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Field Names

Ownership

Gurdon’s Ground. ‘Ground’ often refers to land enclosed in the 15th and 16th century. Gurdon’s Ground lies next to the Ham. The Gurdon family are mentioned in 1703, though it is not clear from the map which land they farmed. John Gurdon appears on the list of tenant farmers paying rent to Lord North in 1825. He farmed 63.16 acres. In the 19th century the family was still living in Elsfield and in the 1851 census are listed as corn merchants. There was a bakery called Gurdons in nearby Summertown until late into the 20th century, and the maiden name of Mrs Taylor, wife of the Christ Church librarian who occupied Home Farm from 1946 to the 1960s was Gurdon.

Burnhams was so called in 1703 and is still called that today.

Woodcock’s Close near Forest Farm refers to a person, not the bird, and Mrs Taylor’s, at what is now Dove House, was the wife of the librarian of Christ Church for whom Home Farm was modernised after the death of Miss Parsons in 1944.

Religion, Folklore

Sometimes references to the church mean that that land was put aside to support the poor of the parish. The field known as Sermons Close on the 2008 map does not appear to have any connection with the church, which has Vicar’s Field lying adjacent to it, and may refer to a person.

Of the Prior’s Furze or Prior’s Hill Corner which appear on the1629 list of names there is no trace in 1703 so we have no means of knowing where the fields were.


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