Analysing the English Collections at the Pitt Rivers Museum

More about places represented in the Oxfordshire County Museums Service

Alison Petch,
Researcher 'The Other Within' project

Oxfordshire social history collections

The social history collections from Oxfordshire in the Oxfordshire County Museums Service are extensive (39,183 in total), especially compared to the relatively few ethnographic collections held by the Pitt Rivers Museum. However, many places are represented in the collections, here is more information about the Top 20 villages and towns in Oxfordshire from which the OXCMS collections came (by size of collection from place). Settlements with their name in red are also in the Top 20 villages for collections from PRM ethnography 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. Seehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxford


Collection: Many items from Oxford in the OXCMS social history collections have more detailed provenances, see OXCMS villages file. A large number of individuals are associated with these collections which are very varied as well. A total of 5,257 artefacts were donated from Oxford and they are of very varied types, please search database [when available] to check.


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: A total of 2,494 objects from Banbury in the OXCMS social history collections. Again this is a very varied collection from a number of different sources.


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 total of 1,960 artefacts were donated from Wantage. Again this is a very varied collection from a number of different sources.


Place: 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.
See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abingdon%2C_Oxfordshire

Collections: A total of 1,733 objects were given from Abingdon, from a variety of sources, over 300 of which are from the Morland collection (the brewing family based in the town. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morland_Brewery for more information about the brewery and family). The Pitt Rivers Museum itself has some of the ethnographic collections from the Morland family, previously in the Abingdon Borough Museum, when Abingdon was part of Berkshire, but no objects from England except unprovenanced model steam engine and cross bow string. Many of the OXCMS Morland collection seem to be toys and games. D.R. Barrett gave 149 of these objects in 1984, a mixed collection. There are many other donors, and mixed objects in this colletion..


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.
See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witney

Collections: A total of 1,066 artefacts were donated from Witney. There are a variety of different kinds of objects in the collection, given by many individuals.

Lower Heyford

Place: Village and civil parish in the Cherwell district in northern Oxfordshire. It is on the banks of the River Cherwell. The name is said to have come from the ford used mainly at hay-making times. It is close to Upper Heyford.
See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lower_Heyford

Collections: A total of 815 objects were donated from Lower Heyford which is a small settlement to be the source of so many artefacts. An incredible 799 of these came from one donor, Dorothy Dew (first entered as Miss D.B. Dew), she gave a large selection of different objects in 1974.
Dorothy B. Dew also gave 3 objects to the Pitt Rivers Museum via the Oxford City and County Museum (these were from the Ainu of Japan and South Africa and were therefore probably not thought to be suitable for OXCMS). Her full first name is given in one of the Museum's accession books.
She was a keen antiquarian providing information for the Victoria County History of Oxford, volume 6 for example. She taught in the Lower Heyford village school.
The actual collector of most of the items was George James Dew (1846-1928), who was the Registrar of Births and Deaths of the Bletchingdon District from 1870-1923 and clerk to Lower Heyford Parish Council, he was her father. He also wrote about the area, for example Oxfordshire Bells published in Bicester c 1885 and listed in OLIS.
G.J. Dew 'The parish registers of Lower Heyford, Oxon'. Notes and Queries 1882 s6-VI: 196-197
P.A. Horn 'A teenage diary of the 1860s: George James Dew of Lower Heyford' Cake and Cockhorse, 9, 9
Pamela Horn (ed.) Oxfordshire country life in the 1860s: the early diaries of George James Dew (1846-1928) of Lower Heyford Abingdon, Beacon Publications, 1986.
Pamela Horn (ed.) Oxfordshire village life: the diaries of George James Dew (1846-1928), relieving officer Abingdon, Beacon Publications, 1983.


Place: Small town to the north of Oxford in West Oxfordshire. Blenheim Palace, the home of the Dukes of Marlborough, is just to the south of the town.
See also

Collections: A total of 656 objects were donated from Woodstock, from a variety of different donors. There are many different kinds of artefacts.

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: 557 artefacts were donated from Chipping Norton. 185 of these were donated by Basil Packer, most of these relate to photography. These might have been the materials used by Frank Packer (1876-1967) who was a photographer for seventy years in Chipping Norton, his son Basil was a photographer as well. Frank Packer starting photography in Chipping Norton around 1907 and the business continued until the 1980s, when the collections were donated to OXCMS
147 were given by people sharing the same surname (Meades) who might have been related. 59 of these were given by Miss Meades, many related to textiles and clothing. Others were given by Emily Meades (52), M.G. and O.M. Meades (36).


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: A total of 400 artefacts were donated from Shutford, which is actually a very small settlement but was known for its plush industry which flourished until the middle of the twentieth century. Most of the artefacts are plush-related tools from a number of individuals. Nearly a quarter of these objects were donated by Mrs Mold. Other donors also gave plush related material.
Please search database [add link] to check.


Place: Village in West Oxfordshire, it is on the banks of the River Evenlode in the historic forest of Wychwood.
See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shipton-under-Wychwood

Collections: A total of 317 objects were given from Shipton-under-Wychwood. A third of these (104) were given by a Mr Coombes in 1964 and are saddlers tools (possibly from his or a relatives' business).


Place: Village and civil parish in West Oxfordshire, it is said to be the largest parish in Oxfordshire. According to wikipedia it takes its name from a neolithic standing stone called the 'Ent' stone. It is sometimes called Neat Enstone. The parish comprises several villages. It is between Woodstock and Chipping Norton.
See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enstone

Collections: A total of 279 objects from Enstone were given to OXCMS. 110 of them were given by Miss D.M. Hathaway in 1974, this is a mixed collection. She might be the Doris Hathaway, daughter of a shepherd Levi Hathaway mentioned at http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/OXFORDSHIRE/2002-01/1010227581.
45 of these were given by the Misses Bolton in 1964 and were lace or other textiles.


Place: Village south of Banbury in northern Oxfordshire, part of Cherwell district.
See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adderbury

Collections: A total of 262 objects were donated from Adderbury. 130 of these were given by Robert Beesley in 1964, these are tools of various kinds. 100 of these were donated by Mr Vincent Shirley, mostly manuscripts and brass rubbings.
Please search database [add link] to check.


Place: Village (sometimes called town) south of Banbury and Adderbury in Cherwell district.
See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deddington

Collections: A total of 252 objects from this village, including 73 woodcarver's tools from B. Wood in 1981 and 31 vessels from Mr and Mrs W.S. Young.

Steeple Aston

Place: Village in Cherwell district, in the north of the county, it is on the River Cherwwell.
See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steeple_Aston

Collections: A total of 242 objects from Steeple Aston were donated, of which 58 items (tools and stock certificates) were donated by Mr Gascoigne and 130 were donated by Dorothy B. Dew (see Lower Heyford above)


Place: Village in South Oxfordshire
See also

Collections: A total of 233 artefacts were donated from Swyncombe of which the vast majority (229) were donated by Miss J. Christie-Miller. This collection was mostly food or cooking related, or clothing and donated in 1976. She is presumably a relative of Charles Wakefield Christie-Miller who owned Swyncombe House from 1928. [http://www.russellswater.org.uk/churches.htm]


Place: Village in West Oxfordshire
See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shilton%2C_Oxfordshire

Collections: 194 objects were donated from Shilton, 124 of these came from Mrs E.M. Pratley in 1977, mostly crockery. A further 48 artefacts came from Mrs Perrein, again mostly crockery and food related tools.


Place: Village in West Oxfordshire
See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chadlington

Collections: A total of 193 artefacts were donated from Chadlington, of which 135 tools came from Mr Cluff in 1974.


Place: Village in West Oxfordshire, close to Witney, west of Oxford. It is on the River Windrush.
See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standlake

Collections: A total of 182 artefacts were donated from Standlake, of which 72 tools were donated by Mrs L.G. Eagles and Mrs D.M. Tucky or Tuckey in 1964

Stoke Lyne

Place: Village in Cherwell district, near to Bicester
See also

Collections: A total of 159 objects were donated from Stoke Lyne of which all but 2 came from the Misses Aishfield. These are all lace making accessories.


Place: Village and parish in the Vale of the White Horse, formerly part of Berkshire. It is divided into East and West Lockinge.
See also http://www.visitvale.com/site/villages

Collections: A total of 151 objects from Lockinge were donated, 54 of these were donated by Mrs J. Wardingley in 1988, mostly tools. A further 53 were donated by C.L. Loyd, mostly clothing and textiles and 21 prints of the Lockinge Revels were donated by Miss K. Philip