The Pest House Field
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Pest houses were first established in England to
Deddington’s Pest House
Historical references are rare. The Victoria County History’s pages on Deddington mention it only three times: as being run by the Feoffees: that it stood in the Pest House Fields (27.637 acres): that it was still in use in 1855 but in ruins by 1896. The Reverend Cotton Risley makes three references to smallpox and the building in his Diaries (1835 -1848). On 23
Mary Vane Turner, in her account of Deddington, does not mention the Pest House and H.M. Colvin merely notes
So we have no knowledge of how many victims of contagious diseases the Pest House served over the years, who (with the exception of 4 year-old Charles) they were, who looked after them, the nature of the treatment offered and how many (if any) patients survived. If anyone has access to further documentation, please get in touch.
DCE Minute Book
The Pest House does
There is talk in Deddington of a large hollow stone, initially from the Pest House, that was filled with water and into which people could throw their coins – an early attempt at decontamination, perhaps at a time of
Victoria History of the County of Oxford Vol. 11 ed. A. Crossley, London: Institute of Historical Research, 1983.
The Story of Deddington, Mary Vane Turner. First published by Deddington Women’s Institute, 1933. Re-issued and published by the Deddington Map Group for the Deddington and District History Society, 2008.
A History of Deddington Oxfordshire, H.M. Colvin: SPCK, 1963.
Early Victorian Squarson – The Diaries of William Cotton Risley 1835–1848 Selection by Geoffrey Smedley-Stevenson, Banbury Historical Society Volume 29, 2007.
Michael Allbrook and Mrs E. Heywood for Pest House references from Early Victorian Squarson.
Mary Robinson for
Leah Calcutt and the current Trustees of The Deddington Charity Estates for the loan of the Minute Book for 1906-88.
Photos by Colin Robinson, line drawing by Ted Robinson
Deddington Charity Estates
Notes from the Minutes 1906-1987
The land generally known as Pest House Fields
12 January 1906 James Gardner (tenant) asked for the hedge to be cut and the ditch to be cleared. This being the boundary between the Pest House Field and the Allotment Field.
9 June 1909 The walls around the hovel need repair, Mr [T. T.] Bolton paying
9 January 1911 Drainage required in Allotment Field. The Charity to provide the pipes, the tenant to install.
29 July 1915 Mr Jesse Callow rented Pest House Field at £30 per annum. The arable field adjoining was rented by Mr James Gardner at £2/5/- (£2.25p) per acre.
11 January 1915 The Clerk produced the Leases of the land belonging to the Charity duly signed and witnessed.
17 May 1915 Work on Pest House Field awarded to Mr Alfred Hopcraft totalling £9/15/0 (£9.75p).
6 April 1920 Trustees provided rails to repair fence to Mr Callow and paid half the costs of the labour.
8 August 1921 Joseph Canning leased Pest House Field and the Arable Field adjoining at £2/5/- (£2.25p) per acre.
22 January 1923 The rent on the Arable Field to be reduced by 10/- (50p) an acre but the tenant to clean the land.
From Deddington News, Vol. 5, No. 3, November 1980
The intrepid traveller might go on foot along the main road towards Adderbury and just before he reaches the Milton turn by the Highways Depot, he might look down into the valley and see in the bottom of the dip what appears to be a dilapidated tin-roofed
To judge from its size there can have been few creature comforts here – a bed to die in, a fire in the hearth and nothing more probably. The stone cottage stands on land leased by
The Pest House and its surrounding fields are owned and administered by our local Feoffees, or trustees of the Deddington Charity Estates, a body set up in 1612 by Squire Richard Cartwright of Aynho, who generally ran church affairs at that time. Administration of the Estate, which also owned lands to the extent of 43 acres and 21 poles, the Hermitage, Town Hall and Almshouses, was somewhat chequered in the last century, with the result that a new scheme was drawn up in 1856 by the Court of Chancery.
Of the story of the Feoffees, more anon. Our present Feoffees (1980) are
The pen and ink drawing on this month’s cover (November 1980)