Oxhill News

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South Warwickshire, England.

The Oxhill News

December 2008

This months News



Village History

Parish Meeting Books, Part II

In 1897, the earliest year recorded in the Minute Books, Oxhill was still electing two Overseers for the Poor.  Candidates had ideally to be “substantial householders”, but in practice in small villages it was sufficient to be a ratepayer.  Charles Taylor, the village carpenter and wainwright, served for many years, the other Overseer being chosen from a small and repeating number of names.  It looks probable from those chosen that someone was elected from either end of the village.

The Overseers had originally been responsible for administering relief, but in 1834 these local powers were removed, and groups of Poor Law Unions were formed, with elected Board of Guardians, Oxhill being part of the Shipston Union.  The village Overseers continued until finally swept away in the late 1920s, but were now mainly responsible for rate collection, together with a catch-all list of powers including the apprehension of wandering lunatics, the burial of dead bodies cast on shore, and duties connected with brothels, pawnbrokers, alehouses, censuses and fire engines.  Not all these tasks would perhaps have been applicable within Oxhill!

There is only one reference to an elected Guardian from Oxhill, when Mr. W. Wood, from Windmill Farm, was chosen in 1926. 

Bert Bloxham remembers Mr (Billy) Wood, who he says was short and dumpy, and a keen cricketer.  He and Fred Shepherd at the pig farm (now Hogwood Farm) used to play cricket on a field of Fred’s.  Bert himself played once in the 1930s, as Fred and Billy were by then too old for it.

Mr Wood was also elected a “Rural District Counsillor” (sic) in 1926.  The Parish Meeting was in a long battle with the Brailes Rural District Council to build council houses on land that they held within the village.  In 1926 and again in 1927 they were asked to build four houses, or if not four then two “on the south side of the village street.”  In 1938 they still have not done so, and it was said that the government would only give a grant if the new houses replaced condemned ones.  The “council” houses referred to must be the ones in Whatcote Road as Main Street runs North to South, and only Whatcote Road has a “south side”; also the other “council” houses at Peacock Cottages did in fact replace old condemned cottages, (known dispiritingly as “Union Row”), and so would have qualified for the government grant.   The Bloxhams tell me that Peacock Cottages were built pre-war, and that their own house was finished in 1944, built not in the end by the Council, but by the War Ag (War Agricultural Committees) for agricultural workers.  Bert and Joy moved in as newly-weds in May 1944.  Joy adds that they were not allowed the key before their wedding.  How times change!

Ann Hale

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Last modified: December 17, 2008