Great Bourton (Bourton Magna on the old maps of the area), nestles onto a hill on the west side of the Cherwell Valley. It has existed as a community for many centuries, as the history of the village confirms. At times dependent on neighbouring Cropredy, yet still fiercely independent of it – The “dissident” quarrelsome neighbour, that rejected “The Church” in favour of nonconformity and refused to use the joint school in favour of its own.
A place where people settle, and don’t want to move
Why do people connect with the village?
Its location within easy communications to anywhere it seems – we are on the way to everywhere, in the centre of the country with good routes north and south, by car, train or narrow boat. A convenient place to settle if you need access elsewhere, and a convenient and picturesque place to visit. There is enough community spirit to enjoy a good few get-togethers at the pub, and to keep its clubs and societies thriving. It is a place where you are taken at face value and your neighbours are real neighbours. Here the Manor House sits next to a small cottage, old stone house next to a modern brick house, family home next to retirement bungalow. Expansion has happened gradually, with small scale developments clustering around the historic core. Diversity and variety and yet, all a part of the whole. Great Bourton offers something for everyone.
If you visit the village, walk around its streets. The warm Hornton stone looks inviting even on a grey day. Some houses have square cut stone, faced and finished giving a sense of importance, a facade of grandeur. Some are made of stone rubble laid in roughly straight courses with the odd faced stone piece “borrowed” from somewhere finer at some time in its history. Some of the smallest cottages have huge inglenook fireplaces and the cottage names allude to their nail-making past or other historic village functions. Some are old farmhouses or barns which refer back to a time when agriculture was the main industry and employer in the area. Many of these buildings would have been thatched and some of the old photos of the village show this, but now only the Old Swan retains its thatch – once a pub, then an office, and now a home. The old Bakehouse, The Old School House, The Old Vicarage, Chapel Cottage all once served the community and over the years have become homes. You can even see the outline of the post box that has been bricked up at Priory Cottage which was the village shop at the turn of the 20th Century.
If you just visit the village or choose to live here, we hope to meet you in the Bell, the Church, the play area, the Village Hall or just walking the streets enjoying the views, we look forward to welcoming you!
Our grateful thanks to Veronica Fisher and Roger Holdom for many of the photographs on the site.
A place where people settle, and don’t want to move, a place people come back to and a place with history – where some of the old families can still be found, their surnames connected to the village for centuries.
A small village in the parish of the Bourtons and within walking distance of Banbury. Some who have moved away, quickly returned the following year, because they missed this friendly community so much.