Though the extent and location of
Tilgarsley's fields may be traced, the site of the
deserted hamlet remains uncertain.
early 14th century Tilgarsley was a substantial
settlement, paying more in taxes than Eynsham
In 1327 there were 28 taxpayers in
Tilgarsley and 27 in Eynsham.
In 1359 it was
alleged that Tilgarsley was abandoned in 1350
because all the inhabitants had died; the mortality was perhaps
overstated, since several longestablished family names survived,
but the hamlet was evidently deserted, and the abbot was
accordingly granted relief from subsidies.
By the early 15th century the open fields of
Tilgarsley were divided into inclosed 'crofts and
pastures' which may be traced in later maps.
There are no later references to habitations there
but in 1390 the abbot was storing tithe hay for
his own use at le Bolde.
Bold croft and Bold
close were frequently recorded in the later Middle Ages,
and later, as the Bowles (c. 34 a. in
1650), they included the site of the surviving
The land was former demesne,
and the presence there of the abbot's barn in the
later 14th century suggests that before the catastrophe
the site may have been the centre of the
home farm in Tilgarsley's fields. West and
south-west were Grange coppice (70a., of which
only Castle's coppice remains wooded) and
Grange close (59a.),
names which presumably
recall the monastic grange.
'Bolds' were buildings and the field name
probably denotes the site of deserted dwellings.
In the early 18th century it was alleged
that Tilgarsley had contained a church, and
'they call the ground surrounding the place the
In 1802 a field south of Bowles Farm
was called Churchyard ground, and in the early
19th century Eynsham's vicar mentioned that
'stones and bones are frequently found there'.
There is no documentary reference to an early
chapel at Tilgarsley, and it is unlikely that
valuable burial rights were granted away from
Eynsham without record; Churchyard ground,
moreover, is not recorded among abundant references
to Tilgarsley's fields in the later Middle
Ages. The reference to a churchyard rather than
to a church suggests that the field name may
have been inspired merely by the discovery of
burials, whose date and significance remains
uncertain. It was probably correct, however, to
link Tilgarsley with Bowles. In addition to
evidence placing the abbot's home farm there it
is clear that in 1449 the 'place called Tilgarsley'
lay near the southern perimeter of the High
wood, later Eynsham heath;
of many ancient lanes near Bowles Farm seems
to imply an important settlement and the arrangement
of early closes, particularly along the
west side of Cuckoo Lane, may indicate former
Archaeological evidence is
lacking, however, and the only remains identified as
a possible habitation site lie ½ mile
south-east of Bowles Farm in an area once called
Tilgarsley was perhaps large
enough to include both that site and the Bowles.
Some alternative identifications of the lost
hamlet were based on a misinterpretation of
references to the manor or its fields, for the
name Tilgarsley, denoting a wide area in the
north and west of the parish, survived into
There is no evidence to support
the identification of Twelve Acre Farm as the
site of the hamlet, although it lay within Tilgarsley's
fields and indeed became a centre of
demesne farming in the later Middle Ages:
masonry ploughed up near Stockman's close
may have been from that period.
Eighteenthcentury county maps located Till Guzzel or
Tilgarsley near Barnard Gate.
||Below, Econ. (Agric.); M. Beresford, Hist. on the
||e.g. B.L. Harl. Roll E 24.
||P.R.O., E 179/161/9.
Eynsham Cart. ii, pp. 69 sqq.
||Below, Econ. (Agric.).
Eynsham Cart. ii, p. Ixxiv.
||e.g. B.L. Harl. Rolls F 2, 13, 17; G 12. In P.N. Oxon.
(E.P.N.S.), ii. 259 two 13th-cent. references to Bowles are
assigned, probably in error, to Bowles Farm.
||e.g. O.R.O., Palm. IV/1; Blenheim Mun., E/P/9b.
||Cf. O.R.O., Palm. IV/1; Reading Univ. Arch., OXF
22/5/5; O.R.O., CH. XIX/1.
O.E.D. A deserted settlement in Bucknell was discovered in a field called Bolliers (Ball yerds in 1695): Deserted
Villages of Oxon. 43; County Mus., P.R.N. 5491.
Hearne's Colln. vii (O.H.S. xlviii), 236.
||O.R.O. incl. map; Bodl. MS. Top. Oxon. b 275, p. 13.
In another copy of his note the vicar interlined 'grave' before
'stones': ibid. MS. Don. d 180, f. 3v.
Eynsham Cart. ii, pp. 42-3.
||Blenheim Mun., E/P/9b.
||County Mus., P.R.N. 5424.
||e.g. P.R.O., RG 11/1513.
||Corresp. in County Mus., P.R.N. 5424.
||Davis, Oxon. Map (1797).