Wootton Parish near Abingdon in the 9th to 18th Century

What is now Wootton Parish was part of the Parish of Cumnor from its inception in 9th Century to the 19th Century so the story of Parish of Cumnor is very much the story of the Parish of Wootton. There are certain exceptions though and these are detailed below.

WOOTTON (Wudtun, ix cent.) and BORESHILL (Boreshulle, xiv cent.) were both among the possessions of Abingdon Abbey till 1538, and after that date are always mentioned as forming a single manor. Land at Wootton was said to have been included in the grant made to the abbey by King Caedwalla and confirmed by Kenulf in 821.

It was in royal hands, however, in the 10th century. In 985 Ethelred II granted 10 hides here with specified boundaries to his thegn Leofwin.

This land must have come into the possession of the abbey, but there is no record of the grant.

The first mention of Boreshill that has been found is in the middle of the 12th century, when a certain Robert son of Roger claimed half a hide of land here. The abbot recovered it on the ground that it had been granted to Roger for life only, and it was subsequently given to the sacristan of the abbey. Rents from Boreshill are entered in the sacristan’s account of 1396–7. The ‘manor of Wotton,’ however, appears in 1450 in the gardener’s account; the two estates apparently did not at that date from one manor.

Land called Blagrove, on which the later manorhouse of Wootton was built, was held by Rainbald in the 11th century, and was given by Abbot Faritius to Berner in exchange for land near Barton. It was probably granted back to the abbey by his successors.

In 1546 the ‘manor, of Wootton and Boreshill’ was granted to John Hyde of Sutton Courtney. He purchased the messuage called Blagrove in Wootton from George Clifford, who had had a grant of it in 1545, and his family was resident there for several generations. John was succeeded in 1554–5 by his son Richard, a minor, who was afterwards knighted. Richard’s grandson and heir George succeeded him in 1615. George had sons Michael, George, John and Richard. In 1653 Michael Hyde was associated with George Hyde in an agreement concerning the manor. Michael, who was apparently in full possession in 1661, died without issue in 1663 and was succeeded by George.

In 1667 George, Richard and William Hyde levied a fine with regard to the manor of Wootton. George died without issue in 1675 and in 1680 the manor was the subject of a dispute between John and Richard. The result is uncertain, but Richard ultimately succeeded. He was dead before 1708, when his widow Ann, then the wife of Gilbert Talbott, and his son Michael were holding the manor. Four years later Ann was dead, and Michael sold Wootton and Boreshill to Gregory Geering of Denchworth, apparently a trustee for the sale to William Hawkins of Abingdon, who in his will dated 1727 ratified certain indentures regarding the manor which had been made in 1712. He left it to his son William Hawkins, with remainder to William, son of the latter, and various other persons. The second William, however, left the manor by his will in 1759 to his younger son George Hawkins, thus interfering with the entail established by his father. The right heir, William Hawkins, bought out his brother George in 1774, and died in possession of the manor a few years later. His trustees sold it by auction in 1786 to William Walker of London.

William Walker was still the owner in 1803. His heirs are not known, and there is a gap in the history of the manor till 1883. In that year Mr. J. H. Pulman and Colonel Barchard were joint owners. In 1907 Mr. J. H. Pulman was sole lord, and he has continued to hold the manorial rights down to the present day.

Reference: ‘Parishes: Cumnor’, in A History of the County of Berkshire: Volume 4, ed. William Page and P H Ditchfield (London, 1924), pp. 398-405.