A History of the Village of Milton (written in 1927 by Lucy Davenport)

Looking through the wide iron gates near the Church we see Milton House, built after the design by Inigo Jones, and said to be a perfect specimen of his work.

 

The house is built of brick, now toned to a lovely pink colour; it has a fine lofty frontage with pilasters and capitals, and it is singular that both front and back elevations correspond (the word elevation used architecturally means the plan and decoration of the outside face of the building).

 

The symmetry of the house was spoiled later by the addition of the wings on either side, one which contains a chapel.

 

In 1546 the family of Calton first possessed the 'Manor' (the use of Manor here is intended to represent both the house and land), and it was purchased from them in 1768 by John Bryant Barrett Esq, ancestor of the present owner.

 

In the windows of the Chapel there are 6 panels of dark painted glass of the 16th century. This glass, originally in Steventon Church, was given many years ago to Squire Barrett in return for his contribution to the cost of repairs undertaken in the Church at Steventon. The figure of our Lord over the altar is the work of Michael Angelo The carved oak bedstead, with white satin and scarlet hangings, upon which the Royal visitors slept, was long preserved in the house, but ultimately given to an old servant of the Calton family - described in an extract from the Gentleman's Magazine, Vol. 68 1798, as their amiable friend Mrs Mary Walker, the white satin has indeed long since been quilted up into petticoats and the scarlet cloth is faded.

Milton North Field is the most interesting piece of ground in the Parish. Traces of a Saxon burial ground have been found here, and some relics of the past. In 1832 a very fine Saxon fibula, jewelled with garnets and worked in gold date about 600 AD, was found with some iron spearheads and a skeleton at the time of an organised excavation. These things are now in the Ashmolean Collection in Oxford.

 

There is a reminiscence of these excavations from one whose father told that the men's beer money was hidden in the trenches to make them look more carefully when they dug. In the British Museum there is an exact pair to the jewelled ornament in the Ashmolean Collection, also found in the North Field in 1832 and purchased in 1852. It is still told in the village that this one was unearthed while gravel digging, and that the finder kept it for some time before selling it to chemist in Abingdon for 10 shillings. It is said that the man never ceased to lament the fortune which he believed had slipped through his fingers when he heard it had gone to the National Collection. Complete skeletons, skulls and bones have been found in this field. One skull of enormous size was found about 40 years ago (ie around 1887); it was with a skeleton lying north and south, and was given to the school Museum, and from there sent to Oxford. Another skeleton with an 'iron dagger' at its back was found when gravel digging about 1915. It laid for some time in a box in a cottage garden, but the bones finally broken up and thrown on the fields and the skull sold to a rag-and-bone woman. There is every reason to believe that these are remains of our Saxon ancestors, which had laid there undisturbed for more than 1000 years. Mr Pryor of Harwell has a fine silver coin (1604) James VI of Scotland found on California Allotments in the North Field, and a rosary and cross found by a gravel digger was sold for 6d and then given away. The lost 'finds' are noted in the hope that they may prove clues to the discovery of other treasures. Gravel is being dug out in an adjacent part, but the work of two years has only revealed the pieces of a broken jug.

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