Updated 1st February 2021
We are constantly picking up snippets of information about the history and archaeology of the parish. Visitors to the churchyard will ask about relatives who may have been buried there; people in the village want to know who was in their house when it was first built. When we look, we sometimes uncover interesting insights into the parish’s social history. Or we will suddenly realise something which has been staring us in the face! It took us 5 years to realise the significance of the "clues" which led to the The Article about the Iron Age origins of the Beaumont Castle. One day the penny dropped! It’s a sort of progress by serendipity.
But we also have some control over our own destiny and have a planned series of ongoing projects which aim to peel back veils obscuring the past. The top 10 projects at present are:
1. Setting up and maintaining this website!
We will review the website bi-monthly, but if anything significant comes up between reviews we will post it at the time.
2. Arranging a programme of geophysics investigations at important sites in the parish
Our research so far has identified the possible, or probable, location of various "constructions" in Mixbury which played key parts in its history e.g.
Where a crop mark suggests there was a big semi-circular ditch to the north of the castle site.
The probable locations of Mixbury's Saxon church, and Saxon mill (also at Fulwell).
The "big house" at Fulwell and the possible site of the medieval Fulwell village
The Iron Age/Roman road (Margary 56a) from Evenley, and its route to the east of the village.
The sites of sunken buildings to the south-west of the village.
The site of Beaumont Castle!
Where we have an owner's permission, a first step will be to undertake geophysics examinations to see what lies beneath. Of course, we realise the limitations of this approach but feel it is a reasonable first step. 3 years ago Fusion, an enabling company for HS2, offered to ask their archaeologists to examine these sites for us, but this has come to nothing. The project at present is stalled while we try to obtain funding to employ archaeologists, or someone who will work pro bono.
4. Locating the village boundaries
Locating the village boundaries and mapping all features in the village on the same scale.
5. Trying to identify old place names in the parish
There was no tithe map, so the 1730 enclosure settlement identified boundaries and fields by names known at that time - few of which exist today!
6. Find at Kew National Archives the full story of Batson
(a minor, but Lord of the Manor when his father died in 1871, for whom his father had appointed guardians) versus Batson (his mother) in the Court of Chancery in the early 1870s. The case resulted in the Court instructing that the old village be demolished and a new "model village" be built, that which we can see today.
7. Try to understand the importance of Fulwell
It was a Saxon village in its own right (about 500 acres); given with Mixbury (about 2000 acres) to Robert d’Oily by William 1 after the Conquest: kept by d’Oily after he gave the rest of Mixbury to Roger d’Ivry in 1077; granted in 1205 to Oseney Abbey, followed by Mixbury in 1215; used as one of Oseney's bailiwicks, run from a “grange” for its sheep business which, because of enclosure, depopulated the hamlet resulting in Fulwell losing its independent status in 1435; acquired by Sir John Wellesbourne with Mixbury after the Dissolution, he built his manorial home there; continued as Mixbury’s Lord of the Manor’s “big house” until it was pulled down shortly before 1768. What was so attractive at Fulwell that d'Oily kept it for himself in 1077, and successive owners up to the mid 18th century used it as a key place in their business or domestic lines? Was their a fulling mill there? Our working hypothesis at present, informed by its location, road patterns in the area and other settlement is that it there was a Roman farm or Villa there.
8. Publishing as books the 3 documents
These are currently at the draft stage:
Mixbury: Its History and Archaeology (first draft October 2018)
The History of the Church in Mixbury pre-1900 (third draft September 2020)
The Church in Mixbury in the 20th and 21st centuries (second draft July 2020)
We have to tie up loose ends on copyright and find the best publisher who will facilitate a "cut price" deal for Mixbury people and give any profits to a charity nominated by Mixburyites.
9. Creating an archive and permanent display in the village
This will tell the story of Mixbury, including the church, and house artifacts, pottery sherds, maps, diagrams etc. The option preferred by the parishioners is to create a facility in the church itself. For an article on this click here.
10. Writing up research into the "Great Coney Warren" (Ogilby, c 1675) at Warren Farm.
If you think you can help to answer the questions below please use the contact form below!
We have asked for specific help with items 3 (iron railings) and 9 (permanent archive and display facility) above. Anything that can help us move forward in particular with items 2 (geophysics programme) and 8 (publishing) would be very welcome.