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Oxfordshire Main Page
Oxfordshire (pron.: /ˈɒksfərdʃər/ or /ˈɒksfərdʃɪər/) archaically the County of Oxford; abbreviated to Oxon. from the Latin Comitia Oxoniae ("County of Oxford", which city is Oxonia in the nominative case) is a county in the South East region of England, bordering on Warwickshire and Northamptonshire (to the north/northeast), Buckinghamshire (to the east), Berkshire (to the south), Wiltshire (to the southwest) and Gloucestershire (to the west).
The county has major education and tourist industries. The area is noted for the concentration of performance motorsport companies and facilities. Oxford University Press is the largest firm among a concentration of print and publishing firms; the University of Oxford is also linked to the concentration of local biotechnology companies.
The main centre of population is the city of Oxford. Other significant settlements are Banbury, Bicester, Kidlington, and Chipping Norton to the north of Oxford; Carterton and Witney to the west; Thame and Chinnor to the east; and Abingdon, Wantage, Didcot, Wallingford and Henley-on-Thames to the south. Future population growth in the county is hoped[clarification needed] to be concentrated around Oxford, Banbury, Bicester, Didcot and Witney, near the South Midlands growth area.
The highest point of the administrative county is White Horse Hill, in the Vale of White Horse, reaching 261 metres (856 ft). The highest point in the historic county is near Portobello Farm in the Chiltern Hills at 255 metres (837 ft).
Oxfordshire's county flower is the Snake's-head Fritillary.
The "dreaming spires" of the buildings of the University of Oxford play a large contribution in Oxford being the sixth most visited city in the United Kingdom for international visitors. Notable University buildings include the Sheldonian Theatre, built 1664–1668 to the design of Sir Christopher Wren, and the Radcliffe Camera, built 1737–1749 to the design of James Gibbs.
Blenheim Palace close to Woodstock was built by the great architect John Vanbrugh for John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, after he had won the battle of Blenheim. The gardens, which can be visited, were designed by the landscape gardener "Capability Brown", who planted the trees in the battle formation of the victorious troops. In the palace, which can also be visited by the public, Sir Winston Churchill was born in 1874.
Chastleton House, on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire borders, is a great country mansion that was built on property bought from Robert Catesby, who was one of the men involved in the Gunpowder Plot with Guy Fawkes. Stonor Park, another country mansion, has belonged to the recusant Stonor family for centuries.
Mapledurham House is an Elizabethan stately home in the far south-east of the county, close to Reading.
Settlements in Oxfordshire
- Abingdon (in Berkshire until 1974)
- Chipping Norton
- Didcot (in Berkshire until 1974)
- Faringdon (in Berkshire until 1974)
- Islip, Oxfordshire
- Wallingford (in Berkshire until 1974)
- Wantage (in Berkshire until 1974)