Ensham (St. Leonard)
ENSHAM (St. Leonard), a parish, in the union of Witney, hundred of Wootton, county of Oxford, 5½ miles (N. W. by W.) from Oxford; containing 1893 inhabitants. This place, anciently a stronghold of the Britons, was, with several other garrisons, taken from them by Cuthwulf, and made a Saxon frontier town; upon which it obtained the appellation of Egonesham, whereof its present name is a contraction. It subsequently was often attacked by the Britons, and many sanguinary battles occurred in the immediate vicinity, when it is supposed the barrows at Stanton-Harcourt were raised, and the stones there, called the Devil's quoits, were erected. In 614, Cygenils, King of the West Saxons, and his son Cwichelm, routed the Britons near this place, after an obstinate engagement in which 2000 of the latter were killed. It was a royal vill in the reign of Ethelred, and is styled Locus Celebris in a charter of that monarch, who, by the advice of Alphege and Wulstan, Archbishops of Canterbury and York, held a grand council here, at which many ecclesiastical and civil decrees were enacted. In 1005, Aylmer, Earl of Cornwall, founded a Benedictine monastery here, which, soon after the Conquest, was removed to Lincoln by Remigius, bishop of that see, and made dependent on the abbey of Stowe; but in the reign of Henry I. it was again removed to Ensham, where it continued to flourish till the Dissolution, when its revenue was estimated at £441. 12. 2¼. The site of the conventual buildings may be traced; but the only remains are the slender shaft of an ancient cross, the figure of a bishop in his pontifical robes, and some fragments of sculpture. The parish comprises by computation 5300 acres, of which 3000 are arable, 1900 pasture, and about 400 woodland: the village is situated near the river Thames; and there is a mill at which paper of very superior quality is manufactured. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £15. 14.; net income, £176; patrons, the Bricknell family; impropriator, the Duke of Marlborough: the tithes were commuted for land and a corn-rent, under an inclosure act of the 39th and 40th of George III. The church is a handsome structure in the later English style, with some interesting details. There are places of worship for Independents.