Eaton Hastings

Eaton Hastings Graveyard 1984
St. Michael and All Angels, Eaton Hastings

Eaton Hastings lies near the River Thames, about 3 miles north-west of Faringdon on a turning off the road to Lechlade. It was once a medieval village larger than it is today. The 2001 Census recorded the parish’s population as just 81. The name derives from the OE/Anglo-Saxon ‘Eatun’ which referred to a farm or village ‘tūn‘ on a river or island ‘ēa‘ and probably named after the Hastinges family who owned it in the 12th century. The family may have been descendants of ‘Hastingas‘ a Norse-Viking tribe that once settled in England. Today, the village is part of the Buscot and Coleshill Estate, which now belongs to the National Trust.

Eaton Hastings 1915

1915. The village of Eaton Hastings was originally by the river but became a deserted medieval village. These houses, known as New Buildings, were built by the first Lord Faringdon when he bought the estate in the 1880s. The photograph shows the village shop and Post Office with Miss Apse the postmistress outside, and the village children on both sides of the road. The land was low lying and liable to flood and this is why the pavement was high to act as a causeway; it was known by that name for many years.

Eaton Flash Lock C1930sc1930s. The launch ‘Snowdrift’ negotiating the remains of an old flash lock further upstream, called Eaton or Hart’s Weir. This was the last flash lock on the river when it was pulled down in 1936/7. A wood clad steel footbridge had to be built in its place for the footpath that crossed over the weir from Eaton to Kelmscott. The old weir keeper’s cottage still remains beside the footbridge and is used by the Anchor Boat Club.

The weir had been in existence since at least 1746. Around the 1860’s an island was created by a cut bypassing the weir to power two waterwheels for the Buscot Farm irrigation scheme. The middle of the cut is now filled in and the rest used for moorings by the boat club. In 1883, the Anchor Inn was next to the weir keeper’s cottage but a new one was later built a little further downstream.

Eaton Hastings Anchor Inn 1970

The Anchor Inn about 1970. This was a remote pub and campsite near Eaton Footbridge. It had footpath but no public road access, being there to serve the river traffic. Unfortunately, in a tragic accident, it was burnt down and the landlord and his partner died. The fire was caused by the dog’s tail waving in front of the gas heater.


Reference:

  1. Photos and text scanned directly from The Changing Faces of Faringdon and Surrounding Villages – Book 1 p107 by Rosemary Church, Jim Brown, Millie Bryan and Beryl Newman. Robert Boyd Publications 1999 – now out of print.
  2. Eaton Footbridge – Where Thames Smooth Waters Glide – https://thames.me.uk/s02210.htm

Researched and compiled by Ian Lee, November 2021.