Many of the ancient family surnames of Oxfordshire developed their own ancient genealogies collected by the Heralds during the "Visitations" of the 16th and 17th centuries in justifcation of a grant of a Coat of Arms. These ancient manuscripts are archived in the Harleian Manuscripts Collection which is in the British Museum in London. Many of the genealogies record descendants from the Battle of Hastings, the Domesday or the Magna Carta through to the 16th and 17th centuries. They include such native Oxford family surnames as Ashfield, Blunt, Danvers, Doyley (D'Oilli), Pymme and 20,000 others.
Meanwhile, in the county of Oxford, just as they were all over England, Norman land holders present at the Battle of Hastings were shuffled as tenants-in-chief and fell in or out of favour with the monarch, or succumbed to other harsh, but sometimes beneficial circumstances. For instance, Earl Aubrey de Ver of Minster Lovell in Oxford (noted above) was deprived of his substantial holdings and shorn a monk in Normandy in his declining years. He founded Colne priory. Nevertheless, he is considered to be the ancestor of the later Earls of Oxford, and one descendant, Edward de Vere is claimed by some to have written the complete works of Shakespeare. His eldest son held his chief domain at Castle Hedingham in Essex. It was the father, Aubrey de Vere of Oxford, who was at Hastings with Duke William, not the son. The elder Aubrey had five sons, many of whom were tenants in chief or under tenants in the Domesday Survey. It was not uncommon, however, as dynasties rose and fell, for lands to be recovered by the family, sometimes for a price, sometimes for loyalty and allegiances, the latter secured by the offering or claiming of hostages to the 'protection' of the royal court.
In addition to the royal borough of Oxford, many significant Oxfordshire villages had more than two mills located within the village at the time of the Domesday Survey of Oxfordshire. In the Domesday Book the largest were Adderbury (8 Mills), Shipton under Wychwood (6 Mills), Cropredy(5 Mills), Chalgrove (5 Mills), Banbury (4 Mills), Enstone (4 Mills), Chipping Norton (3 Mills), Drayton (3 Mills), Heyford(3 Mills), and Stanton Harcourt (3 Mills). Woodstock was a market town. It may be said that the traffic between these multiple Mill villages and local outlying, manors, ploughlands and estates in Oxfordshire was the highest, although market towns such as Banbury (Horse Fair) and Woodstock (Forest) also attracted much traffic on market days and this tradition is still continued to this day.
Oxfordshire has emerged through these intervening 910 years of kaleidoscopic history into a truly, lush and picturesque county, a tourists delight, many picture post-card villages, and many intrinsic and attractive interests meeting a universal taste. The great City of Oxford is a scholastic world centre of learning which has no peer. Oxford, known for its lofty spires is a beautiful city which will captivate your heart, your ethos and your imagination. To many, Oxford and the county will bring back fond memories of yesteryear, and who can add to that very personal experience.
Steeped in history, rich in heritage and awash with natural beauty, the Oxfordshire Cotswolds is a charming blend of bustling market towns, breathtaking natural scenery and over 6000 years of history.
This is a designated area of outstanding natural beauty, which along with the 'gentle' rolling hills, means its great walking, cycling or horse riding country. There are miles of wonderful way-marked routes for day long expeditions or gentle afternoon ambles.
A prime central location means the area is ideal as a base from which to explore nearby landmark towns, cities and attractions too. Oxford, City of Dreaming Spires, lies just a few miles east, perfect for a touch of cosmopolitan city culture! To the west, down the Roman Fosse Way, are Gloucestershire's golden stone villages, the market towns of Cirencester, Moreton-in-Marsh and Stow-on-the-Wold and the larger Spa towns of Cheltenham and Bath. Venture a few miles north to Stratford-upon-Avon, birthplace of William Shakespeare and medieval Warwick and to the south, the winding River Thames as it meanders from its source in nearby Lechlade, onwards to London.