Radley History Club logo Timeline of Radley Church: Reformation and Civil War 1500–1650
Wider Events
William Tyndale 1494-1536
Thomas Cromwell 1485-1540
Elizabeth I 1558-1603
William Tyndale 1494-1536
Thomas Cromwell 1485-1540
Elizabeth I 1558-1603

Tyndale’s translation of the Bible into English began to open up Christian teaching to ordinary people and Cromwell’s confiscation of monastic wealth enabled an ambitious new class of gentry to emerge. These were fundamental changes which Queen Elizabeth skilfully managed, but they sowed the seeds of the later Civil War.

Civil War cartoon depecting the Royalists and Parliamentarians, c.1642
Contemporary cartoon of the Royalists (left) and Parliamentarians (right), c.1642

The two Civil War sides in the cartoon look remarkably similar. In Radley the gentry Stonhouse family were Royalists, while in nearby Besselsleigh the Lenthalls were Parliamentarians. Most ordinary village people may not have had a view. But the Civil War led to high mortality – both from fighting and disease.

Events in Radley


Abingdon Abbey dissolved and buildings almost entirely dismantled with the stone used elsewhere. The Abbey’s manors, property and tithes – Radley included – are confiscated by the Crown and then sold.


J Standish is first Radley incumbent to be known by name – which is mentioned in a will. Other than chance mentions of this kind we know nothing about incumbents until about 1600.


Radley’s manor is by this time held by Queen Elizabeth, who had been given it while still a princess. She sells the Manor to John Stonhouse, a Clerk of the Green Cloth in her household. He comes to live in Radley, the first lord of the manor to do so.


Radley’s register of baptisms, marriages and burials starts.


Around this time Radley becomes in practice an independent parish with its own church and vicar (no longer a chapel and chaplain) and with the vicar appointed by the lord of the manor. The link with St Helen’s becomes a formality only.


John Herbert is vicar. Arrested for radical Protestantism while at Oxford University, he nevertheless becomes a friend of the Stonhouses. He and his daughters marry into Radley yeoman families and he develops perhaps the deepest local roots of all the vicars in Radley’s history.


One year into the Civil War the King is based at Oxford and also holds Abingdon. Troops were probably billeted in Radley’s church. Disease in the area is rife and in July the unusually high number of burials in Radley includes two of the king’s officers and several troopers. There is a tradition that the troops were killed in an attack by Parliamentarians as a result of which the north aisle and transept of the church were destroyed. There is however little evidence to support this and it is doubtful whether the church ever had a north aisle and transept.


Royalist attack on Abingdon, advancing undetected through Radley and camping overnight in Barton. Beaten back in central Abingdon.


Oxford falls to Parliamentarians. Sir George Stonhouse pays fine of £1,460 to keep his estate.

Next period

Timeline index


Accessibility Privacy policy