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Ruined Manor | by Martin Beek
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Ruined Manor

To the west is the ruin of the manor-house: most of its outer walls are still standing. This residence was erected by the Barry family in the second half of the 16th century. When Vincent Barry's daughter married Edward Fenner in 1598 provision was made for her father to live on at the manor-house. By an agreement of 1612 Barry was to have board and lodging for himself and two servants, and stabling for two geldings. The house retained its original Elizabethan plan and features almost unaltered up to the destruction of its roofs and interior by fire in 1887. It was three-storied and constructed throughout of coursed rubble with freestone dressings. E-shaped in plan, it has a battlemented central porch with a doorway with moulded jambs and a fourcentred arch with blank shields in the spandrels. The south window of the hall has eight lights with stone mullions and transoms and a moulded course running along the whole facade. All the other windows were stone-mullioned and square-headed, with moulded dripstones. When it was sold to William Wilson in 1809 it was described as 'a venerable Gothic mansion, which has been very substantially built of stone'. Several of the rooms were then said to be in 'an unfinished state' and the whole much neglected. The amenities included 'a garden, surrounded on three sides with brick and stone walls, lately built and planted'. About 1870, when the first extant photographs were taken, the interior retained many handsome chimney-pieces, and several of the rooms were nearly in their original state with some excellent oak panelling. (fn. 15) The house was subdivided into two tenements shortly before it was gutted by fire in April 1887. It was then jointly occupied by a farmer and Messrs. J. and B. New, paper manufacturers. The mansion was never repaired, but the stone exterior has withstood the weather well, and together with the nearby site of the former paper-mill it formed in 1955 one of the most picturesque ruins in Oxfordshire.

 

From: 'Parishes: Hampton Gay ', A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 6 (1959), pp. 152-159. URL: www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=63734

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Taken on January 5, 2009