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

Historic Event

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

Appointment of Interest

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

  • 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"

Historic Event

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

  • 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 Presbyterian minister John Miller Dickey and his wife, Sarah Emlen Cresson, found Ashmun Institute, a Black college (later Lincoln University),in Hinsonville, Pennsylvania

Historic Event

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

Historic Event

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

Historic Event

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

  • 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 English FA Cup Final, Kennington Oval, London: Wanderers beat Oxford University, 2–1 (a.e.t.); Wanderers' 4th title
  • 1877-03-24 University boat race between Oxford & Cambridge ends in a dead heat
  • 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 playing for Oxford scores 99 not out, retires with 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

Sports History

1954-05-06 English athlete Roger Bannister becomes first to run a sub-4 minute mile, recording 3:59:4 at Iffley Road Track, Oxford

Historic Event

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

  • 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

Richard the LionheartRichard the Lionheart (1157-1199)

1157-09-08 King of England (1189-99) known as Richard the Lion Hearted, born in Oxford, England

  • 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, daughter of Edward II, Duchess of Guelders, wife of Reinoud II, born in Woodstock, Oxfordshire (d. 1355)

Edward the Black PrinceEdward the Black Prince (1330-1376)

1330-06-15 English prince, knight and heir to King Edward III, born in Woodstock Palace, England

  • 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)

Winston ChurchillWinston Churchill (1874-1965)

1874-11-30 British Prime Minister (Conservative: 1940-45, 1951-55) during World War II, and writer (Nobel Prize in Literature, 1953), born in Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire, England

  • 1877-10-04 Razor Smith, English cricket spin bowler (245 first class matches, Surry CCC), 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, American actor and screenwriter (Road to Bali, China), born in Oxford, England (d. 1967)
  • 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-American actress (Night in Montmartre; The Informer; The Last of the Mohicans; Lifeboat), born in Headington, Oxford, England (d. 1986)
  • 1909-06-26 Nicholas Polunin, British botanist and environmentalist, born in Checkendon, Oxfordshire (d. 1997)
  • 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, British 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, British 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, South African-British endocrinologist and college president (Wolfson at Oxford, 1985-93), born in Port Elizabeth, Union of South Africa (d. 2007)
  • 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

Roger BannisterRoger Bannister (1929-2018)

1929-03-23 English athlete (first sub-4-minute mile, 3:59.4 at Iffley Road Track, Oxford 1954), born in Harrow, England

  • 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, English principal (St Hilda's College, Oxford) (d. 2017)
  • 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)
  • 1940-09-12 Patrick Mower, English actor (Emmerdale), born in Oxford, England
  • 1941-05-18 Miriam Margolyes, British-Australian character actress (Babe; Romeo and Juliet), born in Oxford, England
  • 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

Stephen HawkingStephen Hawking (1942-2018)

1942-01-08 English physicist (Black Holes & Baby Universes), born in Oxford, England

  • 1942-03-08 Ann Packer, British 400m/800m runner (Olympic gold 1964), born in Moulsford, Oxfordshire, England
  • 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 Flying Dutchman 1968), born in Oxford, England
  • 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
  • 1950-01-09 Alec Jeffreys, British geneticist (developed techniques for DNA fingerprinting), born in Oxford, England
  • 1950-08-27 Edmund Weiner, British lexicographer (Oxford English Dictionary), philologist, and co-author (The Ring of Words: Tolkien and the Oxford English Dictionary), 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

Hugh LaurieHugh Laurie (63 years old)

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

  • 1961-08-07 Walter Swinburn, English jockey (Epsom Derby 1981, 86, 95; Irish Derby 1983, 86; Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe 1983), born in Oxford, England (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 drummer (Radiohead - "Creep"; "Lucky"), and singer-songwriter, born in Oxfordshire, England
  • 1967-06-12 Frances O'Connor, English-Australian actress (The Importance of Being Earnest), born in Wantage, Oxfordshire, England
  • 1968-04-15 Ed O'Brien, British musician and songwriter (Radiohead - OK Computer), born in Oxford, England
  • 1969-06-26 Colin Greenwood, English musician (Radiohead), born in Oxford, England
  • 1970-06-04 Richie Hawtin, British-Canadian electronic musician (Plastikman), born in Banbury, Oxfordshire

Famous Weddings

Harold Wilson

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

C. S. Lewis

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

Theresa May

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

David Cameron

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

  • 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

Ben Kingsley

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, British clergyman (Bishop of Oxford, 1675-1713), member of the Privy Council, and botanist, dies at about 81 [birthdate uncertain]
  • 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

Roger BannisterRoger Bannister (1929-2018)

2018-03-03 English athlete (first sub-4-minute mile, 3:59.4 at Iffley Road Track, Oxford 1954), dies of Parkinson's disease at 88