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1939 Directory

Kelly's Directory of Oxfordshire, 1939

The following text is the Souldern entry in Kelly's Directory of Oxfordshire, 1939 page 282

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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. Electricity is available. 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 tower replacing one of Early Norman date: this was rebuilt in 1907 and contains 6 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 Early Decorated work: the porch is of later date: the chancel was rebuilt in 1896, on the site of a former chancel of the 14th century, and a stained east window was placed at the same time: in the chancel is a brass to John Throckmorton, ob. 1537, representing a heart with scrolls, which was restored by Sir William Throckmorton, 9th bart.; and there are two other brasses, one to Thomas Warner, parson, ob. 1598 (or 1514): the very ancient font is Norman: 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, 1914–18, was erected on the south side of the chancel arch: the church has 150 sittings. The churchyard

has been enlarged. The register dates from the year 1668. The living is a rectory, net yearly value £380 with residence and 130 acres of glebe, in the gift of St. John's College, Cambridge, and held since 1936 by the Rev. Francis Ley Gwatkin M.A. of that college. 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 Methodist 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. 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, Richard Cartwright esq. and Mrs. E. M. Hiorns. 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; the population in 1931 was 379.

Post, M. O. & T. Office. Letters through Bicester