Scope and Content

Historical Background

Chastleton is a village in the north-west of Oxfordshire, near to Chipping Norton and on the county borders of Worcestershire, Warwickshire and Gloucestershire.

The estate at Chastleton (comprising the manor and other lands in Chastleton and the hamlet of Brookend) was sold by Robert Catesby in 1602, allegedly to obtain funds for the Gunpowder plot, or perhaps to help pay fines imposed for intrigues against Queen Elizabeth.

The purchaser was Walter Jones, a wool-stapler and Member of Parliament for Worcester, who began building work on Chastleton House about 1605. The project took 15 years to complete and Walter made Chastleton his home. He died in 1632 (a detailed inventory of his belongings at the time of his death can be found among the archives in this collection) and was succeeded by his eldest son Henry. The house remained in the Jones/ Whitmore family for more than 350 years.

In 1735 Henry Jones married Elizabeth Hancock; the Hancock family held premises in Bristol, Hardwick (Gloucestershire) and Holborn & Clerkenwell (Middlesex), so documents relating to these appear among the Chastleton papers. Arthur Jones (died 1828) acquired the manor and other property at Evenlode in Worcestershire, adjoining Chastleton, which means that deeds, surveys and enclosure records for this area are also included.

For a simplified Jones & Whitmore pedigree, listing key figures who appear in the documents, see at the end of this introduction.

The records

The Chastleton estate archives were deposited by the National Trust, via the Bodleian Library, in March 1992 (accession number 3451). A large proportion of the collection consists of title deeds to the manor and estate of Chastleton, as well as premises in Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Warwickshire, Middlesex and Bristol. The oldest papers form a series of property deeds beginning in 1496, relating (among other things) to the conveyance of a manor house, buildings and lands at Chastleton, and including the marriage settlement of Robert Catesby and Katherine Leigh in 1592.

Among the other material are wills, family trust settlements, as well as account books, bills, plans, surveys and valuations, which provide information on the estate lands, buildings and tenants, particularly in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

The final part of the catalogue contains a miscellany of documents, such as eighteenth century poems, religious meditations and music sheets. There is also a book of recipes and remedies dating from the same period, giving instructions for making a variety of dishes and beverages, as well as advice on how to cure certain ailments.

Notes about the catalogue

The catalogue has been divided into nine sub-sections.

For title deeds, the year given in pre-1752 dates has been modernised as necessary: for example, 1 March 1697 or 1 March 1697/8 becomes 1 March 1698. Where wills are listed, the date recorded is that of probate (rather than the date on which the will was actually written) unless otherwise stated.

Catalogued by Mark Priddey, May 1995.

Access Information


Geographical Names