The history of the village and the pub
Upper and Lower Tadmarton form one parish, which has developed since the 10th century along an ancient route that dates back to the Iron Age. The remains of two iron ages settlements can be found at Tadmarton Heath and on Madmarston Hill, just outside the Parish Boundary. Some of the houses recorded for Hearth Tax purposes in 1665 are still lived in, and the church, rectory and manor together with the tithe barn are of an even earlier date.
The village was owned for 500 years by Abingdon Abbey, for some time shared with an un-named knight, the village is now lived in by something under a thousand residents, with five working farms, a number of small businesses and only a few second homers. The history of the village can be traced in the several waves of building, from pre-Elizabethan through to 20th century social housing, speculative building and, most recently, a large development of houses in Lower Tadmarton. The social life of the village centres upon the church, the pub and the village hall, conveniently close together
St Nicholas Parish Church has elements from around 1130 with 13th century additions and restoration in 1893. There were numbers of Quakers and later Methodists who met in a chapel in Lower Tadmarton, no longer standing. Tadmarton Village Hall was originally the largest of three schools, built in 1875 and in use until 1971 when it was wrested from the Church Commissioners by public appeal. Now extended by an annexe, it is in constant use for all manner of village events and functions, its former playground still in use for children. The church school and pub pictured in the 1910s below.
48 men from Tadmarton served their country in various roles in the First world War and 6 never returned to their families, cottages and farms. 11 men were wounded out of the 43 that served abroad in France or Mesopotamia. Two more men from the village were to die in the Second World War whilst seven aircrew lost their lives when a Vickers Wellington crashed in the village in 1944. For more information about Tadmarton in the World Wars please visit:
Harvesting in the field behind the church during the Second World War, below.
The Lampet Arms was built in around 1855 and signalled the closure of the Red Lion, the building which still stands in Main Street on the right going towards Banbury, pictured below.
The new pub was built by a local landowner, Captain Lampet, who lived at Highlands and had an agricultural machinery factory in Banbury. He had information that the Banbury to Cheltanham Direct railway line, first proposed in the 1850s, was going to follow the path of the Sor Brook from Banbury then on to Hook Norton and Chipping Norton. He thus built a station hotel with rooms and stabling. However the line, which was not to open until 1887, went through Bloxham where there was extensive iron ore workings and Tadmarton was left with a Victorian station hotel with no railway! The hotel, although solidly built, was unfit for purpose as the narrow access and small yard made it almost impossible to get a coach in, and it was never used for its intended purpose.
The first landlord was Thomas Blakeman, a local blacksmith and his wife Rebecca. Thomas died in 1876 and his widow carried on running the pub until her death in 1886. At the outbreak of the First World War the landlord was Harry Timbrell who also was a smallholder in the village. He served as a Gunner with the Royal Artillery on the home front during the war, returning to the Lampet after demob but dying 4 years later in 1922 at the age of 39. Another veteran of the war came to the pub in 1936, Robert Padbury, who had served in France with the Machine Gun Corps. He also served in the Tamarton and Swalcliffe Home Guard during the Second World War and kept a loaded rifle behind the bar just in case. Drunks and troublemakers were unceremoniously plunged into the water butt in the back yard, a trick he had picked up as a farm hand in Australia! Pictures courtesy of Bob Padbury, his son, who is in the bottom right photo.
Under Robert's tenure the pub underwent a number of improvements. Originally there was no bar and one was added by the brewery shortly after his arrival. Gent's toilets were also added, the back steps and well in the yard having been used for that purpose. The well water was contaminated by the churchyard so it made no difference to water quality. In 1949 electricity was installed and even a ladies toilets although at that time few women came in. He ran the pub with his wife Fannyuntil 1955.
The stabling blocks were converted to quality 4 B & B rooms in around 2000 when the pub was renamed briefly as the Pegasus, the landlord being an ex para. In 2010 the pub was put on the market and closed, it's future uncertain until Des and Phyllis took over and turned it into the thriving place it is now.