Family History Day at Ascott under Wychwood

The Event Poster

The society was pleased to support the Ascott under Wychwood Family and Local History event at Tiddy Hall on June 22nd.

Part of the WLHS Photo Display

We organised a display of photos from Wychwoods villages, as well as demonstrations of our extensive digital photo library. It was a welcome opportunity to hear and share memories and put some names to several photos (group and individuals). Often these come to us with missing or incomplete information, and so it is always a benefit to fill in gaps and continue the learning process.

The Ascott Martyrs Family Tree

On show also was the amazing Ascott Martyrs Family Tree and some of the tools used by farmers before mechanisation. Also on show was a stand organised the Oxfordshire Family History Society, who were on hand to give advice and help for those looking to develop their family tree, or perhaps start their own journey of family history discovery.

As an extra treat, visitors were regaled with music and dance from the Charlbury-Finstock Morris who performed traditional Ascott dances outside the hall.

The Oxfordshire Family History Society
Taking a closer look …. The Wychwoods Local History Display

Emigration to New Zealand: From Journal No 28

Here we reproduce an article by the late Janet Wallace from the society’s Journal No 28, published in 2013. In doing so, we revisit the political and social circumstances around these perilous enterprises.

The sailing ship Scimitar. She also plied the New Zealand Route

These themes are particularly in focus in Wychwoods villages, in this 150th year of the loss of the Cospatrick whilst undertaking a similar voyage.

Janet’s article examines local emigration to New Zealand in the bad agricultural times of the 1870s. She documents Milton families leaving for a new life on the S.S. Mongol.

Reports and diary entries show just how dangerous the voyage was for those leaving these shores. Many of those that arrived safely wrote home to say the risk of leaving was worthwhile. Life, though hard, was much better than it was in this country.

See Also:

Howzat! A History of Cricket in the Wychwoods

Shipton Cricket Club at Lord’s 2010

Here is an article by Carol Anderson written to accompany an exhibition of photographs currently on show in the Wychwoods Library in Milton.

Carol’s review – available to download here – covers the varying cricketing activities in Ascott and Milton as well as the successes enjoyed by Shipton teams over the years.

Cricket has been played in the Wychwoods since at least the mid-19th century. Jackson’s Oxford Journal records a match between Shipton and Ascott, played on 24th August 1861 (Shipton scored 89, Ascott 35).

Shipton Cricket Club: Historic Moments

The Shipton Cricket Club website records that it is believed that village matches were staged in a field on the edge of Shipton near Fiveways. This is the junction of Leafield and Swinbrook Roads, Mawles and Plum Lane.

The club also records that country house cricket was played on the present ground in the late 19th century. This was made possible by the levelling and draining of the area by the Pepper family. This family were the owners of Shipton Court, which locals will know, stands opposite Shipton’s cricket ground.

A historic timeline of Shipton Cricket Club appears on the club website here. This includes links to videos of some of the early 21st century games played by Shipton Cricket Club at Lord’s.

The club first entered the National Village Knockout Competition in the mid-90s , reaching the final in 1997.

Sam Mendes, who was a regular player at this time, hosted a meal for the team at the Groucho Club on the eve of the match. In the event the final is overshadowed by the overnight death of Princess Diana. There are doubts about proceeding with the match but it goes ahead. The result was a defeat to Caldy of The Wirral.

Here is a video of pre-match interviews, and many slices of action from the match.

.. and here are some images from Shipton’s later visit to Lord’s in 2010:

Images © Alan Vickers

New Ascott under Wychwood Village Trail

Following the success of the first village trails of Milton and Shipton, The Arts Society Cotswolds (TASC) has launched the third in the series at Ascott.

The new Ascott trail is in three parts, each beginning and ending on the village green.

Part one is focused on the centre of the village. Part two goes along the High Street and includes an optional longer footpath to Manor Farm and the site of Ascott D’Oyley castle. Part three takes you in the direction of Tiddy Hall and the site of Ascott Earl Castle.

The Village Trails created by TASC are being publicised around each village.

The New Ascott Village Trail Poster and QR Code
The Shipton Village Trail Poster and QR Code

Each trail comprises a description and image of individual landmarks in each village and invites answers to simple questions about those landmarks. All three trails have language simple enough for children to follow, but they are also suitable for all ages.

There are optional amounts of walking required. The trails need not be completed in one session.

How to get my Village Trail Copy?

Milton Village Trail Poster with QR Code

In various locations around each village, there are posters which have a QR code on them, so that the trail can be downloaded on to a smart phone or tablet and printed off as necessary.

Paper copies of the trails are also available free of charge at many locations in each village.

Or you can download from the Arts Society of the Cotswolds website here, using these links:

Read more on the TASC website here >>>>

From Journal No 22: A History of Bruern Abbey

WLHS Digital Archive: Journal No 22

“Bruern Abbey 1147-1536”

Selected from the articles by Joy Timms and Joan Howard-Drake   from WLHS Journal No 22 pp 4-33.


PART 1: Bruern Abbey 1147 – 1536

PART 2: Bruern Abbey and the Valor Ecclesiasticus 1535-6

This post is created for the benefit of visitors from the Milton Heritage Trail, offering some more detail around the history of Bruern Abbey, associated with the Heritage Trail Bruern Bridleway Stone (2024).

From Journal No 6: Bruern Abbey Fishpond

WLHS Digital Archive: Journal No 6

“A Medieval Fishpond at Bruern Grange”

The article by James Bond –  selected from WLHS Journal No 6 pp 36-50.

This post is created for the benefit of visitors from the Milton Heritage Trail, offering some more detail around the history of Bruern Abbey, associated with the Heritage Trail Bruern Bridleway Stone (2024).

From Coldstone to Honeydale: Jim Pearse Remembers

Here is a record by Jim Pearse of his time at Honeydale farm (formerly part of the larger Coldstone Farm) where he grew up as a child and where in 1952 his family bought the part called Honeydale. Honeydale Farm was a place Jim could call home all his working life, until its sale to present owner Ian Wilkinson in September 2013.

Jim records many anecdotes and key events at Honeydale, all of which will be of great interest to visitors of Ian Wilkinson’s FarmED which now occupies the site.

See Also:

Our May 2024 Evening Event: AGM and “From Our Archive”

The Wychwoods Local History AGM took place in Milton Village Hall on May 8th 2024

Agenda (PDF) | Chairmans Report (PDF)

After the AGM, our final talk of the season included 3 presentations from WLHS Committee members, featuring stories from our archive using newly-discovered historic photographs, letters and oral history recordings

First we had a short review of the society’s work on audio recordings and oral histories by David Betterton. He played a few sample clips which typified the variety and human interest found in this archive. [ Overview here ]

John Bennett gave a review of a recently-acquired album of photographs of Milton under Wychwood dating from 1891. This album – we call it the “Marshall Album”  is a treasure trove of historic images of Milton houses, from which John selected several individual properties and compared them to their appearance today. The Album itself was a gift from the guest of a prominent Baptist family in the village. 

In the final presentation, Carol Anderson took us on a fascinating audit trail of the Baughan family in Milton, derived from her research around an intriguing box containing apparently random notes, receipts and letters – a box she titled “A Box of Baughans”.  Her work on this revealed fascinating insights, for example, on the role of women in business administration.

Wychwoods Local History Archive Room

Further research is planned for the Marshall Album and the “Box of Baughans”, and work continues on creating extracts from the society’s oral history files.

From Journal No 17: Some Wychwood Neighbourhoods about 1900

WLHS Digital Archive: Journal No 17

Church Road and The Heath

Selected from the article by Anthea Jones, Joan Howard Drake, Sue Jourdan & John Rawlins:   From WLHS Journal No 17 p37. [ Download the full Journal here ]

Church Road and The Heath Excerpt from the Article

A continuation of the main street through Milton went towards the Heath; Church Road was not named in the 1911 survey. On the corner facing the Recreation Ground were two houses and a cottage owned by Margaret Rawlins. William Titcomb’s 40 acres were owned by Julie Mary Hudson with what is now called Little Hill Farm Barn; Little Hill Farmhouse was owned and occupied by Anne Davidson, widow of the former Baptist minister.

There had been substantial development of the Heath itself after enclosure in 1849. This formerly untilled, rough ground on the north side of the township was used by the enclosure commissioners to provide 20 acres of ‘fuel allotments’, administered by Messrs Gilbert and Ricketts, to replace the furze and thorn previously available to the poor from the area and there were 18 acres for the ‘poor allotments’ and another 5 acres for allotments rented from Earl Ducie by the parish council.

 Earl Ducie had 143 acres of the Heath and was the only substantial landowner in the area. Most of his land (133 acres) was farmed by John Pollard who occupied Heath Farm, Lyneham Road; he was not there in 1891. There were three smallholdings: Henry Baughan’s 16 acres rented from Robert Adkins perhaps provided closes for his brother’s horses. (Henry lived in Upper Milton but George in Shipton Road was a coal merchant).

 In the same way, James Smith, who was a carter and lived in Hawkes Yard,12 had 5 acres owned by Earl Ducie, and James Miles, the hardwareman, 11 acres from W. Smith. Walter Rawlins owned five cottages just across Littlestock Brook, Mrs Emma Porter owned three as did Joseph Silman, deceased, and there was one owned by Earl Ducie.

Earl Ducie had made available a quarter of an acre of his allotments in the Heath for a school and house (master Thomas Giblett) and 5 acres for a vicarage house. The church, 1854, was provided by Squire Langston, his father-in-law.

A probable relation of the vicar’s, with the same surname and was perhaps his mother, lived at The Bungalow with 8 acres of land, rented from Alfred Groves. Two other ‘houses’ in this area, Heath House (now Heathfield House) and nearly 5 acres of land were occupied by Ann Kirby and owned by Mrs Dorothy Birdwood, and Kohima, with 12 acres, was owned and occupied by Robert Mayman, physician and surgeon.

His choice of house name is explained in Wychwoods History No. 15, where the six ‘iron cottages’ recorded in the taxation survey, but not itemised, are also described; Dr Mayman also owned another two cottages. There were 20 cottages in this neighbourhood.

For the purpose of the parliamentary franchise, the vicar, Darrell Horlock, was a freeholder as he had a lifetime tenancy of his vicarage, and Robert Mayman was also a freeholder. Four women were voters in local elections: Annetta Horlock, Ann Kirby, Mrs Emily Badger (widow of a farmer at High Lodge) and Mary Ann Townsend.

This post is created for the benefit of visitors from the Milton Heritage Trail, offering some more detail around the “fuel allotments” and “poor allotments” near the Heritage Trail Orchard Walk Stone (2024).

A Selection of Audio File Extracts

Wychwoods Local History Archive Display Notice

Our collection of Oral History audio files has recently been digitised. Almost 100 audio records of selected society talks, BBC features and many interviews of Wychwoods residents are included in the WLHS archive.

To offer a brief flavour of the many interviews from the 1980s-2000s, here are a few out-takes.

By autumn of 2024, we hope to make the full selection of these audio files available on request.