History of Oxford

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19th-century view of the High Street in Oxford.

The history of Oxford in England dates back to its original settlement in the Saxon period. Originally of strategic significance due to its controlling location on the upper reaches of the River Thames at its junction with the River Cherwell, the town grew in national importance during the early Norman period, and in the late 12th century became home to the fledgling University of Oxford.[1] The city was besieged during The Anarchy in 1142.[2]

The University rose to dominate the town entirely, and by the middle of the 14th century the history of the town was effectively no more than a footnote to the history of the university. A heavily ecclesiastical town, Oxford was greatly affected by the changes of the English Reformation, emerging as the seat of a bishopric and a full-fledged city. During the English Civil War, Oxford housed the court of Charles I.

The city began to grow industrially during the 19th century, and had an industrial boom in the early 20th century, with major printing and car-manufacturing industries. These declined, along with other British heavy industry, in the 1970s and 1980s, leaving behind a city which had developed far beyond the university town of the past.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "A brief history of the University". University of Oxford. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  2. ^ Crouch, D. (2013). The Reign of King Stephen: 1135-1154 (2nd ed.). London: Routledge. p. 203. ISBN 978-1-31789-297-7.
  3. ^ Curl, James Stevens (1977). The Erosion of Oxford. Oxford Illustrated Press Ltd. ISBN 0-902280-40-6.


Published in the 19th century[edit]

Published in the 20th century[edit]

Published in the 21st century[edit]

  • Daniel A. Bell; Avner de-Shalit (2011), "Oxford", Spirit of Cities: Why the Identity of a City Matters in a Global Age, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, ISBN 9780691151441

External links[edit]