Walk down the middle of Broad Street in Oxford, taking care to avoid being hit by a car or, more likely, a bicycle, and you will see a cross of granite setts, exposed like an ulcer in the smooth tarmac of the road.
The Saxon princess-abbess-saint Frideswide was not the founder of Oxford: there was certainly a settlement at the confluence of the Cherwell and the Thames well before her time. But she has a claim to be one of the founders of the idea of Oxford, the notion of the city as a nexus of learning, religion, and occasional miracles.
Among the objects gathered in the collection of the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford are a number of devices coated with the patina of past celebrity. You can find Elizabeth I’s astrolabe, Lewis Carroll’s photographic developing kit, and a blackboard, chalk-inscribed equations intact, used by Albert Einstein.
The National Trust announced yesterday that it has purchased four acres of woodland adjoining the lorry park of Cherwell Valley Motorway Services on the M40. The Trust claims the site is ‘England’s first dogging location, according to authenticated records and personal testimony’.
The shock of the stocks in Woodstock being (and please pardon the hyperbole, reader, which was all for the sake of an arresting post title) that they have five leg-holes. Whether criminals in this part of Oxfordshire were required to have just one leg immobilised or whether the odd hole was reserved for the one-legged is unclear.
In the region of Oxfordshire there are great stones disposed as if by the hand of man. But at what time, or by what people, or for what memorial or significance this was done is not known. However that place is called Rollendrich by the local people. (Historia Brittonum, 9th century)