Scope and Content

Bampton is a parish to the south-west of Oxfordshire, and is one of the largest in the county. It once included the hamlets of Weald, Haddon, Lew, Aston (or Bampton Aston), Chimney, Brighthampton, Old Shifford, New Shifford, Cote and Rushey.

The ecclesistical administration of Bampton parish was very unusual for Oxfordshire, and deserves some explanation. Bampton was what was called a "minster parish". These parishes were created in Saxon times, and covered a wide area, and were administered by more than one vicar. Most were split into smaller units later in the Middle Ages, but Bampton remained together. In Bampton's case, the parish was run by three vicars, who each held what was called a "portion" of the living.

J.A. Giles, in his "History of Bampton (1st ed. 1847, 2nd ed. 1848), says that all three vicars were almost never in residence at the same time, but that they used curates, and that sometimes one man held two of the three portions. Giles goes on to say that once upon a time, each vicar (or his curate) took on the duties of the parish for a four-month period, which was then changed to a weekly cycle. When churches were built at Lew and Bampton Aston, then all three vicars/curates were working all the time.

In the 1840s, it was decided to end this unusual system, and give each vicar his own separate parish. As a result, the parishes of Bampton Proper (which centred on the village itself), Bampton Aston, and Bampton Lew were created (Shifford had had its own chapel for many years, and now became part of Bampton Aston). From 1845, the papers in PAR16 refer almost exclusively to Bampton Proper".

In 1917, Bampton Proper and Bampton Lew were re-united. Since 1976, all the old area of Bampton parish have been united with Clanfield to form a new parish.

Papers have been deposited by Bampton parish at various times. Much of the material was deposited with the Bodleian Library in 1972, 1980 and 1983. After the collection was transferred to Oxfordshire Archives, three further deposits were made in 1993, 1994 and 1996 with the respective Accession Numbers 3677, 3877 and 4098. In addition, material had been deposited in 1972 as Accession Number 1047 and catalogued as Misc. Bampton, and in 1993 a collection was deposited as Accession Number 3651, which turned out to include official parish records of Bampton. These have been transferred here, and the rest of this collection has been catalogued as P391.

Catalogued by Robin Darwall-Smith in May 1996.

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