Timeline and History of Marston
Below is the timeline of Marston reproduced by kind permission of Stephanie Jenkins from Headington website. Beneath the timeline is a short history of Marston.
BC There have been two Palaeolithic finds in Marston, but the Romans do not appear to have had a settlement there
AD 1086 Domesday Book: Marston (then a hamlet of Headington) was too small to be mentioned
AD 1100 Until this time, all the low ground of Marston is believed to have been under water. Old Marston village was now an island in the Cherwell. It had its own chapel, which was dependent on Headington
AD 1122 First written occurrence of the name of Marston. Its chapel is referred to as a church for the first time, and by the end of the twelfth century it was dedicated to St Nicholas
AD 1279 In this year the population of Marston consisted of the Vicar, two freeholders (the miller and a man appearing to live at Court Place, and 46 unfree tenants.
First mention of a Marston ferry.
John de Molendino held a mill at Marston. (Hundred Rolls)
AD 1349 An acre of the lot meadows of Marston was given to Oriel College
AD 1451 The benefices of Headington and Marston were united by a papal bull, as the two parishes were too poor to maintain two vicars
AD 1458 Marston's King's Mill Meadows (42 acres) passed from the Hospital of St John to the newly-founded Magdalen College
AD 1520 Beginning of enclosure in Marston: Magdalen College began to buy out the common rights in its meadows from the other tenants of the Manor
AD 1520 Brasenose College acquired the land of the Hay family in Court Place, and its holding in Marston grew to over 100 acres by 1800
AD 1529 Corpus Christi College acquired two half-yardlands and one quarter in Marston
AD 1605 The amount of arable land in the parish of Marston amounted to c.600 acres, or nearly half the whole area
AD 1637 A Vicar was instituted in Marston on the representation of the Crown, and Marston returned to being a separate parish from Headington
AD 1645 Unton Croke (who had inherited land in Marston through his marriage to Anne Hore) had to make room in his house for Fairfax's headquarters when the parliamentary forces laid siege to Oxford. Oliver Cromwell visited the house, and it was used for the meeting of the commissioners from the two sides when Oxford surrendered
AD 1653 The surviving registers of baptisms, marriages, and burials of the Church of St Nicholas in Marston date from this time (except for marriages between 1753 and 1814)
AD 1661 Marston was granted 90 acres of land in compensation for its lost rights resulting from the disafforestation of Shotover and Stow Wood
AD 1691 Hill Farm, Marston built
AD 1730 About this time Marston became "a village where no one lived who pretended to the rank of gentleman" (Victoria County History)
AD 1801 First census. Marston had 45 dwelling-houses and a population of 264. Six pauper families were accommodated in Unton Croke's old house
AD 1815 The Reverend Jack Russell bought a bitch in Marston which he regarded as the perfect fox terrier
AD 1816 Evidence of a privately owned school for 20 children existing in Marston
AD 1830 Marston village cross was taken down and the material used for mending the roads, and the churchyard cross was taken down and used to mend the church wall
AD 1831 Population of Marston: 364
AD 1851 St Nicholas's Church School for 145 children of all ages opens in Marston, with running costs borne by the Vicar (Canon Gordon) and that National Society
AD 1841 Population of Marston: 396
AD 1868 Boundary of Oxford parliamentary boundary extended to include 24 acres of Marston
AD 1871 Population of Marston 881. First evidence of nonconformity in the area, when Congregationalists established a mission hall called the Workman's Hall (later used as the British Legion Hall)
AD 1877 First house built in New Marston village (William Street)
AD 1885 Marston was added to the area supplied with water by Oxford Corporation
AD 1888 A mission church (formerly two cottages) was opened on the Marston Road to serve the growing population of New Marston
AD 1911 A Chapel of ease of the Church of St Nicholas in Old Marston was built in Ferry Road
AD 1920 Marston was connected to the city sewage system
AD 1927 New Marston Church of England Primary School opened in temporary premises, moving the following year to a permanent building on land presented by Mrs G.H. Morrell
AD 1929 New Marston (216 acres) was taken into the Oxford city boundary
AD 1932 Construction of Northern by-pass brings first road of importance to run through Marston
AD 1938 Oxford City Corporation had built 165 homes in New Marston by this year
AD 1939 Milham Ford School moved from Cowley Place to the Marston Road
AD 1940 West Ham School was evacuated from London to New Marston
AD 1940 Main Road, New Marston, was renamed Marston Road and renumbered to follow on with the numbering of Marston Road, St Clement's
AD 1948 New Marston Junior Mixed & Infant School opened in Copse Lane
AD 1950 Another 70 council houses were built in New Marston from this year
AD 1954 St Nicholas County Primary School opened in a new building, and the old church school of St Nicholas became the village hall
AD 1955 The Church of St Michael and All Angels on the Marston Road was consecrated as a chapel of ease to St Andrew's Church in Old Headington, and New Marston Church of England School was renamed St Michael's
AD 1963 The Church of St Michael and All Angels became the centre of a new parish taken from the old parishes of Marston, Headington, and St Clement's
AD 1971 Marston Ferry Road opened, providing the first road-bridge between Marston and North Oxford
AD 2003 Completion of a return to a two-tier system of education: Marston Middle School and Milham Ford Girls' School closed down
AD 2005 Oxford Brookes University School of Health and Social Care opened on the former Milham Ford site on the Marston Road
Our Village History
The village developed along a ridge of river grave! overlying Oxford clay which surrounds the settlement and gives rise to the name Marshtown/Marston. The parish was included in the Manor of Headington, and Court Place (built early 017th) in Oxford Road was the demesne, or home farm and the manorial records were kept there. In 1279 the Hundred Rolls mention a ferry, probably near, what is now. the Victoria Arms, its successor running until the 1950s, and a mill at the north end of Mill Lane (Sescutt Farm) at the confluence of Bayswater Brook and the Cherwell.
From the C14th Oriel, Magdalen, Corpus Christ and Brasenose Colleges appear as land owners. Only Brasenose still owns land here today, mainly south of the Marston Ferry Road. In the C17th many of the stone houses were built including Mansion House, Church Farm, Cross Farm, Cannons Farm, Alan Court, Cross Cottage and the Orchard, all being of the long house type with a through passage. There were other smaller houses built of stone at this time, some of which remain.
In the C18th the Mansion House became a poor house, but in 1834 the Sims family divided it into Cromwell House and the Manor House, the latter being remodelled with an ashlar front. Together with the building of Bryher Cottage, Boults Lodge, Colthern's Farm and cottages in Mill lane, this was the last stone construction in Marston. From this time, locally made brick and slate were used and there were several skilled builders living in the village.
For many centuries there was a cross at the junction of Oxford Road, Mill Lane and Elsfield Road. It had lost its top cross centuries before, but the pedestal and upright were removed in 1832. There are several paintings from the early C19th showing this in place.
Land ownership has had a big impact on keeping a rural feel to the village. Together with the Brazenose land to the south, Oxford Preservation Trust owns land either side of the Marston Ferry Road and to the north of that the City own the old Almonds Farm. Agricultural activities continue along this strip bordering the Cherwell. Eastwards, the City owns the allotments and sports fields, while a few paddocks are held by the OPT. All the surrounding land is Green belt. the inner edge of which was confirmed in the 1990s
For centuries, working life centred on small farms producing food for the city - particularly dairying for which the land is best suited. In the smaller cottages were found supporting trades - labourers, field workers, laundresses and sempstresses. Many of these cottages were removed in the first half of the C20th. In the words of Sir George Clark (C19th) 'Marston became a village where no one lived who pretended to the rank of gentleman'.
But things began to change between the wars in the C20th. For centuries, the only ways to Oxford were over the ferry and across the fields, or down the Marston Road and over Magdalen Bridge. In the 1930s the A40 was built providing another bridge across the Cherwell and the gap between New and Old Marston began to be filled with houses. In the 1970s, the Marston Ferry Road provided easy access for London commuters to reach the station, and the arrival of the still growing hospital complex on Headington Hill meant the influx of medical professionals looking for a convenient place to live. Marston has changed from being a rather nondescript little village on the edge of the city, to being an attractive place with high property values. Adapted from a talk given by Lucy Hughes in a talk to the Civic Society 2007
Published in The Marston Times January 2008
Reprinted by Kind Permission of Jan Sanders Editor
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