Oxfordshire

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Oxfordshire
County Flag of Oxfordshire.svg
Flag of Oxfordshire[1]
Motto of county council: Sapere Aude ('Dare to be Wise')[2]
Oxfordshire UK locator map 2010.svg
Geography
Status Ceremonial and non-metropolitan county
Region South East England
Area
- Total
- Admin. council
Ranked 22nd
2,605 km2 (1,006 sq mi)
Ranked 19th
Admin HQ Oxford
ISO 3166-2 GB-OXF
ONS code 38
NUTS 3 UKJ14
Demography
Population
- Total ()
- Density
- Admin. council
- Admin. pop.
Ranked 35th
654,800
251 /km2 (650 /sq mi)
Ranked 16th
654,800
Ethnicity 95.1% White
1.7% S. Asian
Politics
Oxfordshire coat of arms.jpg
Oxfordshire County Council
http://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk
Executive Conservative
Members of Parliament
Districts
Oxfordshire numbered districts.svg
Unitary County council area
  1. City of Oxford
  2. Cherwell
  3. South Oxfordshire
  4. Vale of White Horse
  5. West Oxfordshire

Oxfordshire (/ˈɒksfərdʃər/ or /ˈɒksfərdʃɪər/; abbreviated Oxon) is a county in South East England bordering on 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 (to the west).

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.

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

Oxfordshire's county flower is the Snake's-head Fritillary.[4]

History[edit]

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 eighth century that the area grew in 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 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.

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 the Barracks on Bullingdon Green, Cowley.

The Vale of the 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.

Economy[edit]

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

Politics[edit]

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.

Education[edit]

Oxfordshire has a completely comprehensive education system with 23 independent schools and 35 state schools. The state schools are from the ages of 11 to either 16 or 18. Only eight schools do not have a sixth form; these are mostly in South Oxfordshire and Cherwell districts.

The county has two universities, significantly the University of Oxford and also Oxford Brookes University, both located in Oxford. Oxfordshire also has Wroxton College, located in Banbury, which is affiliated with Fairleigh Dickinson University of New Jersey.

Buildings[edit]

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.[10] Notable University buildings include 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 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 is an Elizabethan stately home in the far south-east of the county, close to Reading.

Settlements in Oxfordshire[edit]

Settlements by population[edit]

Rank Town Population Year Definition Notes
1 Oxford 134,248 2001 Oxford non-metropolitan district 155,000 Oxford urban area (Oxford district and Seacourt, Botley and Kidlington).
2 Banbury 41,802 2001 Civil parish
3 Abingdon 30,626 2001 Civil parish
4 Bicester 28,672 2001 Civil parish
5 Witney 22,765 2001 Civil parish
6 Didcot 22,762 2001 Civil parish 200 dwellings in the southeast of the town lie in neighbouring East Hagbourne parish.
7 Kidlington 13,719 2001 Civil parish Does not include Gosford.
8 Carterton 11,805 2001 Civil parish
9 Thame 11,072 2001 Civil parish Includes hamlet of Moreton
10 Henley on Thames 10,646 2001 Civil parish
11 Wantage 9767 2001 Civil parish The northern and western fringes of Wantage lie across the border in Grove and East Challow respectively.
12 Grove 7845 2001 Civil parish Includes the northern fringes of Wantage.
13 Wallingford 6496 2001 Civil parish
14 Faringdon 6187 2001 Great Faringdon civil parish
15 Chipping Norton 5972 2001 Civil parish
16 Chinnor 5857 2001 Civil parish
17 Eynsham 4665 2001 Civil parish
18 Benson 4464 2001 Civil parish
19 Wheatley 3905 2001 Civil parish
20 Kennington 3881 2001 Civil parish
21 Sonning Common 3778 2001 Civil parish

Places of interest[edit]

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

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Oxfordshire". County Flags. Flying Colours Flagmakers. Retrieved 2013-08-11. ; "Oxfordshire (England)". Flags of the World. Retrieved 2012-12-02. ; Stranks, Margaret (2008-10-24). "lamp outside County Hall". Flickr. Retrieved 2012-12-02. 
  2. ^ "Camelot International, Britain's heritage and history". Retrieved 9 November 2011. 
  3. ^ http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/portal/pls/portallive/docs/1/587934.PDF%7C
  4. ^ "Fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris)". Plantlife. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  5. ^ "unknown". pp. 240–253. [dead link]
  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. ^ Oxford City Council – Economic statistics
  11. ^ Abingdon County Hall Museum website
  12. ^ http://www.chippingnorton.net/Visitors/museum.htm
  13. ^ "Home". Combemill.org. Retrieved 2014-08-23. 
  14. ^ "Oxfordshire". Milton Manor House. Retrieved 2014-08-23. 
  15. ^ Pevsner, Nikolaus; Sherwood, Jennifer (1974). The Buildings of England: Oxfordshire. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0300096392. 
  16. ^ http://thamehistory.net/
  17. ^ Glitz. "Wheatley Windmill Website". Wheatleymill.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-08-23. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]


Coordinates: 51°45′N 1°17′W / 51.75°N 1.28°W / 51.75; -1.28