Dorchester  Oxfordshire


In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Dorchester like this:

DORCHESTER, a village, a parish, and a hundred in Oxfordshire. The village stands on the river Thame, near its influx to the Thames, 4½ miles NE of Didcot r. station, and 9 SSE of Oxford; and has a post office‡ under Wallingford. It was the Durocina of the Romans, the Dwrceastre of the ancient Britons, and the Dorcesceastre of the Saxons. ...

A Roman station occupied its site; a Roman road went from it to Alcester; and Roman coins, an altar, a ring, urns, pavements, and other Roman relics have been found at it. A bishopric was founded at it in 634; comprised, for a time, the kingdoms of Mercia and Wessex; underwent divisions and changes in favour of the bishoprics of Lichfield, Worcester, Hereford, Winchester, Salisbury, and Bath and Wells; and was removed, in 1092, to Lincoln. Birinus, who founded the see, Halard, who died in 897, Ascwyn, who died in 995, Ulf, the outlaw, Oskytel, who became Archbishop of York, and Ednoth, who founded Charteris Abbey, were among the bishops. The episcopal palace stood at Court farm, and can still be traced. A wittenagemote was held at the village, then a city, in 958, by Athelstan. A priory of black monks was founded at it, in 1140, by Alexander, Bishop of Lincoln; and some remains of this exist in the walls of an endowed school near the parish church, and in the foundations of a neighbouring range of barns. The parish church is large, lofty, and spacious; belongs mainly to the last years of the 13th century, but shows parts and characters ranging from Norman to late perpendicular; consists of a nave of four bays with south aisle, a choir of four bays with aisles, a presbytery, a south porch, and a west tower; displays structures and features both singular and interesting; has a famous window, called the Jesse window, with mullion and sculptures representing the genealogical descent from the patriarch Jesse; and contains stone stalls, a piscina, a unique leaden Norman font, and a number of brasses and monuments of knights and bishops. The village has fairs on Easter Tuesday and the third Wednesday of July; was formerly a market-town; and gives the title of baron to the family of Carleton. Pop. 925. Houses, 215. -The parish includes also the hamlets of Overy and Burcott; and is mainly in Wallingford district, but partly in that of Abingdon. Acres, 3, 194. Real property, £6, 201. Pop., 1, 097. Houses, 255. The property is divided among a few. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Oxford. Value, £120.* Patron, the Rev. H. W. Burrows. There are chapels for Baptists, Primitive Methodists, and Roman Catholics. A school has £10 from endowment; and other charities £30. The poet Chaucer was a resident. -The hundred contains seven parishes and part of another. Acres, 12, 434. Pop., 3, 529. Houses, 767.

Dorchester through time

Dorchester is now part of South Oxfordshire district. Click here for graphs and data of how South Oxfordshire has changed over two centuries. For statistics about Dorchester itself, go to Units and Statistics.

How to reference this page:

GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Dorchester in South Oxfordshire | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.


Date accessed: 20th April 2024

Not where you were looking for?

Click here for more detailed advice on finding places within A Vision of Britain through Time, and maybe some references to other places called "Dorchester".