The heart of Deddington is its Market Place, and presiding over this—with due respect to the over-lordship of the Parish Church nearby—is the Town Hall. It is a quaint small structure rather continental in appearance, particularly in its setting of bleak, empty space. "How French looking !" one feels inclined to exclaim. It has stood there for at least three centuries, though the red and white-ness of the exterior is evidently newish. Formerly there were shops below, the rents going to pay for the tax called 'fifteenths' which was for the relief of the poor.

Mr. William Wing, whose 'Supplement to Marshall's Deddington' reprinted from the 'Oxford Chronicle' in 1879, is a rare and interesting pamphlet, relates :—'for many years the Petty Sessions of the district were held in the diminutive room of the King's Arms Inn, a space of most inadequate dimensions. Afterwards these meetings were transferred to the upper room of the Town Hall, but this arrangement was unsatisfactory, as it was necessary to eject the public whenever the magistrates had to debate any point in private. This inconvenience is now obviated, as the magistrates have a retiring room at the Police Station erected at the expense of the County......The Town Hall still serves many useful public purposes, and its upper room is used as a reading chamber, well supplied with books and newspapers. The lower portion has thrice been converted into a polling hustings at contested county elections in 1837, 1852 and 1862.'

The fire-engine is now housed below, having been removed from a building on the Green at present the storage place of street lamp glasses, which, divorced from their sadly rusting posts, mark an era hopeful of more gaslight. The engine is convenient for the Town well whose spring once supplied the Town pool that was so notable a feature before it was filled in more than half a century ago.

Mr. Edward Mullis the saddler of those days (his granddaughter still lives in the same house) was famous for pulling children out of the Pool which his workshop overlooked. There were railings round and the children swung on them, frequently toppling into the water. The formation of the ground near the well is a fair indication of the hollow of the Pool, though on the near side to the houses it was further from the path than might appear, a cart and horse having room to drive round with ease.

Looking about one in Market Square it is evident that 'the land of gold' impression made on the writer (Mr. Frederick L. Griggs) of 'Highways and Byways in Oxford and the Cotswolds' by Deddington's 'rich golden' brown stone has succumbed greatly to red brick, blue slate, and what Mr. Griggs calls sarcastically 'the simple early Gothic of yesterday'. The Town Hall, itself, excuses by its quaintness an altered complexion ; but what can be said of the big block, once a warehouse, behind it, except that any speedy form of disappearance—without injury to the inhabitants—is ardently to be desired ?

The taste which condemned our thatched houses as contributing to the 'somewhat mean appearance' of the town 'largely built of that brown stone plentifully found in the immediate neighbourhood' (Oxfordshire Gazette of 1852) has left many marks, the beautiful Stonesfield roofing as well as the despised thatch being continually replaced by slate, pink asbestos, or worse, by corrugated zinc. Yet in spite of all there is enough left of the unspoiled to rejoice eye and heart with beauty.

A curious example of the transition of this original harmony into the 'simple early Gothic of yesterday' which Mr. Griggs deprecates, is the strange case of 'Pretoria' at the curving of Hudson Street into Market Square. It bears its history in its name. Deddington celebrated the Relief of Mafeking by burning President Kreuger in effigy on a big bonfire. The wind got up and in spite of every effort sparks were carried to the thatched roof of the farmhouse on 'Pretoria's' site and on to the gate into the yard, which formerly had a lovely thatched shelter above it like the old one still existing in Philcote Street. 'Oom Paul' on the bonfire took a neat revenge in the building's complete destruction and its blight rests upon a house reconstructed of the old materials—yes—but with the difference conferred by 1905.

Crossing the Square again and standing back to that palish red block with its warehouse history one faces a grass plot with a fair open space beyond. That is the Bull Ring where baiting took place. For a description of this form of 'sport' one cannot do better than read Mary Webb's in her Shropshire novel 'Precious Bane.' One knows not whether to pity most, the bull, the dogs or the onlookers who enjoyed it.


From this spot there is a good view of the Castle House, Old Parsonage, Rectorial Farm, or Great House—for all are names ascribed to that stately Jacobean Manor-house-like dwelling, and each embalms something of its story. Skelton's 'Antiquities of Oxford' (1823) calls it the Rectorial Farm House, and a charming vignette on page 17 of that work depicts the north side of the church and shows the farm out-buildings, excresences on the original, which is of entirely different style and period. The Rev. E. Marshall, whose 'Notes' on our locality are at once the fullest and most learned, identifies Castle House with the Great House, so-called in the Inclosure Award. Its situation close to the church— a wall only separates it from the churchyard—traces of foundations that show that there was a larger ancient house before the present ; its capacious tithes barn in the grounds, and the private chapel or oratory dating from pre-reformation times within, all give it an almost overwhelming claim to be the 'Old Parsonage' too. Mr. Marshall on page 12 of the 'Notes' states that this 'ancient rectorial house of the sixteenth century' is on the estate given to the Deans and Canons of Windsor when the Windsor Manor was formed by royal license at request of William de Bohun, patron of the church, in 1351—a grant having a permanent effect on the condition of Deddington. In 1879 the occupier was Mr. Thomas Gardner. Another farmer succeeded him named Simpson, who married a member of the well-known Appletree family, and it is significant that an 'A' is on the leaden pipe-heads. The main gate- formerly opened on to Victoria Terrace and stables and coach-house were on that side.

It is the romance of history which this old house enshrines for us. Charles I is stated by Sir Edward Walker in attendance on the king, to have 'slept at the Parsonage' when he 'lay at Dedington'. The occasion was after the battle of Cropredy which took place on June 29th, 1644, with success to the Royalists. That day was a Saturday and on the Monday following Charles proceeded to Aynho and then crossed the Cherwell. Mr. Marshall quotes from the Diary of Captain Symonds, an officer in the king's service the following :—

"Munday morning, about four of the clock, his majestie, with all his army, drum beating, colours flying, and trumpets sounding, marched through Middleton Cheney, from thence to Farmigo, where Sir Roland Egerton hath a howse ; from thence by Aynoe-on-the-hill to where Lord Wilmott hath a faire seat. Here a trumpett of Waller came, and exchanged 60 and od prisoners of ours taken, which were all they took, wee having a hundred more. The king lay at Dedington. From Dedington the army marched Tuesday morning, by where the Lord Viscount Falkland hath a faire howse......"

The Rev. E. Marshall continues—'Deddington was often occupied by troops, as one of the outposts of the contending armies, during the course of the civil war, so that it must have had a frequent share in the events of that troublous time.'

The Oxfordshire Gazateer (1852) while dignifying Castle House as 'an architectural curiosity' dismisses it with these few words :—

'Near the church is an old house, consisting of a square tower with open stone balustrade at top, which is now the residence of a furmor, and the property of the dean and canons of Windsor. An upper apartment in this tower is said to have been used as an oratory in Catholic times.' It does not connect it with the visit of King Charles though citing his majesty as having slept at a Parsonage house which certainly could not have been our Vicarage facing the Church's west front, which is little more than 100 years old.

The oratory, or Chapel, seems to date from the 'Decorated' period like other relics of Deddington's days of ecclesiastical fame— a history mostly told in stones, for its written lore has great gaps. This chapel has every equipment for due celebration of the Mass. Underneath is a priest's hole or hiding place, a reminder of the religious intolerance which so cruelly penalised holders of the old faith. This part of the country possesses many such witnesses to the existence of old Catholic families. It may, like others more renowned, have been constructed by the Jesuit Nicholas Owen, called "little John", who died on the rack rather than reveal the secret of those refuges.

Many have been the vicissitudes of this admired house. The list of quit rents for 1710 show Zachariah Stilgoe paying £10 as leaseholder of the 'Parsonage house and garden and Vicaridge garden' (probably where an older vicarage had stood). Mr. Thomas Smith remembers as a boy that a winnowing machine was in one noble panelled room, while another was used as a granary ! Mr. Robert Franklin of the famous church restoration firm, actually rescued it from its debased condition. In 1894 he put back the balustrade which had been taken down, and he bought the property from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. With the assistance of Garner, the noted architect, then living at Fritwell Manor, it was made once again the dignified dwelling typical of pure domestic taste. The "Banbury Guardian" in an article at the time of Franklin's restoration, states that "it was in this house that Sir Thomas Pope, founder of Trinity College, is believed to have been born."

In the Autumn of 1925 it suffered severely from fire, supposed to have been caused by the decaying of cement several hundred years' old which thus exposed a chimney beam to the heat. Thanks to the efforts of Mr. Herbert Long, the present owner, such portions as were damaged have been perfectly restored, not only in the materials but in the spirit of their past.

Three ways directly lead out of the Market Place into the Oxford-Banbury high-road. One is along the Horse Fair, the other by Hudson's Street or Lane, and the third midway between those passing beneath archways at either end is the Tchure. There is nothing remarkable about this last narrow thoroughfare except its name, which is doubtful in origin but has a counterpart in Banbury, so possibly is peculiar to this part of the county. One explanation offered is that it signifies a bond or passage between streets, though no root-term is apparent to the non-expert.

The Rev. Obed Parker, Congregational minister, had his chapel here ; it is now the Foresters' Hall and can be hired for meetings and lectures.

Before leaving the Market Square note should be taken of the 'Hermitage', a house mainly Queen Anne but with obvious signs of its earlier Jacobean foundation in the dormer windows ; one blocked-out gazes blindly from the wall which evidently marked where it originally ended leaving space for the 'Quadrangle' that used to exist between the Red Lion across to the King's Arms. In its garden extension the other side of the Horse Fair was the true hermitage from which the house is called.

Mr. Duffel Faulkner, Deddington's antiquarian lawyer who lived in Hudson's Lane, is quoted by the Rev. E. Marshall as writing some sixty years ago :—

"A building of this name (Hermitage) still exists in the garden near the school..." Mr. Marshall goes on to say that "such a place of prayer was not an uncommon appendage to a town," informing us further that Beesley's History of Banbury quotes the Will of Nicholas Woodhull (1531) which directs that the 'Hermitage at the Briggfoot of Banbury' should be repaired and 'an honest man' put in it to pray for himself and his friends.

The hermitage, situated where indicated, would be contiguous to the famous Pilgrim's Rest House, adding to that 'religious atmosphere' which our many shrines and chantries ought surely to have promoted.

High Street, beginning at the Horse Fair corner and changing into New Street where Hudson's Lane crosses it, varies farm-houses with a few shops and private dwellings. Taking this whole stretch it is astonishing what a number of farms once bordered it, for even those in private occupation are mostly just farm-houses transformed. There was a somewhat similar evolution in the case of the 'solid handsome stone mansion' much admired by the 'Gazeteer' of 1852, which the Rev. W. Cotton Risley refaced, heightened and added to, only leaving one wing and a small portion of back elevation still showing the old Cotswold Stone.

Across the way, next the 'Old Bakery' of pudding pie fame, is a pretty, homely stone house which a faculty (Dec. 4th, 1784) for granting its occupant Mrs. Susannah Bissell, use of a pew, pompously calls 'a mansion house' too. Adjoining that a much larger edifice with Queen Anne or early Georgian face upon a Jacobean structure, is the property of Dr. G. H. Jones. Originally belonging to Christ Church College it exhibits the characteristic of that establishment's fondness for white plaster renovations, which, however, time and creepers have here almost obliterated. Hence, though, its name more than fifty years back, of the 'White House'. Since then Mr. Slatter, who had retired from Ilbury Farm, re-christened it 'Ilbury House.'

Formerly Mr. Henry Churchill, coroner, resided there, the room above the arch still showing traces of an orifice in the ceiling through which clerks over-head in the top storey used to shoot papers for examination or signature into the lawyer's office below. Between the Churchill and Slatter occupancy a ladies' school was kept here by the Misses Miller, and the Misses Caroline and Mary Ann Bryant respectively. Since then it has seen manifold changes —the taking down of attics above the kitchen wing, and the absorption of Franklin's old timber-yard into its grounds. In a line with Ilbury House is a comely couple of small houses in the native brown stone. The first of these was once a Post Office, and extending to the rear were a set of buildings where post-master and printer J. Calcutt turned out bill-heads, etc. His name is in the directories for 1852.

An aperture plainly felt in the wall of the front sitting-room still marks where the post-box was. And on another of its walls, stripped some years ago for re-papering, boldly scrawled across the plaster was the following record of a regrettable page in the town's past—

'This day the bell ropes of Deddington Church pawned for drink.'

This indignant outburst was from the pencil of a tenant who was a non-conformist apparently of considerable means, for he was minded to buy land adjoining Deddington House on the north for the site of a chapel. But the Rev. Cotton Risley out-bid him and made it a kitchen garden. A congregational chapel was subsquent-ly erected in the same street further away. Behind these lies the 'Park' often referred to in transfers of property. It is cut up into fields and paddocks but its beautiful undulations are park-like indeed.


Leaden Porch House, in ancient documents simply 'Leaden Porch', is the most interesting building in New Street. Several mentions of it are made in the Court Rolls of Deddington in possession of the Dean and Canons of St; George's Free Chapel, Windsor, also called 'Rolls of Court Baron of the Dean and Canons', etc. The Courts Baron were held in Deddington. One extract states that John Stampe of West Eldesley in the County of Berks, gent., acquired leases of the following properties :—'the rectory, manor, castle (i.e. the site of the castle) and the park and the capital messuage or tenement called Ledon Porch.' Signed and dated 10th Feb., 1570.

Another Deed dated 20th June, 1666, grants to 'Thomas Appletree of Deddington (Dadyngton), Esquire, and Thomas Appletree, his son and heir apparent for 20s. lease for one year at

peppercorn rents to Dean and Canons......the Leaden Porch, in a

certain street leading into Oxford the East field and the West field, called the Windsor, and all on the West side of Stonebridge, called the Fisheries, the Castle closes, 10 acres and all the Manor, signed by both.'

A surrender of Lease by Henry Cary, rector of Brinkworth, Wilts and William Draper of Nether Worton to Sir James Chamberlaine, Bart. and Edward Lovedon, details the properties rents and conditions as follows :—'The Rectory, Manor, Castle and park, Leaden Porch for £56.6.8. (i.e. for the rectory £32, for the Manor, Castle and park, Leaden Porch for £24.6.8) and 3 quarters and 6 bushels of wheat to be judged by the Steward, Treasurer or Charter for which the Dean and Canons will pay £14.14.0. keep Court rolls, providing lodging for three nights and two days and when they don't come 40s.'

Signed by Cary and Draper Dec. 17th, 1701.

In 1714, as leaseholder of Leaden Porch Farm House, George French pays £9, and for two yard lands part of the same farm £24.10.0.

The earliest mention of all is the most interesting as recording the passing of the lease of 'lands in Dadyngton, lately purchased of the said John Bustard (of Adderbury) of Thomas Pope, and also his moiety of the Parsonage, tythe and demesne land of the Parsonage and also of the domination or lordship of the Dean and Chapter's called Leaden Porch for 21 years, rent £11' etc., to John Edmunds, 20th December, 1534.

Thus Leaden Porch House is undoubtedly linked with the founder of Trinity College, Oxford, Deddington's greatest man

Anyone passing by it will note that it is beautiful, of the richest coloured Cotswold stone, but of a leaden porch there is now no vestige. But, most arresting, the arched doorway with 'bosses' is massive and grooved, resembling somewhat the archway of the Exhibition inn—perhaps part of an older Leaden Porch House ; perhaps even spoils from the demolition of the Castle may have contributed this and the remarkable window to one side of the door, evidently inserted, to which experts have assigned a date as early as John's reign.

Further in the Oxford direction a monotonous row of cottages marks the time when every parish had to support its own paupers before the passing of the Poor Law Act. The pauper inmates were lodged in the first part of this row, the cottages communicating, and the Master and Mistress were housed in the rather more commodious dwelling at the further (Oxford direction) end. Wing states in his supplement :—

"When the Poor Law Unions were formed it was at first hoped that Deddington would be a centre, but as a sufficiency of parishes could not be found without going into Northamptonshire, and Mr. Cartwright was strongly opposed to such a step, the idea was abandoned, and Deddington was tacked on to Woodstock, to which applicants for relief have to take a walk ten miles each way, if required to appear before the Guardians assembled in the Boardroom, and if this is not cruelty I cannot define the word.

'Deddington and its two hamlets were at first treated as three separate poor-law parishes, the former returning two guardians, the two others one each ; but as a trial at Nisi Prius shortly afterwards revealed that the parish is all one, four guardians are now chosen yearly for the whole area. An attempt to dismember parts of the Woodstock and Bicester Unions, and so to constitute a Deddington Union in 1858, was supported by the parishes of Deddington and Over Worton, but opposed so strongly by all the other places interested, that the project fell through ; the ratepayers who had paid for the erection of one workhouse were unwilling to pay for another.'

'Before the passing of the Union Chargeability Act (says Mr. Wing in another part of his pamphlet) injuries were inflicted on Deddington and its hamlets by the owners of neighbouring parishes ejecting their poor and enforcing them into Deddington poor-rates, etc' A moment's reflection will bring home that the injuries were not to ratepayers alone, but to the unfortunate beings thus pushed out into unwilling hands.

Today the 'cruelty of compelling applicants for poor relief to walk to Woodstock' is somewhat mitigated, the centre having been transferred to Banbury, four miles nearer.

Opposite to this one-time poor-house row is a stable of chapellike design. Once a little Bethel, later Salvation Army barracks, this building has still preserved the gateway leading to the former vestry and the door by which its small congregation went in, though the steps to it have gone and the flooring has been lifted to serve as a hayloft.

Satin, Saturn or Satan Lane (it is 'Sotty Lane' in the Latin Rolls of 1424 when the Prior of Bicester granted a 'toft' in the Reekyard, or rickyard hard by it, to Walter Cheyne, Vicar), branches towards the town again after a fine high spur of golden wall that marks the approach from Oxford. It is now St. Thomas' Street.

In Satin Lane behind Hopcraft's Yard was once the village school, and at foot of the pleasant green, known as Goose's Green, was a rope-walk. Franklin's timber yard opened into Philcote Street, which in the 1710 list of quit rents figures as Pilsock' Street.

In Church Lane, built about 1818 by the feoffees of the Charities of the Parish, is a quaint neat row of Almshouses which accommodate four poor men and four poor women, who receive (the men) four shillings weekly, and the women three shillings-

Wing remarks in his Supplement that 'the state of the footpaths is far from satisfactory.' They are now in excellent order, with a few specimens left—notably the rocky rough blocks against the churchyard wall by main entrance—to prove the truthfulness of Mr. Wing. The majority of the old stones removed are now living well up to their name as 'crazy' paving in the grounds of Dr. Jones. In that same garden too are old stone steps and a small trough rescued from the ruins of the Pest House on the Banbury road where in a hollow of a field to the left (going north) a cattle shed now stanes. In the stone trough, it is said, coins from the Pest House used to be placed, being passed through water in a primitive attempt at disinfection.

Passing along Council Street towards Castle Green a low stone house of considerable charm, with a very long shaped diamond-paned window under the eaves on the near side, attracts attention. It bears dates 1655, 1735 and 1917, the last two with initials Z.S. (Zachariah Stilgoe) and H.E.S. respectively.

Mr. H. E. Stilgoe supplies some interesting information connected with it. Quoting from the Will of Anthony Stilgoe, 1606, he writes that the testator bequeathed to Elizabeth his wife "a house situate in 'Castell Street.' This may be the house in Council Street, previously named School Lane, which house and farmyard have been held by the Stilgoe family under the Windsor Manor of Deddington since the early part of the 17th century and probably earlier. In the year 1917 it was enfranchised by the Copyholder Henry Edward Stilgoe and is now in occupation of D. Bliss as tenant."

A little further towards Clifton is that fine Jacobean house, formerly 'The Green', now known as the 'Poplars'. The date above the porch is 1647, and the un-modernized gabelled side is beautifully proportioned. The other has the appearance of having been added to, perhaps rebuilt after a fire. Christ Church College has lately sold it, but the white plastering characteristic of its property still remains. The house has a farm history, having been associated with the famous Appletree family. But for two generations, stretching over a period of 90 years, it was occupied by medical men, the Turners, father and son. Dr. Turner, the grandson, however, removed to a house on the Oxford Road.

Traditions die hard in Deddington. One that links the 'Green' or 'Poplars' with yet another medical memory must be taken for what it is worth, being some two hundred years old.

"In old Dr. Appletree's day (John Appletree, Apothecary, was granted a faculty for a seat in the Parish Church, December 17th, 1728), said Mr. Thomas Deeley, carrier, to me, "I've heard tell there was a ghost at the Poplars and they got the parson in to lay it."

Beauty is said to be in the eye ; certainly, judging from the following extract, there was none in that of the beholder who, in the earlier years of the reign of King George the third, recorded his impressions of our gold-brown town in Walpole's British Traveller.

'Doddington, or Deddington, is a place of great antiquity, and formerly sent members to Parliament ; but that privilege has been long taken away, though on what account is not known. It had anciently a castle, but not the least vestige of it now remains. It is at present a very poor town under the government of a bailiff ; and exclusive of a Charity School, has not a single building that merits particular notice. The weekly market is on Saturday, and the distance from London sixty-two miles.'