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Oxfordshire (/ˈɒksfərdʃər/ or /-ʃɪər/; often abbreviated Oxon from Oxonium, the Latin name of the city and county of Oxford) is a county in England. It is in the South East England region and borders Warwickshire (to the north/north-west), Northamptonshire (to the north/north-east), Buckinghamshire (to the east), Berkshire (to the south), Wiltshire (to the south-west) and Gloucestershire.

Oxfordshire
County
Motto: Sapere Aude ('Dare to be Wise')[1]
Map of Oxfordshire.
Oxfordshire in England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Country England
Region South East England
Ceremonial county
Area 2,605 km2 (1,006 sq mi)
 • Ranked 22nd of 48
Population (mid-2016 est.) 683,200
 • Ranked 35th of 48
Density 262/km2 (680/sq mi)
Ethnicity 95.1% White - 1.7% S. Asian
Non-metropolitan county
County council Oxfordshire county council logo.jpg Oxfordshire County Council [2]
Executive Conservative
Admin HQ Oxford
Area 2,605 km2 (1,006 sq mi)
 • Ranked 19th of 27
Population 683,200
 • Ranked 16th of 27
Density 262/km2 (680/sq mi)
ISO 3166-2 GB-OXF
ONS code 38
NUTS UKJ14
Oxfordshire numbered districts.svg
Unitary County council area
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)

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.

The main centre of population is the city of Oxford. Other significant settlements 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, Wantage, Didcot, Wallingford and Henley-on-Thames to the south. Although within the boundaries of Oxfordshire County Council, the areas to the south of the Thames, forming the Vale of White Horse and parts of South Oxfordshire, are located within the historic county of Berkshire.

The highest point is White Horse Hill, in the Vale of White Horse (historically in Berkshire), reaching 261 metres (856 ft).[3]

Oxfordshire's county flower is the snake's-head fritillary.[4]

Contents

HistoryEdit

Oxfordshire was recorded as a county in the early years of the 10th century and is situated on 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. Largely ignored by the Romans, it was not until the formation of a settlement at Oxford in the 8th century that the area grew in importance. 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 were added to the administrative county of Oxfordshire in 1974. 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.

EconomyEdit

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.[5]

Year Regional gross value added[6] Agriculture[7] Industry[8] Services[9]
1995 7,607 120 2,084 5,404
2000 10,594 80 2,661 7,853
2003 12,942 93 2,665 10,184

PoliticsEdit

Oxfordshire County Council, currently controlled by a Conservative Independent Alliance, 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%.

EducationEdit

 
Brasenose Lane in Oxford city centre, a street onto which three colleges back.
 
The University of Oxford's Chemistry Research Laboratory.

Oxfordshire has a completely comprehensive education system with 23 independent schools 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.

BuildingsEdit

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.[10] 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.

Settlements in OxfordshireEdit

 
Wantage Market Place

Emergency servicesEdit

Settlements by populationEdit

Rank Town Population Year Definition Notes
1 Oxford 150,200 2011 Oxford non-metropolitan district
2 Banbury 46,853 2011 Civil parish
3 Abingdon 33,130 2011 Civil parish
4 Bicester 32,642 2011 Civil parish
5 Witney 27,522 2011 Civil parish
6 Didcot 25,140 2011 Civil parish 200 dwellings in the southeast of the town lie in neighbouring East Hagbourne parish.
7 Carterton 15,769 2011 Civil parish
8 Kidlington 13,723 2011 Civil parish Does not include Gosford.
9 Henley-on-Thames 11,619 2011 Civil parish
10 Thame 11,561 2011 Civil parish Includes hamlet of Moreton
11 Wantage 11,327 2011 Civil parish
12 Wallingford 7,918 2011 Civil parish
13 Grove 7,178 2011 Civil parish
14 Faringdon 7,121 2011 Great Faringdon civil parish
15 Chipping Norton 6,337 2011 Civil parish
16 Chinnor 5,924 2011 Civil parish
17 Benson 4,754 2011 Civil parish
18 Eynsham 4,648 2011 Civil parish
19 Wheatley 4,092 2011 Civil parish
20 Kennington 4,076 2011 Civil parish
21 Woodstock 3,100 2011 Civil parish
22 Charlbury 2,830 2011 Civil parish
23 Watlington 2,727 2011 Civil parish
24 Bampton 2,564 2011 Civil parish
25 Deddington 2,146 2011 Civil parish

Places of interestEdit

Key
  Abbey/Priory/Cathedral
  Accessible open space
  Amusement/Theme Park
  Castle
  Country Park
  English Heritage
Forestry Commission
  Heritage railway
  Historic House
 
 
Museum (free/not free)
  National Trust
  Theatre
  Zoo

See alsoEdit

References and notesEdit

  1. ^ "Camelot International, Britain's heritage and history". Camelotintl.com. Retrieved 9 November 2011. 
  2. ^ Homepage
  3. ^ Edwardes, Simon (2001). "County and Unitary Authority Tops". The Mountains of England and Wales. Retrieved 14 December 2015. 
  4. ^ "Fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris)". Plantlife. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  5. ^ "unknown" (PDF). pp. 240–253. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 July 2011. 
  6. ^ Components may not sum to totals due to rounding
  7. ^ includes hunting and forestry
  8. ^ includes energy and construction
  9. ^ includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured
  10. ^ "Economic Statistics". Oxford City Council. Retrieved 8 August 2016. 
  11. ^ Christopher Gale (7 July 2012). "Abingdon County Hall Museum". Abingdonmuseum.org.uk. Retrieved 8 August 2016. 
  12. ^ "Home page". Chipping Norton History Society and Museum. Retrieved 27 June 2017. 
  13. ^ "Home". Combemill.org. Retrieved 23 August 2014. 
  14. ^ "Oxfordshire". Milton Manor House. Retrieved 23 August 2014. 
  15. ^ Pevsner, Nikolaus; Sherwood, Jennifer (1974). The Buildings of England: Oxfordshire. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0300096392. 
  16. ^ Glitz. "Wheatley Windmill Website". Wheatleymill.co.uk. Retrieved 23 August 2014. 

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit