Hook Norton brewery is one of Britain's last working Victorian tower breweries (April 2006)
|Area||22.23 km2 (8.58 sq mi)|
|Population||2,117 (2011 Census)|
|• Density||95/km2 (250/sq mi)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
Hook Norton is a village and civil parish in Oxfordshire, England. It is 4+1⁄2 miles (7 km) northeast of Chipping Norton and close to the Cotswold Hills. The 2011 Census recorded the parish's population as 2,117. The village is formed of four neighbourhoods: East End, Scotland End (in the west), Down End (in the centre) and Southrop (in the south).
In the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in 917 the village is recorded as Hocneratun. The Domesday Book of 1086 records it as Hochenartone. A charter from 1130 records it as Hokenartona. An episcopal register entry from 1225 records it as Hokenartone. A record from 1267 records it as Hokenarton. The Taxatio Ecclesiastica of 1291 records it as Hoke Norton. Other past spellings of the name include Hocceneretune (1050), Hogenarton (1216) and Okenardton (1263). Hegnorton is recorded in a plea roll from 1430. The name is derived from Old English. Hocca may be the name of a person or tribe, ōra is a hill slope and tūn is a settlement. Today the village is colloquially known to its inhabitants as "Hooky" and sometimes as "The Hook".
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records that a Viking army raided the Hook Norton area in 913, and the village had a parish church by 922. The Domesday Book records that in 1086 Hook Norton had 76 villagers and two mills. Hook Norton had a clockmaker, Thomas Webb, who maintained the turret clock at St. Giles' parish church, Wigginton from 1788 until 1834. Webb was succeeded in his trade at Hook Norton by John Paine, who maintained the clock at Wigginton from 1835 until 1855. In 1840 Paine built a new turret clock for St. George's parish church, Brailes, Warwickshire.
The former Banbury and Cheltenham Direct Railway, part of the Great Western Railway, served Hook Norton with a railway station at East End. British Railways closed the station in 1951 and closed the railway to all traffic in 1964. Tall stone pillars which supported two B&CDR viaducts can be seen in the valley to the south of the village. Near Hook Norton there were several ironstone quarries, evidence of which can still be seen. The Brymbo Ironworks, opened in 1899, had its own narrow gauge railway and was connected to the B&CDR at Council Hill Sidings, 3⁄4 mile (1.2 km) east of Hook Norton station. The Brymbo Ironworks closed in 1946 and was dismantled in 1948.
Hook Norton Brewery was founded in 1849 and is an important architectural example of a Victorian tower brewery, as well as containing a working Victorian steam engine. The brewery has a museum that includes a section on the history of the village. The village's 18th century hand-pumped fire engine, which was in use until 1896, is preserved in St. Peter's parish church.
The present Church of England parish church of Saint Peter is of Norman origin but also has Early English, Decorated Gothic and Perpendicular Gothic features. The Norman font is 11th century and is unusual in featuring pagan signs of the Zodiac. St. Peter's contains a number of wall paintings including saints, angels and the Apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul. The church tower has a ring of eight bells, all cast in 1949 by John Taylor & Co of Loughborough. St Peter's is now the mother church of the Benefice of Hook Norton with Great Rollright, Swerford and Wigginton. Hook Norton Baptist Church is among the oldest in Britain, having been founded 1640. Its present building is Georgian, built in 1781. Hook Norton also had a Methodist chapel, which was built in 1875.
Hook Norton has a Church of England controlled primary school, shop, a post office and general store, a fire station crewed by retained firefighters, a GPs' practice, a dental practice, veterinary surgery, public library, a memorial village hall, a Women's Institute and a sports and social club. Hook Norton Brewery is famous for brewing traditional real ale. Hook Norton hosts an annual music festival, Music at the Crossroads, that raises funds for many local charitable causes. Hook Norton has three public houses, all of which are controlled by Hook Norton Brewery:
Hook Norton F.C. plays in the Witney and District Division 2. Hook Norton Cricket Club plays in Oxfordshire Cricket Association Division One. Hook Norton also has a tennis club, a running club and a Multi Use Games Area whose sports include netball.
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