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The Health of the People

The population figures taken from the census material and the percentages of the whole population are as follows:

Date 1841 1851 1861 1871 1881 1891 1901
Population 178 168 177 157 169 175 149
Adults 105
60%
111
66%
110
62%
104
66%
111
66%
110
63%
94
63%
Over 60 10
6%
18
11%
15
8%
19
12%
12
7%
26
15%
11
7%
Children 73
41%
57
34%
67
38%
53
34%
58
34%
65
37%
55
37%
Paupers 0 4 0 0 0 0 0

This shows a very stable number of people over the 120 years, going against the national trend which saw an increase in the first three decades of the 19th century. Nationally, the age balance of population was different from today, there being a much larger percentage of children. By 1850, 40% of the population was under fifteen and one in ten, 10%, was over 60.

In Elsfield, the number of children in the village was rather below the national average. The number of people over 60 fluctuated, as one might expect. Since all the cottages in the village were tied and needed by the farmers for their workers, some elderly people would have moved out of their homes when they could no longer work, either to move in with relatives or to the workhouse at Headington or St Clements or the house provided by the Mary Brett charity in Marston.

Paupers are listed in only one census, though they would undoubtedly have existed at other times. In 1851, Ann Tolley, aged 66 and living with her son and his family, is listed as a pauper or fieldworker, as is Sarah Lock, aged 76, living with her son and daughter-in-law. William and Mary Narroway, aged 80 and 77 respectively, are also paupers.

It is not possible to be as accurate about the information from 1825, though counting the people who lived in the cottages, there were 74 adults and 50 children. Added to this number must be five farmers and their families, of which we know nothing, Mrs Oglander, a lady of substance who paid £2 towards the upkeep of the Sunday School, and paid for the education of twelve children at the day school in Stow Wood. John Weyland Esquire is also listed along with John Beckley, who held fishing rights, presumably in the Cherwell, though the Bayswater Brook would have been a good source of trout. This means there were over 80 adults living in Elsfield and more than 50 children.


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