Wytham

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This article is about the village in Oxfordshire. For the town in Essex, see Witham.
Wytham
Wytham All Saints exterior.JPG
All Saints' parish church
Wytham is located in Oxfordshire
Wytham
Wytham
 Wytham shown within Oxfordshire
Population 131 (2001 census)[1]
OS grid reference SP4708
Civil parish Wytham
District Vale of White Horse
Shire county Oxfordshire
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Oxford
Postcode district OX2
Dialling code 01865
Police Thames Valley
Fire Oxfordshire
Ambulance South Central
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament Oxford West and Abingdon
Website www.wytham-village.org.uk
List of places
UK
England
Oxfordshire

Coordinates: 51°46′41″N 1°18′47″W / 51.778°N 1.313°W / 51.778; -1.313

Wytham /ˈwtəm/ is a village and civil parish on the Seacourt Stream, a branch of the River Thames, about 3 miles (5 km) northwest of the centre of Oxford. It is just west of the Western By-Pass Road, part of the Oxford Ring Road (A34). The nearest village is Godstow.[2][3]

Wytham was the northernmost part of Berkshire until the 1974 boundary changes transferred it to Oxfordshire. The toponym is first recorded as Wihtham around AD 957, and comes from the Old English for a homestead or village in a river-bend.[2]

The manor of Wytham, along with Wytham Abbey (not a religious foundation but the manor house) and much of the village, was formerly owned by the Earls of Abingdon. The Church of England parish church of All Saints was originally a medieval building[4] but it was extensively rebuilt between 1811[5] and 1812[3] by Montagu Bertie, 5th Earl of Abingdon.

During World War II[edit]

During World War II, in about 1941, the owners of Wytham Abbey agreed to take in six East End children, as part of the evacuee programme. This was in preference to a number of Canadian infantry, whom they were also asked to accommodate. As the war progressed they got the Canadian infantry anyway. The evacuees were educated by a governess, and returned to the East End with impeccable accents. Outings were in a big car to the local chip shop. When the infantry arrived, the young soldiers took the evacuees on their tanks as they trained in the woods, crashing into trees. The owners of the Abbey were Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (cousin of the Queen Mother) and her husband, a diamond millionaire. When he died suddenly, the evacuees were moved to less comfortable accommodation. The Infantry went off to war. A photo of the evacuees standing on the grand staircase of the Abbey, below a bronze statue of a horse, appeared in a national newspaper, the News Chronicle. The Abbey was sold by the University of Oxford in 1992 and is now in private hands. The secret room in which the diamond millionaire was said to keep his diamonds is still there, but with no diamonds.

Wytham Woods[edit]

Wytham Woods is an area of long-established mixed woodland noted for their high population of badgers and long-term monitoring of great tits. It is on rising ground to the west of the village. The woods are a Site of Special Scientific Interest.[6] The University owns the woods and uses them for research in zoology and climate change.[7] The University also has a field station north of the village.

Inspector Morse[edit]

Wytham village and Wytham Woods have frequently featured[when?] in the "Inspector Morse" detective novels by Colin Dexter.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Area selected: Vale of White Horse (Non-Metropolitan District)". Neighbourhood Statistics: Full Dataset View. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 30 March 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Mills, A.D.; Room, A. (2003). A Dictionary of British Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. not cited. doi:10.1093/acref/9780199609086.001.0001. ISBN 0-19-852758-6. 
  3. ^ a b Pevsner, Nikolaus (1966). Berkshire. The Buildings of England. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. p. 314. 
  4. ^ "All Saints Church, Wytham". wytham-church.org.uk. Wytham. 
  5. ^ Page, W.H.; Ditchfield, P.H., eds. (1924). A History of the County of Berkshire, Volume 4. Victoria County History. pp. 427–430.  (pages 427-430)
  6. ^ Wytham Woods SSSI citation
  7. ^ Savill, Peter; Perrins, Christopher; Kirby, Keith; Fisher, Nigel (2011). Wytham Woods: Oxford's Ecological Laboratory. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 282. doi:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199605187.001.0001. ISBN 9780199605187.