North Leigh - Manor


The Domesday Book of 1086 records that the Norman nobleman Roger d'Ivry held the manor of North Leigh. D'Ivry was a brother in arms of Robert D'Oyly who built Oxford Castle. Some of d'Ivry's manors, including North Leigh, became part of the honour of St. Valery. In the 13th century the honour of St. Valery passed to the Earl of Cornwall, but when Edmund, 2nd Earl of Cornwall died childless in 1300 it then passed to the Crown.

Lieu-Dieu Abbey in the Somme area of northern France was founded in 1191, and shortly thereafter it was given the tenancy of North Leigh manor. In 1247 Lieu-Dieu sold the tenancy to the Cistercian Netley Abbey in Hampshire. In 1536 the Abbey was suppressed in the Dissolution of the Monasteries and the tenancy of North Leigh passed to the Crown.

In 1544 the Crown granted the manor to Sir Thomas Pope, with whose heirs it remained until a later Thomas Pope, the 3rd Earl of Downe sold it in 1660. From 1676 the manor belonged to the Perrott family, who had been linked with the Popes by marriage in the 16th century, and after whom Perrotts Hill Farm is named. Perrotts Hill farmhouse is 17th century or older, but was remodelled in the 18th and 19th centuries.

In 1765 James Leigh-Perrott sold the manor of North Leigh to George Spencer, 4th Duke of Marlborough. At the time the manor had 1,200 acres (490 ha) of land, but over the years the Blenheim Estate sold parts of it until by 1984 it retained only about 250 acres (100 ha).

Roger d'Ivry granted two thirds of the demesne tithes of the manor to St. George's church in Oxford Castle. In the 12th century St. George's church and its tithes passed to the Augustinian Osney Abbey in Oxford. In 1279 the remaining third of the tithes and an area of land in the parish were made over to the Cistercian Hailes Abbey in Gloucestershire. Richard, 1st Earl of Cornwall had founded Hailes Abbey in 1245 or 1246, and also owned North Leigh manor. From 1314 Hailes Abbey also leased Osney Abbey's tithes from North Leigh. In the Dissolution of the Monasteries the land and tithes of the abbeys were taken by the Crown.

In 1544 the Crown granted the former Hailes land to three London citizens, and in 1555 one of them then granted it to the Bridewell Hospital in London. North Leigh parish was farmed under the open field system until 1759, when an Act of Parliament allowed their enclosure. Bridewell Hospital received two farms, one of which is Bridewell Farm. The Bridewell farmhouse was built in 1761.

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