« PreviousContinue »
Thip Lane 9FighBridge Street VSt Mary's Hall Tane
O X FOR D.
XFORD, as we read in our Chronicles was, even
in the British Age, consecrated to the Mufes. It was called by the Romans Bellofitum. When the Place was first fortified does not appear; but the walls, of which some parts are now remaining, were raised upon former foundations, about the time of the Conquest, by Robert D'Oilie, who erected the Castle at the command of the Conqueror in 1071; a work of great ftrength, and considerable extent, as appears by some mafly ruins now extant. King Henry I. built a Royal Palace on a spot called Beaumont, on the west fide of the City, remains of which are still seen. King Richard I, called Cour de Liou, was born in this Palace.
The origin of the University of Oxford has been perplexed with extravagaut accounts of the number of Students. Archbishop Ufoer indeed speaks of 30,000 in King Henry the Third's time; and that several years afterwards, when the Civil Wars between the Houses of York and Lancaster had so much weakened the kingdom, and disturbed the peace of this Seat of Learning, there were then 15,000.
In the City and its environs were several Monasteries, the principal of which were St. Frideswidi's, and Ofeney
Abbey. The Bishopric, which was heretofore part of Lincoln Diocese, was erected by King Henry VIII,
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 west, are about a mile in extent; beyond which are hills of a moderate height, bounding the prospect.
The eastern prospect has likewise some hills at a little distance; the valley growing considerably narrower towards the south: but the north is open to corn fields and enclosures for a considerable extent, without any hill to intercept the air. It is washed by a number of streams: on the east, by the different branches of the Cherwell; on the south and west, 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 less health ful than pleasant.
Before the Colleges were erected, the Students were instructed in the houses of citizens, or in inns.or halls, fupported by benefactions from rich persons, or their own patrimony
Each College hath a Head or Superior to govern it, chosen for the most part from the Fellows of the Society. The Dean and Canons of Chrift-Church are nominated by the King. In all the Colleges, not only such as are provided for by their Founders and Benefactors, and many others of all descriptions, as Noblemen, Sons of Noblemen, Baronets, Gentlemen-Commoners, and the Sons of Clergymen, Gentlemen, and Tradermen, who live at their own expense, but many deserva ing young men, whose friends could not afford to fend them to the University, are supported by the affistance