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Wednesday, 30 November 2016


Oxford was first settled in Saxon times and was initially known as "Oxenaforda", meaning "Ford of the Oxen."

The University of Oxford is first mentioned in 12th century records. King Henry III granted the University a royal charter on June 20, 1248.

In the university's early days, students found their own lodgings and sought out individual teachers. The first residential colleges were established in the second half of the thirteenth century beginning with Merton in 1264.

Merton as seen from Broad Walk. By Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK 

A tavern dispute between Oxford University students and townsfolk on February 10, 1355 turned into a riot that left about 90 people dead.

The sweating sickness epidemic in 1517 was particularly devastating to Oxford where it killed half its population, including many students and dons.

Archbishop Thomas Cranmer and bishops Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley were tried for heresy in 1555 and subsequently burnt at the stake, on what is now Broad Street, Oxford. The Martyrs' Memorial stands nearby, round the corner to the North on St. Giles.

In 1665 the worst outbreak of plague in England since the Black Death forced King Charles II to temporarily remove his court from London and relocate to Oxford.

Oxford was never bombed by the Germans as it was going to be the new capital once they won World War II and took over.


Notable Oxford University Alumni, or "Oxonians" as they are sometimes known, include Stephen Hawking, J. R. R. Tolkien, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, Bill Clinton and twenty-five British Prime Ministers.

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