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Old Marston Parish Council

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

Article on how  Parish Councils started - from Buckingham Free Press - follow  this link


Sept. 1980



1605  In this year THOMAS LANGDON made beautiful maps of the estates of Corpus Christi College .  These are kept in the college library.  There is a photocopy of the Marston map showing the roads, the River Cher-well, stream, some buildings, the big open fields and the strips of land in them owned by the college with the names of adjacent owners.

1645  UNTON CROKE'S HOUSE became the headquarters of Cromwell's commander -in-

chief, Fairfax.  The surrender of the city of Oxford was negotiated there in the following year (see exhibit in north aisle) .

1665  HEARTH TAX imposed in reign of Charles II.  The poster gives a list of

those liable to pay tax in 1665 and the number of hearths in their houses.

1843 In this year the TITHE AWARD MAP of the Parish of Marston was node. The copy shows a simplified version of the village. Notice the many ditches and ponds and the wide road. A photocopy of the original is attached.

Enclosed with the original is a list of properties - numbered on the nap - together with owners and occupiers, acreage, use, etc.

The poster gives a list of some houses marked with their modern names and owners and occupiers in 1843.

Mid 19th Century.  THE HUNGRY FORTIES

Posters, derived from the vestry books shows -

1843 (i) NAMES of 'fit and proper' persons nominated to serve as 'overseers of the poor 'and 'surveyors of the highways'.

(ii) EPISODES concerning the bad state of the roads.


From LASCELLES DIRECTORY: People of Marston and their occupations. some cases one can make a guess at their probable dwelling,




The first 2.5 inch to I mile ORDNANCE SURVEY KLIP.  Notice ponds, streams, houses, width of road, etc.  (Probably Hammonds Farm is wrongly named -the owners had been Almond (or Allman) in earlier times).


1883 RESTORATION OF THE CHURCH. The poster lists the people concerned, their occupations, and where possible, dwellings (see picture 24 of John flonour the builder) .

From Kelly's Directory: People of Marston, their occupations, and, in some cases, probable dwellings.


Many of these names will be found on grave stones.