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Appleton Manor, Appleton, Berkshire

(51°42′37″N, 1°21′31″W)
Appleton Manor, Appleton
SP 444 015
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Berkshire
now Oxfordshire
medieval Salisbury
now Oxford
  • Ron Baxter
10 March 2010

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Appleton is in the NE of the traditional county, less than a mile from the River Thames, which formed the Oxfordshire border. As it is now considered part of Oxfordshire it may be more helpful to say that it is 4 miles NW of Abingdon and 7 miles SE of Witney. The village clusters around the junction of three minor roads W of the A420, with the church near its centre and the manor immediately to the S. Appleton Manor is surrounded on three sides by a dry moat, and dates from c.1200, although it was altered in the late 16th century and refaced in the 20th. The main 12thc feature remaining is the hall, which survives astonishingly intact, although partitioned into two rooms. It runs more or less from E (the low end) to W with its main entrance doorway in the N front of the manor, now protected by a two-storey Elizabethan porch. This gives access to the hall at the E end of the N wall. In the E wall is a pair of doorways leading to the service passage. The S wall, opposite the entrance, contains a large window. The W wall is a later insertion, the hall originally continuing into the room beyond, which now cotains panelling of c.1700. The outer SW angle of this room is decorated with a 12thc shaft. The manor was enlarged in later periods, especially the 16thc, and sensitively restored and enlarged by Detmar Blow in the 1920s.


The Domesday Survey records two holdings in Appleton. The first was held by Robert from Miles Crispin in 1086, and had been held by Healfdene before the Conquest. This was assessed at 5 hides before the Conquest and 2½ in 1086, and included a fishery. The second holding was held by Berner and was part of Odo of Bayeux's fief. It was similarly assessed at 5 hides before the Conquest and 2½ in 1086, and had been held by Alwine under Edward the Confessor. In neither holding was mention made of a church. The manor containing the vill and the manor house was Miles Crispin's, which eventually joined other manors of his in the Honour of Wallingford. The mesne tenants under the Lords of Wallingford were the family of Visdelou, certainly throughout the 12thc and 13thc, although there were sub-tenants too, including the Rycote family of Ryecote, Oxfordshire.


Exterior Features


Interior Features

Interior Decoration


There is nothing unusual in the sculpture here, which must be dated c.1190-1200, except for the wholly astonishing fact of its survival in a secular context. The two illustrated Country Life articles are of interest, as one dates from before Detmar Blow's restoration and the other immediately after it. The latest research on the house and its grounds will be found in Bond et.al. (2017).


Victoria County History: Berkshire IV, 1924, 335-41

Anon., "Appleton Manor", Country Life 5 April 1919, 372-74

Anon., "Appleton Manor", Country Life 11 May 1929, 670-75.

J. Bond, D. Clark, J. Harrison and T. Rowley, 'Appleton Manor: A "Most Remarkable Mansion"', Oxoniensia 82 (2017), 1-34.

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Berkshire. Harmondsworth, 1966, 65-66.

G. Tyack, S. Bradley and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Berkshire. New Haven and London 2010, 126-27.