Extracts from the Diary of the Rev. William Cotton Risley
(lent by Major Reginald Roberts, present owner of Deddington
House, now known as Deddington Manor.

May 9th.
Took possession of Deddington House.
Sept. 25th.
Mr. Brayne sent for and another very fine boy born.
Sept. 30th. Mr. Wyatt the carver and gilder from Oxford came to see our Church and arrange about a    painting for an altarpiece—"Dead Christ and Three Marys" price I5 gns.
Oct. 1st. .....presented the Church and parish with a new Communion cloth this day.
Oct. 18th. Went to Oxford to take certain oaths as Vicar of Deddington and to qualify at the  Sessions as Magistrate.
Oct. 22nd. Mr. Underwood, architect from Oxford, came to examine the Church and crypt and to give his opinion on the alterations I had made and to send me a plan for a new pulpit and reading desk.
Oct. 29th. Franklin’s man began putting up the inner door of the Church yesterday by my order and at my expense—to be covered with drab cloth.
Oct. 31st. Franklin put up the looking glass in our drawing-room. Endeavoured to stop the bonfire in the middle of the Town, near the Town Hall and close Sir J. Calcotts’ (?) house. A boy named John Gibbs was very impudent. I gave him a back-handed slap of the face.
Dec. 24th. Mr. Wyatt’s son, carver and gilder from Oxford, came and put up in the Chancel an old painting "A Dead Christ with the Three Marys."
Dec. 26th. A very deep and drifting snow. No coaches able to reach the Town. The Van I2 hours coming from Oxford with 9 horses.

[Gaieties at Aynho Park recorded] .........
The coach to Oxford by which some guests intended to return being 1 1/2 hours late and quite full, they had to post it to Oxford.
Feb. 27th. A case tried at the Assizes between Deddington and Clifton, the latter wanted to be a separate parish - they failed and refused to pay and collect rates.
Mar. 25th. Went to the Vicarage and examined the state of the Chesterton oak boards previous to putting up a new pulpit and reading desk in Deddington Church.
May 3rd. Went up to the Kings Arms in the evening and paid Lord Carrington’s agent my rent ...... for a certain dwelling house and premises with pleasure ground, the same being mortgaged to Lord Carrington by S. Churchill, Esq., the late proprietor, now a Bankrupt.
May 24th. The Princess Alexandrina Victoria attained her majority this day—heir apparent of the English Throne.The bells rang at intervals during the day by my order.
June 6th. ...... Mr. Graham, the Aeronaut, ascended from Oxford in a balloon at 4 p.m.

Feb. 7th. Attended a large meeting at Banbury for the purpose of petitioning against the repeal of the present corn laws.
Mar. 5th. Remained in Court the whole day from 8 a.m. up to 7 p.m. Heard the trial of Joseph Chapman, Gamekeeper to Lord Dillon, for the murder of James Cottonham by shooting him with his double-barrelled gun. He was found guilty and left for execution .........
Apr. 27th. Holford completed his 8th year.
June 27th. Sale of Deddington House. Went to Banbury attend a sale of Mr. S. Churchill's property at Deddington and elsewhere, he being a bankrupt. I bought his late house and farm adjoining at the sum of £8,920 and the timbers to be valued. I bought Appletree farm at £2,720
and a piece of freehold ground adjoining at £105.
Oct. 8th. James Churchill agrees to sell his house and a strip of ground adjoining our present pleasure ground.
Nov. 15th. The stone planking and paving in front of the house from the kitchen entrance to the yard gates was finished today .
Nov.19th. ...... 9 acres with a cottage adjoining our pleasure ground of Mr. John Calcutt for the sum of £1,800 ......
Dec. 6th. Moved Hoyle Hill gate down to a new situation in consequence of my having purchased the orchard and premises (late Whetton’s).

Sept 15th. New Organ. Our new organ arrived in safely at about a quarter after 10 p.m., drawn by my teams and accompanied by Mr. Chambers, the builder and his man. The bells struck up a merry peal....

Jan. 4th. I went up to Oxford with Mr. Loveday (of Williamscote) to attend the Sessions. We voted an address of congratulation to the Queen and Prince Albert on the birth of the Princess Royal of England.

Jan 14th. Busy in the farmyard, giving directions for distribubution of 2 faggots to every family. Six waggon loads went out.

   Major R. Roberts adds this note :—‘Old Mr. Wm. Risley died and left the property to his eldest son Holford Risley who died unmarried. Let to Col. Murray durng short time. Colonel Murray bought it about 1895. Left it to his brother Mr. Charles Murray, who only survived a short time and left it to his wife, whose daughter was Mrs. Holford. Captain A. Holford and his daughter came here in 1921, after Mrs. Holford’s death. Stayed 7 years and sold it to Colonel Beckwith Smith in 1928, who sold it to us.’