Sibford Scene Archive

Sibford Scene 088 July 1985

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Vicar Stevens's diaries

The Reverend E.T. Stevens was, as many readers know, Vicar of Sibford between 1877 and 1900.

During the whole of his time here he kept detailed diaries which form a fascinating account of the Sibfords of the time. I am no expert but I imagine they are of little monetary worth. However, they form an invaluable contribution to the social history of the time.

A considerable number of the diaries are in the possession of Mr J.A. Oddie, whose parents lived at Sibford House in the Ferris and whose brother, Hugh, is commemorated in a window in the Church. Tony Oddie still holds these villages in high and affectionate regard. He has bequeathed the volumes of the diaries in his possession to the Bodleian Library in Oxford.

Of the many other volumes, some are known to be in the possession of present residents of these villages, and many more may be. I wonder if those who read this and who have volumes of the diaries would be willing to let me know what periods they cover so that a record can be compiled of what is still extant. Of course, if present owners were willing to bequeath their volumes to the Bodleian Library to add to the material which will be available to future researchers and historians, that would be wonderful.

I would be most grateful for any information which anybody is willing to give. If you wish it to remain confidential, of course it will. A note to Barn Close, Burdrop is all that is needed!

Thank you in advance.

Colin Frith

The Friends

It was interesting to read the account of the Quaker Meeting House by Rebecca Key in last month’s Sibford Scene, with its list of “don’ts”.

Here is a list of “do’s”.

Quakers do work for reconciliation.
They do try to follow the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth.
They do aim to build communities of peace and friendship in every part of the world.

The Meeting House, which was enlarged in 1864 to accommodate the Friends School, has light, simplicity and space. The seats are arranged to focus on the centre because all members have an equal responsibility for the Meeting and its duties.

Worship is based on silence but anyone present may speak or give a reading if, in this gathered silence, the impulse comes to them and they feel it would help the Meeting.

Visitors are always very welcome.

A Group of Quakers.

Shoppers' paradise

It was surprising how many shops there were in Sibford in the early 1900’s.

In Sibford Gower there used to be a Co-op opposite our school. It sold groceries, parrafin and coal. A sweet shop had its place in front of what is now Wyatt’s Close. That was owned by Miss Wyatt, hence the name. The Old Post Office was once the Post Office, owned by Mr Inns. Another sweet shop was in Bond’s End Lane. Mrs Stow owned this one and used to sell sweets costing one farthing (¼ of ½ a penny).

In Burdrop there was a shoe-menders that sold milk as well and was owned by Mr Ward.

In Sibford Ferris there were many shops. An old lady named Mrs Long owned the Bakehouse (now the Old Bakehouse), and baked the bread. On Sundays before Church people brought their beef and Yorkshire pudding to the bakehouse and she would bake it for 6d (2½p).

At Sunnybank there was a Post Office and shop. This was owned by Miss Green and that is where the name of Green’s Shop came from. Dame Anne’s house had a small grocers shop and drapers in it. In Little Thatch there was a wool shop. It then moved to Maria’s House. The wool shop was owned by a Mrs Gibbins.

When you needed meat the butcher called. After the bakehouse closed down, bread came from the baker in Epwell, Tysoe or Hook Norton.

To get water in Sibford you had to draw it from a well. There was one outside Valley View, and one at the Burdrop end of Mannings Hill by the seat up to the Church Field. There was a coal depot in Sibford where Home Farm Close now stands. There were two stone quarries in Sibford Ferris, one at Temple Mill and one at Belle Isle Farm.

A Sibford Club kept Sibford going. This was an insurance club for sickness and special club days were arranged for all the village.

In Sibford Manor lived a man called Frank Lascelles. He looked after all the farm machinery in a big barn at the back of the Manor. Most of Sibford’s farm machinery was kept here for there wasn’t much.

When there were no cars it took a whole day to get to Banbury and back in a cart for the horses had to pull up all the hills. A carrier’s cart went back and fro once a day. The Carrier took orders from anyone in Sibford, and then went and got all the orders and brought them back. For instance, if you wanted a pair of shoes you could go to Banhury on the cart if there was room, or you could tell the carrier what kind of shoes you wanted and he would go to the shoe shop in Banbury and get a selection of shoes and bring them home for you to try on , and next day take back the ones you didn’t want. In about 1918 the first bus ran from Sibford.

Rebecca Moir helped in her researches by Mrs Frances Bason


Sibford Table Tennis Club has enjoyed one of its best seasons for many years. The A team, Bill Wealsby, Fred Inns and the Rev. Nicholas Morgan, finished top of the second division of the Banbury and District T.T. League, thus gaining promotion to the 1st Division. Bill Wealsby also won the divisional knock-out competition.

The E Team, Jennifer Wealsby, Sean O’Keeffe and Jason Tustain, finished top of the 5th division, gaining promotion to the 4th Division, and this team also won the Handicap Competition which involves all the teams in the League. Sean also won the Divisional Knock-out Competition for the 5th Division. In the individual cup competitions, Jennifer Wealsby reached the Ladies Singles final and partnered Ina Lamb to win the Ladies Doubles.

It is most encouraging to have several teams with keen young players in them and we hope that this augurs well for the future.

Ina Lamb

Above, you may see one or two items of historical interest from this edition. To see the whole edition, click on the front-page image to download it as a pdf.

It will take a while, but we’re gradually building up this archive of complete copies of all editions of the Sibford Scene since its inception in 1977. Yet to be uploaded are editions between 2006 and 2015.