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A "secret" road
Map of Chippy
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Some History



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"Chipping" means a market and in the middle ages people came to buy and sell at the markets and fairs that gave Chipping Norton its name.The town has grown outwards around the original mediaeval Market Square. There is still a weekly market every Wednesday and the "Mop Fair" (once a hiring fair for servants) in September.

Chippy began as a few houses with a church and a castle at the bottom of the hill. Only the earthworks of the castle still remain but the church is now a fine example of a "wool church", enlarged by local merchants who grew rich on the profits of the Cotswold wool trade. To promote increased trade, a new market place was laid out in about 1205 surrounded by the houses and shops of the wealthier inhabitants, and this formed a new town centre higher up the hillside - where it still is today.

In later centuries sheep farming was largely replaced by arable, but agriculture remained important in this part of the Oxfordshire Cotswolds. Around the market place many of the original houses were rebuilt in the 18th century with fashionable "Georgian" fronts, which are still an impressive sight when you look along the High Street above the modern shops. Earlier styles remain in New Street - which is actually very old! Travellers have always stopped in Chipping Norton and there were plenty of hotels and inns for cater for them. In Victorian times William Bliss built his spectacular tweed mill. There was a brewery, a glove making factory, a tannery and an iron foundry, and the town grew in size. Today this old Cotswold stone town is a flourishing centre with a strong sense of community, proud of its past but not living in it.

There's more about Chippy's past on the following pages on this site:

History of the Market

The Regulated Pastures

The History of the Town Hall

The Burgage Plots

The Wills of Mediaeval Chippy


The White Hart

Henry Cornish

The Manor House

Chippy Valentine

Chippy's Flying History

There are
also bits of local history scattered around the web like

History of Hitchmans Brewery
The Ascott Martyrs
Chipping Norton Workhouse
Disovery of Aspirin
Old Photos of the World War in Chippy

Ascott Martyrs
Chippy on CD as a History Lesson
Frith Collection-Old Photos of CN to buy
WW2 Airfields - Chipping Norton

What it said in the Universal British Directory, 1791

In the hundred of Chadlington, is a large, regular, well-built town; has a market on Wednesday for corn, &c. and seven annual fairs, viz. March 7, May 6th, last Friday in May, July 18th, September 4th, November 8th, and the last Friday in November, for horses, cows, sheep, and all sorts of ware. It is a borough town, governed by two baliffs and twelve burgesses. Their charter was granted by James I. in 1606: the bailiffs are chosen annually on the first Monday after St. Michael, and must be sworn into office at their court leet and baron (being lords of the manor) within one month after their being so chosen. They are empowered to hold a court, and to determine actions under 40s. The names of those at present in office are:


Mr. Joseph Malims

Mr. John Ward


Mr. Thomas West
Mr. Charles Heynes
Mr. John Townsend
Mr. Thomas Winter
Rev. Thomas Evans,

Mr. Thomas Heynes
Mr. Robert Kinglake
Mr. John Ford
Mt. Joseph Freeman

Mr. Thomas Winter, Attorney, Town-clerk.

The free grammar-school, founded by King Edward VI. is at present in high estimation. The master, who is appointed by the Corporation, has a handsome salary.

The church, situated below the town, is a noble structure in the Gothic taste, 98 feet long by 87 feet wide, the middle aisle 46 feet high, is much noticed for its light and curious workmanship in the windows: the church contains a number of brass monuments, erected in the 14th century to the memory of divers merchants, which shews it to have been formerly a place of great trade. The tower is lofty, with a peal of six musical bells. There are marks of a castle by the church, and Roman coins are frequently found there. Chipping Norton sent burgesses to parliament once in the reign of Edward I. and twice in that of Edward III. but never since. In the centre of the town, grows a fine spreading elm, with a numerous rookery in it; the birds are almost as tame as domestic fowls, a circumstance which is taken much notice of by traveller for its rarity. On Chapel-heath, near the town, there are annual horse-races. Not far from this there are Rollrich stones, a little Stonehenge, being a circle of great stones standing upright, some of them from five to seven feet high, and probably the vestigies of an old British temple, as that was.

The town is situated on the turnpike road from London to Worcester; distant from London 74 miles, and from Worcester 37.

There is a considerable manufactory carried on here for making horse-cloathing, tilting, &c. by Mr. Thomas Bliss and SOns, (F.) and two others for harreteens, the one by Mr. S. Biggerstaff (F.), and the other by Mr. Joseph Freeman.

The post-office is kept by Mrs. Hannah Mackarness, in the New-street, and all letters must be put in the office by six o'clock in the evening: postage of letters to and from London 4d. to and from Worcester 3d.

The mail-coach arrives every morning from London at 6 o'clock, and returns from Worcester every evening at 7: inns at the George and Blue Boar, Holborn, London; and Starr and Garter, Worcester. The Worcester heavy coach passes through the town every morning at 3 o'clock from London, and returns from Worcester every night at 8: inns at the Bull and Mouth, Bull-and-mouth-street, London; and Hop-pole, Worcester. Mr. William Beck, at the Black-boy, is one of the proprietors; at his house the horses are kept, places taken, and parcels delivered. This town has four large inns, viz. the White Hart, the Crown and Cushion, the Talbot, and the Swan; besides a great number of public-houses.

WAGGONS. Thomas Ward, (F.) sends two waggons to London every week; one sets out early on Monday morning, arrives in London on Wednesday morning at 7 o'clock, and returns on Friday evening; the other sets out on Tuesday morning, arrives in London on Thursday morning, at the same hour with the former, and returns on Saturday evening. He has also two waggons every week to Birmingham. Inns at the Bell, West Smithfield, London; and at the White Hart, Digbeth, Birmingham. John Guy, (F.) sends one waggon every week to London, which sets out at 5 o'clock on Monday morning, arrives in London on Wednesday, and returns on Saturday afternoon. He sends one other waggone weekly to Birmingham, which sets out on Tuesday morning, and returns on Saturday afternoon. Inns at the Bell inn, Wood-street; and the White Hart inn, Paradise-row, Birmingham. William Simkins, (F.) sends a waggon to Oxford regularly twice a-week, Tuesday and Fridays. Inns at the White Hart, Corn-market, Oxford.

BANKERS. Wapshott, Palmer, Matthews, and Palmer; their bills payable at Down, Thornton, and Free's, No. 1, Bartholomew-labe, London. Padget, Corgan, and Winter; payable at Langstone, Towgood, and Amory's No. 29, Clament's-lane, London. William Atkins, (F.) and mealman; payable at Smith, Wright, and Gray's, No. 21, Lombard-street, London.

The names, &c. of the principal inhabitants are as follows:


Brown William, Gent. (F.)
Palmer John, Gent. (F.)
Prowet F. Gent.
Rollins Robert, Gent. (F.)
Wheeler Mrs. (F.)
Weste Thomas, Gent (F.)


Lomas Rev. H. Master of the
Purdy Rev. T.
Dissenting Minister


Haynes Charles, sen. (F.) Surgeon
and Apothecary
Haynes C. jun. Surgeon and
Kinglake Robert, (F.) Surgeon and

Robinson G.
Surgeon and


Banbury William, (F.) Manufacturer
of Harateens

Beadley Mrs. Stamp-office
Beck William, (F.) Coach-office
Biddle Thomas, (F.) Grocer,
Soap-boiler and Tallow-handler

Bickerstaffe Stephen, (F.)
Manufacturer of Harateens
Bliss Thomas, Manufacturer of
Tilting and Horse-cloths

Bricknell Robert, (F.) Tanner

Darcy T. Swan Inn
Fades Tho. (F.) Brazier and Tinman
Fisher J. (F.) Plumber and Glazier
Fowler Mrs. Farmer
Ford John, (F.) Baker
Freeman Jos. Manufacturer of
Harateens, Morines, Serges,
and Shallons

Gibbs Joseph, (F.) Butcher
Hall Wm. (F.) Plumber and Glazier
Haynes Wm. (F.) White Hart Inn
Heynes Nathaniel, Ironmonger
Heynes Thomas, Mercer
Herbert John, Crown Inn
Higgens Jos. (F.) Staymaker
Higgins T. (F.) Tawer and Fellmonger
Holtham William, Auctioneer
King Jos. (F.) Grocer
Kingdom John, Dealer in Liquors
Kingdom, Matthews, and Palmer,
Wine and Brandy-merchants
Lindus John, (F.) Shopkeeper
Matthews George, (F.) Grocer,
Soap-boiler, and Tallow-chandler

Malins Jos. (F.) Plumer and Glazier
Osmond John, Bookseller
Palmer William, Mercer
Parker Edward, Staymaker
Phillips Richard, (F.) Baker
Preedy James, (F.) Currier
Rooke Thomas, (F.) Talbot Inn
Simkins William, Dealer
Taylor William, (F.) Roper
Timms John, (F.) Butcher
Townsend J, (F.) Butcher
Wagstaffe Rich. (F.) Draper, and
Agent to the Phnix Fire-office

Winter Thomas, (F.) Currier
Witts Edward,
Dealer in Wool

SEATS. At Chadlington, 4 miles South of Chipping Norton, there is a neat little house of Drake Tyrwhitt's, Esq. and another handsome one of Mrs. Rollinson's; about a mile further is the seat of Admiral Pigot, in the forest of Whichwood; a mile beyond that is Blanford Park, the seat of the Duke of Beaufort. Heythrope, the seat of the Hon. Charles Earl of Shrewsbury, is 4 miles distant; Ditchley, the seat of the Hon. Charles Dillon, 6 miles; Sarsden, the seat of John Roole, Esq. 3 miles; Cornwell, the seat of Francis Pennyston, Esq. justice of peace, 3 miles; Dailsford park and house, the seat of Warren Hastings, Esq. 4 miles; Swerford Park, the residence of Smith, Esq. 5 miles; Great Tew, the seat of George Stratton, Esq. 5 miles; Over Norton, the seat of Henry Dawkins, Esq. 3 miles; Salford, the seat of J. Newton, Esq. 2 miles; Chastleton, the seat of John Jones, Esq. 5 miles; Sandford, the seat of James Taylor, Esq. 1 mile; Pudlicot, the seat of Richard Gorge, Esq. 4 miles; and Upper Norton, the seat of Col. Gore Langton. About a mile distant, on the Birmingham road, is a large inn, called Chapel House.

What it said in the
Topographical Dictionary of England, Lewis, 1831

NORTON (CHIPPING), a market town and parish, having exclusive jurisdiction, though locally in the hundred of Chadlington, county of OXFORD, 18 miles (N.W.) from Oxford, and 73 (N.W. by W.) from London, containing, with the hamlet of Over Norton, 2640 inhabitants. The prefix Chipping is a corruption of Ceapan, a market, or place of trade, Norton implying the north town, from which it appears to have been a place of some note during the Saxon era. The streets are partially paved and lighted, and there is a plentiful supply of water. A woollen manufactory, which has existed here for some time, is now on the decline. The market is on Wednesday: fairs are held on March 7th, May 6th, the last Friday in May, July 18th, September 4th, the last Wednesday in September, November 8th, and the last Friday in November; there are also three statute fairs in October. The following large markets are for cattle; the last Wednesday in January, the second in April, June, and August, and the Wednesday next after December 11th. The civil government is vested in two bailiffs and ten burgesses, who are chosen at the court baron held at Michaelmas; the bailiffs are justices of the peace, exercising exclusive jurisdiction within the borough; they hold a court of session for the trial and punishment of offenders. The petty sessions are held here; and there was formerly a court of record, held under a charter of James I., for the recovery of debts under 4, now disused. The borough returned two representatives to parliament, once in the reign of Edward I., and twice in that of Edward III. The living is a discharged vicarage, in the archdeaconry and diocese of Oxford, rated in the king's books at 10. 6. 8., endowed with 200 parliamentary grant, and in the patronage of the Dean and Chapter of Gloucester. The church, which is dedicated to St. Mary, stands a little below the town, and exhibits specimens of exquisite workmanship, particularly in the middle aisle and the windows. There are places of worship for Baptists, the Society of Friends, and Methodists. On the dissolution of the Trinity guild, in the 1st of Edward VI., the grammar school was re-founded, its former endowment of 6 per annum, which had long been paid out of the revenue of the guild, having been continued, and since paid at the Salt office, out of the land revenue belonging to the crown. A bequest of 300 was left by Francis Barnes, by will, dated May 21st, 1762, the income arising from which is about 17 per annum: out of this sum the master is bound to keep his residence (which is rent-free) and school in repair: he receives boarders: two boys, appointed by the corporation, are gratuitously instructed in the elements of English and classical literature, the rest pay seven shillings and sixpence each per quarter. The Lancasterian school for girls is supported by voluntary subscription. Eight almshouses for poor widows, who are appointed by the bailiffs and burgesses, were built about 1649, by Henry Cornish, who, amongst other charities, also devised twelve cottages, on condition that they should always be let at the same moderate rent, for the residences of poor persons of good repute. In a part of the parish, called Cock's Town End, there are four almshouses for persons appointed by the corporation, which are repaired at the expense of the parishioners; but the origin of this charity is unknown. An ancient monument, called Rowldrich, or Rollrich stones, is situated about two miles from the town: it originally consisted of sixty stones, now reduced to twenty-two, forming a circle thirty-five yards in diameter from the north to south, and thirty-three from east to west. Few of them exceed four feet in height, and sixteen inches in thickness, except one at the northern point, which is seven feet high, and five and a half broad. Eighty-four yards north-east is a large one, called the King stone, which is eight feet high, and seven broad, and about twelve inches in thickness. There are various conjectures as to the origin of this monument. Camden considers it to be a memorial of some victory, erected probably by Rollo, the Dane, who invaded England in 876; but Dr. Stukeley ascribes the work to the Druids, Rholdrwg signifying the cicle, or church of the Druids. He assigns the same origin to the several barrows near this spot, one of which is sixty feet long and twenty broad. Near this monument are four stones contiguous to each other, each of which is the boundary of a county, the several counties of Oxford, Gloucester, Worcester, and Warwick, terminating at this point. At Cold Norton, in this parish, an Augustine priory was founded by William Fitz-Alan, in the reign of Henry II., and dedicated to the Virgin, St. John the Evangelist, and St. Giles, which having escheated to the crown in the reign of Henry VII., was purchased by Dr. William Smith, Bishop of Lincoln, and given to Brasenose College, Oxford.

What it said in the
1911 encyclopedia

CHIPPING NORTON, a market town and municipal borough in the Banbury parliamentary division of Oxfordshire, England, 26 m. N.W. of Oxford by a branch of the Great Western railway. Pop. 3780. It lies on the steep flank of a hill, and consists mainly of one very wide street. The church of St Mary the Virgin, standing on the lower part of the slope, is a fine building of the Decorated and Perpendicular periods, the hexagonal porch and the clerestory being good examples of the later style. The town has woollen and glove factories, breweries and an agricultural trade. It is governed by a mayor, 4 aldermen and 12 councillors. Area, ~456 acres. Chipping Norton (Chepyngnorton) was probably of some importance in Saxon times. At the Domesday Survey it was held in chief by Ernulf de Hesding; it was assessed at fifteen hides, and comprised three mills. It returned two members to parliament as a borough in 1302 and 13041305, but was not represented after this date, and was not considered to be a borough in 1316. The first and only charter of incorporation was granted by James I., in 1608; it established a common council consisting of 2 bailiffs and 12 burgesses; a common clerk, 2 justices of the peace, and 2 serjeants-at-mace; and a court of record every Monday. In 1205 William Fitz-Alan was granted a four days fair at the feast of the Invention of the Cross; and in 1276 Roger, earl of March, was granted a four days fair at the feast of St BarnabasW~ In the reign of Henry VI. the market was held on Wednesday, and a fair was held at the Translation of St Thomas Becket. These continued to be held in _.._-- the reign of James I., who annulled the former two fairs, and granted fairs at the feasts of St Mark, St Matthew, St Bartholomew, and SS. Simon and Jude.