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Themes Explorers and Adventurers Nobel Prize Winners
Actors/Actresses and Directors Famous People Places of Interest
Anglo-Saxons and Danes Historic Events Prime Ministers
Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty Inventors and Scientists Royal Consorts and Heirs
Artists and Architects Monarchs World Heritage Sites
Composers National Parks Writers and Poets


Oxfordshire lies in south-central England. In 1974 the northern part of Berkshire was incorporated into the county.

Towns include the county seat of Oxford.

Anglo-Saxons and Danes
Anglo-Saxon Kings Danish Kings
The King of Wessex Alfred the Great, was born at Wantage (then in Berkshire) in 849.

Alfred the Great

Edward the Confessor was born at Islip around 1003.

Edmund II died in Oxford in 1016.

Edmund II

In 1040 the son of King Canute and Danish King of England Harold I died in Oxford.

Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty

The Chiltern Hills spread across four counties, starting in the Thames Valley in Oxfordshire, the hills stretch in a north-east direction up through Buckinghamshire to the counties of Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire. They were designated an AONB in 1965 to protect the chalk downland landscape and the abundance of woodland which covers it, providing an important haven for wildlife only 70km from London.

The Cotswolds stretch over six counties, with their western end lying in Oxfordshire. They became the country's largest AONB on its creation in 1966. The area is distinctive due to the underlying limestone rock which has created a unique landscape and habitat for plants and animals.

Spread over four counties the North Wessex Downs AONB was designated in 1972 with its north-eastern tip lying in Oxfordshire. The third largest AONB takes in the Marlborough, Berkshire and North Hampshire Downs and reaches from the Chilterns in the east to the White Horse Vale in the west.

Artists and Architects

Painter, craftsman, poet, publisher and socialist William Morris was buried in the village of Kelmscott in 1896.

William Morris
William Morris Society

Inventors and Scientists

The physicist Stephen Hawking was born in Oxford in 1942.

Stephen Hawking


House of Plantagenet
House of Plantagenet
Richard the Lionheart was born at Beaumont Palace in Oxford in 1157. The second of the three Angevin Kings from the House of Plantagenet he ruled from 1189-99 but spent less than a year of his reign in England.

Richard the Lionheart

In 1167 his brother and successor John was also born at Beaumont Palace. The last of the three Angevin Kings (the third was their father Henry II) from the House of Plantagenet, John ruled until his death in 1216.

King John

Nobel Prize Winners

The molecular biologist John C. Kendrew was born in Oxford in 1917. In 1962 he shared the Nobel Prize for Chemistry with his colleague the Austrian-born Max Perutz who had emigrated to England in 1936 and become a British citizen.

John C. Kendrew

Born at Blenheim Palace in 1874, Winston Churchill twice Prime Minister in 1940-45 and 1951-55 was buried at nearby Bladon in 1965. Churchill took over from Neville Chamberlain in 1940 as the first Prime Minister since the Duke of Wellington to have experienced combat themselves.

Although his leadership was seen as a major factor in the Allied victory in World War Two, he lost the election held in 1945. Undaunted he remained in politics and at the age of 77 became Prime Minister for a second time. In 1953 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature for his historical and biographical writings.

Winston Churchill
Why Churchill lost the 1945 election
Second World War

So they go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all-powerful to be impotent.
(Speech at the House of Commons, 1936)

I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.
(Radio broadcast, 1939)

The Pakastani theoretical physicist Abdus Salam died in Oxford in 1996. In 1979 he had shared the Nobel Prize for Physics with the Americans Sheldon Glashow and Steven Weinberg.

Physiology or Medicine
The physiologist Alan Lloyd Hodgkin was born in Banbury in 1914. In 1963 he shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with Andrew Huxley and the Australian John Eccles for their research into nerve membranes.

Alan Lloyd Hodgkin

The Australian Howard Florey died in Oxford in 1968. He had emigrated to England where in 1945 he had shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with the Scottish scientist Alexander Fleming and the German-born Ernst Boris Chain for their work on the discovery and production of penicillin.

The German-born biochemist Hans Krebs died in 1981 in Oxford. He had emigrated to England in 1934 and later became a British citizen. In 1953 he had shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with the German Fritz Lipmann for his discovery of the citric acid cycle.

The Dutch-born ethologist Nikolaas Tinbergen died in 1988 in Oxford. He had emigrated to England and become a British citizen. In 1973 he shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with the Austrian zoologists Karl von Frisch and Konrad Lorenz. His brother Jan Tinbergen had won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1969.

Places of Interest

Cathedrals and Abbeys
Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford

Oxford University is England's oldest and therefore the oldest in the English-speaking world. University College opened in 1249.

Oxford University

Prime Ministers
Prime Ministers
For Winston Churchill see Nobel Prize Winners

Lord North, Prime Minister in 1770-82, was buried in 1792 at All Saints in the village of Wroxton. His administration saw the Declaration of Independence by the North American colonies and their loss in the resulting American War of Independence.

Lord North
American War of Independence

Herbert Henry Asquith, Prime Minister from 1908-16, died in 1928 at Sutton Courtenay and is buried at All Saints in the village where in 1950 George Orwell was also buried. His Liberal administration introduced old-age pensions for the first time but in 1916, two years into World War One, he was replaced by David Lloyd George.

Herbert Henry Asquith

Britain's shortest serving Prime Minister, Elizabeth Truss was born in Oxford in 1975. After winning the Conservative Party leadership election to succeed Boris Johnson she became Prime Minister on 6th September 2022. She was forced to resign only 45 days later on October 25th and was succeeded by Rishi Sunak.

Royal Consorts and Heirs

House of Plantagenet
William, the Count of Poitiers and eldest son and heir to the throne of Henry II, died in 1156 at the age of two at Wallingford Castle (then in Berkshire). It would be his younger brothers Richard (the Lionheart) and John (Lackland) who would become king (in 1189 and 1199 respectively) on their father's death. William was buried at Reading Abbey in Berkshire.

Edward, the Black Prince, the eldest son and heir to the throne of Edward III, was born at Woodstock in 1330. He was so named due to the black armour he wore at the many battles he fought including that of Poitiers when the French king John II was captured. He never became king as he died in 1376 a year before his father and so in 1377 his son Richard II acceded to the throne in his place. The Black Prince is buried at Canterbury Cathedral in Kent.

Edward, the Black Prince

World Heritage Sites
The birthplace of Winston Churchill, Blenheim Palace was designated a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 1987. The building stands in a park designed by "Capability" Brown and was built on the site of the Old Woodstock Palace.

Writers and Poets
In 1606 the poet William D'Avenant was born in Oxford. He succeeded Ben Jonson in 1638 as the second unofficial Poet Laureate. He held the post until his death in 1668 when he was succeeded in the now official post by John Dryden.

Poets laureate

Another poet laureate, Thomas Warton, died in Oxford in 1790. He had been appointed Poet Laureate in 1785, succeeding William Whitehead. He was succeeded by Henry James Pye. He is buried in Trinity College Chapel at Oxford University where he had studied, been elected a fellow and had also held the post of Professor of Poetry.

Thomas Warton
Poets laureate

The crime writer Dorothy L. Sayers was born in Oxford in 1893. One of the first women to graduate from Oxford University in 1915 she went on to write many detective stories featuring Lord Peter Wimsey.

Dorothy L. Sayers
Dorothy L. Sayers Society

A society in which consumption has to be artificially stimulated in order to keep production going is a society founded on trash and waste, and such a society is a house built upon sand.
Creed or Chaos? (1947)

The poet Robert Bridges died in Oxford in 1930. He had been Poet Laureate since succeeding Alfred Austin in 1913 and was succeeded by John Masefield.

Robert Bridges
Poets laureate

The Scottish author of The Thirty-Nine Steps John Buchan, was buried at Elsfield in 1940.

John Buchan
John Buchan Society

The author of 1984 and Animal Farm George Orwell, was buried All Saints in Sutton Courtenay in 1950 in the same churchyard where the Prime Minister Herbert Henry Asquith had also been buried in 1928.

 George Orwell
George Orwell

Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.
Nineteen-Eighty-Four (1949)

C.S. Lewis, author of The Chronicles of Narnia, died at The Kilns - his Oxford home - on 22nd November 1963, the same day as the American President John F. Kennedy and the author Aldous Huxley. Lewis had lived at the house for the last 33 years of his life, written many of his books there, and kept the house as an Oxford base after he moved to Cambridge University in 1954. Lewis is buried at the nearby cemetery at Headington Quarry.

C.S. Lewis
C.S. Lewis

Into the Wardrobe

C.S. Lewis:
Personal experience isn't everything.
Joy Gresham:
I disagree. I think personal experience is everything.
So reading is a waste of time?
No, it's not a waste of time, but reading is safe, isn't it? Books aren't about to hurt you.
Why should one want to be hurt?
That's when we learn.
From the film Shadowlands (1993)
Screenplay: William Nicholson (Based on his play about Lewis's relationship with the American poet Joy Gresham)

We read to know we're not alone.
Shadowlands (1993)

The pain now,
is part of the happiness then.
That's the deal.

Shadowlands (1993)

I've always found this a trying time of the year...
The leaves not yet out.
Mud everywhere you go.
Frosty mornings gone.
Sunny mornings not yet come.
Give me blizzards and frozen pipes, but not this..., nothing time.
Not this..., waiting-room of the world.

Shadowlands (1993)

C.S. Lewis's one-time close friend and the author of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit J.R.R. Tolkien, was buried in the Roman Catholic cemetery in Oxford in 1973. From 1939 Tolkien and Lewis used to meet regularly with other writers at, among others, the Eagle and Child public house. Known as the Inklings they would discuss literature and read out their works-in-progress.

J.R.R. Tolkien
Tolkien Society

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, wet hole, filled with ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.

The Hobbit - Opening lines of novel (1937)

Agatha Christie, creator of Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, died in Wallingford in 1976. She is buried at Cholsey.

Agatha Christie

War settles nothing... to win a war is as disastrous as to lose one!
An Autobiography (1977)

County Links Genealogy in England

Genealogy Links

Record Offices
and Archives
Bodleian Library
Oxfordshire Architectural & Historical Society