Chipping Norton town centre,
with the Town Hall on the left
Chipping Norton shown within Oxfordshire
|Population||5,972 (2001 census)|
|OS grid reference|
|- London||74.5 miles (119.9 km)|
|Civil parish||Chipping Norton|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Post town||Chipping Norton|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
|Website||Chipping Norton Town Council|
History until the 17th century
The town's name means 'market north town', with "Chipping" (from Old English cēping) meaning 'market'. It is not clear what the original Saxon settlement was north of, but John Blair, Professor of Medieval History and Archaeology at the University of Oxford, suggested in 2000 at a lecture in Chipping Norton Town Hall that Charlbury to the south, now a smaller town, was in the Anglo-Saxon era a more important minster town and that Chipping Norton's "nor-" prefix refers to this geographical and pastoral relationship with Charlbury.
The Church of England parish church of St. Mary the Virgin was built on the hill next to the castle. Parts of the present building may date from the 12th century. It certainly retains features from the 13th and 14th centuries. The nave was largely rebuilt in about 1485 with a Perpendicular Gothic clerestory. This rebuilding is believed to have been funded by John Ashfield, a wool merchant, making St. Mary's an example of a "wool church".
In July 1549 the vicar of Chipping Norton, Henry Joyes or Joyce, led his parishioners in a popular rising after the suppression of chantries and other religious reforms left him to minister alone to a congregation of 800, and reduced the budget available for schooling. The rising was brutally put down by Lord Grey de Wilton; Joyes was captured and subsequently hanged in chains from the tower of his own church.
The bell tower was rebuilt in 1825. The tower has a ring of eight bells, all of which were cast in 1907 by Mears and Stainbank of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. St Mary's has also a Sanctus bell that was cast in 1624 by Roger I Purdue of Bristol.
In the Middle Ages wool production made the Cotswolds one of the wealthiest parts of England. Many of the mediaeval buildings built in the town as a result of that trade still survive. It became the new centre of the town and remains so today. There is still a weekly market every Wednesday and the "Mop Fair" in September. In 1205 a new market place was laid out higher up the hill.
Later, sheep farming was largely displaced by arable, but agriculture remained important in this part of the Oxfordshire Cotswolds. Many of the original houses around the market place were re-faced in the 18th century with fashionable Georgian facades.
History from the 18th century onwards
In 1796 James and William Hitchman founded Hitchman's Brewery in West Street. In 1849 the business built a larger brewery in Albion Street that included a malthouse and its own water wells. Three generations of Hitchmans ran the brewery, but in 1890 Alfred Hitchman sold the business as a limited company. The new company grew by buying other breweries in 1891 and 1917. In 1924 it merged with Hunt Edmunds of Banbury, and in 1931 Hunt Edmunds Hitchmans closed the brewery in Chipping Norton.
Chipping Norton had a workhouse by the 1770s. In 1836 the architect George Wilkinson built a new, larger workhouse. It had four wings radiating from an octagonal central building, similar to Witney workhouse, which also was built by Wilkinson. The architect G. E. Street added a chapel to Chipping Norton workhouse in 1856–57. It ceased to be a workhouse in 1929 and became a hospital in the Second World War. The National Health Service took it over in 1948, making it Cotshill Hospital which later served as a psychiatric hospital. The hospital was closed in 1983. and has since been redeveloped as private residences.
The Chipping Norton Railway opened in 1855, linking the town with Kingham on the Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway. In 1887 a second railway opened, linking Chipping Norton to the Oxford and Rugby Railway at King's Sutton, and the CNR became part of the resulting Banbury and Cheltenham Direct Railway. Extending the railway from Chipping Norton involved digging a tunnel 685 yards (626 m) long under Elmsfield Farm to the west of the town.
In 1951, British Railways withdrew passenger services between Chipping Norton and Banbury. In 1962 BR closed Chipping Norton railway station and withdrew passenger services between Chipping Norton and Kingham. In 1964 BR closed the B&CDR to freight traffic, and thereafter dismantled the line. The disused railway tunnel is now bricked up at both ends to prevent access, both for people's safety and to protect any bats that may roost inside. (See Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981)
Bliss Mill, on the west side of the town, was built as a tweed mill by William Bliss in 1872. In 1913 to 1914 the millworkers struck for eight months. The mill closed in 1980 and has since been converted into flats. It remains a local landmark, clearly visible from Worcester Road.
Chipping Norton Recording Studios
Between 1972 and 1999 the former British Schools building in New Street was Chipping Norton Recording Studios. Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty, In The Army Now by Status Quo, Too Shy by Kagagoogoo, I Should Have Known Better by Jim Diamond, Perfect by Fairground Attraction, I Just Died In Your Arms Tonight by Cutting Crew and Bye Bye Baby by the Bay City Rollers were all recorded here. Jeff Beck, Barbara Dickson, Duran Duran, Marianne Faithfull, Alison Moyet, Nektar, Radiohead, The Supernaturals, Wet Wet Wet and XTC were also clients.
Chipping Norton is in the Witney parliamentary constituency, a safe Conservative Party seat. The Member of Parliament for Witney since 2001 is David Cameron, who has been Prime Minister of the United Kingdom since 2010 and the leader of the Conservative Party since 2005. The town is part of the South East England constituency for the European Parliament. One Conservative councillor and two Labour councillors represent the town on West Oxfordshire District Council, making it the least Conservative part of the Prime Minister's constituency.
This list includes notable persons who were born or have lived in Chipping Norton.
- Ronnie Barker, resident after retirement from show business in 1987.
- Rebekah Brooks, former editor of The Sun newspaper and former chief executive of News International.
- Geoffrey Burbidge, astronomy professor.
- Jeremy Clarkson, Top Gear presenter, journalist and writer.
- James Hind, highwayman born 1616 and executed for high treason in 1652.
- Conroy Maddox, surrealist painter resident 1929–33.
- Janice Meek, World record holding ocean rower.
- Wentworth Miller, American actor who was born there.
- Keith Moon, The Who drummer once owned the Crown and Cushion Hotel in High Street.
- Simon Nicol, guitarist and vocalist with Fairport Convention.
- Walter Padley, trade unionist and politician.
- Dominic Sandbrook, historian.
- Charles Stewart Parnell, leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party attended school in the 1850s.
- Reverend Edward Stone, discoverer of aspirin, was a curate in the town.
- Barbara Toy, travel writer and playwright.
- Rachel Ward, actress.
- Elizabeth Jane Weston, Neo-Latin poet also known as Westonia born 1581.
- David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, personal residence.
Some current famous residents of the town and its local area, including David Cameron whose constituency home is in nearby Dean, are commonly referred to as the "Chipping Norton set" by the British media.
The town is a retail and leisure centre for its area, with a supermarket and numerous shops including branches of a number of national chain stores. It has a number of public houses and a theatre.
The town has three schools. Holy Trinity Roman Catholic School and St Mary's Church of England School are primary schools. Chipping Norton School is the town's secondary school and has a sixth form.
Chipping Norton Golf Club is the oldest in Oxfordshire. The course was started in 1890 on Chipping Norton Common.
Chipping Norton Rugby Union Football Club first XV plays in the Southern Counties North League and was the league champion for the 2007–2008 season. Chipping Norton Town F.C. (known as 'the magpies' or 'Chippy') play at Walterbush Road and were founded in 1893. They used to play in the Hellenic Football League but have since resigned and now play in the local Witney & District Football League. Chipping Norton Town Cricket Club plays in Oxfordshire Cricket Association Division 6. The town also has a bowls club.
- "Sex (UV03), Chipping Norton (Ward)". 2001 Census: Census Area Statistics. United Kingdom: Office for National Statistics. 18 November 2004. Retrieved 9 February 2009. "All People (Persons) Count: 5,972; Males (Persons) Count: 2,879; Females (Persons) Count: 3,093"
- Sherwood & Pevsner 1974, p. 536.
- Sherwood & Pevsner 1974, pp. 536–538.
- Sherwood & Pevsner 1974, p. 537.
- Beer, Rebellion and Riot, Kent State UP, p.150
- A. Vere Woodman, "The Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Rising of 1549", Oxoniensia, XXII, 82-83
- Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin[dead link]
- Hedgcock, James (30 November 2006). "Chipping Norton S Mary V". Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers. Central Council of Church Bell Ringers. Retrieved 12 October 2012.
- Dovemaster (25 June 2010). "Bell Founders". Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers. Central Council of Church Bell Ringers. Retrieved 12 October 2012.
- Sherwood & Pevsner 1974, p. 540.
- Hitchman's Brewery history. Webcitation.org. Retrieved on 24 August 2011.
- Cotshill Hospital history. Oxfordshirehealtharchives.nhs.uk. Retrieved on 24 August 2011.
- The Oxford Times. 14 March 2005 http://archive.theoxfordtimes.net/2005/3/14/4601.html
|url=missing title (help).[dead link]
- "page 1". Railway Tunnel Lengths website. Phil Deaves. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
- Councillor information: West Oxfordshire District Council. Westoxon.gov.uk. Retrieved on 24 August 2011.
- Dewar, Caroline (5 March 2012). "Who's who in the Chipping Norton set?". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
- The Theatre, Chipping Norton. Chippingnortontheatre.co.uk. Retrieved on 24 August 2011.
- Holy Trinity RC School. Holy-trinity.oxon.sch.uk. Retrieved on 24 August 2011.
- St Mary's C of E School. St-marys-chipping.oxon.sch.uk. Retrieved on 24 August 2011.
- Chipping Norton School. Chipping-norton.oxon.sch.uk. Retrieved on 24 August 2011.
- Chipping Norton Golf Club: History[dead link]
- Chipping Norton RUFC. Cnrufc.co.uk (2011-08-10). Retrieved on 24 August 2011.
- Chipping Norton Town FC. Chippingnorton.net. Retrieved on 24 August 2011.
- Chipping Norton Bowls Club. Wospweb.com. Retrieved on 24 August 2011.
- Oxfordshire Federation of Women's Institutes. Oxfordshirefwi.freeuk.com. Retrieved on 24 August 2011.
- Chipping Norton Rotary Club. Rotary-ribi.org. Retrieved on 24 August 2011.
- Sherwood, Jennifer; Pevsner, Nikolaus (1974). Oxfordshire. The Buildings of England. Harmondsworth: Books Penguin. pp. 536–541. ISBN 0-14-071045-0.
- Volkin, Michael, ed. (2000). Nuffield Advanced Chemistry Students Book. London: Longman. ISBN 0-582-32835-7.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire.|
- Official Town Website
- Chipping Norton Tourist Information
- Chipping Norton – 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article.
- Chipping Norton Literary Festival
- Chipping Norton on the Open Directory Project