The Oxfordshire Buildings Trust was created on 2nd March 1981 with the support of Oxfordshire County Council


The Trust acquired the Barn and the adjoining farmyard which was then offered for development to help fund the restoration of the Barn. The restoration was also grant aided by English Heritage. Once the restoration was complete, Swalcliffe Barn was leased in1990 to Oxfordshire County Council to house the Museum's collection of agricultural and trade vehicles. The income from the rent enables the trust to fulfil one of its aims in offering small grants for restoration projects.

The Barn has been open to the public since 1991, and the Oxfordshire Buildings Trust are very grateful to the Swalcliffe Society, who on behalf of Oxfordshire County Council Museums Service, open the Barn to the public on Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays from Easter until the end of October. The team of volunteer custodians is administered by the Swalcliffe Society. They welcome all visitors when the barn is open.

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The trust has always had a voice on building conservation matters in the county and when it was proposed that Nuffield place was sold commercially it campaigned strongly for the house to remain in public ownership as a testament to Lord Nuffield, William Morris. The result is that Nuffield Place is now a National Trust property.

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The Ascott Park estate, once owned by the Dormers, was bought by Oxfordshire County Council in 1920 and it then formed part of the OCC Smallholdings Estate. The trust became interested in Ascott Park when asked to help with restoration of the gateway and started to investigate the history of the estate and park land. This resulted in the Trust creating an interpretation trail of the Park and its buildings which can be enjoyed by all.

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Founding Trustees were:

  • William Bell a banker from Brackley
  • R A Budget a farmer of Kirtlington
  • Major W T W Bush from Sonning Common
  • J B Crawford blanket manufacturer of Witney
  • P D Cresswell chartered surveyor of Stanton St John
  • B L Deed OBE retired school master of Wa​rborough
  • Mrs Olive Gibbs of Oxford
  • F R Goodenough a banker from Lechlade
  • J R Hollis a retired civil servant from Bicester
  • B L Hook architect from Kingston Bagpuize
  • Mrs E S L Juler of Charlbury
  • His Grace the Duke of Marlborough
  • E L S Parsons retired secretary of the Bodleian Library
  • Sir Ashley Ponsonby Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire from Woodstock,
  • A Ramsey architect of Wheatley
  • Sir Patrick Reilly retired diplomat from Oxford,
  • L W Robson accountant of Woodstock
  • Sir John Rothenstein former direct of the Tate Gallery from Woodstock
  • A F Samson surveyor of Headington
  • A E Smith architect of Islip
  • B Street chartered surveyor of Eynsham
  • John Sykes planning officer of Witney
  • D Woodrow solicitor of Ewelme
  • J. Lloyd PhillipsColonel C R V Norman OBE from Abingdon Chairman of OCC