Bampton, Oxfordshire

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St Mary the Virgin parish church
Bampton is located in Oxfordshire
 Bampton shown within Oxfordshire
Population 2,564 (2011 Census)
OS grid reference SP315031
Civil parish Bampton
District West Oxfordshire
Shire county Oxfordshire
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Bampton
Postcode district OX18
Dialling code 01993
Police Thames Valley
Fire Oxfordshire
Ambulance South Central
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament Witney
Website Bampton Oxfordshire
List of places

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Bampton, also called Bampton-in-the-Bush, is a settlement and civil parish in the Thames Valley about 4.5 miles (7.2 km) southwest of Witney in Oxfordshire. The parish includes the hamlet of Weald. The 2011 Census recorded the parish's population as 2,564.[1]

Bampton is variously referred to as both a town and a village. The Domesday Book recorded that it was a market town by 1086. It continued as such until the 1890s.[2] It has both a Town Hall and a Village Hall.

The core of Bampton is on gravel terraces formed of Summertown-Radley or Flood Plain Terrace deposits.[3]


The Bampton area has been settled since Iron Age and Roman times. The earliest settlement was probably somewhat to the east of the centre of Bampton today, the triangular space known as Market Square. Bampton was an important place[vague] in the Saxon and Middle Ages.[4]

United States troops were billeted in Bampton at various times during the Second World War.[citation needed]

Bampton is used for outdoor filming of the fictional village of Downton, North Yorkshire in ITV's period drama TV series Downton Abbey.[5]

Parish church

File:Fred C Palmer 009.jpg
Postcard photo of St Mary's in 1931

The Church of England parish church of Saint Mary the Virgin dates from the 12th century. It is on the site of a late Saxon Minster, the tower of which survives in the present church. It has a 13th-century spire, and a carved stone reredos of Christ and his Apostles from about 1400.

Saint Beornwald of Bampton was venerated as patron saint of Bampton from at least the 9th century until the Reformation.[6] His feast day was 21 December.[7] Given the degree of local patronage he may have been the founder of the church.[citation needed]

Very little is known about Beornwald. Although early records[8] call him saint, confessor, priest and martyr,[9] even his tomb is now lost for certain. His shrine was probably in the north transept of the parish church, where some evidence of a former shrine remains.[10][11]

William the Conqueror granted the original church to Leofric, Bishop of Exeter. The Diocese of Exeter was involved with St Mary's for many years afterwards. The church has been rebuilt and extended a number times, most recently in 1870 when the roof was given its present form.[12][13][14]

The ancient parish was one of the largest in Oxfordshire[4] and included the townships of Weald, Lew, Aston, Cote, Shifford, Chimney and Lower Haddon.[4] In 1857 the parish was split into the three ecclesiastical parishes of Bampton Proper, Bampton Lew and Bampton Aston, all now part of the united benefice of Bampton with Clanfield.[4] In 1866 the parish was split into five civil parishes: Bampton, Lew, Aston and Cote, Shifford and Chimney.[4]

St Mary's Rectory has a date-stone stating that it was built in 1546. It was altered in 1799 by the builder and architect Daniel Harris.[15]

Bampton is the setting for the fictional crime novels The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, set in about 1366, by Mel Starr.[16]


From 1861 until 1961 Brize Norton and Bampton railway station, 2 miles (3 km) north of the village, served the area.

Stagecoach in Oxfordshire serves Bampton with bus routes 18 (Bampton – Oxford) and 19 (Carterton – Bampton – Witney).


File:Bampton Post Office - - 319636.jpg
The former Bampton Post Office, now a private house

Pumpkin Club

Three Bampton residents Arnold Woodley, Jack Horn and Reg Absolom formed the Bampton Pumpkin club in March 1969. Every October there is a Pumpkin Club weigh-in, where all contestants' pumpkins are weighed, with the winner being awarded a prize. The first ever winner of the club weigh-in was Joe Buckingham with a gourd weighing 51.5 pounds (23.4 kg). After the weigh-in the pumpkins, along with flowers, fruit and vegetables, are auctioned. The money raised is given to local senior citizens.

Youth Centre

Bampton Youth Centre was founded in 1984 to provide facilities for children and teenagers. It is in the Victorian former primary school building in Church View.

Skate Park

Bampton Skatepark was built for the village's skateboarders and BMX riders.

Gardening Club

Bampton's gardening club holds two flower shows each year. The Summer Show is held at the end of June or early July, and the Autumn Show is held in September. The first ever shows were held in October 1972.

Society for the Protection of Bampton

The Society for the Protection of Bampton (SPB) is a society set up in 1993 to maintain or improve the quality of life for people living in Bampton. The society bought a field in Bampton for use by the village; the field used to be owned by Oxfordshire County Council. The society has around 450 members.

Bampton Environmental Watch group

The Bampton Environmental Watch Group (BEWG) is a group set up in 1989, to look after the Bampton environment; it currently has around 100 members.

Bampton Town Football Club

Bampton Town Football Club are affiliated to the Oxfordshire Football Association. Their home ground is located at Buckland Road, Bampton. The club runs 2 senior teams (first and reserve) who play in the North Berks Football League, 1 youth team (under 16 age group) who play in the OFA Youth Football League, 7 junior teams (under 8s to under 14s) who play in the Witney and District Youth League and 1 veteran team (over 35 years old). The club's main kit colours are orange shirts and black shorts.[17]


'Society for the Preservation of Ancient Junketing' (SPAJERS) organises a race (the Bampton Shirt Race) around the village on the late May Bank Holiday each year, celebrating the 14 pubs that used to be open. Runners, originally dressed in night-gowns in pairs, with one pushing another in a trolley, stopping at the houses that used to be pubs (and of course the current open pubs), and drinking a measure of beer before running to the next. The race now often features larger teams in fancy dress with a variety of wheeled vehicles. A children's race with soft drinks is also run.

The Bampton Beam

The local magazine The Bampton Beam is distributed freely to all residences and businesses in Bampton. It contains information on events in the Bampton area.

Bampton Classical Opera

Bampton is the home of Bampton Classical Opera which performs both in Bampton and elsewhere, including London. In Bampton the venue is the garden of the Deanery, a private house near St Mary's church. A curved yew hedge encloses the opera stage, providing excellent natural acoustics.

Bampton Morris

Bampton has a tradition of Morris dancing which may be 600 years old. Documentary and circumstantial evidence show that morris dancing in Bampton goes back at least to the 1790s. Morris dancing used to be performed in Bampton on Whit Monday but the date has recently changed to the late May Bank Holiday.[18]

Bampton & District Aunt Sally

Aunt Sally is a traditional throwing game, played predominantly in pubs in Oxfordshire. The Bampton & District Aunt Sally Association was formed in 1971. In the Bampton league, games are played on Thursday evenings between teams of 6 players (unlike other leagues in Oxfordshire who field teams of 8).[19]

See also


  1. "Area: Bampton (Parish) Key Figures for 2011 Census: Key Statistics". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 23 February 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Crossley & Currie 1996, pp. 31–43
  3. Crossley & Currie 1996, pp. 6–8
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Crossley & Currie 1996, pages 6–62
  5. Ffrench, Andrew (23 April 2010). "Village is the star of the show". Oxford Mail. Newsquest. Retrieved 6 October 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Evidence of Beornwald's veneration includes a 1516 will of one William Wode, a priest of Bampton, bequeathed his soul "to God, to our Lady, Sent Barnwald and all the seintes of hevyn".[citation needed]
  7. Blair 1984[page needed]
  8. Beornwald is known only from Winchester litanies of the 11th century and Martyrologies of the 12th century (Exeter) and 15th (Syon Abbey).
  9. Farmer, David (2011). Oxford Dictionary of Saints (Fifth ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 46.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Beornwald (Berenwald, Byrnwold) of Bampton". Oxford Dictionary of Saints. Oxford University Press.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Ross, David. "Bampton, St Mary's Church". Britain Express.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Crossley & Currie 1996, pp. 48–57
  13. "The History of St Marys (sic)". St Mary's Bampton. Retrieved 18 May 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Bampton Church, Bampton". Sacred Destinations. Archived from the original on 10 June 2011. Retrieved 18 May 2011. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Sherwood & Pevsner 1974, p. 432.
  16. Starr, Mel. "".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "Bampton Town Football Club". Retrieved 18 May 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "Bampton Traditional Morris Men". Retrieved 18 May 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "Bampton & District Aunt Sally Association". Archived from the original on 25 June 2011. Retrieved 18 May 2011. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Sources and further reading

External links