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Τ Η Ε . NEW COMPANION
XFORD, distinguished by its illufrious University, and remarkable for it's Antiquity, was called by the Romans, Bellofitum. We learn,
that before their Conquests, the Britains consecrated it to the Mufes. When the place was first fortified does not appear:. But the Walls now remaining were probably raised upon some former Foundation about the Time of the Conquest. Robert D'Oilie erected the Castle, at the Command of the Conqueror in 1071. its massy Ruins fhew its Strength and Ex
King Henry I, built a Royal Palace on Beaumort, near Gloucester-Green, the Ruins of which are still vi.. fible, where King Richard I. surnamed Cæur de Lion, was born. Many fabuloas Accounts have been col. lected relating to the Origin of the UNIVERSITY or OXFORD; but Archbishop Usher informs us, that is
King Henry the Third's time, 30,000 Students resided here, and Rifhanger (who lived in the same Reign) says, that notwithstanding the Civil Wars had so much disturbed the Peace and Quiet of this venei able Seat of Learning, there were remaining 15,000 Students. John Balliol (Father of Balliol King of Scots) built a College, now called by his Name, in 1263: And Walter de Merton Bishop of Rochester Incorporated by Royal Charter that which is now called Merton College in 1274 ; and there were the first endowed Colleges.
In the City and it's Environs were several Monafteries, the most remarkable of which were St. Fridefride's, and Ofeney Abbey.
The Bishoprick, which was heretofore part of the See of Lincoln, was erected by King Henry VIII. and placed first at Ojeney in 1542.
'The Situation is on an Eminence, rising gradually from its Extremities to the Center. It is encompassed by Meadows and Corn-fields. The Meadows, which are chiefly to the South and Welt, are about a Mile in extent; beyond which are Hills of a moderate Height, bounding the Prospect..
The Eastern Prospect is likewise bounded by Hills at a little Distance; the Valley growing considerably narrower towards the South : But the North is open to Corn-fields and Enclosures for many Miles together, without any Hill to intercept the free Current of Air, which purifies it from all noxious Vapours. It is washed by a Number of Streams: On the East, by the different Branches of the Cherwell; on the South and Weft, by those of the Thames ; all which meet and join a little below the City, forming one beautiful River. The Soil is dry, being on a fine Gravel, which renders it not leis healthful than pleasant. .
The Town, including the Suburbs, is a Mile in Length from East to West, and almost as much in Breadth from North to South, being three Miles in
Circumference; but it is of an irregular Figure, and several airy Spaces are comprehended within these Limits, besides the many Courts and Gardens belonging to the respective Colleges.
The City, properly so called, formerly surrounded by a Wall, with Baltions at about 150 Feet Distance from each other, is of an oblong Form, and about two Miles in Circumference. Magdalen College, with the Eastern as well as the Northern Suburbs, which contain the Parishes of Ho'y-Well, Magdalen, and St. Giles's, with Balliol, Trinity, St. John's and Wadham Colleges, are without the old Walls, of which some l'art remains as a Boundary to New College ; beginning near where East-Gate stood, and continuing almost to the Clarendon Printing-house, where there was a Portal and a Chapel; some Remains of which are still visible : The Walls make an entire Boundary to the East and South Sides of Merton and Corpus Christi Colleges. The Fortifications and Outworks, raised by the Royalists in the Time of the Civil Wars, included all the Suburbs, but they are now almost entirely demolilhed.
The principal Street of the City runs from East to West, the entire Length of the Town, but under different Names; the High-Street, beginning at Magdalen Bridge, includes at least two Thirds of that Length; the Remainder is from Carfax to the End of Caftle-Street. The High-Street is perhaps without a Rival; being of a spacious Width and Length, adorn. ed with the Fronts of three well built Colleges ; St. Mary's and All-Saints Churches'; terminated at the East End with a View of Magdalen College Tower, and the beautiful new Bridge; which consists of fix large Arches, and five smaller ones. Every Turn of it presents a new Object, and a different View ; each of which would make an agreeable Picture in Perspective: Whereas, had it been strait, every Object would have