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Chipping Norton in 1840

Chipping Norton is in Chadlington hundred, near the head of the river Evenlode, 19 miles north-west of Oxford by Woodstock. The town is of considerable antiquity, and is a corporate town, but has no historical interest. The area of the parish is 3,430 acres, or, including the hamlet of Over Norton, 4,780 : the population, in 1831, was, for Chippinq Norton, 2,262, about one-fifth agricultural, and for Over Norton. 375, more than half agricultural : together, 2,637. The town is situated on the slope of a considerable eminence. The streets are partially paved, but not lighted. The upper part of the town is the best built. The houses are chiefly of stone, and, though not regularly built, are many of them substantial and even ornamental. The church is a venerable Gothic building, with an embattled tower at the west end : it consists of a nave, with side aisles and a chancel. The nave is lofty, and has an oak roof rudely carved and painted ; it is separated from the chancel by a wooden screen. There are some remains of the ancient rood-loft. To the north of the church is the elevated site of the keep of an old castle. There is a town-hall, with a lock-up-house beneath it, a free school-house, some dissenting places of worship, and some almshouses.

There is a manufactory of woollen girths and horse-cloths, which, in 1833, employed fifty persons. Some of the townsmen are engaged in the Woodstock glove trade, but the majority of the work-people reside at a distance from the town. The agricultural district is flourishing, and there is scarcely any other market-town in a circuit of 13 or 14 miles round. The market is on Wednesday, and there are several yearly fairs or great markets for cattle. The corporation has jurisdiction over the parish, except the hamlet of Over-Norton; but a more restricted boundary has been proposed. The corporate body, under the Municipal Reform Act, consists of four aldermen and twelve councillors. The borough was not to have a commission of the peace, except on petition and grant. The living is a vicarage, of the clear yearly value of £129, with a glebe-house. There were in the whole parish, in 1833, a free grammar-school, with 16 boys ; a Lancasterian school, with 40 girls ; fourteen other day or boarding and day schools, with 125 boys, 119 girls, and 20 children whose sex was not distinguished ; and three Sunday-schools, with 299 children.