Remembering Elizabeth Langton who gave the freehold of her estate to New College, Oxford, in 1504. The widow had only just won a protracted legal fight over ownership of the property from a Thomas Cornyssh. The devious Cornyssh had gone so far as to forge the title deeds which gave ownership to Elizabeth’s grandmother, Joan Langton, in 1458. It ended with Thomas’s death when his son Raphael conceded defeat. Having handed the estate to the Oxford College, Elizabeth promptly leased it back for a literal peppercorn rent – an annual payment of 1lb of pepper for 51 years. After Elizabeth’s death sometime around 1520 it was leased on 10 and 20 year terms. The estate continued to be leased out as a farm until the college sold the land for building to local developer, John Searcy, in 1926.
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