Eynsham record 1993

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THE EYNSHAM RECORD Number 10 – 1993


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Note on abbreviations

Bodl. Chambers, 1936 E.H.G. E.R. Eynsham Cart.

Gordon, 1990 O.S. Oxon. Archives P.R.O. V.C.H.Oxon.

Bodleian Library, Oxford Chambers, E.K., Eynsham under the Monks. Oxfordshire Record Society, vol.18, 1936 Eynsham History Group Eynsham Record Cartulary of the Abbey of Eynsham. Salter, H.E.(Ed.), (1 and 2) in 2 volumes, Oxford Historical Society, vol.49 (1907) & vol.51 (1908) Gordon, Eric, Eynsham Abbey:1005-1228, Phillimore, 1990 Ordnance Survey Oxfordshire Archives(formerly Oxfordshire Record Office) Public Record Office The Victoria History of the County of Oxford

FRONT COVER: Display board in St Leonard's bell-ringing chamber. See pages 36-44 for the history of the bells.

Number 10: 1993 Journal of the Eynsham History Group ISSN 0265-6779 Published by the Eynsham History Group © All material in this publication is copyright

CONTENTS Editorial ............................................................................................. 1 The Anne Bedwell monument............................................................2 The Rt.Revd. Eric Gordon: An appreciation ... by Joan Weedon.....3 Abbeys and Archaeology in Eynsham, 1989-92 by Graham Keevill......................5 Margaret Foote's Passport: Escape from Germany in 1914 by Pat Carlton............................18 Finds at Hythe Croft ...........by Jim MacGregor..............................20 THEN and NOW.........................................................................22/23 John Rusher of Eynsham: 18th century schoolmaster, manager of workhouse affairs and property dealer

by P. Renold......................................24 Hercules Humphries, 1699-1800 by Lilian Wright & Brian Atkins....... 33

Beating the Bounds: A view from the 'other side' ... by Brian Atkins .. 34 The Bells of St Leonard's, Eynsham...........by Lilian Wright.........36 Where was Tilgarsley?...............................by Alan Crossley..........45

EDITORIAL In 1992 the E.H.G. and its Journal suffered two grievous losses with the deaths of Bishop Eric Gordon and Edward Hibbert. Eric Gordon was not only our President, but also our 'in-house' authority on the history and doings of the Abbey, and most consistent contributor to these pages since their inception in 1984. His series of articles on selected abbey Charters, with their fluent translations and thoughtful analyses, have brought long distant, hitherto obscure, events entirely alive for the modem reader. Edward Hibbert came to the village later, but soon began to explore the history of more recent times, and had become a regular contributor, with his articles on Eynsham's post, on Margaret Foote and Lord's Farm, and for his meticulous indexing of Nos.1-9 of the Record. He had in mind next to research the origin and history of Eynsham' s street names. Fuller appreciations of both these friends and colleagues follow. But 1992 was not altogether an annus horribilis for the E.H.G. Although the archaeologists finished their excavations, work on the finds continues, and we can look forward to some substantial new publications on the history of the Abbey. In the meantime, I am grateful to Graham Keevill (this year's professional contribu­ tor) for his account of the current interpretation of the field work. Thanks also, of course, to other contributors. It was particularly pleasing to receive Jim MacGregor' s article, since although he returned to his native Scotland some nine years ago, he has been a regular reader, and was inspired to write up the story of interesting fords he had made at Hythe Croft. The village constantly evolves and changes, sometimes for better and some­ times for worse, and it will be up to future historians to analyse the results. Who knows whether the proposed realignment of the A.40 will prove to be a 'good' thing for the village? (one suspects that on balance it will); or whether the the traffic humps will achieve the hoped for benefits?; or whether this writer is correct in believing that the new Draft Local Plan drawn up by the W.O.D.C. is as helpful to the village as we could have dared to hope? The temporary stay of execution in the matter of sand and gravel diggings on the doorstep is cause for universal rejoicing in the parish and, if this proposal rears its ugly head again, the village will doubtless unite to re-engage in battle to preserve its environment, integrity and sense of history and identity.


The Anne Bedwell Monument The beautiful memorial to Anne Bedwell, granddaughter of the Revd. John Rogers who was Vicar of Eynsham during the latter half of the 17th century, is back in place on the wall of the south aisle of St Leonard's church. What appeared to be a dirty grey stone before it was taken down during the recent church restorations is now revealed as a lovely pink marble. The restoration of this work of art has been achieved by the craftsmanship of Mr Michael Eastham of Ardington, and the tireless work of money-raising by the late Bishop Eric Gordon and a small committee, all regular worshippers at St Leonard's and members of the Eynsham History Group. Monuments of the late 17th and early 18th centuries are among the most moving and impressive treasures of English parish churches, and our newly restored memorial to Anne Bedwell must be one of the finest.

Edward Hibbert 1920-1992 On his retirement Edward Hibbert moved to Eynsham in January 1987, and became deeply involved in several aspects of village life, including the E.H.G., the Eynsham Society (as Secretary), and the Friends of St Leonard's (as Treasurer). A former soldier he fought in Egypt, Greece, Italy and at El Alamein, and as reconnaissance officer with the 50th Royal Tank Regiment he led the victorious 8th British Army into the Tunisian port of Sfax. After the war, he spent his professional life as an Oxford solicitor. He had many interests in all of which he excelled. He was a noted philatelist and researched Eynsham' s postal history (see E. R. no.8, pp. 10-17); and he co-edited with his brother Christopher the Encyclopaedia of Oxford, Macmillan, 1988, a splendidly authoritative and highly readable volume. He and his wife Vera were justifiably proud of their retirement cottage, newly built to a very high specification in the garden of Lord's Farm, and this inspired him to write up the history of the site for last year's Record. His index for nos.1-9 of this journal, plus the index for this number, will be published next year as part of no.11. He made very many friends and admirers in a few short years in the village, and St Leonard' s was full for his memorial service on 5th January. We all miss him, and extend our sympathy especially to Vera and their two sons.


THE RIGHT REVEREND ERIC GORDON An appreciation by Joan Weedon Bishop Eric Gordon, who died suddenly on Saturday, June 6th 1992, came to Eynsham in 1974, having retired as Bishop of Sodor and Man, a position he had held for eight years. Bishop Gordon's brilliance as a scholar had earned him a place at St Olave 's School, Dulwich, and at St Catharine's College, Cambridge, in 1923, where he studied classics, anthropology and theology. He came to Wycliffe Hall, Oxford to study theology and was ordained Priest in 1930 at Leicester. At that time Eric Gordon took a fundamental evangelical view in the practice of Christianity, but this gradually gave way to a liberal and traditional view of Anglican persuasion. He was appointed Vice-Principal of Bishop Wilson Theological College, Isle of Man, in 1931 and became its Principal, and Domestic Chaplain to the Bishop of Sodor and Man, in 1935. In 1938 he was married to Elizabeth St Charaine Parkes, a native of the island, and they returned to the mainland in 1942 when he became Rector of Kersal and Chaplain to the Bishop of Manchester. Three years later he was appointed Rector and Rural Dean of Middleton, Manchester, and Proctor in Convocation in 1948. In the year following his appointment as Provost of Chelmsford (1951) his daughter, Janet, was born. The years spent by the Provost and his family at Chelmsford were an era of great activity at the Cathedral where work on the interior was proceeding. The family then returned to the Isle of Man in 1966 when he was created Bishop. While there his connection with Eynsham began, since Lord Blanch, who had been vicar in the village, made several journeys to the island as Bishop of Liverpool. Sadly, two bouts of pneumonia severely affected Bishop Gordon's health and he decided to retire from the island in 1974. His first wife, Beth, had died in 1970 and he later married the noted sculptor, Gwynneth Holt, widow of the Chelmsford cathedral sculptor, T.B.Huxley-Jones. The Bishop's friends in the Isle of Man were extremely concerned about his frail health and have been amazed to learn that he lived a full and productive life here in Eynsham for almost 18 years. Mrs Gordon chose the house in Queen Street as their home in a village which she perceived as friendly and welcoming, with a beautiful Parish church and an array of useful shops; and thus, to Eynsham's long history of the wise and the good, was added this scholarly, saintly man.


We have had the great blessing of his unfailing courtesy, his learning and his Christianity. Whoever heard Bishop Gordon preach will forever cherish the memory, and many people have found his counsel and wisdom 'a very present help'; for he was always available to listen and to guide. We have also been the fortunate legatees of his work on Eynsham Abbey's history in the shape of his series of masterful translations and commentaries of some of the charters, but above all of his elegant and revealing book, the result of recent years of research and labour; and the History Group has reason to be very proud of its remarkable President. The Bishop's last task for Eynsham, in his 87th year, was to rescue the Anne Bedwell memorial and have it replaced, renovated, on the southern aisle wall of the Parish Church. It was with joy that he announced he had reached his fund target, and that work could be put in hand on the monument. He said, then, 'Now oh Lord, lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word.'

Bishop Eric Gordon dedicating the new market cross in 1991


ABBEYS AND ARCHAEOLOGY IN EYNSHAM, 1989-1992 by Graham D Keevill Introduction When Brian Atkins first asked me if I would contribute an article to the Eynsham Record, the abbey excavations were still in progress and the first hard frosts of December 1991 were playing havoc with our carefully prepared work programme. At the time I expected to write a fairly straightforward 'progress report' updating Charlie Chambers' s summaries1,2. Events moved on apace thereafter, however, and by the time I sat down in front of the word processor a very different plan was in my mind. The reason is simple enough. The abbey project has been broadened out into a programme of research into the entire precinct of the abbey. Much of this work has been deliberately planned by us, but other elements coincided with this new perspective coincidentally. In the following pages, therefore, I will summarise the various 'projects within the project', with a conclusion which - hopefully, anyway - will whet the appetite for further developments! Eynsham sits on a gravel terrace between the confluences of the river Evenlode and the Chilbrook with the river Thames. A natural fording point of the Thames, now occupied by Swinford Bridge, lies immediately to the east of the town. Eynsham therefore sits at a natural control point on the Saxon and medieval route out of Oxford to Gloucester and the Welsh Marches. The natural advantages of the location have been recognised since early prehistory. The precinct of Eynsham Abbey lies to the south of the town centre (Fig. 1). Its north side runs along Oxford Road, passes through the centre of St Leonard's churchyard, and crosses Abbey Street. Station Road marks the west side of the precinct, while the Chilbrook forms the southern and eastern boundaries. These limits were set in the early 13th century, but the precinct appears to have been much smaller than this in the preceding two centuries.3 The abbey excavations It is impossible to describe here the entirety of the very complicated sequence of activity on the abbey site. Suffice it to say that the summary provided by Chambers in 19912, while being broadly correct, has had to be revised in several respects. The medieval and post-medieval occupation, in particular, has proved to be much more complicated. Detailed analysis of all the finds over the next couple of years will undoubtedly refine our understanding of the site even further. The development of the site is shown on Figure 2.


Fig. 1. The precinct of Eynsham Abbey, showing the locations of the main excavation, the fishponds and the moated site.


Fig.2 Summary plans of the sequence of activity on the main excavation.


The earliest activity occurred during prehistory. Mesolithic and Neolithic artifacts have been found, and a large, ditched enclosure was built during the Bronze Age. A small roundhouse and several pits were found within the enclosure. It may have controlled or have been the focus of trading patterns in the upper Thames Valley. Certainly the density of prehistoric sites in this area shows that its natural attractions were well appreciated at the time. Curiously, the site seems to have been abandoned in the late Bronze Age, only being reoccupied some 1500 years later. Then in early Anglo-Saxon times, at least six sunken-featured buildings (SFBs) were established. The Anglo-Saxon Chroni­ cle records that Eynsham was one of four 'towns' to be captured by the Saxons in 571, after the battle of Bedcanford. The abbey settlement started at about that time, and may have been a royal foundation. The finds, including a large number of sherds from stamp-decorated fine pottery, certainly seem to point towards high status. Further evidence for royal status is provided by the foundation of a minster church. These forerunners of the Parish system were virtually always established by local royalty in the early-mid Saxon period.4 The earliest documentary reference to the Eynsham minster is in 864, but it implies a much earlier origin. Indeed John Blair has put forward a strong case for an 8th century origin.5 The 8th century witnessed a change in construction technique at the site. The SFBs were replaced by post-built structures with wattle-and-mortar panels infilling the timber frame. At least two buildings can be identified, one of which was rebuilt in the 9th century. Both lay in their own small tenements, defined by shallow ditches. They almost certainly belong to the domestic quarters of the minster. The complex continued in use until the very beginning of the 11th century. The Anglo-Saxon church was extensively reformed at the end of the 10th century. People in all walks of life were acutely aware of the oncoming Millennium, just as today we talk in expectant tones of the year 2000. The late Saxon mind, however, saw the year 1000 as a watershed of perhaps apocalyptic proportions. This concern found its greatest expression in increased piety and religious devotion. A series of new monasteries was founded according to the austere principles of the Benedictine order, which represented at least a partial reaction to the increasing secularity of existing minster sites. The refoundation of Eynsham minister as a Benedictine abbey in 1005 was one of the last acts of the reform movement. The impetus came from a wealthy and influential nobleman, Æthelmaer. He endowed the new abbey with substantial landholdings from his own estate, and installed Ælfric as the first abbot. The choice was well made, for Ælfric was one of the foremost theologians of the day; it is a sign


of the status of the abbey and its patron that he should agree to the commission. The excavations revealed several buildings belonging to the new abbey. They were stone-built, with plaster facings both internally and externally. It is likely that the external plaster was painted with lines to simulate the effect of ashlar masonry. The main building was a large hall (22 m x 8 m), lying parallel to the alignment of the east ditch of the Bronze Age enclosure. Other long, narrow structures were ranged to the north, east and west of the hall, while a cellar, drains and pits were also found. A pair of shallow pits were all that remained of the mixers in which plaster was mixed during the building campaign (see Fig. 3). Very few Saxon monasteries have been excavated in this country, and the layout and function of buildings is difficult to interpret because of this. Nevertheless it seems clear that the structures at Eynsham are largely domestic. The nearest equivalents in a medieval monastery would be the dormitory or fratry. The most intriguing aspect of the Eynsham buildings, however, is their apparent arrangement around at least one courtyard. The plan resembles the later Romanesque cloister arrangement. One of the best finds from the site is a fragment of an ivory casket which may have contained one of the manuscripts from the abbey library. This piece was probably imported from Europe. Pottery of this period from northern France has also been found on the site, and it is clear that the abbey had contacts beyond the shores of England. One other find, again of ivory, is of considerable importance. Although the piece is evidently an unfinished rough-out, it clearly shows the figure of St John the Evangelist holding a book in his left hand (Fig. 4). This would have been part of a crucifixion scene decorating a reliquary or portable altar. St John would have been to one side of the figure of Christ crucified, with Mary on the other side. The same grouping can be seen on the broadly contemporary stone Rood sculpture at Langford church, 12 miles west of Eynsham. The most intriguing aspect of the Eynsham find, however, is the implication that the abbey had a workshop which produced such religious artifacts. The Norman conquest appears to have been cataclysmic for Eynsham Abbey, which became entangled in wider political manoeuvres. The ancient seat of the diocese at Dorchester-on-Thames was moved to Lincoln as part of widespread changes in the church instigated by William the Conqueror and his successors. The abbey was closed, and all its lands were transferred to Stow in Lincolnshire. Domesday Book records that the site was occupied by Columbanus, a monk, in 1086. The terms of the reference, however, show that the abbey was not operational.


Fig. 3 (above) The north-east end of the main excavation, with St Leonard's cemetery in the background: the late AngloSaxon mortar mixers can be seen to either side of the three excavators.

Fig. 4 (right) The ivory figurine of St John the evangelist (true scale)


It is surprising, therefore, to find that at least two substantial buildings were constructed during this period. One appears to be a small domestic block, but the other is a very substantial kitchen. This contained a sequence of at least three hearths which were in use throughout the second half of the 11th century. This seems rather excessive for one monk. There is a clear contradiction between the archaeological and historical evidence here and it will take a great deal more research to the resolve the problem. Henry I confirmed the Charter of Foundation in AD 1109. This led to a complete rebuilding of the abbey according to the Romanesque style. All the buildings, including the church itself, were laid out around a square Great Cloister, the south side of which was found at the north end of the excavations. The cloister was a square or rectangular garden, surrounded by covered corridors (walks). Part of the pavement survived in the west walk, while five graves in the south walk probably represent the burials of abbots or other senior members of the abbey. A fragment of a decorated tombstone was also found in the south walk, confirming the importance of the people buried there. The south-west corner of the cloister garth contained a lavatorium. This was a major feature of any monastery. It consisted of a water basin into which clean water was fed. The basin probably included a fountain; a brass waterspout was found during the excavation. The basin itself was surrounded by an elegant pavilion resting on stone foundations. Members of the abbey community would cleanse themselves in the lavatorium before meals or prayer. Only about a dozen lavatoria survive or have been excavated in England, and the Eynsham example is therefore a most important find. Water flowed constantly in the lavatorium. The excess was fed away in lead pipes, passing beneath the south walk and the fratry. The latter was a simple rectangular hall, whose bare earth or mortar floors were only replaced in stone at the very end of the medieval period. The monks spent relatively little time in the fratry, staying only long enough to eat their meals. Little finery would therefore be needed. The fratry was served by a substantial range of buildings and features to its south: A massive kitchen, measuring 16m x 14m, lay immediately behind the fratry. The north half of the kitchen consisted of a continuous range of ovens. The rest of the building was occupied by hearths, water vats (served by the pipes which came through the fratry from the lavatorium), and a dense build-up of floors and ash layers. The latter contained vast amounts of charcoal, eggshell, fishbones, and small bones of mammals and birds. This material will prove invaluable for the study of monastic diet.


The remaining food waste, such as butchered bones, was discarded in deep rubbish pits dug in a courtyard immediately to the south of the kitchen. The courtyard was flanked to the west by along hall which had an undercroft for storing food and wine. This cellar went out of use during the early 15th century, to be replaced by a new cellar on the east side of the courtyard, which continued in use into the post-medieval period. The pits and cellars have produced an extraordinar­ ily rich assemblage of pottery, bone and small finds. The monks' dormitory lay to the east of the kitchen courtyard. Like the fratry, it was a plain building with few refinements. The reredorter, or toilet block, lay immediately to the south of the dormitory, and consisted of stone-lined cess pits (Fig. 5). These were sluiced by drains bringing in dirty water from the kitchens. Several whole pots were found at the bottom of the pits. Presumably they had held water for the monks to wash their hands. It is hardly surprising that no-one wanted to retrieve them once they had been dropped into the pit!

Fig. 5 The medieval abbey reredorter, with stone drains and cess-pits


The abbey prospered for most of the medieval period, although there were several occasions when ambitious abbots severely strained the finances. 6 No abbey was safe from Henry VIII , however, and at the very end of 1538, Eynsham Abbey was closed. Parts of the buildings continued in use by the Stanley family, who had taken over the running of the manor of Eynsham from the abbey. The rest, however, was subjected to a long, drawn-out process of stone robbing and ruination. All valuables were sold off, and within a century the abbey had been reduced to a bare shell, bereft of its former glory. Surveys The excavation results are very important in their own right. Since the excavations finished, however, we have been able to undertake earthwork and geophysical surveys which allow us to place the remains in their setting. The geophysical survey was done in the Nursery Field by English Heritage. This area had been trial trenched by Margaret Gray and Nicholas Clayton in 1971, 7 but the new work is providing much more information. The results are still being analysed, but they certainly show that the abbey buildings were very extensive. Walls and/or foundations can be traced over most of the survey area (some 8500 m2). The possible east end of the abbey church lies in the north-west corner of the field, while the remaining buildings may represent the Infirmary Cloister and Abbot's Lodging. The south half of the survey area seems to be fairly blank, and may have been a garden; this would tie in well with a fourteenth century documentary reference.8 The east half of the Nursery Field was probably the main abbey cemetery. Chance finds of human skeletal remains have been made here in the past. The earthwork survey was carried out by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England (RCHME). Work has concentrated on two areas: the slight east-west bank in St Leonard's cemetery which represents the original boundary between the abbey precinct and the churchyard; and the complicated flight of fishponds to the south of the excavation area. The ponds were an invaluable and jealously-guarded source of food for the abbey, as James Bond has made clear. 9 The fishpond field, however, was an early 13th century addition to the precinct, and at this point Thames Water enters the story! The Thames Water Pipeline I was approached by Thames Water at the end of 1991 regarding a proposed pipe trench in Eynsham. It all seemed innocuous enough until the plan arrived - the route crossed the east and south sides of the precinct, going very close to the fishponds.



Fig.6 The RCHME survey results on the moated site, south of the fishponds.


More pertinently, the pipe would cross an earthwork which was thought to be a medieval moat identified with the property of Harvey, son of Peter, who sold it to the abbey during the early 13th century abbacy of Adam.9 It was agreed that excavation should take place early in 1992, before the pipeline work began. Thus did we surprise many a dog and owner in February and March! The excavation soon proved that the site was indeed a medieval moat. It seems to have been built at the end of the 11th century. This is a very early date for a moat in this country. The site consisted of a very broad, water-filled ditch surrounding an artificial platform created by casting the material dug out of the ditches on to the central area. This raised the platform by almost 2m above the surrounding ground level. The RCHME was able to survey the moated site while the excavation took place (Fig. 6), and the results clearly show that the platform had a main area of about 25 m square where buildings would have stood, and a second area at a slightly lower level on the north side measuring ca.12 m x 10 m. This was a simple yard, with no buildings. Fortunately, the pipeline goes through this part of the platform and so any buildings survive undamaged by the work. The biggest surprise on the moat excavation was the discovery of a substantial Roman site. At least half of the pottery was Roman, while ditches and pits sealed by the mound also seem to be of that period. This is in very marked contrast to the negligible activity during this period on the abbey site. It is all the more surprising because the abbey sits on the dry, well drained gravel terrace while the moated site lies within the floodplain. The Shrubbery The smallest part of the project was the excavation of three trial trenches at the Shrubbery on the High Street. The garden here lies within the Scheduled Ancient Monument which protects part of the abbey site. Charlie Chambers found Saxon pottery and features here when a swimming pool was dug in 1975. 11 A planning application to build a new house, therefore, meant that trial excavation had to take place under the terms of Scheduled Monument Consent. Early-middle Saxon pottery was found in a series of shallow ditches. These may belong to the minster complex, but further study of all the pottery from the various abbey excavations will be necessary before this can be confirmed. The site seems to have been an open filed thereafter, although it was clearly within the precinct of the medieval abbey. The only other find was a Victorian rubbish pit. Three bonehandled toothbrushes were found in the pit - a nice touch of irony, given the extensive use of toothbrushes by archaeologists for cleaning finds!


The Future

Detailed analysis of all the project results should begin in 1993. The sheer weight of information means that it will inevitably be a long, complicated job. Eventually, though, at least two substantial books will be produced, explaining in detail the history and archaeology of Eynsham Abbey. We also hope to produce a popular booklet, aimed at spreading the results to a wider audience. It is likely that a major exhibition of the findings will eventually take place at the County Museum. A touring exhibition of finds from the site organised by the County Museum Service certainly generated a great deal of interest. We also hope that elements of the site can be displayed and explained to the public. The moat and fishponds, for instance, would be much easier to appreciate if a display board was put up to explain the earthworks. The ponds, furthermore, could be maintained in much better condition. Indeed it would be relatively easy to recreate the fishpond environment in one of the ponds. More exciting, perhaps, is the possibility that English Heritage will agree to consolidate and display part of the medieval cellar in the kitchen courtyard. This was backfilled at the end of the excavation, but the masonry still survives. Display boards here could explain the entire history of the site. The expanded project has had an obvious academic purpose, but there was a practical reason for the study as well. The Scheduled Ancient Monument only protects a small part of the abbey precinct. The vulnerability of the remainder was amply demonstrated by the pipeline project. The pipe has been laid within the abbey boundaries, but not in the Scheduled area. It is fortunate indeed that Thames Water readily accepted their responsibility to the archaeological heritage, and provided the necessary resources to ensure that no destruction took place without a detailed record. We hope that such problems will not recur in future, because English Heritage agree that the protected area within the precinct should be increased. The project, therefore, will have improved not only our understanding of Eynsham Abbey's past, but also the protection of its future.


Acknowledgements Many people at the Oxford Archaeological Unit have participated in the various projects described here, and although I cannot name them all, I can extend a heartfelt, collective thankyou. Two people deserve special credit: Charlie Cham­ bers, without whom the excavation may never have happened, and Alan Hardy, whose expert handling of the day-to-day business of excavation and recording was exemplary throughout. The successive English Heritage Inspectors, Tony Fleming and Steve Trow, have always been positive and supportive, and Mark Cole's excellent geophysical work has considerably enhanced the interpretation of the site. Mark Comey and Hazel Riley of the RCHME also contributed greatly to understanding the site through their survey work. Mike Hall of Thames Water ensured that a knotty problem was untied to the satisfaction of all. Above all, however, I would like to thank everyone in Eynsham for making our time among you so enjoyable and rewarding. I hope we are able to return soon - I can barely survive without recourse to Bigger's excellent bakery.

This article is dedicated to two men:- Father John Tolkien's friendship, enthusiasm, patience and encouragement made the project a constant joy. All of us from the Abbey Project extend our warmest gratitude and affection to him. The late Bishop Eric Gordon was the inspiration for anyone with an interest in Eynsham and its abbey. In my short acquaintance with him I very quickly appreciated his deep insight into and understanding of the history and spirituality of the abbey. His loss will be keenly felt by us all. References (see inside front cover for abbreviations) 1. Chambers, R.A. `Eynsham Abbey Excavations' E.R. No.7, 1990, pp. 3-6. 2. Chambers, R.A. 'Eynsham Abbey Excavations: Further Progress' E.R. No.8, 1991, pp. 4-9.

3. Bond, C.J. 'The Fishponds of Eynsham Abbey', E.R. No.9, 1992, pp.3-17. 4. Haslam, J. 'The Towns of Wiltshire', in J. Haslam (ed.), Anglo-Saxon Towns in Southern England, 1984, pp.136-40.

5. Blair, W.J. 'St Frideswide reconsidered', Oxoniensia 52, 1987, pp.85-93. 6. See, for instance, Gordon, 1990. 7. Gray, M. & Clayton, N. 'Excavations on the site of Eynsham Abbey, 1971', Oxoniensia 43, 1978, pp.100-122.

8. Bond, op.cit. notes 1,11. 9. Bond, op. cit . note 1. 10.Bond, op cit. Notes 1, 8.. 11.Chambers, R.A. `Eynsham, Oxon. 1975', Oxoniensia 41, 1976, pp.155-6.


MAR GA R ET FOOTE'S PA S S POR T: Escape from Germany in 1914 by Pat Carlton On reading Edward Hibbert's article about Margaret Foote and her home, Lord's Farm in the last Eynsham Record 1, I was reminded of a day when she entertained my wife and me to tea at there. On that occasion she mentioned that she still had a travel document issued by the "US Consul in Stuttgart" which enabled her and her mother, trapped in Germany on the outbreak of World War I, to escape to Switzerland. I suggested that she should approach the Imperial War Museum, and thought no more about it - except to learn subsequently that the Museum had accepted it. More recently I felt that this document was worthy of further enquiry, not least since, if Margaret's statement were correct, it had been issued by an American diplomat authorizing travel by the citizens of a country which was at war with the country to which that diplomat was himself accredited! I accordingly wrote to the Imperial War Museum, and have been supplied with copies of the document itself (Fig.1), which confirm Margaret's story2. I was also informed by the Museum that an account of the Foote's escape has been published in The Imperial War Museum Book of the First World War 3, which I have since consulted. Although episodic and fragmentary, since the article in question also includes accounts of other escapes - and is in any case entirely dependent upon the diary of the 14-year old schoolgirl Margaret then was - both it and the book containing it are well worth reading in their own right. References and footnotes (see inside front cover for abbreviations) 1. 2.


E.R., no.9, 1992, pp.34-42. I am grateful to Mr R.W.A.Suddaby, Keeper of the Dept. of Documents, Imperial War Museum, for supplying copies of the passport, and for his courtesy and help in other ways. Copies of the passport have been deposited in the E.H.G.'s archives held in the Eynsham Library. 'Escape from Europe, Summer 1914', in The Imperial War Museum Book of the First World War, [ed. Malcolm Brown], Sedgwick & Jackson, 1991.


Fig. 1 . The truly remarkable passport, issued in 'His Britannic Majesty's' name by an American Consul, which allowed Margaret Foote (aged 14) and her mother to escape from Germany in August 1914. (Courtesy: Imperial War Museum)


FINDS AT HYTHE CROFT by Jim MacGregor Reading about Joseph Luna's discovery of an 18th century coin in his garden 1 has prompted me to record my own experience of garden finds in Eynsham. For 36 years (1946-82) we lived at Hythe Croft approached via Tanner's Lane. A brief history of the site and property has been recorded by Chambers2. In 1974 I found a rather battered and crumpled old coin about the size of an old sixpence, showing blurred lettering and facing. This was identified by Dr Case of the Ashmolean Museum as a Constantine coin minted in 314 A.D. at Trier in Germany, one of the dozen or so mints in Roman Europe. Although there is other evidence of Roman occupation of this part of Oxfordshire, we never discovered any more ancient coins in our garden, despite the best efforts of a friend with a metal detector. We found many fragments of ancient grey pottery, mainly as rims or curved remnants of sizeable pots similar to those found in the graveyard ditches revealed in the faces of gravel pits in the nearby Marlborough Pools at Cassington. Between 1713 and 1831, a tannery, owned and operated by the Day family, was established on the site; hence, of course, the surviving name 'Tanner's Lane'. From time to time we came across objects probably associated with this industry; numerous scraps of leather, clay-pipes, cattle horns, and a whetstone or hone of uncertain date, about 3 inches long, slate-coloured, with a pair of parallel grooves on each side (Fig.1). This appears to have been used for sharpening tanner's needles. It is possible that a tannery already existed on the site when Thomas Day bought his land in 1713. The clue lies in the name of one of the pieces, 'Lime Pits'. This name cannot refer to quarries or pits where limestone was extracted since, in Eynsham village, this rock lies in excess of 150 feet below the surface 3; nor to lime kilns, where limestone or chalk (CaCO 3) is converted to lime (CaO). But a lime and water mix was used, presumably in pits, to loosen the hairs on hides and skins in the pre-tanning process, and lime would have been bought in by the Eynsham tanners4. When my daughter Catherine (Mrs Morris) was excavating the foundations for her house, which she called 'Tanyard', on the western side of the site, she discovered an old lime pit which had to be reinforced with concrete.


Fig. 1 . Both sides of the tanner's honestone (true scale). Drawings by David Nicholls.

References and footnotes (see inside front cover for abbreviations) 1. E.R., no.9, 1992, p.43 2. Chambers, 1936, pp.87-8. (Sir Edmund Chambers lived at Hythe Croft during the years when he researched and wrote this book).

3. British Geological Survey 1:63360 Map no.236 (Witney area), 1957. 4. Earlier Eynsham tanners included Adam (1344), William Jakkes (1365), John Green (d.1615), and Thomas Hancock (d.1703) (V.C.H. Oxon. Vol.12, 1990, pp.1389). William Jakkes held a tenement at or very close to Hythe Croft; and it may be significant that Thomas Day bought his tannery lands, which included 'Lime Pits', only 10 years after Thomas Hancock died. Is it too fanciful to imagine a tanning industry operating on the same site for more than 480 years?


Acre End Street, to the west, c.1904. Left side: Swan Hotel, Railway Inn, Murray House Right side: Howe's store and post office, nos. 52, 54, 56 and Beauchamp's shop. (Print kindly loaned by William Bainbridge)

The most recent changes (1993) are the traffic 'humps' and the 'narrows' opposite The Swan.


NOTE: the images opposite have been re-sized to reduce the overall size of this .pdf file. Back numbers of the Eynsham Record are available in print for ÂŁ1 plus p&p. Contact the Editor Brian Atkins, 8 Thornbury Road tel 01865 881677 email brian@fbatkins.free-online.co.uk or Fred Bennett, 68 Witney Road tel 01865 880659

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JOHN RUSHER of EYNSHAM 18th century schoolmaster, manager of workhouse affairs and property dealer by P.Renold Though in his own time of some importance in his local community, as a solid and useful citizen, John Rusher, yeoman and considerable owner of property locally, died and was buried in Eynsham on 19 April 1795, leaving little lasting trace behind him. Only one of his five surviving sons, Thomas, was living in the village at the time of his death, and probably the eldest of his four daughters, Hannah, born in 1750, who never married. John Rusher's story might have remained unknown, had I not begun, some years ago, to trace the antecedents of William Rusher, of Banbury, born about 1759, the founder in 1795 of Rusher's 'Banbury Lists' , an annual publication combined, from 1832, with a 'Directory' of local traders etc., publications which taken together covered a period of over one hundred and ten years. Investigations soon discovered his parentage, and after that three sets of documentary sources put some flesh on the bare bones of John, his father's, existence. The detailed work out of the family's early history may be found in the Summer 1991 issue of the Banbury Historical Society's journal Cake and Cockhorse, so only a brief recapitulation of the evidence need be given here. The state of many Oxfordshire parish registers for the late 17th and much of the 18th centuries tends to be poor, with unexplained and sometimes long gaps, inefficient recopyings of earlier registers, eccentric spellings, and often, especially with burial registers, lack of details by which to ensure identifications. As far, therefore, as can be ascertained, this Rusher family came originally from Charlbury, John's grandfather probably being a certain Henry Rusher or Rushier (the name varies in the registers), who lived there in the last decades of the 17th century; as the area was a agricultural one, he is most likely to have been a farm labourer or small tenant farmer. If the identification is correct, his grandson John was several times noted as 'yeoman', including in his will, though he was not himself a farmer, as the designation would once have suggested. The date and place of John's birth are not recorded, but may have occurred about 1720 to 1725. He lived in Charlbury during some of the early years of his married life, two of his children being baptised there. He had, in 1749, married Jane Harris, of Hanborough, at the church of St. Mary Magdalen in Oxford. John's own eldest son, another John, returned from Neithrop to Charlbury about 1785, to run for years a general shop, and most of his


children were born, and several died, there. The family's connections with this place thus seem quite well established. The elder John, however, moved to Eynsham perhaps towards the end of 1756 or early in 1757, since the baptism entry for his fourth child, Mary, is in the Eynsham register under 20 March 1757; also on 12 April of that year he signed for half a year's salary (actually due on 28 March), as schoolmaster of the town's Bartholomew Charity School. He lived for the rest of his life in Eynsham, being buried there on 19 April 1795. Seven children were born there into a family which already had three when he arrived. One of them died very young, and his wife, Jane, was buried there in 1787. In 1781 the burial of an unexplained John Rusher is recorded, but it seems likely that he was our John's father, for in two surviving documents of 1773, relating to property sales, in which John Rusher, schoolmaster and his wife Jane figure, John signed as John Rusher, Junr. There is also a shadowy James Rusher in the registers, who appears to have been a farmer: he might possibly have been a brother, but this is a guess which cannot be substantiated. From what is said above, the reason for John's move to Eynsham seems clear, namely to take up the post of Charity schoolmaster, being at that time vacated by his predecessor, Mr Batten, who received his final half year's salary (due 28 March) on 22 April 1757. When I originally did my research into the Rusher family, Volume 12 of the V.C.H. Oxon. was still a long way from publication, so I am very grateful to Brian Atkins for drawing my attention to various references in it to the activities of one, John Rusher, in the affairs of Eynsham and elsewhere, in the second half of the eighteenth century. Having now gone carefully through this evidence, there seem no reasonable grounds to suppose that he was anyone else than the subject o f this article. With reference to the Bartholomew School, in particular, his yearly signatures for his salary as its schoolmaster, from 1757 to the last such entry, on 18 April 1775, match similar signatures which I have met on other documents. It can hardly be said that the ÂŁ10-17-0, sometimes ÂŁ10-17-9, paid to John Rusher each year for his work teaching the twelve poor boys at the school, provided a sufficient income for the support of a wife and the nine children who survived childhood. The Bartholomew Charity Account Book indicates that he acted from time to time as collector of the Militia and Land Tax assessments on the Charity's land, and for this service he would have been paid, or been allowed a proportion of the proceeds. Like most people of similar status, however, at this period, as indeed much later too, he did a variety of jobs, all of which would have brought in some money. The Eynsham Overseers' Accounts show that he filled many parish offices below the rank of Church Warden, and that he assisted the Parish Clerk as a witness for several marriages, but above all he became involved in matters concerning the Parish workhouse. There are a number of references to such


incidental tasks as bleeding one pauper or another, for which he was paid, but from references in V. C.H. Oxon. vol.12 it seems probably that it was John Rusher who fanned (i.e. arranged for the maintenance of, etc.) the poor, when £126 was first granted by the town for this purpose in 1768. The amount fell to £78 in 1772, presumably because of a reduction then in the numbers needing relief. At that time he was intending to install a governess in the Eynsham workhouse, but I have not traced the outcome of this plan. In 1779 he agreed to a four year contract for the workhouse at £140, extended to £180 for two years in 1783, and a further grant was made in 1785. Careful managing of these contracts would have added considerably to his income. In 1779 he was also farming the Woodstock poor, and at a later date the Cogges poor. In 1790 the Overseer's Accounts reveal that his third surviving son, Thomas, signed with him a memorandum concerning the poor, though at the time one J.Harper held the salaried job concerning their management. Thomas again appeared in April 1794. A new contract was arranged in 1795, but not necessarily because of John' s death that year, because these Accounts would appear to indicate that his active personal involvement in workhouse affairs had ceased by 1790. From the above details it appears that his first entry into the workhouse contracts came several years before he resigned as Charity Schoolmaster, and it seems probable that a considerable conflict of interests may have resulted. If he employed an usher, or other subordinate, actually to teach the boys towards the end of his time as schoolmaster, the Bartholomew Accounts make no mention of it. It would in any case have been up to him to pay such a person, not the Trustees. A similar situation arose in the late 1780s when his second son, William, was Master of the Banbury Bluecoat School, but in that case, as mentioned in the article referred to in the first paragraph above, evidence survives of the steps William took to find a substitute whilst he himself continued his bookselling business. It would appear, indeed, that John's path to the acquisition of the extensive property in Eynsham and elsewhere, which he possessed at the time of his death, had begun to branch out. A series of advertisements in Jackson's Oxford Journal in the 1770s and 1780s show that he was also active as an early version of an estate agent for at least two Oxford property auctioneers, whereby he undertook to show local properties to prospective buyers, occasionally with his eldest son, John, in Charlbury. His second daughter, Betty, born 1755, married one of these auction ­ eers, Thomas Eaton, in 1779. The Oxford family connections did not end there, since many years later John's grandson, William Rusher's third surviving son, another William, married his first cousin, Elizabeth Eaton, shortly after he had moved to Oxford about 1820 to start up as an apothecary.


As we have seen, John Rusher of Eynsham had a large family of nine surviving children to support and launch into the world. All nine outlived him. Before considering what must have been his main preoccupation financially from perhaps the early 1770s, I will note briefly what happened to certain members of his family. John, his eldest son, and Betty, his second daughter, have already been referred to. William, the second son, moved early to Banbury, probably originally to help his elder brother in a shop there. John apparently lived in Neithrop, since this place is given in the baptismal register in the entry for his first child. The elder John's eldest daughter, Hannah, may also have lived with them, for the baptism of her illegitimate son, William, also appears in the Banbury register in March 1780, she being of Neithrop. This child is never mentioned again, so doubtless he died, and she perhaps returned to her father in Eynsham. John's son, William, was born probably in 1759, though no record of it survives, for he was reckoned to be ninety when he died in Reading, noted as `gent.', in 1849. He had had a long and prosperous career in Banbury, and filled many offices in the town, followed by nearly thirty years living in retirement, much of it in Reading. Philip, John's fifth son, also moved to Banbury, where he was at first a hosier, before becoming, for many years, manager of Cobb' s Bank there. James, sixth and youngest son, was given the name of the one casualty in John's family, an earlier James, his third son, who died very young. This James left home probably in his early twenties and went to Reading, where he died aged 67 in 1837. Like William, he became a noted bookseller, with a far flung clientèle, starting in Reading a similar annual publication to that of his brother in Banbury. He became a pillar of the local Baptist congregation, amongst whom in later years, William's only daughter, Mary, found a very wealthy husband in Philip Davies, grocer. Only Thomas, the fourth son remained in Eynsham, to become, with John, the eldest, an executor of his father's will. I have found no traces of his later career. Though John Rusher I's estate agent work may have brought in some useful income, it would have been chancy, as would also parish payments for various services already referred to. His five surviving sons were all educated, probably at least in part by himself. As shown in the other article on the family, four of them did remarkably well for themselves, but in spite of what I am going to relate, we are left with a bit of a mystery as to how it was achieved with regard to his eldest son, who had probably left home before John's financial position had much altered. A chance survival of quite an array of property documents relating to John's transactions over several years indicate, however, that at least during the last twenty years or more, he made a very good living amassing property locally, buying or renting, leasing to others, and advancing mortgages to those in need of money. The documents which survive belong to 1773 (2), 1784 (1) and several for the period


1792-1794, and they can be investigated in Oxfordshire Archives. Several more in the late 1790s relate to transactions signed by his eldest son, John, as shopkeeper of Charlbury. The extent of the property at his death presupposes, I think, that there were once many more such documents, now lost. As is the exasperating way with such `remains', full histories of these land deals are not available, because of such losses, but certainly when he died he had become quite a wealthy man. His will, signed on 12 July 1794, provides a convenient summary of the position at that juncture, and it was evidently still the same in March 1795, five or six weeks before he died, when he added a codicil. This only noted the change of one executor, from James, by that time living in Reading, to Thomas, the other being still John, the eldest brother; it also made some further provisions about the ÂŁ100 legacy to his eldest daughter, Hannah. Though I give here only that portion of the will which relates to the legacies, it is of considerable length, but the details are of exceptional interest. For easier reading I have paragraphed it and added a little punctuation. "..I give and bequeath unto my son THOMAS RUSHER all that my Freehold Farm House and Premises in Ensham [sic] wherein I now reside and occupy consisting of the Farm House Garden Barn Stables Hovels Buildings Backside Rickyard and Close of Pasture adjoining and two Cottages Commons thereunto belonging. To hold the said Premises with their Appertenances (Except the Cottage House Garden and Premises adjoining now in the Tenure of Benjamin Gardner and the Tythefree Cottage and Common hereinafter mentioned and given to my daughter ELIZABETH, als BETT EATON) unto my said son THOMAS RUSHER and his heirs and Assigns for ever, but subject to and charged with the Payment of the respective Legacies herein next after mentioned. (That is to say) I give unto my Daughter HANNAH RUSHER One Hundred pounds to be paid as hereinafter directed within one year after my decease. I give unto my Daughter ELIZABETH, als BETT, Wife of THOMAS EATON fifty Pounds to be paid her within two years after my decease. I give unto my Daughter MARY [born 1757] Wife of SAMUEL LITHERLAND ten Pounds to be paid her within two years after my decease. I give unto my Daughter JANE [born 1768] Wife of WILLIAM ARNE twenty Pounds to be paid her within two years after my decease. I give unto my Brother THOMAS RUSHER Ten Pounds to be paid him within one year of my decease. I give unto my sister ANN LOE ten Pounds to be paid her within one year of my decease. I give unto every one of my grandchildren that are living at the time of my decease one Guinea a piece to be paid them respectively at the age of 21 years. I give unto my sister ANN's two sons STEPHEN FLEXON and JOHN LOE one Guinea a piece. I give unto RACHEL daughter of my brother THOMAS two Guineas. And I will that all the above mentioned Legacies,


amounting to ÂŁ204.4s. and the Guineas apiece to my grandchildren be paid as directed by my son THOMAS. And I hereby charge the Farm House Home and Premises hereinbefore mentioned and given to him with the respective Payments thereof. I give unto my daughter ELIZABETH, als BETT, Wife of THOMAS EATON All that freehold Cottage House Tenement Garden and Appurtenancies in Ensham adjoin next to my Rickyard now in the Tenure of Benjamin Gardner with the Tythefree Cottage Common and the Garden enlarged as now marked out: to hold to my said Daughter ELIZABETH, als BETT, EATON and her said Husband THOMAS EATON and the Survivor of them during the term of their natural lives and to the Heirs and Assigns of such Survivor for ever. I give unto my son WILLIAM RUSHER All that piece or parcel of Freehold Meadow Ground in Ensham upper Meadow called two twenty penny Acres (Upwards of three Acres by measure) now in the occupation of my son THOMAS RUSHER, he my son WILLIAM Paying thereout ten Pounds to his Brother my son JOHN RUSHER: to hold the said Piece or parcel of Meadow Ground unto my son WILLIAM and his Heirs for ever. I give unto my son PHILIP RUSHER All that piece of Inclosed freehold Meadow Ground in the Parish of Ensham called Oathurst Meadow containing upwards of three Acres now in my own occupation, he my said son PHILIP paying thereout to his brother my son JAMES RUSHER ten Pounds: to hold the said Piece Oathurst Meadow unto my son PHILIP RUSHER and his heirs for ever. I give unto my Daughter HANNAH RUSHER All that House Messuage Tenement Garden and Appurtenances in Ensham, consisting of two Tenements now in the Tenure of JOHN GRANT and [blank] EAST, which Premises I lately purchased of JOHN HOUNSLOW, To hold to my said Daughter HANNAH for and during her natural life, and after her decease equally to and amongst all her Children or Child she may have share alike. [Was her bastard son, William, here envisaged, or perhaps others? - there is no documentary evidence on the point.] And the ÂŁ100 hereinbefore mentioned and given her I will to be paid into the hands of my Executors hereinafter mentioned to be by them applied in the manner hereinafter mentioned. I give unto my daughter MARY, Wife of SAMUEL LITHERLAND All that copyhold Farm House Barns Stables Yard Buildings in Backside Garden Cottage Common and Appurtenances in Newland Street in Ensham, which premises I lately purchased from RICHARD WILLSDON, To hold the said Copyhold Estate and Premises unto my said daughter MARY and her heirs for ever according to the Custom of the Manor. I give unto my daughter JANE, Wife of WILLIAM ARNE,


All that freehold House Messuage Tenement and Appurtenances in Ensham called the Shop, late in the occupation of my son THOMAS and which Premises I lately purchased of SAMUEL MORGAN, to hold the said Messuage Tenement Shop and Appurtenances unto my said daughter JANE ARNE and her heirs for ever. I also give unto my said Daughter JANE ARNE my Eight Day Clock Case and Furniture. I give unto my son JOHN RUSHER All that Freehold House Messuage or Tenement Garden and Appurtenances in Ensham called Spearacre [Spare Acre] House now in the Tenure of PHILIP BUCKINGHAM: to hold the said Messuage Tenement or House called SpearAcre House and Appurtenances unto my said son JOHN and his Heirs for ever. I give unto my son JAMES RUSHER All that Freehold House Messuage Tenement Garden Barn and Appurtenances in Ensham now in the Tenure of THOMAS WEBB, which Premises I lately purchased of GEORGE DANIEL to hold the said freehold House ...etc. unto my son JAMES and his heirs for ever. I give unto my grandson THOMAS (son of my son THOMAS RUSHER) all that my House Messuage Tenement consisting of two Tenements in the Tenure of JOHN COOK and BENJAMIN BELCHER in a Street in Ensham called Pugg Lane, together with a Piece of Copyhold Garden ground near the Premises and held and occupied therewith, To hold to my said grandson THOMAS RUSHER from and after immediately the decease of RACHEL ARNOLD (to whom or to whose use I have given and secured it for the term of her natural life) I say from thence to my grandson THOMAS RUSHER and his Heirs Executors Administators for ever, or for and during all my right and Term therein. I give unto my Kinsman or Nephew JAMES PAYNE All that my House Messuage or Tenement and Garden in Syresham Northamptonshire which I lately purchased of THOMAS MERCY (but subject to the payment of the several Legacies to his Brothers and Sisters hereinafter mentioned and given, (that is to say) I give to my niece ANN GARDNER four guineas, to be paid her within two years of my decease. I give unto all the rest of my Nephews and Nieces Brothers and Sisters of the said JAMES PAYNE, two guineas apiece, they being eight in number, exclusive of ANN, therefore the Legacies together will amount to 20 guineas, to be paid by my said Nephew JAMES PAYNE respectively within two years after my decease. And I hereby charge the said House and Premises in Syresham with the respective payment of all the abovementioned Legacies; and I further will that RICHARD PAYNE (Father of the said JAMES PAYNE) shall have a residence and Lodging in the said House rent free during the Term of his natural life."


All the remainder of John's estate and his personal goods and chattels were left to the then executors, his eldest and youngest sons, John and James: this provision does not seem to have been altered when in March 1795 Thomas replaced James as executor. The will was signed, but only then did the testator add the promised section about the £100 he had left to Hannah. The codicil reads as follows: "I will that the £100 in the first Sheet mentioned and given to the use of my daughter HANNAH be paid into the hands of my above Executors, and by them laid out in an Annuity for the Life of my said daughter HANNAH and for her sole use. And declare this part of my above Will, which though omitted in its proper place, was here inserted before signing sealing and delivery or witnessing hereof'. Three witnesses here signed or made a mark, but their names add nothing to the story. The codicil of March 1795 added that Hannah's income was to be paid to her by the Executors quarterly, also that the residuary legatees were to have and enjoy one whole year's rents and profits of his whole estate, presumably before any legacies were paid, though it does not actually specify this. One of the witnesses to the codicil was Ann Gardner, perhaps his niece above. The legacy provisions of this will are rather lengthy, but I have given them in full, because they afford such a clear picture of the extent of his land holdings in Eynsham, as well as noting some of his recent purchases, in fact a remarkable overview of how one man, of the 'middling sort', a contemporary phrase, made a very profitable living. There was much to pass on, but as shown above, only too many to be catered for, and quite a considerable fortune was thus entirely dispersed. I have found no other wills of his immediate family, except for William and James. William, in 1849, had some real estate to leave, but nothing in Eynsham, whilst James's only notable property, in 1837, seems to have been his shop premises in Reading, though he left a very considerable number of money bequests. With the exception, perhaps, of Thomas and Hannah, it seems probable that all John Rusher's legatees soon sold their Eynsham properties, since none of them except these two were living there at the time of his death. Note on sources (see inside front cover for abbreviations) For John Rusher, senior, any relevant Parish Registers; advertisements in Jackson's Oxford Journal, which can be traced by looking up his name in the index to the Synopses of all material of Oxfordshire interest, covering the years 1752 to 1780 and 1781 to 1790, edited by E.C.Davies and E.H.Cordeaux, in 1967 and 1976 respectively. These advertise­ ments cover certain parish activities of John Rusher as well as his estate agent's work. Details of his career as Master of the Bartholomew Charity School came from


Bodl.MSS.DD.Par.Eynsham c.12. For this, and for his work relating to the workhouses, see also V. Oxon. vol.12, published late 1990. The Eynsham Overseers' Accounts, among the parish documents, add many details regarding the management of the town's poor. His surviving property transactions can be traced in Oxfordshire Archives from the index card bearing his name. His marriage licence is among those for 1849 in the Oxford Archdeaconry records, and the copy of his will is in MS.Wills Oxon, 100, pp. 289v-292, both sets of records also in Oxfordshire Archives. Anything to do with his sons' careers can be traced through the detailed notes to the article mentioned at the start, copies of the relevant journal, Cake and Cockhorse, Vol.11, no.9, being in Oxfordshire Local Studies Library, Oxfordshire Archives and the Bodleian Library.

Book plate from a volume formerly in the Catholic Apostolic Church, Mill St.


HERCULES HUMPHRIES, 1699-1800 by Lilian Wright and Brian Atkins The bearer of this splendid name was baptised in Burford on 25 June 1699, and died at Eynsham in September 1800, aged 101. He thus had the unusual distinction of having lived in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries! In 1800 the Vicar of Eynsham was Thomas Nash, recently appointed Rector of Salford (in pluracy), who then seems to have left the affairs of Eynsham in the hands of a newly appointed Curate, Thomas Symonds. In the very first year of his curacy (1800-26) Symonds administered the last rites to Hercules Humphries on 14 Sept, and almost certainly conducted his funeral and burial service, and made the following entry in St Leonard's Burial Register. `Sept 22 HUMPHRIES, Hercules aetat 101' Thomas Symonds succeeded Nash as Eynsham's Vicar in 1826. He was a meticulous and dedicated archivist and antiquarian, and in his records of c.1830 ­ 45 he recalled the demise of Hercules in 1800. "...He [had] said he could remember the Abbey Gate House. On Sunday Sep.14th 1800 I administered the Sacrament to him. His daughter was present and also received the Sacrament - she was in her 71st year. A younger daughter was present aged 13". These daughters invite curiosity! Hercules (aged ca.34) had married Sarah Hobbs on 1 April 1733 in Eynsham, and she had died in December 1756. Thus, if Symonds's records and what he had been told were accurate, the 71 year old daughter was either illegitimate or the issue of an earlier marriage, and the 13 year old daughter (born when Hercules was aged ca.88!) was either illegitimate or the issue of a later marriage. Hercules Humphries was the first to have his age at death recorded in the Burial registers (which date back to 1653), and this almost immediately became the norm. It seems that Hercules's great age (and possibly that his life had embraced an entire century and a bit of the adjacent centuries) had inspired the young Curate and budding archivist to start routinely recording the age at death. Hercules's father may have lived to an even greater age! Symond's account continues:-"They [the daughters] aprised me that his Father was 107 years old at the time of his Decease". His father was almost certainly therefore another Hercules Humphries who was buried at Eynsham in 1765, but confirmation of his quite exceptional age awaits further research, as do the true facts concerning the progeny of Hercules, Jnr. Reference. Commonplace book of Thomas Symonds c.1830-45. Bodl.MS Don d.180.


BEATING THE BOUNDS - A view from the 'other side' by Brian Atkins On 24th May 1992 (Rogation Sunday) the Vicar of Cumnor and some 30 of his parishioners recalled the ancient custom of 'Beating the Bounds' by 'perambulating' or `processioning' from Bablockhythe to Swinford Bridge. Near the bridge they re­ enacted almost exactly the rituals described by Benjamin Buckler in 17591. The sum of 6s. 8d. is always brought to the vicar in a bason [sic] of water by the ferry-man (who attends him with a clean napkin); and after he has fished for his money and wiped his fingers, he is expected to distribute the water among the young people who come within his reach, as a token of remembrance to them of the custom. Here likewise the vicar and parishioners go into the ferry, and crossing over to the Oxfordshire [i. e. the Eynsham] side, they lay hold on the twigs or reeds on the bank, and conclude the ceremony with the gospel of the Ascension. By this act they would be understood to assert the whole breadth of the river to the parish and manor of Comnor [sic]. Cumnor's 'assert' or claim to the whole breadth of the river was legitimate, at least to the north of Pinkhill, and still is 2. Of course the re-enactment required a substitute ferry-boat and ferry-man, both having become redundant when the bridge was built, only 10 years after Buckler was writing. An Eynsham observer might have challenged the vicar's action in plucking (rather than 'laying hold on') a reed on the Eynsham bank. But this Eynsham observer is grateful to have been invited to witness the 1992 ceremonies, and is inclined to overlook a possible case of minor larceny. References and footnotes

1. From Bibliotheca Topographica Britannica, vol.iv (1790), pt.16, pp.23f. 2. See, for example, the boundary as depicted on 0. S. 1:10,000 map sheet SP 40 NW, 1972. Acknowledgements Thanks to the Cumnor History Group for its kind invitation to the E.H.G. to share some o f the enjoyment of their day. I am especially grateful to Dr R.J.W.Evans of Cumnor whose excellent leaflet, produced for the occasion, included the Buckler quotation. A copy of the leaflet has been deposited in the E.H.G.'s archives.


Fig.1 The 'ferry' returning to the Cumnor bank, with the 'ferryman', two parishion­ ers and the Revd N.D.Durand who is holding an Eynsham reed. Swinford Bridge in the background.


THE BELLS OF ST LEONARD'S, EYNSHAM by Lilian Wright " I heard the church bells hollowing out the sky, Deep beyond deep, like never-ending stars" John Betjeman: 'Summoned by Bells' Bells have always played an important part in church life, drawing people away from worldly occupations to think of God. In the Middle Ages each day was punctuated by bells, especially in abbeys where the great bell was rung for all services, starting with Mattins just after midnight and ending with Compline at 6.0 p.m. One reference to bells in the Eynsham Cartulary states that bells were not to be rung in Lent; monks were to be summoned by striking a slab of wood. Most parish churches had only three bells which were rung for services, festivals and marriages and tolled for funerals. For more important people a bellman would lead the cortège1. There is an Eynsham will of 1580 for William Whyte, bellman, who may have done this, in addition to ringing the 4.0 a.m. starting work and evening curfew bells. After the Dissolution the ringing of bells became a secular occupation not involving the clergy. In villages and towns men formed groups who made their own rules and gradually a way of ringing developed, first by call-changes and then the infinite variety of change-ringing which is uniquely English. This development took place in the 17th century when many churches increased the number of bells to five or six, and ways were devised in their hanging to make them easier to ring. However the aim of this article is not to describe the details of bell technology or the art of ringing, but to draw together the references to bells in church and village records in Eynsham. In 1583 John Launce left money for the church bells, and in 1585 the Elizabethan vicar William Emmot did the same 'for the maintenance of the bells of St.Leonard's in Ensham'; William Boulter, 1596, gave 'to the bells, 2/-' and Thomas Bucking ­ ham in 1626 left money for the ringers; possibly he had been one of them 2. These are a few of such bequests. The Eynsham Churchwardens' Accounts from 16403 are full of details about the bells especially those from 1653. Each year at least 2 new bell ropes were needed at 2/- each, but during the time of the Civil War there are no payments for beer for the ringers. In 1652 four bellropes were needed, suggesting that there were 4 bells,


and in the same year's accounts we find 'a bell wheel at 7/6' and 'to Adrian Johnson for mending the clock and getting the bells in order and Joseph Collins for a new hoop'. Now comes the 'Saga of the Bell.' When I first read this in the Bodleian in 1978 I knew it would be worth paying for a photocopy of the whole of the accounts.As you read it try to imagine what it was like for those 17th century churchwardens, Nicholas Hart and Thomas Allen who were responsible for the new Bell and recasting another. How were the bells transported to Woodstock? How were they taken down and lifted up the tower? I think they deserved the inscription of their names on the new bell which is still being rung today as the 3rd and is the oldest surviving bell. 1653 The Accounts of Nicholas Hart and Thomas Allen. Payd to the Bellfounder " for 3 new bell ropes " for taking down the Bell " for charges when I went for security for the Bell " for hanging the Bell " for going to the Bellfounder " for when one came to try it at the first casting " for takng down the Bell the second time " for carrying & bringing home the Bell the last time " for hanging the Bell the last time " my charges when accounting with the Bellfounder " for casting the Bell " for Addition of Metal by weight " allowed to the Bellfounder for Waste " spent at the carrying of the Bell " spent at the weighing & loading of the Bell " given to the Bellfounder's son " for carrying and bringing the Bell home " for Timber " for the Bellfounder " for nailes & mending the plates for the Bell " for mending the Bell clapper " for Addition of 7 pounds of iron to the clapper " for Mending of Staples & nailes at the last But this wasn't the end of the story.


0-2-6 0-6-0 0-0-8 0-1-0 0-5-0 0-0-4 0-1-0 0-1-0 0-6-0 0-4-0 0-0-6 4-5-0 3-5-0 0-18-0 0-1-0 0-1-0 0-0-6 0-6-0 0-8-0 0-2-0 0-2-0 0-2-0 0-3-0 0-1-0

1654 Nicholas Hart's Receipts towards the buying of a Trebell [Treble] and the Casting of the 3rd Bell: He received as he can make it plainly appear of the free gift of several persons the sum of ÂŁ4-10-0 and whereof there was gained at Whitsuntide altogether ÂŁ25-18-0 and is to receive by promise more. His disbursements for the Bells Payd to the Bellfounder 22-1-0 He is bound to pay to the Bellfounder more 7-14-0 Payd to the Bellhanger 1-0-0 Payd to the Master of Musick to tune the Bells 0-14-0 " for nailes 0-1-0 " to John Devell for Iron and for his work 1-0-0 1655 Payd for Mending the Bell wheel " for a Strappe for the 4th Bell " for 3 Bell ropes " for leather & mending the Bell Brodericks

0-8-6 0-0-6 0-7-3 0-2-8

After a breathing space of four years the Tenor bell needed casting. 1659 Robert Butler and William Brotherton Payd for Casting the Bell " to Ralph Jordan for bringing the Bells home Spent there and gave to the workman Payd to Old Keene for taking down and getting up the bells and other work about them Payd for three bell ropes " for mending the great Bell wheel " for Boards and other Timber for the wheels " for the Bellfounder's expenses to hear the Bells " for Carrying the Bells to Woodstock " for mending of Two Bells " for Casting of the Bells

3-0-0 0-4-0 0-3-6 0-12-0 0-6-0 0-2-0 0-1-0 0-1-0 0-4-0 0-0-4 3-0-0

John Piers was the Vicar from 1648 and in 1651 he signs as Minister.


They did it all just in time for the Restoration celebrations. Did they have a presage of what was to come? Look at the accounts for 1660! Payd for Bread and Beere for the Ringers at the King's Restoration and Proclaiming


I feel that these Eynsham men of the 17th century were keen ringers and proud of their bells. In 1668 Fabian Stedman a Cambridge printer published Duckworth's Tintinnalogia, one of the first books on ringing; and in 1677 he published his own method in Campanalogia which is still one of the best known methods today 4. It seems that our bells were rung more frequently, for new ropes were needed each year and a new wheel was made in 1661. In 1665, when John Rogers became vicar, a complete set of 5 new bell ropes was purchased and the ringers given 1/- to ring for the King's birthday. These are the last full accounts in the surviving Church­ wardens' book but there is a brief entry for 1673 when Thomas Allan and William Gold were responsible for another bell (the 5th in the present ring and the second oldest survivor). Payd for the Bell with appertaining charges Payd for other charges laid out

15-14-4 5-11-11

Signed John Rogers Vicar. The 1653 & 1654 bells were cast by 'Old Keene', James, and the 1659 & 1673 bells by his son Richard, both at the Woodstock foundry the position of which has not yet been firmly identified 5. According to notes on the old bells a Sanctus Bell or Saunce was cast in 1683 with the inscription 'CM . GN', initials which do not refer to the Churchwardens of that time, and in 1708 another bell was cast by William Bagley and his son Henry at the Chacombe foundry. For most of the 18th century the Vicars of Eynsham were pluralists who spent little time here and left the church in the hands of clergy coming out from Oxford. In the Overseers' Accounts 6 there is a list of 'Subscribers to the recasting of the Bells' in 1772 when Thomas Nash was vicar but nothing more was done as can be seen from the following extract from the Courier of 8 July 1802 which appears in a book of Thomas Symonds (Vicar 1826-1845)7.




Gibbs moved for a Mandamus to Commissioners for inclosing the Common Fields of the Parish of Ensham calling upon them to make an Allotment of 28 acres of Land which he contended were not allotted. An Act proposed in 1781 allotting a Portion of Waste, when Langford as Lord of the Manor, received 482 acres as his share, this Allottment came close to the Turnpike Road leading from Witney to Woodstock and on the other side lay the 27 acres in question, which were convenient for Langford (Land known as Rumour). The Parishioners wished to have a Ring of Bells, and Langford called a Meeting of them, and after giving them a Dinner and Supper, proposed to give the Parish a Ring of Bells if they would let him inclose the 27 acres. This was agreed to but only in part performed, for Langford inclosed the Land, but forgot the Bells! Lord Ellenboro' said they might go to Chancery for a specific performance. Gibbs replied that his case stood on other grounds. For he contended that the Parishioners being only a Part of those entitled to a Right of Common could not make any such Agreement, and as a subsequent Act in the year 1800 for inclosing the Remainder of this Waste, these 28 acres, which were part of the Land unallotted by the former Act, ought now to be allotted by the last Act which was the object of his Motion. It appeared in answer to a question put by the Court that Langford had been in possession 18 years. Ld.Ellenboro said if he had been in possession 20 years he would have presumed it to have been part of his original Allotment. The Rede Nisi might be taken. These Closes were afterwards sold by Auction on 28 January 1807 to defray the Expenses of the Law Suit incurred for their Recovery.

Eynsham still had to wait for its new bells. More on Bell Close later. In the Thomas Symonds books I have read so far there is no more mention of bells, and in 1845 the notorious William Simcox Bricknell became vicar. In 1863 there is a letter to the churchwarden Joseph Druce saying that the state of the Bell loft and its machinery was so bad that he had found it his duty to prohibit the ringing of the bells until the existing danger of accident and great extra expense to the parish church had been removed8 . There is no mention of bells in the Vestry Minutes between 1864 and 1885 so perhaps they were never rung. This needs further research. When Simcox Bricknell's grandson, William Nash Bricknell became vicar in 1893 one of his first actions was to write a letter to all his parishioners 9 thus:`Restoration of the Bells of St.Leonard, Eynsham. I beg to commend to your consideration the need of the above. The Bells have fallen into a lamentable condition,being cracked and practically useless, 3 only being available for use. The estimated cost of taking down the bells


and frame, constructing a new Treble bell, re-casting the 3rd and Tenor bells and perfecting the whole peal of 6 bells is £147-10-0. The Village having been for the past 4 years in a very depressed state owing to the failure of the principal local industry makes it necessary to ask for outside aid. [Eynsham Paper Mills Co. which had employed 100 people closed in 1893.] On behalf of the Committee I earnestly appeal to all who take an interest in the Restoration of Church Bells and Campanology to assist in this laudable and desirable undertaking. Contributions and donations however small will be thankfully received by Yours faithfully, William Nash Bricknell, Vicar & Hon.Secretary.' The appeal was successful, for in a box of Church papers there is:`John Taylor Bellfounder, Loughborough Recasting cracked 1st, 3rd & 5th & adding new Treble Total £147-10-0. They were hung by F.White & Sons, Bellhangers of Appleton, Berks. in 1895. The Bells were opened by a Complete Peal of Grandsire Minors containing 720 changes by these 6 members of the Appleton Society:Stedman White (Treble), Frank Banat (2nd), Frederick White (3rd), Revd. F.E.Robinson (4th), Richard White (5th), Henry Tubb (Tenor).' The Whites have been bell hangers since 1830 when Alfred started the blacksmith and foundry business10 Now it is one of only four bell hanging concerns in the country. In the PCC minutes for 192411 a request was made for a recasting of the 7th Sanctus Bell. The accounts for this were:Recasting and rehanging Bell £ 5-15-6 Repairing fittings to 6 Bells £ 4- 5-6 The details of the present ring are listed on p.42. The ring is in the key of A flat major, the Tenor giving the Tonic(doh). Also in 1924 we have the sequel to the 1802 Court Case. Mr Frank Pimm, who had been the Parish Clerk from 1880, wanted to resign the Sextonship which involved bell tolling, grave-digging and stoking the furnace, and he asked for details of the tenure of Bell Close Field. It was thought that the tenure of Bell Close Field was held by ringing the Pan­ cake Bell (the cracked Sanctus bell). A letter was written to the Ecclesiastical and Charity Commissioners asking if they could clarify the matter.



Fig.1 Founders' marks on the bells. a) A Loughborough foundry mark, indicated by * opposite: b) Another Loughborough mark on the Second bell: c) Woodstock foundry mark on the Third (oldest) bell: d) Another Loughborough mark on the Tenor bell. (All at full-scale) Their reply was dated 8 August 1924:The allotment of the piece of land now known as "Bell Close" was made to Philip Gardner as Parish Clerk and his successors by an Inclosure Award for Eynsham,6 February 1802. The Award is enrolled at County Hall, Oxford and can be examined there. The Parish Clerks hold the land in succession from one another by virtue of the award which having been made in pursuance of the Inclosure Act of 40 Geo.III gives them a Parliamentary title to the property. There was a further letter on 19 August 1924. The Parish Clerk is precluded from alienating the land in question by the provisions of Section 29 of the Charitable Trusts Amendment Act 1855 without the authority of a Court, or without the approval of the Board. It would be competent to the Parish Clerk to apply to the Commissioners for an Order authorizing a sale of the land. Extract from the Inclosure Award for Eynsham 6 February 1802. "Unto and for Philip Gardner as Parish Clerk of Ensham and his successors for the time being. One plot or piece of land containing 3 Roods and 17 Perches as the same is now admeasured and set out situate in the Conduit Field, bounded on the East by the Turnpike Road, on the South by the Allotment hereinafter awarded to John Pimm and on the West by the first Allotment hereinafter awarded to James Preston. The fence belonging to this allotment is that against the said Turnpike Road."


Note in red ink after this in the PCC Minutes, 1924:Bell Close Field was sold in the year 1926 by Frank Pimm, Parish Clerk to Mr Arthur Blake of Eynsham to build a house on. This with the consent of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.

In 1929 the Eynsham Bellringers started their own Minute Book. The vicar from 1932, the Rev A.F. Smith was very interested in bell ringing and always thanked the ringers for their services. Several quarter peals and muffled quarter peals were rung besides the regular ringing until 1940 when all bell ringing was stopped because of the War. Mr Cliff Bennett became Tower Captain in that year. In 1941 the Home Guard wanted to use the Church Tower as an Observation Post. This was granted by the PCC with various conditions. There is no mention of ringing to celebrate V.E.Day, but I am sure they did, and regular ringing started again from that time. In 1948 the 5th bell was re-hung and electric light installed in the ringing chamber. By 1952 there were enough lady ringers to provide an all ladies band for the 6 bells. When Stuart Blanch became vicar in 1952 a Ringers Sunday was established to commemorate the anniversary of the bells in 1895. When the bells needed rehanging on ball bearings the PCC refused to grant any money so the ringers made a house to house collection raising the necessary ÂŁ250. Whites of Appleton did the work in time for the Carol Service in 1960. Particular quarter peals were rung when Stuart Blanch became Bishop of Liverpool and then Archbishop of York'. In 1987 a special Service was held to celebrate 60 years of ringing Eynsham bells by Mr Cliff Bennett when a Full Peal of 5040 changes was rung in his honour. He told me that the only other Full Peal in Eynsham this century was in 1927 the year in which he became a Ringer. References (see inside front cover for abbreviations) 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11.

Tom Ingram, Bells in England, Muller 1954 Sundry wills in Oxon. Archives MSS Wills Oxon. Oxon.Archives: MSS DD Par. Eynsham b.12 Ron Johnston, Bellringing, Viking penguin, 1986 V.C.H.Oxon. vol.12, p.363 Oxon.Archives: MSS DD Par. Eynsham b.15 Bodl: MS Top. Oxon. b.275; Oxon.Archives: MSS DD Par. Eynsham c.39(R) Bodl: MS Top. Oxon. d.214(11); see also E.R. No.8, 1991, pp.18-21 Oxon.Archives: MSS DD Par. Eynsham c.1 1 Article in The Oxford Times, 8 June 1973 Eynsham P.C.C. Minutes 1920-48


TILGARSLEY By Alan Crossley [In the first issue of this journal (E.R. No.1, 1984, p.19), I asked the question 'Where exactly was Tilgarsley?' and wrote 'The site of this medieval village, wiped out or abandoned at the time of the Black Death, 1349/50, is unknown. It probably lies no more than a mile or two from Eynsham. There is no shortage of possible candidates: Freeland, Twelve-Acre farm, Turner's Green, Barnard Gate, Bowles Farm and several other sites have all been suggested at various times and for different reasons.' The Victoria History of the County of Oxford, Vol.12, 1990, pp.115-6 addresses this issue. I'm grateful to Alan Crossley its author for permission to reproduce this section. I've omitted only the references and footnotes (of which there are 18!). Anyone minded to explore this puzzle further is strongly recommended to consult the original piece for these references. Crossley (pers.comm.) is still confident that the Bowles farm area is the best candidate, but confirms that the apparent absence of evidence in the form of medieval pottery sherds etc. in the ploughed fields thereabouts remains a problem. It is interesting that among the late Hugh Cooper's papers was a small typewritten slip that gave the Bowles farm area as the Tilgarsley site, albeit without giving any reasons. Editor]

Though the extent and location of Tilgarsley's fields may be traced, the site of the deserted hamlet remains uncertain. By the early 14th century Tilgarsley was a substantial settlement, paying more in taxes than Eynsham itself. In 1327 there were 28 taxpayers in Tilgarsley and 27 in Eynsham. In 1359 it was alleged that Tilgarsley was abandoned in 1350 because all the inhabitants had died; the mortality was perhaps overstated, since several long-established family names survived, but the hamlet was evidently deserted, and the abbot was accordingly granted relief from subsidies. By the early 15th century the open fields of Tilgarsley were divided into inclosed `crofts and pastures' which may be traced in later maps. There are no later references to habitations there but in 1390 the abbot was storing tithe hay for his own use at le Bolde. Bold croft and Bold close were frequently recorded in the later Middle Ages, and later, as the Bowles (ca. 34a. in 1650), they included the site of the surviving Bowles Farm. The land was former demesne, and the presence there' of the abbot's barn in the later 14th century suggests that before the catastrophe the site may have been the centre of the home farm in Tilgarsley's fields. West and south-west were Grange coppice (70a., of which only Castle's coppice remains wooded) and Grange close (59a.), names which presumably recall the monastic grange.


`Bolds' were buildings and the field name probably denotes the site of deserted dwellings. In the early 18th century it was alleged that Tilgarsley had contained a church, and 'they call the ground surrounding the place the Bowles'. In 1802 a field south of Bowles Farm was called Churchyard ground, and in the early 19th century Eynsham's vicar mentioned that 'stones and bones are frequently found there'. There is no documentary reference to an early chapel at Tilgarsley, and it is unlikely that valuable burial rights were granted away from Eynsham without record; Churchyard ground, moreover, is not recorded among abundant references to Tilgarsley's fields in the later Middle Ages. The reference to a churchyard rather than to a church suggests that the field name may have been inspired merely by the discovery of burials, whose date and significance remains uncertain. It was probably correct, however, to link Tilgarsley with Bowles. In addition to evidence placing the abbot's home farm there it is clear that in 1449 the 'place called Tilgarsley' lay near the southern perimeter of the High wood, later Eynsham heath; the convergence of many ancient lanes near Bowles Farm seems to imply an important settlement and the arrangement of early closes, particularly along the west side of Cuckoo Lane, may indicate former settlement sites. Archaeological evidence is lacking, however, and the only remains identified as a possible habitation site lie 1/2 mile south-east of Bowles Farm in an area once called Turners Green. Tilgarsley was perhaps large enough to include both that site and the Bowles. Some alternative identifications of the lost hamlet were based on a misinterpre­ tation of references to the manor or its fields, for the name Tilgarsley, denoting a wide area in the north and west of the parish, survived into modern times. There is no evidence to support the identification of Twelve Acre Farm as the site of the hamlet, although it lay within Tilgarsley's fields and indeed became a centre of demesne farming in the later Middle Ages: masonry ploughed up near Stockman's close may have been from that period. Eighteenth-century county maps located Till Guzzel or Tilgarsley near Barnard Gate.


EYNSHAM HISTORY GROUP Founded 1959 The E.H.G. exists primarily to encourage studies in, and to promote knowledge of the history of the village and parish of Eynsham, Oxfordshire, by means of regular meetings (normally at least ten), with invited speakers, during the winter and spring; and occasional outings in the summer. New members are welcome. The current subscription is ÂŁ3.50 per annum (excluding the Record). Please apply to the Secretary for details.


Mrs J. Weedon, 2, Clover Place, Eynsham


Mrs L. Wright, Charfield, Cassington Rd., Eynsham

Programme Secretary:

Mrs E. Mason, 26, John Lopes Rd., Eynsham


Mr S.G. Green, 55, Witney Rd., Eynsham


Dr F.B. Atkins, 8, Thornbury Rd., Eynsham


Mrs P. Pimm, 65, Witney Rd., Eynsham

Committee members:

Mrs J. Buttrick, 46, Evans Rd., Eynsham Mrs J. Smith, Parklands, Tilgarsley Rd., Eynsham

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