The COXHEAD and the COX Families in Oxfordshire in the new book recently released.

To mark the millennium, The Otmoor Group has published a book entitled:

The book is a 128 page paperback and includes 16 pages of coloured illustrations, maps, and photographs.
Chapters include descriptions of Otmoor's:
- special sense of place
- hydrology
- geology
- history
- wildlife
- farming
- human population
- life in its surrounding villages
- past threats and hopes for its future

Copies available from Bruce Tremayne at:
The Old Rectory, Charlton-on-Otmoor, Oxfordshire, OX5 2UQ
Telephone: 01865 331 289
Price: £7.00 (+p&p if required)

Update 24-3-2002, Bill has found out that the 1st edition of the book has been sold out. The 2nd edition is now on sale. Price now 8 pounds sterling plus p&p.

This is Bill’s story about the Coxheads mentioned in the book. Bill’s story was written after studying the 45 pages that belonged in the draft of the chapter for a book on Otmoor 2000 that was still being researched during 2000. It was produced in the OTMOOR Website during 2000, in case anyone reading it can contribute.

At that time, Bill could not offer this story that he has added here. However, he is forwarding his story to Ms Polly Webb the Editor of the Village Newsletter of Horton cum Studley Oxfds. Polly brings out the Newsletter three times a year.
Hopefully she will enter Bill’s story in her Newsletter.

Her address : The Editor - Polly Webb,
Hedgerley, Church Lane,
Horton cum Studley, OX33 1AW
Her e-mail: < >

I strongly recommend that you view the website and go through the 45 pages of very interesting reading and enjoy seeing the many lovely photos. (24th March 2002)

Website URL

update: please note, the 45 page article / story that is now part of the book has been taken off the Web. If you want to read it, which I greatly recommend, just let me know and I shall email it to you.


About the COXHEAD and COX families of Beckley, Studley, White Cross Green, Otmoor Lane, Mill Field, Lower Green and the Marlake Estate in Oxfordshire, during the 16th to the 19th century.

After studing my records it appears that John, Robert and Richard Coxhead who are mentioned in the book were born in West Hanney. About three Coxhead / Coxed families where living there as early as 1540s. West Hanney is approx 2 miles nth of Wantage, about 14 miles s/w of Beckley, where the Coxheads farmed. Also about 7 miles east of Faringdon, 9 miles s/east of Black Bourton, all being in Oxfordshire very close to Berkshire. West Hanney is approx 12 miles north of Lambourn and approx 17 miles nth of Hungerford . All these places, plus Didcot and Garford were inhibited by many Coxhead / Coxeheade / Coxheade / Cockshead, Coxed and Cox families.

Very close to Faringdon which is approx 8 miles nth-west of Wantage are two tiny places named Great Coxwell and Little Coxwell. It is most likely that these places were named after the Cox or Coxhead families.

If you look at this area in Oxfords, Berks, Wilts, starting at Oxford City and work down in a clockwise direction to Reading, Kingsclere in Hamps, Woodhay in Berks, Ramsbury in Wilts, Highworth in Wilts, Faringdon and Black Bourton in Oxfds and ending back in Oxford City these locations surrounding Newbury, Hungerford, Lambourn and Wantage were the places where the bulk of the Coxhead families lived. The largest number were close to Hungerford. If you look at Highworth which is just 4 miles nth of Swindon Town in Wilts, then go east, up to Faringdon, to Kingston Bagpuize, to Appleton, to Oxford City and Beckley where John Coxhead ‘murdered himself’ in 1657, all that line of localities were inhibited by the Cockshead families and the Coxed / Coxhead families.

About the three Coxhead men mentioned in the story.

John, who carried out the survey of the manor in 1639 and was probably the bailiff., (he murdered himself 1657) was the son of James Coxhead and Jane. He had a brother Richard who married 1629 to Joanne Cox at Longford near West Hanney. The Will of their father James was drawn 14-6-1622. Mentioned in the Will are Jane the spouse of James, his sons John and Richard and daughter Judith. I have a copy of the WILL of James Coxhead drawn 14-6-1622, proved Aug 1622, of W. Hanney. James Coxhead was bapt 1548, s/o Henry Coxhead & Margaret Brice, of East Lockinge near Wantage, 5 mls sth of W. Hanney Robert Coxhead who is also mentioned is likely to have been one of these

1611 Robert Coxheade b s/o George Coxheade, 12-1-1611 - East Lockinge
1637 Robert Coxed b s/o Richard Coxed & Joanne Cox, 17-12-1637 - West Hanney

Its most likely that Robert was the one born 1637, making him the son of Richard and nephew of John.

This is the family of James Coxhead and Jane (of West Hanney)
(James Coxhead b 1548 s/o Henry Coxhead & Margaret Brice), of East Lockinge near Wantage, 5 mls sth of W. Hanney

About the Will
I have a copy of the WILL of James Coxhead drawn 14-6-1622, proved Aug 1622, of W Hanney

Mentioned in Will are:

son John
son Richard (married Joanne Cox 1629, his three sons mentioned in story)
dau Judith
godson James Wilde
godson James Coxe

Witness, John Place, & John Field, (spouse of Annis Coxhead of W. Hanney.)
and Phillip Moulden.
This is the family of Richard Coxed and Joanne, married 1629 at Longworth near W. Hanney

1633 Richard bap s/o Richard Coxed & Joanne
1635 John bap s/o Richard " & "
1637 Robert bap s/o Richard " & " (farmed at White Cross Green)
1639 William bap s/o Richard " & "
1641 Jane bap s/o Richard " & "

It seems that there was a Coxhead and Cox families living at the locations mentioned pre 1600 as early as 1540. The records show that Richard Coxhead married Joanne Cox at Longworth, 1-2-1629,
(2 miles nth of W. Hanney in Oxfordshire, 12 mls s/w of Beckley, where John farmed)

John, Robert and Richard farmed in Beckley, Studley part of Warren Farm, White Cross Green
In Studley / Bucks, was the Marlake Estate was held by John Coxhead & John Dickerson

The COX mentioned are John, younger brother Murray and sister Ellen, William, John and Eliza.

The Cox (ex Coxhead) family farmed White Cross Green in the 18th and 19th century (changed name from Coxhead to Cox)

William Cox was a ‘miller’ in 1851 census, gave up by 1861, the windmill demolished c1855. John Cox (and Eliza Cox) was a sexton, jobbing gardner, looked after churchyard and was the gravedigger. Late 18th century, c 1780 ?
William Cox was an ag / lab. Living on Otmoor Lane & Lower Green
next door were William Cox ‘head’ wife Emily, plus 4 kids,
next door were Jesse Cox wife Emily and son Arthur

marriage 1-2-1629, Richard Coxhead married Joane Cox at Longworth 2 mls nth of W.
Hanney, 12 mls s/w of Oxford City
birth 26-01-1633 Richard Coxed s/o Richard Coxed at W. Hanney
Richard Coxhead mentioned as of White Cross Green having 3 hearths c1655
(hearths were items that accounted for paying tax)

Changed name COXHEAD to COX

By the time of the 19th century census, Whitecross Green was farmed by the Cox family. This may have been the same family who had dropped the “head”.

These are extracts from the chapter HORTON CUM STUDLEY of the book where the Coxhead and Cox were mentioned.
These were shown in the 45 page section which was shown in the Website while the book was being written. The 45 pages have now been removed from the OTMOOR Website. (24-3-2002)
Bill has a copy.

Fines for breaches of the orders were normally shared between the lord of the manor of Beckley and the hayward (official of the manor responsible for the hedges) and moor men. Forfeits went to the lords of Beckley, as in 1657, when John Coxhead's cattle and 6o sheep which he had on the moor were declared forfeited after he had `murthered himselfe'


Mr Alexander Croke 13, Henry Parker 3, William Surman 1, William Hitchcook 1, William Neibour 2, William Kinge 2, Robert Coxhead 3 (Whitecross Green).

(It appears that in 1665, Studley included the Priory and dwellings in Oxfordshire, and Horton the west part of the villages)

At the Reformation, the reigning prioress Johanna Williams, who was related to Sir John Williams of Thame (later Lord Williams), in November 1539, signed the deed of surrender to the king and left the priory with those of her nuns who still remained. In February 1540, according to Dunkin, Henry VIII granted to “John Croke and his heirs the site of the Priory of Studley, the rectory and advowson of Beckley as fully as the Prioress had them at the time of the Dissolution”. John Croke paid £1,187.7.11d for the estate. John’s son John became High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire and speaker in Queen Elizabeth’s Parliament.

Another prominent name was John Coxhead who farmed at Whitecross Green but also had strips in the Mill Field. It was he who made a survey of the manor in 1639 and was probably the bailiff. By the time of the 19th century censuses Whitecross Green was farmed by the Cox family. This may have been the same family who had dropped the “head”. John Coxhead appeared to have committed suicide in 1657, when John Coxhead's cattle and 6o sheep which he had on the moor were declared forfeited after he had `murthered himselfe'.

The Warren is another field name on the map, now Warren Farm. There were also a number of farm buildings. The names are difficult to read but one crofter may have been Bryre? Radford and another John Coxhead. The field surrounding Gardiner’s Barn was called Gardiners.

In Studley, Bucks Marlake Estate was held by John Dickerson and John Coxhead and the Warren estate (now Warren Farm) of 218 acres was held by Richard Dolbey, leased from the Croke family.

UPDATE NOTE : Studley lies between Chippenham and Calne, abt 16 mls east of Bath, also close to Goatacre.

The 1665 Hearth Tax return for Studley shows the houses that were big enough to have hearthe. They were the Priory 13 hearths, Henry Parker 3 hearths (Richard Parker’s son?), Willaim Surman 1 hearth, William Hitchcock 1 chimney, William Neighbour 2 hearths, William Kinge (a newcomer) 2 hearths and Richard Coxhead at Whitecross Green 3 hearths.

The 18th Century

Marlake house is not marked in the 1786 map and the land had been divided into four farms. Three are farming from Whitecross Green, Hewett 88 acres, Coates 54 acres and Clark 123 acres including Asham field. The fourth, was held by Moses Blake with most of John Coxhead’s estate plus part of the Warren estate with a farm house at the west end of the Warren. William Tipping held Warren Farm with 180 acres all of which was held by Richard Dolbey in 1641.

Elizabeth was born circa 1835 in the village while her older brother Edward was born outside the county indicating that they moved to the village about 1834. The family is not recorded on the 1851 census but the miller is then William Cox. By 1861 census John Coates is the baker but no mention of being a miller. As David Andrew gave up after a few years indicates that the business was not flourishing. William Cox gave it a go but gave up by 1861. It is speculation that the windmill was demolished about 1855. It is not shown on the 1878 map. From the census the miller and baker lived near the Almshouses in 1841.

There was another cottage occupied by John and Eliza Cox. John was described as Sexton and Jobbing Gardener. He looked after the churchyard and was the gravedigger. His cottage was probably on the site of the brick house later lived in by Ben Coles.

Also living on Otmoor Lane or Lower Green Lane as it became were Ann Murray, Pauper; William Watts, Domestic Servant and William Cox, Agricultural Labourer.

Turning down Brill Road, on the right next to the smithy was the village pound, the first house on the right was the vicarage. The vicar was Samuel Auchmuty from Wiltshire with his wife Agnes and daughter Mary. Also in the house was Lewis Croft a lodger from Somerset and two servants Ellen and Rose Cox from Preston Bisset, Bucks.

The Whitecross Green farmer was James Cox with his sister Ellen and younger brother Murray. Next door the more of the Cox family were also described as farmers with William head of the family with his wife Emily and four children and domestic servant Martha Wharton from Little Milton. Another cottage housed Jesse Cox and his wife Emily and son Arthur.

In 1851 the population was 435 with 93 inhabited houses. By 1891 the population had reduced to 340. In 1891 there were 76 inhabited houses and five uninhabited. 47 had less than five rooms.

The 1665 Hearth Tax return for Studley shows the houses that were big enough to have hearthe.
(hearthe : the floor of a fireplace)
They were the Priory 13 hearths
Richard Coxhead at Whitecross Green 3 hearths. (Richard Coxhead c1665 Wilts)


The Horton cum Studley Village Newsletter is published three times a year by the Parish Council. Deadline for copy for the next issue is the end of January 2001.
Please send your news, views or letters for publication (preferably typed)

to the Editor - Polly Webb,
Hedgerley, Church Lane,
Horton cum Studley, OX33 1AW

marking the letter "Village Newsletter" or e-mail < >


Hello Polly Webb

Greetings from Melbourne Australia

Thought I’ll let you know that by some good luck I came across your OTMOOR, Horton cum Studley Website. This was while using the Google Search Engine.

I greatly enjoyed going through it all, also viewing the lovely photos of your area. I read all the stories and history articles.

My connection is this. For the past six years I have been researching my family, the COXHEAD family.
It was while searching for Coxhead names in Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire & Gloucestshire, that I came across your Site. The Book ‘Otmoor 2000 AD’ Relections of an English landscape, mentions John, Richard and Robert Coxhead (some of their decendants changed their name to Cox.) who farmed in that locality, 1540 onwards. I then looked into my records so to find these persons and their family links.

I have now put together a two page story which shows who these persons were, also where they came from and something about their families. I also need to tell you that I have a private COXHEAD FAMILY Website with approx. 30 members world wide. I have entered my story in my Website and also advertised the book, OTMOOR 2000 AD. I gave it a very good write up and suggested to my members to visit your Website and buy the book.

If you think you can use my 2 page story in your Newsletter or in your local Family History Magazine, please do let me know and I shall email the story to you, plus a photo. Would there be any decendants of the COX family mentioned in the book still living in that locality.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

I would like to wish you and all the people in your village, also your Newsletter readers a very Happy and Blessed Easter.

Best regards.
Sincerely. William J. Coxhead.

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