Oxfordshire

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Oxfordshire
Ceremonial county
Flag of Oxfordshire.svg
Flag
Motto: Sapere Aude
('Dare to be Wise') [1]
Oxfordshire UK locator map 2010.svg
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
Region South East England
Ceremonial county
Lord Lieutenant Tim Stevenson OBE
High Sheriff Mrs Amanda Ponsonby MBE [2] (2020–21)
Area2,605 km2 (1,006 sq mi)
  Ranked 22nd of 48
Population (mid-2019 est.)687,524
  Ranked 35th of 48
Density264/km2 (680/sq mi)
Ethnicity90.9% White, 4.8% Asian/Asian British [3]
Non-metropolitan county
County council Oxfordshire county council logo.jpg Oxfordshire County Council [4]
Executive Conservative
Admin HQ Oxford
Area2,605 km2 (1,006 sq mi)
  Ranked 15th of 26
Population687,524
  Ranked 17th of 26
Density264/km2 (680/sq mi)
ISO 3166-2 GB-OXF
ONS code 38
NUTS UKJ14
Oxfordshire numbered districts.svg
Districts of Oxfordshire
Districts
  1. City of Oxford
  2. Cherwell
  3. South Oxfordshire
  4. Vale of White Horse
  5. West Oxfordshire
Members of Parliament
Time zone Greenwich Mean Time (UTC)
  Summer (DST) British Summer Time (UTC+1)

Oxfordshire (abbreviated Oxon, from Oxonium, the Latin name for Oxford) is a county in South East England. The ceremonial county borders Warwickshire to the north-west, Northamptonshire to the north-east, Buckinghamshire to the east, Berkshire to the south, Wiltshire to the south-west and Gloucestershire to the west.

Contents

The county has major education and tourist industries and is 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.

As well as the city of Oxford, other centres of population are Banbury, Bicester, Kidlington and Chipping Norton to the north of Oxford; Carterton and Witney to the west; Thame and Chinnor to the east; and Abingdon-on-Thames, Wantage, Didcot, Wallingford and Henley-on-Thames to the south. The areas south of the Thames, the Vale of White Horse and parts of South Oxfordshire, are in the historic county of Berkshire, as is the highest point, the 261 metres (856 ft) White Horse Hill. [5]

Oxfordshire's county flower is the snake's-head fritillary. [6]

History

Oxfordshire was recorded as a county in the early years of the 10th century and lies 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.

Although it had some significance as an area of valuable agricultural land in the centre of the country, it was largely ignored by the Romans, and did not grow in importance until the formation of a settlement at Oxford in the 8th century. Alfred the Great was born across the Thames in Wantage, Vale of White Horse. The University of Oxford was founded in 1096, though its collegiate structure did not develop until later on. The university in the county town of Oxford (whose name came from Anglo-Saxon Oxenaford = "ford for oxen") grew in importance during the Middle Ages and early modern period. The area was part of the Cotswolds wool trade from the 13th century, generating much wealth, particularly in the western portions of the county in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds. 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. Nonetheless, Oxfordshire remains a very agricultural county by land use, with a lower population than neighbouring Berkshire and Buckinghamshire, which are both smaller.

Throughout most of its history the county was divided into fourteen hundreds, namely Bampton, Banbury, Binfield, Bloxham, Bullingdon, Chadlington, Dorchester, Ewelme, Langtree, Lewknor, Pyrton, Ploughley, Thame and Wootton.

The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, the main army unit in the area, was based at Cowley Barracks on Bullingdon Green, Cowley.

The Vale of White Horse district and parts of the South Oxfordshire administrative district south of the River Thames were historically part of Berkshire, but in 1974 Abingdon, Didcot, Faringdon, Wallingford and Wantage were added to the administrative county of Oxfordshire under the Local Government Act 1972. Conversely, the Caversham area of Reading, now administratively in Berkshire, was historically part of Oxfordshire as was the parish of Stokenchurch, now administratively in Buckinghamshire. The areas of Oxford city south of the Thames such as Grandpont were transferred much earlier, in 1889.

Geography

Oxfordshire includes parts of three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. In the north-west lie the Cotswolds, to the south and south-east are the open chalk hills of the North Wessex Downs and wooded hills of the Chilterns. The north of the county contains the ironstone of the Cherwell uplands. Long-distance walks within the county include the Ridgeway National Trail, Macmillan Way, Oxfordshire Way and the D’Arcy Dalton Way.

Extreme points

Rivers

The central part of Oxfordshire contains the River Thames with its flat floodplains; the river forms the historic county boundary with Berkshire. The Thames Path National Trail parallels the river as it crosses Oxfordshire, continuing towards London. There are many smaller rivers that feed into the Thames such as the Thame, Windrush, Evenlode and Cherwell. Some of these rivers have trails running along their valleys. The Oxford Canal follows the Cherwell from Banbury to Kidlington.

Green belt

Oxfordshire contains a green belt area that fully envelops the city of Oxford, and extends for some miles to afford a protection to surrounding towns and villages from inappropriate development and urban growth. Its border in the east extends to the Buckinghamshire county boundary, while part of its southern border is shared with the North Wessex Downs AONB. It was first drawn up in the 1950s, and all the county's districts contain some portion of the belt.

Economy

This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of Oxfordshire at current basic prices published by the Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British pounds sterling. [7]

YearRegional gross value added [8] Agriculture [9] Industry [10] Services [11]
19957,6071202,0845,404
200010,594802,6617,853
200312,942932,66510,184

Politics

The Oxfordshire County Council, since 2013 under no overall control, is responsible for the most strategic local government functions, including schools, county roads, and social services. The county is divided into five local government districts: Oxford, Cherwell, Vale of White Horse (after the Uffington White Horse), West Oxfordshire and South Oxfordshire, which deal with such matters as town and country planning, waste collection, and housing.

In the 2016 European Union referendum, Oxfordshire was the only English county as a whole to vote to remain in the European Union by a significant margin, at 57.06% (70.27% in the City of Oxford), despite Cherwell (barely) voting to leave at 50.31%.

Education

Brasenose Lane in Oxford city centre, a street onto which three colleges back. Oxford back street - geograph.org.uk - 774471.jpg
Brasenose Lane in Oxford city centre, a street onto which three colleges back.
The University of Oxford's Chemistry Research Laboratory. Chemistry Research Laboratory Atrium.JPG
The University of Oxford's Chemistry Research Laboratory.

Oxfordshire has a completely comprehensive education system with 23 independent schools, including the notable Radley College, and 35 state secondary schools. Only eight schools do not have a sixth form; these are mostly in South Oxfordshire and Cherwell districts.

The county has two universities: the ancient University of Oxford and the modern Oxford Brookes University, which are both located in Oxford. In addition, Wroxton College, located in Banbury, is affiliated with Fairleigh Dickinson University of New Jersey.

Buildings

The Abbey, Sutton Courtenay, a 'textbook' example of the English medieval manor house. The Abbey Sutton Courtenay.jpg
The Abbey, Sutton Courtenay, a ‘textbook’ example of the English medieval manor house.

The "dreaming spires" of the buildings of the University of Oxford are among the reasons for Oxford being the sixth most visited city in the United Kingdom for international visitors. [12] Among many notable University buildings are the Sheldonian Theatre, built 1664–68 to the design of Sir Christopher Wren, and the Radcliffe Camera, built 1737–49 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 "Capability Brown", who planted the trees in the battle formation of the victorious army. 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 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 is an Elizabethan stately home in the far south-east of the county, close to Reading.

The Abbey in Sutton Courtenay is a medieval courtyard house. It has been recognised by the Historic Building Council for England (now Historic England) as a building of outstanding historic and architectural interest. [13] It is considered to be a ‘textbook’ example of the English medieval manor house, [14] and is a Grade I-listed building. [15]

Settlements in Oxfordshire

Wantage Market Place The Bear Hotel in Wantage - geograph.org.uk - 1395707.jpg
Wantage Market Place

Emergency services

Settlements by population

RankTownPopulationYearDefinitionNotes
1 Oxford 150,2002011Oxford non-metropolitan district
2 Banbury 46,8532011 Civil parish
3 Abingdon-on-Thames 33,1302011Civil parish
4 Bicester 32,6422011Civil parish
5 Witney 27,5222011Civil parish
6 Didcot 25,1402011Civil parish200 dwellings in the south-east of the town lie in neighbouring East Hagbourne parish.
7 Carterton 15,7692011Civil parish
8 Kidlington 13,7232011Civil parishDoes not include Gosford.
9 Henley-on-Thames 11,6192011Civil parish
10 Wallingford 11,600 [16] 2011Civil parish
11 Thame 11,5612011Civil parishIncludes hamlet of Moreton
12 Wantage 11,3272011Civil parish
13 Grove 7,1782011Civil parish
14 Faringdon 7,1212011 Great Faringdon civil parish
15 Chipping Norton 6,3372011Civil parish
16 Chinnor 5,9242011Civil parish
17 Benson 4,7542011Civil parish
18 Eynsham 4,6482011Civil parish
19 Wheatley 4,0922011Civil parish
20 Kennington 4,0762011Civil parish
21 Woodstock 3,1002011Civil parish
22 Charlbury 2,8302011Civil parish
23 Watlington 2,7272011Civil parish
24 Bampton 2,5642011Civil parish
25 Deddington 2,1462011Civil parish

Places of interest

Key
AP Icon.svg Abbey/Priory/Cathedral
UKAL icon.svg Accessible open space
Themepark uk icon.png Amusement/Theme Park
CL icon.svg Castle
Country parks.svg Country Park
EH icon.svg English Heritage
Forestry Commission
HR icon.svg Heritage railway
HH icon.svg Historic House
AP Icon.svg Mosques
Museum icon.svg
Museum icon (red).svg
Museum (free/not free)
NTE icon.svg National Trust
Drama-icon.svg Theatre
Zoo icon.jpg Zoo

See also

References and notes

  1. "Camelot International, Britain's heritage and history". Camelotintl.com. Archived from the original on 3 May 2012. Retrieved 9 November 2011.
  2. "No. 62943". The London Gazette . 13 March 2020. p. 5161.
  3. UK Census (2011). "Local Area Report – Oxfordshire Local Authority (E10000025)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics.
  4. "Homepage". Archived from the original on 23 November 2002. Retrieved 16 November 2002.
  5. Edwardes, Simon (2001). "County and Unitary Authority Tops". The Mountains of England and Wales. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  6. "Fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris)". Plantlife. Archived from the original on 30 January 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  7. "unknown" (PDF). pp. 240–253. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 July 2011.
  8. Components may not sum to totals due to rounding
  9. includes hunting and forestry
  10. includes energy and construction
  11. includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured
  12. "Economic Statistics". Oxford City Council. Archived from the original on 17 December 2015. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  13. The Abbey, Sutton Courtenay archives.
  14. Currie 1992, p. 225.
  15. Historic England. "The Abbey (1052729)". National Heritage List for England . Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  16. Service, District Data. "District Data Service - South Oxon Census 2011 summary leaflet". www.oxford.gov.uk. Archived from the original on 5 August 2018. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  17. Christopher Gale (7 July 2012). "Abingdon County Hall Museum". Abingdonmuseum.org.uk. Archived from the original on 13 August 2016. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  18. "Home page". Chipping Norton History Society and Museum. Archived from the original on 16 May 2017. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  19. "Home". Combemill.org. Archived from the original on 10 September 2014. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  20. "Oxfordshire". Milton Manor House. Archived from the original on 9 July 2014. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  21. Pevsner, Nikolaus; Sherwood, Jennifer (1974). The Buildings of England: Oxfordshire. Yale University Press. ISBN   978-0300096392.
  22. Glitz. "Wheatley Windmill Website". Wheatleymill.co.uk. Archived from the original on 24 July 2014. Retrieved 23 August 2014.

Further reading

Coordinates: 51°45′N1°17′W / 51.75°N 1.28°W / 51.75; -1.28

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Wantage Human settlement in England

Wantage is a historic market town and civil parish in the ceremonial county of Oxfordshire, England. Historically part of Berkshire, it has been administered as part of the Vale of White Horse district of Oxfordshire since 1974. The town is on Letcombe Brook, about 8 miles (13 km) south-west of Abingdon, 24 miles (39 km) north-west of Reading, 15 miles (24 km) south-west of Oxford and 14 miles (23 km) north north-west of Newbury.

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Harwell is a village and civil parish in the Vale of White Horse about 2 miles (3 km) west of Didcot, 6 miles (10 km) east of Wantage and 13 miles (21 km) south of Oxford. The parish measures about 3.5 miles (6 km) north – south, and almost 2 miles (3 km) east – west at its widest point. In 1923 its area was 2,521 acres (1,020 ha). Harwell is in the historic county of Berkshire, however since 1974 it has been administered as part of Oxfordshire.

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The Vale of White Horse is a local government district of Oxfordshire in England. South and west of the upper Thames, on its right bank it was long a north-west projection of Berkshire. The area is commonly referred to as the 'Vale of the White Horse' and is crossed by the Ridgeway National Trail in its far south, across the North Wessex Downs AONB at the junction of four counties. The 'White Horse' as a name and emblem features in sports clubs and organisations, but is also emblematic of Kent and appears in lesser known hill figures elsewhere.

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Faringdon is a historic market town in the Vale of White Horse, Oxfordshire, England. Within the historic boundaries of Berkshire, it is 18 miles (29 km) south-west of Oxford, 10 miles (16 km) north-west of Wantage and 12 miles (19 km) east-north-east of Swindon. The lowest parts of the parish extend to the River Thames in the north and its highest ground to the Ridgeway in the south. Faringdon was Berkshire's westernmost town until the 1974 boundary changes transferred it to Oxfordshire. The civil parish is formally Great Faringdon, to distinguish it from Little Faringdon in West Oxfordshire. The 2011 Census gave a population of 7,121. On 1 February 2004, Faringdon became the first place in south-east England to be awarded Fairtrade Town status. Faringdon Enterprise Gateway helps and advises businesses in rural west Oxfordshire.

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