Forest Hill, near Oxford

Forest Hill Church

Kelly’s Directory for 1891 describes Forest Hill thus:

Forest Hill with Shotover is a parish formed April 17, 1883, by the addition of Shotover and Shotover Hill Place, 1½ miles north-west from Wheatley station on the Wycombe, Thame and Oxford branch of the Gt. Western railway and 4 east from Oxford, in the Mid division of the county, hundred and petty sessional division of Bullingdon, union of Headington, county court district of Oxford, rural deanery of Islip and archdeaconry and diocese of Oxford. The village extends into two parishes, Forest Hill and Stanton St. John.

The church of St. Nicholas, enlarged and restored in the year 1847 by the late Sir Gilbert Scott R.A., is a building of stone chiefly of Transition Norman date, and consists of a chancel and nave under a single roof, and at the western end a lofty gabled bell-cot, pierced for 2 bells; this bell-gable appears to be part of the original Transition work, but is supported by two later buttresses of enormous projection, one extending westward 11 and the other 14 feet; there is a modern east window of three lancets and a good Perpendicular west window: the outer doorway of the south porch is an elegant example of Transition Norman: from its position on the summit of a hill, its ivy-mantled walls and singular bell-cot, the church forms a very picturesque object: it was originally consecrated 6th July 1273, by Reginald, Bishop of Cloyne, acting for the Bishop of Lincoln: there are 60 sittings. The register dates from the year 1564, and contains the entry, Jan. 28th 1625, of the baptism of Mary, daughter of Richard Powell, and afterwards wife, in 1645, of the poet Milton; she died in 1651. The living is a vicarage, gross yearly value £120, with residence, in the gift of the Rector and Fellows of Lincoln College, Oxford, and held since 1871 by the Rev. Walter Nearne M.A. of Clare College, Cambridge.

The estate and chapel of Forest Hill formed part of the grant of Robert D’Oiley to the church of St. George in Oxford Castle, afterwards transferred to the Abbey of Oseney; but since the period of the Dissolution the manor house, with a considerable part of the estate, has become the property of the Rector and Fellows of Lincoln College, Oxford, who are lords of the manor and principal landowners. The soil is sandy; subsoil, clay. The chief crops are what, barley and beans. The area is 650 acres; rateable value £3,028; the population in 1881 was 387.

Parish Clerk: Stephen Soanes

Post Office: William Thornton, postmaster. Letters arrive by the Oxford and Wheatley mail cart at 7 a.m.& 3.15 p.m.; Sundays, 7 a.m.; dispatched to Oxford at 9.20 a.m. & 7.45 p.m.; Sundays, 7.45 p.m. Wheatley is the nearest money order & telegraph office

The children of this parish attend the school at Stanton St. John

Carriers to Oxford: Ewers, Wed. & Sat.; Welby, Mon., Wed. & Sat.

Barrett Mrs
Neame R. Walter M.A. [vicar]
Norton Mrs, Hill Side cottage
Ring Mrs
Robinson Miss

Auger Thomas, blacksmith
Banting William, farmer & miller (water)
Carey Frederick, farmer
Ewers William, shopkeeper
Hall Thomas, baker
Harris Alfred, shopkeeper & baker
Hilsden Ann (Mrs.), shopkeeper
Medcraft Alfred, shoe maker
Nevell Edward, farmer
Ray Emily (Mrs), harness maker
Soanes Michael, hurdle maker
Stone Francis, farmer
Thornton William, grocer, & post office
Trafford William, hurdle maker & faggot maker
Watts Joseph, hurdle maker
Watts William, King’s Arms P.H. & farmer
Watts William, jun., carpenter

Shotover, the name of which is said to be a perversion of the words “Chateau Vert”, was formerly a royal forest and extra-parochial, and afterwards a parish, but in 1883 was included in that of Forest Hill. This place is noticeable as being the spot where Queen Elizabeth took leave of the authorities of the University and City of Oxford, on the occasion of her visits in August, 1566, and September, 1592, when she gave an extempore Latin reply to the address of the University. Shotover House, with about 60 acres of grounds, is the seat of Lieut.-Col. James Miller D.L., J.P.; the park consists of 150 acres; the mansion was visited by Queen Elizabeth, and in modern times by George I and George II. Lieut.-Col. Miller is the principal landowner. The area is 900 acres.

Shotover Hill Place, formerly extra-parochial, is now included with Forest Hill

Letters through Oxford. Wheatley is the nearest post, money order & telegraph office

Children attend schools at Wheatley, Forest Hill, Stanton & Headington Quarry

Miller Lieut.-Col. James D.L., J.P., Shotover House
Broadfoot James, gardener
Chillingworth John, farmer
Wood Edward, farmer

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