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1924 Directory

Kelly's Directory of Oxfordshire, 1924

The following text is the Souldern entry in Kelly's Directory of Oxfordshire, 1924 page 324–325

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SOULDERN is a parish and village, 1½ miles east by footpath, or 3 miles by road from Aynho Park station on the main line from London to Birmingham of the Great Western railway, 8 south-east from Banbury and 7½ north-west from Bicester, in the Henley division of the county, hundred, rural district and petty sessional division of Ploughley, rural deanery of Bicester, archdeaconry and diocese of Oxford. The river Cher­well bounds the parish on the west, but is a mile and a half from the village, which is pleasantly situated on the south side of Aynho Park, on the borders of North­ampton­shire. The church of st. Mary is an ancient building of stone in various styles, consisting of chancel, clerestoried nave, north transept, south aisle south porch and a massive embattled tower of Early Norman date, which was rebuilt in 1907, under the directions of the late G. F. Bodley esq. R.A. and containing 5 bells, 4 of which are 17th century, and a sanctus bell, also of that date: the nave is separated from the south aisle by three pointed arches on round columns from the old Norman church, all Transitional, the capitals and bases of which appear to have been reversed: the windows of the aisle are elaborate specimens of Late Decorated work: the porch is of the same date: the chancel was rebuilt in 1896, on the site of a former chancel of the 14th century, from designs by Messrs. Bucknall and Comper, architects, and a stained east window was placed at the same time; in the chancel is a brass to John Throckmorton, ob. 1537, which was restored by Sir William Throckmorton, 9th bart.; and there are two other brasses, one to Thomas Warner, parson, ob. 1508 (or 1514); and another representing a heart with scrolls: the very ancient font is presumably Saxon; the church was restored in 1878-9, the work being begun on 4 Dec. in the former year, and in the course of it the western gallery was taken down: in 1922 a tablet of stone bearing the names of those of the parish who fell in the Great War was erected on the south side of the chancel arch; the cost was £50, subscribed for by all denominations in the parish: the church has 200 sittings. The churchyard has been enlarged. The register dates from the year 1668. The living is a rectory, net yearly value £525, with residence and 130 acres of glebe, in the gift of St. John's College, Cambridge, and held since 1918 by the Rev. John Henry Bentley M.A. of that college. A new rectory house was built in 1890-1.

The Roman Catholic church, dedicated to St. Joseph, and built in lieu of one formerly attached to the Manor house, was erected and endowed by the Cox, Dolman, and Stapleton families in the beginning of the last century. There is also a Wesleyan chapel, erected in 1869. The parochial charities produce about £30 yearly for distribution in bread and clothing; there are also cottages and gardens and allotment gardens on the old green which are let to the poor at a nominal rent. In and adjoining the parish are stone quarries. Wordsworth, the poet, was a constant visitor here during the incumbency of his college friend, the Rev. Robert Jones, rector of Souldern 1806, and here he composed a sonnet on Souldern rectory, entitled “On a Parsonage in Oxfordshire.” Ploughley Hill, a curious bell-shaped Saxon barrow, was almost entirely levelled at the commencement of the 19th century for highway purposes. Some Saxon remains, consisting of urns, brass straps and bone ornaments, have been dug up in the neighbourhood and are in the possession of Sir Arthur Dryden Bart. of Canons Ashby, Northants. William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk K.G. executed in 1449 in Dover roads, on board the “Nicholas of the Tower,” held with Alice (Chaucer), his wife, a portion of the lands. The landowners are Magdalen College, Oxford, and so Sir Fairfax Leighton Cartwright P.C., G.C.M.G., G.C.V.O. The soil is fertile, clay and loam near the Cherwell, sand and stone brash on the high ground; the subsoil varies at different points of the parish; and consists of limestone, ironstone, clay, sand and gravel, divided into arable and pasture. The area is 1,485 acres of land and 11 of water; rateable value, £4,413; the popula­tion in 1911 was 396

Parish clerk, Alexander Simpson.

Post, M. O., T. & T. E. D. office (available for calls to places within a limited distance).—Thomas Wm. Matthews, sub-postmaster. Letters through Banbury

Elementary School, founded subsequently to 1866 with master's house attached; endowed jointly by the Minn & Westcar charities with an income of £50 yearly, three-quarters of which goes to the relief of the County Education rates; the school will hold 90 children; William John Wills, master

Carrier.-Joseph Bates, to Banbury, thurs. & sat