Witney, Oxfordshire Family History Guide

Witney from Market Square 1903
Witney from Market Square 1903

Witney is a market town of considerable antiquity on the Windrush, its history dating back to Saxon times. The Market Square is a large open space in the centre of which stands the Butter Cross, a quaint, antique, gabled wooden structure surmounted by a clock and sundial, which was presented to the town in the 17th century as a rendezvous for the sellers of market produce. Witney was noted for its manufacture of blankets.

Witney is an Ancient Parish in the county of Oxfordshire

Other places in the parish include: Curbridge and Lew.

Status: Ancient Parish

Parish church: St. Mary

Parish registers begin:

  • Parish registers: 1551
  • Bishop's Transcripts: 1682; 1721

Nonconformists include:

Table of Contents

Parishes adjacent to Witney

  • Ducklington
  • Brize Norton
  • Bampton Lew
  • Standlake
  • Crawley
  • Hailey
  • Minster Lovell
  • Cogges

Historical Descriptions


The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

Witney, market town, par., and township with ry. sta., Oxfordshire, 5 miles NE. of Bampton and 11¾ W. of Oxford - par., 7083 ac., pop. 5046; town and township, 188 ac., pop. 3017; P.O., T.O., 2 Banks, 2 newspapers. Market-day, Thursday. Witney is an ancient place, with a 13th century church, a blanket hall of 1721, a town hall, a county court house, a corn exchange, an old market cross, and a 3-arched bridge over the Windrush. It has glove-making and other industries, and has long been known for its mfrs. of blankets.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].


The Parliamentary Gazetteer of England and Wales 1848

Lew, a hamlet in the parish of Witney, county of Oxford; 3½ miles south-west by south of Witney. Acres 1,500. Houses 44. A. P. £1,470. Pop., in 1801, 222; in 1831, 237. Poor rates, in 1838, £137 14s.

Source: The Parliamentary Gazetteer of England and Wales; A Fullarton & Co. Glasgow; 1848


Below is a list of people that were declared bankrupt between 1820 and 1843 extracted from The Bankrupt Directory; George Elwick; London; Simpkin, Marshall and Co.; 1843.

Early John, jun., Witney, Oxfordshire, girth webb manufac., Aug. 5, 1842.


  • County: Oxfordshire
  • Civil Registration District: Witney
  • Probate Court: Courts of the Bishop (Episcopal Consistory) and the Archdeaconry of Oxford
  • Diocese: Oxford
  • Rural Deanery: Witney
  • Poor Law Union: Witney
  • Hundred: Bampton (Oxfordshire)
  • Province: Canterbury