Rob Forsyth


The Churchill family in this article is not related in any way to Sir Winston Churchill who was Prime Minister during WWII.

The Churchills were so numerous in the parish in the 17th and 18th centuries that it is difficult to provide a brief summary and it is invidious to select just a few. The quickest way to get an overall impression of their presence in the parish is by entering the word 'Churchill' into the 'highlight' box in the chapter devoted to Deddington in Victoria County History (scroll through the high-lit entries).

The Churchill Chronicles - Major General Thomas (Tom) B.L. Churchill

The Chronicles* (pdf) Tom# was the son of Alec and Eleanor Churchill (see Monuments and Gravestones below). In 1986 he published an account of the family based on his own research. In his acknowledgements he thanks '... his distant kinsman, Dr Gerald Tibbits (sic), sub-librarian of University of London Library for many stimulating discussions on the origins of our distant ancestors'. His book is out of print but a copy is available for reading in the Local History section of Deddington Library.

*Courtesy of John Churchill who is descended from the Steeple Claydon branch and is an 8 times removed cousin of the Deddington Churchills.

#Tom was the great grandson of Thomas Churchill of Caenarvon (see page 9 of Dr Tibbett's History). 

Tom and John's  common ancestor was Thomas Churchill of Arncot, Oxfordshire (d.1615).

WWII Mobilisation Diary Between August 1938 and October 1939 Tom kept a diary (1Mb pdf) in which he recorded the gradual increase in tension leading to the outbreak of WWII whilst working in the rank of Captain in a new photo interpretation unit at Farnborough - interspersed and contrasting with gradually reducing notes about his social life. The diary is published by kind permission of Toby, his son, and includes a foreword by Toby written in December 2014  to"... this snapshot of the way our predecessors lived and thought in the late thirties and during transition to war."

The Churchill Family of Deddington - Dr G R Tibbetts

"The Oxfordshire family of Churchill presumably assumed its name from the village of Churchill near Chipping Norton. There are several notices of persons bearing the name de Cherchell in various forms in early fines and other documents. In 1327 a Richard de Cherchehull appears in Burford in a Lay subsidy roll. In Fuller’s Worthies Thomas Churchill is mentioned very close to other Chipping Norton names. Fuller, supposedly took his information from a subsidy roll of 12 Henry VI (1434) and this Thomas may quite easily be an ancestor and most certainly a connection of the North Oxfordshire family found in the next century."

"The earliest person, however, to have a specific data and place of origin is William Churchill of Neithrup in Banbury who died in 1504 and left a will proved in the Prerogatory Court of Canterbury."

"The first Churchill to live in Deddington was Justinian Churchill about whom we know little apart from the brief records in the Deddington registers which began in 1631. However, his origin is not far to seek, for he was born in North Aston, the son of Henry Churchill, a yeoman of this place."

We know all this because of a chance encounter in the churchyard between local resident, Wendy Burrows,  and two Australians , Terry Brown and Sue Ingham, on an October day in 2014 . They were researching Terry's Churchill ancestors* with the aid of a document called 'The Churchill Family of Deddington' by Dr G R Tibbetts. Wendy immediately recognised the value of this document and it was rapidly borrowed, and photo copied. The three quotations above have been selectively extracted from pp 1 & 2 of the document.  

The 26xA4 pages of typewritten text with handwritten annotations plus 2xpages of handwritten footnotes has been transposed from the original by Mary Robinson with additional notes by Jill Adams. No attempt has been made to cross check information between Dr Tibbett's article and Major General Tom Churchill's book (see above).

Dr Tibbett's article is now available to download (6.0 Mb PDF).

We are most grateful  to Terry Brown for bringing this previously unknown document to Deddington.  Dr Tibbetts died in 1999 and so we are further grateful to his widow, Hazel, for her kind permission to publish it.

Dr Tibbetts was related to Horace Tibbetts (1881 - 1957) who was a well known Blacksmith in Deddington and brother to William Claydon Churchill - a descendant of Richard Claydon Churchill referred to on page 21 of Gerald's article.

*Terry is a direct descendant of Mary Ann Churchill, daughter of John and Ann who emigrated to Australia in 1844.

Terry Brown's Churchill archives

In the discussions subsequent to his visit to Deddington Terry provided a large number of documents relating to the history of the family both in Deddington and Australia. An index to titles can be accessed An Index to the titles  provides links to individual pdfs of the relevant document. No attempt has been made to relate or cross check them with either Dr Tibbett's article or Major General Tom Churchill's book.

Monuments and Gravestones

There are 32 Churchill family monuments and gravestones in the church and churchyard. Their inscriptions have been recorded in full - together with their images and geographic location - by the Oxfordshire Family History Society (OFHS). We are most grateful to the OFHS for their permission to publish those images and information relating to the Churchills in an article compiled by Mary Robinson.

The article can be downloaded here (6 Mb pdf).

The full parish record can be purchased from the OFHS as a CD - identity  OXF-MI-DED - from the OFHS website

Of particular significance are:

A Plaque on the wall of the church in memory of Alec and Eleanor Churchill, their ancestors and descendants and, in particular, their third son, Lieutenant Robert (Buster) Churchill RN MD, who was killed in action on 12 August 1942. An account of the circumstances of his death is contained on p.58 of A Parish at War.

More about the three Churchill brothers military service in WWII can be found HERE.

Photographs of Alec, his father John and Great Grandfather Thomas can be found HERE


A report in Jackson’s Oxford Journal,27th October 1900: Deddington Memorial Window donated by John Churchill

'The Parish Church has been enriched this week by a beautiful stained glass window from the studio of Mr C D Kempe of Nottingham Place, London.The window was put in by Mr John [Ellis] Churchill of Royal Crescent Bath in memory of his parents* who formerly resided at Deddington.The window is one in the North aisle near to the spot where Mr and Mrs Churchill sat when they attended the Church. The subject of the window is “Charity’’. In the central light there is a figure representing the chief of virtues, Charity, and in one of the side lights, St Martin and the beggar, and in the other light is St Elizabeth of Hungary both of whom were famed for their charity.’

* Inscribed on a brass plaque below the window: "To the glory of God, and to the memory of Henry CHURCHILL, and Ann his wife, who passed nearly fifty years of their married life here and where all their children were born. Henry died at Bath, Jany 30th 1865, aged 82 years, & was buried in St Mary’s Cemetery Taunton: his wife Ann, whose remains are in the same grave, died April 7th 1863, aged 84 years."


The Henry Churchills of Deddington

In the 17th & 18th Century numerous members of the Churchill family lived in this parish.  This article, researched by Shirley Martin of Islip, records the lives of three of them via extracts from Jackson's Oxford Journals. The first two Henrys were Grocers/Milliners. The third was a Solicitor who was a veritable pillar of the local society until he became bankrupt and absconded to America where 'Wanted' notices were issued! There is also the interesting matter of a lady from Islip who left significant bequests to the Churchill family at this time but was not a relative.

Deddington House

This property (now Deddington Manor) and its associated farm (now largely owned elsewhere) was occupied  by Churchills from the mid 18th century but the last occupant, Samuel, squandered his inheritance and was dispossessed of it in 1827. An account of their occupation and its subsequent history can be found HERE.


The Churchill Chronicles - out of print but available in the library and on this website.

Commando Crusade
- an autobiographical account of his service in WWII by Major General Tom Churchill. Out of print but available in Deddington Library.

Unlimited Boldness
- A personal 23 page memoir of Lt Col 'Mad Jack' Churchill's exploits in WWII by his life long friend Rex King-Clark. This book is out of print but with the very kind approval of Mrs King-Clark and the help of John Churchill a copy is available in Deddington Library or download a pdf HERE.

JackChurchill-front.thumbnail Jack Churchill - An Anthology of the exploits of a very brave warrior contains an account by Rex King-Clark of a pre-WWII trip the two of them undertook by car across Europe, a reprint of Unlimited Boldness, his recommendation for a VC and the Daily Telegraph Obituary. It is available from Deddington Library or the Manchester Regimental Museum.
The Story of Deddington - Mary Jane Vane Turner. Out of print but available in the library.

Victoria County History - available on line (word search 'Churchill' after the link) and in the library.