The Council & Parish

The Parish of Gosford and Water Eaton is predominately within the green belt area nestled between the north of the City of Oxford and the village of Kidlington. The parish contains the village of Gosford and the hamlet of Water Eaton, although it is often mistaken for being part of Kidlington as there are no natural boundaries between the two parishes.

Today, the area has a wealth of facilities and services to support the local and surrounding communities, these include but not limited to Edward Feild Primary School, Gosford Hill School, Kidlington and Gosford Leisure Centre, Thames Valley Police Headquarters, Gosford Hill Medical Centre, Oxford Parkway (Train station and park and ride) which has buses that serves Oxford and the local Hospitals, North Oxford Golf Club and many many more.

The most recent addition to the area was the first new rail link between a major British city and London in over 100 years. The Oxford Parkway Station opened in October 2015.

We have an estimated population of 1400 in the parish. It is part of Gosford & Water Eaton Ward of the Cherwell District, in the Oxford West and Abingdon Parliamentary Constituency.

Our Parish Council is made up of eight parish councillors (all voluntary) who are a mix of political and non-political people who work to the benefit of the parish and its residents. The Parish Councils play a key part in rural democracy, working to keep Cherwell District Council and Oxfordshire County Council in touch with the needs of people from smaller communities. We also have two salaried employees: the Parish Clerk and the RFO (Responsible Financial Officer).

Gosford and Water Eaton Parish Council and Kidlington Parish Council have a strong working partnership. Many of the issues and challenges faced are shared, therefore on some issues we take a collaborative approach to utilise our resources without duplication of effort to serve in the best interest of our communities.

The County and District Councils provide the major services, such as Highways, Education, Housing, Social Care and the Police: Thames Water is responsible for Sewerage and Water Supply. However, these authorities can easily, and in some cases must, consult parish Councils because the Parish Councils are the only local councils in close, regular touch with their electorate. The Parish Council’s duties and responsibilities are wide-ranging and diverse.

The Parish Council receives a copy of all Gosford and Water Eaton planning applications and views the sites of proposed developments but its powers are limited to sending observations and comments to Cherwell District Council who make the decisions. As a resident you can also view or comment on a planning application and appeals via the Cherwell District Council Planning portal.


Parish History

Originally Water Eaton was a separate civil parish until 1932, when it was merged with its neighbour Gosford.

The village of Gosford was centred around the manor of Gosford, which was granted to the Knights Hospitaller in 1142, who held it until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 16th century. During the 16th century Gosford was administered with Water Eaton.

In the 17th century "Mr. Richard Washington, gent" (died 1670) maintained a school at Gosford. In 1838 a penny post station was opened in Gosford. There was a full post office by 1847 that remained until 1853.

Water Eaton” meaning “farm by a river” refers to the Grade II listed Manor House which is located beside the River Cherwell.

Water Eaton manor house was built for Sir Edward Frere in 1586 but reduced in size at a later date. A square dovecote survives to the northeast of the house. The Gothic Revival architect G.F. Bodley restored the house in 1890 and made it his home. A Perpendicular Gothic Church of England chapel was built to the north of the manor house in 1610 and restored in 1884. St. Frideswide's Farmhouse is a 16th-century Tudor stone house, and towards the end of that century was a home of the Lenthall family. The house was extended in the 17th or 18th and 20th centuries.

At the end of the First English Civil War in June 1646 the Articles of Surrender for the siege of Oxford were finally agreed in Water Eaton.

In 1850 the Buckinghamshire Railway between Bletchley and Oxford was opened through the parish. In 1905 Oxford Road Halt was opened 1 mile west of the manor house. The halt was short-lived, being closed down in 1926.

In 1940 a grain silo and rail siding were built on the south side of the former halt. The silo has been disused since the 1980s but remained a landmark visible over a wide area. The silo was demolished in October 2013. [Kidlington: Manors and other estates, 1990]

Gosford Hill Farm was the home of Oxford Zoo between 1931 and 1937 (where Thames Valley Police HQ now stands). Zoo fans regularly caught special buses from the city centre to see star attractions, including Rosie the elephant and Hanno the lion. Wolves were also housed at the zoo - and the escape of three of them in 1937.

Insp Barnett, of the City Police, shot the first wolf near the police houses in Banbury Road on the same day the wolves escaped. Robert Collett, of Hampton Poyle, shot the second wolf the same evening at his father's farm. But the third wolf survived for several days, after allegedly killing 13 sheep at a farm near North Oxford Golf Club. It finally died when Oxford Mail photographer Johnny Johnson took up the chase, and shot it in Summertown. He commandeered a bike from a cyclist on the A40 and rode up to the house where children were yelling "there's the wolf, there's the wolf", before shooting the animal dead from 30 yards. [The Little Book of Oxfordshire, 2012]

To read more about the history of Kidlington, Gosford and Water Eaton please visit the Kidlington and District Historical Society or A History of the County of Oxford, other publications and websites are also available.