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British History Online - Parishes: Great Faringdon pt2


Farendone (xi cent.); Farendon, Ferendun (xii cent.); 
Great Faryngdon alias Chepyngfaryngdon (xv cent.).
'Parishes: Great Faringdon', in A History of the County of Berkshire: Volume 4, ed. William Page and P H Ditchfield (London, 1924), pp. 489-499. British History Online.

North of Wadley is Littleworth, (fn. 54) which with Thrupp and Wadley was made an ecclesiastical parish in 1843. The village contains several old houses, one at the south end being of early 17th-century date much modernized. The church of the Ascension was built in 1839. A school was built about 1860 and enlarged in 1890. A Methodist chapel stands at the southern end of a road which after passing Park Farm becomes a foot-path leading north across the fields to Smokedown Farm. Still further north, and accessible only by bridle paths, is Thrupp, where is a mission-house built in 1880. It must have been close to this hamlet that the abbey of Abingdon had its fishery called Throppewater, (fn. 55) which was apparently conveyed by Sir Edward Harrington, bart., and Margaret his wife to William Stonehouse in 1614, (fn. 56) and later followed the descent of the manor of Radley (fn. 57) (q.v.). At some little distance west of Thrupp runs the main road north from Faringdon to Burford. The Thames is crossed by Radcot Bridge, pontage for the repair of which was granted in 1312 to Robert del Pultre and Robert de Kaar. (fn. 58) After the defeat of Robert de Ver, Duke of Ireland, by the Earl of Derby at Radcot in 1387, (fn. 59) Ver attempted to escape across the bridge, but found it had been broken down and eventually was forced to swim his horse across the stream to the imminent peril of his life. (fn. 60)

Radcot Bridge, Great Faringdon


It is not easy to determine at what date the men of Faringdon first got the government of a portion of the vill into their own hands. Mention has already been made of the possibility of there having been a royal palace here, probably on the site of the later Faringdon House, and it is noteworthy that the borough lay just to the south of this and on the east side of the Westbrook.
The men of Faringdon paid 10 marks as aid for marrying the king's daughter in 1169, (fn. 61) and the borough made at least one separate appearance before the justices in eyre during the latter half of the 13th century. (fn. 62)Although the very memory of the borough seems to have been forgotten by 1651, when it was described only as 'the township of Farrington alias Port,' (fn. 63) it remained under the government of a bailiff until at least 1806. (fn. 64)Local affairs are now under the control of a Rural District Council.
A 13th-century customal of Great Faringdon shows that each burgage was held free of all service but a payment of 12d. yearly, and that a certain Abbot of Beaulieu had remised to the burgesses pannage and the marriage of their daughters for an additional payment of 1½d(fn. 65) The rent of 13½d. continued to be paid in 1551. (fn. 66) The mediaeval burgages appear to have been situated entirely on the east of the brook. (fn. 67) In 1551 there were fifty-one and a half burgages within the borough and six burgages in Westbrook; of these all but four were held by copy of court roll. (fn. 68) The burgage tenements were situated in the London Road, South Street, the High Street or 'Chepe Street,' Gildon Street and the Claypits. (fn. 69)
The town was under the government of a bailiff, who was probably sworn in at the lord's court. (fn. 70) The bailiff held the portmote every Tuesday if he would, after notice issued on the previous Monday. (fn. 71) The court dealt with offences under the assize of bread and ale and all market squabbles, but with thefts only when the thief was caught at a fair or in the market, and only then with the consent of the abbot's bailiff and seneschal. (fn. 72) All other cases were impleaded in the court of the abbot. (fn. 73) Felons were lodged in the abbot's gaol, but the town had to guard the bodies of persons slain by intention or accident until the coming of the coroner, and also persons taking sanctuary in the church. (fn. 74)
Probably in the 13th as in the 16th century the market tolls were let to the burgesses at farm. (fn. 75) A market was ordered to be held on Mondays in 1218, (fn. 76) but in 1313 a licence was obtained for changing the market day to Tuesday. (fn. 77) The change does not seem, however, to have been carried out, for Sir Henry Unton obtained a similar licence in February 1594. (fn. 78) From this time the market has been held on Tuesday. (fn. 79) A fair was obtained in 1227 for the vigil and feast of St. Luke the Evangelist (fn. 80); no charter has been found for the fair which in 1260 was held on the vigil of Trinity Sunday, (fn. 81) and it seems possible that this fair was prescriptive. Queen Elizabeth added fairs on the feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin and on St. Bartholomew's Day. (fn. 82) In 1806 these fairs were kept on 2 February, Whit-Tuesday and 18 October. (fn. 83) The burgesses were free from toll, (fn. 84) as were also free-men of Bereton and the cell there, the customary tenants of the Bishop of Salisbury and all men of the Templars, Hospitallers and honour of Wallingford. (fn. 85)
The burgesses paid both relief and heriot. (fn. 86) The vendor of a burgage tenement paid half a 'sextarium' of wine to the abbot, (fn. 87) as did the purchaser or inheritor of a burgage if he were born outside the manor. (fn. 88) All alienations of burgage tenements were announced in court in the presence of the keeper of the manor and were enrolled. (fn. 89) Widows with or without children had free bench for life during widowhood and on marrying a second time were entitled to their dower third. (fn. 90)
Other customs emphasize the rural character of the town. Burgesses had rights in the manure for the land and in the folding of the sheep, (fn. 91) and they had pasture for their cows and young cattle in the Portmanlese from Easter to St. Andrew's Day, when the abbot's sheep were turned in. (fn. 92) The burgesses owed suit at the lord's mill; should the miller be unable to attend to him the burgess must wait a day and night before going elsewhere or else must pay his toll. (fn. 93)


Before the Conquest FARINGDON was in the hands of Harold and was assessed at 30 hides; by 1086 it was demesne of the Crown, 1 hide being held by the Bishop of Salisbury and 4 hides by Alsi. (fn. 94) During the second half of the 12th century, if not earlier, (fn. 95) it was let out at farm, (fn. 96) the farmer in 1174 being Adam de Catmore. (fn. 97) From 1179 Faringdon was in the custody of William the Porter, who was, however, removed in 1190 at the instance of the townspeople. (fn. 98) In 1203 King John granted the manor to St. Mary of Cîteaux with a view to the building of an abbey there, (fn. 99) but in the following year the king founded the abbey of Beaulieu, (fn. 100) to which this manor was confirmed in January 1204–5. (fn. 101) In the 13th and the early 14th century the manor was held in demesne, (fn. 102) but from 1351 it seems to have been continually leased. (fn. 103) It remained, however, in the possession of the house until its surrender to the Crown in 1538. (fn. 104)


  • 54. The ancient manor of Worth seems to have included Wadley, Littleworth, Thrupp and Wicklesham (see below). In the 15th century a pasture in the manor was known as 'Tornemore' (Chan. Inq. p.m. 14 Hen. VI [Add. nos.], no. 58).
  • 55. Pat. 13 Jas. I, pt. xvii, no. 2.
  • 56. Feet of F. Berks. East. 12 Jas. I.
  • 57. Ibid. Mich. 7 Will. III; Mich. 4 Anne.
  • 58. Pat. 6 Edw. II, pt. i, m. 8. This may have been the site of the stone bridge mentioned in 958 (Birch, Cart. Sax. iii, 228).
  • 59V.C.H. Berks. ii, 135.
  • 60. Thomas of Walsingham, Hist. Angl. (Rolls Ser.), ii, 167–9.
  • 61Pipe R. 15 Hen. II (Pipe R. Soc.), 80.
  • 62. Assize R. 40, m. 28.
  • 63. Parl. Surv. Berks. no. 3. The district marked 'Port' on the O.S. is probably the ancient Portmanslese.
  • 64. Lysons, Mag. Brit. i (2), 276. No report on the town was made by the royal commissioners of 1835 or 1880.
  • 65. Cott. MS. Nero A. xii, fol. 110b.
  • 66. Ld. Rev. Misc. Bks. clxxxvii, fol. 176 et seq.
  • 67. Harl. MS. 6603, fol. 195.
  • 68. Ld. Rev. Misc. Bks. clxxxvii, fol. 176 et seq. By 1322 twenty messuages had been acquired from tenants by the abbey (Cal. Close, 1318–23, p. 614; cf. ibid. p. 299).
  • 69. Ld. Rev. Misc. Bks. clxxxvii, fol. 176 et seq.
  • 70. Cott. MS. Nero A. xii, fol. 114b. In 1284 mention is made of the 'bailiffs (i.e. of the town and of the manor) of Faringdon' (Assize R. 44, m. 3 d.).
  • 71. Cott. MS. Nero A. xii, fol. 114b.
  • 72. Ibid. fol. 114b–115.
  • 73. See Assize R. 40, m. 28; 44, m. 3 d
  • 74. Cott. MS. Nero A. xii, fol. 113.
  • 75. Mins. Accts. Hen. VIII, no. 3341.
  • 76Rot. Lit. Claus. (Rec. Com.), i, 354.
  • 77Cal. Chart. R. 1300–26, p. 203.
  • 78. Pat. 36 Eliz. pt. xx, m. 28.
  • 79. cf. Bridges, A Book of Fairs, 15.
  • 80. Cott. MS. Nero A. xii, fol. 7b.
  • 81. a Assize R. 40, m. 2 d.
  • 82. Pat. 36 Eliz. pt. xx, m. 28.
  • 83. Bridges, op. cit. 13–14.
  • 84. Cott. MS. Nero A. xii, fol. 110b.
  • 85. Ibid. fol. 116 d.
  • 86. Ibid. fol. 111–111b. For instances of the payment of relief see Ct. R. (Gen. Ser.), portf. 154, no. 27.
  • 87. Cott. MS. Nero A. xii, fol. 112. Cf. Ct. of Req. bdle. 5, no. 13, where the purchaser gave the abbot a silver bell worth 40s.
  • 88. Cott. MS. Nero A. xii, fol. 112.
  • 89. Ibid. fol. 115 d.
  • 90. Ibid. fol. 111b.
  • 91. Ibid. fol. 110b.
  • 92. Ibid. fol. 112.
  • 93. Ibid. fol. 110b. This mill was apparently that of Kindelwere. It existed in the 13th century (Assize R. 44, m. 3 d.; Cott. MS. Nero A. xii, fol. 46 d.–47) and was in the manor of Wyke (Memo. R. [Exch. L.T.R.], Mich. 5 Hen. V, m. 26). It was apparently disused before 1534, when the fishery appurtenant to it was leased to William Pleydell (The Unton Invent. [Berks. Ashmolean Soc.], p. lxxvii).
  • 94V.C.H. Berks. i, 332; see below.
  • 95. Hunter, Gt. R. of the Pipe 31 Hen. I (Rec. Com.), 127.
  • 96Pipe R. 5 Hen. II (Pipe R. Soc.), 36.
  • 97. Ibid. 21 Hen. II, 133; 22 Hen. II, 131.
  • 98. Ibid. 26 Hen. II, 47; Pipe R. 2 Ric. I, m. 48.
  • 99. Cott. MS. Nero A. xii, fol. 5.
  • 100V.C.H. Berks. ii, 81.
  • 101. Dugdale, Mon. v, 683.
  • 102. Cott. MS. Nero A. xii, fol. 79, 117 d., 119bRot. Lit. Pat. (Rec. Com.), i, 90; Testa de Nevill (Rec. Com.), 128.
  • 103Cal. Pat. 1350–4, p. 44; cf. Cott. MS. Nero A. xii, fol. 119b; Chan. Proc. (Ser. 2), bdle. 46, no. 9.
  • 104V.C.H. Hants, ii, 145.

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