Charlbury (St. Mary)
CHARLBURY (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Chipping-Norton, partly in the hundred of Chadlington, and partly in that of Banbury, county of Oxford, 6¾ miles (W. N. W.) from Woodstock; containing 2982 inhabitants, and comprising the ancient chapelries of East Chadlington and Shorthampton, the tything of West Chadlington, and the hamlets of Fawler, Finstock, and Walcott. This parish, in old records called Ceorlebury, signifying in the Saxon language "the settlement of free labourers," belonged to the bishops of Lincoln, whose seat was at Dorchester, in this county; and was afterwards given in exchange for other lands, to the monastery of Eynsham, founded by King Ethelred. It continued to form part of the endowment of Eynsham till the Dissolution, when the manor, and subsequently the vicarage, were purchased by St. John's College, Oxford. Canbury Park, adjoining Charlbury, was once part of the demesne forest of the king, and extended for nine miles, both in length and breadth; it afterwards became the property of Jasper, Duke of Bedford, from whom it passed to the Duke of Northumberland, and subsequently to Henry, Lord Danvers, who built the present mansion, a spacious and handsome edifice, with a chapel in which are some elegant specimens of carved oak. The estate, after the Restoration, came to the Earl of Clarendon, who took his title of viscount from the place; it was subsequently sold to the trustees of John, Duke of Marlborough.
The village was formerly a market-town of note, but the market has been for some time discontinued; fairs are still held on the 1st of January, the second Friday in Lent, and the second Friday after the 12th of May, for livestock, and on the 10th of October for cattle and cheese. The living is a vicarage, with the chapels of Chadlington, Finstock, and Shorthampton annexed, valued in the king's books at £25. 5. 10.; net income, £800; patrons, the President and Fellows of St. John's College, who are also impropriators of Chadlington. The tithes were commuted for land and a money payment in 1811. The church is an ancient and venerable structure, with a square embattled tower; it is partly in the Norman and partly in the early English style, and contains some memorials of the Jenkinsons, ancestors of the Earl of Liverpool, and a mural monument to Elizabeth, Viscountess Dowager of Hereford, and her grandson, Lord George Henry Somerset. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans. A free grammar school was endowed by Mrs. Ann Walker with £40 per annum, payable out of an estate that produces £200 per annum, from which also are paid two exhibitions of £5 each for scholars from this school, which is under the visitation of Brasenose College, Oxford; a school-house has been erected at an expense of £600.