The April 1898 edition of the Islip Rural Deanery Magazine contains the following article by the Rector of Oddington, Rev. Samuel Crawley:-
CHURCHWARDEN’S BOOK – Not long ago, I received a letter from the widow of Canon Gordon and daughter of the late Dean Buckland, returning to me, as Rector of the parish, an old Churchwarden’s book, belonging to Oddington, which she had found amongst her husband’s papers. This Churchwarden’s work is a marvel of neatness, and the writing is better than those of a more recent date. It dates from the year 1609 to 1728, and is full of most interesting matter. Polecats, sparrows, and hedgehogs seemed to form a considerable expense to the parish. Here are several extracts:-
Paid Jack Lowos for a pollcat 4d
pd John Toms 3 dozen sparrers 9
W. Jackson for a hogs hogg 4
3 Boll Rops 7 6
3 poll cats 1 0
4 doz. sparrers 1 0
Dean Buckland and Mr Serle were very great friends and often dined together – the late Dean was a great naturalist as well as a great geologist. Those who dined with Dean Buckland never knew what the joints were, whether “cat,” “rat,” “dog,” or “snake,”- but all was tempting and very nice. However, on one occasion, it is said, that one guest protested and said he really could not manage “earwig pie.” I cannot find out whether this happened at Oddington Rectory or not.
Footnote: The Very Rev. Dr William Buckland, DD, FRS, was born at Axminster, Devon on 12 March 1784, the son of a clergyman. He went to Corpus Christ College, Oxford in 1801, becoming a fellow in 1809. That year he was ordained. He had a lifetime interest in geology and is said to have made frequent geological excursions, on horseback, to various parts of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. In 1813 he was appointed as reader in mineralogy. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1818 and in 1824 became President of the Geological Society of London.
In 1825 Dr Buckland was appointed as Canon of Christ Church, Oxford. He married Mary Moreland in December 1825 and they had nine children. In 1845 he was appointed to the Deanery of Westminster and soon after was inducted to the living of Islip. He continued to lecture on geology at Oxford and in 1847 was appointed as a trustee of the British Museum. He was known for keeping exotic animals inside his house and expressed his determination to eat every known animal. He died on 14 August 1856.
His “great friend”, Mr Serle, was the Rev. Philip Serle, Rector of Oddington, infamous for his support of the enclosure of Otmoor.