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History of Ducklington

Ducklington has existed as a manor or parish since the middle of the 10th-century when it was granted by King Edgar to one of his ministers, and although the parish boundary has been altered over the centuries, the present parish retains the majority of the land granted by King Edgar.

There is evidence for a much earlier occupation that pre-dates the Roman period. Bronze Age pottery has been found to the east of the church near the bypass, and there is evidence of round barrows of the same period nearby. To the south of the church excavations identified Roman occupation, and a probable Roman farmstead dating from the third century. Seventh century graves have been discovered in land to the east of the  church near to the Windrush, and it is likely that the present church of St. Bartholomew is built on top of an earlier Saxon structure. Apart from earthworks there are no surviving buildings of the pre-medieval period. St Bartholomew’s dates from the late 12th century and there are no village houses dating earlier than the late 16th-century.

The history of the parish has been largely uneventful. Soldiers were billeted in the village during the Civil War; tithes were commuted and fields enclosed in the 1830s – seemingly with little opposition. The lordship of the manor followed changes in the ownership of Cokethorpe Park – which lies in the parish of Standlake, and agriculture and milling, with their associated trades, were the mainstay of the local economy until the 20th-century. In the 1960s the proposed A415 (Ducklington bypass) promoted the development of new housing between the old and new roads, significantly increasing the population of the parish. The last working farm in the village centre ceased in the 1990s, and virtually all the old farm buildings and yards have been converted to residential occupation. Fortunately most of the old village survives, and can be explored by following the “Ducklington History Trail” produced by the History Group.

Morris Dancing

One aspect of 19th-century Ducklington culture did survive, not only within the village but in centres throughout the world – the Ducklington Morris Dances. In the 19th-century there were three Morris sides in the village – one composed entirely by members of the Fisher family. These sides were well regarded locally, and although they last danced in earnest around 1880, there were sufficient memories for the folklorists of the early 1900s to collect some of the dances and music. The present Ducklington Morris, revived in the 1980s, continues the tradition and also performs a mumming play, at Christmas time, at The Strickland Arms and The Bell public houses.

This brief history of Ducklington is courtesy of the Ducklington History Group

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