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The old St Giles church and the Hampton Gay manor house
The land owner has requested that walkers stay to the path in regards to the old manor house. The house is still actively decaying and vary unsafe!
The deserted village of Hampton Gay, near Kidlington, where the outline of a former village can be seen as raised plots in the fields. The name Gay originates from the de Gay family, former Lords of the Manor there in the 12th century. In 1137, Robert de Gay was the tenant of both Hampton estates, Gay and Poyle. Between 1195 and 1205, Oseney Abbey, Oxford, acquired the land in Hampton from the de Gays and in 1210 Robert de Gay began giving gifts to the abbey, resulting in the Manor at Hampton being held by Oseney until the Dissolution. In 1542 the crown sold the land to Leonard Chamberlayne, who then sold it to John Barry, of Eynsham, for £1,100. By 1682 it was mortgaged and sold to Sir Richard Wenman, of Caswell, for £6,400. During Elizabethan times in 1596 the enclosure of lands around Hampton Gay led most of the village men to revolt. But when the call to arms came only ten of them turned up with pikes and swords on Enslow Hill in Bletchingdon. Five men from Hampton Gay were arrested and sent to London where one was sentenced to be 'hanged and quartered'. The Tillage Acts of 1597 restored Oxfordshire land once again for tillage. The village appears to have had mixed fortunes over the years. In 1676 there were 28 adults, peaking in 1821 to 86. The manor house was destroyed by fire in 1887, resulting in the interior being completely gutted and roof collapsing. Sadly, the village population fell to 30 during that year. The manor house is now one of eight historic Oxfordshire buildings placed on the 'at risk' register, due to its state of decay. On Christmas Eve, 1874, there was a tragic railway accident at Hampton Gay A wheel failed on a crowded express train full of people travelling home for Christmas. Alarmed passengers quickly alerted the driver. Unfortunately, the sudden action of stopping caused the heavily-laden train to crash into one of the older carriages, pushing it off the track and into the Oxford Canal below. Thirty-four people died in the accident, including two children and 64 were injured. Some of the casualties were taken to the paper mill by the workers. The diary of local man George James Drew recorded: 'Twenty-six persons lying dead in the storeroom of the mill'. One rumour claimed the owner of the manor house refused to allow the injured to be brought into the house. Whether or not this was true, it was felt afterwards that a curse was placed on the house, which could explain its fate. St Giles's church, Hampton Gay, was built between 1767-1772 on the foundations of an earlier church. In 1859 the curate restored it according to his own wishes, replacing four round-headed Georgian windows with those of early English style, and building a new porch, which is now gone.
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