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County Flag of Oxfordshire.svg
Flag of Oxfordshire[1]

Motto of County Council: Sapere Aude ('Dare to be Wise')[2]
Oxfordshire UK locator map 2010.svg
Status Ceremonial and non-metropolitan county
Region South East England
- Total
- Admin. council
Ranked 22nd
2,605 km2 (1,006 sq mi)
Ranked 19th
Admin HQ Oxford
ISO 3166-2 GB-OXF
ONS code 38
- Total ()
- Density
- Admin. council
- Admin. pop.
Ranked 35th
251 /km2 (650 /sq mi)
Ranked 18th
Ethnicity 95.1% White
1.7% S. Asian

Oxfordshire County Council
Executive Conservative

Members of Parliament
  • Tony Baldry (C)
  • David Cameron (C)
    (Prime Minister)
  • Nicola Blackwood (C)
  • John Howell (C)
  • Andrew Smith (L)
  • Ed Vaizey (C)
Oxfordshire numbered districts.svg
Unitary County council area
  1. City of Oxford
  2. Cherwell
  3. South Oxfordshire
  4. Vale of White Horse
  5. West Oxfordshire

Oxfordshire ( /ˈɒksfərdʃər/ or /ˈɒksfərdʃɪər/; abbreviated Oxon) is a county in South East England bordering on Warwickshire (to the north/north-west), Northamptonshire (to the north/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.

The main centre of population is the city of Oxford. Other significant settlements 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, Wantage, Didcot, Wallingford and Henley-on-Thames to the south.

The highest point is White Horse Hill, in the Vale of White Horse, reaching 261 metres (856 ft).[3]

Oxfordshire's county flower is the Snake's-head Fritillary.[4]


Oxfordshire was recorded as a county in the early years of the 10th century and is situated on land 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.

Historically the area has always had some importance, since it contains valuable agricultural land in the centre of the county. Largely ignored by the Romans, it was not until the formation of a settlement at Oxford in the eighth century that the area grew in importance. 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.

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 Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, the main army unit in the area, was based at Cowley Barracks on Bullingdon Green, Cowley.

The Vale of the White Horse district and parts of the South Oxfordshire administrative district south of the River Thames were historically part of Berkshire, but were added to the administrative county of Oxfordshire in 1974. 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.


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.[5]

Year Regional Gross Value Added[6] Agriculture[7] Industry[8] Services[9]
1995 7,607 120 2,084 5,404
2000 10,594 80 2,661 7,853
2003 12,942 93 2,665 10,184


Oxfordshire County Council, currently controlled by a Conservative Independent Alliance, 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.


Brasenose Lane in Oxford city centre, a street onto which three colleges back.

The University of Oxford's Chemistry Research Laboratory.

Oxfordshire has a completely comprehensive education system with 23 independent schools and 35 state schools. The state schools are from the ages of 11 to either 16 or 18. 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, 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 play a large contribution in Oxford being the sixth most visited city in the United Kingdom for international visitors.[10] Notable University buildings include 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 troops. 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 that was 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.

Mapledurham House is an Elizabethan stately home in the far south-east of the county, close to Reading.

Settlements in Oxfordshire[]

Wantage Market Place

Settlements by population[]

Rank Town Population Year Definition Notes
1 Oxford 134,248 2001 Oxford non-metropolitan district 155,000 Oxford urban area (Oxford district and Seacourt, Botley and Kidlington).
2 Banbury 41,802 2001 Civil parish
3 Abingdon 30,626 2001 Civil parish
4 Bicester 28,672 2001 Civil parish
5 Witney 22,765 2001 Civil parish
6 Didcot 22,762 2001 Civil parish 200 dwellings in the southeast of the town lie in neighbouring East Hagbourne parish.
7 Kidlington 13,719 2001 Civil parish Does not include Gosford.
8 Carterton 11,805 2001 Civil parish
9 Thame 11,072 2001 Civil parish Includes hamlet of Moreton
10 Henley on Thames 10,646 2001 Civil parish
11 Wantage 9767 2001 Civil parish The northern and western fringes of Wantage lie across the border in Grove and East Challow respectively.
12 Grove 7845 2001 Civil parish Includes the northern fringes of Wantage.
13 Wallingford 6496 2001 Civil parish
14 Faringdon 6187 2001 Great Faringdon civil parish
15 Chipping Norton 5972 2001 Civil parish
16 Chinnor 5857 2001 Civil parish
17 Eynsham 4665 2001 Civil parish
18 Benson 4464 2001 Civil parish
19 Wheatley 3905 2001 Civil parish
20 Kennington 3881 2001 Civil parish
21 Sonning Common 3778 2001 Civil parish

Places of interest[]

AP Icon.PNG Abbey/Priory/Cathedral
Accessible open space Accessible open space
Themepark uk icon.JPG Amusement/Theme Park
CL icon.PNG Castle
Country Park Country Park
EH icon.png English Heritage
FC icon.png Forestry Commission
Heritage railway Heritage railway
Historic house Historic House
Museum (free)
Museums (free/not free)
National Trust National Trust
Zoo icon.JPG Zoo
  • Museum (free) Abingdon County Hall Museum[11] – housed in a 17th-century County Hall building
  • National Trust Ashdown House – 17th century country house in the Lambourn Downs
  • Museum (free) Ashmolean Museum - Oxford University's museum of art and archaeology
  • Museum (free) Banbury Museum, Banbury
  • Bicester Village
  • Historic house Blenheim Palace and garden – UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Historic house Broughton Castle – 14th-century fortified manor house
  • National Trust Buscot Park, Buscot – 18th-century country house and landscape garden
  • Museum (free) Champs Chapel Museum of East Hendred – village museum in a 15th-century Carthusian chapel
  • Museum (free) Charlbury Museum
  • National Trust Chastleton House – 17th-century country house (limited access)
  • Accessible open space Chiltern HillsArea of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • Heritage railway Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway – operated with steam and diesel locomotives
  • Museum (not free) Chipping Norton Museum[12]
  • Heritage railway Cholsey and Wallingford Railway
  • Museum (not free) Cogges Manor Farm Museum, Witney – a living museum of country life
  • Museum (not free) Combe Mill Museum,[13] Long Hanborough – working museum of stationary steam engines
  • Zoo icon.jpg Cotswold Wildlife Park and garden, Bradwell Grove, Holwell
  • Accessible open space CotswoldsArea of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • Heritage railway Didcot Railway Centre – museum of the Great Western Railway
  • AP Icon.svg Dorchester Abbey, Dorchester-on-Thames – 12th-century church of former Augustinian abbey
  • National Trust Great Coxwell Barn – 14th century Tithe barn
  • National Trust Greys Court, Rotherfield Greys – 16th century country house
  • Historic house Hampton Gay Manor – ruins of 16th century manor house (no website)
  • Harcourt Arboretum, Nuneham Courtenay
  • Historic house Heythrop Hall – 17th century country house: now a hotel, golf & country club
  • Hook Norton Brewery – working Victorian "tower" brewery that offers guided tours
  • Historic house Kelmscott Manor – Home of William Morris
  • Historic house Mapledurham Estate – 16th century country house and 15th century watermill
  • Historic house Milton Manor House – 18th century country house[14]
  • English Heritage Minster Lovell Hall – dovecote and ruins of 15th century manor house
  • Museum (not free) Museum of Bygones, Claydon – private museum including stationary steam engines
  • Accessible open space North Wessex DownsArea of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • AP Icon.svg Castle Museum (free) Museum (not free) Oxford
  • Museum (not free) Oxford Bus Museum and Morris Motors Museum, Long Hanborough
  • Accessible open space Oxford Canal – 18th century "narrow" canal
  • Museum (free) The Oxfordshire Museum, Woodstock
  • Accessible open space The Ridgeway
  • Museum (not free) River and Rowing Museum, Henley-on-Thames
  • Accessible open space River Thames
  • Rollright Stonesmegalithic stone circle and Whispering Knights burial chamber, near Little Rollright
  • Historic house Rousham House – 17th century country house and landscape garden
  • Rycote chapel – 15th-century chapel with original furnishings
  • St Katharine's church, Chiselhampton – 18th century parish church with original furnishings (no website, limited access)
  • St Mary's church, Iffley – 12th-century Norman parish church[15]
  • Country Park Shotover Country Park, Headington
  • Country Park Spiceball Country Park, Banbury
  • Historic house Stanton Harcourt manor house (limited access), with garden and 15th-century chapel and Pope's Tower (no website)
  • Historic house Stonor House – country house and 14th-century chapel of the recusant Stonor family
  • Museum (free) Swalcliffe Tithe Barn – 15th century
  • Museum (free) Thame Museum[16]
  • Museum (free) Tolsey Museum, Burford (no website)
  • Accessible open space Uffington White Horse, Uffington Castle and Wayland's Smithy burial chamber in the White Horse Hills
  • Museum (not free) Wallingford Museum
  • Museum (free) Wheatley Windmill – 18th century tower mill[17]

See also[]

EnglandOxfordshire.png Oxfordshire
  • Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire
  • High Sheriff of Oxfordshire
  • Oxford University (including links to the individual colleges).
  • Oxford Canal
  • Dr. Thomas Hinde, born in Oxfordshire and personal physician to Patrick Henry.


  1. ^ "Oxfordshire". County Flags. Flying Colours Flagmakers. Retrieved 11 August 2013. ; "Oxfordshire (England)". Flags of the World. Retrieved 2 December 2012. ; Stranks, Margaret (24 October 2008). "lamp outside County Hall". Flickr. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  2. ^ "Camelot International, Britain's heritage and history". Retrieved 9 November 2011. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris)". Plantlife. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  5. ^ "unknown". pp. 240–253. 
  6. ^ Components may not sum to totals due to rounding
  7. ^ includes hunting and forestry
  8. ^ includes energy and construction
  9. ^ includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured
  10. ^ Oxford City Council – Economic statistics
  11. ^ Abingdon County Hall Museum website
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Home". Retrieved 23 August 2014. 
  14. ^ "Oxfordshire". Milton Manor House. Retrieved 23 August 2014. 
  15. ^ Pevsner, Nikolaus; Sherwood, Jennifer (1974). The Buildings of England: Oxfordshire. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0300096392. 
  16. ^
  17. ^ Glitz. "Wheatley Windmill Website". Retrieved 23 August 2014. 

Further reading[]

External links[]

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Coordinates: 51°45′N 1°17′W / 51.75, -1.28

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Oxfordshire. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.