By Barbara Allison and Linda Mowat
Where did the name of this road come from? The earliest map of Charlbury – the 1761 Thomas Pride map, tracings of which are in the museum – called the street we now know as Hixet Wood Hicks’s Wood. So like most people, we thought this street name was a corruption of Hicks, and was named after someone called Hicks. This is plausible. The parish registers do record the baptisms, marriages and burials of members of the Hicks family from the 16th century, but there aren’t many. However, it may be that a Mr Hicks owned the land, but he did not live here.
But Thomas Pride’s 1761 map shows a large area of land along Hicks’s Wood called Hicks’s Wood Close. Now we have found a will of 1615, made by Abraham Hedges, in which he leaves his wife three closes. (Closes are enclosed parcels of land rather than strips in the open fields). The closes are Parkgate Close and Baywell Close, and ‘one Close of arable and pasture called Thicksett wood containing by estimation four acres or thereabouts be the more or less’ Is this the origin of Hixet Wood? Has it changed over time, from Thickset Wood in 1615 to Hicks’s Wood in 1761 to Hixet Wood now? Further research may bring up other records that could resolve this but we may not be that lucky.