Bampton, Oxfordshire

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the town of the same name in Devon see Bampton
Bampton 3.JPG
St Mary the Virgin parish church
Bampton is located in Oxfordshire
 Bampton shown within Oxfordshire
Population 2,505 (2001 census)[1][irrelevant citation]
OS grid reference SP315031
Civil parish Bampton
District West Oxfordshire
Shire county Oxfordshire
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Bampton
Postcode district OX18
Dialling code 01993
Police Thames Valley
Fire Oxfordshire
Ambulance South Central
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament Witney
Website Bampton Oxfordshire
List of places

Coordinates: 51°43′37″N 1°32′38″W / 51.727°N 1.544°W / 51.727; -1.544

The former Bampton Post Office, now a private house
Tadpole Bridge carries a road between Bampton to the north and Buckland to the south

Bampton, also called Bampton-in-the-Bush, is a village and civil parish in Oxfordshire, England, located in the Thames Valley about 4.5 miles (7.2 km) southwest of Witney. The parish includes the hamlet of Weald.

Bampton is sometimes described as a town, perhaps because it was a market town until the 19th century.[2] It has both a Town Hall and a Village Hall.

The core of Bampton is sited on gravel terraces composed of Summertown-Radley or Flood Plain Terrace deposits.[3]


The origins of Bampton go back to the Iron Age and Roman times. The earliest settlement was probably somewhat to the east of the centre of Bampton today, the triangular space known as Market Square.

Bampton was an important place in Saxon and medieval times.[4]

US troops were billeted in Bampton at various times during the Second World War.

Bampton is used for exterior shots of the fictional village of Downton, North Yorkshire in ITV's period drama TV series Downton Abbey.[5]

Parish church[edit]

St Mary's, Bampton, in 1931, with its tall spire
Postcard photo of St Mary's in 1931

The Church of England parish church of Saint Mary the Virgin dates from the 12th century. It was built on the site of a late Anglo-Saxon Minster, and the tower of that building survives within the present church. It has a 13th-century spire and carved stone reredos of Christ and the apostles from around 1400.

In Anglo Saxon times Saint Beornwald of Bampton was venerated locally as patron of Bampton.[6] He was venerated in Bampton with a feast day on 21 December from at least the 9th century until the reformation,[7]
and given the degree of local patronage he may possibly have been founder of the church.

However, very little is actually known of Beornwald himself. Although early records[8] call him saint confessor, priest and martyr,[9] even his tomb is now lost for certain. His shrine was probably situated in the north transept of the church, where some evidence of a prior shrine remains.[10][11]

William the Conqueror gave the original church to Leofric, Bishop of Exeter. The diocese of Exeter was involved with St Mary's for many years afterwards. Throughout its history the church has been rebuilt and extended many times, most recently in 1870 when the roof took its present form.[12][13][14]

The ancient parish was one of the largest in Oxfordshire[4] and included the townships of Weald, Lew, Aston, Cote, Shifford, Chimney and Lower Haddon.[4] In 1857 the parish was split into the three ecclesiastical parishes of Bampton Proper, Bampton Lew and Bampton Aston, all now part of the united benefice of Bampton with Clanfield.[4] In 1866 the parish was split into five civil parishes: Bampton, Lew, Aston and Cote, Shifford and Chimney.[4]

St. Mary's Rectory has a date-stone indicating that it was built in 1546.[15] It was altered in 1799 by the builder and architect Daniel Harris.[15]

The church features in the television series Downton Abbey along with streets and buildings around it.[16]

The village is the setting for the fictional crime novels The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, set c 1366, by Mel Starr.


From 1861 until 1961 the village was served by Brize Norton and Bampton railway station, two miles to the north.

Bus services are provided by Stagecoach in Oxfordshire on routes 18 (Bampton-Oxford) and 19 (Carterton-Bampton-Witney).[17]


Pumpkin club[edit]

Three Bampton residents Arnold Woodley, Jack Horn and Reg Absolom formed the Bampton Pumpkin club in March 1969. Every October there is a Pumpkin Club weigh-in, where all contestants' pumpkins are weighed, with the winner being awarded a prize. The first ever winner of the club weigh-in was Joe Buckingham with a gourd weighing 51.5 pounds (23.4 kg). After the weigh-in the pumpkins, along with flowers, fruit and vegetables, are auctioned. The money raised is given to local old age pensioners.

Youth Centre[edit]

Bampton Youth Centre was founded in 1984 to provide facilities for children and teenagers. It is in the Victorian former primary school building in Church View.

Skate Park[edit]

Bampton Skatepark was built for the village's skateboarders and BMX riders.

Gardening Club[edit]

Bampton's gardening club holds two flower shows each year. The Summer Show is held at the end of June or early July, and the Autumn Show is held in September. The first ever shows were held in October 1972.

Society for the Protection of Bampton[edit]

The Society for the Protection of Bampton (SPB) is a society set up in 1993 to maintain or improve the quality of life for people living in Bampton. The society bought a field in Bampton for use by the village; the field used to be owned by Oxfordshire County Council. The society has around 450 members.

Bampton Environmental Watch group[edit]

The Bampton Environmental Watch Group (BEWG) is a group set up in 1989, to look after the Bampton environment; it currently has around 100 members.

Bampton Town Football Club[edit]

Bampton Town Football Club are affiliated to the Oxfordshire Football Association. Their home ground is located at Buckland Road, Bampton. The club runs 2 senior teams (first and reserve) who play in the North Berks Football League, 1 youth team (under 16 age group) who play in the OFA Youth Football League, 7 junior teams (under 8s to under 14s) who play in the Witney and District Youth League and 1 veteran team (over 35 years old). The club's main kit colours are orange shirts and black shorts.[18]


'Society for the Preservation of Ancient Junketing' (SPAJERS) organises a race (the Bampton Shirt Race) around the village on the late May Bank Holiday each year, celebrating the 14 pubs that used to be open. Runners, originally dressed in night-gowns in pairs, with one pushing another in a trolley, stopping at the houses that used to be pubs (and of course the current open pubs), and drinking a measure of beer before running to the next. The race now often features larger teams in fancy dress with a variety of wheeled vehicles. A children's race with soft drinks is also run.

The Bampton Beam[edit]

The local magazine The Bampton Beam is distributed freely to all residences and businesses in Bampton. It contains information on events in the Bampton area.

Bampton Classical Opera[edit]

Bampton is the home of Bampton Classical Opera which performs both in Bampton and elsewhere, including London. In Bampton the venue is the garden of the Deanery, a private house near St Mary's church. A curved yew hedge encloses the opera stage, providing excellent natural acoustics.

Bampton Morris[edit]

Bampton has a tradition of morris dancing which may be 600 years old. Documentary and circumstantial evidence show that morris dancing in Bampton goes back at least to the 1790s. Morris dancing used to be performed in Bampton on Whit Monday but the date has recently changed to the late May Bank Holiday.[19]

Bampton & District Aunt Sally[edit]

Aunt Sally is a traditional throwing game, played predominantly in pubs in Oxfordshire. The Bampton & District Aunt Sally Association was formed in 1971. In the Bampton league, games are played on Thursday evenings between teams of 6 players (unlike other leagues in Oxfordshire who field teams of 8).[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Area selected: West Oxfordshire (Non-Metropolitan District)". Neighbourhood Statistics: Full Dataset View. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  2. ^ "Bampton and Weald Economic history". British History Online. Retrieved 18 May 2011. 
  3. ^ "Bampton". British History Online. Retrieved 18 May 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Crossley & Currie, 1996, pages 6–62
  5. ^ Ffrench, Andrew (23 April 2010). "Village is the star of the show". Oxford Mail. Retrieved 6 October 2011. 
  6. ^ Evidence of his veneration includes a 1516 will of one William Wode, a Bampton clerk, bequeathed his soul ‘to God, to our Lady, Sent Barnwald and all the seintes of hevyn’.
  7. ^ John Blair, Saint Beornwald of Bampton. page 8
  8. ^ He is known only from Winchester litanies of the 11th century and Martyrologies of the 12th century (Exeter) and 15th (Syon Abbey).
  9. ^ David Farmer, The Oxford Dictionary of Saints, Fifth Edition (Oxford University Press, 2011) Page 46.
  10. ^ Beornwald of Bampton] in The Oxford Dictionary of Saints
  11. ^ David Ross, Bampton, St Mary's Church.
  12. ^ "Bampton and Weald Churches". British History Online. Retrieved 18 May 2011. 
  13. ^ "The History of St Marys (sic)". St Mary's Bampton. Retrieved 18 May 2011. 
  14. ^ "Bampton Church, Bampton". Sacred Destinations. Archived from the original on 10 June 2011. Retrieved 18 May 2011. 
  15. ^ a b Sherwood & Pevsner, 1974, page 432
  16. ^ Downton Abbey
  17. ^ "Your Local Bus Company Connecting Communities Across Oxfordshire". Retrieved 18 May 2011. 
  18. ^ "Bampton Town Football Club". Retrieved 18 May 2011. 
  19. ^ "Bampton Traditional Morris Men". Retrieved 18 May 2011. 
  20. ^ "Bampton & District Aunt Sally Association". Archived from the original on 25 June 2011. Retrieved 18 May 2011. 

Sources and further reading[edit]

External links[edit]