am told there are people who do not care for maps, and I find it hard
— Robert Louis Stevenson
I have always loved maps. They allow you to see what is down that country lane, or over that high wall. The landscape is spread out before you, its secrets and surprises there to be discovered.
Old maps are
even better - they let you to travel in time. Here, through maps, you can
discover the history of the town of Banbury, and her surrounding
villages and hamlets.
Begin in 1833, just prior to the dawn of the Victorian age, travel through the Second World War, into the Cold War era and finally arrive in the new millenium.
What has changed and what has remained - what have we lost and what have we gained?
"Banbury lies in a country of regularly undulating hill and dale. The hills are level broad-backed ridges, so level that you may look across from one ridge to the next and see the trees on the one beyond that again. A fine day in late February is the time to see this country, for then the clutter and profusion of the last harvest have disappeared and the land has been cleared and tidied for the coming season. The trees stand naked in the newly layered hedgerows; the grass has shed its old growth but has not yet begun to put on new, so that the fields at the bottom of the slopes are like pale lawns about the winding streams; higher up, the ploughland glistens and thin sunlight draws out the mellow warmth of golden stone in the thatched villages which cling, tight-clustered, round the shoulders of the hills. It is a countryside of soft colours and firm but gentle contours, without dramatic feature. In this it matches the climate which, though fickle, is rarely violent; it may bring grumbles, but never mourning for catastrophe."
The opening paragraph of "Tradition and Change - A Study of Banbury" by Margaret Stacey, 1960.
* What is
Banburyshire? There is no formal definition, but it is generally accepted
to be the area of approximately 20 miles surrounding the town of Banbury.
It includes villages in north Oxfordshire, but also in Northamptonshire
Warwickshire. The term has no legal or administrative status, but has
been used locally since at least Victorian times. In this sparsely populated
part of England, Banbury is the largest town for miles around,
and hence is the natural focus for neighbouring villages.
My collection of historical maps does not currently cover all parts of Banburyshire, and is somewhat biased towards that area which falls within Oxfordshire.
Most maps used on this site were published by the Ordnance Survey and are reproduced here under licence 100053496 for educational and research puposes only. Contact webmaster.