Analysing the English Collections at the Pitt Rivers Museum

Large Oxfordshire settlements and their related PRM ethnographic collections

Alison Petch,
Researcher 'The Other Within' project

Settlement names in red indicate where there are collections from both the Pitt Rivers Museum and Oxfordshire County Museum Service from the place. Please see Large Oxon settlements/ OXCMS for information about the OXCMS collections from the place. [David, please provide link]


Place: Important market town in the Vale of the White Horse district, south west Oxfordshire. Traditionally known as Abingdon-on-Thames, it was previously the county town of Berkshire until 1974 when the Vale of the White Horse was transferred to Oxfordshire, some residents still dispute this.
Population in 2001: 31,300
See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abingdon%2C_Oxfordshire

Collections: A miscellaneous collection, a fighting ring, tongs used for dipping rushlights and tinder box, donated by Henry Balfour, a spindle whorl donated by Eustace Fulcrand Bosanquet, a game donated by Chris Crowe


Place: Banbury is in the north of Oxfordshire and is now the second largest settlement in the county. It is famous for its Cross, and for the cakes (oval cakes, with fruit not unlike the more famous Eccles cake). Until the middle of the nineteenth century it was a small market town but today Banbury is a rapidly growing settlement, stimulated by its position close to the M40 motorway. Its medieval prosperity was founded on the wool trade.
Population in 2001: 43,867
See also

Collections: Again a large number of lace-making accessories donated this time by Geoffrey E.S. Turner, who worked in the Oxford University Museum of Natural History and was keenly interested in textiles etc. Balfour donated a tinder box, presented by George Claridge Druce and some matches. A spokeshave from J. Bateman, and an iron mantrap from Louis Neville and a glass bottle containing a puzzle from Wilfred James Hemp.


Place: Bicester is a market town in Cherwell district and is one of the fastest-growing towns in the county. It has two railway stations and it is close to the M40 which has made it popular with commuters. Bicester was recorded in the Domesday book and its name is supposed to be derived from a name meaning 'The Fort of the Warriors'.
Population in 2001: 28,672
See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicester

Collections: A number of donors and individuals are connected to the collections from Bicester, including Frederick Sharpe, and Henry Balfour.
The objects are also varied including bells, spectacles, oven-clocks, samples of lace, and lace accessories, prick spur, smock, livery buttons, and a shovel. Bicester is known to be have had lace manufacturers.



Place: A civil parish in the Cherwell district of Oxfordshire, just north of Banbury.
Population in 2001: 10,604 [NB this population is given in the wikipedia entry for the village, but seems high given that it was only 499 in 1971 ??]
See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bourton%2C_Cherwell

Collections: There are no objects from Great or Little Bourton in the Pitt Rivers Collections.


Place: Burford is in the Cotswolds, to the far west of Oxfordshire. It is a popular centre for tourists who admire its fine houses along the main street. Its name is said to mean fortified town and ford.
Population in 2001: 5,972
See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burford

Collections: Frederick Sharpe donated quite a few bells, some of which might also have come from Westcot in Gloucestershire. Percy Manning donated a rushlight candleholder, a leather bottle, and two tinder boxes.



Place: A town west of Witney in West Oxfordshire. It is one of the newest towns in Oxfordshire, it was farmland until the nineteenth century and grew rapidly during the Second World War, due to its proximity to RAF Brize Norton.
Population in 2001: 11,805
See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carterton%2C_Oxfordshire

Collections: There are no objects from Carterton in the Pitt Rivers Museum's collections


Chipping Norton

Place: This market town is in the north west of the county, it is the highest town of the county at 700 feet above sea level and is usually described as being the 'gateway to the Cotswolds'.
Population in 2001: 5,972
See also http://www.chippingnorton.net/

Collections: Horse and donkey shoes, from A.E. Bruerton via the Ashmolean Museum, sulphur matches and a tinder box from Henry Balfour, funeral pall and funeral driver's apron from Frederick John Lewis.


Place: Once part of Berkshire, this is in South Oxfordshire, close to the boundary with Vale of the White Horse and is one of the fastest growing towns in Oxfordshire. It was an important railway town.
Population in 2001: 25,231
See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Didcot

Collections: There are two objects from Didcot in the collections, a perforated stone donated by Mrs J. Neate and a model bicycle made and donated by Miriam Maselkowski of Didcot Girls's School.


Place: A market town in the Vale of the White Horse to the south west of the county. Its name, according to wikipedia means fern covered hill.
Population in 2001: 5,600
See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faringdon

Collections: There are also 2 objects from Faringdon, both purchased by Henry Balfour (a flange and a fire-steel)


Place: Village in the Vale of the White Horse, formerly part of Berkshire. It is very close to Wantage, and has expanded greatly since the second world war.
Population in 2001: 7,400
See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grove%2C_Oxfordshire

Collections: There are no collections from Grove in the Pitt Rivers Museum

Henley on Thames

Place: Town beside the River Thames in the far south east corner of Oxfordshire. Famous for its annual rowing regatta.
Population in 2001: 10,646
See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henley-on-Thames

Collections: There are no ethnographic collections from Henley in the Pitt Rivers Museum collections, there is one archaeological stone tool


Place: Large village in the Cherwell district of Oxfordshire, just north of Oxford. It is said to be one of the largest villages in England.
Population in 2001: 13,719
See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kidlington

Collections: There are three objects, a tool to split straw used in straw plaiting from Frank Godfrey, a baker's lamp from Henry Balfour and a cast of a bellmark from George Elphick


Place: The county town of Oxfordshire, it is the home of the University of Oxford, and the Pitt Rivers Museum. It has been described as the 'city of dreaming spires' and has been a centre for tourism since at least the nineteenth century. Its name apparently comes from the Anglo-Saxon 'Oxenaforda' (the ford of the Ox). There are many books written about Oxford.
Population in 2001: 134,200
See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxford

Collection: Many items from Oxford in the PRM ethnographic collections have more detailed provenances, see Stats/ PRM/ Villages. A large number of individuals are associated with these collections which are very varied as well.


Place: Market town right on the Buckinghamshire border, close to the M40 motorway. It is the home of the Oxfordshire County and Thame Show.
Population in 2001: 10,886
See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thame

Collection: A tool for drawing teeth from Mr Bateman, and an amulet from Frank Payne.


Place: Market town in the south of Oxfordshire, in South Oxfordshire. Historically it was part of Berkshire until 1974. It is on the River Thames.
Population in 2001: c 10,000
See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wallingford

Collection: 2 buckles from Thomas James Carter and a town-crier's hand bell from Percy Manning.


Place: Wantage is a market town in the south of Oxfordshire, in the Vale of the White Horse district. It was historically sited in Berkshire until boundaries were changed in 1974. It was the birthplace of King Alfred the Great and is sited at the foot of the Berkshire Downs.
Population in 2001: 9,767
See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wantage

Collections: A horn lantern donated by Horatio Percy Symonds; a bundle of matches, a bulldog clip for leading bulls, and a mouse-trap, all donated by F. Williams


Place: Market town in West Oxfordshire, the town has expanded rapidly in recent years. It was famous for the blankets made in the town since the Middle Ages.
Population in 2001: 22,765
See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witney

Collection: A clasp knife donated by T.J. Brown, an apple gouge donated by Arthur Thomson, a wool-bobbin donated by Thomas James Carter, and a lantern donated by Henry Balfour