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A large framed map of South Leigh created in 2002. Many aspects of village life are depicted in the 41 pictures surrounding the map. There are line drawings, paintings and hand stitched examples from village residents. There is a descriptive text also which is transcribed here.
South Leigh is first mentioned in 1190 as Stanton Lega. Stan-ton... Stone town (near
Devil's Quoits prehistoric stone circle), Leigh, - Lega... forest clearing (in Wychwood
The oldest visible part of St James's Church is 12th Century and the renowned mediaeval wall
paintings date from the 15th century. John Wesley preached his first sermon there in 1725.
South Leigh remained a chapelry of Stanton Harcourt until 1868, when a separate parish was created.
The first vicar, Gerard Moultrie, helped establish a National School (now the Village Hall, No 1) in
1871. It closed in 1946. He also built Glebe House (No 8) and St James's College, later Holyrood
House (No 3).
The Wesleyan Chapel was built in 1876 (No 10)
At least two cottages (Nos 15 & 16) in the village retain smoke-blackened thatch, a rare survival
indicating that they were originally constructed without a chimney, smoke escaping through the roof.
Agricultural history is one of mixed farming with many families working on the land until the 1970s.
For at least five hundred years, owners of South Leigh have been absentee landlords, so all the land
has been managed by tenant farmers.
Parliamentary Enclosure of the land was completed in 1792 and landholders from 1792 to 1875 were
the Sibthorp Family, and from 1875 the Mason Family and Brasenose College.
When farming was in recession in the 1860s - 70s twelve families, one third of the population,
emigrated to New Zealand.
The Sibthorp owners built several pairs of model family cottages (e.g. No 18) and invested in new
farm buildings during the 1870s.
The Railway Station opened in 1861 and closed to passengers in 1962 and to freight in 1965.
Twenty-one men from the village lost their lives, whilst on active service, during the two World Wars.
The poet Dylan Thomas lived at the Manor House (No 7), 1947-1949.
The major addition to the village during the 20th century was Lymbrook Close in the 1950s, built on
pasture land known as Bird's Hay.
The population in Jan 2000 was 349, and most residents now commute to work in Witney, Eynsham,
Oxford and London.
|The Parish Church of St. James the Great, South Leigh, Oxfordshire.||Copyright © St. James the Great South Leigh Parochial Church Council, 2006|
|Updated 22nd November 2005||Feedback|