The village, with a population of around 420, lies in the Evenlode valley on the S. bank of the river.
Following the Norman conquest Ascott was granted to the Bishop of Bayeux but when he lost some favour the Manor came into the possession of Roger d’Oyley, the builder of Oxford Castle. The E. end of the village is known as Ascott d’Oyley. The Church is late C12 and includes a modern tapestry of village scenes.
The Manor House (1/4 mile NE of the Church) is mainly C16 and C17; its brick and timber granary on staddle stones is visible from the public footpath. The house stands within the bailey of d’Oyley Castle, built c.1129 and demolished c.1175; the motte (private property) can be seen from the river and the line of the dykes and moat are clearly visible from the river and the public footpath.
To the W. of the village, Ascott Earl, turf mounds near the river mark the site of another castle; they can be seen from the public footpath on the river bridge.
On the green in the centre of the village, a bench around the Chestnut tree is a memorial to the Ascott Martyrs – 16 brave women who suffered brief imprisonment in 1873 during the fight for a minimum wage for agricultural labourers.
There is a lovely easy circular walk of 2 1/2 miles through Ascott d’Oyley to the river, crossing by a footbridge, returning along the N. bank to the road (subject to Foot and Mouth restrictions) and back across the river to the village green.
The village has a good pub, The Swan, which offers a warm welcome to families, has an attractive garden and serves food all day.
The village also has a number of Bed & Breakfasts, which provide an excellent base for touring the Cotswolds and the Oxford area.
The main Worcester to London railway line runs past the village and trains stop once in each direction on weekdays and four times on Saturday. There is a regular bus service to Charlbury town and railway station (regular stopping service) and less frequent buses to Witney, Chipping Norton and Moreton-in-Marsh.
Nick Leadbetter – January 2002