Radcliffe Camera, Oxford
|Area:||756 square miles|
|County flower:||Fritillary |
The County of Oxford is a shire bound by the River Thames to the South, the Chiltern Hills, stretching across the East, and the Cotswolds to the West and North. Oxfordshire literally means the 'district' (or 'shire') of and around the town of Oxford and was established over a thousand years ago, in Saxon times.
The county has a major tourist industry, concentrated firstly on the City of Oxford but also on the hills and charming honey-coloured towns of the Cotswolds, and on Oxfordshire's many delightful Thames-side towns and villages.
Oxford and Banbury are noted for the concentration of performance motorsport companies and facilities. Oxford University Press is the largest firm among a concentration of print and publishing firms; the University of Oxford is also linked to the concentration of local biotechnology companies
Oxfordshire divided into fourteen hundreds:
Oxfordshire was formed as a county in the early years of the 10th century and is broadly situated in the land between the River Thames to the south, the Cotswolds to the west, the Chilterns to the east and the Midlands to the north, with spurs running south to Henley-on-Thames and north to Banbury.
Historically the area has always had some importance, since it contains valuable agricultural land in the centre of the county. Ignored by the Romans, it was not until the formation of a settlement at Oxford in the eighth century that the area grew in importance. From the Anglo-Saxon period, Oxford (Oxnaford) became a major trading and fortress town of the realm, commanding a key crossing on the Thames. The shire around it prospered.
The University of Oxford was founded in 1096, though its collegiate structure did not develop until later on. The university and the town grew in importance during the Middle Ages and early modern period.
The northern and western hills of the county were part of the Cotswolds wool trade from the 13th century, generating much wealth, while the east of the county prospered from its river links to London and the south.
Morris Motors was founded in Oxford in 1912, bringing heavy industry to an otherwise agricultural county. The importance of agriculture as an employer has declined rapidly in the 20th century though; currently under one percent of the county's population are involved due to high mechanisation.
- The "dreaming spires" of the buildings of the University of Oxford play a large contribution in Oxford being the sixth most visited city in the United Kingdom for international visitors. Notable University buildings include the Sheldonian Theatre, built 1664-1668 to the design of Sir Christopher Wren, and the Radcliffe Camera, built 1737-1749 to the design of James Gibbs.
- Blenheim Palace close to Woodstock was built by the great architect John Vanbrugh for John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, after he had won the battle of Blenheim. The gardens, which can be visited, were designed by the landscape gardener Lancelot "Capability" Brown, who planted the trees in the battle formation of the victorious troops. In the palace, which can also be visited by the public, Sir Winston Churchill was born in 1874.
- Chastleton House, on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire borders, is a great country mansion that was built on property bought from Robert Catesby, who was one of the men involved in the Gunpowder Plot with Guy Fawkes. Stonor Park, another country mansion, has belonged to the recusant Stonor family for centuries.
- Mapledurham House in Mapledurham (opposite Purley on Thames) is an Elizabethan stately home in the far south-east of the county.
Towns and villages
The largest town in the county is the City of Oxford, presiding over the north bank of the Thames. It is followed (in order of size) by Banbury, Witney, Carterton, Bicester, Thame, Henley-on-Thames, Chipping Norton, Charlbury, Woodstock, Watlington, Deddington, Burford.
- Sizable towns and villages:
Thames/Isis, Thame, Cherwell, Windrush, Evenlode, Glyme.
Prominent natural features
Education, Farming, Tourism, Automotives, Distribution, Light Manufacturing.
Places to see
|Accessible open space|
| ||Museum (free/not free)|
- Banbury Museum, Banbury 
- Charlbury Museum, Charlbury 
- Chipping Norton Museum, Chipping Norton 
- Cogges Manor Farm Museum, Long Hanborough 
- Coombe Mill Museum, Coombe 
- Museum of Bygones, Claydon 
- Oxford Bus Museum, Long Hanborough 
- Oxfordshire Museum, Woodstock 
- River & Rowing Museum, Henley 
- Thame Museum, Thame 
- Tolsey Museum, Burford 
- University Museums, Oxford: 
- Chastleton House 
- Greys Court 
- Minster Lovell Hall 
- Rollright Stones 
- Rycote Chapel 
- Blenheim Palace 
- Broughton Castle 
- Harcourt Arboretum 
- Heythrop Park 
- Kelmscot Manor 
- Mapledurham House 
- Rousham House 
- Stanton Harcourt House 
- Stonor House 
- Dorchester Abbey, Dorchester on Thames (sometime cathedral church of Mercia and Wessex) 
- Cathedral Church of Christ (Christ Church), Oxford 
- St John the Baptist, Burford (outstanding wool church) 
- St Katherine's, Chiselhampton (unusual peculiar of Dorchester) 
- St Mary's, Bloxham (highest spire in the county) 
- St Michaels at the Northgate, Oxford (its Anglo-Saxon tower is the oldest building in Oxford)
- St Mary's, Iffley (unspoilt Norman architecture) 
- Cotswold Wildlife Park 
- Chinnor & Princes Risbourough Railway, Chinnor 
- Cotswolds AONB 
- Hook Norton Brewery 
- Oxford Canal (part of) 
- Oxford Castle 
- Swalcliffe Tithe Barn 
- Wheatley Windmill 
- The Oxfordshire Association - the Oxfordshire Branch of the Association of British Counties
- ↑ http://www.oxford.gov.uk/PageRender/decC/Economic_statistics_occw.htm Oxford City Council - Economic statistics
- Cannan, J. (1975) Oxfordshire Robert Hale Limited, London
- Carleton Williams, E. (1935) Companion into Oxfordshire Methuen & Co. Limited, London
- Gelling, M. (1953) Place Names of Oxfordshire Cambridge University Press, Cambridge
- Marriott, P. (1977) Oxford Street Names Explained
- Millson, C. (1983) Tales of Old Oxfordshire Countryside Books, Newbury
- Pevsner, N. (& Sherwood, J.) (1974/2002) The Buildings of England: Oxfordshire Yale University Press, London
- Yurdan, M. (2002) Unexplained Oxford and Oxfordshire The Book Castle, Dunstable
|Counties of the United Kingdom|
Aberdeen • Anglesey • Angus • Antrim • Argyll • Armagh • Ayr • Banff • Bedford • Berks • Berwick • Brecknock • Buckingham • Bute • Caernarfon • Caithness • Cambridge • Cardigan • Carmarthen • Chester • Clackmannan • Cornwall • Cromarty • Cumberland • Denbigh • Derby • Devon • Dorset • Down • Dumfries • Dunbarton • Durham • East Lothian • Essex • Fermanagh • Fife • Flint • Glamorgan • Gloucester • Hants • Hereford • Hertford • Huntingdon • Inverness • Kent • Kincardine • Kinross • Kirkcudbright • Lanark • Lancaster • Leicester • Lincoln • Londonderry • Merioneth • Middlesex • Midlothian • Monmouth • Montgomery • Moray • Nairn • Norfolk • Northampton • Northumberland • Nottingham • Orkney • Oxford • Peebles • Pembroke • Perth • Radnor • Renfrew • Ross • Roxburgh • Rutland • Selkirk • Shetland • Salop • Somerset • Stafford • Stirling • Suffolk • Surrey • Sussex • Sutherland • Tyrone • Warwick • West Lothian • Westmorland • Wigtown • Wilts • Worcester • York