Thame Local History
14th Century Period (1300 - 1399)

The first half of the fourteenth century saw Thame build upon the prosperity its market charter, religious houses and new town had brought in the previous century.

In 1302 Bishop John d'Alderby, Bishop of Lincoln, succeeded in persuading King Edward I (1272 - 1307) to withdraw the market charter from nearby Haddenham, on competition grounds.

In 1309 Bishop John d'Alderby granted money to repair the Crendon Bridge, which had been broken down in 1294. In 1335 however the bridge collapsed and there was for many years thereafter a dispute over who should maintain it.

The reign of Edward II (1307 -1327) was not a great time for England. The harvest failed in 1315 and 1316 and the young King was very unpopular.

In 1317, the year following the two bad harvests, the road from Thame to Sydenham was enclosed within Thame Park. This extension to the park may have been to accommodate more sheep.

An early act of the new King Edward III (1327 - 1377) was to confirm Thame's market charter, which he did in 1329.

In the early part of the century, there were three glaziers living in New Thame and one in Old Thame. William the Glazier of Thame supplied glass to Merton College, Oxford, and to Notley Abbey.

The fourteenth century brought a new style of house construction to Thame. Houses built using a 'cruck' frame began to appear.

Prosperous merchant families were developing in Thame. The Elys family were wool merchants, and the wool of a certain Robert Elys of Thame was on board a ship captured by the Admiral of Calais in 1316.

In 1340 Richard Elys became one of the few local men to be appointed Vicar of Thame.

In 1345 a certain Edward le Spicer, a mercer of Thame, used his money to begin constructing a causeway between Thame and Rycote, which was then still a village community.

The years 1348 to 1350 saw the plague known as the Black Death introduced into England, and fully one third of the country's population is thought to have perished.

Enclosure of land for sheep and the Black Death may account for the disappearance of local villages such as Rycote and Albury. Thame was without doubt a prosperous and growing town before the Black Death, and it survived the ravages of the plague, playing host to King Edward III in 1365 and Edmund of York, Guardian of England, in 1399.

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  Local History Research Group
  Thame, Oxfordshire, England