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Oxfordshire Facts

Interesting and historical facts about Oxfordshire.

  • Adolf Hitler hoped to use the city of Oxford as his capital should he succeed in conquering England. This is the reason Oxford was never bombed during WWII.

  • According to the Guinness Book of Records, the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford was the first museum in the world to have opened its doors to the public when it first opened in 1683.

  • The poet Matthew Arnold was the person who first called Oxford the ‘City of Dreaming Spires’ in his poem 'Thyrsis' which was written in December of 1865.

  • The Botanic Gardens in Oxford are the oldest botanic garden in Britain.

  • The oldest colleges in Oxford are University College, Balliol, and Merton, established between 1249 and 1264.

  • Professor Stephen Hawking was born in Oxford, where he also studied.

  • Sir Winston Churchill was born at Blenheim Palace, Woodstock. He was Prime Minister from 1940-45 and 1951-55.

  • The 'Inklings' were a group of 19 men who frequented the Eagle and Child Public House in St Giles, Oxford to discuss each others literary works, which included C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien.

  • The first dinosaur bone was discovered in a limestone quarry at Cornwell village, near Chipping Norton in 1676. It was analysed by Robert Plot at the University of Oxford, who concluded it to be a thigh bone of one of the giant humans mentioned in the Bible. It has since been identified as belonging to a Megalosaurus.

  • The village of Great Milton, Oxfordshire, is the home of French chef Raymond Blanc's restaurant and hotel, Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons.

  • The market town of Abingdon, in Oxfordshire, lays claim to the title 'Britain's oldest continuously occupied town'.

  • C. S. Lewis died the same day that J F Kennedy was assassinated 22nd November 1963.

  • In 849, King Alfred the Great was born in the market town of Wantage, Oxfordshire. He was one of only two kings to be given the epithet "The Great", the other being King Canute.

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