Twyford – its origins and recent history

The Twyford that is now part of Adderbury was never a place!

Twi-ford is a topographical description in Anglo-Saxon, the language spoken in this country over a thousand years ago. “Twi” is the Saxon word for two – our modern word “twin” derives from it. The word “ford”, also Saxon, describes, as in modern English, a place where one can cross water easily on foot or by horse. So the modern name Twyford originally described a point somewhere on a river where it could be crossed at two closely related places, or where the river divides into two, both parts of which could be forded.

At the top (north) of the 1735 map of East Adderbury, three tracks can be seen travelling roughly west/east, one of which starts near Weeping Cross, running ESE and then SE to Twyford Mill, which was situated on the River Cherwell, just in Northamptonshire. The second track started from the Banbury Road and ran roughly along the line of the present Twyford Road and on to the mill, while the third track also started from the Banbury Road on what is now Kemp’s Road and led via Kemp’s Farm, still with us, of course, again down to the mill. As there was no bridge over the Cherwell at that point and at that time, farmers taking their sacks of grain from farms in the northern part of the parish would have had to use the “twi-fords” to get to the mill.

These three tracks can be clearly seen on the 1948 Ordnance Survey map 1/25000 Sheet SP43. Twyford Mill today is still a grain silo where many local farmers take their grain for storage. Once the Enclosure Act of 1766 was put into effect in 1768, the road system in Adderbury was changed and a proper road was constructed between Adderbury and King’s Sutton, with a stone bridge crossing the Cherwell. The two fords became redundant, but their existence is perpetuated by today’s name.

The first house to be built in what is now Twyford was Greenhill House, in 1906. (This later became the Cheshire Home in 1969 and is today blocks of flats). In those days Twyford was very rural in character. It had its own nurseries, set up in 1911 by Harold Johnson, and the main road to Banbury, little used at that time, consisted only of crushed stone rolled out by the District Council roller. Nonetheless, between 1911 and 1922 more houses were built on land opposite Greenhill House known as Twyford Gardens; hence the development became known as Twyford Gardens. In 1911 the Banbury Guardian commented approvingly on the plans, noting that the plots were laid out on a very liberal scale, with even the smallest being a quarter of an acre! The focus of the new development was the Tea Garden, otherwise known as Morgan’s Orchard, to be found behind the present-day postbox. There were lawns to the rear and a tennis court while behind the bay window was a shop and post office. When the shop was run by Lizzie Pollard it was even possible to board at the Tea Garden.

The Crescent was built by the District Council just after the end of World War I and was originally intended for ex-servicemen who had served their country. The Grove came next, during the 1920s, while The Rise was built during World War II, with the first tenants moving in between 1946 and. 1947. The street ended at a cornfield, which today is occupied by Rochester Way and Walton Avenue. The remaining streets of what we now know as Twyford developed piecemeal and in a variety of building styles after World War II.

Nick Allen, 2007, with additional material taken from the Association’s CD, “Adderbury Then and Now”.

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