Hook Norton

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Hook Norton
Hook norton brewery 1.jpg
Hook Norton brewery
Grid reference: SP358336
Location: 52°0’2"N, 1°28’44"W
Population: 2,001  (2001)
Post town: Banbury
Postcode: OX15
Dialling code: 01608
Local Government
Council: Cherwell
Website: Hook Norton Village

Hook Norton is a village in Oxfordshire, in a shallow bowl in the edge of the Cotswold Hills. The village stands 4½ miles northeast of Chipping Norton.

The village is formed of four neighbourhoods: East End, Scotland End (in the west), Down End (in the centre) and Southrop (in the south).


In the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for the year 922, the village is called Hocneratune. In the Domesday Book of 1086 it is called Hochenartone.[1] Other historical spellings of the name include Hocceneretune (1050), Hogenarton (1216) and Okenardton (1263).[2] Another variation may be 'Hegnorton' as seen in 1430.[3]

The name may possibly mean 'the farmstead of the Hoccanere tribe', the supposed tribal name deriving from the personal name 'Hocca' and Old English 'ora' (hill-slope), together with 'tun', settlement.[4]


The present parish church, St Peter, is of Norman origin but also has Early English, Decorated Gothic and Perpendicular Gothic features. The Norman font is 11th century and is unusual in featuring pagan signs of the Zodiac. St Peter's contains a number of mediæval wall paintings including saints, angels and the Apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul.[5] The church tower has a ring of eight bells.[6]

St Peter's is now within the Benefice of Hook Norton with Great Rollright, Swerford and Wigginton.

Hook Norton Baptist Church is among the oldest in Britain, having been founded 1640.[7] Its present building is Georgian, built in 1781.[5]

Hook Norton also had a Methodist chapel, which was built in 1875.[5]


The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records that a Viking army raided the Hook Norton area in 913,[8] and the village had a parish church by AD 922.[9] Reports of a band of villagers arming themselves and attempting to fight a Viking raiding party have also been made, supported by finds in nearby fields.

The Domesday Book records that in 1086 Hook Norton had 76 villagers and two mills.[1]

Economic history

Hook Norton had a clockmaker, Thomas Webb,[10] who maintained the turret clock at St Giles' parish church in Wigginton from 1788 until 1834.[11] Webb was succeeded in his trade at Hook Norton by John Paine, who maintained the clock at Wigginton from 1835 until 1855.[12] In 1840 Paine built a new turret clock for St George's parish church, Brailes in Warwickshire.[12]

Railway viaduct piers to the south of Hook Norton

The former Banbury and Cheltenham Direct Railway, part of the Great Western Railway, served Hook Norton with a railway station at East End. British Railways closed the station in 1951 and closed the railway to all traffic in 1964. Tall stone pillars which supported two B&CDR viaducts can be seen in the valley to the south of the village.

Near Hook Norton there were several ironstone quarries, evidence of which can still be seen. The Brymbo Ironworks, opened in 1899, had its own narrow gauge railway and was connected to the B&CDR at Council Hill Sidings, ¾ mile east of Hook Norton station. The Brymbo Ironworks closed in 1946 and was dismantled in 1948.

Hook Norton Brewery has a museum that includes a section on the history of the village.

The village's 18th century hand-pumped fire engine, which was in use until 1896, is preserved in St. Peter's parish church.[9]

Sport and leisure

The village has a Multi Use Games Area whose sports include netball.[13]

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Hook Norton)


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Domesday Book entry for Hook Norton". Hook-norton.org.uk. http://hook-norton.org.uk/about-hook-norton/hook-norton-in-history/domesday-book-entry.html. Retrieved 20 November 2011. 
  2. Land at Bourne Lane, Hook Norton, Oxfordshire: An Archaeological Assessment, 2004, p. 5.
  3. Plea Rolls of the Court of Common Pleas; National Archives; CP 40 / 677; http://aalt.law.uh.edu/AALT1/H6/CP40no677/bCP40no677dorses/IMG_1340.htm; first entry, labelled "Staff", where the defendants are from Hognorton, Oxon.
  4. Mills, A. D. (1993). A Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford University Press. pp. 177. ISBN 0-192-83131-3. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Sherwood & Pevsner, 1974, page 651
  6. Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers, Chipping Norton Branch
  7. "Hook Norton Baptist Church history". Hook-norton-baptist-church.org.uk. http://www.hook-norton-baptist-church.org.uk/Some%20history.htm. Retrieved 20 November 2011. 
  8. "Anglo-Saxons.net". Anglo-Saxons.net. http://www.anglo-saxons.net/hwaet/?do=get&type=chron&from=880&to=927. Retrieved 20 November 2011. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 "St Peter's Parish Church history". Stpeters-hooknorton.org.uk. http://www.stpeters-hooknorton.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=23&Itemid=59. Retrieved 20 November 2011. 
  10. Beeson & Simcock 1989, p. 149.
  11. Beeson & Simcock 1989, p. 190.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Beeson & Simcock 1989, p. 188.
  13. Hook Norton Multi Use Games Area

Sources and books

  • Cyril Beeson (1989) [1962]. Simcock, A.V.. ed. Clockmaking in Oxfordshire 1400–1850 (3rd ed.). Oxford: Museum of the History of Science. pp. 42, 88, 132, 149, 173, 188, 190. ISBN 0-903364-06-9. 
  • Blair, John (1986). "Hook Norton, regia villa". Oxoniensia (Oxfordshire Architectural and Historical Society) LI: 63–67. SSN 0308–5562. 
  • Dickens, Margaret (1928). History of Hook Norton 912–1928. Banbury: Banbury Guardian. 
  • Sherwood, Jennifer; Pevsner, Nikolaus (1974). The Buildings of England: Oxfordshire. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. pp. 651–652. ISBN 0-14-071045-0. 
  • Land at Bourne Lane, Hook Norton, Oxfordshire: An Archaeological Assessment. CPM environmental planning and design. 2004. p. 5.