Pictures from The Wychwoods Local History Society
Milton-under-Wychwood is a parish in the West Oxfordshire District. Its 2.080 acres stretch from the River Evenlode in the north east to Crows Castle, over the Downs in the south west. For most of the past century Milton was a hamlet or township in the parish of Shipton-under-Wychwood, although Milton has been the larger of the two villages since at least 1811, with more inhabited buildings and a more numerous population. Significantly, it was Shipton which has the larger houses such as Shipton Court, Lodge and Prebendal. In that time, Milton’s local management was conducted by the Vestry which met at the Butcher’s Arms or Quart Pot until the vestry came with the building of the Parish Church in 1854. Milton became a separate Civil Parish in 1894, and together with Lyneham and Bruern, became a separate Ecclesiastical Parish in 1895. The first parish meeting was held in 1894, and since then the Parish Council has been the village’s tier of local government.
The enclosures of 1849, followed by the deforestation of the Wychwood Forest and the construction and arrival of the railway, not only changed the landscape but also created work. This lead to an increase in the population of 84% between 1811 and 1871. But once those work sources dried up and were coupled with the slump in agriculture, there was a decline of 26% in the population from 1871 to 1911, with many seeking work in the Antipodes and the New World as well as in the industrial areas of this country. Since the Second World War, Milton’s population has more than doubled between 1951 and 1981, as has the number of inhabited buildings , with most of the new buildings erected in the 1970s.
In 1951 Milton’s population was 714 persons living in 249 households; which has risen to 1,475 persons in 550 households by the census of 1981. Between 1981 and 1991 the population had risen by a further 10% to 1,634 living in 14% more households (630). The car population also rose in the same decade by 42% to 848 in 1991, and there was a 70% increase in the number of households with more than one car.Many regret the proliferation of the motor car, but, when going to work only 8% of the Milton’s persons walked whereas 69% of the working population need a car.
In spite of the above changes and those created by the modern lifestyle, Milton has gained something of a reputation among the local Estate Agents as being a ‘friendly village’. With your help, the Parish Council will try to keep it so.
Figures from the Census Village Profiles