Born here:

James Cross, abt 1704.

Christened here:

Deodatus Cross, Augustine Cross, Charlotte Cross, Zachariah Cross.

Charlbury is a small Cotswolds town in the Evenlode Valley, situated between Woodstock and Chipping Norton.

The town was famous for centuries as a centre for the manufacture of gloves, an industry which employed over a thousand people at it's peak during the 19th century and continued into the 20th century finally ceasing in the 1960s. It is possible that Charlbury was originally Saxon and the parish church of St Mary the Virgin, would seem to bear this out with its association with Saint Diuma, the first Bishop of Mercia who died in AD658.

James Cross was born in Charlbury around 1704 and would have been christened in St. Mary's Church. Church records also record the christenings of Henry and Eunice Cross's older children in St. Mary's Church. After their marrage and the birth of Cornelius in Chadlington, the family seemed to have moved to nearby Finstock where Deodatus, Augustine, Charlotte, and possibly Zachariah and some of the other children, were born. Finstock did not have its own church and so christenings and marriage were celebrated in nearby St Mary's. By 1834 the family had moved to Enstone where Elijah was born and then to Lidstone where Lot was born in 1837.

The town has remained much the same as a century or more ago and still retains much of its heritage. The town has few shops but what there are includes a pharmacy, grocery, butcher, bookshop, post office and newsagent. A small supermarket has recently opened near Spendlove car-park. Charlbury museum is next to the Market House and has many interesting artefacts from the town and surrounding area. The town also has Methodist and Baptist chapels, a Roman Catholic church and Friends' Meeting House along with the parish church. Other places of interest locally includes Lee Place, the former Dower House at Ditchley Park, which has close associations with Winston Churchill and is now the summer home of the Duke of Marlborough. Close by is Cornbury Park, a splendid 600 acre deer park and part of the former Wychwood Forest. The estate and 17th century house is owned by Lord Rotherwick.1

Charlbury in 1848:

This is an extract from 'Charlbury - Charlwood', A Topographical Dictionary of England (1848), pp. 549-554.2

CHARLBURY (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Chipping-Norton, partly in the hundred of Chadlington, and partly in that of Banbury, county of Oxford, 6 [and three-quarter] miles (W. N. W.) from Woodstock; containing 2982 inhabitants, and comprising the ancient chapelries of East Chadlington and Shorthampton, the tything of West Chadlington, and the hamlets of Fawler, Finstock, and Walcott.

This parish, in old records called Ceorlebury, signifying in the Saxon language "the settlement of free labourers," belonged to the bishops of Lincoln, whose seat was at Dorchester, in this county; and was afterwards given in exchange for other lands, to the monastery of Eynsham, founded by King Ethelred. It continued to form part of the endowment of Eynsham till the Dissolution, when the manor, and subsequently the vicarage, were purchased by St. John's College, Oxford.

Canbury Park, adjoining Charlbury, was once part of the demesne forest of the king, and extended for nine miles, both in length and breadth; it afterwards became the property of Jasper, Duke of Bedford, from whom it passed to the Duke of Northumberland, and subsequently to Henry, Lord Danvers, who built the present mansion, a spacious and handsome edifice, with a chapel in which are some elegant specimens of carved oak. The estate, after the Restoration, came to the Earl of Clarendon, who took his title of viscount from the place; it was subsequently sold to the trustees of John, Duke of Marlborough.

The village was formerly a market-town of note, but the market has been for some time discontinued; fairs are still held on the 1st of January, the second Friday in Lent, and the second Friday after the 12th of May, for livestock, and on the 10th of October for cattle and cheese.

The living is a vicarage, with the chapels of Chadlington, Finstock, and Shorthampton annexed, valued in the king's books at £25. 5. 10.; net income, £800; patrons, the President and Fellows of St. John's College, who are also impropriators of Chadlington. The tithes were commuted for land and a money payment in 1811. The church is an ancient and venerable structure, with a square embattled tower; it is partly in the Norman and partly in the early English style, and contains some memorials of the Jenkinsons, ancestors of the Earl of Liverpool, and a mural monument to Elizabeth, Viscountess Dowager of Hereford, and her grandson, Lord George Henry Somerset.

There is a place of worship for Wesleyans. A free grammar school was endowed by Mrs. Ann Walker with £40 per annum, payable out of an estate that produces £200 per annum, from which also are paid two exhibitions of £5 each for scholars from this school, which is under the visitation of College, Oxford; a school-house has been erected at an expense of £600.

Other links of interest:

Your Guide to the Cotswolds gives an overview of one of the most beautiful areas in England, as well as information about individual towns.

Have you seen the Green Man in Oxfordshire? Follow the Green Man Trail

Also recomended is John Kibble's descriptions of 200 years of life in the Cotswolds: Charming Charlbury with its Nine Hamlets & Chipping Norton. The Wychwood Press, 1999


This page last modified 22 December 2010.
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Dan Cross: Ph: (09) 6290052