There does not appear to have been a Parish Chest in the Church at Oxhill at any time, and the parish records, consisting of the Registers of baptisms, marriages and burials from 1568, together with sundry Church Warden's Account Books, Parish Constable's Account Books, records of expenses of the Overseers of the Poor, the Inclosure Award, etc. are now in the keeping of the County Record Office at Warwick.
These are very much the same as may be found for any similar parish, but they make interesting reading for the amateur historian, although they are at times difficult to decipher. Before the advent of Dr. Johnson and standard spelling, the clergymen who kept these records frequently used a curious mixture of Latin and English. The ink was almost invariably home-made and has a brownish tinge. As one old receipt for ink consists largely of oak galls and rusty nails, this is easily accounted for.
A few other records - Bishop's transcripts, Worcester Wills, etc. may be seen at the Diocesan Record Office in Worcester. Oxhill was in the diocese of Worcester until the new Coventry Diocese was formed in the early part of this century.
Entries in parish records often contain rather sad and curious comment, such as in 1677 “Buried today Ann Hinton, a stranger passing by”, or, in 1766, “Buried today Thos. Smith, an infant beggar”, or “Widow Marsh died this day of the small pox”. High infant mortality rate is shown by the fact that the entry recording the infant's baptism is often followed immediately by the record of its burial.
The Accounts of the Overseers of the Poor give an interesting glimpse of the life of past days. The few examples quoted are selected at random but are typical.
1753 Paid to a lame souljer 6d.
Spent 6d at Meeses when us met to talk about Margrit Benit.
Three fagots to Widow Savige. 6d.
A hundred of coles for same. 1/6d.
1756 Robert Clifford Funeral
Somerton for coffin l0/-
For one pound of glasey (?) 1/3
For bread and cheese. 1/-
For workman laying him out. 2/-
For ale 2/-
Clerk digging grave and tolling bell. 2/-
Mary Savige to making shroon (shroud?) 6d.
Widow Benit for washing R. Clifford's things. 1/-
1756 Paid to Castle for laying out Mrs. Savige. 2/-
Paid Castle that was borrowed by Mrs. Savige. 2/-
Paid to Mrs. Adkins of Shipston for making articles for Savige children. 15/-
1756 Richard Davis, Constable, expenses at Wellesbourne assessing window tax. 2/-
Spent at Kington (Kineton) when Richard Harris was sworn for a soljer and for a cockade. 4/10.
1759 For taking list of male inhabitants between the ages of 18 and 50 to Warwick. 2/6d.
1760 Paid 6d. to a great bellied woman
Expenses at Warwick when John Payne was sworn for a soljer.
1761 Paid to a man who carried his entrails in his hand. ?? 1/6d.
1762 For a horse to carry Martlia Woodbine to justice
1765 Paid Abel Somerton 1/11 to mend village stocks.
1773 Paid for Allis Robins childs leg irons, a new pair of shoes and bandages for the legs and for carying the child to Epwell.
1787 Gave to a woman and three children that had the smallpox.
1800 Paid to John Somerton when he had the smallpox 17 weeks at 2/6. Also five others.
There was also apparently a bit of spare money to be had for catching vermin. In the year 1760 for example when Richard Townsend was Parish Constable, he paid out at the rate of 2d. per dozen for sparrows, 1/- for a fox, 1/- a dozen for adders, and 2d. each for “earthies”. (These would probably be moles.)
In the past our predecessors entered into litigation far more readily than we do, and the record books of the Proceedings in Quarter Sessions frequently list inhabitants of Oxhill and surrounding parishes. In many cases these were merely complaints about highways not being kept in good repair, and water courses not being cleaned, or being diverted without permission. But there are a few more curious and interesting.
1657 Elizabeth Robinson, a poor inhabitant of Oxhill to be allowed something at Oxhill if Sir Simon Archer, Knight, shall see cause, taking into consideration her condition.
1669 Thomas Hewes and Mr. Townsend. Upon hearing and debating the matter between Thos. Hewes, Hayward of Oxhill in this county and Mr. Wm. Townsend who refused to pay his wages being 8s. Mr. Townsend ordered to pay the money plus 5s. extra for costs at court.
1669 Oxhill inhabitants to provide a convenient habitation for Mary Austen, a poor widow, being poor and destitute, and they are not to fail.
1672 Upon reading of the humble petition of Thos Neale of Oxhill in this county, labourer, setting forth that the said Thomas through the blessing of God upon his labour made a hard shift to maintain himself, his wife and six small children and pay rent for the house wherein he yet liveth and also that the said Thomas Neale being destitute of employment he formerly had and being lame and unable to perform daily labour had to leave his house. The Overseers of the Poor in Oxhill to place Thos. Neale in a cottage standing on the waste there wherein Kathleen Wilkins lately lived being now uninhabited.
Trinity 1672 Court informed this day on behalf of Edward Bennett who married one Kathleen Wilkins of Oxhill that Thos Neale is placed in a cottage where Kathleen Wilkins lately lived which order was obtained without any notice to Wilkins. Four Justices required to examine this matter.
1683 Robt. Pilkington of Oxhill presented for the selling of ale without a licence.
1685 Thos. Daney, labourer, late servant in husbandry to Mr. Wm. Townsend, gent. indicted for assault and battery upon his said master contrary to statute. Fine 2/6.
Mr. Wm. Townsend of Oxhill for not paying Thos. Daney his servant his wages referred to next meeting at Kington to hear and decide same.
1691 Edward Eden, Constable of Oxhill, for not presenting the Popish Recusants of that parish.
1695 Saml. Kilby of Oxhill about maintaining his bastard child at Tysoe. To pay 12d. a week until further order.
1695 John Hitchman of Tysoe maimed soldier of this county ordered by Court to receive 6d. from Tysoe and 2d. from Oxhill per week.