St Michael and All Angels parish church
|Population||103 (parish, with Shelswell) (2001 census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
The course of the Roman road that linked Alchester near Bicester with Lactodurum (now Towcester) runs through the parish just east of the village. The modern road that mostly follows its course is classified as the A4421.
The Domesday Book in 1086 did not mention Newton Purcell. The manor was created in the 12th century as a new tun for the Purcel family, mainly with land from two neighbouring manors: Mixbury and Fringford. These manors had different overlords, and as a result the Purcels had feudal obligations to both. Mixbury was part of the honour of St. Valery, which later became part of the Honour of Wallingford. In 1213 Robert de St. Valery gave the mesne lordship of Mixbury to the Augustinian Osney Abbey, and the Purcels and their successors had to pay the abbey rent until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536. In 1475 the manor was still held by a Thomas Purcel, but it had left the family by 1523. The Purcels had a moated manor house. The house has not survived, but in the 1950s fragments of its moat and a mound where it stood were still visible just east of the village.
Architectural evidence suggests that the Church of England parish church of Saint Michael and All Angels was a Norman church built in the middle of the 12th century. The earliest documentary evidence of the church's existence is slightly later, when Ralph Purcel granted the church to the Augustinian Bicester Priory in 1200. Of this original church little survives except a 12th-century Norman doorway and a 13th-century piscina. In 1813 the church was repaired and most of its original features were destroyed. In 1875, the architect C.N. Beazley restored the building and added the vestry, bell-turret and south porch. St. Michael's rectory was built in 1844. St. Michael's parish is now part of the Shelswell benefice.
The parish was still being farmed under the open field system in 1679. There was no Act of Parliament for the parish's enclosure, so it must have been done by agreement. This may have been before the end of the 17th century.
In 1899 the Great Central Railway completed its main line to London through the eastern part of the then Shelswell parish and built Finmere for Buckingham station where the line crosses the main road about 0.5 miles (800 m) northeast of Newton Purcell. Buckingham was almost 5 miles (8 km) from the Great Central station, so the name was subsequently shortened to the more appropriate "Finmere". British Railways closed Finmere station in 1963, and closed the section of the Great Central line through the station and parish in 1966.
- "Area: Newton Purcell with Shelswell CP (Parish): Parish Headcounts". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 8 March 2010.
- Lobel 1959, pp. 262–267.
- Sherwood & Pevsner 1974, p. 717.
- Shelswell group of Parishes: St Michael & All Angels Church, Newton Purcell
- Lobel 1959, pp. 285–289.
Sources and further reading
- Blomfield, James Charles (c. 1890). Part V: History of Fringford, Hethe, Mixbury, Newton Purcell, and Shelswell. Deanery of Bicester. Elliot Stock & Co: London.
- Lobel, Mary D, ed. (1959). A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 6. Victoria County History. pp. 262–267.
- Sherwood, Jennifer; Pevsner, Nikolaus (1974). Oxfordshire. The Buildings of England. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. p. 717. ISBN 0-14-071045-0.