In previous posts we’ve outlined things to do and places to dine in Bicester. This post will bullet point the towns history and rapid expansion. If you’ve clicked on this page hoping to learn more about our landscaping services, follow this link.
643 — Bicester was founded 643 under the name Berencester. It was later referenced in the Domesday book of 1086.
1547 — In 1547 Bicester witnessed a rapid growth in population as up to 600 people, primarily from Lancashire, arrived in the town.
1557 – 1707 — In these years the people of Bicester experienced the so-called Sweating Sickness and Smallpox. Sweating Sickness, also known as ‘English Sweating Sickness’, was a mysterious illness that struck down its victims within hours of contagion. Meanwhile Smallpox lay 42 townspeople to rest in the year of 1707.
1745 — This was the year of free education for children of the ages 7-14 in the town. Children in attendance learned the art of spinning and received free items of clothing.
The Oxford Canal, Wagons & Trains
1790 — Was the year Oxford Canal opened. The canal would almost 80 miles to the borough of Coventry.
1831-32 — In 1831 Bicester’s population breached the 3000 mark. Records revealed 3022 residents. In 1832 the town would be struck by a Cholera outbreak, claiming 64 people.
1830’s — It was also over the 1830’s the town the development of transport links to London. A twice daily wagon journey transporting produce between Bicester and the capital was established.
1850 — This was followed in 1850 with the establishment of the Bletchley – Oxford railroad. The line included Winslow, Banbury and Verney junctions.
1928 — In this year the Prince of Wales, who would later go onto become Edward VIII, visited the town for Hunt Steeple Chases. Video of the event can be found below:
2001 — In this year census records reveal Bicester’s population reached 28,672.
Oxfordshire’s Garden City
2014 — In 2014 the government declared Bicester as a new ‘Garden City’ for the UK with an extra 13,000 homes built in the town.
We hope you’ve found this article informative. This was a brief history of Bicester sourcing records from a number of sites including the Bicester Local History Society. While the future is uncertain, the towns rapid expansion and the influx of tourists over recent years mean Bicester’s tradition as a sleepy Oxfordshire town is most certainly history.