Stoke Lyne

The village of Stoke Lyne lies about 4 miles north of Bicester.

Tostig Godwinson, Earl of Northumbria, held the manor before the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. When Tostig’s elder brother, Harold Godwinson, was crowned King Harold II in January 1066, Earl Tostig encouraged Harald III of Norway to invade England. He did, but in September Harold II defeated the Norwegian army at the Battle of Stamford Bridge and both Harald and Tostig were killed in the fighting.

The Domesday Book records that in 1086 Stoke Lyne’s feudal overlord was Walter Giffard, who William II made 1st Earl of Buckingham in 1097. The manor remained part of the honour of Giffard until Walter Giffard, 2nd Earl of Buckingham, died without an heir in 1164. It then passed to Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, who was descended from a sister of the first Walter Giffard.

It remained with his heirs until Anselm Marshal, 6th Earl of Pembroke, died without a male heir in 1245. Anselm’s estates were divided between five co-heiresses and Stoke Lyne passed to Richard de Clare, 5th Earl of Hertford and 2nd Earl of Gloucester, whose mother, Isabel Marshal, was a daughter of William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke.

Richard de Clare’s grandson Gilbert de Clare, 7th Earl of Hertford, was killed at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 leaving no male heir. His estates were divided between his three sisters but there is no record of Stoke Lyne being one of them.

Thereafter the Earls of Oxford held Stoke Lyne as part of their honour of Whitchurch until at least the 16th century.

St Peter’s Church
St Peter’s Church

The Church of England parish church of Saint Peter has a late Norman nave and chancel. A north aisle was added in the 13th century and a south tower was added early in the 14th century. Most of the north aisle was demolished, leaving just the easternmost bay as a north transept. It is now a Grade II* listed building.

The tower has three bells, all cast by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. Thomas II Mears cast the second bell in 1812, while Mears and Stainbank cast the treble in 1869 and the tenor in 1925.

The stained glass window in the tower of St Edburg’s Church, Bicester, which has recently been repaired following an act of vandalism, is dedicated to, amongst others, Rev. Charles Marsham. He was the nephew of the Honourable Charlotte Coker (1761-1794) and during his career he held the livings of both Stoke Lyne and Caversfield.

A Church of England school for the village was built in 1864 and reorganised as a junior school in 1930. It was still open in 1954 but has since closed.