North Hinksey is a village and civil parish in Oxfordshire, England, immediately west of Oxford. The civil parish includes the large settlement of Botley, effectively a suburb of Oxford. North Hinksey was part of Berkshire until the 1974 boundary changes transferred it to Oxfordshire.
The village of North Hinksey has a manor house, The Fishes public house, a Church of England primary school and a Church of England parish church of Saint Lawrence that dates back to at least the 12th century. Four of the older houses have thatched roofs. There are also the administrative offices of the Church of England diocese of Oxford (Diocesan Church House). Harcourt Hill and Raleigh Park lie to the southwest of the village.
All the shopping and other facilities in the parish are now found in Botley. The centre of the old village is now effectively cut off from much of the newer part of Botley by the busy Oxford Ring Road, part of the A34 trunk road, though there are two pedestrian underpasses.
North Hinksey was part of the HormerHundred and the Abingdon Poor Law Union. The parish was located in the Abingdon Rural District 1894-1974, and since that date in the Vale of White Horse District of Oxfordshire.
Also called Hengestesige (10th century); Hengsteseia (12th century); Henxtesey (13th century); Northengseye (15th century); Laurence Hinksey, Ferry Hinksey, Ivy Hinksey,. North Hinksey was anciently called Hengestseigge, and was given in 955 to Abingdon Abbeis. This place was settled in the Saxon era. Its toponym is thought to mean 'stallion's isle'. Along with the neighbouring village of South Hinksey, it was once part of the estate of the Benedictine abbey at Abingdon, and was in Berkshire until the boundary changes of 1974. The village appears on the 1610 John Speed map as 'Laurence Hinksey', after the church's dedication, while a 1670s map shows 'Ivy Hinksey'. It was also at one time called Ferry Hinksey, being linked to the eastern side of Hinksey Stream by a small ferry, reached from west Oxford by way of Ferry Hinksey Road. The ferry ceased operation in 1928, and the various streams are now crossed by small bridges, though a 'Ferry Cottage' remains that matches the period and has access to the river. Ferry Hinksey (as it then was) is also the burial place of Thomas and Rachael Willis (died 1648 and 1631 respectively) the parents of the physician Dr Thomas Willis. He played an important part in the history of anatomy, neurology, and psychiatry, and was a founding member of the Royal Society.
The critic John Ruskin was fond of riding out from Oxford, and his trips often took him westwards to North Hinksey, whose rustic charm he admired. (There is a plaque to this effect on one of the old thatched cottages.) He noted the poor state of the village road, and in 1874, he thought of a scheme which would give Oxford students the benefits of manual labour, and also improve conditions for the villagers. He organised a group of undergraduates to help him in the building of an improved road, bordered with banks of flowers. The episode might have vanished into historical obscurity, except that the students in his road-building gang included Oscar Wilde, Alfred Milner, Hardwicke Rawnsley, William Gershom Collingwood and Arnold Toynbee. Wilde later wrote of the episode in Art and the Handicraftsman (published in Essays, 1879):
Online Historical References
Nineteenth Century Local Administration
English Jurisdictions is a webpage provided by FamilySearch which analyses every ecclesiastical parish in England at the year 1851. It provides, with the aid of outline maps, the date at which parish records and bishops transcripts begin, non-conformist denominations with a chapel within the parish, the names of the jurisdictions in charge: county, civil registration district, probate court, diocese, rural deanery, poor law union, hundred, church province; and links to FamilySearch historical records, FamilySearch Catalog and the FamilySearch Wiki. Two limitations: only England, and at the year 1851.
During the 19th century two bodies, the Poor Law Union and the Sanitary District, had responsibility for governmental functions at a level immediately above that covered by the civil parish. In 1894 these were replace by Rural and Urban Districts. These were elected bodies, responsible for setting local property assessments and taxes as well as for carrying out their specified duties. Thses districts continued in operation until 1974. Urban districts for larger municipalities were called "Municipal Boroughs" and had additional powers and obligations.
Poor Law Unions, established nationally in 1834, combined parishes together for the purpose of providing relief for the needy who had no family support. This led to the building of '"union poorhouses" or "workhouses" funded by all the parishes in the union. The geographical boundaries established for the individual Poor Law Unions were employed again when Registration Districts were formed three years later. In 1875 Sanitary Districts were formed to provide services such as clean water supply, sewage systems, street cleaning, and the clearance of slum housing. These also tended to follow the same geographical boundaries, although there were local alterations caused by changes in population distribution.