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Pictures of Wheatley

in the county of Oxfordshire

About Wheatley

The south eastern Oxfordshire village of Wheatley is about 6 miles from Oxford City and some 50 miles from Central London but because the village is about 60 miles from the nearest seaside resort, it is considered to be one of the most 'inland' areas of the British Isles.

Wheatley was occupied by the Saxons and the Romans dating back to AD260. A Saxon cemetery was discovered in Wheatley during 1883 with some of the 'find' now available for viewing at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. A Roman Villa was also found in 1845 where coins and tiles were discovered.

Perhaps one of the most interesting features in Wheatley is the conical shaped stone 'lock up', a place of temporary detention which was built in 1834. Long ago the village was a place of gambling and heavy drinking due to the stone quarry industry that prevailed and ten or more public houses to choose from! So there was a certain wealth in the village and accordingly it attracted the younger men from Oxford who would spend their cash betting against the locals on bull baiting and cock fighting.

Apart from the stone quarrying for which incidentally the stone was used in the building of Windsor Castle and Merton College, Oxford, other local buildings were erected sometime after the 12th Century. Trades like milling and ochre grinding were taking place at the windmill situated in Windmill Lane, Wheatley which is in the process of restoration. Another local house worth seeing is that of Thomas Archdale who built and owned the so called Wheatley Manor House.

In 1862 the arrival of the railway changed Wheatley with links from the village to Oxford, High Wycombe and London. Today those same routes are covered by road and buses.

The Oxford to London 'stagecoach' ran through the village after crossing Shotover Hill today a Nature Reserve. But these were the days of the highwaymen and Wheatley was a favourite place to stop and rob. The Inns in Church Road and High Street, Wheatley would allow the travellers rest and a change of horses.

Shotover House, originally part of 'Shotover' was the home of Lt. Col Sir John Miller who was Crown Equerry to HM the Queen. During 1888 Sir John Miller's grandmother gifted the 'Merry Bells' situated in the High Street, to the villagers for use as a hotel. It is said she was upset to see the hardship and drunkenness in the village. Today the Merry Bells is the social centre of the village where one might go to discuss local planning details, vote in an election or just meet up with friends for a cup of tea and biscuits.

St Mary the Virgin Church in Church Street, Wheatley, otherwise referred to as 'St Mary's' was designed by G E Street and consecrated in 1857. On the site of the old tannery is the Congregational church which was built in 1842. Wheatley also has a Roman Catholic Church and Granary Hall chapel which is in the old mission hall.

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