Analysing the English Collections at the Pitt Rivers Museum

More about places represented in the Oxfordshire PRM Top '20' villages / ethnographic collections

The ethnographic collections from Oxfordshire in the Pitt Rivers Museum are not extensive (1,930 in total), especially compared to the extensive social history collections held by the Oxfordshire County Museums Service. However, many places are represented in the collections, here is more information about the 'Top 20' villages and towns in Oxfordshire from which the PRM collections came (by size of collection from place). Settlements with their name in red are also in the Top 20 villages for collections from OXCMS social history collections:


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. See also

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


Place: Fritwell is an ancient parish in the County of Oxfordshire, between Bicester and Banbury, and now part of Cherwell District Council. It was described in John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazeteer of England and Wales (1870-2). See also

Collection: A single large donation of lace making accessories and a yardstick from Violet Murray in 1947. Many had been owned by Sarah Ann Hopcroftson (née Hickman). http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=63732 describes:
' Lace-making was a considerable home industry (in Fritwell) and several lacemakers were recorded in the 1851 census. (footnote 237: H.O. 107/1729.)'


Place: Village and civil parish in Cherwell, it is about four miles south of Bicester. It is divided into Upper and Lower Arncott. Its name can also be spelt Arncot.
See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arncott

Collection: Again a single donation of lace-making accessories, this time they have not yet been fully accessionedd and counted though they were donated by the Curator of the Museum, Henry Balfour, in 1895. He described them as a 'quantity of old lace making bobbins box, Arncott village Oxon, variously ornamented & very well made.' Nothing is currently known by the author of the lace-making industry in Arncott.


Place: Located to the east of Bicester, in Cherwell District. It is close to the Buckinghamshire border.
See also

Mostly the collections from Launton consist of lace making accessories associated with Mrs M. Butler, donated by Henry Balfour, the curator of the Museum. Percy Manning also donated a lace-making horse, pillow and bobbins from the village.
See also englishness-lace-makers-bobbins.html


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.
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: 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.
See also

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.

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'.
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: 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'.
See also

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.

Britwell Salome

Place: Village in South Oxfordshire, very close to Watlington and the Chilterns. Salome is a corruption of the family name du Sulham. Britwell has also been spelt 'Brightwell'.
See also

Collections: Set of latten bells for wagon horses from Charles Stopes (whose family used to live in the village), casts of bellmarks from George Elphink, a copper lamp donated by H. Cane


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.
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: Village close to Bicester in the Cherwell district. It was part of Buckinghamshire until the 19th century.
See also http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/place/place_page.jsp?p_id=9484&st=caversfield

Collections: a series of casts of bellmarks bequeathed by George Elphick. They are probably cast marks of the three bells in the tower of St Laurence in Caversfield.

Sandford on Thames

Place: Village on the River Thames, south of Oxford.
See also

Collections: a series of casts of bellmarks bequeathed by George Elphick. They are probably of bells at St Andrew's Church, Sandford-on-Thames


Place: A village west of Banbury, in the north of Oxfordshire. It is best known for its former plush (textile) industry, which operated from the seventeenth century through to 1947.
See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shutford

Collections: Plush-related tools donated by Hubert Gibbs.


Place: Village and civil parish in South Oxfordshire, east of Wallingford. It is said to derive its name from a spring nearby. It has a very fine set of almshouses.
See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ewelme

Collections: Plaster casts of bellmarks from George Elphick


Place: Sometimes just known as Dorchester, a village beside the River Thames in South Oxfordshire. It is the home of Dorchester Abbey and close to Day's Lock on the Thames where the annual World Poohsticks competition is held.
See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorchester%2C_Oxfordshire

Collections: Weaving tools bought from Dorchester Weavers; a candlestick, lantern and amulet (the latter 3 might come from Dorset rather than Oxfordshire)


Place: A large village lying between Witney and Oxford, in West Oxfordshire district, besides the River Thames. There is an important ford nearby, now the site of Swinford Toll Bridge.
See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eynsham

Collections: Ivory tuning peg from George Kettle and bakers lamp via Henry Balfour, a wig block from Miss Blake, a hazel rod basketry splitter from J. Bateman, a clay pipe donated by Beatrice Blackwood and another from William Hine, a costume doll and early corst from Mrs Faulkner and

See separate webpage about the Eynsham collections


Place: Village close to Chipping Norton, in West Oxfordshire, in the north of Oxfordshire. In 2005 Country Life (a magazine) voted Kingham its favourite English village because of its architectural merit, charm beauty, setting and quality of life. It is in the Cotswolds.
See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingham

Collections: Various forms of lighting from Mrs Grisewood, and an apple gouge from Mr Bateman.

Minster Lovell

Place: Village in the Cotswolds, by the river Windrush in West Oxfordshire. There is a ruined fifteenth century manor house in the village.
See also

Collections: A pellet bell from John Busby, hay-making tools and wheelwright tools from Gordon Busby

South Leigh

Place: Village close to Witney in West Oxfordshire.
See also http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/place/place_page.jsp?p_id=9928

Collections: Quern stone from Mrs Gerard Moultine via Reverend East, and sickles from Reverend Arthur East