In 1887, John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles described Oxfordshire like this:
Oxfordshire, south-midland co. of England, bounded N. by Warwickshire and Northamptonshire, E. by Bucks, S. by Berks, from which it is separated by the Thames, and W. by Gloucestershire; greatest length, 60 miles; greatest breadth, 30 miles; area, 483,621 ac., pop. 179,559. Most of the co. is level, but there are gentle undulations of surface, rising to 836 ft. ...
at Broom Hill in the NW., which is the highest point of land. In the S. the Chiltern Hills stretch across the co. from Bucks to Berks. The chief rivers are the Windrush, Evenlode, Cherwell, and Thame, all being tributaries of the Thames, or Isis, which flows for about 70 miles along the S. border of the co. The Oxford Canal, in conjunction with the Coventry Canal, connects the Thames with the Severn, Mersey, and Trent. The soil is a light loam, which is exceedingly fertile and in a high state of cultivation, agriculture receiving so much attention that the co. is justly held to be one of the most productive districts in England. (For agricultural statistics, see Appendix.) Excepting the N. district, Oxfordshire may be considered a well wooded co. It has many antiquities, and is likewise noted for the beauty of its ecclesiastical buildings and the number of its mansions. The mfrs. are not important. The co. comprises 14 hundreds, 292 pars, with parts of 7 others, the greater part of the part, and mun. bor. of Oxford (1 member, and Oxford University 2 members), and the mun. bors. of Banbury and Chipping Norton. It is almost entirely in the diocese of Oxford. For parliamentary purposes the co. is divided into 3 divisions - viz., Northern or Banbury, Mid. or "Woodstock, and Southern or Henley - 1 member for each division.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Oxfordshire | Map and description for the county, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 26th March 2017
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