Woodstock town hall
Woodstock shown within Oxfordshire
|Population||2,924 (2001 census)|
|OS grid reference|
|– London||62.4 miles (100.4 km)|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
|Website||Woodstock Town Council|
Edward, elder son of King Edward III and heir apparent, prince of Aquitaine and Wales, Duke of Cornwall and Earl of Chester was born in Woodstock Manor on 15 June 1330. During his lifetime, he was commonly called Edward of Woodstock.
The name Woodstock is Old English in origin, meaning a "clearing in the woods". The Domesday Book of 1086 describes Woodstock (Wodestock, Wodestok, Wodestole) as a royal forest. Æthelred the Unready, king of England, is said to have held an assembly at Woodstock at which he issued a legal code now known as IX Æthelred.
King Henry I may have kept a menagerie in the park. Woodstock was the scene of King Henry II's courtship of Rosamund Clifford (Fair Rosamund). The market of the town was established when King Henry II gave Woodstock a Royal charter in 1179.Bear Hotel in Park Street opposite The Oxfordshire Museum dates from the 13th century.
Near the village was Woodstock Palace, a residence that was popular with several English kings throughout the medieval period. The building was destroyed in the English Civil War. Sixty years later the palace remains were cleared for the construction of Blenheim Palace.
In the 17th century the town was altered greatly, when the 1st Duke of Marlborough became a permanent resident.
By 1626 James Keene, who had a bell-foundry in Bedford, had started one in Woodstock. Until 1640 another member of the family, Humphrey Keene, was a bell-founder with him. James died in 1654 and was succeeded by his son Richard. Richard Keene apparently closed the Woodstock foundry in the 1680s but continued casting bells at Royston, Hertfordshire until 1703.
Numerous parish churches still have one or more bells cast by the Keenes, including at Asthall, Cassington, Charlton-on-Otmoor, Chastleton, Chesterton, Duns Tew, Garsington, Islip, Kiddington, Merton, Milton, Oddington, Rousham, Steeple Aston, Steeple Barton, Stratton Audley, Tackley and Woodeaton in Oxfordshire, Stowe in Buckinghamshire and Martley in Worcestershire.
The Palace was designed by John Vanbrugh, in a heavy Italo-Corinthian style. It was designated to John Churchill, the first Duke of Marlborough. Most of the palace was paid for by the nation. Churchill was given this palace in honour for his victories over the French and the Bavarians at Blenheim in 1704.
The greater part of the art treasures and curios were sold off in 1886, and the great library collected by Charles Spencer, Earl of Sunderland, the son-in-law of the first Duke of Marlborough, in 1881. The magnificent park contains Fair Rosamund's Well, near which stood her bower. On the summit of a hill stands a column commemorating the duke. Blenheim Park forms a separate parish.
When Thomas Wyatt led an uprising in 1554 to depose Queen Mary I and put Princess Elizabeth on the throne in her place, Elizabeth was imprisoned in a lodge in Woodstock as a precaution. The lodge was used because the now lost Woodstock Palace or manor house was too dilapidated to house her. A survey in 1551 reported that "the mansion... for many years past hath been decayed." While imprisoned, Elizabeth wrote a poem. "Much suspected by [of] me, None proved can be." She was released in April 1555 after nearly a year in captivity.
The little River Glyme, in a steep and picturesque valley, divides the town into New and Old Woodstock. Woodstock has two main suburbs, namely Hensington to the south and east of the town centre, and Old Woodstock directly to the north. The town hall of Woodstock was built in 1766 after the designs of Sir William Chambers, and there are a number of 17th century buildings in the centre. The almshouses were erected in 1798 by Caroline, duchess of Marlborough. Chaucer's House was once home to Chancellor of England, Thomas Chaucer, thought to be the son of the poet Geoffrey Chaucer.
The Oxfordshire Museum, the county museum of Oxfordshire, occupies a large historic house, Fletcher’s House, in the centre of Woodstock. The museum has a garden containing works of art and a Dinosaur Garden with a full-size replica of a Megalosaurus.
Sport and leisure
- "Area selected: West Oxfordshire (Non-Metropolitan District)". Neighbourhood Statistics: Full Dataset View. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 23 March 2010.
- See Prosophography of Anglo-Saxon England. In the 17th century, Robert Plot wrote that King Alfred stayed at Woodstock about the year 890 when he translated Boethius' Consolations of Philosophy. R. Plot, The Natural History of Oxfordshire. Oxford, 1677. p. 349 Ch. X § 118. The source cited by him was a "Cotton Otho A" manuscript, but no such manuscript has produced evidence of this. It may have been Cotton Otho A.x, destroyed in the Ashburnham House fire of October 1731, though the catalogues by Humfrey Wanley and Franciscus Junius make no mention of this. Bill Griffiths, Alfred's Metres of Boethius (1991), p. 13.
- Pipe, Simon (October 2007). "Woodstock's lost royal palace". BBC.
- Dovemaster (25 June 2010). "Bell Founders". Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers. Central Council for Church Bell Ringers. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
- Crossley & Elrington 1990, pp. 360–372
-  Hentzner, Paul. A Journey Into England, (1598). Horace Walpole, ed. 1757. Fugitive Pieces on Various Subjects. Vol II. Robert Dodsley, ed. London: J. Dodsley, 1771. 258.
- Woodstock Under Fives Association[dead link]
- Sherwood & Pevsner 1974, p. 856.
- "Dinosaur footprints go on display". BBC News. 10 May 2009.
- Aston, Michael; Bond, James (1976). The Landscape of Towns. Archaeology in the Field Series. London: J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd. pp. 94, 165, 171. ISBN 0-460-04194-0.
- Ballard, Adolphus (1896). Chronicles of the royal borough of Woodstock. Compiled from the borough records and other original documents. Oxford: Alden & Co.
- Crossley, Alan; Elrington, C.R. (eds.); Baggs, A.P.; Blair, W.J.; Chance, Eleanor; Colvin, Christina; Cooper, Janet; Day, C.J.; Selwyn, Nesta; Townley, Simon C. (1990). A History of the County of Oxford, Volume 12: Wootton Hundred (South) including Woodstock. Victoria County History. pp. 325–430.
- Jenkins, S.C. (1987). The Woodstock Branch. Wild Swan Publications. ISBN 0-906867-51-7.
- Marshall, Edward (1873). The early history of Woodstock manor and its environs, in Bladon, Hensington, New Woodstock, Blenheim: with later notices. Oxford & Co.
- Sherwood, Jennifer; Pevsner, Nikolaus (1974). Oxfordshire. The Buildings of England. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. pp. 856–859. ISBN 0-14-071045-0.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
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