My great-great grandfather, Richard MASON, was born in Great Bourton in 1819 (according to census entries) but had moved to Warwickshire by 1841, first as a blacksmith in Priors Marston, then as a farmer in Woolscot and Baginton.
His granddaughter said that:
"John MASON, father of Richard, came from a famous family of Deddington (Oxon) wheelwrights and carriage makers." There certainly was a MASON family in Deddington, who did advertise that their axletrees were used by the "Crowned Heads of Europe", and there was a John MASON christened in Deddington at the right time, (1780) and not buried there, but nothing yet to prove (or disprove) the link.
John MASON of Great Bourton, Blacksmith c1780-1819.
John MASON = Mary HOODS of Great Bourton m. 1802 of Banbury St. Mary's, Banbury | c1780/1-1835 c1780-1819 | | | --------------------------------------------------------- | | | | | | | William John Benjamin John Elizabeth Joseph Richard 1803- 1805-1826 1808- 1810- 1813- 1816- 1819-1909 | | | | | | | | |
John MASON of Great Bourton, Oxon. and Mary HOODS of Banbury, Northants, both single, married in Mary's parish of St. Mary's, Banbury on the 10th August 1802. Their witnesses were Thomas WIMBUSH and Elizabeth MASON. Mary was buried in 1835, aged 54, which puts her birth in 1780/1, and makes her 21 when she married.
John appears to be the first MASON to settle in Great Bourton, and we do not know his origin. There were 61 families in 1808 (Victorian History). A chapel had been built in 1792 with 192 seats.
But in 1802 a dissenting group broke away from this chapel and was licensed to use the dwelling of John WILLIAMS at Great Bourton as a chapel. (Oxford Quarter Session Records, Michelmas 1802). The signatories were John WILLIAMS, John OSBORN, Thomas NEAL and John MASON.
At the Easter Session 1803 John was a witness in a case against Thomas NELSON, accused of stealing a gate from Thomas BURKETT. (As the Blacksmith, he may well have made it.) Thomas NELSON was acquitted.
His final court appearance was on 10th November 1804. He gave evidence against Thomas ROBINS, shopkeeper, John CLARKE, farmer, Thomas WIMBUSH, farmer! and six other Great Bourton men (not named) found guilty of riotously assembling and assaulting John WILLIAMS and his wife Elizabeth. Apparently there was bad feeling between the two chapels. This is not inconsistent with him also baptising his children in Church - many Non-Comformists did. The Chapels kept very scanty records at this date. John MASON was buried 26th May 1820 at Great Bourton. He was only 39 when he died, leaving William 16, John 14, Benjamin 12, John 9, Elizabeth 7, Joseph 3 and Richard, christened on 27th July 1819. His tombstone inscription ends "may God protect the fatherless."
His baptised children (all baptismal dates, baptised at Cropedy, because the choir of Great Bourton church was being used as a school, and the nave had been abandoned as derelict) were:
- William, May 5 1803
- John, September 22 1805. This man was buried 8 June 1826 aged 22.
- Benjamin, March 9 1808
- John,? September 1 1810
- Elizabeth, April 19 1813
- Joseph 24 December 1816
- Richard 25 July 1819 (my notes from a transcription of Cropredy Parish register)
We do know that in 1851 William MASON of Great Bourton claimed to be an "Agricultural Machinery Maker". This was the period of Joseph ARCH, who urged agricultural workers to band together and destroy farm machinery and strike and riot for better living conditions, so William might have been in a risky business. Both he and Benjamin baptised large families in Great Bourton.