Abandoned Communities ..... The Black Death
You may have noticed that I have been evasive on the location of the two villages. As far as Tusmore is concerned there is no problem. It lies on the Tusmore Estate at OS SP563308. It is about 400 metres east of the A43 a couple of miles north of its junction with the M40. A very good aerial photograph of the remains of the earthworks of the village can be seen in Beresford M W and St Joseph J K S, Medieval England: An Aerial Survey, Cambridge University Press, 1958.
Or for an aerial view that shows the earthworks less clearly go to Google Maps and enter the post code OX27 7SP.
All we know for sure about the location of Tilgarsley is that it was somewhere to the north west of Eynsham. For at least a couple of centuries local people have been inclined to believe that it lay close to the Britannia Inn, now known as the Boot Inn, at SP405107. A map of 1797 put a place called Till Guzzel at that location. Nothing on the ground, however, supports this theory.
The relevant volume of the Victoria County History tentatively proposed that Tilgarsley may have been at Bowles Farm, at SP413113. Several ancient lanes converged near Bowles Farm, closes along the west side of Cuckoo Lane may represent medieval crofts, and in 1802 a field south of Bowles Farm was known as Churchyard ground.
If, however, you ask for a copy of the NMR Monument Report on Tilgarsley (NMR number SP41 SW42) you will be confidently informed that Tilgarsley lay at SP422110. I have found that it is possible to get hopelessly lost looking for this grid reference, but on a second visit I got there by following the footpath that starts at Evenlode Farm and then branches to the left after about four hundred metres. According to the NMR report field investigations were carried out at this location by D Starkey in 1958 and by M Aston in 1972. They discovered a hollow way, a lynchet, banks and hollows that may indicate house sites, and one piece of pottery from the thirteenth or fourteenth century. The place badly needs more thorough investigation.
A field south of Bowles Farm
Two views of the field at OS SP422110