Stanton Harcourt

Stanton means "farmstead by the stones", and it is thought it was probably named after the nearby prehistoric stone circle known as the Devil's Quoits. The village became known as Stanton Harcourt after Robert de Harcourt of Bosworth, Leicestershire inherited lands of his father-in-law at Stanton in 1191. The manor has remained in the Harcourt family to the present day and was the principal seat of the Harcourt family until the early-18th century when Sir Simon Harcourt bought Nuneham Courtenay which became the Harcourt family’s main seat.

In the centre of the pleasant little village and along the road towards Standlake are several attractive thatched cottages and also the manor house, Harcourt House. The medieval manor house was mostly demolished in the mid-18th century, leaving only the former north-east tower and chapel, the kitchen and range to the south, and the gatehouse standing. These were renovated and extended during the 19th and 20th centuries and now make up the present Harcourt House.

Harcourt House is well-known for its 14th century Great Kitchen, the most complete surviving medieval kitchens in the country. In the grounds of the Harcourt House is the 15th century Pope's Tower in which the poet Alexander Pope worked on his translation of Homer's Iliad.

Location map:

Adjacent to the manor house is the cruciform Norman and Early English St. Michael's Church which dates from c. 1130. St. Michael's houses the mediaeval shrine of St Edburg of Bicester and contains the Harcourt Chapel with the monuments of the Harcourt family.

The land round the village is very flat, being part of the flood plain between the River thames and the higher ground to the north. Near the village are flooded disused gravel pits and, to the south, the derelict buildings of RAF Stanton Harcourt which was used during the second world war.

Stanton Harcourt is about 4 miles south-east of Witney and about 2 miles south-west of Eynsham, just off the B4449.

Images of Stanton Harcourt:
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