City of Oxford Through Times

Saxon Oxford
In the 9th century, Oxford was founded when Alfred the Great built fortified towns called ‘burghs’ across his kingdom. In 911, a national record called Anglo-Saxon Chronicle was the first to mention Oxford and said, “King Edward received the burghs of London and Oxford with all the lands belonging to them” Oxford as an industrious and commercial town, prospered and flourished because of the probability of a market established in it; and there were four coin makers working in a mint. However, in 1009 the Danes burnt the town as the houses were made with thatched roofs. The Danish king invaded England and usurped the throne in 1013, he also went to Oxford and the people surrendered to him and gave him tributes. However, a conference was held in 1018 to decide who would be the king of England.

Oxford in the middle Ages
Oxford had a population of about 5,000 people living in about 1,000 houses. It was reputed to be the sixth largest town in England at that time. Furthermore, the Normans built a castle at Oxford in 1072. While in the 11th century, the town’s fortresses made of ditches, earth ramparts, and wooden stockades were changed to stone walls.

There was a civil war in England between Stephen and Matilda in 1140. However, the city recovered from all these attacks and flourished again. In 1167, the University of Oxford was founded. Nevertheless, there was chaos between the students and the townsmen that led to deaths because the king granted more rights and privileges to the students and staff. This incident forced the students to move over to Cambridge; however, they were asked to return to Oxford. Oxford became a manufacturing town noted for its cloth and leather works in the 12th and 13th centuries. There were shoemakers, saddlers, tanners, and wool weavers. However, manufacturing declined in the 14th and 15th centuries and the town, Oxford became dependent on crafts like carpentry, tailoring, shoemaking, coopers, baking, butchery, and brewing. Moreover, the Cistercian abbey and Rewley abbey was founded in 1280, which attracted merchants from London and other places.

Oxford in the 16th century
Oxford further declined in importance nationally and commercially although; it still maintains its dense population of about 3,500 as at that time. Henry VIII closed the friaries, the priory, and abbey as the system declined and failed in 1538. A bishop was given to Oxford when it was made a city in 1542. Mary, the daughter of Henry condemned three prominent Protestants to death; they were the Bishop of London, Nicholas Ridley, Hugh Latimer, and Thomas Crammer, the Archbishop of Canterbury.

There was a civil war between the king and congress in 1642 because of divided opinions and the royalist army took over Oxford. The first coffee house in England started in Oxford in 1651. It was a place, where the middle class and upper class men met to discuss about business. More so, a free grammar school opened in Oxford in 1659.

Oxford in the 18th century
A charity school called the ‘Blue coat school’ for boys was founded in Oxford, in 1708. Moreover, in 1748 Holleywell music room was established while in 1770 Radcliffe infirmary was also built. A house for the destitute called the workhouse was built in 1772.
Oxford grew in population to about 8,000 in the middle of the 18th century and by the end of the century, it was about 12,000.

Oxford in the 19th century
A gas street light was built in 1819 and Warneford hospital established in 1826.
However, it suffered epidemics of cholera 1832, 1849, and 1854 respectively. A railway from Oxford to London was established in 1844 while the Natural history museum opened in 1860.Everybody had access to piped water in 1880s. Oxford established the first electricity generating station in 1892. The middle class estate was built at Park Town after1850.

Oxford in the 20th century
The first cinema was established in 1910. A man named Morris began to make cars in 1913. Oxford airport opened in 1938.

Oxford in the 21st century
A biotech has opened in Oxford now and the population of the city has increased to over 151,000 persons. Furthermore, Oxford city castle opened to the public in 2006.