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St Mary's Church, Adderbury - - 1138963.jpg
St. Mary the Virgin parish church
Adderbury is located in Oxfordshire
 Adderbury shown within Oxfordshire
Population 2,496 (2001 census)[1]
OS grid reference SP4735
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 Adderbury Parish Council
List of places

Coordinates: 52°00′58″N 1°18′47″W / 52.016°N 1.313°W / 52.016; -1.313

Adderbury is a village and civil parish in northern Oxfordshire, England. It is about 3 miles (5 km) south of Banbury. The village is divided in two by the Sor Brook. The village consists of two neighbourhoods: West Adderbury grid reference SP461350 and East Adderbury SP471356. Each half of Adderbury has its own village green and its own manor house. The parish church is known as the Cathedral of the Feldon.


The village toponym has had several changes of spelling. The earliest known record of it is in a document from the middle of the 10th century.[2] The Domesday Book records it as Edburgberie, meaning "Eadburg's town".

Places of worship[edit]

The Church of England parish church of Saint Mary the Virgin is in East Adderbury. St. Mary's is one of the largest parish churches in Oxfordshire and architecturally one of the most important.[3] St. Mary's building retains evidence of its 13th century origins but was enlarged in the 14th century and again in the Perpendicular style in the early 15th century.[4]

By 1611 St. Mary's had a clock, for which there are records of repairs in 1617, 1621, 1626 and 1631.[5] In 1684 it was replaced with a new clock, which with periodic repairs served the parish until late in the 19th century.[6] It has since been replaced with a new clock built by John Smith and Sons of Derby, and little has been preserved of the 1684 clock except one shaft from the motion and the remains of one hand.[7]

In the 18th century St. Mary's fell into disrepair. In the 19th century restoration was carried out in phases: sensitively by the architect J.C. Buckler between 1831 and 1834 and by the architect Sir George Gilbert Scott between 1866 and 1870, and less sensitively by Sir George's son John Oldrid Scott in 1886.[3]

St. Mary's had a ring of six bells until 1789, when John Briant of Hertford took them down and re-cast them into a ring of eight.[7] The third bell was recast again in 1863, this time by George Mears and Company of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry.[8] The sixth bell was recast again in 1927, this time by John Taylor & Co of Loughborough.[8] St. Mary's has also a Sanctus bell that was cast by Matthew I Bagley of Chacombe, Northamptonshire in 1681.[8]

The Methodist Church in High Street was built in 1893.[9] Adderbury Methodist Church is a member of the Banbury Methodist Circuit. The Roman Catholic Saint George's chapel in Round Close Road in West Adderbury was built in 1956.

Former Friends' meeting house

The former West Adderbury Friends meeting house built in 1675 by Bray Doyley is of great historical importance and Grade II* Listed as it was constructed before Quaker worship was made legal by the Act of Toleration and Doyley, a successful local clock-maker, was sentenced to eight years imprisonment for building it. Quaker meetings ceased in the early 20th century and the meeting house was leased to the Parish Council who demolished the adjoining women's meeting house in about 1955. It is used as a waiting room for the Parish Council's adjoining cemetery. The meeting house retains 18th century benches, elders' stand and gallery. The walls of the Quaker burial ground probably pre-date the meeting house and are Grade II Listed in their own right.

A former Independent chapel, self-governing and owing no allegiance to outside denominations was built in 1820 in Cross Hill Road in West Adderbury. The main door was widened when the chapel was converted to industrial use.[9]

Economic and social history[edit]

New College tithe barn: 14th or early 15th century
Adderbury West Manor House

Near St. Mary's is a tithe barn that was built for New College, Oxford. In the 1970s Jennifer Sherwood dated it mainly to the 14th century[10] but English Heritage dates the earliest parts of the building to 1422.[11] The walls are of ashlar marlstone and the roof is of Stonesfield slate.[11] In the 17th century the barn was reduced to its present length of five bays and partly rebuilt.[11] In about 1877 it was altered for Lawrence Palk, 1st Baron Haldon.[11] The barn has similarities with tithe barns at Swalcliffe and Upper Heyford, both of which were also built for New College early in the 15th century.[11] Because of its post-Medieval alterations it is only a Grade II listed building.[11]

Adderbury House is a country house in East Adderbury built in the 17th century. It was owned by Henry Wilmot, 1st Earl of Rochester, who fought on the Royalist side during the English Civil War. Wilmot was a cavalry commander with Prince Rupert of the Rhine, and both men kept troops at Adderbury House. The poet Anne Wharton, wife of the Whig politician Thomas Wharton, 1st Marquess of Wharton, died there in 1685.

Adderbury House has been remodelled several times: in 1661 for Anne Wilmot, Countess of Rochester, in 1722 for John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll, in 1731 by the architect Roger Morris and in 1768 by the architect Sir William Chambers for Henry Scott, 3rd Duke of Buccleuch. Most of the house was demolished in 1808.[12]

In the 19th century Adderbury House was owned by Major Larnach. When his Adderbury-trained horse Jeddah won the Derby at odds of 100–1 and also won at Ascot, the Major paid for the building of the Village Institute. This opened in 1898 and has been the setting of countless village events since, ranging from early instruction and sewing meetings to the present-day activities.

Adderbury is noted for the many honey-coloured limestone cottages and houses in the older parts of the village. East Adderbury's manor house is 16th century and features diamond-patterned brick chimney-stacks. The Grange, also in East Adderbury, was built by John Bloxham of Banbury for Sir Thomas Cobb, first Baronet, of Banbury, in 1684.[10]


Adderbury's Quaker community included a number of clockmakers. Richard Gilkes (1715–87) was a son of Thomas Gilkes of Sibford Gower.[13] Richard was apprenticed to his father and started his own business in Adderbury East in about 1736.[13] Gilkes was a prolific clockmaker until the 1770s[14] and maintained the turret clock of St. Mary the Virgin parish church from 1747 until 1786.[15]

Joseph Williams (1762–1835) lived in Adderbury East and traded from 1788.[16] Williams made longcase clocks and succeeded Richard Gilkes in the maintenance of the parish church clock, which he did from 1788 until 1827.[17] His son William Williams (1793–1862) assisted him and took over the business on his father's death in 1835.[17] He made longcase clocks and maintained the parish church clock from 1828 until 1839.[17]


The former Banbury and Cheltenham Direct Railway, part of the Great Western Railway, was completed in 1881. Adderbury railway station was at East Adderbury. British Railways had closed the station in 1951 and closed the railway to goods in 1964.

Morris dancing[edit]

Morris dancers at the Adderbury Day of Dance 2004, outside the Red Lion

The existence of the traditional Adderbury Morris dancing side was first documented by Janet Blunt. In 1916 she began interviewing William "Binx" Walton, who was then 80 years old. Walton had been foreman of the Adderbury side for 20 years in the mid-19th century. In 1919 Blunt introduced Walton to Cecil Sharp, who watched Walton's performances and published detailed descriptions in his Morris Book.

Subsequent researches have determined that there were once as many as three Morris sides in the village, and the names of more than two dozen of the 19th century dancers have been documented. During Whitsun week they performed in Adderbury and neighbouring villages.

Sides regularly used to dance at Banbury Fair and the well-known Banbury eccentric, William 'Old Mettle' Castle, was fool for the Adderbury team in the 19th century. During this period the village had two or possibly three sides performing although this had died out by the 1880s.

A revival side was established at the village school in the Edwardian era and some of the boys developed into a men's Morris side, prior to the First World War. There are pictures of this side and the names of the members were established, through talking to older village residents, in 1974. One of the dancers in the photographs, Charlie Coleman, was still alive at that time. Of those in the pictures, only Coleman returned from the war and that revival of Morris dancing in Adderbury therefore died with them.

However the dances had been recorded from two of the last surviving members of the 19th century team, brothers William and John Walton, in such detail by Janet Blunt and others that they could still be performed by a newly formed revival team led by Bryan Sheppard and Tim Radford. The side split in 1975 and there are now two Morris dancing sides in Adderbury, the Adderbury Village Morris Men (dressed in white and green with top hats) – whose members come from the village or surrounding parishes and only dance traditional dances from Adderbury – and the Adderbury Morris Men (dressed in white, blue and red), who take dancers from anywhere and who occasionally create new dances to add to the repertoire. The Adderbury tradition has become popular with groups of dancers from as far afield as the United States and Australia. Once a year both teams come together, with other guest sides, for a "Day of Dance" throughout the village.


Adderbury has a Church of England primary school: Christopher Rawlins School.

Adderbury has four public houses:

Adderbury village activities include the History Association, 1st Adderbury Scout troop,[22] Mothers' Union, Over Sixties' Club, Gardening Club, and amateur dramatics (Adderbury Theatre Workshop).

Sport and recreation[edit]

Adderbury Theatre Workshop[edit]

In 1977 a talent contest was held as part of Adderbury's celebrations of Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee. It was such a success that Adderbury Theatre Workshop was formed. Every year since then, the Village Institute has hosted several dramatic and musical performances including pantomimes, cabarets and plays. In 1984 members from Adderbury Theatre Workshop appeared at the Cropredy Festival where they performed the Pheasant Pluckers Song.[citation needed]

Banbury Golf Club[edit]

Banbury Golf Club[23] is about 1.2 miles (2 km) southeast of Adderbury on the B4100. It first opened in 1993 and its course consists of 18 holes. The current clubhouse, adapted from stone former dairy buildings, is in the centre of the course.

The greens are built to USGA specification. Par is 70 and SSS 69. From the white tees the courses extends 6,121 yards (5,597 m) and from the yellow tees up to 5,845 yards (5,345 m). The Ladies' yardage is 5,444 yards (4,978 m) with Par 70 SSS 70.

Adderbury Park Football Club[edit]

Adderbury Park F.C. competes in the Oxfordshire Senior Football League Premier Division.

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "Area: Adderbury CP (Parish): Parish Headcounts". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 9 March 2010. 
  2. ^ Ekwall 1940, p. 2.
  3. ^ a b Sherwood & Pevsner 1974, p. 413.
  4. ^ Sherwood & Pevsner 1974, pp. 413–414.
  5. ^ Beeson & Simcock 1989, p. 162.
  6. ^ Beeson & Simcock 1989, pp. 26–27.
  7. ^ a b Beeson & Simcock 1989, p. 27.
  8. ^ a b c Smith, Martin (1 August 2008). "Adderbury S Mary". Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers. Central Council of Church Bell Ringers. Retrieved 25 March 2012. 
  9. ^ a b Sherwood & Pevsner 1974, p. 415.
  10. ^ a b Sherwood & Pevsner 1974, p. 416.
  11. ^ a b c d e f "Tithe barn adjoining Tythe Barn House". The National Heritage List for England. English Heritage. 5 May 1988. Retrieved 11 August 2011. 
  12. ^ Sherwood & Pevsner 1974, pp. 416–417.
  13. ^ a b Beeson & Simcock 1989, p. 101.
  14. ^ Beeson & Simcock 1989, p. 102.
  15. ^ Beeson & Simcock 1989, p. 103.
  16. ^ Beeson & Simcock 1989, p. 150.
  17. ^ a b c Beeson & Simcock 1989, p. 151.
  18. ^ The Bell Inn
  19. ^ "Coach and Horses, Adderbury". Retrieved 2015-06-11. 
  20. ^ "Pickled Ploughman, Adderbury". Retrieved 2015-06-11. 
  21. ^ The Red Lion
  22. ^ 1st Adderbury Scout Troop
  23. ^ Banbury Golf Club

Sources and further reading[edit]

External links[edit]