Coordinates: 51°54′N 1°09′W / 51.90°N 1.15°W / 51.90; -1.15
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Market Square, Bicester
Bicester is located in Oxfordshire
Location within Oxfordshire
Area8.58 km2 (3.31 sq mi)
Population37,020 (2021 census)[1]
• Density4,315/km2 (11,180/sq mi)
OS grid referenceSP5822
Civil parish
  • Bicester
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtOX25–27
Dialling code01869
PoliceThames Valley
AmbulanceSouth Central
UK Parliament
List of places

51°54′N 1°09′W / 51.90°N 1.15°W / 51.90; -1.15


Bicester (/ˈbɪstər/ BIST-ər) is a historical market town, garden town, and civil parish in the Cherwell district of northeastern Oxfordshire in south-central England that also comprises an eco town development at North West Bicester and a self-build village at Graven Hill. Its local market continues to thrive and is now located on Sheep Street, a very wide pedestrian zone in the conservation area of the town. Bicester is also known for Bicester Village, a nearby shopping centre.

Bicester has expanded rapidly in recent generations[2] due to the town's picturesque historical town centre, garden town,[3] independent and high-street shops, restaurants, and excellent rail connections to Oxford and its imminent connection to Cambridge, as well as rail links to Birmingham and London. It is similarly proximate to Brackley, Buckingham, Banbury, Milton Keynes, and Aylesbury. A considerable volume of high quality and environmentally friendly housing stock has been constructed recently, in particular at the Elmsbrook eco-town and the self-build homes at Graven Hill. Its flat topography and compact size is suited to walking and cycling, which, together with an active cycle campaign,[4] has attracted a significant focus on developing improved active travel infrastructure, including the majority of a recent £14 million central government award to Oxfordshire County Council dedicated to safer walking and cycling.[5]

Bicester has its own town council. In 2014 the government, in concert with the local planning authority, planned for Bicester to become a garden city on the basis of the size of its buffers, and distance from the Metropolitan Green Belt as well as to accommodate the demand of commuters to London and Oxford. Up to 13,000 new homes will be built.[6]


There are several theories about the origin of the name Bicester. It may be derived from a personal name Beorna and it may mean the 'Fort of the Warriors' or be Latin for Bi-cester, which means 'two forts'. (A Roman fortress at Alchester is 2 miles (3 km) southwest of the town,[7][8][9] and Chesterton village is on the course of Akeman Street, the Roman road between Watling Street and Cirencester, about 1 mile (1.6 km) northwest of Alchester Roman Town.) Bicester has been in use since the mid 17th century and derives from earlier forms including Berncestre, Burencestre, Burcester, Biciter and Bissiter; the John Speed map of 1610 shows four different spellings and historian G. H. Dannatt found 45 variants in wills of the 17th and 18th centuries.[citation needed]


Early history[edit]

Row of colourful town houses on Queen's Avenue, Bicester
Townhouses on Queen's Avenue, Bicester

Bicester lies close to the junction of two Roman Roads, Akeman Street an east–west route between St Albans and Cirencester and a north–south route between Dorchester and Towcester, which lies under Queens Avenue. A Roman fortress at Alchester is 2 miles (3 km) southwest of the town.[8][10] The West Saxons established a settlement in the 6th century at a nodal point of these ancient routes.[7]

A photo of Bicester's St Edburg's Church, a Cotswold stone building, in the sunshine, with the sun shining through a tree.
St Edburg’s Church, Bicester

St Edburg’s Church in Bicester was founded as a minster, perhaps in the mid 7th century after St Birinus converted Cynegils King of the West Saxons following their meeting near Blewbury. The site was just east of the old Roman road between Dorchester and Towcester that passed through the former Roman town at Alchester. The earliest church was probably a timber structure serving the inhabitants of the growing Saxon settlements on either side of the river Bure, and as a mission centre for the surrounding countryside. Archaeological excavations at Procter's Yard identified the ecclesiastical enclosure boundary, and a large cemetery of Saxon graves suggesting a much larger churchyard has been excavated on the site of the Catholic Church car park almost opposite St. Edburg's.

The first documentary reference is the Domesday Book of 1086 which records it as Berencestra, its two manors of Bicester and Wretchwick being held by Robert D'Oyly who built Oxford Castle. The town became established as twin settlements on opposite banks of the River Bure, a tributary of the Ray, Cherwell and ultimately the River Thames.

By the end of the 13th century, Bicester was the centre of a deanery of 33 churches. The remains of an Augustinian priory founded between 1182 and 1185 survive in the town centre. It is unclear when St Edburg's Church was rebuilt in stone, but the 12th century church seems to have had an aisleless cruciform plan. Earliest surviving material includes parts of the nave north wall including parts of an originally external zigzag string course, the north and south transepts and the external clasping buttresses of the chancel. The triangular-headed opening at the end of the north wall of the nave was probably an external door of the early church. Three great round-headed Norman arches at the end of the nave mark the position of a 13th-century tower.

The Augustinian Priory was founded by Gilbert Bassett around 1183, and endowed with land and buildings around the town and in other parishes including 180 acres (73 ha) and the quarry at Kirtlington, 300 acres (120 ha) at Wretchwick (now called), 135 acres (55 ha) at Stratton Audley, and on Gravenhill and Arncott. It also held the mill at Clifton and had farms let to tenants at Deddington, Grimsbury, Waddesdon and Fringford. Although these holdings were extensive and close to the market at Bicester, they appear to have been poorly managed and did not produce much income for the priory.

The priory appropriated the church in the early 13th century. The church was enlarged by a south aisle, and arches were formed in the nave and south transept walls linking the new aisle to the main body of the church.

A further extension was made in the 14th century when the north aisle was built. The arched openings in the north wall of the nave are supported on thick octagonal columns. The Perpendicular Gothic north chapel (now vestry) is of a similar date, on the east wall are two windows. The chapel originally had an upper chamber used later for the vicars' grammar school, accessed from an external staircase which forms part of the north eastern buttress.

In the 15th century, the upper walls of the nave were raised to form a clerestory with square-headed Perpendicular Gothic windows. The earlier central tower and its nave arch was taken down and the nave roof rebuilt (the present roof is a copy of 1803). The columns of the north arcade were undercut making them appear very slim and the capitals top heavy. In the east bay of the nave, there is carved decoration probably forming part of a canopied tomb originally set between the columns. The west tower was built in three stages, each stage marked by a horizontal string course running round the outside. The construction would have taken several years to complete. The battlements and crockets on the top of the tower were replaced in the mid 19th century.

Photo of old dovecote, boxes converted to windows, sharp spike on top, and modern concrete stairs added externally
Dovecote in Old Place Yard, Bicester

The priory church was built around 1200, and enlarged around 1300 in association with the construction of the Purbeck marble tomb of St Eadburh. This may have been the gift of the priory's patron Henry de Lacy, 3rd Earl of Lincoln. The walled rectangular enclosure of the priory lay just south of the church. The gatehouse was on the site of 'Chapter and Verse' Guesthouse in Church Lane. The dovecote and houses in Old Place Yard lie within the central precinct. St Edburg's House is built partly over the site of the large priory church. This was linked by a cloister to a quadrangle containing the refectory, kitchens, dormitory and prior's lodging. The priory farm buildings lay in the area of the present church hall, and these had direct access along Piggy Lane to land in what is now the King's End estate.

Early charters promoted Bicester's development as a trading centre, with a market and fair established by the mid 13th century. By this time two further manors are mentioned, Bury End and Nuns Place, later known as Market End and King's End respectively.

Military history[edit]

The town has a long-standing connection with the military. Ward Lock & Co's 'Guide to Oxford and District' suggests that Alchester was 'a kind of Roman Aldershot'. During the Civil War (1642–49) Bicester was used as the headquarters of parliamentary forces. Following the outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars from 1793, John Coker, the manorial lord of Bicester King's End, formed an 'Association for the Protection of Property against Levellers and Jacobins' as an anti-Painite loyalist band providing local militia and volunteer drafts for the army. When Oxford University formed a regiment in 1798, John Coker was elected Colonel.

Red brick military building shown from the corner set in a field
Military buildings at the Graven Hill supply depot, Bicester

Coker's Bicester militia had sixty privates, and six commissioned and non-commissioned officers led by Captain Henry Walford. The militia briefly stood down in 1801 after the Treaty of Amiens. But when hostilities resumed after 1804 invasion anxiety was so great as to warrant the reformation of the local militia as the Bicester Independent Company of Infantry. It had double the earlier numbers to provide defence in the event of an invasion or Jacobin insurrection. The Bicester Company was commanded by a captain, with 2 lieutenants, an ensign, 6 sergeants, 6 corporals and 120 privates. Their training and drill were such that they were deemed 'fit to join troops in the line'. The only action recorded for them is in 1806 at the 21st birthday celebrations of Sir Gregory O Page-Turner when they performed a feu de joie 'and were afterwards regaled at one of the principal inns of the town'.

Later history[edit]

Bicester Manor House, a large, classical styled building with large windows
Bicester Manor House, now owned by a housing association

The Lord of the Manor of Market End was the 1st Earl of Derby Sir Thomas Stanley, who had married Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII. Sir Thomas placed the crown on the head of the new King Henry VII at the Battle of Bosworth, as the step-father of Henry VII he was granted many manors. In his will of 1593, the 4th Earl of Derby, Sir Henry Stanley, bequeathed the manor to his second son Sir William Stanley of Lathom, Lancashire. Fate made William the 6th Earl of Derby in 1594 when his older brother Ferdinando, the 5th Earl, mysteriously died. In 1597, the 6th Earl sold a 9,999-year lease to 31 principal tenants. This in effect gave the manorial rights to the leaseholders, 'purchased for the benefit of those inhabitants or others who might hereafter obtain parts of the demesne'. The leaseholders elected a bailiff to receive the profits from the bailiwick, mainly from the administration of the market and distribute them to the shareholders. From the bailiff's title the arrangement became known as the Bailiwick of Bicester Market End. By 1752, all of the original leases were in the hands of ten men, who leased the bailiwick control of the market to two local tradesmen.

A fire in 1724 had destroyed the buildings on the eastern side of Water Lane. A Nonconformist congregation was able to acquire a site that had formerly been the tail of a long plot occupied at the other end by the King's Arms. Their chapel built in 1728 was 'surrounded by a burying ground and ornamented with trees. At the southern and downstream end of Water Lane, there were problems of pollution from animal dung from livery stables on the edge of town associated with the London traffic.

Late 17th century house in Market Square[11]

Edward Hemins was running a bell-foundry in Bicester by 1728 and remained in business until at least 1743.[12] At least 19 of his church bells are known to survive,[12] including some of those in the parishes of Ambrosden, Bletchingdon, Piddington and Wootton in Oxfordshire and Culworth in Northamptonshire.

King's End had a substantially lower population and none of the commercial bustle found on the other side of the Bure. The manorial lords, the Cokers, lived in the manor house from 1584. The house had been rebuilt in the early 18th century remodelled in the 1780s. The park was enlarged surrounded by a wall after 1753 when a range of buildings on the north side of King's End Green were demolished by Coker. A westward enlargement of the park also extinguished the road that followed the line of the Roman road. This partly overlapped a pre-1753 close belonging to Coker. The effect of the enlargement of the park was to divert traffic at the Fox Inn through King's End, across the causeway to Market Square and Sheep Street before returning to the Roman road north of Crockwell.

The two townships of King's End and Market End evolved distinct spatial characteristics. Inns, shops and high status houses clustered around the triangular market place as commercial activity was increasingly concentrated in Market End. The bailiwick lessees promoted a much less regulated market than that found in boroughs elsewhere. Away from the market, Sheep Street was considered 'very respectable' but its northern end at Crockwell was inhabited by the poorest inhabitants in low quality, subdivided and overcrowded buildings.

View of the Causeway, a narrow street in Bicester, showing historic buildings on either side.
The Causeway, Bicester

By 1800, the causeway had dense development forming continuous frontages on both sides. The partially buried watercourses provided a convenient drainage opportunity, and many houses had privies discharging directly into the channels. Downstream, the Bure ran parallel with Water Lane, then the main road out of town towards London. Terraces of cottages were built backing onto the brook, and here too these took advantage of the brook for sewage disposal, with privies cantilevered out from houses over the watercourse. Town houses took their water from wells dug into the substrate which became increasingly polluted by leaching of waste through the alluvial bed of the Bure.

Until the early 19th century, the road from the market place to King's End ran through a ford of the Bure brook and on to the narrow embanked road across the boggy valley. The causeway became the focus for development from the late 18th century as rubbish and debris was dumped on each side of the road to form building platforms. Minor channels of the braided stream were encased and culverted as construction proceeded.[citation needed]

During the First World War, an airfield was established north of the town for the Royal Flying Corps. This became a Royal Air Force station, and is now Bicester Airfield, the home of Windrushers Gliding Club, which was absorbed into the military gliding club previously based there, to re-emerge in 2004 when the military club left the airfield. There is now a campaign by the BCH[expand acronym] to turn the RAF centre into a museum.[citation needed] An epitome of historical Royal Air Force (RAF) locations in the UK, RAF Bicester represents the most comprehensive portrayal of bomber airfield advancements up until 1939. Notably, it stands as the best-maintained of the bomber bases, a key component of Sir Hugh Trenchard's RAF expansion strategy starting in 1923.[13]

The MoD's largest ordnance depot at MoD Bicester is just outside the town. The depot has its own internal railway system, the Bicester Military Railway.


Bicester is in north Oxfordshire, 11 miles (18 km) east-northeast of Oxford, near the Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire boundaries.

Areas and suburbs[edit]

There are 5 electoral wards, North, East, South, West and Town as defined by the town council. The areas of Bicester include:

  1. Highfield
  2. Woodfield
  3. King's End
  4. Bure Park
  5. Glory Farm
  6. Southwold
  7. Langford Village
  8. Kingsmere (new housing development)
  9. Elmsbrook (new housing development, eco-town)
  10. Graven Hill (new housing development)
  11. New Langford


Bicester experiences an oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification Cfb) similar to almost all of the United Kingdom.

Climate data for Bicester
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 7
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 1
Average rainfall mm (inches) 56.1
Average snowy days 5 5 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 16
Source: [14]


A series of vernacular buildings either side of a narrow street
Vernacular buildings on the Causeway, Bicester

The vernacular buildings of the town have features of both the Cotswold dip slope to the northwest and the Thames Valley to the southeast. The earliest surviving buildings of the town are the medieval church of St Edburg; the vicarage of 1500 and two post Dissolution houses in the former Priory Precinct constructed from reused medieval material. These buildings are mainly grey oolitic limestone, from the Priory Quarry at Kirtlington, 5 miles (8 km) west on Akeman Street, some ginger lias (ironstone) comes from the area around Banbury and white and bluish grey cornbrash limestone was quarried in Crockwell and at Caversfield 2 miles (3 km) to the north.

Early secular buildings were box framed structures, using timber from the Bernwood Forest. Infilling of frames was of stud and lath with lime render and limewash. Others were of brick or local rubble stonework. The river valleys to the south and east of the town were the source of clay for widespread local production of brick and tile. In the 18th and 19th centuries the Page-Turners had brick fields at Wretchwick and Blackthorn which operated alongside smaller producers such as farmer George Coppock who produced bricks as a sideline.

Thatched stone building in quiet, tree-lined, street
Thatched Building in King's End, Bicester

Local roofing materials included longstraw thatch, which persisted on older and lower status areas on houses and terraced cottages. Thatch had to be laid at pitches in excess of 50 degrees. This generated narrow and steep gables which also suited heavy limestone roofs made with Stonesfield slate or other roofing slabs from the Cotswolds. The other widespread roofing material was local red clay plain tiles. 19th century bulk transport innovations associated with canal and railway infrastructure allowed imports of blue slate from North Wales. These could be laid at much more shallow pitches on fashionable high status houses.

Bicester Library

Apart from imported slate, a striking characteristic of all of the new buildings of the early 19th century is the continued use of local vernacular materials, albeit in buildings of non-vernacular design. The new buildings were constructed alongside older wholly vernacular survivals and sometimes superficially updated with fashionable applied facades, fenestration or upper floors and roofs.



The town's nearest motorway is the M40 motorway, which is served by junction 9 to the south, an interchange with the A34 towards Oxford and the A41 for Bicester and Aylesbury. Bicester has a ring road which is made up of the A41, A4095, A4421 and the newly completed Vendee Drive which forms part of the B4030.


Bicester North railway station showing buildings, platform, and gardens
Bicester North Railway Station, opened 1905, on the Birmingham - London line
Photo of Bicester Village station, featuring a blue tiled atrium.
Bicester Village railway station, previously called Bicester Town railway station, re-opened on 26 October 2015 as part of the Oxford - Bicester - London Marylebone line.

Bicester benefited from the Railway Mania of the 1840s. The Buckinghamshire Railway was fully opened between Bletchley and Oxford on 20 May 1851, running through the eastern side of Bicester, with "a neat station at the bottom of the London road" being opened on 1 October 1850 to serve the town.[15] Bicester's first fatal railway accident occurred at this station on 6 September 1851. Six people were killed and 18 injured.[16] The station was renamed Bicester London Road station in March 1954 and Bicester Town station in May 1987.[17]

The Great Western Railway sought to shorten its mainline route from London Paddington to Birmingham Snow Hill and, in 1910, opened the Bicester cut-off line through the north of the town, to complete a new fast route between the two cities and a large railway station on Buckingham Road named Bicester North, which was opened on 1 July 1910. The final slip coach on the British Railways network was "slipped" at Bicester North on 10 September 1960.[18]

The Bletchley - Oxford line was closed on 1 January 1968, but partly reopened on 11 May 1987, when a shuttle service was instituted between Bicester Town and Oxford. The line towards Bletchley remains closed. In 2011, funding for East West Rail was approved, with a plan to restore passenger services between Oxford and Bletchley via Bicester in 2017, then continuing to Milton Keynes Central or Bedford. A further proposal was to extend the route through Cambridge as far as Ipswich and Norwich, but that did not materialise. At the end of 2017, the Department for Transport announced further government funding and a private company to build and operate the line by 2025.[19][20]

Bicester has also benefited from the Chiltern Evergreen 3 project, which created a new mainline allowing trains to run from London Marylebone to Oxford via Bicester. The station was completely rebuilt and, despite objection by some local residents, renamed Bicester Village, after a large retail centre nearby. The station opened in October 2015.[21]

The London to Birmingham line was run down in the 1970s. With the threat of partial closure, stretches of the line singled and trains rerouted into London, Marylebone. Following privatisation, Chiltern Railways was awarded the franchise. It reinstated the double track and considerably boosted the number of services, resulting in a substantial increase in patronage.


Stagecoach East route X5 links Bicester with Bedford, Milton Keynes and Oxford.[22] Stagecoach in Oxfordshire buses link Bicester with Oxford, Banbury, Brackley, Headington, HM Prison Bullingdon and some local villages.[23] Grayline[24][25] and Hallmark Connections[26] provide some local bus services, and Langston & Tasker runs a limited service between Bicester and Buckingham.[27] In late 2022 Diamond Bus South East, who had acquired Hallmark Connections, announced that service 250 which connected Bicester with Oxford via a number of villages would cease operating on Saturday 11 February 2023. A partial replacement will be provided by new Grayline service 24 from Monday 13 February 2023.


Bicester is within an hour's drive of three major airports and 8 miles (13 km) from Oxford Airport. Luton Airport is the nearest major airport, 43 miles (69 km) by road, taking around 1 hour 5 minutes. Due to the town's location beside the M40 motorway, it is a slightly shorter journey time of 51 minutes to Heathrow Airport which is 54 miles (87 km) away and 54 minutes to Birmingham Airport which is 52 miles (84 km) away. Bicester Airfield, available for private flights, is located adjacent to the town of Bicester to the north.[28]


Bicester Town Council was established following local government reform in 1974. It is part of a three-tier system of local government, alongside Cherwell District Council and Oxfordshire County Council. Each authority is responsible for delivering different services.

Town Council[edit]

A photo of the former hunting lodge at Garth Park in the sunshine with a green lawn in the foreground.
Garth Park, a former hunting lodge, now offices of the Bicester Town Council, public park, playground, skate park, and cafe

Bicester Town Counci has its offices in the Garth in Garth Park.

Residents associations[edit]

Bicester has several active residents' associations including: Bure Park Residents' Association; Langford Village Community Association; Priory Lane Residents' Association, Derwent Green Residents Group and Bicester Parkland View Residents' Association.[citation needed]


Bicester has three secondary schools: The Bicester School, the Cooper School, and Whitelands Academy.[29] There are a number of primary schools including: Langford Village Primary; Glory Farm Primary School; Southwold; Brookside Primary School; St Edburg's; Five Acres; Longfields; St Mary's Primary School; King's Meadow, Bure Park Primary and Gaglebrook Primary School. The new Kingsmere development (south of Bicester) is due to create a two-form primary school.


Local news and television programmes are provided by BBC South and ITV Meridian. Television signals are received from the Oxford TV transmitter.[30]

Bicester’s local radio stations are BBC Radio Oxford on 95.2 FM, Heart South on 102.6 FM, Capital Mid-Counties on 107.6 FM, Jack FM on 106.4 FM, and community based radio station 3Bs Radio that broadcast to the town as well as Buckingham and Brackley.[31]

The Bicester Advertiser is the town’s weekly local newspaper.[32]

Sport and leisure[edit]

Bicester and North Oxford Cricket Club play at Akeman Street, Chesterton. It was formed in 1996 from a merger of Bicester Town, (founded in 1871) and the North Oxford Cricket Clubs which until 1929 shared the Oxford Road ground with the town's football club. As of 2014 season, the senior teams play in the Cherwell League.[33] Bicester Rugby Club was founded in 1947, originally playing on land provided by the King's Head pub. The club is presently based at the Akeman Street Ground. The senior teams play in the Berks/Bucks & Oxon Premier[34]

Bicester Town Football Club was founded in 1896 and until the 2010–11 season played in the Hellenic League. Bicester Colts F.C. organises teams from ages 5 through to 17 at facilities based at Akeman Street, Chesterton.[35] Bicester Blue Fins Amateur Swimming Club was established in 1950 and has been based at Bicester Leisure Centre since 1971. Bicester Blue Fins is 'SWIM 21' accredited and affiliated to the Oxfordshire & North Buckinghamshire ASA and the ASA South East Region.[36]

The Bicester Leisure Centre, which opened in 1970, comprises swimming pool, fitness, gym facilities and all-weather pitches. Other popular sports and pastimes include tennis, which is played at the Bicester Tennis Club based at the Garth. It is affiliated to the Oxfordshire and Thames Valleys LTAs.[37] Lawn bowls is organised by the Bicester Bowls Club which was founded in 1862 and since 1951 has been at the Garth.[38] There are two 18-hole golf courses, at the Bicester Hotel and Bicester Country Club. The traditional game of Aunt Sally, widespread in Oxfordshire, is popular in the town and is organised under the auspices of the Bicester and District Aunt Sally League.[39]

Bicester Town Council provides a wide range of sport and leisure facilities for local residents and sports team on sites at Pingle Field and Sunderland Drive[40]


Photo of historical buildings surrounding a public square
The Market Square, Bicester

The historic shopping streets, particularly Sheep Street and Market Square, have a range of independent and national shops together with cafés, pubs and restaurants. Sheep Street is now pedestrianised, with car parks nearby. There are weekly markets on Fridays in the town centre along with farmers' markets and an occasional French market.

Part of Bicester Village

A £70 million redevelopment of the part of the town centre, originally planned to start in 2008, was delayed by the onset of the credit crunch; Sainsbury's developed the project itself, commencing in January 2009.[41] The development, since named Pioneer Square, is now complete and opened on 9 July 2013, offering a Sainsbury's supermarket, 7 screen Vue Cinemas and many smaller retail units and restaurants such as Nando's and Prezzo. In early 2023, Cherwell District Council announced plans to pedestrianise the Market Square to create a continental style plaza.[42]

South of Bicester, beyond Pingle Field, is discount brand outlet Bicester Village, and beyond that is Bicester Avenue Home & Garden Centre, one of the largest garden centres in the UK.


Tower of St Edburg's Parish Church

Most churches in Bicester belong to an informal local group Churches in Bicester. This enables them to work together and share responsibilities, for example the Bicester Food Bank and the Bicester Refugee Support Group.

Member churches include: Journey Communities (Pioneers in missional church); St Edburg's Parish Church (Church of England); Emmanuel Church (Church of England, which meets in a modern building at Barberry Place); Bicester Community Church (meeting in the Salvation Army Hall); Bicester Methodist Church; The Church of the Immaculate Conception (Roman Catholic);[43] Elim Lighthouse Church (Pentecostal – meeting in Bicester Methodist Church); Orchard Baptist Church (meeting in Cooper School); and the Salvation Army. Churches independent of Churches in Bicester are: Bicester Baptist Church (meeting in Southwold Community Centre); and Hebron Gospel Hall.

Future development[edit]

Photo of Eco-Houses at Elmsbrook Eco-Town, Bicester
Elmsbrook Eco Town, Bicester

Bicester is in the midst of several construction projects the most recent of these completed being the new Tesco superstore[44] which replaces the former site in Pingle Drive. The 5,181 m2 (55,770 sq ft) Pingle Drive site will be used to expand the Bicester village outlet centre by an additional quarter in size.[45]

On 1 December 2014, it was announced that Bicester had been chosen as the site for the British government's second new garden city. Up to 13,000 new homes could be built in the town, as part of plans to help deal with the UK's housing shortage. The former Bicester Town railway station was reopened as Bicester Village Station, to serve the expanded population as part of rail plans previously detailed by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.[46] The station will also serve the planned East West Rail Project, connecting Oxford to Cambridge, via Milton Keynes and Bedford.

A selection of diverse self-build homes with a green in the foreground
Self-Build Homes, at Graven Hill, Bicester

In accordance with the award of garden town status, the 6,000 home Eco-Town development has been constructed at Elmsbrook,[47] to the northwest of Bicester. These comprise homes constructed with high environmental standards and environmentally friendly technology such as photovoltaic electrical panels, rainwater harvesting, and district heating. The first residents moved into the Eco-Town development in May 2016.[48] Similarly, 1,585 homes (phase 1) and 709 homes (phase 2) have been built in the south-westerly development named Kingsmere.[49] Cherwell District Council established a self-build neighbourhood at the former Ministry of Defence estate at Graven Hill, to the south of Bicester, delivered through a wholly owned subsidiary company, the Graven Hill Village Development Company.[50] 1,900 homes were due to be built, the majority to be self-build homes with the intention of offering an alternative to the mass build volume units being constructed in the rest of the town. The first ten self-builders were featured on the Channel 4 television show Grand Designs: The Street. However, controversy has arisen through the company's recent decision to pivot to constructing mass build volume units itself, marketed as 'custom build', with residents complaining that the company is now delivering 'volume build, identikit, energy inefficient' units.[51]

Twin towns[edit]

Notable residents and natives[edit]


Coat of arms of Bicester
Granted to Bicester Urban District Council, 30 October 1959[52]
On a wreath of the colours in front of a fox's mask two stalks of wheat in saltire leaved Proper.
Barry nebuly Or and Gules a hurt charged with a fleur de lys Gold.
Ut Tibi Sic Aliis (Unto Thyself So To Others)


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  2. ^ United Kingdom Censuses 1951–2001
  3. ^ Council, Cherwell District. "Bicester Garden Town | Cherwell District Council". Retrieved 9 April 2023.
  4. ^ "Bicester Bike Users Group". Bicester Bike Users Group. Retrieved 9 April 2023.
  5. ^ "Active travel fund: final allocations". GOV.UK. Retrieved 9 April 2023.
  6. ^ Bicester Garden City BBC News.
  7. ^ a b Parkinson 2007, p. 6.
  8. ^ a b Page 1907, pp. 93–95.
  9. ^ Dunkin 1816[page needed]
  10. ^ Dunkin 1816[page needed]
  11. ^ Historic England. "47, Market Square (Grade II) (1046458)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 11 January 2015.
  12. ^ a b Dovemaster (25 June 2010). "Bell Founders". Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers. Retrieved 10 July 2011.
  13. ^ Historic England. "RAF Bicester: World War II airfield (1021455)". National Heritage List for England.
  14. ^ "Averages for Bicester". MSN.
  15. ^ Blomfield 1882, p. 54
  16. ^ "Accident at Bicester on 6th September 1851". Railways Archive. Board of Trade. Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  17. ^ Quick 2019, p. 72
  18. ^ "The Last Slip Coach". The Railway Magazine (714): 675. October 1960.
  19. ^ "Chancellor accepts East West Rail targets and strengthens plans with extra cash".
  20. ^ Transport Secretary officially launches East West Railway Company at Bletchley Park East West Rail, 22 November 2017
  21. ^ "Bicester Town station rebranded as Bicester Village". BBC News. 12 March 2015. Retrieved 8 April 2023.
  22. ^ "Bedford – Oxford Service X5" (PDF). Stagecoach East. 10 January 2021. Retrieved 10 January 2021.
  23. ^ "Oxfordshire Dayrider Gold and Megarider Gold zone" (.pdf). Stagecoach in Oxfordshire. 4 January 2021. Retrieved 10 January 2021.
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Sources and further reading[edit]

External links[edit]