Scope and Content


The Fermor family held land and property usually in the form of manors in the north east of the county in the area of Hardwick, Somerton, Fritwell, Tusmore, and Cottisford. They also held property in the adjoining county of Northamptonshire at Croughton, in Leicestershire at Normanton and at Childswickham in Worcestershire. The Fermors first came on the scene in the 16th century. Richard and William were the sons of Thomas Richards alias Fermor of Witney a wealthy merchant of irish descent who had married the widow of Henry Wenham a wool merchant. William had a very active part in local government. In 1509 he was appointed coroner, in 1511 he was J. P. and in 1533 he was high sheriff of the county.


The Fermors first acquired the manor in 1512 and continued to hold it throughout the 16th and 17th centuries. They were a staunch Roman Catholic family. In 1828 William Fermor the last of direct male line died out and Somerton was sold to the Earl of Jersey. After the death of the Earl in 1915, most of the estate was sold to Thomas Edwin Emberlin.


For seven generations the Fermors continued as lords of the manor between 1642-1828. By the mid 19th century the estate had been sold to the Earls of Effingham.


The manor house dates from the 16th century and must have been built between 1580 and 1643 when Sir Richard Fermor was lord of the manor. The heads of the Fermor family never resided in the manor house but throughout the 18th century the house was let by the Fermors and the Day family occupied the farm until 1793, who were then succeeded by their relatives the Collingridges who remained until 1812.


The documents were deposited with us in 1983 and they were then assigned the accession number 2113. They consist of title deeds of different parts of the estate in which William Fermor was a prime party from the 17th century, household and timber valuation books, enclosure acts and awards, probate documents and various maps and plans.

Some of the papers were printed for the Oxfordshire Record Society, entitled the Tusmore Papers, edited by L.G. Wickham Legg, vol xxi, 1939. the wherabouts of these particular records are not known but on the sale of Tusmore in 1857, the papers were taken from the muniment room at Tusmore and they were then divided.

Other records we hold relating to Tusmore House include 17 plans of the house dated 1858, reference Misc Bur 1/1

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