Thame Local History
The Late 17th Century Period (1647 - 1699)

The Parliamentarian army had been headquartered in Thame during the Civil War. As well as the human cost, with a plague in 1643, there was also much physical damage done to the buildings taken over by the soldiers.

The Grammar School, the Vicarage and St Mary's Church itself suffered damage.

The churchwardens of Thame were left to repair their community. The prebend of Thame, which in normal times benefited from the church dues, had passed into the hands of the family of Sir John Thynne at the Reformation.

Thomas, first Viscount Weymouth was descended from Sir Thomas Thynne and it was to him that the churchwardens turned. The Thynne family had long since abandoned the Prebendal House in Thame. In 1661 it stood in ruins.

The market at Thame had continued to operate throughout the Civil War, but the local economy suffered several side effects of the conflict.

One problem was a shortage of coinage. The town traders at Thame issued tokens to be used in place of coins between 1653 and 1659.

The monarchy was restored in 1660, with King Charles II (1660 - 1685).

Between 1660 and 1670 the King imposed a number of 'briefs' on Thame, so that there had to be collections at the church for specified charities. These were not popular with the struggling Thame churchwardens.

In 1660 Charles II created the Order of the Royal Oak, one purpose of which was to raise money from rich landowners in return for membership. Local landowners who offered to contribute up to 2000 included Sir John Clerke of North Weston and Sir Francis Wenman later of Thame Park.

In 1662 the King introduced a Hearth Tax, under which anyone who owned property was taxed according to the number of hearths, effectively rooms, in their house. This tax lasted until 1689, and the Hearth Tax Returns for Thame have survived.

At Thame Park the second Viscount Wenman died in 1664, in a poor state of finances. He had suffered at the hands of the Cavaliers during the Civil War, having supported Parliament. His daughter Mary married her cousin Sir Francis Wenman in 1671 and thereby kept Thame Park in the Wenman family.

In 1673 a perpendicular window was added to the west end of Thame Church, with a new vicar Hugh Willis to replace Thomas Hennant.

Bridget, daughter of Edward and Elizabeth Wray, had married Montagu Bertie, second Earl of Lindsey, and it was their son James Bertie who was created Earl of Abingdon by Charles II in 1682, and who inherited the manor of Thame, part of it leased to the Barry family.

Perhaps to mark his new position as Earl of Abingdon, James Bertie built a new market hall for Thame in 1684.

The countryside around Thame had seen both Royalist and Parliamentarian raiding parties during the war. Fifty years later the problem was 'freebooters', or highwaymen. In 1692 a party of fifteen butchers travelling to Thame market was ambushed outside Thame.

The Prebendal

The Wenmans of Thame Park

The market halls

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  Local History Research Group
  Thame, Oxfordshire, England