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Facts

OXFORDSHIRE

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FUN FACTS


Oxfordshire is the 22nd largest county or metropolitan borough in England.
Oxfordshire has the 35th highest population in England.
Oxfordshire is in 34th place for density of population.

  1. The Royal Connection
  2. During the First English Civil War, between 1642-46, Oxford was, for a time, an important city. When the war started the King, Charles I, left London and moved north. He moved around for a bit and then, after The Battle of Edgehill on 23rd October 1642, he was forced to withdraw to Oxford.

    For 1643 Charles decided to use Oxfordshire as his stronghold from which he could ride out with his army in all directions. In the early part of 1643 there were attempts to negotiate a truce and the intended treaty was known as the Treaty of Oxford. However our picture shows Charles refusing to sign it so the war continued. Charles remained based in Oxfordshire with main camps at Newbury and Donnington as well as within the city itself. In 1645 Oliver Cromwell and his New Model Army were on the warpath. He and a fellow Parliamentarian leader, Fairfax, decided to besiege Oxford shortly after Charles left to head north. Charles then turned back to relieve the city.

    By 1646 it was all over. and the Battle of Stow-on-the-Wold on the 21st March 1646 was the final battle of the First English Civil War. On the 9th May Banbury, and its cakes (see next section) surrendered and on 24th June Oxford followed. The King meanwhile, knowing he was outnumbered fled the city and gave himself up to a Scottish Army, who handed him over to Cromwell.

  3. Oxfordshire Eats
  4. Banbury is a small town in Oxfordshire and since about 1586 has been the home to the Banbury Cake. In olden days the cakes were made and sold only in Banbury but then they began to be sent to other places. The cake is an oval shaped spiced currant filled pastry. Besides currants the filling can include mixed peel, brown sugar, rum and nutmeg.

    The original recipe also may have included flavourings such as musk and rosewater and were a great favourite of Queen Victoria. Each summer when she travelled from her favourite home at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight to Balmoral Castle in Scotland she would be presented with some Banbury Cakes for her journey.

  5. Oxfordshire VIPs
  6. Seven random people who were born in Oxfordshire in the last 100 years:-
    Stephen Hawking (Physicist), Hugh Lauire (Actor), Charlotte Johnson Wahl (Mother of Boris Johnson - bet you didn't know that), Miriam Margoles (Actress), Yasmin Le Bon (Model), Sophie, Countess of Wessex (Member of the Royal Family) amd David Oyelowo (Actor).

  7. Now That's Weird
  8. If you climb White Horse Hill near the village of Uffington in Oxfordshire you will be able to see....wait for it, a white horse. However it is not a normal white horse . It is probably 3,000 years old, definitely some 274 feet long and 110 feet high. It was actually carved into the chalk hillside, probably by the Iron Age people who will have occupied the old Iron Age hill fort known as Uffington Castle which sits at the top of the hill. The White Horse is the oldest of any such monuments that can be seen in the English landscape. The trenches made to unearth the chalk are between 5 and 10 foot wide and about 3 foot deep. It is looked after by the National Trust.

    To be honest the best view is from the air but, if you have neither the money to pay for a flight nor the ability to fly without a plane, some of the best views can be seen directly across the vale or along the path known as The Ridgeway. There are many other Iron Age remains in the area including burial mounds and nearby at Dragon Hill is said to be the spot where........wait for it again, St George killed the dragon.

  9. It Happened Here
  10. On 30 November 1874 at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, his family home, was born one of the most famous Englishman of all time. His name, Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill. The Palace was built between 1705 and 1722 and was, in 1987, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the first we have come across on our virtual journey through England. It has been the home of the Dukes of Marlborough since being built and was given the name Blenheim after the site of a famous battle won by John Churchill, first Duke of Marlborough.

    It was designed in the English Baroque style. Blenheim Palace is the only non-royal or non-religious country house in England to be called a palace. Many films and TV programmes have been filmed there including Harry Potter. Black Beauty and the BFG movie. It is now the home to the 12th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough. The Palace has over 200 rooms and 1,000 windows. This was bad news until 1851 as there was, until that date, a window tax levied on UK homes. The size of the windows was decided by the importance of the person who lived in the room so servants had small windows and members of the Churchill family had large windows.

  11. Richard Remembers
  12. Nowadays, if I drive the M40 which I have done a few times recently, I will go through Oxfordshire but not into the city of Oxford. In fact the first, and so far only, time I went to Oxford was sometime in 1971. I had worked with someone who was earning some money by doing a gap year at the company I worked at and, after she left and went on to university at Oxford, she invited me to come down and see her one Friday night. If memory serves I left London about 5pm and returned home by midnight. It was a short visit.

    There are two things that stick in my memory. First the architecture of Oxford. It is known as the city of dreaming spires and almost all the colleges seemed to have buildings with spires. It was aptly named in my view. The other thing, as we walked around, was the structure of the college system. Most colleges we passed had gates and a grass area inside with the college buildings all around this green space. It was also very formal. I remember that Jan, the student, had to ask the gatekeeper to allow us in, I was there with my fiancee, and we actually had to sign a register. Is it still like that now?

  13. Owlbut's Birdwatch
  14. I'm hoping that when you find out about my feathered friends you might decide to go out and try to spot some. This week it is the woodlark and to be honest you might find it difficult to spot even one. It is quite a secretive bird. It is about 15cm long, has a wingspan of nearly 30cm and weighs about 30g.

    It is stripy brown with a white eyesstripe and a spikey crest on its head. It has a short tail. It makes its nest on the ground, sometimes digging out a little hollow. It feeds on insects and seeds. It likes dry places with short grass. It breeds all over Eastern and Southern England.

We have asked the local Tourist Board(s) for a small contribution (50 pounds) to the cost of running this project and, in anticipation of their agreement, we are providing a link to their site(s) for the next five years. I can assure you we won't see anywhere near everything when we are there, so, if you fancy taking a trip into Oxfordshire check it (them) out for some great information. Apart from anything else it will get you out in the fresh air, walking around and one day you might be over 70 and still enthusiastically mobile.

All figures the latest available as at July 2020