Oxfordshire (abbreviated Oxon, from Oxonium, the Latin name for Oxford) is a county in South East England. The ceremonial county borders Warwickshire to the north-west, Northamptonshire to the 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.
As well as the city of Oxford, other centres of population 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-on-Thames, Wantage, Didcot, Wallingford and Henley-on-Thames to the south. The areas south of the Thames, the Vale of White Horse and parts of South Oxfordshire, are in the historic county of Berkshire, as is the highest point, the 261 metres (856 ft) White Horse Hill.
|Motto: Sapere Aude |
('Dare to be Wise')
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Region||South East England|
|Area||2,605 km2 (1,006 sq mi)|
|• Ranked||22nd of 48|
|Population (mid-2017 est.)||682,400|
|• Ranked||35th of 48|
|Density||261/km2 (680/sq mi)|
|Ethnicity||95.1% White - 1.7% S. Asian|
Oxfordshire County Council 
|Area||2,605 km2 (1,006 sq mi)|
|• Ranked||19th of 27|
|• Ranked||17th of 27|
|Density||261/km2 (680/sq mi)|
Districts of Oxfordshire
|Members of Parliament|
|Time zone||Greenwich Mean Time (UTC)|
|• Summer (DST)||British Summer Time (UTC+1)|
Oxfordshire was recorded as a county in the early years of the 10th century and lies 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.
Although it had some significance as an area of valuable agricultural land in the centre of the country, it was largely ignored by the Romans, and did not grow in importance until the formation of a settlement at Oxford in the 8th century. Alfred the Great was born across the Thames in Wantage, Vale of White Horse. 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. Nonetheless, Oxfordshire remains a very agricultural county by land use, with a lower population than neighbouring Berkshire and Buckinghamshire, which are both smaller.
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 Vale of White Horse district and parts of the South Oxfordshire administrative district south of the River Thames were historically part of Berkshire, but in 1974 Abingdon, Didcot, Faringdon, Wallingford and Wantage were added to the administrative county of Oxfordshire under the Local Government Act 1972. 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.
Oxfordshire includes parts of three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. In the north-west lie the Cotswolds, to the south and south-east are the open chalk hills of the North Wessex Downs and wooded hills of the Chilterns. The north of the county contains the ironstone of the Cherwell uplands. Long-distance walks within the county include the Ridgeway National Trail, Macmillan Way, Oxfordshire Way and the D’Arcy Dalton Way.
The central part of Oxfordshire contains the River Thames with its flat floodplains; the river forms the historic county boundary with Berkshire. The Thames Path National Trail parallels the river as it crosses Oxfordshire, continuing towards London. There are many smaller rivers that feed into the Thames such as the Thame, Windrush, Evenlode and Cherwell. Some of these rivers have trails running along their valleys. The Oxford Canal follows the Cherwell from Banbury to Kidlington.
Oxfordshire contains a green belt area that fully envelops the city of Oxford, and extends for some miles to afford a protection to surrounding towns and villages from inappropriate development and urban growth. Its border in the east extends to the Buckinghamshire county boundary, while part of its southern border is shared with the North Wessex Downs AONB. It was first drawn up in the 1950s, and all the county's districts contain some portion of the belt.
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.
|Year||Regional gross value added||Agriculture||Industry||Services|
The Oxfordshire County Council, since 2013 under no overall control, 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.
In the 2016 European Union referendum, Oxfordshire was the only English county as a whole to vote to remain in the European Union by a significant margin, at 57.06% (70.27% in the City of Oxford), despite Cherwell (barely) voting to leave at 50.31%.
Oxfordshire has a completely comprehensive education system with 23 independent schools and 35 state secondary schools. Only eight schools do not have a sixth form; these are mostly in South Oxfordshire and Cherwell districts.
The county has two universities: the ancient University of Oxford and the modern Oxford Brookes University, which are both located in Oxford. In addition, Wroxton College, located in Banbury, is affiliated with Fairleigh Dickinson University of New Jersey.
The "dreaming spires" of the buildings of the University of Oxford are among the reasons for Oxford being the sixth most visited city in the United Kingdom for international visitors. Among many notable University buildings are 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 army. 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 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.
|1||Oxford||150,200||2011||Oxford non-metropolitan district|
|6||Didcot||25,140||2011||Civil parish||200 dwellings in the south-east of the town lie in neighbouring East Hagbourne parish.|
|8||Kidlington||13,723||2011||Civil parish||Does not include Gosford.|
|11||Thame||11,561||2011||Civil parish||Includes hamlet of Moreton|
|14||Faringdon||7,121||2011||Great Faringdon civil parish|
|15||Chipping Norton||6,337||2011||Civil parish|
|Accessible open space|
|Museum (free/not free)|
Abingdon-on-Thames AB-ing-dən-, known just as Abingdon between 1974 and 2012, is an historic market town and civil parish in the ceremonial county of Oxfordshire, England. Historically the county town of Berkshire, since 1974 Abingdon has been administered by the Vale of White Horse district within Oxfordshire.
The area was occupied from the early to middle Iron Age and the remains of a late Iron Age and Roman defensive enclosure lies below the town centre. Abingdon Abbey was founded around AD 676, giving its name to the emerging town. In the 13th and 14th centuries, Abingdon was an agricultural centre with an extensive trade in wool, alongside weaving and the manufacture of clothing. Charters for the holding of markets and fairs were granted by various monarchs, from Edward I to George II. The town survived the dissolution of the abbey in 1538, and by the 18th and 19th centuries, with the building of Abingdon Lock in 1790, and Wilts & Berks Canal in 1810, was a key link between major industrial centres such as Bristol, London, Birmingham and the Black Country. In 1856 the Abingdon Railway opened, linking the town with the Great Western Railway at Radley. The Wilts & Berks Canal was abandoned in 1906 but a voluntary trust is now working to restore and re-open it. Abingdon railway station was closed to passengers in September 1963. The line remained open for goods until 1984, including serving the MG car factory, which operated from 1929 to October 1980. Abingdon's brewery, Morland, whose most famous ale, Old Speckled Hen, was named after an early MG car, was taken over and closed down by Greene King Brewery in 1999, with production moving to Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk. The site of the brewery has been redeveloped into housing. The rock band Radiohead formed in 1985 when studying at Abingdon School.
The 2011 Census recorded the parish's population as 33,130. This is 2,504 more than in the 2001 Census total of 30,626, and represents just over 8% growth in the population.Banbury
Banbury is a historic market town on the River Cherwell in Oxfordshire, England. The town is situated 64 miles (103 km) northwest of London, 37 miles (60 km) southeast of Birmingham, 25 miles (40 km) south-by-southeast of Coventry and 22 miles (35 km) north-by-northwest of the county town of Oxford. It had a population of 46,853 at the 2011 census.Banbury is a significant commercial and retail centre for the surrounding area of north Oxfordshire and southern parts of Warwickshire and Northamptonshire which are predominantly rural. Banbury's main industries are car components, electrical goods, plastics, food processing, and printing. Banbury is home to the world's largest coffee-processing facility (Jacobs Douwe Egberts), built in 1964. The town is famed for Banbury cakes – similar to Eccles cakes but oval in shape.Berkshire
Berkshire (, abbreviated Berks, in the 17th century sometimes spelled phonetically as Barkeshire) is one of the home counties in England. It was recognised by the Queen as the Royal County of Berkshire in 1957 because of the presence of Windsor Castle, and letters patent were issued in 1974. Berkshire is a county of historic origin, a ceremonial county and a non-metropolitan county without a county council. The county town is Reading.
The River Thames formed the historic northern boundary, from Buscot in the west to Old Windsor in the east. The historic county therefore includes territory that is now administered by the Vale of White Horse and parts of South Oxfordshire in Oxfordshire, but excludes Caversham, Slough and five less populous settlements in the east of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. All the changes mentioned, apart from the change to Caversham, took place in 1974. The towns of Abingdon, Didcot, Faringdon, Wallingford and Wantage were transferred to Oxfordshire, the six places joining came from Buckinghamshire. Berkshire County Council was the main local government of most areas from 1889 to 1998 and was based in Reading, the county town which had its own County Borough administration (1888-1974).
Since 1998, Berkshire has been governed by the six unitary authorities of Bracknell Forest, Reading, Slough, West Berkshire, Windsor and Maidenhead and Wokingham. The ceremonial county borders Oxfordshire (to the north), Buckinghamshire (to the north-east), Greater London (to the east), Surrey (to the south-east), Wiltshire (to the west) and Hampshire (to the south). All parts of the county are no more than 8.5 miles (13.7 km) from the M4 motorway.Blenheim Palace
Blenheim Palace (pronounced BLEN-im) is a monumental country house in Blenheim, Oxfordshire, England. It is the principal residence of the Dukes of Marlborough, and the only non-royal, non-episcopal country house in England to hold the title of palace. The palace, one of England's largest houses, was built between 1705 and 1722, and designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.The palace is named for the 1704 Battle of Blenheim, and thus ultimately after Blindheim (also known as Blenheim) in Bavaria. It was originally intended to be a reward to John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough for his military triumphs against the French and Bavarians in the War of the Spanish Succession, culminating in the Battle of Blenheim. The land was given as a gift, and construction began in 1705, with some financial support from Queen Anne. The project soon became the subject of political infighting, with the Crown cancelling further financial support in 1712, Marlborough's three-year voluntary exile to the Continent, the fall from influence of his duchy and lasting damage to the reputation of the architect Sir John Vanbrugh.
Designed in the rare, and short-lived, English Baroque style, architectural appreciation of the palace is as divided today as it was in the 1720s. It is unique in its combined use as a family home, mausoleum and national monument. The palace is notable as the birthplace and ancestral home of Sir Winston Churchill.
Following the palace's completion, it became the home of the Churchill (later Spencer-Churchill) family for the next 300 years, and various members of the family have wrought changes to the interiors, park and gardens. At the end of the 19th century, the palace was saved from ruin by funds gained from the 9th Duke of Marlborough's marriage to American railroad heiress, Consuelo Vanderbilt.Chipping Norton
Chipping Norton is a market town and civil parish in the Cotswold Hills in the West Oxfordshire district of Oxfordshire, England, about 12 miles (19 km) southwest of Banbury and 18 miles (29 km) northwest of Oxford. The 2011 Census recorded the parish's population as 6,337.Henley-on-Thames
Henley-on-Thames ( (listen) HEN-lee) is a town and civil parish on the River Thames in Oxfordshire, England, 9 miles (14 km) northeast of Reading, 7 miles (11 km) west of Maidenhead and 23 miles (37 km) southeast of Oxford, near the tripoint of Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. The population at the 2011 Census was 11,619.List of Parliamentary constituencies in Oxfordshire
The county of Oxfordshire
is divided into 6 Parliamentary constituencies
— 1 Borough constituency
and 5 County constituencies.List of civil parishes in Oxfordshire
This is a list of civil parishes in the ceremonial county of Oxfordshire, England.List of places in Oxfordshire
Map of places in Oxfordshire compiled from this list
See the list of places in England for places in other counties.
This is a list of settlements in both the non-metropolitan shire and ceremonial county of Oxfordshire, England. Places marked ¹ were in the administrative county of Berkshire before the boundary changes of 1974. They are within the historic county boundaries of Berkshire. See also the list of places transferred from Berkshire to Oxfordshire in 1974.Oxford
Oxford ( OKS-fərd) is a university city in south central England and the county town of Oxfordshire. With a population of approximately 155,000, it is the 52nd largest city in the United Kingdom, with one of the fastest growing populations in the UK, and it remains the most ethnically diverse area in Oxfordshire county. The city is 51 miles (82 km) from London, 61 miles (98 km) from Bristol, 59 miles (95 km) from Southampton, 57 miles (92 km) from Birmingham and 24 miles (39 km) from Reading.
The city is known worldwide as the home of the University of Oxford, the oldest university in the English-speaking world. Buildings in Oxford demonstrate notable examples of every English architectural period since the late Saxon period. Oxford is known as the "City of Dreaming Spires", a term coined by poet Matthew Arnold. Oxford has a broad economic base. Its industries include motor manufacturing, education, publishing and a large number of information technology and science-based businesses, some being academic offshoots.Oxfordshire (UK Parliament constituency)
Oxfordshire was a county constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of England then of the Parliament of Great Britain from 1707 to 1800 and of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1885. It was represented by two Members of Parliament. In 1832 this was increased to three Members of Parliament. The constituency was abolished in 1885, being split into three single member divisions.
The bitterly contested Oxfordshire election of 1754 was the main inspiration for Hogarth's famous series of paintings and engravings, The Election.Oxfordshire County Council elections
Oxfordshire County Council is elected every four years.Oxfordshire County Cricket Club
Oxfordshire County Cricket Club is one of twenty minor county clubs within the domestic cricket structure of England and Wales. It represents the historic county of Oxfordshire.
The team is currently a member of the Minor Counties Championship Western Division and plays in the MCCA Knockout Trophy. Oxfordshire played List A matches occasionally from 1967 until 2004 but is not classified as a List A team per se.The club plays matches at Banbury CC, Great & Little Tew, Challow and Childrey, Radley College & Bicester & North Oxford, Aston Rowant and Thame. There are plans to expand this range of venues. Oxfordshire County Cricket Club is an integrated part of the Oxfordshire Cricket Board.Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service
The Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service is the fire service serving the county of Oxfordshire, England. It is known as an on-call fire service with whole-time support.
Fire and Rescue Service Headquarters is in Kidlington, Oxford, Oxfordshire. This is also the location of the fire service control room and workshops. Oxfordshires control room is now based at Reading, known as Thames valley fire control centre, in partnership with Royal Berkshire and Buckingham / Milton keynes fire and rescue services. Kidlington's control room now acts as a backup/secondary control.
The current chief fire officer is Simon Furlong.Oxfordshire Rugby Football Union
The Oxfordshire Rugby Football Union is the governing body for the sport of rugby union in the county of Oxfordshire in England. The union is the constituent body of the Rugby Football Union (RFU) for Oxfordshire, and administers and organises rugby union clubs and competitions in the county. It also administers the Oxfordshire county rugby representative teams.Royal Air Force Football Association
The Royal Air Force Football Association, also known as the RAF FA, is the governing body of football within the Royal Air Force.South Oxfordshire
South Oxfordshire is a local government district in the ceremonial county of Oxfordshire, England. Its council is based in Milton Park, Milton. The areas located south of the River Thames are within the historic county of Berkshire.
The district was formed on 1 April 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, from the municipal boroughs of Henley-on-Thames and Wallingford, Thame urban district, and Wallingford Rural District, Bullingdon Rural District and Henley Rural District. The Wallingford parts were previously part of the administrative county of Berkshire.West Oxfordshire
West Oxfordshire is a local government district in northwest Oxfordshire, England, including towns such as Woodstock, Burford, Chipping Norton, Charlbury, Carterton and Witney, where the council is based.
The area is mainly rural downland and forest, the main activities being farming and associated trades.
The district was created on 1 April 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, by the merger of the municipal borough of Chipping Norton, Witney urban district, and Chipping Norton and Witney Rural Districts.
West Oxfordshire lies within the River Thames catchment area, with the Thames itself and its tributaries including the River Evenlode and River Windrush running through the area. Parts of the district suffered severe flooding during the 2007 floods in the UK.Woodstock, Oxfordshire
Woodstock is a market town and civil parish 8 miles (13 km) northwest of Oxford in Oxfordshire, England. The 2011 Census recorded the parish population as 3,100.Blenheim Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is next to Woodstock, in the parish of Blenheim. Winston Churchill was born in Blenheim Palace in 1874 and is buried in the nearby village of Bladon.
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.
In the reign of Queen Mary I, her half-sister Elizabeth was imprisoned in the gatehouse of Woodstock Manor.
|Boroughs or districts|
1974–1996 ← Ceremonial counties of England → current
|Isle of Wight|