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Headington history: People

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Lords of the Manor 3: 1849–1917


William Peppercorn (Lord 1849 to 1864)
Trustees of William Peppercorn (1864–1911)

William Peppercorn (born at St Neots in 1805) was Steward of the Manor of Headington by 1848, and in 1849 bought the Lordship of the Manor of Headington from Thomas Henry Whorwood.

The solicitors who handled the abortive auction of the Manor House and its estate in 1836 were Peppercorn & Wilkinson of St Neots, and by an indenture dated 13 July 1838 the Manor House and 321 acres of land were transferred to George Alexander Peppercorn of St Neots (who died there in 1853). George Peppercorn was unmarried, but it is likely that William Peppercorn was a relation, possibly his nephew. (The Peppercorns were an important family in St Neots, and there is still a Peppercorn’s Lane there.)

William Peppercorn married Jane Hutchison, daughter of the late John Hutchinson of Old Elvet, Durham, at St Oswald’s, Durham on 4 April 1832, and their marriage was announced in The Times. They had seven children:

  • Mary Ann Peppercorn (born in St Neots in 1833/4)
  • Jane Peppercorn (born in St Neots in 1834/5)
  • William Alexander Peppercorn (born in St Neots in 1835/6)
  • John Hutchinson James Peppercorn and his twin
    Emmeline Peppercorn (born in St Neot’s in 1837/8)
  • Walter Peppercorn (born in St Neots in 1844)
  • Alfred Peppercorn (born in St Neots in 1851/2).

William Peppercorn is listed in directories as one of the major landowners in Headington from about 1850, and the rent book of that year showed that he then owned the 120-acre Manor Farm in Headington; a brickyard comprising 129 acres on the Marston Road (formerly Tilehouse Farm); and other smaller properties, including as a house and land of 35 acres on Headington Hill. (Some of this he may have bought at the second sale of the Manor in 1846; and he acquired Manor Farm in two purchases: from Thomas Henry Whorwood on 7 March 1849, and from John Ranking, George Ranking, and Charles Reynolds on 26 November 1853.)

Despite being Lord of the Manor, Peppercorn did not own the Manor House itself, and does not appear to have lived in Headington. In 1858 he is described as being of Eaton Socon in Bedfordshire, and the 1861 census shows him as a solicitor of 56, living at North Road there with his wife Jane and four of their children William (25), the twins John and Emmeline (23), and Alfred (9).

William Peppercorn died on 18 July 1864, and was buried at St Neots. He left all his property to his wife Jane and then to his three surviving sons: William, John, and Walter. John Smyth Egginton then became Lord of the Manor of Headington.

In the Court Roll dated 8 August 1865 of Headington's other manor (Heddington), the Lord of the Manor of Headington is named as Alan William Hutchinson Esq: he is likely to have been William Peppercorn's brother-in-law and was probably acting for the Peppercorn family.

William Peppercorn's third son son Walter Peppercorn, who was also a solicitor, is the only member of the family who appears to have spent any time in the Oxford area, and he acted as Steward of the Manor of Headington. He had an office in Oxford: Webster’s Directory for 1872 lists “Peppercorn, W, solicitor” at the south-west end of Cornmarket, next to St Martin’s Church. On 1 December 1869 he issued the following notice, indicating that John Smyth Egginton was now acting as Lord of the Manor:

Manor of Headington, with its Members, in the County of Oxford.
The View of Frankpledge and Court Baron of John Smyth Egginton, Esquire, Lord of the said Manor, will be holden in and for the said Manor, on Monday the 20th day of December, at half-past Ten o'clock, at the Black Horse, in St. Clement's, within the said Manor, when and where all tenants and other persons are required to attend, to take admissions to their Estates held of the said Manor, to do suit and service, and to pay their Quit-Rents.

A similar notice was issued by Walter Peppercorn, Steward on 7 October 1870 and 6 April 1876.

William Peppercorn's wife Jane died on 27 August 1870, and his eldest son William Alexander Peppercorn on 19 September 1883 (reg. South Whitchurch district): he was buried at St Neots.

His son Walter Peppercorn lived at the Randolph Hotel in Oxford at the end of his life, and he died there in 1911 (see his grave in St Sepulchre's Cemetery).

By 1883 the Trustees of William Peppercorn are listed in directories as the Lords of the Manor of Headington. They sold the Manor House to Colonel James Hoole in 1895, and on 29 September 1906 two of the sons of William Peppercorn, John Hutchinson Peppercorn and Walter Peppercorn, also sold him the Manor Farm by indenture for £8,500.

William Peppercorn's last three sons died in quick succession in the next decade:

  • His second son John Hutchison James Peppercorn died at St Neots at the age of 69 in 1907;
  • His youngest son Alfred Peppercorn died at Leominster at the age of 56 in 1908;
  • His third son Walter Peppercorn died at his home in the Randolph Hotel, Oxford at the age of 66 on 17 January 1911.

The Trustees of William Peppercorn wasted no time, and on 20 May 1911 the remnant of the manorial rights were auctioned at the Golden Cross Hotel in Oxford and purchased by Hoole.

Peppercorn Avenue in Wood Farm is named after this family.


Colonel James Hoole (Lord 1911 to 1917; his Executors to 1929)

James Hoole (1850–1917) was the only surviving son of the Yorkshire squire Francis Hoole of Edgefield, Bradfield and Moor Lodge Sheffield and his wife Martha. He was born in Edgefield in 1850.

Hoole served in the 3rd Battalion of the Prince of Wales’ Own Yorkshire Regiment from 1874.

On 15 June 1882 at Birdingbury, Warwickshire he married Mary Violet Hickman, the daughter of the Revd Richard Hickman. Their son Francis William Hoole was born in Sheffield in 1883, and their next two daughters were born in Eccleshall Bierlow, Yorkshire: Ethel Josephine Hoole in 1887 and Margaret Alice Mary Hoole in 1890/1. Their son James Devereux Hoole was born in Hardingstone, Northamptonshire in 1892 but died the next year; and their son Lionel Rokeby Hoole was born in Piddington, Northamptonshire in 1895.

Headington Manor House

Colonel Hoole bought Headington Manor House (right) in 1895, and their son Percival James Richard Hoole was born there in 1899 and baptised at St Andrew's Church in 1900. At the time of the 1901 census the five children were at home in the Manor House in the care of seven servants.

Colonel Hoole was awarded the CMG in the Boer War in 1901, and became commander of the regiment in 1902.

Later in civilian life at the Manor House he became a Justice of the Peace and was High Sheriff of Oxfordshire in 1916.

The 1911 census shows James Hoole (61), his wife Mary Violet (50), and their daughter Margaret Alice Mary (20) living on private means in Headington Manor House with a cook and four maids. In that same year Colonel Hoole purchased the Lordship of the Manor of Headington from the Trustees of William Peppercorn, reuniting it with the house, from which it had been separated since 1836.

Hoole died on 8 August 1917, and the burial of his ashes in Headington Cemetery was recorded in the St Andrew's Church register on 13 August. His effects came to £41,754 3s., and his executors were Francis William Hoole, barrister at law, and Ethel Josephine Balfour. He left three sons and a daughter. The Manor House and its immediate grounds were sold to the Trustees of the Radcliffe Infirmary, with the rest of its remaining land bought for housing.

From 1917 to 1929 the “Executors of Col. Hoole” are listed in directories as the Lords of the Manor of Headington.

In 1929 Headington became part of the City of Oxford, and the Manor fades from the records.

Mrs Hoole survived until 1943.

The other Lords of the Manor of Headington

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1086–1613

The first Lords of the Manor

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1613–1849

Whorwood Lords of the Manor

© Stephanie Jenkins

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