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Seacourt is a deserted medieval village near Botley in Oxfordshire It was part of Berkshire until the 1974 boundary changes transferred it to Oxfordshire


  • 1 Toponym
  • 2 Manor
  • 3 Parish church
  • 4 Economic and other history
  • 5 References
  • 6 Sources


Seacourt's toponym is derived from the Old English apparently meaning the homestead of an Anglo Saxon man called Seofeca1 It evolved from Seofecanwyrthe and Seovecurt in the 10th century, through Sevacoorde and Sevecurt in the 11th century, Sewkeworth and Seuekwrth in the 12th century, Sevecheworda and Sevecowrthe in the 13th century and Sekworth and Sewecourte in the 16th century2


The earliest known record of Seacourt is from 955, when King Eadwig granted 20 hides of land at Hinksey, Seacourt and Wytham to the Benedictine Abingdon Abbey2 By the time of the Domesday Book in 1086 the abbey had let the lordship of the manor of Seacourt to a lay tenant2

In 1313 one Walter le Poer of Tackley, Oxfordshire granted the manor to Sir William Bereford and his son for the rest of their lives2 Subsequently the reversion of the manor was granted to Isabel de Vesci and her brother Henry de Beaumont2 After the deaths of the younger Bereford and Isabel de Vesci, Henry de Beaumont granted Seacourt to his son John Beaumont and daughter-in-law Eleanor Plantaganet2 In 1409 their son Henry Beaumont, 3rd Baron Beaumont sold Seacourt to one William Wilcotes of North Leigh, Oxfordshire2

The manor then passed through various hands and was broken up into shares until 1469, when Sir Richard Harcourt started buying them up2 By the time he died in 1486, Sir Richard owned the whole of the manors of Seacourt and Wytham2 Thereafter the two manors stayed together and by 1546 Seacourt was considered part of the manor of Wytham2

Parish churchedit

Seacourt had a parish church by 1200, when Robert de Seacourt or Seckworth, lord of the manor, granted it to the prioress of the Benedictine Studley Priory, Oxfordshire2 According to a 13th-century charter Seacourt parish church was dedicated to Saint Mary2 In 1439 it was reported that the church building had collapsed2 In the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539 Studley Priory surrendered its lands to the Crown, which sold them in 15403 Studley Priory and its possessions at Seacourt were sold to one John Croke,2 an ancestor of the John Croke who was a lawyer, judge, member of Parliament and Speaker of the House of Commons towards the end of the reign of Elizabeth I

Economic and other historyedit

Seacourt had two watermills They were described as corn mills in the 12th century, when William de Seacourt, lord of the manor, granted their tithes to the Benedictine Godstow Abbey2 Early in the 13th century his son Robert de Seacourt also granted their tithes to Godstow Abbey, but this time they are described as fulling mills2

All of Seacourt's original houses were timber-framed4 Then in the 13th century a new north-south street was laid out and lined with stone-built houses on both sides5

The old road between Eynsham and Oxford passed through Seacourt rather than Botley2 In the Middle Ages the treacle ie healing well at Binsey was a place of pilgrimage Binsey is just on the other side of Seacourt Stream, so some pilgrims used to stay at Seacourt to visit the well2 According to tradition, Seacourt had 24 inns to accommodate them2 However in 1439 the report that Seacourt parish church had collapsed stated also that all but two of the houses in the village were ruined and uninhabited2

In the time of the antiquarian Anthony Wood 1632–95 the ruins of Seacourt were still visible2 Today no building survives on the site of the village but there are a few bumps in the fields The village site was excavated between 1937 and 19396 and again in 1958 and 19597

In 1924 there were two farms to the south of the former village2 One was Seacourt Farm, which survived until 19638

By 1831 Seacourt was an extra-parochial area2 In 1858 it became a civil parish, but in 1900 it was absorbed into the neighbouring parish of Wytham9

The name continues in Seacourt Stream, the Seacourt Bridge public house by Seacourt Road, Seacourt Tower and Seacourt Park and Ride car park


  1. ^ Ekwall, 1960
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w Page & Ditchfield, 1924, pages 421–423
  3. ^ Page, 1907, pages 77–79
  4. ^ Rowley, 1978, page 48
  5. ^ Rowley, 1978, pages 48, 126
  6. ^ Bruce-Mitford, 1940
  7. ^ Biddle, 1961–62
  8. ^ Hanson, 1995, pp52–55
  9. ^ Vision of Britain website


  • Biddle, Martin 1961–62 "The Deserted Medieval Village of Seacourt, Berkshire" PDF Oxoniensia Oxford Architectural and Historical Society XXVI-XXVII: 70–201 Retrieved 21 July 2010 
  • Bruce-Mitford, RLS 1940 "The Excavations at Seacourt, Berks, 1939 an interim report" PDF Oxoniensia Oxford Architectural and Historical Society V 
  • Ekwall, Eilert 1960 1947, "Seacourt", Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-Names, Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-869103-3 
  • Hanson, John 1995 The Changing Faces of Botley and North Hinksey Witney: Robert Boyd 
  • Page, WH, ed 1907 A History of the County of Oxford, Volume 2 Victoria County History pp 77–79 
  • Page, WH; Ditchfield, PH, eds 1924 A History of the County of Berkshire, Volume 4 Victoria County History pp 421–423 
  • Rowley, Trevor 1978 Villages in the Landscape Archaeology in the Field Series London: JM Dent & Sons Ltd pp 48, 126 ISBN 0-460-04166-5 

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