WATLINGTON, a parish and small town in the hundred of Pyrton, county Oxford, 8 miles S.W. of Thame, and 14 S.E. of Oxford. It is situated between the two high roads leading from London to Oxford, about half a mile from the Roman way Icknield Street, and under the Chiltern hills, which rise above the town, and command an extensive view over three counties. On one of the spurs of the Chilterns is a figure of an obelisk cut on the face of the chalk. The parish includes the hamlets of Greenfield and Wormondiscombe. It is mentioned in Domesday book as Watelintone, and was then held by Robert de Oilgi, from whom it came to Roger Bigod; Piers Gaveston, the De la Beches, and other noble families. It is supposed to have derived its name from the Saxon watelar, in allusion to its having been a British village formed of wattles or wicker. The townhall is an old building, standing near the centre of the town, and used as a school for boys. The petty sessions for the hundred are held every alternate Saturday in a new court-house built for the purpose. There are two breweries and two corn mills, which latter are worked by a small rivulet. The soil consists of clay, with a subsoil of gravel and chalk. Two courts leet take place annually. The population in 1861 was 1,938. About three miles from the town is Chalgrove Field, where an engagement took place in 1643 between the Royalists and Parliamentarians, in which John Hampden was slain and the Royalists were victorious. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Oxford, value £220. The church, dedicated to St. Mary or St. Leonard, contains tombs of the Hornes, and three brasses, one bearing date from 1485. There are several parochial charities and a small church estate. There are two schools, one for boys and one for girls, and chapels for the Wesleyans and Primitive Methodists. Near the church is the moated site of a castle, built in 1338 by the De la Beches. There is also a camp at Britwell Hill. T. S. Carter, Esq., and Rev. W. P. Hulton, are lords of the manor. There are two statute and pleasure fairs held on the Saturday before and the Saturday after Old Michaelmas.The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868) Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003
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