ⓘ History of Oxfordshire


ⓘ History of Oxfordshire

The county of Oxfordshire in England was formed 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 this area has always had some importance, containing valuable agricultural land in the center of the country and the prestigious University in the city of, County of Oxford, whose name came from Anglo-Saxon Oxenaford = "Ford for oxen". Ignored by the Romans, it was not until the formation of a settlement at Oxford in the 8th century that the area of increased importance. Alfred the Great was born across the Thames in wantage in Berkshire. The University of Oxford was founded in 1096, though its collegiate structure did not develop later. The area was part of the Cotswolds wool trade from the 13th century, generating much wealth, particularly in the Western part of Oxfordshire in the Cotswolds. Morris Motors was founded in Oxford in 1912, attracting heavy industry to an otherwise rural district. The importance of agriculture as an employer has declined sharply in the 20th century, although, currently one percent of the countys population are involved due to high mechanisation.

There are fourteen hundreds in Oxfordshire, among them-five of the Chiltern hundreds. Jurisdiction over these five belonged to the manor of Benson, and in 1199 Robert De Harecourt, whose name still can be found in the County in the harcourts of Stanton Harcourt and Nuneham. The district includes small portions of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire, which lie in the hundreds of Bampton and high street respectively.

For most of its history the County was divided into fourteen hundreds, namely Bampton, Banbury, Binfield, Bloxham, Bullingdon, Chadlington, Dorchester, Ewelme, comfortable, Lewknor, Pyrton, high street, Thame and Wootton.

There have been few changes in the districts boundaries, but acts of William IV and Victoria slightly increased its area.