CHIPPING NORTON, a parish, municipal borough, and market town, in the hundred of Chadlington, in the county of Oxford, 18 miles N.W. of Oxford. It was formerly held by the Croft, Do Vere, and Rodney families, and at one time possessed a castle, built by King Stephen, traces of which still remain to the N. of the church. There are ruins of a market-cross in the market-place, and of a monastery and chapel in the High-street. The town is lighted with gas, and the streets are partially paved. The houses, chiefly of stone, are in general well built, and situated on the slope of a hill. The principal street which is in the upper part of the town, is the most modern, and contains the best houses. The inhabitants are chiefly employed in agriculture and the manufacture of woollen cloth, especially shawls, druggets, horsecloths, and a stout cloth for trousers. Here is a hand-some townhall, recently erected, two banks, a literary institution, and the Union workhouse. The town is governed by a mayor, 4 aldermen, and 12 councillors; the mayor and aldermen being lords of the manor. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Oxford, value £150, in the patronage of the Dean and Chapter of Gloucester. The tithes were commuted for land, under an Act of inclosure, in 1769. The church, situated in a beautiful valley, is in the decorated English style, and formerly had an elegant and highly enriched tower, which, being in a very dilapidated state, was taken down in 1819, when a square embattled tower was erected. The edifice contains a rood-loft and the chantry chapels of St. John, St. James, and the Virgin, founded respectively by John Tanner, Margaret Pynner, and M. Lee. It has recently been repaired, and possesses several very handsome monuments, with recumbent effigies, and brasses of early date; the oldest portion of the building is supposed to have been erected in 1280. The Baptists, Wesleyans, Society of Friends, Antinomians, and Roman Catholics, have each places of worship, and there are National and free schools, the former being for both sexes. The charities amount to £88 per annum, including the endowments of the Cornish and Townsend almshouses. There is a free grammar school, founded by Edward VI., with an income from endowment of £17. Chipping Norton is the scat of a Poor-law Union, comprising twenty-nine parishes in Oxfordshire and three in Warwickshire, and the head of County Court and Registration districts. Wednesday is market day, and a considerable business is done in agricultural produce. Fairs are held on the Wednesday following the 1st January, and the last Wednesday in each month, except December, when one is held on the 11th, chiefly for cattle; statute fairs for hiring servants are held on the Wednesdays preceding and following the 10th October.The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868) Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003
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