History, Gazeteer and directory of the County of Oxford, England

In presenting this volume to the numerous subscribers, it is deemed unnecessary to expatiate on the value and utility of works of this nature. It is presumed that the work will be found as accurate as is compatible with the vast body of matter, and the diversity of subjects compressed within its pages; and that it will be an universal and valuable acquisition, either in the office or library. To secure authenticity, the most unremitting endeavors have been used, and neither labour nor expense spared; and all possible care has been taken by the editors, to avoid the errors, and profit by the experience of their predecessors in this department of literature. Every town, parish, and almost every house in the county, has been visited for the purpose of collecting or revising the local information on the spot; the best typographical authorities have been carefully consulted, and all irrelevant matter, which would have augmented the size of the work, without adding to its usefulness, excluded, whilst nothing was rejected which was really important.

The plan of the work, embraces a general review of the early history of this kingdom, with much useful information of a miscellaneous character; particular histories, and descriptions of the world-famed University, and the city of Oxford; the other important boroughs and market towns; and a topographical survey of every parish and township in the county. A directory of the principal inhabitants of each place succeeds its history, and the whole, which comprises a variety of information, is arranged under the heads of the several hundreds into which the county is divided, thus affording, with the aid of a copious index of places and subjects, all the advantages of an Alphabetical Gazetteer.

The statistical matter is chiefly extracted from the Parliamentary Reports of Population, Public charities, &c.; and the acreage of each place is invariably given from the parliamentary return, which, though it frequently differs from the local estimated extent, is the surest source.

An expression of gratitude is here most justly due to the several Clergymen and Gentlemen who have kindly aided the work by their valuable literary contribution; and to its numerous subscribers the volume is respectfully dedicated.


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The earliest writers inform Us that they found this kingdom peopled by a race called Gauls or Celts fully a thousand years before the Christian era; and our most celebrated historians agree that it was from Gaul that Britain actually derived its first inhabitants. The whole of the southern coast of this island appears to have been peopled before either its more northern, or the midland districts had been penetrated. As the descendants of the original settlers increased in number, and new bands of emigrants successively arrived from the mother country, the backwoods were gradually cleared, till at length the whole island became inhabited. Ireland too, is supposed to have been peopled during this interval, from the neighboring coasts of the west of England. Besides the testimony of ancient authorities, the position of the two countries (Gaul and Britain,) and the resemblance of manners and customs; we have the clear and strong testimony of language to prove the one people to have sprung from the other. The Celtic language, though in divided portions, is still known amongst us. One branch of it called the Gaelic, is spoken by the native Irish, by the Scottish Highlanders, and in the Isle of Man; the other was formerly current in the county of Cornwall, and is still spoken in Wales and Lower Britany. The Gaelic or Celtic race not only took possession of this kingdom, but actually overrun .the continent of Europe from the farthest shores of Ireland, to the banks of the Danube. It was to one of the bands of foreign invaders, who inhabited Ireland, that the epithet Scots was first applied. Different interpretations of this word have been given, but the most probable is the same, with the modern Gaelic term scuit or scaoit, signifying a "wandering horde." From Ireland a branch of the Scots, passed over into Scotland, and eventually gave their name to the country; though a part of Scotland had long before been peopled by the Caledonians or Cavilldaoin, that is "men of the woods." The Gauls who first inhabited Britain were distinguished, not only for their good natural capacity, but for their valour, and their pledged fidelity to aid each other against the attacks and incursions of all foreign powers. Their persons were tall, their clothing was untanned skins, and they painted the naked parts of their body with a blue colour, decorating the skin with figures of various objects, particularly the heavenly bodies, and they shaved all their beard except on the upper lip, which they suffered to grow to a great length. Their towns were a confused assemblage of huts, covered with turf or skins, little superior to the Kraals of the Hottentots, and for the sake of security, generally planted in the midst of woods and morasses, and surrounded with palisadoes of trees piled upon each other, like the fortification observed at this day among the New Zealanders.