Click here for a pdf version of the walk described below – Steventon_Milton
Steventon to Milton – a guide to the history and buildings
A companion to the guide for a circular walk from Steventon to Milton, along The Causeway.
Steventon is mentioned in the Domesday Book and was formerly owned by King Harold II. As it was royal land it immediately became the property of King William and his descendants. King William I gave it to Robert d’Oilly, he was the Sheriff of Warwickshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire and also Constable of the newly build Oxford Castle. Henry I gave the manor to the Abbey of Bec in 1121. The Causeway – most certainly built before 1400, because it is mentioned in a document of 1404 as having to be repaired and maintained. Thus it must have been quite old by that time. It is thought that it was built by the monks of the Abbey of Bec in France who owned The Priory. Some historians think it is possibly built on the site of an ancient right of way that went from Abingdon to Newbury or even further to Southampton.
For a long time it was the centre of cherry growing, for miles around in spring cherry blossom was visible from everywhere. There were two kinds of cherries grown in this area the black (very dark red and very juicy) and the white (yellow and red and of a different flavour to the black).
No 10 Milton Lane. Grade II building, although there is not much left of the medieval building, most of it dates from the 16th and early 17th Centuries.
No 12 Milton Lane. Grade II. Dates from the early 16th C. with extensive 20th C. modifications.
No 16 Milton Lane. Grade II. The front is 18th C. Georgian, but behind this is the original older hall built in about 1600. At the west end there is an earlier part probably from the first half of the 14th C. modified in the 17th C.
Green Farm Milton Lane. Grade II. Until 1949 the eastern wing was a separate house, as you can see from the blocked window on the western sideof the east wing. The east wing is the oldest dating from early 16th C. The central section dates from c.1640. It is now 4 separate cottages (nos. 28, 30, 32, 34) with additions of front doors and staircases.
Behind Green Farm there are 2 cruck barns which have been converted into houses the largest is 17th C.
Built just after 1659 by a man called Carlton. Later one of the Carlton sons, Paul, married Katherine the daughter of Admiral Benbow, hence the name of the pub. The Admiral’s sword is still at the house and there is portrait of him in the pub. He died after a battle with the French of Cape Santa Marta in the W. Indies at the age of 49. Eventually the manor passed into the hands of Bryant Barrett and his descendants still live there. The house was extended by the wings on each side including the building of a small Roman Catholic chapel. This religion was banned at the time so there were no opulent signs outside but inside it was very highly decorated in Gothic style with 14th C. Flemish stained glass which he bought from Steventon Church. One of the original vestments from 1760 is still on display in the house which is open to the public sometimes. Peter the Great is said to have stayed in the Manor on his visit to Britain.
Early 14th Century but largely rebuilt in the 19th C. the Porch and Tower are original from the 14th C.
The name Milton comes from Middletune (Saxon) and in 956 Edwy gave Alfwin 15 hides of land which would be the area of the village today. It was then given to the Abbey in Abingdon. The first rector was appointed in 1325 by Edward II. The church is dedicated to St. Blaise (Patron of woolcombers) there are only 3 other churches in England dedicated to St. Blaise. This is because the village survived on the wool trade at that time, as did most of the towns and villages in the area. There was also a tradition of stonecarving in the village and after the 1914-1918 war there were 300 headstones carved in the village and sent to France, they were all local men who died there.
Steventon Station. The houses. The one on the left was built as the Stationmaster’s house, but was used by Brunel and the Board of Directors as their HQ while the GWR line was proceeding towards Bristol. The other house was built as a hotel, because for some months Steventon was the terminus and people alighted here for Oxford until the Didcot-Oxford line was finished.
Manor Farm (left) Georgian 18th Century although there is evidence of an earlier house on the site. It is Grade II listed and entirely built of brick. The barns are also listed.
St. Michael and All Angels church There is evidence of a church here as early as the 9th century, almost certainly built of wood. The earliest parts of the present church, namely one column and an arch, date from around 1240, therefore Early English. Most of the rest is from the 14th and 15 th C. The stained glass is now Victorian. There is a Jacobean pulpit, the stone font and some of the pews date from the 15th C.
The Priory. This is now 3 houses. One is privately owned (the far one) the National Trust own the other two. The oldest part of the complex dates from the early 14th Century. Originally a large hall, later demolished and rebuilt and in the late 15th C a first floor was added. The house was a single dwelling until the 17th C. when it was considerably enlarged. It became 2 houses and then in the 19th/20th C. it became 6. In 1939 they were in need of repair and were purchased by a man who gave them to the NT. In 1949/50 the NT carried out extensive work and converted it into what it now is. The Norman Prior became the Lord of the Manor and the Priory which they built became the Manor House. The Prior took glebe lands and then he became the Rector and the Priory was also the Rectory. The Priory was probably occupied by only 2 or 3 monks at a time. In 1294 Edward I confiscated the land as we were at war with the French but in 1361 Bec got it back. The last Prior left in 1379. The village was then passed on to the Governor of Guernsey Sir Hugh de Cabereley. In 1399 it was given to Westminster Abbey and any monks from Westminster who were studying at Oxford University would use Steventon as a retreat.
The houses along the Causeway The numbers are completely haywire, because of vanished houses (some destroyed by fire) and the blending of 2 houses into one.
Rookery Farm (L) Grade II Listed 17th Century. Possibly originally called Rectory Farm.
The Old Vicarage 14th C. was 3 cottages at one time, now 2. It is thought that the Vicar moved when the railway was built and a new vicarage was built. Modified and added to in the 16th and 17th C.
No 99 16th C. was at one time the village shop as witnessed by the Victorian letter box in the side. The East end of the building was demolished for the building of the railway.
No 87 16th Century. The remnants of a longer house that was partly demolished for the railway. In the 18th/19th C the house was divided into 2 cottages but has now been made into one again. Grade II.
Nos 85-83 Dendrochronological test dated this house as 1335/6. Cruck house and on the east end of the north wall there is evidence of a brick bread oven.
Causeway Farm (L) 17th C.
Nos 81-79 16th C. the long east wing acted as the village school from the early 1800s to 1864. The east wing was at one time 2 houses, but is now restored to its original 1. The open area in the middle is not unique, sometimes two houses were built with a shared roof in the 16th C. and this seems to have been the case here.
No 71 16th C. it was originally built as one house with 4 bays. The west bay was rebuilt in brick in the early 20th C and now converted into a garage. The bay window on the east bay was added in the early 1920’s. The four bays were made into separate cottages nos 69, 71, 73, 75 but were modernised and converted into a single house in 1966. now 1 house.
No 67 Tudor House 15th C. The bay window added in 17th C and a lot of internal alterations took place then.
North Star Named after the railway engine which was the first train out of Paddington in 1840 to Steventon Station. Triangle of grass marks where the stocks were. The building dates from the mid 17th C. with additions in the 19th C. Nos 57, 55 Built around 1600. No 55 was completely modernised inside and has no original features.
Folly House 14th C. internally a wooden frame, but the outside is Victorian. It is Grade II. Was reconstructed in the 19th C.
Cruck House no.39 14th C. Dated as pre 1350 originally 3 bays from north to south, extended by 2 bays in the 15th C. The roof contains 14th C. crested ridge tiles.
No 35-37 This is 2 houses. The original building was a single-storey range of 3 bays from the mid 16th C. The upper floor was probably added in the 17th C.
Pound House The pound (a cattle enclosure) was on the other side of the Causeway opposite the house. The house is Jacobean built in the early 17th C. The exterior walls have been covered with pebble-dash but you can still see the uneven ridge of the roof and the timbers through the covering. There was a gatehouse attached to the house but this was destroyed by fire in the 20th C.
No 19 Consists of 2 bays built at right angles to the road. 17th C with mid-20th C additions.
Anne Gould – 2014 P
For maps of the route click here