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Headington history: People

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Lords of the Manor 3: 1849–1917


William Peppercorn (1805–1864)
Lord 1849 to 1864, then his Trustees acted as Lord 1864–1911

William Peppercorn was born at St Neots in Cambridgeshire in 1905. The Peppercorns were an important family in St Neots, and there is still a Peppercorn’s Lane there.

By 1848 William Peppercorn was Steward of the Manor of Headington, and in 1849 he 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.

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, aka John Hutchinson Fiennes Peppercorn (twin, born in St Neot’s in 1837/8)
  • Emmeline Peppercorn (twin, 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 at Eaton Socon on 18 July 1864, and was buried at St Neots. His effects came to under £25,000, and 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's widow Jane Peppercorn died at Eaton Socon on 27 August 1870. She was described as having lived previously in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Her effects came to under £1,000.

His eldest son William Alexander Peppercorn died on 19 September 1883 (reg. South Whitchurch district) and was buried at St Neots.

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. His won Walter, a solicitor at 27 New Inn Hall Street, Oxford, acted as Steward of the Manor.

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 on 19 August 1907;
  • His youngest son the Revd Alfred Peppercorn died at the Rectory, Stoke Poges, Leominster at the age of 56 on 14 February1908;
  • His third son Walter Peppercorn died at his home in the Randolph Hotel, Oxford at the age of 66 on 17 January 1911. See his grave in St Sepulchre's Cemetery, with biography.

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 (1850–1917)
Lord 1911 to 1917, then his Executors acted as Lord to 1929

James Hoole was born at Edgefield in Yorkshire 1850 and was the only surviving son of the attorney Francis Hoole of Edgefield, Bradfield and Moor Lodge, Sheffield and Martha Hoole (probably a cousin), who were married in Sheffield on 26 July 1841.

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

On 15 June 1882 at Birdingbury, Warwickshire James Hoole married Mary Violet Hickman. She was the daughter of the Revd Richard Hickman and was born in Leamington on 25 August 1860. They had six children:

  • Francis William Hoole (born in Bradfield, Yorkshire in 1883
  • Ethel Josephine Hoole (born in Sheffield in 1887)
  • Margaret Alice Mary Hoole (born in Sheffield in 1890/1)
  • James Devereux Hoole (born in Hardingstone, Northamptonshire in 1892 but died the next year)
  • Lionel Rokeby Hoole (born in Piddington, Northamptonshire in 1895)
  • Percival James Richard Hoole (born at Headington Manor House on 10 April 1900
    and baptised at St Andrew's Church on 29 May, with first two names transposed in register).

Headington Manor House

In 1895 Colonel Hoole bought Headington Manor House (right).

Their youngest son was born at Headington Manor House in 1900.

At the time of the 1901 census James Hoole was away from home, probably fighting in the Boer War. His wife Mary (40) and their first five children were at home in Headington Manor House. They had seven servants in the house (a governess, nurse, cook, housemaid, maid, kitchen maid, and parlour maid. In addition their lodge-keeper lived in Manor lodge, and their coachman lived in Manor Cottage.

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.

Colonel James Hoole died at Headington Manor House on 8 August 1917 and was buried in Headington Cemetery (Block  9, Row T, Grave 1) 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” were 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.

His son Francis William Hoole was buried with him in Headington Cemetery on 28 March 1942.

His widow Mary Violet Hoole died Bath in 1943 at the age of 82 and her ashes were buried in Headington Cemetery on 2 June (H1/241).

The other Lords of the Manor of Headington

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The first Lords of the Manor

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Whorwood Lords of the Manor

© Stephanie Jenkins

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