One of the places featured in the book Oxfordshire A Glorious County is Deddington.
Deddington is a large village sitting on a ridge overlooking the Cherwell Valley in North Oxfordshire with attractive buildings including its Town Hall in Market Place, the Parish Church of St Peter & St Paul, and a row of almshouses. Distinguished residents here have included Sir Thomas Pope, and Sir William Scroggs.
Sir Thomas Pope was born here in 1507 and rose to great wealth and influence. Thomas was educated at Banbury and Eton, during the reign of King Henry VIII, before becoming a lawyer at Gray’s Inn in London. The King made him Treasurer of the Court of Augmentation and he administered revenues for the Dissolution of the Monasteries. He also founded Trinity College Oxford.
Sir William Scroggs was also a great lawyer. He was born here in 1623. In 1678 he was appointed Chief Justice but in 1680 he was impeached. Although the impeachment was rejected, he was dismissed from high office the following year.
Deddington’s Pudding Pie Fair became famous, but the pies stopped being made in the 1930’s when the fair also ceased. They were a traditional fayre, made of a soft bread and butter pudding in a hard outer casing which contained suet, baked specially for the occasion.
Market Place is a spacious, triangular area, which is partly covered with greens, at the heart of the village. The Town Hall in the centre of Market Place was built of brick in 1806 to replace an earlier building. It originally stood on open arches on the ground floor to house shops and market stalls, and the upper floor was used for Vestry meetings and as a Court House. The arches were bricked up in 1858 to form a shelter for the parish fire engine. The Town Hall has a Coat of Arms on its south wall which were granted in 1994.
The Unicorn, in Market Place, was a seventeenth century coaching inn. It has a beautiful Unicorn in white and gold on the front of the building.
The stone church of St Peter & St Paul, dominates the view from Market Place.
Castle House stands to the north of the church next to the churchyard. It was formerly the rectorial manor house which was acquired by the Dean and Canons of Windsor in 1353. King Charles I stayed here for a night in 1644 after a battle during the English Civil War. The present house dates to mainly the seventeenth century.
Mounds to the south east of the village mark the site of Deddington Castle which was in existence by 1100. It had been built by the Bishop of Bayeux who was a half-brother of William the Conqueror. In 1312 Piers Gaveston was held captive here. He was a Royal favourite of King Edward II but had alienated powerful barons and was seized by the Earl of Pembroke and brought here. He was then seized by the Earl of Warwick and taken to be executed at Blacklow Hill near Warwick. By the end of the fourteenth century the castle had largely disappeared.
Deddington is now a village with many stone buildings and a delightful Market Place.