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BRADSHAWS, WINCHCOMBES & HALLS
 

THE BRADSHAW CHAPEL

Henry Bradshaw was Solicitor General and Attorney General to Henry VIII and Baron of the Exchequer under Edward VI. He acquired the Noke estate in 1539. The manor house, known in the 18th century as Noke Place (now Manor Farm), was one of the largest houses in the county at this time (it was recorded as having 24 hearths in 1655 Hearth Tax returns). He and his wife Joan had eight children.


After Henry’s death in 1553, the manor passed to his daughters Bridget (Fermor) and Christian (Winchcombe) whose son Benedict Winchcombe acquired it solely in 1576. Joan Bradshaw remained in Noke, commissioning the repair of the church, whose chancel was 'ruinous' in 1584, and the building of a new chapel on the north side of the church in which she and her family were to be buried. She died in February and was interred in her new chapel on 1st March 1599.

Brass showing Joan Bradshaw and Family
Brass depicting Joan Bradshaw (died 1599)

In 1610 Benedict Winchcombe became the Sheriff of Oxfordshire . Upon his death in 1623, the estate passed to his sister Mary, the wife of William Hall, and remained in the Hall family until 1707 when it was sold by Benedict Hall.

Winchcombe memorial
One of the Winchcombe memorials. The partial erasure of the last two lines 'may his soul rest' [in peace] may indicate Puritan defacement of the tomb of a well known Catholic landowner.


'Wild Huntsmen'
THE WILD HUNTSMAN

Benedict Winchcombe was so fond of hunting that the sounds of his horses and hounds are still said to haunt the village.

An account was published in 1907:
"The story is current in the village, that "old Winchcombe," as they call him, was very fond of hunting, and, as in many other versions of the tale, was not content with six days in the week for his favourite pastime, but devoted Sunday also to the chase; and that after his death he might be heard at night with his hounds careering over the neighbouring country, until he was finally "laid by twelve parsons." I did not ascertain the date of this last event, but it is significant that the village is on the edge of Otmoor, formerly the haunt of innumerable wild-fowl, which of course we know are in many places termed "Gabriel hounds," in their nocturnal flight, from the resemblance of their cry to that of a pack of hounds, and the moor having been (within the last century) drained, they are of course no longer heard."

W. Henry Jewitt Folk-lore Transactions of the Folk-Lore Society 18 (1907): 342.

 Effigy of Benedict Winchcobbe
The effigy of Benedict Winchcombe


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The Bradshaw chapel no longer survives. It had become neglected and had deteriorated so badly that, fearing it to pose a threat to the stability of the chancel, it was finally demolished in 1745. John Dunkin, in his History of Oxfordshire, published in 1823, provides some information on the interior of the chapel, based upon notes taken by a visitor in 1660, which have been preserved in the Harleian library:

"Against the east wall of the chapel a table of marble, thereon a plate of brass, on which are engraven the figure of a man kneeling on a cushion, behind him a woman with four daughters, and beyond them a man with four sons, kneeling in the same position, having over them these two coats: … [note by Dunkin: the description of these two coats should probably stand thus: - Hurst Arg. A sun Gules, impailing on the dexter, Arg. two bars Gules, for Mainwaring, and on the sinister, Arg. an annulet between two bendlets Sable, for Bradshawe]. Under all, this inscription:

HERE LYETH THE BODYE OF IOHAN BRADSHAW DAVGHTER AND COHEIRE OF IOHN HYRSTE OF KINGSTON ON THAMES IN THE COVNTIE OF SUREY GENT. WHO HAD [---] HVS BAND WILLIAM MANWAYRINGE OF EAST HAM IN THE COUNTY OF ESSEX GENT. WHO DIED THE 10 DAY OF OCTOBER AO 1529 AND [---] HVSBAND HENRY BRADSHAWE [---] LATE LORD CHIEF BARRON OF THE EXCHEQVER WHO HAD ISSVE BE TWEEN THEM OF 4 SONNES & 4 DAVGHTERS WHO DIED 27 DAY OF JVLYE 1553 THE SAID IOHAN ALL HER LIFE [---] CHA RITABLE TO THE POOR AND PCHASED LANDS & RENTS FOR EVER TO THE VSE OF THE POORE OF THE TOWNS OF NOKE IN THE COVNTIE OF OXON & TO HALTON & WENDON IN THE COVNTIE OF BUCK AND AT HER CHARDGES NEWLYE BVILTE THIS CHAPPELL AND DYED 27 DAY OF FEBRVARY AO 1598 AO RNE ELIZABETH 41

In the same chapel, a fair raised altar-tomb of black marble. On which is the effigy of a man lying on a cushion, and on the sides of the monument these inscriptions:

On the south side of the head this:

HIC IACET BENEDICTVS WINCHCOMBE ARMIGER, FILIVS & HERES THOMAE WIN=CHCOMBE:DVXIT UXOREM ANNAM FAL=CONER FILIAM & COHAEREDEM GULIELMI FALCONER ARMIGERI, ET EX HAC VITA EMIGRAVIT APVD NOAKE VICESIMO MAII ANNO DNI MILESSIMO, SEXCENTESSIMO VIGESSIMO TERTIO, SINE LIBERIS, ET RE=LIQUIT VNICAM SOROREM MARIAM SIBI HEREDEM, QUE NUPTA FUIT GULIELMO HALL ARO INTER CVJVS PROLES ALIOSQ QVOSDAM COGNATOS ET AD NONNULLOS PIOS VSVS OMNIA SVA DISTRIBVIT: CVIVS ANIMA REQVIESCAT IN PACE. AMEN

At the feet on the same side:

ALSO HEREBY LYETH BVRIED THE BO=DYE OF IOHAN BRADSHAWE, GRAND- MOTHER TO THE SAID BENEDICT WINCHCOMBE, WHOE WILLED HIS BO=DYE TO BE IN TERRED NEARE THIS PLACE, HE IN HIS LIFE REPAYRED THIS CHAPPELL AFTER HIS DEATH P’VIDED IT SHOVLD BE REPAYRED, AND GAVE MONEY TO REPAYRE THIS CHVRCH OF NOAKE

On the west end his coat of arms cut in black marble...

On the north side at the head :

WE KNOW THOU ARE NOT LOST BUT SENT BEFORE
THY FRIENDES ALL LEFT THY ABSENCE TO DEPLOARE NOR CAN THY VERTUES EVER BE FORGOTTEN
THO IN THY GRAVE THY CORPSE BE DEAD AND ROTTEN FOR ILL-TONGUED ENVIE TO THE WORLD MUST TELL THAT AS THOU LIV’DST THOU DIED’ST AND THAT WAS WELL

At the feet on the same side:

BENEDICT WINCHCOMBE MADE BENEDICT HALL, HIS SISTERS ELDEST SONNE AND HEIRE SOLE EXECUTOR AND IN REMEMBRANCE OF THE SAID BENEDICT WINCHCOMBE HIS UNCLE THIS MONUMENT WAS ERRECTED

At the east end the Winchcombe … and Bradshawe arms, and also in the east window of this chapel…

Both the Bradshaw brass and the inscriptions described above survive, and are today set into the north wall of the chancel. Dunkin reported that "This chapel was repaired by Benedict Winchcombe during his lifetime, and was probably comprehended in the general reparation of the church which took place after his death, in consequence of his legacy for that purpose. The edifice being considered private property, and neglected by the descendants of the Halls, after the alienation of their estate in the parish, it fell into decay, and in 17.. [1745] was taken down by the feoffees of the Winchcombe charity. The materials were used for the repairs of the chancel, and some parts of the monuments affixed to the walls, where they still remain: but the tomb of Benedict Winchcombe was entirely done away with except part of his effigy." In a footnote, Dunkin refers to "a drawing of the effigy taken in 1819, which represents the figure broken off at the knees; the other parts are prefect; it is habited in the costume which prevailed in the time of James 1."

The head and shoulders of the effigy, although damaged, allegedly the result of being used as a target for stone-throwing practice by the boys of Noke, have been preserved and are today set into a niche in the north wall of the chancel, close to the chancel arch.


John Dunkin Oxfordshire: The History and Antiquities of the Hundreds of Bullingdon and Ploughley Vol. II. London 1823