Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire

Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire

Infobox UK place
official_name= Chipping Norton
country= England
region= South East England
population= 5,972
os_grid_reference= SP309269
london_distance= 74.5mi
latitude= 51.94
longitude= -1.55
post_town= Oxford
dial_code= 01608
constituency_westminster= Witney
shire_district= West Oxfordshire
shire_county= Oxfordshire
Coord |51|56|28|N|1|32|44|W|display=title,inline

Chipping Norton is a town in the West Oxfordshire Distrcit of Oxfordshire, England, located convert|18|mi|km|0 north west of Oxford. It is the highest town above sea level in the county. Popular with tourists who use it as a gateway to the Cotswolds, Chipping Norton is a lively town that services a wide number of surrounding villages, continuing the tradition that gave it its name.

The "Chipping" in Chipping Norton means "market", revealing the town's past importance as a commercial centre for the Evenlode valley. In mediaeval times, the Cotswolds were one of the wealthiest parts of England due to the production of wool. At that time, Chipping Norton grew in importance. Many of the mediaeval buildings built as a result remain in the town centre, adding to its character. There are also many buildings dating from the 18th century. The town was one of the boroughs reformed by the Municipal Corporations Act 1835, it retained its status as a municipal borough until 1974, when the Local Government Act 1972 made it a successor parish within the district of West Oxfordshire.

The resident population of Chipping Norton (at the 2001 Census) was 5,972; 48% were male and 52% were female. It is in the constituency of Witney.

The Rollright Stones nearby consist of a stone circle and two sets of related standing stones.

In 2001, Chipping Norton was described as the social "G-spot" of Great Britain by "Tatler". []

The Name

The name Chipping Norton means 'market north town' ('chipping' = 'market'). It is not clear what the original Saxon settlement was north of but John Blair, Professor of Medieval History and Archaeology at Oxford University, suggested in 2000 at a lecture in Chipping Norton Town Hall that Charlbury, now a smaller town to the south, was in Anglo-Saxon times a more important minster town and that the nor- prefix refers to this geographical and pastoral relationship.

Chipping Norton began as a few houses with a church and castle at the bottom of the hill. Only the earthworks of the castle remain, but the church is a fine example of a wool church enlarged by local merchants who grew rich on the profits of the Cotswold wool trade. To promote the trade a new market was laid out in 1205, which formed the new town centre higher up the hill, where it still is today.

In the Middle Ages people came to buy and sell at the markets and fairs which gave Chipping Norton its name. There is still a weekly market every Wednesday and the "Mop Fair" in September.

Later, sheep farming was largely replaced by arable, but agriculture remained important in this part of the Oxfordshire Cotswolds. Many of the original houses around the market place were rebuilt in the 18th century with fashionable Georgian architecture frontages. In the Victorian era William Bliss built his spectacular tweed mill and there was a brewery, glove-making factory, a tannery and an iron foundry as the town grew in size.

Notable people

In 1581, the neo-Latin poet Elizabeth Jane Weston, also known as Westonia, was born here. She soon moved to Prague with her mother and stepfather Edward Kelley, an alchemist at the court of Emperor Rudolf II. She died in Prague in 1612.

James Hind was born in 1616 in the town. He was a notorious highwayman in the area, executed for high treason in 1652.

The town owes much to William Bliss, who established the foundation of the textile industry using modern technology of the industrial revolution. After a blaze at the old works he built the impressive new mill in 1872, which remains a landmark on the edge of the town. The mill closed in 1980 and has since been converted into residential accommodation.

In 1763 the Reverend Edward Stone (1702–68), while living in Chipping Norton, reported to the Royal Society that willow bark relieved pain, later discovered to contain 2-Hydroxybenzoic acid (Salicylic acid) a mild analgesic, and prepared via esterification into aspirin. Michael Volkin (editor), "Nuffield Advanced Chemistry Students Book", Longman, 2000, ISBN 0-582-32835-7]

Chipping Norton is home to Top Gear's presenter Jeremy Clarkson, while former comedian Ronnie Barker (deceased 2005) used to run the local antique shop "The Emporium" after he retired from showbusiness in 1987. Actor Wentworth Miller (achieving fame in "Prison Break") was born in Chipping Norton when his father studied at Oxford University. Actress Rachel Ward was born in the town. The world record-holding ocean rower Janice Meek lived for many years in Chipping Norton. She was the first female Chairman of the Chipping Norton Chamber of Commerce, served on the Town Council and served for one year as Mayor. [] Joseph Allen was born in Chipping Norton, moved to Canada, and became a business owner and mayor of Verdun, Quebec, a former city on the Island of Montreal. The Who drummer Keith Moon once owned the "Crown and Cushion Hotel" in the High Street.


There are three schools in Chipping Norton:
*Holy Trinity (Primary). Years: Foundation Stage-Year 6 (Saint name classes eg. St Peters)
*St Mary's (Primary). Years: Foundation Stage-Year 6 (Year name classes eg. Year 3)
*Chipping Norton School (Secondary). Years: Year 7-6th Form (Tutor Groups eg. 7W)

Notes and references

External links

* []
* [ Chipping Norton Town Partnership]
* [ Chipping Norton School (Secondary)]
* [ Chipping Norton] — 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article.
* [ The Theatre]
*dmoz|/Regional/Europe/United_Kingdom/England/Oxfordshire/Chipping_Norton/|Chipping Norton

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