The Story of Heyford (Extra): The Ox Hovel

The Ox Hovel

The ox-hovel was first mentioned in the sale of the farm in 1758. Several local estates were being sold by auction after the death of William, Duke of Powis. The ox-hovel seems to have been built with stone from an earlier demolished manor house. It includes several interesting features such as rounded corners and substantial stonework suggesting this was an important building on the farm.

The auction took place on Monday 13th November, 1758 and the two following days at Covent Garden. The ox-hovel and the surrounding fields were part of lot seven, up for sale for £2200 and they were brought by John Devall for £2440.

The ox-hovel was used for cattle until the mid 1970s when the farm gave up its dairy herd. Over the years the thatched roof was replaced with a corrugated iron roof. At that time this was seen as a great improvement. Since the 1970s the ox-hovel was left derelict and was subjected to various forms of anti-social behaviour and was even set on fire. Restoration work was performed.

This is a rare and interesting building the like of which is not know anywhere else in Northamptonshire and may be one of the few examples of early cattle housing buildings of this type left in the whole country.

Historic England listing: https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1471129

Jez Wilson

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