Scope and Content

Although the records relate to the Manor of Oddington they consist primarily of title deeds and there are no records commonly classed as manorial documents, hence the decision to catalogue them as an estate collection.

In addition to title deeds, the collection contains leases, wills and a large number of legal papers relating mostly to Chancery actions.

At the time of cataloguing, the collection was in a disordered state. However, it appears that most of the documents have been collected and preserved as evidence of title (possibly because of the 'ruinous series of Chancery suits' referred to in the Victoria County History for Oxfordshire, Vol 6, pp 278-9). Therefore, in accordance with a professional scheme for the arrangement of estate records (see Journal of the Society of Archivists, vol 13 No 1, Spring 1992, pp 1-7) and in-house cataloguing principles, all records forming evidence of title - excluding the Chancery papers - have been catalogued within a single chronological series.

At the time of cataloguing, the Chancery papers were found in a state bearing no relation to their original organisation. This point is verified by the existence of numbered labels which were found attached to individual documents or bundles the contents of which bore little or no resemblance to the information on the label. The organisation of the Chancery papers into numbered bundles seems to have post-dated the creation of the documents themselves. By examining the information in the documents an attempt has been made to re-create this structure although the results must be regarded as provisional as it has not been possible to identify the precise origins of every document.

The history of the title of the Manor is complex and no attempt is made to explain it in detail here. It was the subject of several mortgages and Chancery suits involving its seventeenth-century owners, the Poure and Ewer families. In 1673 the Manor was purchased by Dr Edmund Dickenson, a physician at Oxford University, and passed through his daughter to the Blomberg family. It was purchased by Anthony Sawyer of Heywood (Berks) in 1771 and remained in the family thereafter. A fuller account of these events can be found in the VCH pages referred to above.

In addition to the complex history of the title the collection provides a unique insight into seventeenth-century legal processes particularly those connected with the Court of Chancery. A useful guide to Chancery proceedings can be found in The National Archives legal records information sheets Nos. 22 & 39.

The collection was deposited in Oxfordshire Record Office in October 2001 as Accession No. 4915.

Catalogued by Chris Gilliam, September 2004

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Geographical Names