Genoot - Family History Services  
 EventsDirectoryLibrarySmall AdsAboutContact
 

Library

 

Library | Location | England | Oxfordshire

Camden's Britannia, 1586

Translated into English, with Additions and Improvements
by Dr Edmund Gibson, 1722

Oxfordshire


The County of Oxford, call'd by the Saxons [Oxnafordscyre, Oxenfordscyre, and] Oxenfordschyre, commonly Oxfordshire; did, as I observ'd before, belong to the Dobuni, [and by its situation (particularly to the north-east, at Otmore and the adjacent places) exactly answers the original of the name Dobuni, as being low and level.] On the west, it borders upon Glocestershire; on the south, where it is broadest, the river Isis divides it from Barkshire; on the east it is bounded by Bucks; and upon the north, where it ends as it were in a cone, on the one side it has Northamptonshire, and on the other Warwickshire. It is a rich and fertile Country; the lower parts are cultivated into pleasant fields and meadows, and the hills were cover'd with great store of woods, [till the late Civil Wars, in which it was destroyed to such a degree, that few places (except the Chiltern-country) can answer that character at present; Fuel in those parts being so scarce, that it is commonly sold by weight, not only in Oxford, but other Towns in the northern parts of the Shire.] Nor is it only fruitful in grass and corn, but abounds with all sorts of game both for hunting and hawking, and rivers well stock'd with fish. [But though most parts of it bear corn very well, its greatest glory is the abundance of meadows and pastures, to which the Rivers add both pleasure and convenience. For besides the five more consideable ones, the Thames, Isis, Cherwell, Evenlode, and Windrush, it has at least threescore and ten of an inferiour rank, without including the smaller brooks.] The Isis (afterwards call'd Tamisis) in a long course washeth the south-side of this County. Cherwell, a small river abounding with fish, after it has divided this shire for some space from that of Northampton, flows gently through the middle of the County, and divides it as it were into two equal Parts. The river Tame waters and fructifies the eastern parts; till at last both these rivers, with several other little streams, are receiv'd into the Isis.

The Isis, when it has just touch'd upon Wiltshire, is, at its first entrance into this County, straiten'd by Rodcot-bridge; whence it passes by Bablac, famous for Rober de Vere the great Earl of Oxford, Marquess of Dublin, and Duke of Ireland; who, being highly in favour and authority with King Richard the second, and for that reason no less envied and hated by his Fellow-Barons, has taught us this lesson, That no power has force enough to secure those who enjoy it. For he, being here defeated in a skirmish with the Nobles, was constrain'd to take the river, and swim for his life, which was the sad catastrophe of all his greatness and glory: for he presently fled the Realm, and died in banishment; [being struck by a wild Boar in hunting, of which wound he expired at Lovain Ann. 1392. Three years after, his body was brought over into England, and, by the care and expence of the King, solemnly inter'd at Colne in Essex.] In the Poem of the marriage of Tame and Isis we have these verses of him:

---- Hic Verus notissimus apro,
Dum dare terga negat virtus, & tendere contrà
Non smit invictœ rectrix prudentia mentis;
Undique dum resonat repetitis ictibus umbo,
Tinnitúque strepit circum sua tempora cassis,
Se dedit in fluvium, fluvins lœtatus & illo
Hospite, suscepit salvum, salvúmque remisit.

Here Oxford's Hero famous for his Boar,
While Valour prompts behind, and Prudence calls before;
While clashing swords upon his target sound,
And showers of arrows from his breast rebound,
Prepar'd for worst of fates, undaunted stood,
And urg'd his Beast into the rapid flood:
The waves in triumph bore him, and were proud
To sink beneath their honourable load.

After this, the Isis, frequently overflowing the lower grounds, receives its first addition from Windrush, a small brook, which flows out of the Coteswold, and salutes Burford standing on the banks of it, in Saxon [Beorgford, and] Beorford, where Cuthred King of the West-Saxons, then tributary to the Mercians, not being able to endure any longer the cruelty and intolerable Exactions of King Æthelbald, met hiim in the open field with an army [(probably on the place still call'd Battle-edge, west of the town,)] and beat him; taking his Standard, in which, we read, was the pourtraicture of a golden Dragon. [Concerning this, Dr. Plot says, that there has been a Custom in the town, of making a Dragon yearly, and carrying it up and down the streets in great jollity on Midsummer-eve; which seems to bear some relation to what is here said, of Cuthred's taking from the enemy a banner whereon was painted a golden Dragon: only, to the Towns-men's Dragon, there is a Giant added; but for what reason, it is not known. This place is also famous for a Council convened here by the Kings Etheldred and Berhwald, An. 685, at which, Aldhelm Abbot of Malmsbury, afterwards Bishop of Shirburne, being present, among many others, was commanded by the Synod to write a Book against the error of the British Churches in the observation of Easter. Which I the rather take notice of here, because Sir Henry Spelman calls it only Synodus Merciana, An. 705, without fixing any certain place, or the exact time: wheras both are evident from Malmsbury, and the Leiger-book of that Abbey.] From hence, the Windrush runs to Minster-Lovel, heretofore the seat of the Lords Lovel of Tichemersh, who, being descended from on Lupel a noble Norman, did long bear a considerable figure in these parts, and receiv'd great additions to their Fortune, by matches with the heirs-female of Tichemersh, of the Lords Holland, of D'eyncourt, and of the Viscounts Beaumont. But this family was extinct in Francis Viscount Lovel, Lord Chamberlain to King Richard the third, who was banish'd by Henry the seventh, and at last slain in the battle of Stoke, taking part with Lambert the impostor Prince. His sister Fridiswide was grandmother to Henry, the first Lord Norris. Passing hence, the Windrush visits Whitney an ancient town, which before the conquest belonged to the Bishop of Winchester; [being given by Alwin, Bishop thereof (among the other Manours, bestowed upon that Church) on account of Emma's being cleared, by Fire-Ordeal, of the charge of Adultery with him. In the year 1171, it was given by Henry Bishop of that See, to his new-sounded Hospital of St Cross. For the settling of a Free-school at this place, erected and endowed by Henry Box, Citizen of London, a particular Statute passed in the 15th year of King Charles the 2d.]

Near adjoyning, is Coges, the head of the barony of Arsic, the Lords of which, descended from the Earls of Oxford, have been long since extinct. Hard by, Wichwood-Forest is of a large extent, and yet the bounds of it were once much wider: For King Richard the third disforested a great part of Wichwood between Woodstock and Brightstow, which King Edward the fourth had taken into the limits of that Forest, as we are inform'd by John Rous of Warwick. The River Isis, when it has received the Windrush, passes [to Stanton Harcourt, the ancient seat of the Harcourts in Normandy; and of whom, in our time, Sir Simon Harcourt hath been advanced to the Honour of Baron Harcourt of Stanton Harcourt, and also to the Office of Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, on account of his great Knowledge in the Laws and Constitution of this Realm. Next, the River goes] to Einsham, in Saxon [Eigonesham and] Eisnesham, formerly a Royal Vill, seated among most delightful meadows. This place [among other Garrisons in those parts,] Cuthwulph the Saxon first took from the conquer'd Britains: Æthelmar a nobleman adorn'd it with a Monastery, which Ethelred King of England in the year 1005 confirmed, [calling this in the Charter a famous place,] and sign'd the priviledge of Liberty (to keep to the words of the Charter) with the sign of the holy Cross. But this house of Religion was turn'd into a private Seat, which belong'd to the Earl of Derby. [Here it was also, that, in the year 1009, the same King Æthelred (by the advice of Alphege Archbishop of Canterbury, and Wulstan Arch-bishop of York) held a general Council, wherein many Decrees were established, relating to the government of Church and State: it is call'd by Sir Henry Spelman, Ænham.] Below Einsham, the Evenlode a small rivulet, runs into the Isis; which, flowing from the Coteswold, [first sees Chastleton, near which is a Fortification, that the learned Dr. Plot imagines might be cast-up about the year 1016, when Edmond Ironside met Canute the Dane; but if that conjecture be built purely upon its being near the Four-shire-stone, (which generally goes for the old Sceorstan where the battle was fought) the place of the battle being (as it probably ought) remov'd from this place, that Opinion is destroy'd.] It leaves, in the utmost borders of this County, a little further from its banks, a great monument of Antiquity; a number of vastly large Stones plac'd in a circular figure, which the Country-people call Rolle-rich-stones, and have a fond tradition, that they were once Men, and were turn'd into Stones. The figure of them, as rudely drawn a long time ago, I shall here represent to the Reader's eye. They are irregular and of unequal height, and by the decays of time are grown ragged and very much impair'd. The highest of them, which lies out of the ring toward the east, they call The King; because they fansy he should have ben King of England, if he could have seen Long-Compton, a Village which is within view at a very few steps farther: five larger Stones, which on one side of the circle are contiguous to one another, they pretend were Knighs or Horsemen, and the other common Soldiers. But see the Draught.

[It is a single Circle of Stones without Epistyles or Architraves, and of no very regular figure. Except one or two, the rest of them are not above four foot and a half high. What the occasion of this Monument might be, is not hinted by any Inscription upon the Stones, nor by any other marks about them: which seems to make it probable at least, that it was not erected in memory of any persons that were bury'd there. For, if so, we might expect (as in other places of this kingdom) to meet with a Cross or something of that kind implying the design, if Christian; or, if Pagan, we might expect to find barrows at some small distance. Besides, a curious Antiquary in these parts, making a diligent search, in the middle, for some Remains which might lead us to the first design, and particularly for bones; found himself disappointed. Tho', if we may take an estimate of this, from another of the like nature, the bones (if there are any) may more probably be met with, without the circle, as they were found some years ago at a little distance from that at Kynet in Wiltshire, and have been formerly found at the famous Stonehenge.]

One may then imagin this Monument to have been rais'd in memory of some victory obtained here, perhaps by Rollo the Dane, who afterward possess'd himself of Normandy. For, at the same time that he with his Danes and Normans infested England with depredations, we read that tthe Danes and Saxons had an Engagement at Hokenorton, and another at Scierstane in Huiccia, which I should take for that great boundary Stone that stands hard by, and divides four Counties or Shires, for so the Saxon word Scierstane plainly intimates. [But others alledge, that how true soever this opinion of its being erected in memory of some victory, may be in the main; yet the relation it has to Rollo the Dane, will not agree with the engagement either at Hokenorton or Sciorstan. For the Saxon-Annals tell us, it was in 876 that this Rollo made inroads into Normandy, and that was after he had been in England; whereas the battle of Hokenorton was in 917, and that of Sceostan a hundred years after. Nor does that assage of Walsingham, which tells us of the assistance which Rollo sent to King Athelstan, and which is insisted on by a later Author, clearly take away the difficulty: unless we can suppose (what is hardly to be imagin'd) that Rollo could be of age to plunder England in the year 875, and to make incursions into Normandy, in 876; and that the same Rollo should live to assist King Athelstan, who came not to the Crown till the year 925. But tho' this difficulty did not lie in the way, and the matter of fact were suppos'd to be true; yet unless it appear'd, at the same time, that the suppos'd defeat was in those parts, there is nothing to support the conjecture, besides the bare affinity of names.

The common Story before-mentioned, which goes current among the People, though it be upon the whole ridiculous enough, yet may it (as we very often find in such traditional tales) have something of truth at the bottom. For why may not that large Stone at a little distance, which they call the King, be the Kongstolen, belonging to the Circle of Stones rais'd usually for the Coronation of the Northern Kings (as Wormius informs us:) especially since the learned Dr. Plot has observ'd from the same Wormius, that this Kongstolen, though ordinarily in the middle, was sometimes at a distance from the Circle? Not far from hence, in the fields of Stanon Harcourt, stood two great Stones, called the Devils-Coits; sixty five paces distant from one another; but one of them was taken down, several years since, to make a bridge.]

As to Hokenorton, the Inhabitants were formerly such clowns and churls, that it pass'd into a Proverb, for a rude and ill-bred fellow, to be born at Hogs-Norton . But this place is chiefly memorable for the fatal slaughter of the English in a fight with the Danes, under Edmund the elder. [Florence of Worcester calls it Villa Regia, i. e. a Royal Village; and makes the battle to be in the year 914, contrary to Brompton and Huntingdon, who tell us it was An. 911, and to the Saxon Chronicle, which has it in 917. The barrows of Tadmerton and Hokenorton, the former, large and round; the other smaller, and rather a quinquangle than a square; were probably cast-up on this occasion; the round one by the Danes, and the square one by the Saxons.] It was afterward a Barony of the D'oilys, an honourable and ancient Family of Normandy. The first of that name who came into England, was Robert de Oily, who, for his great service in that expedition, was rewarded by William the Conqueror with this village and many other lands, some of which he gave to his sworn brother Roger Ivery, [(and not John de Eiverio, as Leland, and after him Dugdale, name him;)] and this part was afterwards the Barony of St. Walery. But the Robert dying without issue-male, his Brother Nigel succeeded in his estate, whose son, Robert the second, was Founder of the Monastery of Osney. At length, an heir female of this family of D'oily was married to Henry Earl of Warwick who dy'd without issue in the reign of Henry the third, and Margaret who died likewise without issue, though she had two husbands, John Mareschal and John de Plessets, both Earls of Warwick. Upon this (as the Charter of Donation runs) King Henry the third granted Hochnorton and Cudlington to John de Plassets of Plessy, which were the inheritance of Henry D'oily, and fell into the King's hands upon the death of Margaret Countess of Warwick, wife of the aforesaid John, as an escheat of the Lands of the Normans, to have and to hold till such time as the Lands of England and Normandy should be made common. But of this ancient and honourable Family of D'oily, there remains still a branch in this County, who have the honour of being Knights, [and Baronets.] [South from hence, is Great-Tew; near which was plough'd-up an Opus Tessellatum, or pavement cut into squares, somewhat bigger than Dice, and of four different colours, blew, white, yellow, and red, all polish'd and orderly dispers'd into works. As was another at Steeple-Aston hard by, which consisted likewise of squares of divers colours, and set in curious figures; though not cubick, like the former, but oblong squares. And (to return to the course of the river Evenlode) at Stunsfield, a small Village two miles from Woodstock, was found, in the year 1713. a large and entire tessallated Roman Pavement, thirty five foot in length, and twenty in breadth, and not above two foot under ground. The Superficies of it is all smooth and level, and it is composed of little square pieces of Brick and Stone, of six different Colours, orderly disposed into works, and strongly cemented together upon a bed of Mortar, supported by ribb'd Arch-work underneath.]

Evenlode runs by no other place, remarkable; but a little lower takes in a small brook, upon which is seated Woodstock, in Saxon Wudestoc, i. e. a woody place, where King Etheldred heretofore held an assembly of the States, and enacted several Laws. Here is a magnificent Palace built by King Henry the first. [And (not to insist upon the evidence of King Etheldred's calling a Council here,) it must have been a Royal Seat long before King Henry's time; since it was here, that King Ælfred translated Boëtius de Consolatione Philosophiœ, as Dr. Plot has observ'd out of a MS. in the Cottonian Library. Henry the first also adjoin'd to the Palace] a large Park enclos'd with a wall of Stone; which John Rous affirms to have been the first Park in England, though we meet with these words, Parca slyvestris bestiarum, more than once in Domesday-book. But afterwards, they encreas'd to so great a number, that there were computed more in England, than in all the Christian world besides; so great delight did our ancestors take, in this noble sport of Hunting. [(Through this Park, runs the Consular way called Akemanstreet, in a raised bank; entring it at Wotton-gate, and going out of it at Mapleton-well.)]

Our Histories report, that King Henry the second, being deeply enamour'd with Rosamund Clifford, (whose extraordinary beauty, and other accomplishments, drove the thoughts of all other women from his heart, and made her commonly called Rosa Mundi, the Rose of the World;) to secure her from the restless jealousie of his Juno Queen, built in this place a Labyrinth, where the many windings and turnings made an inextricable maze; yet, at present we see no remains of it.

[Thus, the Park and Manour of Woodstock continued in the Crown, till the fourth year of Q. Anne; in which her Majesty (enabled thereunto by Act of Parliament) granted the Interest of the Crown in the Honour and Manour of Woodstock and Hundred of Wotton, to John Duke of Marlborough and his heirs, as a reward of his eminent and unparallel'd Services (as they are deservedly stiled by the Voice of the NAtion, in Parliament,) and for perpetuating the Memory thereof. For, being constituted Captain-General of her Majesty's Forces, and having in the first year of her reign secured and extended the frontier of Holland, by the taking of several Towns from the French, and obliging them to seek shelter behind their Lines; and also, the next Campaign, having added all the Country between the Rhine and the Maes to the Conquests of the preceding year; He did, in the year 1704 (after a long and difficult march to the Banks of the Danube, made with the utmost diligence, secrecy, and good conduct) attack and force the Bavarians, assisted by the French, in their strong Intrenchments at Schellenburg: After which, he fought the Enemy a second time, and, although they had been reinforced by a Royal Army of the French King's best troops, and were commanded by a Marshal of France, and had the advantages both of number and situation, he did (to use the Language of the Great Council of the Land) gain as absolute and glorious a Victory, as is recorded in the History of any Age. The Empire being thus rescued, chiefly by his conduct and bravery, from the immediate ruin to which the defection of the Duke of Bavaria had exposed it; he was made a Prince thereof by the Emperor, from whom he afterwards received a Grant of the Lordship of Mindelheim, and is distinguished throughout the Empire by the stile and title of Prince of Mindelheim. And the field of this glorious Victory being at or near Blenheim, and the battle from thence called the Battle of Blenheim; accordingly, that noble and magnificent House erected within this Manour of Woodstock as a Monument of his glorious Actions (for so the Parliament expresses it,) is called The House, or Castle of Blenheim; adorned with spacious and beautiful Gardens, and all the other Accommodations and Ornaments, suitable to so stately a Fabrick.

The succeeding Victories of Ramellies, Audenarde, Blarignies, &c. whereby this great General did exceedingly increase his former Glories, and for which he received the Solemn Thanks of the Nation in Parliament; fall not within the compass of this Design, but make the far brightest part of the History of that Reign.

As to the Town of Woodstock; it was chiefly supported by the resort of our Kings and Queens thither; but that Resort being disused, it fell to decay; in consideration whereof, and for the recovery of it, a Statute passed in Parliament, in the eighteenth year of Queen Elizabeth, to make it a Staple of Wools.] Having now nothing else to be proud of, it boasts of the honour of being the birth-place of our English Homer, Jeffrey Chaucer: To whom, and some other of our English Poets, I may apply what the learned Italian sung of Homer and other Greeks,

--- Hic ille est, cujus de gurgite sacro
Combibit arcanos vatum omnis turba furores.

This he, to whose immortal spring of wit
Each water Poet owes his rivulet.

For he, defying every rival in wit, and leaving all our Poetasters at a long distance behind him,

--- jam monte potitus,
Ridet anhelantem dura ad fastigia turbam.

Sits down in triumph on the conquer'd height,
And smiles to see unequal Rivals sweat.

[Of late years also, this Town hath given the title of Viscount to William Bentinck, who was created, at the same time, Earl of Portland.]

The Isis, when it has taken-in the Evenlode, divides its Chanel, and cuts out many pleasant Islands, among which stood Godstow, i. e. The place of God, a Nunnery [said to be] founded by one Ida, a rich widow, and to have been improv'd and endow'd by King John, to the intent those holy Virgins might (according to the devotion of that age) pray for the Souls of King Henry the second, his Father, and Rosamund: for she was buried here with this rhyming Epitaph:

Hac jacet in tumbâ Rosa mundi, non Rosa munda,
Non redolet, sed olet, quœ redolere solet.

Rose of the world, not Rose the fresh pure flow'r,
Within this Tomb hath taken up her bow'r;
She senteth now and nothing sweet doth smell,
Which earst was wont to favour passing well.

[But the name of the Foundress was really Editha, an eminent and devour matron, who, upon a plot of ground given by John de St. John, erected it at her own charge; and at the latter end of December An. 1138. It was dedicated by Alexander Bishop of Lincoln, to the honour of the Virgin Mary and St. John Baptist. The additional endowment, by King John, before-mentioned, may also probably be a mistake for Richard the first, who, we find, in the first year of his reign, gave a large Charter to this Abbey. If it be an error, it is likely it arose from Thomas Walsingham's attributing the whole foundation to King John, and the occasion of building it, to a prophecy of Merlin.]

The Isis, before its streams are again united, meets with Cherwell, which, coming out of Northamptonshire, flows almost through the middle of this County. It first waters Banbury, formerly Banesbyrig, where Kynric the West-Saxon is said to have overcome the poor Britains (fighting stoutly for their Lives and Liberties,) in a memorable battle. [But yet it may be questioned, whether this place can justly lay claim to the Battle; which the Saxon-Annals expresly say, was at Beranbyrig; and this is proved before, to be most probably in Wiltshire. But wherever it was fought; the success of it does not seem to belong entirely to the Saxons. It is true, before that, they had been too hard for the Britains in several engagements: but here, the whole strength of this people in the mid-land parts, was united, and they were so numerous as to divide their army into nine battalions; so that by the assistance of their numbers and resolution, our Historians confess they bore up so well, that when night came, the battle was depending. And it is more than probable, if our Writers would but speak out, that they had the better of the Saxons at this turn. For whereas this happen'd in 556, we find they held their garrisons in this County till the year 571, or, as some Writers say, 580; which they could hardly be suppos'd to do, had the Victory been so compleat. But what seems of greatest moment in this matter, is the manner in which the Saxon Chronicle relates this Engagement. The only objection perhaps that lies against the authority of that Book, is, partiality to the Saxons against the poor Britains, in the course of those wars; and yet upon this occasion it is content barely to tells us, that Cynric and Ceawlin fought with the Britains at Beranbyrig: which (as we may gather from other Instances) had not likely been let pass without express mention of the Victory, if it had fallen to the share of the Saxons.] In the last age [save one] Richard Nevil Earl of Warwick, fighting for the Lancastrian Interest, gave such an absolute defeat to the York party [near this place,] that he soon after took the distress'd King Edward 4, and carry'd him off prisoner. [This battle was fought on a fair plain call'd Danes-more nigh Edgcot in the County of Northampton, within three miles of Banbury. And some of our Historians give a more favourable account of it on the Yorkside; namely, that the fortune of the day was not decisive; but that the Earl of Pembroke and Lord Stafford taking up their quarters at Banbury, quarrel'd for an Inn; which gave the Earl of Warwick an opportunity to set upon them, and to take the Earl of Pembroke and Sir Richard Herbert, prisoners; who were barbarously beheaded. After which, upon a treacherous overture of peace, the Earl of Warwick surpris'd the King at Wolvey, and carried him Prisoner to Warwick.] The Town, at present, is most famous for making good Cheese. (a) It has a Castle, built by Alexander Bishop of Lincoln (for this manour belong'd to that See) who in his way of living consulted state and grandeur, more than ease and safety, and brought very many mischiefs on himself by his vain and expensive buildings. Give me leave to add one remark; that the Coins of Roman Emperors, found here and in the fields adjoyning, are a fair argument for the antiquity of this place. [In the year 1626. William Lord Knollys of Grays-Court, Viscount Walingford, was created Earl of Banbury.]

I must not here pass by Broughton, the seat of Richard Fienes or Fenis, to whom and to the heirs of his body, King James [the first,] in the first year of his reign, granted and confirmed the name, stile, title, degree, dignity, and honour of Baron Say and Sele; he being descended in a right line from James Fienes Lord Say and Sele, who was High Treasurer of England in the reign of Henry the sixth. The Chervel, for many miles after it has left Banbury, sees nothing but well cultivated Fields, and delightful Meadows; among which stands Islip, formerly Ghistlipe, the birthplace of King Edward (whom, for his piety and charity, our ancestors honour'd with the title of Confessor;) as he himself witnesses in his original Charter, whereby he gives this his manour to the Church of Westminster: [the greatest part of which Charter, being lately discovered, is now printed in the original Saxon. This place is called in the Pipe-rolls of Henry the second, Hiltesteape; in a Charter of Henry the second, Ileslepe; and in a Presentation of the Abbey of Westminster, 6 Henry 3. Ighteslep. But in the said original Charter, it is call'd Githslepe, which is easily melted into Islep or Islip, by casting away the initial G; in the same manner that Giypeswic is changed into Ipswich, and Gifteley near Oxford into Ifley. In the Chapel here, which is call'd the King's Chapel, there stood, not many years since, a Font; the very same (as Tradition has constantly deliver'd it down) wherein Edward the Confessor was baptiz'd. But this, being put to an indecent use, as well as the Chapel, was at last piously resen'd from it, and remov'd to the garden of Sir Henry Brown Baronet, of Nether Ridington in this County. The Church continues in the patronage of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster: the late Rector, Dr. Robert South, at his own expence built a new decent Chancel, and a beautiful Parsonage-house, with other Accommodations belonging thereunto.] Near this, is Hedindon, which King John gave for a Barony to Thomas Basset. [Tradition says, it was in the Saxon times a nursery of the King's children: and it seems likewise to have had a Royal seat, where King Ethelred resided; particularly, when he granted a Charter to the Monastery of St. Frideswide, wherein the date is thus mention'd (This privilege was idith in Heddington;) and afterward in Latin (Scripta suit hac cedula jussu præfati Regis in villa Regia, &c.) i. e. This Schedule was written, at the command of the fore-mentioned King, in the Royal Vill, &c. Another Argument of a Royal Seat here, was a Free-Chapel, exempt from all Customs due to the Bishop of Lincoln and Archdeacon of Oxford; which Maud the Empress confirm'd to the Church of St. Frideswide.]

At Islip, the Cherwel is joyned from the east with a small brook which runs by Burcester, in Saxon Burenceaster and Bernaceaster, [perhpas, as much as to say Birini castrum; implying it to be a frontier-garrison of the West-Saxons against the Mercians, and raised out of the ruins of Alchester, by the advice and assistance of Birinus Bishop of Dorchester.] A Town of ancient name, but where I have observ'd nothing of [English] Antiquity; only, that Gilbert Basset, and Egeline de Courtney his wife, in the reign of Henry the second, built here a little Monastery in honour of St. [Mary and] Edburg; [(the memory of the latter being still preserved in S. Edburg's Well, and Tadbury-walk, corruptly for The Edbury-walk:)] and, that the Barons Le Strange of Knocking, were lately Lords of this place. [Here is a fair and spacious Church; and, in the division of Kings-end, stands a pleasent and convenient seat of Mr. John Coker Lord of that manour. Most of the lands in Market-end are part of the estate of Sir William Glynne Baronet, whose beautiful seat is within two miles, at Ambrosden; where the Parish-Church is neat and well-adorn'd, and the vicarage-house adjoyning, of great strength and good prospect, built in the year 1638. at the sole charge of Dr. John Stubbing, the then worthy Vicar.] Towards the west, are some few remains of an old deserted Station, which they call Allchester, perhaps instead of Aldchester, or the old Castrum. [The bounds of this quadrangular Camp or Garrison, are still visible; though the area or site of it has been, for a long time, part of the common field of Wendlebury. The reason of the name is an evidence of it's Antiquity, whether we make it Aldchester; or Allecti castrum, from the Roman Allectus, an Opinion ingeniously deliver'd, and maintain'd with much shew of truth in a short History of Alchester, the original MS. whereof was presented to Sir William Glynne by the learned and pious Mr. Samuel Blackwell, B. D. late Vicar of Burcester, and now Rector of Brampton in the County of Northampton.] Through this Camp is a military way, from Wallingford, as the neighbours believe, to Banbury. They call this Akeman-street-way, a ridge whereof [is said to] appear for some miles together on the deep plains of Otmore, often overflow'd in winter. [But upon a nearer view of the course of Akeman-street, the Consular way; it does not pass thither through Otmore; but coming down from Tuchwic-grounds in the common road from Ailsbury to Bisiter, and passing over that marshy vale, which gave name to the neighbouring town of Mersh, it leaves there some tracks of a stony ridge yet visible and useful, and crosses the rivulet at Worden-pool or Steanford; where it enters the County of Oxford and parish of Ambrosden; whence it ascends to Black-thorn-hill, and, passing cross Wrechwic-green, extends on the north-side of Gravenhull wood, over the brook at Langford, and so leads close by the north-bounds of Alchester, as far as Chesterton: whence it goes to Kirtlington town's end, and so over Cherwell near Tackley to Woodstock-park, which it enters near Wooton-gate, and passes out again at Mapleton-well near Stunsfield-stile, whence it holds on again as far as Stunsfield; and all this way in a rais'd bank. But here breaking off (though still keeping it's name) it goes over the Evenlode to Wilcot, and so to Ramsden: a little beyond which village, at a place call'd Witty-green, it may be seen again for a little way; but from thence to Astally, over Astal-bridge; and so through the fields till it comes to Broadwell-grove, it is scarce visible; but there it is as plain again as any where else, holding a strait course into Gloucestershire, and so towards Bathe, the old Akeman-ceaster.

There is indeed, an old way which seems to have led from Alchester to Wallingford, part whereof is to be seen at this day, running quite cross Otmore; but it is not by any means the Akeman-street, though the people hereabouts call it by that name. There are in this County several branches running from this great road, which which are describ'd at large by the curious Dr. Plot in his natural History of this County; to whom the Reader is refer'd for a more distinct Information concerning them.

At a little distance is Weston on the green, the seat of a branch of the Family of Noris; and Merton, where was found a Danish Spur, answering the figure of that in Olaus Wormius; which, together with the meeting of two military ways near it, induc'd a late Author to believe that this is the very place where Æthelred and Ælfred fought with the Danes, in the year 871.]

But where the Cherwel flows along with the Isis, and meets it; and where their divided streams make several little sweet and pleasant Islands; is seated on a rising Vale the most famous University of Oxford, in Saxon Oxenford; our most noble Athens, the seat of our English Muses, the Prop and the Pillar, nay the Sun, the Eye, the very Soul, of the Nation: The most celebrated Fountain of Wisdom and Learning, from whence Religion, Letters, and good Manners, are plentifully diffused thro' the whole Kingdom. A delicate and most beautiful City, whether we respect the neatness of private buildings, or the stateliness of publick structures, or the healthy and pleasant situation. For the plain on which it stands, is walled in, as it were, with hills of wood; which keeping out on one side the pestilential south-wind, and on the other, the tempestuous west, admit only the purifying east, and the north, which disperses all unwholsom vapours. From which delightful situation, Authors tell us, it was heretofore call'd Bellositum. Some writers fansy that this City, in the British times, had the name of Caer-Vortigern and Caer-Vember, and that it was built by God knows what Vortigerns or Meprics. Whatever it's name was under the Britains, it is certain the Saxons call'd it Oxenford; in the same sense, no doubt, as the Grecians had their Bosphorus, and the Germans their Ochenfurt upon the river Oder; that is, a ford of Oxen. In which sense, it is still call'd by the Welsh, Rhid-Yehen. Yet Leland, with some shew of probability, derives the name from the river Ous, in Latin Isis, and believes it to have been heretofore call'd Ousford; since the little Islands which the river here makes, are call'd Ousney.

Wise Antiquity (as we read in our Chronicles) did even in the British age consecrate this place to the Muses; whom they transplanted hither, as to a more fertile nursery, from Greek-lade, now a small town in Wiltshire. Alexander Necham writes thus, Italy challenges the glory of Civil Law; Divinity and the Liberal Arts make Paris preferable to all other Cities; Wisdom also, and Learning, have long flourish'd at Oxford; and according to the prophecy of Merlin, shall in due time pass from thence to Ireland. But in the Saxon age (remarkable for the continual ruin and subversion of towns and cities,) this place underwent the common fate; and during many years, was famous for nothing but the reliques of St. Frideswide, a Virgin of great esteem for the sanctity of her life, and first reputed a Saint on this occasion: When by a solemn vow she had devoted her self to the service of God ans single life, Earl Algar courted her for a wife, and pursuing her, was miraculously (as the Story goes) struck blind. This Lady (as we read in William of Malmesbury) built here a Religious house as a trophy of here preserv'd Virginity; into which Monastery, when, in the time of Ethelred, several Danes sentenc'd to death were fled for refuge; the enraged Saxons burnt them and the house together. But afterwards the penitent King cleans'd the Sanctuary, rebuilt the Monastery, restor'd the old endowment, and added new possessions: and at last Roger Bishop of Salisbury gave the place to one Wimund, a very learned Canon Regular, who there settled a perpetual Society of such Regular Canons for the service of God; [and became the first Prior of them.] But, leaving these matters, let us return to the University. The Danish storms being pretty well blown over, that pious Prince King Ælfred restor'd the Muses (who had suffer'd a long exile) to their former habitation, and built three Colleges, one for Grammarians, another for Philosophers, and a third for Divinity. [Of which, John Rouse of Warwick gives this account; that the first was founded at the East-end of High-street, endow'd with competent Salaries for twenty six Grammarians, and call'd Little-Univesity-Hall: the second in school-street, for the maintenance of twenty six Students in Logick and Philosophy, and call'd the Less-University-Hall: and the third in High-street, near to the first, but higher to the West, with endowment for twenty six Divines, and call'd Great-University-Hall, now University-College.] But you have a yet larger account of this, in the old Annals of the Monastery of Winchester: In the year of our Lord DCCCVI, in the second year of St. Grimbald's coming over into England, the University of Oxford was founded; the first Regents there, and Readers in Divinity, were St. Neot an Abbot and eminent Professor of Theology, and S. Grimbald an eloquent and most excellent Interpreter of the holy Scriptures: Grammar and Rhetorick were taught by Asserius a Monk, a man of extraordinary learning: Logick, Musick, and Arithmetick, were read by John, Monk of St. Davids: Geometry and Astronomy were profess'd by John a Monk and Collegue of St. Grimbald, a man of a sharp wit and immense knowledge. These Lectures were often honour'd with the presence of the most illustrious and invincible Monarch King Ælfred, whose memory to every judicious taste shall be always sweeter than honey. Soon after this (as we read in a very fair MS. copy of that Asserins, who was himself at the same time a Professor in this place; [(or of some other Writer who has added the relation to the history of Asserius,)] there arose a sharp and grievous dissention between Grymbold and those learned men whom he brought hither with him, and the old scholars whom he found here at his coming; for these absolutely refus'd to comply with the Statutes, Institutions, and Forms of reading, prescrib'd by Grymbold. The difference proceeded to no great height for the space of three years, yet there was always a private grudge and enmity between them, which soon after broke out with the greatest violence imaginable. To appease these tumults, the most invincible King Ælfred, being inform'd of the Faction by a message and complaint from Grymbold, came to Oxford with design to accommodate matters, and submitted to a great deal of pains and patience to hear the cause and complaint of both parties. The controvesie depended upon this; The old Scholars maintain'd, that before the coming of Grymbold to Oxford, learning did here flourish, though the Students were then less in number than they had formerly been, by reason that very many of them had been expell'd by the cruel tyranny of Pagans. They further declar'd and prov'd, and this by the undoubted testimony of their ancient Annals, that good orders and constitutions for the government of that place had been made before by men of great piety and learning, such as Gildas, Melkin, Ninnius, Kentigern, and others, who had there prosecuted their studies even to old age, and that St. German coming to Oxford, and residing there half a year, what time he went through all England to preach down the Pelagian Heresy, did exceedingly approve of their rules and orders. The King, with incredible humility, and great attention, heard out both parties, earnestly exhorting them with pious and healing Entreaties, to preserve love and amity with one another. Upon this, he left them, in hopes that both parties would follow his advice, and obey his instructions. But Grymbold resenting these proceedings, retir'd immediately to the Monastery at Winchester, which King Ælfred had lately founded: and soon after, he got his tomb to be remov'd thither to him; in which he had design'd his bones should be put after his decease. This was in a vault under the chancel of the Church of St. Peters in Oxford; which Church the said Grymbold had raised from the ground, of stones hewn and carv'd with great art and beauty.

This happt Resauration of Learning receiv'd two or three interruptions in the space of a few years. For in the reign of King Etheldred, the Danes sack'd and burn'd the City; [(probably, out of revenge for the injuries which they had done them in the year 1002, when, upon the King's Commission to kill all the Danes in England, the Execution at Oxford was more particularly severe:)] And soon after, Harold sirnam'd Harefoot, was so incens'd against the place for the death of some of his friends in a tumult, and prosecuted his revenge in so barbarous a manner, that the Scholars were miserably driven from their studies; and the University, a sad spectacle, lay as it were expiring, till the time of the Conquerour; when (as some say) he also besieg'd and took this City: but those who write so, [may possibly] have been impos'd on, by reading in faulty copies Oxonia instead of Exonia. [However, all the Copies of Matthew Paris and Roger Wendover call it Oxonia; which is confirm'd as well by other Authorities, as an old Tradition, that while the Conqueror was in his march to the north, for the quiet of these parts, he came to Oxford; which refusing to yield to him, and a soldier from the wall highly affronting him, he storm'd it on the north-side; and getting possession, gave the greatest part of the City to RObert de Oily; who, in the Survey, had, within the walls and without, forty two houses inhabited, and eight lying waste.] And that it was even then a place of study, we may learn from the express words of Ingulphus who flourish'd in that age: I Ingulph being first placed at Westminster, was afterward remov'd to the Study of Oxford, where, in the learning of Aristotle, I improv'd beyond most of those who were of equal years with me, &c. For what we now call Universities they call'd Studies, as I shall by and by observe; [and, tho' some have doubted, whether this passage was genuine, the Editors of Ingulphus found it in all the Copies.] However, about this time the City was so impoverish'd, that whereas (according to the General Survey) there were reckon'd within and without the walls seven hundred and fifty houses, besides twenty four mansions upon the walls; five hundred of them were not able to pay the geld or tax: When (to speak from the authority of the same Domesday-book) this City paid for toll and gable and other customs, yearly to the King, twenty pounds ans six sextaries of honey, and to Earl Algar ten pounds. A little while after, Robert de Oily, a noble Norman before-mention'd, when for the reward of his services he had receiv'd from the Conqueror a large portion of lands in this county; he did [(by order of the King, who doubted of the Fidelity of those Parts,)] build a castle on the west-side of the City [Anno 1071,] fortified with large trenches and rampires; and in it a Parish-Church dedicated to St. George; to which the Parishioners not having free access, when the Empress Maud was closely besieg'd in this castle by King Stephen, the Chapel of St. Thomas hard by [(west-ward from the Castle,)] was built for that purpose. He is supposed likewise to have surrounded the City with new Walls, which Age is now wearing away apace. Robert his Nephew, son of his brother Nigel, Chamberlain to King Henry the first, by persuasion of his wife Edith, daughter of Furn, who had formerly been Concubine to that Prince, did, in the island-meadows nigh the Castle, build Oseney Abbey, which the ruins of the walls still shew to have been very large. [Hereby she designed to expiate the sins of her former unchast life; and, to prevail with her husband, told him a story of the chattering of Birds, and the Interpretation of a Friar; which Legendary tale, Leland tells us, was painted near her Tomb in that Abbey.]

At the same time (as we read in the Register of the said Abbey of Oseney) Robert Pulein began to read the holy Scriptures at Oxford, which were before grown almost out of use in England. This person, after he had much profited the English and French Churches by his good doctrine, was invited to Rome by Pope Lucius 2, and promoted to the dignity of Chancellor of that See. To the same purpose, John Rous of Warwick writes thus. By the care of King Henry the first, the Lecture of Divinity, which had been long intermitted, began again to flourish, and this Prince built there a new Palace, which was afterward converted, by King Edward the second, into a Convent of Camelite Friers. But long before this conversion, there was born in that Palace the truly Lion-hearted Prince, King Richard the first, commonly call'd Ceur de Lion, a Monarch of a great and elevated Soul, born for the glory of England and protection of the Christian World, and for the terror and confusion of Pagans and Infidels. Upon whose death a Poet of that age has these tolerable verses:

Viscera Carleolum, corpus Fons servat Ebrardi,
Et cor Rothomagum, magne Richarde, tuum.
In tria dividitur unus, qui plus fuit uno,
Nec superest uno gloria tanta viro.


Hic Richarde jaces, sed mors si cederet armis,
Victa timore tui, cederet ipsa tuis.

Great Richard's body's at Fontevrault shown,
His bowels at Carlisle, his head at Roan,
He now makes three, because too great for one.


Richard lies dead; but death had fear'd his power,
Could this proud Tyrant own a Conquerour.

[Upon the ground of the Chamber wherein this Prince was born, the Carmelites built a Belfrey and Tower, of which they used to boast, as the place of his Nativity.]

The City being thus ador'd with buildings, many Students began to flock hither as to the common Mart of Learning and Virtue. So that learning here quickly reviv'd, chiefly through the care of the foresaid Robert Pulein, a Man born to promote the Interest of the learned World, who spar'd no trouble nor pains to cleanse and open the fountains of the Muses (which had been so miserably dried and obstructed) under the favour and protection of King Henry the first, King Henry the second, and Richard his son, whom I mention'd just now. And he met with such success in his endeavours, that in the reign of King John, there were three thousand Students in this place, who went away all together, some to Reading, and some to Cambridge, [Maidstone, Salisbury, and other places,] when they could no longer bear the abuses of the rude ans insolent Citizens; but when these tumults were appeas'd, they soon after return'd. [This happen'd An. 1209, the 10th of King John, upon a Clerk in Oxford accidentally killing a woman; and complaint being made to the King then at Woodstock, he commanded two of the Scholars (who upon suspicion of that fact, had been imprison'd by the Towns-men) to be immediately hang'd without the City-walls. This so much offended and frighted the poor Scholars, that they all deserted the Town. But the Inhabitants, being soon sensible of the desolation and poverty which they had brought upon themselves, did upon their knees deprecate the fault, at Westminster, before Nicholas the Pope's Legate, and submitted to publick Penance. Upon which, the dispersed Scholars, after five years absence, return'd to Oxford, and obtain'd new Privileges, for their more effectual protection.]

Then, and in the times following, as Divine Providence seem'd to set apart this City for a seat of the Muses, so did the same Providence raise up a great number of excellent Princes and Prelates, who exercis'd thier piety and bounty in this place for the promoting and encouraging of Arts and good Literature. And when King Henry the third came hither and visited the Shrine of S. Frideswide, which was before thought a dangerous crime in any Prince, and so took away that superstitious scruple, which had before hindered several Kings from entring within the walls of Oxford: He here conven'd a Parliament to adjust the differences between him and the Barons, and at that time confirm'd the privileges granted to the University by his Predecessors, and added some new ones of his own. After which, the number of learned men so far increas'd, as to afford a constant supply of persons qualified with divine and human knowledge, for the discharge of Offices in Church and State. So that Matthew Paris expresly calls Oxford, The second School of the Church after Paris, nay the very foundation of the Church. [The occasion upon which he gave the University such an honourable title, An. 1256, was the Bishop of Lincoln's encroaching upon the Liberties of the University. Whereupon they sent Delegates to the King at St. Albans; to whom he made this remarkable Address in behalf of them: O our Lord (for the Lord's sake) take care of the Church, which is now in a tottering state. The University of Paris, the mother and mistress of so many holy Prelates, is greatly disturbed. And if the University of Oxford (which is the second School of the Church, yea the very foundation of the Church) be disturbed at the same time, it is much to be feared, that the whole Church will be ruined and undone.] For the Popes of Rome had before honour'd this place with the title of an University; which, at that time, in their Decretals, they allow'd only to Paris, Oxford, Bononia, and Salamanca. And in the Council of Vienna, it was determin'd That Schools for the Hebrew, Arabic, and Chaldee tongues should be erected in the Studies of Paris, Oxford, Bononia, and Salamanca (as the most eminent,) that the knowledge of those Languages might be hereby propagated and encouraged: and that out of men of the Catholick Communion, furnished with sufficient abilities, two should be chosen for the profession of each Tongue. For the maintenance of which Professors in Oxford, all the Prelates in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, and all Monasteries, Chapters, Convents, Colleges, exempt and not exempt, and all Rectors of Parish-Churches, should make a yearly contribution. In which words one may easily observe, that Oxford was the chief School in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland; and that those places which we now call Academies and Universities, were in former ages fitly call'd Studies: as St. Hierom speaks of the flourishing Studies of France. For the name of University, for publick Schools of Learning, obtain'd first about the reign of King Henry the third, and, if I am not mistaken, this word did not at first so much signifie the Place of study, as the Society of Students. But perhaps this may seem out of my road.

Now, the worthy Patrons and Favourers of Learning began to furnish the City and Suburbs with stately Colleges, Halls, and Schools, and to endow them with ample Revenues; (for before this time, the greatest part of the University stood without North-gate:) In the reign of King Henry the third, John Baliol of Bernard-castle, who died in the year 1269, Father of John Baliol King of Scots, founded Baliol-College, and gave name to it. [During his life, he settled yearly Exhibitions upon some Scholars, till he should provide them a fit house and other accommodations. And at his death, a little Before Whitsuntide, An. 1269, he recommended to his Wife and Executors this pious project. Upon which, his Relict Dervorguill settl'd those Exhibitioners in a Tenement which she hir'd of the University in Horsmunger-street now Canditch, and prescrib'd Statutes for their government, An. 1282. Afterwards in the year 1284. she purchas'd another tenement near the same place, call'd Mary's-Hall; and when she had repair'd it, the Society were here settled by her Charter; confirm'd by her son Sir John de Baliol, afterwards King of Scots, and by Oliver Bishop of Lincoln.] Soon after, Walter Merton, Bishop of Rochester, transferr'd the College which he had built [at Maldon] in Surrey, in the year 1264, to Oxford, [(viz. to St. John Baptist-street,) ann. 1267;] which he endowed, and call'd Merton-College, [and it received the last Statutes of the wife Founder, in the year 1274.] Then, William Archdeacon of Durham repair'd and restor'd the Foundation of King Alfred; now call'd University-College. [Which restoration is by Stow and Holinshed ascrib'd to William Caerliph Bishop of Durham, in the reign of William the Conquerour: and by Leland, as falsly, to William Shirwood Chancellor of Lincoln. But undoubtedly it belongs to William Archdeacon of Durham, who dying in the year 1249, left three hundred and ten Marks to the Chancellour and Masters of the University for the maintenance of ten, eleven, or twelve, Masters; with which money, about thirty years after the Donor's death, a Society was here establish'd An. 1280, and their Statutes prescrib'd by the Univeristy in the year 1292. This College hath been lately much enlarged by the generous Benefaction of Dr. John Radclif; who gave by Will the Sum of five thousand pounds, for new building of the Master's Lodgings, together with Chambers for two new Fellows, by him instituted for the study of Physick; for whose maintenance and honourable Salary is also appointed, for ten years; The half of which time at least (as the words of the Will are) they are to travel in parts beyond Sea, for their better Improvement.]

About the time of the said Restoration, the Scholars having been somewhat rude to Otto the Pope's Legate (or rather his Horse-leach, sent hither to suck the blood of the poor people,) they were Excommunicated, and treated with great severity. At which time, as Richard of Armagh tells us, there were reckon'd in this University no less than thirty thousand Students.

Under Edward 2. Walter Stapledon Bishop of Exeter built Exeter-College and Hart-Hall. [Upon his first design of a Foundation for Scholars, he purchas'd Hart-Hall, and Arthur-Hall, in the year 1314, and there instituted a Society for a Rector and twelve Scholars. But finding the place too narrow for his design, he bought ground for a new site in the Parish of S. Mildred; and, having built convenient Lodgings, he translated his Society to this house, call'd at first Stapledon's-Inn, and then Exeter-College.]

The same King Edward the second, after his example, built a Royal College, commonly call'd Orial and St. Mary-Hall. [For the honour of the Foundation of this College is attributed to King Edward the second, tho' he did little more than grant Licence to Adam de Brom his Almoner (Apr. 20. 1324.) to build and endow a College to be call'd by the name of St. Mary's House. To this Society King Edward the third, in the first year of his reign, gave a Tenement call'd Le Oriele; on which ground stands the College so called. The present St. Mary-Hall was a long time the Parsonage-house to the Rectors of St. Mary's; which Church, with it's appurtenances, being appropriated by K. Edward 2, An. 1325. to the College then founded by Adam de Brom, the house came also into their possession, and was soon after appropriated to the residence of Students.]

About this time, the Hebrew tongue began to be read by a Jewish Convert, for whose stipend every Clerk in Oxford contributed one penny for every mark of his Ecclesiastical Revenue.

After this, Q. Philippa wife of K. Edward 3. built Queens-College. [For to her it owes it's name, but it's Foundation to her Chaplain Robert de Eglesfield, Rector of Burgh under Stanmore in Westmorland; who, by the Queen's favour, in the year 1340, purchas'd the ground and erected a Collegiate-Hall to be call'd Aula Scholarium Reginæ de Oxon. The Revenues of it have been much improved by several Benefactors; and, under the government of the late Dr. Timothy Halton, was built a very fair Library. It was begun upon occasion of the Legacy of Dr. Thomas Barlow, the learned Bishop of Lincoln, and formerly Provost of this College, who by Will bestow'd upon it the greatest part of his Books; giving the rest to Bodley's Library, whereof he had been Keeper. A later Benefactor, Sir Joseph Williamson, Principal Secretary of State to King Charles the second, besides many other testimonies of his regard to this College (as the place of his education,) bequeathed to it by Will the Sum of six thousand Pounds; and this encouraged the then Provost Dr. William Lancaster, to lay the foundation of a new College, which (by the addition of his own large Bounty, and of other Benefactions) was a good way advanced before his death, and, when finished, will be a very stately, curious, and complete Fabrick.] Also, Simon Islip, Arch-bishop of Canterbury, built Canterbury-College.

The Scholars now abounding in peace and plenty, grew insolent, and divided into the factions of the Northern and Southern men, carrying-on the quarrel with open arms and all manner of hostility; upon which the Northern-men retir'd to Stanford, and begun to set-up publick Schools there. But after a few years, when the storm was blown over, and the feuds forgot, they all return'd hither, and Statutes were enacted to prohibit all persons from professing at Stanford, to the prejudice of Oxford.

About that time, William Wickham, Bishop of Winchester, built a magnificent Structure, call'd New-College, (into which the ripest Lads are eery year transplanted from his other College at Winchester.) [The design of this College was laid in the year 1369; and the said Prelate, having at several times purchas'd ground sufficient for it, obtain'd the King's Licence, (June 30. An. 1379. 3 Richard the 2d;) and on the 5th of March following, did himself lay the first Stone. It was finish'd An. 1386, and on April the 14th the Warden and Fellows were admitted with solemn Procession.] Then, Richard Angervil, Bishop of Durham, call'd Philobiblos, or, The Lover of Books, began a publick Library. [At his death, An. 1345, he left his voluminous Library to Durham-College, with liberty of access, upon certain conditions, to all Scholars. At the dissolution of which house, in the reign of Henry the eighth, some of the Books of this admirable collection were remov'd to the Publick Library, some to Baliol-College, and some came into the hands of Dr. George Owen, a Physician of Godstow, who bought the said College of Edward the sixth.] His Successor Thomas de Hatfield built Durham-College for the benefit of the Monks at Durham, [which was furnished and endowed by that great and generous Prelate, Richard de Bury.] Richard Fleming, Bishop of Lincoln, founded Lincoln-College. [This was begun An. 1427. (6 of Henry the sixth,) for a Seminary of Divines to confute the Doctrines of Wicliff; and slightly endow'd with the Appropriation of three Parish-Churches in Oxford: and therefore wanted another Founder, Thomas Rotheram, Bishop of Lincoln, who in the year 1475. finish'd the building of the College, encreas'd their Revenues, and gave them Statutes, An. 1479. And, lately, they have receiv'd a very considerable Augmentation of Revenue, from the generous Bounty of the Lord Crew, the present Bishop of Durham; by which, the Head, and every Fellow and Scholar, is in actual possession, for himself and Successors, of a comfortable addition to his former Support.]

About the same time, the Benedictine Monks [as is commonly said] built Glocester-College at their own proper cost and charges, where were constantly maintain'd to or three Monks of every House of that Order, who afterwards were to be Readers or Professors in their respective Convents. [But it appears by other accounts, that it was built by John Giffard Baron of Brimsfield; who, in the 11th of Edward the 1st, for the good of his soul and that of Maud de Longspe his wife, founded this Cell for the maintenances of thirteen Monks, from the Benedictine Convent of Glocester. At the suppression of Religious-houses, it was given by Henry the eighth for a Palace to the Bishops of Oxford; but, returning to the Crown, was at last purchas'd by Sir Thomas White, Founder of St. John's-College; and being conveyed to the use of Principal and Scholars, was call'd Gloucester-hall. But it hath been since erected into a College, under the name of Worcester-College; being endow'd by Sir Thomas Coke, a Gentleman of that County.]

To say nothing of the Canons of St. Frideswide; there were erected no less than four beautiful Cells of Friars in the Suburbs, wherein there often flourish'd Men of considerable learning.

In the next age, during the reign of King Henry 5, Henry Chichley Arch-bishop of Canterbury, founded two eminent Colleges; one of which he dedicated to the memory of All-Souls. [This College was begun by the said Arch-bishop (after the Foundation of a College and Hospital at Higham-Ferrers, the place of his nativity) in the year 1437. He endow'd it for a Warden and forty Fellows, chiefly with the lands of Priories-Alien dissolv'd in the second year of Henry the fifth. And, of late years, it hath been greatly adorn'd with a noble Library; owing to the large and generous Benefaction of Colonel William Codrington, a Member of this Society; who gave by Will six thousand Pounds for the building thereof, and (besides his own excellent Library) four thousand Pounds to be laid out in Books, for furnishing it.]

Not long after, William Wainflet, Bishop of Winchester, erected Magdalen-College, remarkable for the building, and fine situation, and pleasure of the adjoyning groves and walks. [This College was founded An. 1458. on the site and lands of the dissolv'd Hospital of St. John's, with so large endowments, and such conveniences of all kinds, that it is esteem'd one of the most noble Foundations in the Christian World.]

At the same time, the Divinity-School was erected; a Work of such admirable Contrivance and Beauty, that the saying of Xeuxis may justly be inscrib'd upon it, It is more easie to envy than to imitate this work. [The ground on which it is built, was purchased by the University ann. 1427, and, upon several Contributions, the Structure was soon after begun; but was intermitted, till by the piety and bounty of Humfrey the Good Duke of Glocester, it was carried on, tho' not completed till 1480.]

Over this School was a Library, furnish'd with one hundred twenty nine choice Volumes, procur'd from Italy at the great expence of the same Humphrey Duke of Glocester, a chief Patron and admirer of Learning. [Besides which number (valued at above a thousand pounds,) he gave one hundred twenty six Volumes more in the year 1440, and in 1443 a much greater number, besides considerable additions at his death, three years after.] However, most of these Books are long since embezell'd and converted to private uses. But since (may all happiness attend it) the worthy Sir Thomas Bodley Kt. formerly a Member of this University, with extraordinary charge, and indefatigable pains, furnish'd a new Library in the same place, with the best Books procur'd from all parts of the World: that the University might enjoy a publick Arsenal of Wisdom; and himself, immortal Honour. And since it was a good custom of the Ancients, in all their Libraries to erect Statues of Gold, Silver, or Brass, both to those who had instituted them, and those who had adorn'd them with excellent Writings, that Time and Age might not triumph over their Memories, and that the Curiosity of Mankind might be satisfied, while they enquired after and their Characters: For this reason, the Chancellor of the University, at the same time providing for the memorial of himself, did in this Library erect a Statue of Sir Thomas Bodley, that great friend and patron of Learning, with this Inscription:

THOMAS SACKVILLUS DORSETTIÆ COMES,
SUMMUS ANGLIÆ THESAURARIUS,
ET HUJUS ACADEMIÆ CANCELLARIUS,
THOMÆ BODLEIO EQUITI AURATO,
QUI BIBLIOTHECAM HANC INSTITUIT,
HONORIS CAUSSA PIE POSUIT.

That is,

THOMAS SACKVIL EARL OF DORSET,
LORD HIGH TREASURER OF ENGLAND,
AND CHANCELLOR OF THIS UNIVERSITY,
PIOUSLY ERECTED THIS MONUMENT,
TO THE HONOUR OF SIR THOMAS BODLEY KNIGHT,
WHO INSTITUTED THIS LIBRARY.

[The design of this Library was first laid, in the year 1597. By the pious Founder, the old Library of Duke Humphrey was repair'd, and fitted for the reception of Books, 1599, and an additional East-Gallery begun in the year 1610. Another Gallery on the West, projected by him, was rais'd, with a House of Convocation under it, An. 1638. But all these being too narrow to contain the vast accession of Books, there have been new Galleries erected over each side of the middle Isle, chiefly to receive the generous Legacy of Thomas Barlow Lord Bishop of Lincoln, who had been elected Keeper of this Library, An. 1652. And even before these, when one views the Catalogue of printed Books by Dr. Hyde, and the other of Manuscripts by Dr. Bernard, he must admire the prodigious treasure, and neither envy Rome her Vatican, nor India her Gold. Very lately, Dr. John Radcliffe, a Physician of great Eminence, hath by Will left the Sum of forty thousand Pounds for the building of another Publick Library, between the University-Church, and the publick Schools; together with an honourable Salary of one hundred and fifty Pounds a year to a Keeper of the said Library, and one hundred Pounds a year for ever, to buy Books for the same.

In the Reign of Henry the eighth [(ann. 3.)] for the further advancement of Learning, William Smith Bishop of Lincoln, [and William Sutton, Esq;] built Brazen-Nose-College [(so called from a Hall, distinguished by that name;)] which, ann. 1572. was endow'd by that pious and good old man Alexander Nowell, Dean of St. Pauls, [with Exhibitions for thirteen Scholars. Of late years, it hath been adorn'd with a beautiful Chapel, Library, and Cloysters; the elegant structure whereof was begun in the year 1656, and the Chapel consecrated by the Bishop of Oxford An. 1666.] About the same time, Richard Fox, Bishop of Winchester, founded Corpus-Christi-College, [which was design'd for a Seminary of Monks to the Priory of St. Swithin in Winchester, An. 1513. But the Founder, diverted from that design, and assisted by Hugh Oldham Bishop of Exeter, establish'd it for a Society of Students, An. 1516, with Endowments so ample, and Statutes so admirable, as have made very many of it's members men of singular piety and learning.]

After these, Cardinal Wolsey Arch-bishop of York, on the site of the Monastery of St. Frideswide, began the most noble and ample Foundation of all others, which King Henry the eighth, with the addition of Canterbury-College, did richly endow, and gave it the name of Christ-Church. [For after the said Cardinal had procur'd from Pope Clement the seventh a Bull for dissolving two and twenty Religious-Houses, and for converting them to the use of two Colleges (one to be founded at Ipswich the place of his nativity; the other at Oxford, to which he ow'd his education,) he obtain'd the King's Licence to institute a College on the site of the Priory of St. Frideswide, to be call'd Cardinal-College, which he first design'd for a Dean and eighteen Canons, and projected much greater things. But, before any settlement, came his fatal ruin An. 1529, when, among his other vast possessions, this College fell into the King's hands. Who, in the year 1532. restor'd most of the allotted Revenues, and had it call'd Henry the Eighth's College. But this he dissolv'd in 1545, and the year following erected it into a Cathedral Church for a Bishop, a Dean, and eight Canons. The beauty and honour of this College were much advanc'd by the industry, piety, and bounty of Dr. John Fell, Dean, and Lord Bishop of Oxford; and it hath lately been adorn'd with a pile of Building, entirely new, which is very stately, and beautiful.] The same mighty Prince Henry the eighth, at the expence of his own Exchequer, honoured the City with an Episcopal See, [as hath been observ'd;] and the University with publick Professors. And, that the Muses might still be courted with greater favours, Sir Thomas Pope Kt. repair'd Durham-College, and Sir Thomas White, Kt. Citizen and Alderman of London, Bernard-College (both of which lay almost buried in their own dust;) and enlarg'd the buildings, and endow'd them with lands, and gave them new names, dedicating the former to the Holy Trinity, the latter to St. John Baptist.

[The first of these (Durham-College,) was granted by K. Edward 6. to his Physician George Owen of Godstow; of whom, in the year 1554, it was purchas'd by Sir Thomas Pope Kt. and repair'd and endow'd the year following. Under the government of Dr. Ralph Bathurst, it wasadorn'd with fair additional buildings, and a Chapel of exquisite beauty, consecrated Apr. 12. 1694; and he was so great a Benefactor to the College, as to be specially mentioned, on all occasions, among their Publick Benefactors.

The site of the second (Bernard-College,) was in the 1555. obtain'd from the Crown by Thomas White Alderman of London: this he enlarged, and endow'd An. 1557. by the title of St. John Baptist's-College; which, in buildings and revenues, has receiv'd great augmentation from the liberal piety of Archbishop Laud, and Archbishop Juxon.]

Q. Mary built from the ground the publick Schools. [But the present Fabrick, which makes a stately Quadrangle, was raised by the Contribution of Sir Thomas Bodley and other Benefactors.]

Hugh Price Dr. of Laws, [Treasurer of the Church of St. David's,] happily laid a new foundation, call'd, in honour of our Saviour, Jesus-College. [he began to build, and competently endow'd it An. 1571. But the Society claim also the honour of a Royal Founder, viz. Queen Elizabeth; who furnish'd them with Timber out of two adjoyning Forests. The wise and pious Sir Leoline Jenkins, Secretary of State to King Charles the second, was so great a Benefactor, as to be, in a manner, justly esteem'd another Founder. Wadham-College, design'd by Nicholas Wadham, was completed by Dorothy his Relict: And Broad-gate-Hall was converted into Pembroke-College; whose Foundation is owing to the charity of Thomas Tisdal, and the industry of Richard Wightwicke.]

These Colleges, in number nineteen, besides six Halls, all fairly built, and well endow'd, together with their excellent and useful Libraries, do so raise the credit and esteem of Oxford, that it may be justly thought to exceed all the Universities in the world. [But above all other buildings, this University justly boasts of Sheldon's Theater, a work of admirable contrivance, and exceeding magnificence, built by the most Reverend Father in GOd Gilbert Sheldon Archbishop of Canterbury and Chancellour of this University, An. 1668. Who, besides an infinite expence upon the Structure, gave two thousand Pounds to purchase Lands for the perpetual repair of it. The Area, within which is stands, was, round the walls of it, adorn'd with inestimable reliques of Grecian and Roman Antiquities (of which the greatest part is owing to the bounty of Henry Howard Earl of Arundel; some also to the Executors of Mr. Sheldon; others, to Sir George Wheeler, &c;) which have been lately remov'd from thence, into more convenient Places, for the better preservation of them.

On the west-side of the Theater, stands Ashmole's Musæum, a neat and curious Edifice, of which the lower part is a Chymical Elaboratory, and the first floor on a noble ascent a spacious Hall, and the upper-chamber a Repository of Natural and Artificial Curiosities. The greatest part of these are owing to the generosity of Elius Ashmole Esq; who has prescrib'd Statutes for the Custody of them; and has reposited in this place the excellent Collection of MSS. made by himself and by his Father-in-law Sir William Dugdale. Nigh to which publick Buildings, is lately added a large and stately Printing-House, furnish'd with all Accommodations suitable to the Design.

And when we are recounting the noble Conveniencies for Learning, with which this University is adorn'd; we must not omit the Physick-Garden, founded by Henry Danvers, Earl of Danby, in the year 1632, and by him endowed with an annual Revenue, for the Maintenance and Keeping thereof. This contains a vast Variety of Plants; and is of great use to all Persons, who desire to improve themselves in Botanical Knowledge.]

Nor does Oxford yield the precedence to any other University in Living Libraries (for so with Eunapius I may term Persons of profound learning,) nor in the admirable method of teaching all Arts and Sciences, nor in excellent discipline, and a most regular government of the whole body. But why this digression? Oxford is very far from standing in need of a Panegyric, having already gain'd the universal esteem and admiration of the World. Nor would I by any means seem extravagant in the commendation of my mother-University. Let it suffice to say of Oxford, what Pomponius said of Athens, It is so eminent, that there needs no pointing at it. But by way of conclusion, take this passage (which begins the History of Oxford) from the Proctor's book. Chronicles and Histories do assure us, that several places in different parts of the world and at different times, have been famous for the studies of Arts and Sciences. But of all such places of study among the Latins, Oxford appears to be the most ancient, to profess a greater variety of knowledge, to be more firm in adhering to the Catholick Religion, and to enjoy more good customs and privileges, than any other. The Oxford-Astronomers observe this City to be in twenty two degrees of longitude, or distance from the Fortunate Islands; and in the northern latitude of fifty one degrees and fifty minutes.

Assoon as Isis and Cherwell have joyn'd their streams below Oxford, the Isis with a swift and deeper current passes on to the south, to find out the Tame, which it seems long to have sought for. Nor does it run many miles, before the said Tame, rising in the County of Bucks, comes and joyns it; which river, at the entrance into this County, gives its own name to a Market-town of pleasant situation among rivers: for the river Tame washes the north part of the town, and two little brooks shut it in on the east and west sides. This place [seems to have been of some note in the Saxon times; for we find that in the year 970. Arch-bishop Oskytel ended his days in it; and before that, Wulfere King of Mercia granted a Charter in the Vill which is called Thama. But it] has been i a flourishing condition, ever since Henry Bishop of Lincoln, in the reign of Herny the third, brought the great road, which lay below the town, through the middle of it. Alexander, that munificent Bishop of Lincoln, Lord of this Manour, to alleviate the general odium he had contracted by his extrevagant expenses in building of Castles, refounded here a small Monastery [of the Cistercian Order, or rather translated it hither. For it was first founded at the Village of Ottendun (and, as Leland says, upon Otmore) by Sir Robert Gait Knight; who endowing it with five virgates of land in Ottendum, call'd it, from an adjacent wood, Ottelei. But, the low site making it altogether unfit for a Monastery, it was remov'd to Tame, and the Church there dedicated to St. Mary, on July 21, 1138. the 3d of King Stephen. Of which the Bishop was afterwards reputed the founder (though he only translated it,) and gave part of his Park at Tame for the site of it, with some other lands which had belong'd to Nigel Kyre.] And many years after, the Quatermans, a Family in former times of great repute in these parts, built here an Hospital for the maintenance of poor people. But neither of these foundations are at present to be seen; however, instead of them, Sir John Williams Kt. (advanced to the dignity of a Peer of this Realm by Queen Mary, under the title of Baron Williams of Tame) founded here a beautiful School, and a small Alms-house.

From hence the Tame runs near Ricot, a neat seat, which belong'd formerly to the Quatermans, upon whose failure of issue-male, it was sold away by the Fowlers and Hernes, till it came at last into the hands of the Lord Williams before-mention'd, and by his daughter to the Lord Henry Norris, whom Queen Elizabeth advanc'd to the dignity of a Peer, by the title of Baron Norris of Ricot; a person eminent for his honourable descent (being deriv'd from the Lovels, who were allied to most of the great families in England, [by the marriage of Sir Edward Norris Knight, with Tridesaide younger daughter of Francis Viscount Lovel,)] and much more eminent for his stout and martial sons, whose valour and conduct are sufficiently known in Holland, Portugal, Bretagne, and Ireland. [This place still continues in the family of the Norris's, and was part of the possession of James Earl of Abingdon, who had this honour confer'd upon him, Novemb. 29. 1682; and having marry'd Eleanora, one of the daughters and coheirs of Sir Henry Lee Baronet, by her had issue his eldest son and heir Mountague, the present Earl, who marry'd the heiress of the family and estate of the ancient and honourable Venables, Barons of Kendeton.]

The next place visited by the Tame is Dorchester, call'd [by Ninius and Huntingdon in the Catalogue of British Cities, Caer Dauri, by Alfred of Beverley Caer Dorin,] by Bede Civitas Dorcinia, and by Leland Hydropolis, which is a name of his own invention, but well adapted to the nature of the place, Dour signifying water in the British tongue. That this was formerly a station of the Romans, several of their Coins, found frequently in this place, do sufficiently attest; [(and, of late, they have also met with some British Coins, one particularly of Cunobeline, with this Inscription, Cuno Tascia) Afterwards,] our Histories tell us, it was long famous for a Bishop's See, founded by Birinus the Apostle of the West-Saxons; who having baptiz'd Cinigilfe a pretty King of the West-Saxons (to whom Oswald King of Northumberland was Godfather,) the two Kings (as Bede tells us) gave the Bishop this City, to constitute here his Episcopal See. This Birinus (as we learn from the said Bede) was esteem'd in that age a miracle for piety and strictness of life: whence a Poet of some antiquity, who wrote his life in verse, does thus extol him;

Dignior attolli quàm sit Tyrinthius heros,
Quàm sit Alexander Macedo; Tyrinthius hostes
Vicit, Alexander mundum, Birinus utrunque.
Nec tantum vicit mundum Birinus, & hostem,
Sed sese bello vincens, & victus eodem.

Alcides less than thee shall Men proclaim,
And Alexander own thy greater fame,
Tho' that his foes, and this the world o'recame.
With foes and world Birinus did subdue
Himself, the vanquish'd and the victor too.

[And the History of Alchester relates this instance of the Veneration paid to Birinus by the common People, A round hill there still appears, where the superstitious ensuing Ages built Birinus a Shrine, teaching them that had any Cattle amiss, to creep to that Shrine.]

This See, after four hundred and sixty years continuance (lest the name and authority of a Bishop might grow contemptible from so mean and inconsideable a place; against which mischief a Canon had been newly made) was translated to Lincoln by Remigius, in the time of William the Conquerour. At which time (says William of Malmsbury who flourish'd in that age) Dorchester was a small and unfrequented Village, yet the beauty and state of its Churches was very remarkable, as well for the ancient work, as the present care taken of them. From that time, it began sensibly to decay; and the great road to London which lay through the town, being turn'd another way, it is so weaken'd and impoverish'd, that though it was formerly a City, it now scarce deserves the name of a town. Nor has it any thing to boast of but the ruins of its former greatness, of which we find some signs and tokens in the adjacent fields. [For the making of the river Thames navigable from Bircot (a place not far from hence) to Oxford, a particular Statute passed in Parliament, in the 21st year of King James the 1st. South and by West of Dorchester, are two banks with a trench between them (therefore call'd Dike-hills,) which, in the opinion of Dr. Plot, cannot be part of any Roman way, because extended only as a string to the great bow of the river Thames; but rather a fortification, such as P. Ostorius is said by Tacitus to have rais'd on the rivers Amona and Sabrina: or else some of the out-works of the fortifications on Long Witenham-hill, on the other side the water, which perhaps was the Sinnodunum of the ancient Britains.] Near Dorchester, Tame and Isis with mutual consent joyn as it were in wedlock, and mix their names as well as their waters; being henceforth call'd Tham-Isis or the Thames, in like manner as the rivers Jor and Dan in Frances; from which compositions are Jordon and Dordan. This seems to have been first observ'd by the Author of the Eulogium Historiarum. Concerning the Marriage ot Tame and Isis, I present you here with some verses from a Poem of that title, which you may read or pass over as you please.

Hic vestit Zephyrus florentes gramine ripas,
Floraque nectareis redimit caput Isidis herbis,
Seligit ambrosios pulcherrima
Gratia flores,
Contexit geminas
Concordia læta corollas,
Extollitque suas tædas Hymenæus in altum.
Naiades ædificant thalamumque thorumque profundo
Stamine gemmato textum, pictisque columnis
Undique fulgeniem. Qualem nec Lydia Regi
Extruxit Pelopi, nec tu, Cleopatra, marito.
Illic manubias cumulant, quas Brutus Achivis,
Quas Bremus Græcis, rigidus Gurmundus Hibernis,
Bunduica Romanis, claris Arthurius Anglis
Eripuit, quicquid Scotis victricibus armis
Abstulit Edvardus, virtusque Britannica Gallis.

Hauserat interea sperati conjugis ignes
Tama Cateuchlanûm delabens montibus, illa
Impatiens nescire thorum, nupiuraque greffus
Accelerat, longique dies sibi stare videntur,
Ambitiosa suum donec præponere nomen
Possit amatori. Quid non mortalia cogit
Ambitio? notamque suo jam nomine villam
Linquit, Norrisiis geminans salvete, valete.
Cernitur & tandem Dorcestrin prisca petiti
Augurium latura thori, nunc
Tame resurgit
Nexa comam spicis, trabea sunccincta virenti,
Auroræ superans digitos, vultumque Diones:
Pestanæ non labra rosæ, non colla pruinæ:
Utque fluit, crines madidos in terga repellit,
Reddit & undanti legem formamque capillo.
En subito frontem placidis è sluctibus
Isis
Effert, & totis radios spargentia campis
Aurea stillanti resplendent lumina vultu,
Jungit & optatæ nunc oscula plurima
Tamæ,
Mutuaque explicitis innectunt colla lacertis,
Oscula mille sonant, connexu brachia pallent,
Labra ligant animos: tandem descenditur una
In thalamum, quo juncta
File Concordia sancta,
Splendida conceptis sancit connubia verbis.
Undique multifori strepitat nunc tibia buxi,
Flucticolæ Nymphæ, Dryades, Satyrique petulci
In numeros circum ludunt, ducuntque choreas,
Dum pede concutiunt alterno gramina læti,
Permulcent volucres sylvas modulamine passim,
Certatimque sonat lætum reparabilis
Echo.
Omnia nunc rident, campi lætantur,
Amores
Fræ natis plaudunt avibus per vecti:
Personat & cythara quicquid vidêre priores,
Pronuba victura lauro velata
Britôna.

Hac canit, ut toto diducta Britannia mundo,
Cum victor rupes divulserit aquore Nereus.
Et cur Neptuni lapidosa grandine natum
Albionem vicit nostras delatus in oras
Hercules illimes libatus Thamisis undas:
Quas huc adveniens aras sacravit Ulysses:
Utque Corinæo Brutus comitatus Achate
Occiduos adiit tractus: ut Cæsar anhelus
Territa quæsitis ostendit terga Britannis: &c.

And after a few other Verses:

Dixerat: unito consurgit & unus amore
Lætior exultans nunc nomine
Tamisis uno,
Oceanumque patrem quærens jactantior undas
Promovet.
————

Here, with soft blasts, obliging Zephyrs pass,
And cloath the flowry banks with long-liv'd grass.
The fragrant Crown, that her glad hands have made,
Officious Flora puts on Isis head.
The beauteous Graces have their business too,
They brush the weeping flowers from their ambrodsial dew:

Which joyful Concord does with pleasing care
Weave into Chaplets for the God-like pair:
While Hymen's mounted Taper lights the air.
In a fair Vault beneath the swelling stream,
The Marriage-bed the busie Naiads frame:
Where brightest gems the painted columns grace,
And doubly shine with their reflected rays.
No such great Pelops kingdom could afford,
Nor lavish Cleopatra for her Lord.
On this the Virgins in vast numbers pile
Proud spoils and trophies of the conqu'ring Isle;
What Bunduic, Gurmund, Brennus, Brute brought home,
From Greece, from Gaul, from Ireland, and from Rome:
What mighty Arthur from the Saxons won,
What Edward from the Scots, and from the French his son.

Now had fair Tame sigh'd for her promis'd spouse,
While down the Cateuchianian hills she flows,
And scarce saluting her old banks runs by,
Bearing no load, but long virginity:
And this she seems ambitious to lay down,
And see her lover's stream augmented by her own.
With a faint kiss she mocks the walls of Tame,
And leaves behind her nothing but her name.
Yet tho' impatient Isis arms to fill,
She stops to bid the Norrises farewel.
Old Dorchester stands wondring at her speed,
And gladly bids the happy match suceed.

Now does the joyful Bride new drest appear,
Fresh blades of Corn tye up her golden hair,
Her shining gown plays with the purled air.
Blushing Aurora to her hand gives place,
Nor proud Dione boasts so fair a face.
Her lips the rose, her eyes bright gems outdo,
Her hair the lilies, and her skin the snow.
In state she swims, her careful hand throws back
Her floating tresses on her silver neck.

Proud Isis now his comely head displays,
And cheers the drooping fields with golden rays.
Nor stays he to admire his Tama's charms,
But throws himself (sweet load!) betwixt her arms.
Ten thousand kisses do ten thousand meet,
And with their breath the Lovers souls unite.
Hence to their bed the happy pair go down,
Where Faith and Concord speak them into one.
The Pipes and Cornets echo all around,
While the pleas'd stream returns the grateful found.
In joyful rings the merry Nymphs advance,
And sportive Satyrs drive the wanton dance.
While Quires of winged Songsters of the air,
The woods and groves with tuneful numbers cheer.
Echo, contented now that she's all tongue,
Sounds quick replies to their delightful song.
All things rejoyce, and Nature's self is glad,
The painted flowers o'er smiling meadows spread
To th' universal joy consent, and nod their head.
The wanton Loves their harness'd birds drive on,
And clap to see their winged chariot run.
Auspicious Juno with a graceful smile
Begins the ancient glories of the Isle;
On her fair brows unwither'd bays appear,
And thus she sings, and tunes her trembling Lyre.
Now Neptune's spear the wondring Isthmus shook,
When their long hold the parted cliffs forsook.
What crimes, what vengeance, brought Alicides o're,
To die the crystal Thames with Albion's gore,
And spread his monstrous carcass on the shore.
How hither his wild course Ulysses steer'd,
What altars to the angry gods he rear'd!
How Brute with Corinæus came to land,
And made the savage nations own their new command!
How Cæsar's drooping Legions homeward stood,
Glad to escape from those they'd but in thought subdu'd, &c.

And after some Verses interpos'd, the Poet proceeds;

Thus sang the Goddess! strait the joyful stream
Proud of the late addition to it's name,
Flows briskly on, ambitious now to pay
A larger tribute to the sovereign sea.

Hence, the Thames passes on to Benson, formerly Bensington, which Marianus calls a royal Vill; and reports that it was taken from the Britains by Ceaulin in the year 572, and possess'd by the West-Saxons for two hundred years after. But then, Offa King of Mercia, thinking both his interest and honour concern'd that they should hold nothing on this side the river, took this town by force [ann. 778, or 779,] and joyn'd it to his own kingdom. [Lying near the Frontiers, in the Contest between the West-Saxon and Mercian Kings it often changed its Masters.] At present, it is a small village, and shews at a little distance a house of our Kings, which has been formerly a beautiful structure, but is now much decay'd by reason of the unhealthy situation near low and wet ground. This seat, call'd Ewelme, commonly New Elme, from the Elms growing here, was built by William de la Pole Duke of Suffolk, who, by marriage with Alice only daughter of Thomas Chaucer, obtain'd a large estate in these parts; and besides this house, built a neat Church (in which the said Alice lies inter'd) and a fair Hospital, [called Gods-house, and consisting of two Priests and thirteen poor men.] But John Earl of Lincoln, his grandchild by John his son, almost utterly ruin'd this family. For, being engag'd in a conspiracy against King Henry the seventh, his honours were lost by attainder, and his estate confiscated to the King, and he himself soon after slain in battle. After this, King Henry the eighth, with the addition os some neighbouring manours, made an Honour of this estate: and among those manours was Walingford, which had a long time appertained to the Dukes of Cornwall.

[The Rectory of this place (with a Canonry of Christ-Church) was by King James the first, in the third year of his reign, annex'd to the office of Regius-Professor of Divinity in Oxford; as he annex'd also, at the same time, the government of the Hospital here, to that of Professor in Physick. Which Prince was one of the highest Patrons to learning, and a great Benefactor to the two Universities.]

From hence, the Thames fetches a large and winding compass, round the Hundred of Henley, which is hilly, and woody, and which some think to have been the country of the Ancalites, who submitted to Cæsar. In this Hundred, stands Grey Rotherfield, a seat which was given by Walter Grey Archbishop of York, to his Nephew William Grey, whose estate fell to the Lovels by the Lord D'eincourt. Afterwards, it became the seat of William Knolles Treasurer of his Majesty's houshold, whom K. James [the 1st,] in consideration of his faithful services to Queen Elizabeth, and his readiness to perform the like to him, advanc'd to the honour and title of Knolles Baron of Rotherfield. [The perpetual Advowson of this Church was lately purchased and given for ever, to Trinity-College.]

Near this place, upon the Thames, in the utmost limits of the County, stands Henley, formerly Hanleganz, where the greatest part of the Inhabitants are Barge-men, and get their livelyhood by carrying wood and corn to London by water. [This, Dr. Plot takes to be the most ancient town in the whole County; so call'd (syas he) from the British Hen, which signifies old and Lley a place; and perhaps it might be head-town of the People call'd Anacalites, who revolted to Cæsar. But Dr. Gale will have it to be the Galleva Atrebatum of Antoninus, on account of a military way running directly from Spinæ to this place, and the Roman Coins found hereabouts; whereas, at Walingford, where that station hath been usually settled, there is no ancient Way, nor any other Remains of Antiquity. And as to the difficulty, of its lying within the bounds of the Dobuni, and not the Atrebates; he observes, that both sides of the River do still belong to the Town, that there are many instances of slips of one County within another, and that the greater and more ancient part of Walingford it self lay in the Country of the Dobuni; and yet hath been long thought the City of the Atrebates. Besides the Coins before-mentioned, and the name of Ancastle (possibly from Ancalites,) which remains in one part of the Town;] it has nothing more ancient that it can [certainly] boast of, than that it belong'd formerly to the Molins; from whom, by the Hungerfords (who obtain'd from King Henry the sixth, a licence for two Fairs yearly) it descended to the illustrious family of the Hastings. The bridge over the Thames, which is now of timber, they report to have been heretofore of stone, and arched. But whether this was the bridge which Dio makes the Romans to have pass'd over in pursuit of the Britains in these parts, who had forded the river a little lower; is not so easie to determin.

From Henley, the Chiltern-hills run in a continued ridge to the north, and separate this Country of Oxon from that of Bucks: at the foot whereof are seated many little towns, of which the most remarkable, are, Watlington, a small market-town, belonging formerly to Robert D'oily. [This, by the name, one would imagin to be of no less than British Antiquity, as seeming to point out to us the old way of making their towns or cities; an account whereof Strabo has left us, viz. Groves fenc'd about with trees cut down, and laid cross one another, within which they built them sheds, both for themselves and Cattle. The same way of fencing, the Saxons call'd Watelar, hurdles or wattles, from whence the town probably might have its name.] Then at the foot of the same hills, is Shirburne, heretofore a small Castle of the Quatermans; afterwards, a seat of the Chamberlains, descended from the Earls of Tankervil, who bearing the office of Chamberlain to the Dukes of Normandy, their posterity, laying aside the old name of Tankervil, call'd themselves Chamberlains, from the said office which their Ancestors enjoy'd. [At present, it is the seat of Thomas Lord Parker; who, in consideration of his great Eloquence, and exact knowledge of the Laws and Constitution of this Realm, hath been successively advanced to the high and important Stations, of Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench, and of Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain.]

The title of Earl of Oxford did flourish long in the family of Vere, who derive their pedigree from the Earls of Guisnes, and their name from the town of Vere in Zealand. They owe the beginning of their greatness in England to King Henry the first, who advanced Alberic de Vere, for his great Wisdom and Conduct, to several places of honour and profit; as, to be Chamberlain of England, and Portreve of the City of London: and to his son Henry Duke of Normandy (son of the daughter of King Henry, and right heir to England and Normandy, this was the title he used before his establishment in the kingdom) in order to draw him from King Stephen, who had usurp'd the Crown, and to oblige him to his own party, he granted and restor'd the office of Chamberlain which he had lost in those civil wars, and offer'd him the choice of these four Earldoms, Dorset, Wilts, Berks, and Oxon. And after this, Maud the Empress, and her son Henry, then in possession of the Throne, did, by their several Charters create him Earl of Oxford. Of his posterity, not to mention every particular person, the most eminent were these that follow: Robert de Vere, who being highly in favour with K. Richard the 2d, was by him advanc'd to the new and unheard of honours of Marquess of Dublin, and Duke of Ireland, of which he left (as one well observes) nothing but some gaudy titles to be inscribed upon his tomb, and matter of discourse and censure to the world. For soon after, through the envy of the other Courtiers, he was degraded, and miserably ended his life in banishment: John de Vere, a person of great knowledge and experience in war, and eminent for his constant fidelity to the Lancastrian party, fought often in the field against K. Edward the fourth, and for some time defended St. Michael's mount, and was the chief assistant to King Henry the seventh in obtaining the Crown: Another John, in the reign of Henry the eighth; who was in all parts of his life so temperate, devout, and good, that he was distinguish'd by the name of John the Good. He was great Grandfather to Earl Henry, the eighteenth Earl of this family, and Grandfather to the two noble Brothers Francis and Horatio Vere, who, by their admirable conduct, and their many brave and successful Exploits in the Low-Countries, added no small lustre to their ancient and honourable family. [The said Henry marry'd Diana, second daughter to William Cecil Earl of Exeter, and dy'd at the siege of Breda, An. 1625. without issue. Upon which, Robert Vere, son and heir of Hugh, son and heir of Aubrey de Vere, second son of Earl John the fifth, was in the Parliament held at Westminster, An. 2 Car. I. restor'd to this title of Earl of Oxford; who taking to wife Beatrix van Hemmema of Friezland, had issue by her Aubrey, Knight of the most noble Order of the Garter; who marry'd Diana daughter to George Kirk Esq; But he being deceas'd without issue-male, this title lay extinct; until her Majesty Queen Anne, in the tenth year of her reign, bestow'd it (together with that of Earl Mortimer) upon Robert Harley Esq; whom she afterwards advanced to the Dignity of Lord High-Treasurer of Great Britain.]

This County contains 280 Parish-Churches.

More rare Plants growing wild in Oxfordshire.

Anagallis fœmina flore cœruleo. Female or Blew-flower'd Pimpernel. At Battle near Oxford. Park. pag. 554.

Arundo vallatoria foliis ex luteo variegatis. Painted or gilded Reed. Found by Mr. Bobert in the river Thames not far from Oxford. Though it be but an accidental variety it deserves to be mention'd, being very ornamental in gardens.

Atriplex vulgaris sinuata spicata. D. Plot. Hist. nat. Oxon. It is found commonly on Dunghils, growing together with Goose-foot Orache.

Geranium Columbinum maximum foliis dissectis D. Plot. Hist. nat. Oxon. columbinum majus, foliis imis longis, usque ad pediculum divisis. Moris. hist. The greatest Doves-foot Cranes-bill with dissected leaves. In hedges about Marston, and on that of Botley-causey next Oxford in great plenty.

Gramen caninum aristatum, radice non repente sylvaticum. Dogs-grass with awns. Found plentifully growing in Stoken-Church woods. Mr. Bobert.

Gramen Secalinum majus Sylvaticum. Gr. secalinum majus Park. an Gr. hordeaceum montanum sive majus C. B. Wild Rye-grass of the woods. In Stoken-Church woods also. Idem.

Gramen cyperoides minimum, Ranunculi capitulo rotundo. Cyperus-grass with a round Crow-foot-head. Frequently found on the bogs on the west-side of Oxford. Idem.

Gramen bromoides maximum hirtum Park. Festuca graminea perennis hirsuta, gluma longiore dumetorum, spicâ divisâ. In Godstow copse near Oxford. Idem.

Helleborine flore albo vel Damasonium montanum latisolium C. B. Ger. Damasonium Alpinum seu Elleborine floribus albis J. B. Elleborine minor flore albo Park. White-flower'd Bastard-Hellebore. In the woods near Stoken-Church, not far from the way leading from Oxford to Lond.

Hordeum nudum seu Gymnocrithon J. B. Zeopyron sive Tritico-speltum C. B. Park. Hordeum nudum Ger. cujus figura huic plantæ minimè respondet. Naked Barley. It is sown in the fields about Islip in Oxfordshire and other places. It is really a species of wheat, and no Barley: only its ear resembles the Hordeum dystichum.

Orobanche Verbasculi odore D. Plot. Hist. nat. Oxon. Birds-nest smelling like Primrose-roots. At the bottoms of trees in the woods near Stoken-church.

Saxifraga Anglica annua Alsines folio D. Plot. Hist. nat. Oxon. Annual Pearl-wort. In the walks of Baliol-College gardens, and on the fallow-fields about Hedington and Cowley, plentifully; and in many other places.

Stachys Fuchsii J. B. Ger. major Germanica C. B. Park. Base Hore-hound. Nigh Witney-park in Oxfordshire and thereabouts, plentifully.

Tilia foliis molliter hirsutis, viminibus rubris, fructu tetragono. It is known by the name of the red Lime, and grows naturally in Stoken-Church woods. Mr. Bobert.

Tormentilla reptans alata, foliis profundiùs serratis. Pentaphyllum minus viride, flore aureo tetrapetalo, radiculas in terram è geniculis demittens. Moris. Hist. Creeping Tormentil with deeply indented leaves. In the borders of the corn-fields between Hockley and Shotover-woods, and elsewhere.

Triticum spica multiplici C. B. Ger. Park. Many-eared wheat. It hath been sown about Bicester, and Weston on the green.

Viola Martia hirsuta major inodora D. Plot. Hist. nat. Oxon. & Moris. hist. Trachelii folio D. Merret. Violet with Throatwort-leaves. In Magdalen-college-Cops, Shotover-hills, Stow-wood, and many other places plentifully. It is found in most Countries.

Viola palustris rotundifolia D. Plot. Hist. nat. Oxon. Round-leaved Marsh-violet. In the bogs about S ow-wood, and on the banks of Cherwell between Oxford and Water-Eyton, but sparingly.

Clematis Daphnoides major C. B. Daphnoid. latifolia seu Vinca pervinca major Park. The greater Periwinkle. In the high-ways between Wolverton and Yarnton, and in several hedges thereabout. I am not yet fully satisfied, that this is a native of England, though it be found in the places mentioned, because possibly it might owe its original to roots thrown out of gardens.

Sambucus fructu albo Ger. Park. White-berried Elder. Observed by Mr. Bobert in the hedges near Watlington.

 

     
Copyright 2002. Genoot. All rights reserved
Please read our Terms of Use | Privacy Policy