Please Note: Between setting this cache and publication the Village sign became unstable due to damage in the winter storms and has had to be removed on a temporary basis for safety reasons. The sign will be replaced but it is not known when at this time. The site of the sign is next to the bench and bus stop.
This parish, on the Oxfordshire border, covers 2,817 acres, nearly the whole of which is permanent grass. The soil and subsoil are clay; the principal crops produced are wheat, beans and oats. The parish, which is watered by the River Ray, lies low, varying from 255 ft. above the ordnance datum in the north to 204 ft. in the south.
Marsh Gibbon village is large, its main street extending nearly a mile in length. Many of the cottages date from the middle of the 19th century, when Sir Henry Acland, bart., master of Ewelme, together with the Ewelme trustees, greatly improved the condition of the village. It had suffered from a long suit in Chancery, from the Inclosure Act and nonresident landlords, but under his care the houses were rebuilt, modern sanitation introduced, and a dispensary and reading room started.
The church and rectory occupy a central position; the latter, erected in 1846, possibly replaced the Parsonage House of five bays of stone and timber which stood here in 1607. North of the church is a mineral spring known as Stompe or Stump Well, while to the west are traces of entrenchments supposed to have been thrown up by the Parliamentary army when they marched through Marsh Gibbon in June 1645.
The Manor House, belonging to Ewelme almshouses, lies immediately south of the church. It is a stone building of two stories and an attic, dating mainly from the Elizabethan period, but somewhat altered in the early 17th century, when the attic was added, and partially refaced in the 18th century. The central block, which faces east, has a wide twostoried bay window with moulded stone mullions and transoms, and the lateral wings are lighted by oakmullioned windows of the 17th century. The roofs are tiled and have four gables on the east front with 17th-century barge-boards and apex pendants, while rising from the roofs are two groups of diagonal chimney shafts. The hall occupies the ground floor of the central block and is entered through a porch with a stone moulded archway and oak inner doorway, the latter having an original studded door and iron fittings. On the north side of the hall is an original wide stone fireplace with a four-centred arch and moulded jambs, and at the north-east is an early 17th-century staircase with square newels, bell-shaped finials and turned balusters. The main staircase, constructed in a wing which projects at the southwest and entered from the hall by a 16th-century moulded oak doorway, has square newels with acorn finials, turned balusters and moulded handrails, and is of original 16th-century date to the first floor, but the upper flights are later, and have newels like those of the stairs at the north-east of the hall.
Westbury Manor dates from the 17th century, though it has been considerably altered since. It retains its original staircase, and there are fragmentary remains of a moat near the house.
The village contains several houses of the 16th and 17th centuries, built principally of stone with tiled or thatched roofs; many of these retain original mullioned windows and brick chimney shafts. A 16thcentury inn in Church Street has an original panelled main door with strap hinges. In Clark's Yard, at the bottom of Church Street, is a house dated 1680. Immediately east of the church is an old stone barn, probably a tithe barn, which is lighted by narrow loopholes and has an external stairway.
Townsend is the name given to the west end of the village. Scott's Farm (recently renamed the Priory Farm) and Townsend Farm date from the 16th century, though the former has been largely rebuilt, and Mercia Farm and the Greyhound Inn are of the 17th century. Little Marsh and Summerstown are detached portions on the east side of the village, and now much depopulated.
Marsh Gibbon contains a Congregational chapel built in 1851.
The parish was inclosed by Act of Parliament in 1841, when 5 acres were allotted to a recreation ground. Gubbins Hole Farm, in the east of the parish, still recalls at the present day the Gibbewins, the early holders of Westbury Manor.
If anybody would like to expand the Village Sign series please do. I would just ask that you let SmokeyPugs know first so they can keep track of the Village Sign numbers and names to avoid duplication.