How William Carter founded Carterton





ALTHOUGH it has been in existence for over 60 years you will not find Carterton in The Place-names of Oxfordshire, the book published by the English Place-name Society in the 1950's. Nor do the writers of the guide books consider it worth a mention.

It is only now that Oxfordshire County Council is planning to transform it from a "straggling village with no centre into a well-planned town” to meet the demands of the expanding R.A.F. station at Brize Nor-ton that it is beginning to shake off its hardly deserved reputation as a tatty Cinder­ella and emerge as a self-contained community.

  Yet if one may believe an article published in the Oxford Chronicle on December 28, 1906 which has been lent to me by a reader  it was set up with the loftiest of intentions and certainly the man who was responsible for it had high hopes of it because he gave it his own name.

 The pressing problem of how to check the continued and increasing rush from the country districts into the large towns is now receiving the most serious attention of those who have the welfare of our country at heart," says the writer.“ It is especially interesting therefore to know of the very successful work in the establishment of - garden colonies and rural industrial committees through the agency of Mr. William Carter and his co-directors of the Homesteads Company."


Mr. Carter bought up whatever estates he could get cheap some so cheap that he was able to resell the land at a penny a square yard freehold, or as he put it "at the price of a glass of beer" their divided them into plots, erected houses '-and bungalows on them, and advised the purchasers about fruit-growing, market gar­dening and poultry farming.

"It is simple business with him out of which he manages good profit for himself," said Miss Julie Sutter, author of A Colony of Mercy, in an article quoted by the Oxford Chron­icle writer. " But it is busi­ness touched by philanthropy." With such an example to hand, will anyone doubt that home colonization would prove satisfactory? The people can be assisted back to the land, and nothing more patriotic could be set going. For if Britain will not apply herself to the saying of her workers, her downfall in           the world “ market is only a question of time."

According to the Chronicle reporter some 2,000 settlers had been established in garden vil­lages in eleven different counties at the time he was writing and making all due allowances for the much lower cost of living they obviously considered they had struck a bargain.

"On all the estates the price of the land is very moderate, ranging from £15 per acre; in one case indeed from £10. Every house stands in its own grounds. Immediate possession may be taken on payment of a 10 per cent deposit and the payment of the balance may be spread over 20 years,

"All persons have the unique advantage of acquir­ing land free of all cost of survey, also all law costs either for mortgage or con­veyance, and even plans and working drawings are sup-plied free.


 Oxfordshire people will be more especially interested in the garden colony at Car­terton, 15 miles from the university city. In the words of Mr. E. N. Bennett, M.P. "in Carterton, that new and vigorous settlement " there exist some excellent object lessons for the land reformer. An estate of 730 acres has been plotted out into small freeholds, of two-fifths of an acre up-wards, the price of the land being from £20 per acre.

 The aspect of the place is changing from huge arable and pasture fields to fruit plantations, poultry farms, gardens, etc., the main feat­ure being that each man owns the plot on which he works. In 1901 only one or two houses were built; now in 1906 houses are scattered all over the estate. And between 200 and 250 people are living on the place.

 There is a post office, with two collections and two deliveries daily; three dairies are in foil swing; two general stores face each other at the crossroads in the centre of the community: a bakery has been built and supplies the settlers with their daily bread.



Thousands of fruit trees are being planted in the open and there are no un-employed at Carterton. Everyone is busy in his own line, and the only grumbler is the resident doctor, who declares that Carterton is too healthy a place for his profession.

 A park has been given to the residents and a site provided for the Church of England and one for the Wesleyan Methodists.

 The following letter from a London paper's cor­respondence will speak for itself as to the excellent accommodation at Car­terton : ' Having just left the Army on a pension, and being desirous of settling in the country, I searched in vain to find a comfortable and substantial cottage at a cost within my moderate means, until I came across Homesteads.

"I am now comfortably settled on one of their estates and have a well built wood and iron bun­galow (detached) containing six rooms, with a good water supply. This I purchased together with an acre of excellent land for £165 free-hold, situated on main road and two miles from station. This I think will take some beating —

R.L. late Cold-stream Guards, Carterton, Clanfield, Oxon '."

Happy days