Views of Hook Norton
For centuries people from both inside and outside Hook Norton have been recording their view of the place. The earliest record was left by the assessors who compiled the entry in the Domesday Book for this parish (see the Middle Ages section). Travel accounts did not become common until the late sixteenth century and they have generally given rather skimpy descriptions, except of St Peter’s. The great oddity has been that, in spite of this lack of hard evidence, Hook Norton became widely known as a peculiar place under its alternative name of Hog’s Norton. There was said to be something peculiar about people around here, and the truth and meaning of those slanders are discussed in the first article in this section.
The views of local people about the village in living memory are included here. We offer a selection of the nostalgic verse of George Dumbleton written mainly in the 1960s, which, on occasions, captures well the perspective of native residents; and also some of the folk memories of the early and mid-twentieth century that were briefly collected in forums on the village website between 2009 and 2014
Even more graphic, we also present the visual impressions recorded by a talented former resident, Joan Lawrence, in a series of perceptive drawings made in the 1960s and ‘70s. These may be contrasted with the photographic record made some thirty years later for the millennium: Hook Norton 2000 AD: The Millennium Book [HNLHG, 2000], available from HNLHG.
We hope to add in due course, for comparative purposes, the picture of the village captured on postcards sent around 1905. We cannot hope to reproduce the amazing record of Hook Norton to be found in the collections created by Henry Taunt (active 1860-1920) and by Frank and Basil Packer of Chipping Norton (active 1910- 1970). These may be searched in the Oxfordshire History Centre’s photographic collections on its Picture Oxon site.
Finally, we draw together a record of the films and television and radio programmes made about Hook Norton since the Second World War. We are also about to begin the task of making them more easily available to our readers.