Newspaper references in previous centuries

Rob Forsyth

Two members of the Parish Archive Group, David French and John Plumbe, have spent a considerable amount of time researching the British Newspaper Archive in order to collect together all the information for this article and the Compendiums of References to Deddington to be found at the foot of the article


 First edition of Jackson's Oxford Journal (click on images


to enlarge) Banbury's first newspaper

Deddington has always been a significant presence in North Oxfordshire and featured regularly in local newspapers and journals; indeed, until the late 18th century, it equalled Banbury in size. However, the Great Western Railway, which opened on 2 September 1850, by-passed Deddington providing only a 'Halt' at Aynho Junction. Banbury, with its new mainline station convenient to the centuries-old stockyards and ready access for transporting livestock and other goods to London, was transformed from just an old drover's town and today has a population of some 46,500.

The earliest reference to Deddington in a newspaper appears to be in 1740 in an article The Derby Mercury. The death of a man running for a wager is ascribed to ‘having drank too freely of Brandy & water - probably in one of our many pubs to fortify him for the return!

The development of newspapers was inhibited by heavy taxes, which were reduced in 1836, and repealed in 1855, leading to a boom in newspaper publishing in the second part of the 19th century. These papers were typically published weekly or monthly. They can be viewed via:

British Newspaper Archive (BNA).The digitising of hundreds of historic newspapers by the BNA provides ready access to the Oxford and Banbury papers from the mid 18th century onwards and gives a good idea of the issues that affected the Parish at the time. You will see from this link that access is free via libraries and educational establishments but to access from home requires either a BNA subscription or library membership.

Oxfordshire History Centre (OHC). A larger selection of historic Oxfordshire newspapers may be accessed on microfilm.

Deddington Newspapers

There were two newspapers published in Deddington in the 19th century:

The North Oxfordshire Monthly Times and Agricultural Advertiser It was first published in 1849 by J.S. Hiron, a local "printer, bookbinder, bookseller, stationer", from his 'General Printing Office' in the Market Place. It is known to have continued until at least 1860. See also  'Printers and Publishers in Deddington, 1840-2004', by Brian Carter 2004. Copies up to 1854 survive and may be accessed on microfilm at the OHC - see list.

Copies of a note on the duration of publication (by anon), a 1st July 1856 edition and a handbill (by 'the ghost of Sir Thomas Pope' a pseudonym for possibly Charles Faulkner Snr or Sam Field or the Rev Brogden) railing against the pittance of the conditional endowment granted to the parish can be read HERE.

The paper's motto was "Open to all, influenced by none". Its columns were the forum for airing local political and religious controversies, such as the contention in 1850-1854 over the lack of accountability of the Deddington Charity Estates Feoffees* and the controversy in 1854 over the second of three attempts to fill in the Town Pool.#

# More about both of these lively topics can also be found in George Coggins' scrapbooks. For * search Index No 3 and for # search Index No 2. Hint: Use keyboard shortcut Ctrl+F for a PC and Cmd+F for a Mac then enter the underlined words as the search term.

The Deddington Journal, and Town and Country Newspaper was published by Thomas Calcutt , a rival printer, following the abolition of stamp duty on newspapers in 1855. This was a weekly 16 page broadsheet, and probably had more of a local focus than Hiron's paper. Only portions of two issues from September 1855 survive, and it may not have been published for long. Its title above links to the front page of issue 10. The back page of the same issue has some interesting advertisments

Oxford Newspapers

Jackson's Oxford Journal 3,4, first appeared on 5 May 1753. Over the next century and a half it was the most prominent newspaper in Oxfordshire. Its proprietor was William Jackson (died 1795). The launch followed a previous short-lived joint venture by Jackson to publish the Oxford Flying Weekly Journal and Cirencester Gazette (1746-1748).

The political persuasion of the newspaper was Conservative. Its name was changed to the Oxford Journal Illustrated in 1908 until it was subsumed by the Oxford Times (which began in 1862) in 1928.

As with many 18th century regional newspapers, the Journal contained little local news. Instead it carried a mixture of advertisements, notices, and domestic and foreign news reprinted from the London newspapers.

The Oxford University & City Herald was first published in 1806, and continued until 1892. The Oxford Chronicle was first published in 1837 as the Oxford City and County Chronicle, and continued under several different names until 1929, when it was taken over by the Oxford Times. It was similar in style and content to the Oxford Journal, except its political persuasion was Liberal.

There were various other 19th century Oxford newspaper titles, many short-lived such as the Oxfordshire Telegraph (1858-94) and Oxfordshire Weekly News (1869-1926) - See OHC list.  

Banbury Newspapers

The first Banbury periodical was The Guardian; or Monthly Poor Law Register  produced in 1838 by William Potts and then re-founded in 1843 as The Banbury Guardian and is still in existence in 2022 as a weekly paper. The Banbury Advertiser (1855) was the mouthpiece of militant non-conformity and radicalism in its early years and survived until 1973 when the The Guardian bought it and closed it down. However, its former editor started up a new paper The Banbury Cake (1973-2017) which still  exists online. Another successful paper was The Banbury Beacon (1850 -1905). Less successful were The Banbury Herald (1861-9), The Banbury Evening News (1877) and The Banbury Evening Telegraph (1893-5).There are no copies of these in the BNA but they are in the OHC where The Banbury Evening Telegraph is listed as The Banbury Telegraph.

3 Sometimes referred to as The Oxford Journal or just The Journal. Similarly, 'Banbury' is often omitted when referring to one of its newspapers
The links to Oxford and Banbury papers are courtesy of The British Newspaper Archive (BNA)

Compendiums of References (researched by)

Jackson's Oxford Journal 1753-1799 (David French)

These years contain over 300 references to the Parish, the greater majority of which are advertisements or notices but, nonetheless, contain a wealth of information about contemporary life in the three villages. Twenty four topics of particular interest have been identified and expanded upon.

Jackson's Oxford Journal 1800-1819 (David French)

There are over 670 references to the Parish during these years, which have been transcribed in full, the vast majority contained in notices and advertisements. Nonetheless, there is sufficient information to provide a glimpse of life in Deddington towards the close of the Georgian era. There are commentaries on seventeen topics of particular interest.

Rev James Brogden 1848-1864 (David French)

These summaries of newspaper references track Brogden's somewhat notorious career. He was a talented but very unpopular Vicar because of his drinking and gambling habits and absenteeism. 

More about the Vicar and a petition by his parishioners to have him removed from office can be found HERE. He also features in the 1850-59 newspaper summaries following.

Jackson's Oxford Journal & Banbury Guardian 1850-1859 (David French)

These summaries of newspaper reports concerning the Parish in the 1850s run to nearly 300 pages. In addition, there are detailed biographical notes on nine of the leading inhabitants - with the Rev Brogden among them - and commentaries on twenty topics of particular interest such as schooling, the "manly" game of cricket and yet more about Brogden  in Clergymen.

Church bells 1867-1946 (John Plumbe)

Military 1883-1950 (John Plumbe)

The earliest reference is A letter from the Soudan in The Banbury Advertiser from a soldier serving on an expeditionary force in Egypt describing a recent battle. There are over 60 references to Deddington men who received bravery awards, were wounded or killed in action in WWI,WWII and on National Service in Malaya, along with topics about the war's effect on the Parish.

Prisoners in Oxford Gaol 1873-76 (John Plumbe)

Village events 1930s - 1980s (Anne Hayward née Pratt)