Oxford in History

Historical Events

  • 1153-11-06 Treaty of Wallingford (Oxfordshire) signed between King Stephen and the Empress Maude (aka Matilda)
  • 1154-12-04 Adrian IV elected Pope. The only Englishman to become pontiff, Nicholas Breakspear was a member of the family which until recent years brewed beer in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire.
  • 1214-06-20 The University of Oxford receives its charter
  • 1355-02-10 The St. Scholastica's Day riot breaks out in Oxford, England, leaving 62 scholars and perhaps 30 locals dead in two days.
  • 1555-09-30 Bishop of Oxford Nicholas Ridley sentenced to death as a heretic
  • 1602-11-08 The Bodleian Library at Oxford University is opened

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1642-01-10 King Charles I & family flee London for Oxford

King of England Charles I
King of England
Charles I

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1649-10-31 John Wallis, newly appointed Savilian Professorof Geometry at Oxford University, gives his Inaugural lecture

Mathematician and Cryptographer John Wallis
Mathematician and Cryptographer
John Wallis
  • 1663-07-11 Oxford mathematician John Wallis gives a lecture on Euclid’s parallel postulate, first Western attempt to derive the parallel postulate as a theorem
  • 1665-11-07 1st edition of "London Gazette" published as "The Oxford Gazette"

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1673-07-24 Edmund Halley enters The Queen's College, Oxford, as an undergraduate

Astronomer, Mathematician and Physicist Edmond Halley
Astronomer, Mathematician and Physicist
Edmond Halley
  • 1678-12-03 Edmond Halley receives MA from The Queen's College, Oxford
  • 1683-06-06 The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England, opens as the world's first university museum
  • 1811-03-25 Percy Bysshe Shelley is expelled from the University of Oxford for his publication of the pamphlet The Necessity of Atheism

  • 1829-06-10 The first Oxford and Cambridge University Boat Race takes place
  • 1836-12-10 Emory College (now Emory University) is chartered in Oxford, Georgia.
  • 1854-01-01 Lincoln University, a black college, chartered (Oxford, Pennsylvania)

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1860-06-30 Famous debate on Charles Darwin's theory of evolution held at the Oxford University Museum and dominated by arguments between Thomas Henry Huxley and Bishop Samuel Wilberforce

Naturalist Charles Darwin
Naturalist
Charles Darwin

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1860-11-03 Poet and critic Matthew Arnold begins his series of lectures "On Translating Home" as Oxford Professor of Poetry at Oxford University

Poet & Critic Matthew Arnold
Poet & Critic
Matthew Arnold

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1862-07-04 Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) creates Alice in Wonderland for Alice Liddell on a family boat trip on the river Isis (Thames) in Oxford

Author and Mathematician Lewis Carroll
Author and Mathematician
Lewis Carroll
  • 1864-03-05 1st track meet between Oxford & Cambridge
  • 1869-08-27 1st international boat race (River Thames, Oxford beats Harvard)
  • 1871-06-16 The University Tests Act allows students to enter the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Durham without religious tests, except for courses in theology
  • 1871-06-20 Ku Klux Klan trials began in federal court in Oxford, Mississippi
  • 1873-03-29 English FA Cup Final, Lillie Bridge, London: Wanderers beat Oxford University, 2-0; second consecutive title
  • 1874-03-14 English FA Cup Final, Kennington Oval, London: Oxford University beats Royal Engineers, 2-0
  • 1877-03-24 University boat race between Oxford & Cambridge ends in a dead heat
  • 1877-03-24 English FA Cup Final, Kennington Oval, London: Wanderers beat Oxford University, 2–1 (a.e.t.); Wanderers' 4th title
  • 1878-03-13 Oxford University defeats Cambridge University in their 1st golf match
  • 1880-04-24 Amateur Athletic Association, governing body for men's athletics in England & Wales, is founded in Oxford, England
  • 1884-02-01 1st volume of the Oxford English Dictionary, A-Ant, published
  • 1894-08-14 Sir Oliver Joseph Lodge demonstrates wireless telegraphy (radio) using Morse code at a meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science at Oxford University
  • 1895-03-30 British inventor Birt Acres films Oxford and Cambridge boat race
  • 1912-07-08 G E V Crutchley (Oxford) 99 retired measles v Cambridge
  • 1928-04-19 The 125th and final fascicle of the Oxford English Dictionary is published.
  • 1951-04-03 Christopher Fry's "Sleep of Prisoners" premieres in Oxford

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1954-05-06 Roger Bannister of the UK becomes the 1st person to run a 4 minute mile, recording 3:59:4 at Iffley Road, Oxford

Middle-Distance Runner Roger Bannister
Middle-Distance Runner
Roger Bannister

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1985-01-29 Oxford University refuses to award Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher an honorary degree

British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
British Prime Minister
Margaret Thatcher
  • 2012-04-12 Bodleian, Oxford University and Vatican libraries announce over 1.5 million pages of ancient texts will be made available across the internet
  • 2015-09-16 700 million malaria cases prevented in Africa since 2000 in report by University of Oxford in "Nature" journal
  • 2019-07-24 10th million Mini car produced during its 60th anniversary year in Oxford, England
  • 2019-11-20 Oxford Dictionaries word of the year is "climate emergency"

Famous Birthdays


Person of interestRichard the Lionheart

1157-09-08 Richard I [Richard the Lion Hearted], King of England (1189-99), born in Oxford, England (d. 1199)

  • 1167-12-24 John "Lackland", King of England (1199-1216), born in Beaumont Palace, Oxford (d. 1216)
  • 1207-10-01 Henry III, King of England (1216-72, Provisions of Oxford), born in Winchester Castle, Hampshire, England (d. 1272)
  • 1318-06-18 Eleanor of Woodstock, English princess, Duchess of Guelders, born in Woodstock, Oxfordshire (d. 1355)

Person of interestEdward the Black Prince

1330-06-15 Edward the Black Prince [Edward of Woodstock], English prince and knight born in Woodstock Palace, England (d. 1376)

Prince of Wales Edward the Black Prince
Prince of Wales
Edward the Black Prince
  • 1550-04-12 Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, Lord Great Chamberlain of England, born in Hedingham Castle, Essex, England (d. 1604)
  • 1582-05-28 William Fiennes, 1st Viscount Saye and Sele, English statesman, born in Broughton Castle, Banbury, Oxfordshire (d. 1662)
  • 1602-10-12 William Chillingworth, English religious leader, born in Oxford, England (d. 1644)
  • 1632-12-17 Anthony Wood, English antiquarian, born in Oxford, England (d. 1695)
  • 1661-12-05 Robert Haley, 1st Earl of Oxford and English premier (Whig, 1710-14), born in Covent Garden, Middlesex, Kingdom of England (d. 1725)
  • 1732-12-06 Warren Hastings, 1st governor-general of India (1773-84), born in Churchill, Oxfordshire (d. 1818)
  • 1738-04-17 Philip Hayes, English composer, born in Oxford (d. 1797)
  • 1753-09-10 John Soane, English architect (Bank of England, Soane Museum), born in Goring-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, England (d. 1837)
  • 1769-03-23 William Smith, British geologist who is credited with creating the first nationwide geological map (Strata Identified by Organized Fossils), born in Churchill, Oxfordshire (d. 1839)
  • 1792-04-25 John Keble, Anglican priest and founder (Oxford Movement), born in Fairford, Gloucestershire, England (d. 1886)
  • 1814-06-08 Charles Reade, English novelist (Cloister & Hearth), born in Ipsden, Oxfordshire (d. 1884)
  • 1815-04-12 Henry Hugo Pierson, English composer, born in Oxford (d. 1873)
  • 1824-09-28 Francis Turner Palgrave, English poet (Golden Treasury), born in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England (d. 1897)
  • 1825-06-21 William Stubbs, English historian and Anglican bishop of Oxford, born in High Street, Knaresborough, England (d. 1901)
  • 1831-05-01 Emily Stowe, Canadian suffragist and first woman licensed to practise medicine in Canada, born in Norwich Township, Oxford County, Ontario (d. 1903)
  • 1844-07-22 William Archibald Spooner, English Oxford Don and reverend and inventor (spoonerisms), born in London, England (d. 1930)
  • 1863-11-21 Arthur Quiller-Couch, Cornish novelist and editor (The Oxford Book Of English Verse 1250–1900), born in Bodmin, Cornwall (d. 1944)
  • 1866-01-31 Henry Forster, cricketer (Oxford blue 1887-89, later Aust Gov-General)
  • 1867-07-02 Herbert Prior, British actor (Caught Short, Slave of Desire), born in Oxfordshire, England (d. 1954)
  • 1868-09-17 James Alexander Calder, Canadian politician, born in Oxford County, Ontario (d. 1956)

Person of interestWinston Churchill

1874-11-30 Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister (Conservative: 1940-45, 1951-55) during World War II and winner of the 1953 Nobel Prize in Literature, born in Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire, England (d. 1965)

Soldier, Author and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill
Soldier, Author and British Prime Minister
Winston Churchill
  • 1877-10-04 Razor Smith, English cricket spin bowler (245 first class matches, Surry), born in Oxford, England (d. 1946)
  • 1887-10-06 George Brown, English cricket wicketkeeper/batsman (7 Tests; Hampshire), born in Cowley, Oxford, England (d. 1964)
  • 1890-12-28 Frank Butler, actor/sreenwriter (Road to Bali, China), born in Oxford, England
  • 1892-11-05 J. B. S. Haldane, British-Indian geneticist (primordial soup theory), born in Oxford, England (d. 1964)
  • 1893-06-13 Dorothy L. Sayers, English novelist (The Nine Tailors), born in Oxford, England (d. 1957)
  • 1904-05-08 John Snagge, British newsreader and commentator for the BBC (Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race), born in London (d. 1996)
  • 1906-08-01 William Hayter, British diplomat and Ambassador to the Soviet Union (1953-57), born in Oxford, England (d. 1995)
  • 1908-11-22 Michael Balfour, English historian, born in Oxford (d. 1995)
  • 1909-02-09 Heather Angel, British actress (Informer, Last of Mohicans), born in Oxford, England (d. 1986)
  • 1909-06-26 Nicholas Polunin, British botanist and environmentalist, born in Checkendon, Oxfordshire (d. 1997)
  • 1911-01-31 A G Ogston, president (Trinity College-Oxford)
  • 1913-06-10 Van Carlyle Wilton-Davies, archdeacon Emeritus (Oxford)
  • 1913-07-03 William Deakin, British historian and warden (St Anthony's College Oxford), born in London (d. 2005)
  • 1913-10-02 Vivian Ridler, British scholar and printer (Oxford University), born in Cardiff, Wales (d. 2009)
  • 1915-05-13 John Habakkuk, principal (Jesus College in Oxford)
  • 1916-06-25 Philip Toynbee, British journalist and writer (Savage Days, Barricade), born in Oxford, England (d. 1981)
  • 1917-05-07 David Tomlinson, British actor (Mary Poppins, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Helter Skelter), born in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, England (d. 2000)
  • 1917-06-10 William Barr, rector (Exeter College, Oxford)
  • 1917-06-27 Ron Hayward, English politician, General Secretary of the Labour Party, born in Chipping Sodbury, Oxfordshire (d. 1996)
  • 1918-02-10 Gordon Pirie, English Group Captain and politician, born in Oxford (d. 2003)
  • 1918-07-11 Venetia Burney [Phair], British woman credited with naming Clyde Tombaugh's discovered planet "Pluto" (1930), born in Oxford, United Kingdom (d. 2009)
  • 1919-04-11 Sir Raymond Carr, English historian and warden (St Antony's College Oxford), born in Bath, Somerset
  • 1920-02-19 George Rose, British actor and singer (Beacon Hill, Holocaust), born in Bicester, Oxfordshire, England (d. 1988)
  • 1920-08-03 P. D. James [Phyllis Dorothy], Baroness James of Holland Park, English crime writer (Cover Her Face), born in Oxford, England (d. 2014)
  • 1922-08-01 Frank Hauser, British theatrical director (Oxford Playhouse), born in Cardiff (d. 2007)
  • 1923-03-06 Raymond "Bill" Hoffenberg, college president (Wolfson at Oxford)
  • 1923-08-31 Larry Grayson, British comedian (Generation Game), born in Banbury, Oxfordshire, England (d. 1995)
  • 1924-07-15 David Cox, English statistician and warden (Nuffield College, Oxford), born in Birmingham, England
  • 1925-04-12 Johnny Jordan, English cameraman (You Only Live Twice), born in Oxfordshire, England (d. 1969)
  • 1926-02-25 Harvey McGregor, QC/warden (New College-Oxford)
  • 1926-04-13 John Spencer-Churchill, 11th duke of Marlborough, English large landowner, born in Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, England (d. 2014)
  • 1927-01-28 J D Hughes, Principal (Ruskin College-Oxford)
  • 1928-04-12 Uwe Kitzinger, President (Templeton College, Oxford), born in Nuremberg, Germany

Person of interestRoger Bannister

1929-03-23 Roger Bannister, English middle-distance athlete who was the 1st to run a 4 minute mile at Iffley Road Track, Oxford (1954), born in Harrow, England (d. 2018)

Middle-Distance Runner Roger Bannister
Middle-Distance Runner
Roger Bannister
  • 1929-04-22 Robert Wade-Gery, British diplomat (High Commissioner to India 1982–87), born in Oxford (d. 2015)
  • 1930-02-14 Duncan Montgomery Stewart, principal (Lady Margaret Hall-Oxford)
  • 1930-04-08 Mary Moore, principal (St Hilda's College, Oxford)
  • 1931-06-20 Richard Southwood, zoologist/chancellor (Oxford University)
  • 1933-06-08 Dr Robert Stevens, British lawyer and Master (Pembroke College, Oxford)
  • 1933-09-24 Catherine Hughes [Pestell] British principal (Somerville College Oxford), born in County Durham, England (d. 2014)
  • 1934-01-28 BR White, principal (Regent's Park College-Oxford)
  • 1934-09-24 John Brunner, Britsih sci-fi author (100th Millennium), born in Wallingford, Oxfordshire, England (d. 1995)
  • 1935-04-22 Christopher Ball, British linguist and Warden of Keble College, Oxford (1980-88)
  • 1936-01-08 Robert May, Baron May of Oxford, Australian-born British scientist, born in Sydney, Australia
  • 1936-04-05 John Albert, professor (Master of University College Oxford)
  • 1937-02-11 Marilyn Butler, Rector (Exeter College-Oxford)
  • 1937-06-21 Anna Davies, Italian philologist and Professor of Comparative Philology (Oxford U), born in Milan (d. 2014)
  • 1939-03-18 Ron Atkinson, English soccer wing half, manager (Oxford United, Manchester United, Sheffield Wed, Aston Villa), born in Liverpool, England
  • 1939-07-27 James McGee, British pathologist and professor (Morbid Anatomy at Oxford), born in Mossend, Lanarkshire, Scotland
  • 1940-08-14 Judith Kazantzis, English poet and feminist, born in Oxford, England (d. 2018)
  • 1940-08-28 Nik Turner, English musician (Hawkwind), born in Oxford, Oxfordshire, England
  • 1940-09-12 Patrick Mower, English actor (Emmerdale), born in Oxford, England
  • 1941-05-18 Miriam Margolyes, English actress (Babe, Romeo and Juliet), born in Oxford
  • 1941-07-16 George Young, Baron Young of Cookham, British minister of housing & planning, born in Oxford, England
  • 1941-08-30 Sue MacGregor, BBC 4 radio broadcaster (Woman's Hour), born in Oxford, England
  • 1941-11-06 James Bowman, English countertenor, born in Oxford, England

Person of interestStephen Hawking

1942-01-08 Stephen Hawking, English physicist (Black Holes & Baby Universes), born in Oxford, England (d. 2018)

Physicist Stephen Hawking
Physicist
Stephen Hawking
  • 1942-03-08 Ann Packer, Moulsford, Oxfordshire, British 400m/800m runner (Olympic gold 1964)
  • 1944-01-18 Larry "Legs" Smith, British rocker (Bonzo Dog Band-Urban Spaceman), born in Oxford, United Kingdom
  • 1944-04-12 Lisa Jardine, British historian and writer, born in Oxford, England (d. 2015)
  • 1945-06-23 K B Wilson, methodist Preacher/Principal (Westminster College Oxford)
  • 1945-07-03 Iain MacDonald-Smith, English yachtsman (Olympic gold 1968), born in Oxford
  • 1946-09-16 John Walton, Baron Walton of Detchant, British physician (Warden of Green College Oxford) (d. 2016)
  • 1947-11-06 Jim Rosenthal, English sports presenter, born in Oxford, England
  • 1949-08-27 Edmund Weiner, English lexicographer (Oxford English Dictionary), born in Oxford, England
  • 1950-01-09 Alec Jeffreys, British geneticist (developed techniques for DNA fingerprinting), born in Oxford, England
  • 1956-03-06 Peter Roebuck, English cricketer and journalist, born in Oddington, Oxfordshire, England (d. 2011)
  • 1957-09-12 Rachel Ward, English-Australian actress (Thorn Birds), born in Cornwell, Oxfordshire, England
  • 1958-07-11 Mark Lester, actor (Oliver!, Prince & Pauper), born in Oxford, England

Person of interestHugh Laurie

1959-06-11 Hugh Laurie, English actor (Strapless, Dr Gregory House-House), born in Oxford, England

  • 1961-08-07 Walter Swinburn, English jockey (The Derby winner, 1981), born in Oxford, United Kingdom (d. 2016)
  • 1966-07-24 Martin Keown, English soccer defender (43 caps; Arsenal, Aston Villa), born in Oxford, Oxfordshire
  • 1967-05-23 Philip Selway, British alternative-rock singer-songwriter and drummer for Radiohead, born in Oxfordshire, England
  • 1967-06-12 Frances O'Connor, English-Australian actress (The Importance of Being Earnest), born in Wantage, Oxfordshire, England

Famous Weddings


LoveWedding of Interest

1940-01-01 68th Prime Minister of UK Harold Wilson (23) weds poet Mary Baldwin (23) in the chapel of Mansfield College, Oxford

British Prime Minister Harold Wilson
British Prime Minister
Harold Wilson

LoveWedding of Interest

1956-04-23 Novelist C. S. Lewis (57) weds poet Joy Davidman (41) at the register office in Oxford, England

Author and Theologian C. S. Lewis
Author and Theologian
C. S. Lewis

LoveWedding of Interest

1980-09-06 81st Prime Minister of UK Theresa May (23) weds investment banker Philip May at the Church of St Mary the Virgin in Wheatley, Oxfordshire

British Prime Minister Theresa May
British Prime Minister
Theresa May

LoveWedding of Interest

1996-06-01 81st UK Prime Minister David Cameron (29) weds businesswoman Samantha Sheffield (25) at the Church of St. Augustine of Canterbury in East Hendred, Oxfordshire

British Prime Minister David Cameron
British Prime Minister
David Cameron
  • 2005-09-10 Camilla Parker-Bowles' son Tom Parker Bowles (30) weds "Harpers & Queen" fashion features editor Sara Buys at St. Nicholas' Church in Rotherfield Greys, Oxfordshire, England

LoveWedding of Interest

2007-09-03 Oscar winning actor Ben Kingsley (63) weds Brazilian actress Daniela Lavender (33) in North Leigh, Oxfordshire

  • 2012-06-30 Mick Jagger's daughter Jade Jagger (41) weds longtime boyfriend Adrian Fillary at the Aynhoe Park Hotel in Oxfordshire, England

Famous Deaths

  • 0727-10-19 Saint Frideswide, patron saint of Oxford, England
  • 1272-11-16 Henry III, King of England (1216-72, Provisions of Oxford), dies at 65
  • 1513-03-10 John de Vere, 13th Earl of Oxford, English commander (b. 1443)
  • 1555-10-16 Hugh Latimer, English bishop and royal chaplain, burned at the stake as one of the Oxford Martyrs at 80
  • 1555-10-16 Nicholas Ridley, English theologist/bishop of Rochester, burned at the stake as an Oxford martyr
  • 1604-06-24 Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, Lord Great Chamberlain of England, dies at 54
  • 1713-07-07 Henry Compton, Bishop of Oxford and privy councillor (b. 1632)
  • 1725-05-21 Robert Haley, 1st Earl of Oxford and English premier (Whig, 1710-14), dies at 63
  • 1886-03-29 John Keble, Anglican priest and founder (Oxford Movement), dies at 73
  • 1901-04-22 William Stubbs, English historian & Anglican bishop of Oxford, dies at 74
  • 1936-01-15 Henry Forster, cricket (Hants & Oxford U, Gov-Gen of Australia), dies
  • 1994-06-26 Thomas Henry Wait Armstrong, English organist (Christ College, Oxford), dies at 96
  • 1996-03-25 John Snagge, British newsreader and commentator for the BBC (Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race), dies at 91
  • 2007-10-14 Frank Hauser, British theatrical director (Oxford Playhouse), dies at 85
  • 2009-01-11 Vivian Ridler, British scholar and printer (Oxford University), dies at 95
  • 2014-09-27 "Anna Davies, Italian philologist and Professor of Comparative Philology (Oxford U), dies at 77
  • 2014-12-10 Catherine Hughes [Pestell] British principal (Somerville College Oxford), dies at 81
  • 2015-04-20 Sir Raymond Carr, English historian and warden (St Antony's College Oxford), dies at 96

Person of interestRoger Bannister

2018-03-03 Roger Bannister, English middle-distance athlete who was the 1st to run a 4 minute mile at Iffley Road Track, Oxford (1954), dies of Parkinson's disease at 88

Middle-Distance Runner Roger Bannister
Middle-Distance Runner
Roger Bannister