Chiselhampton
St Giles

church exterior
South side of Church, showing its position in relation to the deserted village of Hampton Gay, which is predominantly to its south and south-east. The outlines of the village are clearly visible as raised plots and ways in the adjoining fields to the left of the picture.
 

West end, and tower

Ruins of the old Manor House,
to the east of the church


HISTORY

The name "Gay" comes from the de Gay family, who were the twelfth century Lords of the Manor.

THE LAND AND ESTATES

In 1086 there were two estates; 3 hides belonging to Robert d'Ivry, and 2 hides (being a royal demesne) held by Rainald, Robert d'Ivry's tenant.

The larger estate was part of the honor of St Valery, and passed to Richard, Earl of Cornwall. In 1292, Edmund, the then Earl claimed his rights as overlord, and the half-knight's fee became merged with the Duchy of Cornwall. The King's Estate became part of the honor of Gloucester.

About 1137 Robert de Gay was tenant of both the Hampton estates, and it was he who founded the monastery at Otley. Between 1195 and 1205 Oseney Abbey in Oxford acquired 2 virgates of land in Hampton from the de Guys, and in 1210 Robert de Gay started a series of gifts to the Abbey, which by 1218 held nearly all the half-knight's fee of St Valery. The Manor of Hampton was held by Oseney until the Dissolution.

In 1542 the Crown sold the land to Leonard Chamberlayne, who fairly quickly re-sold it to John Barry of Eynsham for £1,100.

In 1682 it was mortgaged and then sold to Sir Richard Wenman of Caswell for £6,400.

The Manor and village has had a very chequered history. In late Elizabethan times the inclosure of the lands around Hampton Gay involved most of the male inhabitants of the village in an agrarian revolt in 1596. This also involved people from as far away as Rycote and Witney, but when the call to arms eventually was made only ten persons assembled with pikes and swords on Enslow Hill, Bletchingdon. Roger Symonds, a carpenter from Hampton Gay, warned Vincent Barry, who in turn told Lord Norrys. Five Hampton Gay men were arrested and sent to London, and one was sentenced to be hanged and quartered. Although abortive, it did in fact bring about the re-enactment of the Tillage Acts in 1597, whereby lands in Oxfordshire which had been converted to pasture since the accession of Queen Elizabeth, were restored to tillage.

The Manor House was built by the Barry family in the second half of the 16th century. It was destroyed by fire in 1887, when the interior was gutted and the roof collapsed .

The Grist mill in the parish, noted in the Domesday Book, was let by Vincent Barry in 1681 to John Allen of Hampton as a paper mill. This greatly altered the pastoral economy of the parish. The mill continued as a paper mill until 1887, although with a break from 1865 to 1873 after a severe fire closed it temporarily. It was then converted to a steam-powered mill with its own gas works, and was again destroyed by fire in 1875. Its owners finally went bankrupt in 1887.

POPULATION

17th Century - 7 taxable houses for Hearth Tax. (Manor House and two largish farmhouses or gent's houses [12 hearths], a small farmstead [3 hearths] and three cottages.
1676 - Compton census - 28 adults
1811 - 13 houses
1821 - peaked to 86 inhabitants
1851 - 17 houses
1887 - fell to 30 inhabitants after destruction of the Manor House
1901 - 6 houses
1955 - 14 parishioners

THE CHURCH

It is recorded that in 1074 there was a grant of Tythes, and in 1173 Reginald de Gay presented his Clerk, Gilbert, to the Church with a half-hide of land free of all service. He then granted the church to Oseney Abbey.

In 1535 the Chancel and Nave had become dilapidated, windows were broken, and no distribution to the poor was being made. £2 was being paid per annum to a Chaplain from Oseney Abbey.

After the Dissolution of the Abbey in 1539 Hampton Gay was considered an extra-parochial free chapel, exempt from the Bishop's jurisdiction. With no endowment, the Lords of the Manor "out of their generosity" paid for a minister.

In 1768 the Church was rebuilt by Rev'd Thomas Hindes. He also provided an endowment of £700 to be invested to provide £20 annually for a minister, preference being given to a Fellow from the Queen's College, Oxford.

Eventually the Bishop began to licence Curates from 1809 onwards, and in 1854 the parish was transferred to the Bicester Deanery. In 1862 Wadham College purchased the Manor and provided a minister, who also usually was the Rector of Shipton on Cherwell.

The Church of St Giles was built during the period 1767 to 1772, and was built on the foundations of the old church. The old church was ruthlessly destroyed to make way for it, although a very few of the original features were incorporated.

It is said to have been considered by admirers of the Gothic architecture as "a very bad specimen of the meeting-house style" [Parker: Church Guide, 1956].

In 1859 the then Curate had the church "restored" to his own plans at a cost of £154. This entailed replacing the four round-headed Georgian windows with "Early-English" style windows, and building a new south porch (now gone). The tower door arch at its west end was notched in Norman style, and the old seats were replaced. [See MS. Top. Oxon. b220. f. 156 - a drawing of the church in about 1800, and a further drawing (1822) by J Buckler].

The remaining Georgian features are the Gallery, the coved and panelled ceiling, the stone ball finial on the roof, and the weather vane.
 

THE BARREL ORGAN

The Gallery carries a small Barrel Organ which has three cylinders.

The tunes are as follows (where known):-

  CYLINDER 1

 CYLINDER 2

 CYLINDER 3

Listed name

Recorded name

Listed name

Recorded name

Listed name

Recorded name

Cambridge New
Cambridge New
Divizes
Divizes
No list
???
Cranbrook
Cranbrook
Angel's Hymn
Angel's Song
No list
???
100th Psalm
Old 100th
Adeste Fideles
Adeste Fideles
No list
???
Easter Hymn
Easter Hymn
Mount Ephraim
Mount Ephraim
No list
???
104th Psalm
Hanover
Bedford
Bedford
No list
Moreton
St Anne's
St Anne
Evening Hymn
Evening Hymn
No list
???
Carey,s
Surrey
St James
St James
No list
Hotham
Sheffield
New York
Sicilian Mariners
Sicilian Mariners
No list
???
Naughton
Naughton
Abridge
Abridge
No list
Helmsley
Peckham
Peckham
New Eagle Street
New Eagle Street
No list
???
 
The small chancel contains a revolving reading desk, and on the south side there is a harmonium. Above, on the north wall, is a monument to the Perry family, dated 1673, and which was removed from the old church.

The West Gallery erected when the church was built in the period 1767 - 1772. Access is through the doorway into the small vestry in the base of the tower, from whence the two small bells are chimed.

The treble bell is late 13th century and the tenor is dated 1782.


ACCESS

Map Reference:   

The church is approached over the fields from the east, or over fields, the River Cherwell and the Oxford Canal, and the main railway line from the west. Either way, boots are recommended. The keys can be obtained from Manor Farm.


Photographs: Edwin Macadam

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This site has been constructed by, and remains the copyright of, its authors,
Edwin and Sheila Macadam,

Shelwin, 30, Eynsham Road, Botley,
Oxford OX2 9BP
July 2001 -