‘... your shepe that were wont to be so meke and tame, and so small eaters, now, as I heare saye, be become so great devowerers and so wylde, that they eate up, and swallow downe the very men them selfes. They consume, destroye, and devoure whole fields, howses, and cities.’
– Sir Thomas More, Utopia, 1516
Hampton Gay is a near-vanished village now but was more populous in the sixteenth century. Some 33 tax-payers were recorded there in 1524. The Lord of the Manor at this time was Vincent Barry. The Barrys were wealthy merchants involved in the wool trade who had built Hampton Gay Manor in the second half of the sixteenth century. Vincent Barry’s grandfather had bought the estate in 1544 for £1,100, and in their pursuit of profit the Barrys at one stage were leasing part of the land to an Oxford butcher. Hampton Gay Manor, originally a fine Elizabethan mansion, was gutted by fire in 1887 and today it is a ruin.
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