1285 the King brought a Writ of quo warranto against the Abbot, asking by what Right he held half of Chinnor Manor.  The Abbot successfully defended himself by saying that he did not hold half the Manor, but the Hamlet of Sydenham, which was in the Manor and which Roger de Quincy had given him in Free Alms.  The connection with Chinnor lasted until the 16th century, the Rent of 6s 8d being paid, after Chinnor had been divided, to the Holders of the Ferrers Manor.

Thame Abbey held its Sydenham Grange and Manor, known also as Abbots Fee until its Dissolution in 1539.  In 1542 Sydenham was included in the Grant of the Abbey’s Thame Estate to Sir John Williams.  He held the Grange and Manor at his death in 1559, but while most of the Abbey’s Thame Property went to his daughter Isabella and her husband Sir Richard Wenman, he left Sydenham to his other daughter Margaret and her husband Sir Henry Norreys.  They also inherited the Bishop of Lincoln’s Thame Manor and Sydenham followed its Descent until 1608, when it was conveyed by Francis, Lord Norreys, to Sir Richard Wenman. Sydenham then followed the descent of Thame Park, and the Wenmans and their heirs the Wykeham-Musgraves remained Lords of the Manor and Chief Landowners in the Parish until 1917, when much of their Sydenham Land was sold.  By 1925 they had sold almost all of it, and Manorial Rights had ceased to exist.

There was a smaller Estate in Sydenham which did Suit at Wallingford Honour’s Courts and which was known in the 15th century as Poly’s Fee and in the late 18th century as Pool’s Fee.  It had its origin in the Medieval Freehold of the De la Pole Family.  John de St Pol appears as Witness in the late 12th century and a Ralph de Pol some 30 years later.  In about 1250 Peter de la Pole appears, probably the Peter who held 4 Virgates in 1279.  By about 1300 he had been succeeded by John de la Pole who in 1316 was one of the richest men in the Parish.  By 1356 the Family House had been sold, and no further mention of the Family has been found.  Its Fee continued separate from the Manor and was represented in the late 18th century by the Farm belonging to Sir John Skynner of Great Milton (d.1805), Chief Baron of the Exchequer.  The Farm was later known as Ryder’s Farm after his daughter and heiress Frederica and her husband the Rt Hon Richard Ryder, a Judge and Politician (1756-1832).  Ryder inherited the Great House in Great Milton, Oxfordshire in 1805.  In about 1824 they sold it to Miss Wykeham and it thus became merged with the Manor Lands.

In the early 13th century Saer de Quincy, Earl of Winchester, Granted 18 acres in Sydenham to Littlemore Priory, and later his son Roger freed the Nuns from Suit at his Chinnor Court.  The Priory also acquired for 60 marks 2 Messuages and a ½-hide from Peter de Harwell when 2 of his daughters became Nuns at Littlemore, and towards the end of the Century Roger de la Mare granted 1½ Virgate.  Littlemore kept its Sydenham Estate, undoubtedly the 6½ Virgates entered under Chinnor in 1279 for which the Prioress paid 2s and a pound of pepper, until its Dissolution in 1525.  It then became part of the Endowment of Cardinal College, and in 1532 of Henry VIII’s College.  The Estate was in 1547 lost to the College and acquired by Sir John Williams of Thame, who left it in his Will to the Thame Almshouses.

Lord Williams’ Almshouses Thame

Lord Williams’s Executors in 1575 Granted Littlemore’s Sydenham Estate, which in the late 17th century consisted mainly of a Farm of 6½ Yardlands,  with much of the other Almshouse Property, to New College in Trust for the Almshouses.  The College held it until the 19th century, but from the late 17th century rented it to the Lords of the Manor.  When the Alms Houses were sold under a Scheme of 1874 of the Endowed Schools Commission and the Charity was placed under the new Board of Governors, Established for Lord Williams’s School at Thame, the land was handed over to it.

Another small Estate was held in 1237 by Saer de Wahull, a Bedfordshire Landholder.  It consisted of 1 Carucate, valued at £7, granted him by Saer de Quincy.  This is probably the land acquired by Paulinus Peyvre of Toddington (Beds), ‘an insatiable buyer of land‘, who in 1243 was allowed Free Warren in his Sydenham land.  In 1244 Thame Abbey acquired this Carucate, to be held of Paulinus and his heirs for £16 a year to be delivered at Toddington Church, but in 1248 Paulinus exchanged the Rent with Dunstable Priory for Herne Manor in Toddington.  Until the 16th century Thame, therefore, paid this large sum to Dunstable.  By a Bond of 1276, the Abbot undertook to pay the money to Dunstable.

Agrarian and Social History
was settled by the time of the Anglo-Saxons, if not earlier.  Its name means ‘at the wide river-meadow‘, and the fertile Meadow-land, watered by the Crowell Brook, has remained throughout its History an important Element in the Parish’s economy.  By 1086 there was a fair-sized Community with a recorded Population of 26.  On the Demesne there were 5 Serfs and outside it 16 Villani and 5 Bordars.  There was land for 14 Ploughs, but in fact, only 9 were in use, 3 on the Demesne and 6 Outside.  In spite of this apparent under-cultivation, the value of the Estate had risen sharply since the Conquest from £10 to £16.  The large amount of recorded Meadow (60 a) and consequent emphasis on cattle-rearing probably accounted for this.

An important development in the History of the Parish occurred in the mid-12th century when Richard de Vernon gave Thame Abbey 2 hides of land and his son Walter later gave another 12 acres.  Even after these Grants, Sydenham Manor remained a comparatively valuable one, worth about the same as the Main Manor of Chinnor.  In the 1190s, when it was in the Sheriff’s hands, it produced an income of between £12 and £14 a year.  From the 1199 Pipe Roll it appears that about half of this came from Rents.  Following Royal Policy at this time, a large proportion of the Income was spent on restocking the land: in 1195 £4 was spent on buying 20 oxen and 2s. on 2 sows, and in 1196 60 sheep, 5 cows, 4 oxen, a sow, and a boar cost £3 8s.  It is significant that the income from Pasture and Hay is especially mentioned.  In 1219 the Manor was valued at £11 and in 1237 and 1255 at £30.

When Richard de Vernon gave Thame Abbey 2 hides of Arable land in Sydenham (about 160 acres or more), the land was described as that Arable and Pasture which was ‘more near‘ its Park Meadow.  The evidence of his son’s charter (i.e. Walter de Vernon’s), Granted later, makes it clear that Richard gave the Abbey Cotmanmore Mead in the Northeast corner of the Parish and bordering on Thame Park, and possibly other neighbouring Meadow around Hurst Hill.  The Arable (83a) lay divided among the Furlongs of the Open fields – 6½ acres in Langelande, 19 in the Furlong stretching towards the East Mead, 8 in Redeland, 23 in Eswar Furlong, 13½ in the Furlong reaching to the Park, 4 near the Reed-bed, and 5½ in Old Field.  The Abbey was given also 48 acres under Sydenham Wood, which appears to have been somewhere near the Chalford Boundary to the west of Sydenham Grange. Woodland (½ league x 3 Furlongs), it may be noted, had been recorded in 1086.  In addition to the land, Richard de Vernon gave the Monks the right to cut a channel through his land so as to connect the ‘Sydenham Stream‘ with their water supply (ductum aque ipsorum), but he retained the right of irrigating his own Meadow in a dry summer, 2 or 3 times or as often as was necessary.  It must have been the Abbey’s wish to consolidate its Estate that led to an exchange of Land with Walter de Vernon later in the Century. The wording of Walter’s Grant is at 1st sight obscure, but if read in conjunction with the Map there is no doubt that by this Grant the Monks acquired, in exchange for their original scattered strips, a compact Estate in the North-west of the Parish contiguous with their Thame Land. Walter gave them 54 acres near their 2 woods and the Reed-bed to the East which were part of the land originally granted by Richard.  Walter also gave them 9 acres in a Furlong next to the Reed-bed and 10 acres in the same Furlong.  Below these 19 acres (i.e. to the North, for the land slopes downhill here) he gave another 10 acres bordering on the Park. Thus the Monks obtained by this exchange 83 acres which, except for 2 acres, were separated from the Open-field land.  Of these 2 acres a ½-acre belonged to the Church of Sydenham.  In addition Walter gave them back 12½ acres of their original Grant, because they lay intermixed in the Furlongs given by him near their Reed-bed.

The Abbey’s estate in Sydenham was further increased in 1248 when the Earl of Winchester gave the Abbey 1½ carucate, all that was left of his Sydenham Land.  He gave at the same time special permission to Assart, Plough (frussire), and Inclose the Spinney, and ‘make advantage thereon as the Abbot chose‘.  Although the Earl reserved his Warren there, it is evident that this agreement marked an important stage in the cultivation and administration of the land.  A document, a Terrier of the Abbey’s Tithe-free land, which is probably of late-13th-century or early 14th-century date, indicates that land had in fact been brought into cultivation at a comparatively recent period.  It refers to ‘La Breche‘ and also to a Close called Stokkyng (the later Stockend Close and the present Stocken Corner Covert) as being Tithe free, and specifically states that the latter was Free as it was a new Assart. The same document makes it clear that the Abbey’s Grange extended down the Parish’s Western Boundary towards Sydenham Village, and was, in fact, identical with the area of the 19th-century Grange Farm: it mentions the ‘Green path‘ to Chalford, and Grimbaud’s Mill and Bridge, which must have been the Water-Mill just west of the Village.  It is possible that the clearance of the Woodland led to a shortage of Fuel in the Parish: some Free Tenants, at all events, enjoyed Rights of housebote, haybote, and furbote in the Wood ‘of Fernore called Poleswood‘ in Chinnor.

There is no evidence about how the village was affected by the change in Manorial Lords, but it may be supposed that Thame Abbey was a more exacting Lord than the non-resident Earl of Winchester.  By the agreement of 1248 the Abbot’s Villeins were freed from doing Suit at the Earl’s Court at Chinnor.  From later evidence, it appears that in addition to ordinary Manorial Rights the Abbot also had the Assize of Bread and Ale. 

AnthropicFarmUnitsThe Survey of 1279 records that the Abbot’s Demesne consisted of 3 Carucates (i.e. 12 Virgates) of Arable land and 20 acres of Meadow and Pasture, or about 260 or more field acres.  Twenty-nine Virgates were held in Villeinage, and perhaps about 20 by Free tenants, making a total of over 60 Virgates of cultivated land or about 1,200 field acres.  There were 27 Villein Virgaters and 4 half-Virgaters: they held their land for a high rent ranging from 10s 6d to 16s for a Virgate. No Services are recorded except those of Mowing the Abbey’s Meadow and of paying 20s Scutage.  It is likely that labour for the Grange, unlike the ordinary Demesne, was supplied by Lay Brothers.

As Sydenham was from early times a member of Chinnor Manor and the Suit of the Free Tenants, even after the Concord of 1248, was reserved by the Lord of Chinnor, the Free Tenants of Sydenham are listed in the Hundred Rolls amongst those of Chinnor.  The largest Free Holding was the 6½ Virgates of Littlemore Priory; one of 4 Virgates was held by the De la Poles; another holding of 3 Virgates and 4 acres belonged to the Grimbauds;  2 Virgates were held by the Savages, and 2½ Virgates with 4½ acres of Meadow by the Bussards.  Most of these Free Tenants also held land in Chinnor or in the neighbouring Villages, and it is not possible to be sure how many of them resided in Sydenham or how much of their holding recorded in the Hundred Rolls was in Sydenham or how much in Chinnor. It is reasonably certain, however, that the Grimbauds were the Resident Millers and that the De la Poles, Savages, and the Sydenham Family (not recorded in the Hundred Rolls) were also Resident at some time.

The De la Poles had held land in the Parish since the end of the 12th century and continued to do so and in Chinnor until 1372.  In 1316 John de la Pole was the 2nd largest contributor to the 16th and had a House which is described in the mid-14th century as consisting of a Hall, 2 Chambers, and a Kitchen.  One of the highest contributors listed among the Taxpayers of 1316 and 1327 was Henry Savage, and Walter de Sydenham, member of a Family that figures prominently in the early Sydenham Charters, was another.  The Poll Tax of 1377 which lists 115 adults provides the 1st evidence of value for the number of Inhabitants, as both the Hundred Rolls and the earlier Tax Lists are more than ordinarily difficult to interpret in the case of Sydenham, where so many families were holding land both in and outside the Parish. The Poll Tax List provides at least a minimum figure and indicates that Sydenham was a Village of about the size of Aston Rowant or Tetsworth, always assuming that Tax evasion in each case was on the same scale.

Of the state of the Parish in the late Middle Ages, there is barely any record.  From at least 1474 the Abbey was leasing its Grange for £13 13s 4d a year.  In addition, it received the Profits of Courts, and the Rents of Customary Tenants brought in £21, about £2 more than the Abbey had received in 1279.  This was almost the same amount as the receipts recorded in 1535, but because of the large payment of £16 due to Dunstable Priory, Sydenham’s net value was only £19 3s 9d.

Beside the Inclosed part of the Grange there were other early inclosures: the mention of ditches and ‘splynthedges on a Holding in 1489 may indicate Inclosed land; by the 1550s Littlemore’s Estate had several Closes belonging to it; and land in West End and Stockend was almost certainly Inclosed by about 1630.  At the time of the Inclosure Award of 1826old Inclosures‘ amounted to nearly half the acreage of the Parish, there being about 835 acres of Open-field land out of a total of about 1,550 acres.

Economic changes in the 16th & 17th centuries led to the rise of a prosperous class of Yeoman Farmers. Twenty-four persons were assessed for the subsidy of 1523–4, of whom 7 were substantial men and 7 of moderate means.  From an Elizabethan Subsidy List of 1577, when the comparatively high number for this Subsidy of 13 was assessed, it may be seen how greatly the Hester and Stevens Families had prospered and how many of the leading Farmers were new-comers to the Parish.  The returns for the Hearth Tax of 1662 and 1665 and for the Compton Census of 1679 provide additional evidence for the growth of a Village upper-class as well as of the continuance of Sydenham as a fairly well-populated place.  Forty-one householders were listed in 1662, 33 in 1665, of which 5 were discharged by Poverty, and 84 adults were recorded in 1679. William White had a house of 6 hearths; 9, including a North, had houses with 3 or 4; and 8 had houses with 2 hearths. The Whites, who were the tenants of Sydenham Grange in the mid-17th century, the Mundays, and the Norths also are known from other sources to have been substantial Families.  Four of the Norths were assessed for the Hearth Tax in 1665.  These families had replaced the Hesters, who in Elizabeth’s Reign were by far the richest Yeoman Family in the Village and had been in the Parish since the 15th century.  They had all ceased to be men of Property by the end of the 18th century.  These families were mainly Tenants, for in the post-Reformation Period about 2/3rds of the Parish had been absorbed into the Manor.  Sir John Williams had acquired Sydenham Grange and Manor after the Dissolution of the Abbey, with other Abbey Property.  In 1551–2the Fee of Sydenham‘, which included the Abbey’s lands in Moreton, Attington, and Thame, was valued at £84 6s 8d.  There is also some record in the 17th century of the former Littlemore Holding which Lord Williams had given for the support of the Thame Alms-houses.  As New College administered the Property Warden Woodward made inquiries in March 1667 into the value of the land. A Thame Grazier told him that the Arable was worth nearly 10s an acre or 8s at the least.  Some of the pasture ground was worth 30s and the average value was at least 26s 8d.

In the absence of Court Rolls nothing can be said about the details of Open-field Management or of the conditions of Tenure during this Period.  Early-18th-century documents provide a little information. There was a 3-field system of husbandry: the fields were Upper Field, Forty or Middle Field, and Lower Field, and all Holdings were divided between the 3, although sometimes in varying proportions.  With each Holding went a certain amount of Meadow-land in the Parish’s 2 Meadows, Town Meadow and Hurst Meadow, which lay North of the Village along Crowell Brook by Sydenham Hurst and along the Emmington Boundary.  The amount of Meadow allotted to each Yardland seems to have varied: in a lease of 1717 a 64-acre Farm had 3 acres of Meadow in each Mead; to another Property something over 3 half-acres and 3 Yards in each Meadow was allotted, and for a small farm of 12 acres there were 2 ‘parts‘, one in each of the Lots of Hurst Mead.  Common Pasture was apparently scarce: there was some in Forty Field and Upper Field, perhaps between the Furlongs, but no large Commons are marked on the Inclosure Map, and the amount of Commons are not usually given in Terriers.  There is an instance of a 12-acre Farm having one Cow Common.  Except for Park Leys, as Grange Farm was then called, which was mostly laid down to Pasture, Sydenham land according to Davis’s Map of 1797 was predominantly used as Arable.  Apart from the open fields lying on 3 sides of the Village, most of the Inclosed land to the West was Arable.

Click to Enlarge

Map of Oxford County 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 one mile. No more than 200 copies were ever made, evidence being 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 and Hundred Boundaries, Rivers and Streams, Towns and Villages, Parks, and 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.

During the 19th century, Sydenham’s Economy was comparable with that of other Parishes lying in the wheat-growing belt at the foot of the Chilterns.  In its crop rotation, however, it was more old-fashioned than some in the 1st decade of the century.  Arthur Young recorded that the course was Fallow and Dung, barley, beans, Fallow without dung, wheat, and beans.  Changes here as in the neighbouring Villages were taking place.  Small-holdings were being amalgamated into larger Farms. In 1786, 24 tenant-Farmers and Freeholders were Farming small Properties, which were assessed for the Land Tax at under £5.  By 1820 the hard times following the Napoleonic Wars had helped to reduce this number to 12.  Land was bought up by the larger Farmers and the opportunity to amalgamate Holdings was seized. Upcourt Farm, the property of the Lord of the Manor, was a notable instance of expansion.

The Inclosure was comparatively easy to bring about since by 1823, when the Act was passed, more than 2/3rds of the Parish was owned by Miss Wykeham of Thame Park.  In 1824, 2 years before inclosure was finally accomplished, she purchased Ryder’s Farm, a large Freehold Property.  Under the award Miss Wykeham received 516 acres for her Open-field land, 9½ acres for Manorial Rights, and 140 acres in Commutation of the Great Tithes.  Smaller awards were 67 acres to the Vicar of Thame for the small Tithes, 69 acres to New College, 75 acres to the Burrows Family, and 3 Awards (22 a, 10½ a, and ¼-a) to 3 small Freeholders. The Wykeham-Musgrave Estate was itself sold in and just after 1917.  The Sale Catalogue provides some details of interest: Vears Farm, a compact Farm of 121½ acres, of which only 20 acres was Arable, was a Dairy or Stock farm. Musgrave Farm had 2/3rds of its 61 acres under the Plough and its land was described as excellent Corn-land and well-watered Pasture; Croton’s Farm was a compact mixed Farm (101 a) of which 51 acres were used for Arable; Ryder’s (116 a) was also a mixed Farm with 69 acres under the Plough.

Since the Estate was broken up Sydenham has been a Parish of Farmer-owners. In the 1920’s there were 8 Farms, ranging in size from 60 to nearly 300 acres.  The 2 largest, both over 250 acres, were the Grange and Manor farm (the former Upcourt Farm). The 6 others (Vears, Musgrave, Burrows, Ryders, Croton’s and Glebe Farms) were under 150 acres.  All except Burrows were farmed by their Owners.  The demand from London retailers for milk after the rinderpest disease (Cattle Plague) of 1865 led to a further increase in Pasture Land.  In 1914, although Sydenham’s heavy Clay soil made good wheat and bean land, 69%. was by then in Grass of good quality.  A comparatively high number of cattle was kept, 24 to the 100 acres; sheep breeding was on the decline.  In 1958 although the Farms had become Mechanised during the Century they had not increased much in size.  Manor or Upcourt farm (267a) and one other kept sheep flocks, but 2/3rds of Upcourt’s land was Arable (half in Cereals and half in temporary Grass). Sydenham Grange (288a) was mainly a Dairy Farm as were the other smaller Farms. Milk was sent to London, and Thame was the local Farmer’s Market.

Until recent years Sydenham was always wholly devoted to Agriculture: in 1811, out of 65 Families, all but 4 were employed on the land.  But since 1851, when in addition to the Farmers, some 68 men and boys were employed on the Farms, the number of persons earning a livelihood from Agriculture has steadily declined, and in the 1950’s many were working in Oxford (Rootes), at the Chinnor Cement Works, in Saunderton (Molin’s) (Bucks), and elsewhere.

The almost total dependence on Agriculture led to great Poverty when the times were bad for  Farmers. The condition of the Poor first became serious in the late 18th century and was made worse in the 19th century by the rise in population from 331 in 1801 to 438 in 1841.  Owing to the lack of Employment some families Emigrated and numbers began to decline, but the Employment position was still so bad in 1851 that the Census returns described many Labourers and Lace-makers as Paupers.  Moreover, the fact that over 90 of the women and girls from 11 years old upwards were engaged in Lacemaking was in itself a sign of Poverty and of the inability of the Father of the family to support his dependents.

The provision of Allotments helped to contribute to the alleviation of want: by the 1860‘s part of the Charity Lands was being used for this purpose and by 1890 there were 66 Allotments of an acre or under, so that almost every Labouring Family in the Parish must have had one. Lace-making, nevertheless, was carried on at Sydenham into the 20th century, a later date than in neighbouring Villages.

In the 20th century Sydenham like other Villages lost its Rural Craftsmen and Village Tradesmen.  In 1851, there were 6 Bricklayers, 2 Cordwainers, a Farrier, a Baker, 3 Beer Retailers, 2 Publicans at ‘The Sun‘ and the ‘Four Horse Shoes‘, who also carried on Trades, one as a Butcher and the other as a general Dealer, and the Miller.  A Horse-trainer had been added to the list by 1887 as well as a Mealman with 2 Assistants at the Mill, and a Hurdlemaker by 1891, but Beer-shops had decreased to one, and the Mill had become a Steam-mill.  The ‘Four Horse Shoes‘ lost its Licence in about 1912 but was replaced by the ‘Crown‘ shortly before 1939.  The Corn-Mill 7 Mill Pond (opposite the Vicarage), which appears in Sydenham records as early as the 13th century, was at work part-time until 1945.  In 1917 it consisted of an Engine-house and 3 Floors, and its 2 Pairs of Stones were originally driven by a water supply from large Ponds fed by the Cuttle Brook.  The Mill later had a Steam Auxiliary, which was subsequently superseded by an Oil Engine. The Mill was subject to a House Conversion in the 1930s and all the Milling equipment had gone by 1970.  At that time, the fine Mill, with the upper 2-Storeys weather-boarded, and House were owned by a Mr Delaney who was outlived by his butler Charles formerly a RN Rating.   One of the 2 local Shops was closed in about 1957 and in 1958 the Smithy dating back to 1837 in Crossways was only working intermittently.  The census of 1951 recorded 214 inhabitants.

The Four Horse Shoes Inn which my Great Great Grandparents ran in 1871 in the Village. My Gt Gt Grandfather was William Ives born in 1827 in Towersey, Gt Gt Gran Matilida (nee Birdseye).  It Would make my day if there was a photograph of the Inn.

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