Bletchingdon

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Coordinates: 51°51′18″N 1°16′19″W / 51.855°N 1.272°W / 51.855; -1.272

Bletchington
Bletch
Bletchingdon St Giles south.JPG
St. Giles' parish church
Bletchington is located in Oxfordshire
Bletchington
Bletchington
 Bletchington shown within Oxfordshire
Population 872 (2001 Census)[1]
OS grid reference SP5017
Civil parish Bletchington
District Cherwell
Shire county Oxfordshire
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Kidlington
Postcode district OX5
Dialling code 01869
Police Thames Valley
Fire Oxfordshire
Ambulance South Central
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament Banbury
Website Bletchingdon Parish
List of places
UK
England
Oxfordshire

Bletchingdon (also known as Bletchington[2]) is a village and civil parish 2 miles (3 km) north of Kidlington and 6 miles (10 km) southwest of Bicester in Oxfordshire, England.

Manor and estates[edit]

The Domesday Book records that in 1086 Robert D'Oyly held a manor of eight hides at Bletchington and his tenant was one Gilbert.[3] Gilbert was an ancestor of Roger d'Amory, who was Lord of the Manor of Bletchington until he died in prison in 1322.[3]

In about 1139 Robert d'Amory gave 50 acres (20 ha) at Bletchington to Godstow Abbey, and Walter Pery gave the abbey one yardland and 10 acres (4 ha) at Bletchingdon.[3] Godstow retained this estate until it surrendered all its property to the Crown in the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539.[3]

Before 1151 Ralph Fitzniel and his mother Agnes gave half a hide at Bletchington to the Knights Templar preceptory at Cowley.[3] The preceptory later moved to Sandford-on-Thames.[3] In the reign of Edward II the Templars were suppressed and in 1513 the Knights Hospitaller held the same half hide at Bletchington.[3]

By 1187 Ralph d'Amory had granted two virgates at Bletchington to Osney Abbey.[3] In the 13th century other benefactors gave lands at Bletchington to the abbey, and in 1291 they were assessed as part of its Hampton Gay estate.[3]

In the 14th century Bletchingdon manor-house was the chief seat of Roger Damory and his wife Elizabeth de Clare (d. 1360), the foundress of Clare College, Cambridge.[4]

Bletchington Park[edit]

Bletchingdon Park

Bletchington's medieval manor house was rebuilt by Sir Thomas Coghill in about 1630. It was fortified and garrisoned by 200 of the King's men during the Civil War, before being over-run by Cromwell's troops in 1644.[5] The Coghill family sold it to Lord Valentia in 1716.

The present day Bletchington Park is a Grade II listed Palladian country house [6] next to the parish church that was built in 1782, by James Lewis for Arthur Annesley, 5th Earl of Anglesey.[7] Bletchington village was originally built around a green, but the houses on the north side were pulled down when Bletchingdon Park was extended.[8]

The estate remained in the Valentia family until 1948, when Lord Valentia sold it to the Hon. William Astor, who resold it in 1953 to the Hon. Robin Cayzer, later Lord Rotherwick.[4] In 1993 the estate was bought by Dr. Michael Peagram, a chemicals industrialist and philanthropist, who had the house historically restored. As of mid-2012, the 22,600-square-foot house was listed for sale at a price of 20 million pounds.[9]

Parish church[edit]

St. Giles parish church porch, added in 1695, with four-centred arch

The Church of England parish church of Saint Giles includes traces of Norman architecture. Its Early English Gothic chancel is slightly later, built in the 13th century. Charles Buckeridge designed the north aisle, which was added probably in 1869.[10] The church was heavily restored to Buckeridge's designs in 1878.[10]

The bell tower has a ring of six bells. Robert and William Cor of Aldbourne,[11] Wiltshire cast the tenor bell in 1710.[12] Edward Hemins of Bicester[11] cast the second bell in 1738.[12] Matthew III Bagley of Chacombe,[11] Northamptonshire cast the fifth bell in 1774.[12] James Barwell of Birmingham cast the third and fourth bells in 1877.[12] The Whitechapel Bell Foundry cast the treble bell in 1998.[12] The church has a Sanctus bell, also cast by James Barwell in 1877.[12]

St. Giles' is now part of the Benefice of Akeman, which includes the parishes of Chesterton, Hampton Gay, Kirtlington, Middleton Stoney, Wendlebury and Weston-on-the-Green.[13]

Economic and social history[edit]

Cottages on the corner of Oxford Road, built in 1794 and restored in 1954[3]

The earliest known record of a public house in Bletchington dates from 1616.[3] By the 1670s there was one called the Angel and Crown.[3] In 1703 Bletchington had three pubs: the Green Man, the Red Lion and the Swan.[3] The Red Lion survived until 1951, when it lost its licence.[3]

Bletchington parish includes the hamlet of Enslow just over 1 mile (1.6 km) west of the village. In 1788 the Oxford Canal reached Enslow, bringing much cheaper coal from the English Midlands to the area. From 1845 the Oxford and Rugby Railway was built through Enslow, where Bletchington railway station was built. British Railways closed the station in 1964.

Amenities[edit]

The Blacks Head public house

Bletchington has one public house, The Blacks Head Inn,[14] which was built late in the 18th century.

The parish has a Church of England Primary School.[15]

The village has a silver band,[16] which in 2005 qualified for the National Brass Band Championships in Harrogate for the first time.[17] The Band again qualified for the Finals in 2012, this time in Cheltenham.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Area: Bletchingdon CP (Parish): Parish Headcounts". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 4 March 2010. 
  2. ^ "'Don or 'Ton?" Bletchingdon Parish Council
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Lobel 1959, pp. 56–71.
  4. ^ a b Mary D. Lobel (editor) (1959). "Parishes: Bletchingdon". A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 6. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 1 September 2012. 
  5. ^ Country Life http://www.countrylife.co.uk/property/article/529861/Classic-country-houses-for-sale-in-the-Cotswolds.html
  6. ^ "Bletchingdon Park". 
  7. ^ Sherwood & Pevsner 1974, p. 476.
  8. ^ Parish website http://www.bletchingdon-pc.org.uk/
  9. ^ Churchill, Penny. "Classic Country Houses for Sale in the Cotswolds," Country Life, 3 May 2012.
  10. ^ a b Sherwood & Pevsner 1974, p. 475.
  11. ^ a b c Baldwin, Sid (2 April 2011). "Bell Founders". Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers. Retrieved 4 April 2011. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f Davies, Peter (7 December 2006). "Bletchingdon S Giles". Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers. Retrieved 4 April 2011. 
  13. ^ Archbishops' Council. "Benefice of Akeman". A Church Near You. Church of England. Retrieved 19 December 2011. 
  14. ^ The Blacks Head Inn
  15. ^ Bletchington Parochial C of E School
  16. ^ Bletchingdon Silver Band
  17. ^ 4BarsRest 2005 L&SC 4th Section Results

Sources and further reading[edit]

External links[edit]