Waddesdon in the medieval period


There were eight manors in Waddesdon parish in the medieval period. Manors are areas of land controlled by a landowner. Your teacher will give you a map showing where the manor houses for each manor were (the green dots).


Four of the manors were based in Waddesdon village. Three of these belonged to rectors of the church, Benthams, Motons and Green End, and each had a plot of land called Priest’s Acre. The fourth was the manor for the village. Philosophy Farm was on this spot and was the farm belonging to an Oxford University philosophy professor in the medieval period. The other four controlled land on the outskirts of the parish. Eythrope, the furthest south, controlled Cranwell and Blackgrove manors, both to the north. Beachendon manor, to the west of Eythrope, was always a separate manor.


Three of the manors have moats that have been found by archaeologists. Moats are ditches dug to surround a square or rectangular area where there may have been a manor house. Your teacher will give you a map showing the moats, which are marked with five dots; one for the central point and one for each corner. One moat is on the spot of Waddesdon village manor, the next moat to the south is on Upper Cranwell Farm and is linked to Cranwell Manor and the moat furthest south is at Beachendon Farm and was probably the site of the manor house there.  


Waddesdon parish churchThe church is a medieval building, built in the twelfth century. There was also a chantry chapel built in the fifteenth century at Eythrope using money left by Roger Dynham, who owned the manor. He wanted priests to say prayers for his soul after he died to make sure he got to heaven quickly. He was buried in a tomb at Waddesdon church

Roger Dynham's tomb in Waddesdon parish church









Deserted settlements

There are four deserted settlements, three are associated with one of the manors outside the main village. Your teacher will give you a map showing the deserted settlements in Waddesdon parish. The group of green dots at the top of the map are at Blackgrove Farm, where Blackgrove manor used to be. The group of green dots spread out on the bottom right hand of the map are at Eythrope manor. The groups of green dots to the left of this are at Beachendon Farm. The only deserted settlement not linked to a medieval manor is at Wormstone, south-east of Waddesdon village. Bits of building material were found in fields here and may come from a medieval building and part of a medieval house was dug up near Wormstone House.


There were four medieval mills in Waddesdon parish. Your teacher will give you a map showing the mills in Waddesdon parish. Blagrave watermill is mentioned in the Domesday Book but no-one has found where it was, so it is marked with a green dot in the centre of the parish and one at each corner of the parish boundary. It may be connected with Blackgrove farm. Two other watermills are known down in the south of the parish, on the River Thame. They are both close to Beachendon Farm, one just south-east of it and the other south-east of Bridge Lodge, and may both have belonged to it. Beachendon Manor probably made a lot of money by grinding other people’s corn into flour for them. There was one windmill to the west of the parish on a hill that is now known as Windmill Hill.


The three main manors, Waddesdon, Eythrope and Beachendon, controlled the farms, settlement and milling in Waddesdon parish. Everyone from across the eight manors would attend the church in Waddesdon village, which is why it is such a grand building and was repaired so often.


Go back to find our more about Archaeology in local history.