In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Burford like this:
BURFORD, a small town, a parish, and a subdistrict in Witney district, Oxford. The town stands on the river Windrush, near Wychford forest, 6½ miles SSW of Ascott r. station, and 18 W by N of Oxford. It is a place of high antiquity. A synod was held at it, in 705, in presence of the kings Ethelred and Berthwald, to correct opinions respecting Easter. A battle was fought in its vicinity, at Battle-Edge, in 752, between Ethelbald, king of Mercia, and Cuthred of the West Saxons, who was tributary to him, when Cuthred got the victory, and threw off the Mercian yoke. ...
A stone coffin, of great size and weight, was found, a number of years ago, a little below the surface on the scene of action; and is supposed to have been deposited there after the battle. An action was fought in the vicinity also, in 1649, between Fairfax and the royalists; when the latter were defeated, and some of them imprisoned in the church. The town contains many old houses; and is ill built, decayed, and dull. It has a post office‡ under Faringdon, a banking office, two chief inns, a town hall, a parish church, Baptist, Quaker, and Wesleyan chapels, a free school, and alms-houses. The church is large, cruciform, and interesting; has a Norman central tower, other Norman portions, and some early English work, but is mainly perpendicular, of various dates; includes several large chapels, and a very rich south porch; and contains grand or curious monuments of Sir Lawrence Tanfield, Edmund Harman, and other persons. The charities, including school and almshouses, amount annually to £349. A weekly market is held on Saturday; and fairs on the last Saturday of April, 5 July, 25 Sept., and the first Saturday of Dec. A considerable trade in saddlery, rugs, and other articles was formerly carried on; but has greatly declined. Heylin, the author of "Microcosmos," Needham, the author of "Mercurins Britannicus," and Beechey, the painter, were natives. The town gives the title of Earl to the Duke of St. Albans. Pop., 1,435. Houses, 337.
The parish includes also the hamlets of Upton and Signett. Acres, 2,170. Real property, £6,886. Pop., 1,649. Houses, 386. A small priory, a cell to Kynesham Abbey in Somerset, anciently stood near the town; and was given, at the dissolution, to Edmund Harman, and conveyed, by the Long Parliament, to the famous Speaker Lenthall. A mansion, in the Tudor style, and called Burford Priory, now occupies its site; and is the seat of Charles Greenaway, Esq. Quarries of fine building-stone are in St. Kitt's; and supplied the material for St. Paul's cathedral. The living is a vicarage, united with the p. curacy of Fulbrook, in the diocese of Oxford. Value, £294.* Patron, the Bishop of Oxford.-The subdistrict contains ten parishes, part of another, and an extra-parochial tract. Acres, 17,845. Pop., 4,816. Houses, 1,103.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Burford has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of West Oxfordshire. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Burford and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Burford in West Oxfordshire | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 18th May 2013
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