History of Ickford

From: ‘Parishes : Ickford’, A History of the County of Buckingham: Volume 4 (1927), pp. 56-61.
URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=62533

Iforde (xi cent.); Ycford, Hicford, Hitford, Ikeford, Ickeforde (xii–xiv cent. and after).

The parish of Ickford covers 1,249 acres, of which 146 are arable and 817 permanent grass. (fn. 1) The chief crops grown are wheat and beans. The soil and subsoil are clay. The entire parish lies low, the highest part, which is very little over 200 ft. above the ordnance datum, being in the north. The village lies mainly round the junction of the chief roads, which meet a little south of the centre of the parish.

The central portion is sometimes known as Great Ickford or Church Ickford, while the part lying further eastward is Little Ickford. The first name occurs in the 14th century, (fn. 2) but that of Church Ickford does not appear until the 16th century. (fn. 3) The church of St. Nicholas stands at the west end of the village, which contains a few buildings of the 16th and 17th centuries, mostly of timber and brick with thatched or tiled roofs.

The rectory, which is mainly of brick with a tiled roof, is possibly of late 16th-century date, but seems to have been much altered in the next century. Church Farm is an 18th-century house incorporating some fragments of an earlier building.

At Little Ickford, which lies to the south-east of the village, are several other old houses and cottages. Manor Farm is a half-timber building of the late 16th century, added to and altered in 1675 and again about 1700; many original features remain, including two panelled rooms. A Baptist chapel, dating from 1825, stands in the road leading to Little Ickford.

The outlying fields of the parish are liable to floods both from the River Thame and the stream which forms the north and west boundary of the parish. A bridge across the Thame existed here as early as 1237, since in that year Walter de Burgh was ordered to provide the keeper of Ickford Bridge with an oak from Brill (Brohull) Wood for repairs. (fn. 4) The present bridge, which carries the road from Ickford to Tiddington, is a stone structure of three elliptical arches. The triangular starlings on each side of the northern pier continue upwards to the parapets and form recesses. In the recess on the east side of the bridge are two stones, the southern one inscribed ‘1685, Here ends the county of Oxon,’ and the northern one ‘Here beginneth the county of Bucks, 1685.’ Wodebrugge and Widebrugge are mentioned in the 13th century. (fn. 5)

The dramatic poet William Joyner alias Lede lived at Ickford ‘in a devout condition’ in the 17th century (fn. 6) ; his great-nephew, Thomas Phillips, biographer of Cardinal Pole, was born here in 1708. (fn. 7)

There is no Inclosure Act for the parish.

The following 13th-century place-names occur in Ickford: Stanfordpons, Brokforlang, Penygkoke, Dol mede, Goce, Holewebroc, Holerodacres, and Maseforlang. (fn. 8)

In 1086 Miles Crispin held 4 hides in ICKFORD; the name of the owner before the Conquest does not appear. (fn. 9) The manor afterwards formed part of the honour of Wallingford, (fn. 10) and this overlordship is last mentioned in 1627. (fn. 11) The tenant in 1086 was Richard, (fn. 12) who also held of the same overlord in Chearsley (q.v.), with which this part of Ickford descended for some time. In 1226 the guardians of Geoffrey de Appleton seem to have held Ickford, (fn. 13) and his name appears as witness to a charter here, (fn. 14) apparently before the year 1235, when Thomas de Appleton held a fee in Ickford and Chearsley (fn. 15) (q.v.). The Ickford portion, assessed at half a fee, passed at the death of Thomas de Appleton before 1284 (fn. 16) to his son Walter, (fn. 17) who held as late as 1302–3. (fn. 18) In 1313 William son of John de Appleton was lord. (fn. 19) Soon after this date—before 1316, in fact (fn. 20) —the rights of lordship appear to have been ceded to the atte Water family, who were under-tenants of the Appletons here (fn. 21) as early as 1284–6. (fn. 22)

The Rectory, Ickford

Image of The Rectory, 1914 © Victoria County History Via British History Online

The Rectory, 1914 © Victoria County History Via British History Online

William atte Water, who held this land at his death in 1313, (fn. 23) also held other lands in Ickford, to the value of half a fee, of another overlord (see Grestein Abbey Manor), and both estates evidently amalgamated to form GREAT ICKFORD MANOR, (fn. 24) which was alienated before 1346 by his son and heir John atte Water (fn. 25) to John, Lord Grey of Rotherfield. (fn. 26) The latter made a life grant of a messuage and 47 acres in Ickford, to be held for the annual rent of a rose, to John atte Water, with reversion to the Greys. (fn. 27) In 1379 the manor was held by the heirs of John de Grey, (fn. 28) son of the above. (fn. 29) It is not very clear which members of the family enjoyed the property for the next hundred years, but apparently, after the failure of the male heirs of John de Grey in 1400–1, (fn. 30) it reverted to a younger branch, descendants of a younger son of Robert de Grey, kt., (fn. 31) grandfather of the John de Grey who obtained Ickford Manor. Their representative, Thomas Danvers, (fn. 32) certainly held in Ickford in 1489 (fn. 33) ; his heir was his brother William, afterwards Sir William Danvers, kt., who died seised of Ickford Manor in 1504, leaving his son John as heir. (fn. 34) At the death of the latter in 1508 the manor, which was then worth £5 10s. per annum, passed to his son John, (fn. 35) who died a minor in 1517, leaving four sisters as heirs. (fn. 36) One of these, Mary, died unmarried soon after. (fn. 37) Another, Elizabeth, with her husband Thomas Cave, (fn. 38) afterwards held land in Ickford, (fn. 39) but the main manor evidently came to the youngest sister Dorothy, who held it with her husband Nicholas Hubaud in 1532. (fn. 40) She survived her husband and died in 1559, leaving a son John. (fn. 41) It does not appear that she held Ickford at the time of her death, and it may have passed before that date to Thomas Tipping, (fn. 42) who in 1585 made a settlement of it on his son George, then about to marry Dorothy Borlase. (fn. 43) Thomas died in 1601. (fn. 44) George held until his death in 1627, (fn. 45) when he was succeeded by his grandson Thomas, son of John Tipping. (fn. 46) Thomas, who was afterwards knighted, held the estate (fn. 47) until he died in 1693. (fn. 48) His son Thomas was created a baronet in 1698, (fn. 49) and in 1703 obtained an Act of Parliament to enable him to sell the manor of Ickford. (fn. 50) After this date various portions of the manor were enfranchised or the reversions sold, the main part with the demesne lands becoming the property of Sir Edmund Harrison, kt., (fn. 51) who died in 1712. (fn. 52) In 1733 his son Fiennes Harrison died also. (fn. 53) His sisters and heirs were Cecilia wife of William Snell, Sarah wife of Joel Watson, Jane wife of Matthias King, and Mary wife of Samuel Read (fn. 54) ; the two latter families sold their share to the two former. (fn. 55) In 1754 a fine of the manor was levied (fn. 56) by William Snell and Cecilia, John Hood, husband of their daughter Cecilia, (fn. 57) Joel Watson, Sir John Danvers, bart., and Mary his wife, daughter of Joel and Sarah Watson, (fn. 58) Cecilia Watson, another daughter, and Mary King. Mary King appears to have quitclaimed her share, and Cecilia Watson, who married Thomas Delaval, bequeathed hers to her niece Mary Danvers. (fn. 59) This Mary Danvers, daughter and heir of Sir John Danvers and Mary, married the Hon. Augustus Richard Butler, (fn. 60) and in 1792–3 they levied a fine of the ‘manor’ of Ickford, (fn. 61) though they did not apparently hold the entire property. They conveyed their estate to Henry Woolhouse Disney Roebuck, (fn. 62) who died in 1796, (fn. 63) and whose son Henry Disney Roebuck (fn. 64) held about 273 acres in 1831, at which date William Hood, son of John and Cecilia, held about 250 acres with the manor and a fishery, a division of the estate between himself and Roebuck having been made. (fn. 65) The Roebuck family retained lands in the parish as late as 1869, (fn. 66) but Hood’s share seems to have passed to the Jacomb family, who were his cousins, his mother’s sister Mary having married William Jacomb. (fn. 67) Thomas Jacomb was lord in 1862–9, (fn. 68) and his trustees held in 1873. (fn. 69) It passed before 1877 to J. W. Stephenson, who sold it after 1895 to Arthur Parsons Guy. At his death in 1912 his brother Mr. Frederick Parsons Guy succeeded.

Or a bend engrailed vert with three pheons or thereon.
Before the Conquest Ulf, a man of Earl Harold, held a second manor which in 1086 belonged to the Count of Mortain. (fn. 70) In 1377 overlordship rights here were held by William Montagu, Earl of Salisbury, (fn. 71) who succeeded to some of the Mortain lands. (fn. 72)
In 1086 this manor was held of the count as 6 hides by the monks of his abbey of Grestein in Normandy. (fn. 73) A later confirmatory charter to the abbey states that Ickford had been given to them by Maud Countess of Mortain. (fn. 74) The abbey continued to hold until the 14th century. (fn. 75) In 1359 lands here are said to have been held of the priory of Wilming ton in Sussex, (fn. 76) the English cell of the Norman abbey.
Towards the end of the 12th century Bartholomew de Ickford held lands in the parish, (fn. 77) probably as tenant of Grestein, since his descendants certainly held of the abbots. (fn. 78) Bartholomew was succeeded by his son William. (fn. 79) Thomas de Ickford, son of William, (fn. 80) was sued by the abbot in 1235 for customs and services. (fn. 81) In 1254–5 the same Thomas was found to hold the 6 hides of the abbot for a pair of gauntlets. (fn. 82) Thomas, who still held in 1284–6, (fn. 83) was succeeded by his son John, tenant in 1302–3. (fn. 84) About this date the family appear under the name of atte Water. (fn. 85) In 1313 William atte Water died seised of a messuage, lands, and a fishery, which he held of the abbot for half a knight’s fee. (fn. 86) He was also in possession of the Wallingford Honour lands, and the two holdings appear to have been amalgamated, descending henceforth to the same lords.
Members of the Ickford and Appleton families gave lands in Ickford to the abbey of Godstow (fn. 87) and the priory of St. Frideswide. (fn. 88) In the 14th century the atte Waters gave to the priory of Bisham lands, (fn. 89) afterwards called a manor, granted in 1540 to William Burt. (fn. 90) This estate passed in marriage to the Tipping family, who, from 1585 onwards, held the ‘manors of Great and Little Ickford.’ (fn. 91) The abbey of Bradwell also claimed lands in Ickford by grant from the atte Waters. (fn. 92)