Claydon, Oxfordshire

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St. James the Great church, Claydon - - 460767.jpg
St. James the Great parish church
Claydon is located in Oxfordshire
 Claydon shown within Oxfordshire
Population 321 (parish) (2001 Census)[1]
OS grid reference SP4550
Civil parish Claydon with Clattercot
District Cherwell
Shire county Oxfordshire
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Banbury
Postcode district OX17
Dialling code 01295
Police Thames Valley
Fire Oxfordshire
Ambulance South Central
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament Banbury
Website Claydon village website
List of places

Coordinates: 52°08′49″N 1°19′59″W / 52.147°N 1.333°W / 52.147; -1.333

Claydon is a village in Claydon with Clattercot civil parish, about 6 miles (10 km) north of Banbury in Oxfordshire. The village is about 417 feet (127 m) above sea level on a hill of Early Jurassic Middle Lias clay.[2]

The village is the northernmost settlement in Oxfordshire. The parish is bounded by Warwickshire to the west and Northamptonshire to the east.

Church and chapel[edit]

Church of England[edit]

The Church of England parish church of Saint James the Great was a dependent chapelry of the parish of Cropredy until 1851. St. James' was originally Norman, built in about AD 1100.[3] The arcade between the nave and north aisle survives from this date, as does the south doorway.[3] Slightly later a chapel was added at the east end of the north aisle, linked by Early English Gothic arches to both the aisle and the chancel. There is also a squint from the chapel to the chancel.[3] The bell tower was added in the 14th century, and the chancel was extended eastwards in either the 14th or the 15th century.[3] The south porch is a late Mediaeval Perpendicular Gothic addition, and the ironwork on the south door was added in 1640.[3]

In 1856 the Bishop of Oxford, Samuel Wilberforce, expressed dissatisfaction with the condition of the church building.[2] In 1860 the Gothic Revival architect William White heavily restored the building, including renewal of the foundations.[2] White almost completely rebuilt the north aisle,[3] and so altered the chancel that its original date may not be determined with certainty.[2]

The bell tower has three bells. Two were cast by a member or members of the Newcombe family of bell-founders: the second bell in 1609 and the treble in 1611.[2][4] At that time the Newcombes had foundries at Bedford and Leicester.[5] The tenor bell was cast in 1756 and Mears and Stainbank of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry recast it in 1910.[2][4] For technical reasons the bells are currently unringable.[4] The church has also an early clock of an unusual design.[6] The date of its manufacture is unknown, but its style suggests that it dates from the 17th century.[6]

St. James' parish is now part of the Benefice of Shire's Edge along with those of Cropredy, Great Bourton, Mollington and Wardington.[7]


A Primitive Methodist congregation developed in Claydon from 1835 and built a chapel in 1846.[2] By 1969 it no longer had its own minister and was served by visiting clergy in the Banbury Methodist Circuit.[2] The chapel has since closed and has been converted into a garage for the house next door.[8]

Economic and social history[edit]

One of the former pubs in Claydon village
On the Oxford Canal: Claydon Middle Lock, built 1776–77

The clockmakers Samuel Knibb (1625–70),[9] Joseph Knibb (1640–1711)[10] and John Knibb (1650–1722)[11] were born at Claydon. Joseph and John were brothers and Samuel was a cousin. Samuel traded in Newport Pagnell from about 1655 to 1663, when he moved to London and went into a partnership making instruments as well as clocks.[12] Joseph traded in Oxford from about 1663, but when Samuel died in 1670 Joseph moved to London and took over his business.[13] John joined Joseph in Oxford in about 1664,[11] took over their Oxford business when Joseph moved to London in 1670[11] and was Mayor of Oxford in 1697 and 1710.[14] On 26 September 2010 the Oxfordshire Blue Plaques Board unveiled a blue plaque at Claydon to Samuel, Joseph and John Knibb.[15]

Historic houses in Claydon include Manor Farm built in 1720 and Claydon House built in 1852.[3] In 1867 the vicar, Rev. G.W. Palmer, bought Claydon House to be the vicarage[2] and had it altered by the architect Edwin Dolby.[3] In 1958 Claydon House was sold and returned to being a private house.[2]

Between 1753 and 1763 Claydon had three public houses.[2] By 1781 this had fallen to two, and from 1841 the number of pubs in the village fluctuated between one and two until the latter part of the 20th century.[2] The New Inn had closed by 1969[2] and the Sunrising Inn closed January 1990.

Construction of the Oxford Canal began north of Coventry in 1769. In May 1776 it reached Fenny Compton in Warwickshire, 2.5 miles (4 km) northwest of Claydon.[16] and by November 1777 the canal had been extended to Cropredy in Oxfordshire,[17] passing through Claydon parish by skirting the north and east sides of the hill on which Claydon stands. On the east side of the hill the canal's engineer Samuel Simcock built Claydon Locks, a flight of five locks that begins the canal's southward descent from its 11-mile long summit pound. Between them the five locks achieve a total rise (i.e. change in water level) of 30.5 feet (9.3 m).[18]

An open field system of farming prevailed in the parish until 1776 when an Act of Parliament enclosed the common lands of the parish.[2]

In 1852 the Great Western Railway extended its Oxford and Rugby Railway through the western edge of Claydon parish to a new railway station at Fenny Compton. In 1872–73 the East and West Junction Railway built a line from its Fenny Compton West railway station to Towcester through glebe land in the north of Claydon parish.[2] Claydon's nearest station was 2.5 miles (4 km) to the south at Cropredy, until British Railways closed it in 1956.

Claydon and Clattercote School Board was established in 1875 and opened Claydon village school in 1877.[2] The school closed in 1948.[2]

In 1932 the hamlet of Clattercote, 0.5 miles (800 m) south of Claydon, was added to the civil parish to form the present parish of Claydon with Clattercote.[19]


The Bygones Museum at Butlin Farm in Claydon was founded in 1972.[20] This privately owned museum is now closed.



External links[edit]

Media related to Claydon, Oxfordshire at Wikimedia Commons