Infobox UK place
official_name= Burford
country= England
region= South East England
population= 5,972
os_grid_reference= SP2512
latitude= 51.8077
longitude= -1.6367
constituency_westminster= Witney
shire_district= West Oxfordshire
shire_county= Oxfordshire

Burford (pronEng|ˈbɜːfəd) is a Cotswold town in Oxfordshire, England. It lies about 30 kilometres west of Oxford on the River Windrush and is a popular centre for tourists who visit the Cotswolds, with many antique shops on the main street. The name derives from the Old English words "burh" meaning fortified town or hilltown and "ford" meaning ford (crossing).


Burford Priory stands on the site of a small Augustinian hospital. It is a fine example of Cotswold Jacobethan domestic architecture, formerly the home of William Lenthall, Speaker of the House of Commons in the Long Parliament, who purchased the estate in 1637. The house and later the chapel were restored for the philanthropist E.J. Horniman, M.P., after 1912 by the architect Walter Godfrey. Today it houses The Priory of Our Lady, a community of Anglican Benedictine monks and nuns.

Burford is home to the "Blue Cross National Animal Welfare Charity". 'The Cotswold Wildlife Park' is also located near Burford, approximately convert|2|mi|km South down the A361 towards Lechlade.

Burford County Primary School is the town's primary school and is located in Priory Lane, and Burford School, a mixed comprehensive school / secondary school, is also found in the town.

Burford was recently twinned with Potenza Picena, a small town in the Marche, on the East Adriatic coast of Italy. Links are growing with many groups in the town including the school, football team and church.

Burford has a fete every summer, involving the children from the primary school. There is a procession (including a dragon) down the high street to the school, where there are stalls and games.

Burford is the home of the duly named 'Burford Golf Club' located less than convert|100|yd from the Buford roundabout (on the A361 turn-off; towards Lechlade). The course itself is separated by the A361 having 9 holes on each side.

Burford has many hotels, restaurants and public houses all within walking distance of each other, they include:Burford House Hotel,Burford Lodge Hotel & Restaurant,The Cotswold Gateway,The Lamb Inn,The Bay Tree,The Highway,The Royal Oak,The Mermaid,The Angel,The Cotswold Arms,The Golden Pheasant,The Bull,The Aziz (Indian),The Dragon Inn (Chinese)

Burford Garden Company

Burford is also home to Burford Garden Company, a well-known, high quality store, its site spanning some 15 acres, stocking products for the home and garden, along with a susbstantial fresh food market and two restaurants. The shop is independent and a favorite with many of the celebrities who live in the Cotswolds area, including Kate Moss, David Cameron, Gary Barlow and Kate Winslet and members of the critically acclaimed rock band Radiohead.Fact|date=July 2008

The Arts

Burford has a strong selection of retail art galleries offering a wide range of art works and is ideally placed for people travelling out from London. Of note are the Wren Gallery, Salt Gallery, Brian Sinfield Gallery & Stone Gallery and also the Vintage Arts Gallery at Burford Garden Company on the A40 road.


, which can still be found in the church.

Between the 14th century and the 17th century Burford was important for its wool. The "Tolsey" is located in the centre of Burford's High Street; this was once the centre of the local wool trade. Today, the "Tolsey" is home to a museum.

The town centre features some houses dating from the 15th century. Its most notable building, however, is the parish church dedicated to St. John the Baptist, which is known for its merchants' guild chapel, memorial to Henry VIII's barber-surgeon, Edmund Harman, featuring South American Indians, and Kempe glass. The parish church is located at Ordnance Survey mapping six-figure grid reference SP 253124

The Easter Synod

, Abbot of Malmsbury; and many others.Wikisource1911Enc|Burford

Aldhelm was ordered at this conference to write a book against the error of the Britons in the observance of Easter. At this Synod Berthwald gave 40 cassates of land to Aldhelm who afterwards became Bishop of Shereborne. According to Spelman, the notes of the Synod were published in A.D. 705.

The Golden Dragon

Malmesbury and other chroniclers give accounts of a battle fought in Burford in 752 AD. The battle waged long and bloody. All day the arrows strewed the ground with wounded and dying men, while the Saxon battle-axe and the spiked mace played their terrible part in the conflict. The slaughter was enormous and in the end Æthelhum the mighty standard-bearer who carried the flag with the golden dragon emblazoned upon it was killed by the lance of his Saxon rival. As noted in the Anglo Saxon Chronicles "A.D 752. This year Cuthred, king of the West Saxons, in the 12th year of his reign, fought at Burford, against Æthelbald king of the Mercians, and put him to flight." Camden thus tells the tale, "Isis now and then overflowing, the lower grounds receives its first addition from the Windrush, which, flowing out of the Cotteswold, salutes Burford standing on the banks of it, in Saxon Beorgford, where Cuthred, king of the West Saxons, then tributary to the Mercians, not being able to endure any longer the cruelty and base exactions of king Æthelbald, met him in the open field with an army and beat him, taking his standard, which was a portraiture of a golden dragon." The origin of the golden dragon standard is most likely that of Uther Pendragon, the father of King Arthur of which Geoffrey of Monmouth says "Mindful of the explanation given by Merlin of the star about which I have told you, he ordered two Dragons to be fashioned in gold, in the likeness of the one which he had seen in the ray which shone from that star. As soon as the Dragons had been completed this with the most marvellous craftsmanship - he made a present of one of them to the congregation of the cathedral church of the see of Winchester. The second one he kept for himself, so that he could carry it around to his wars." [ The History of the Kings of Britain, Geoffrey of Monmouth, c. 1136 ]

It would appear that the anniversary of this battle was annually celebrated by the good folk of Burford, to keep alive wholesome remembrance of the glorious tradition of the golden dragon of the Britons [ Gardener's Directory of Oxfordshire, 1852 ] , for William Camden, in describing other festivals, says, "There has been a custom in the town of making a great dragon yearly, and carrying it up and down the streets in great jollity on midsummer eve". In addition to the dragon they also carried a giant. The field of engagement is called Battle Edge to this day.

On 21st November, 1814, a large freestone sarcophagus was discovered near to Battle Edge convert|3|ft|m below the surface, weighing 16 cwt with the feet pointing almost due South. The cavity is convert|6|ft|m in length and convert|2|ft|2|in|m in breadth. On examination it was found to contain the remains of a human body, possibly the mighty Æthelhum, and portions of a leathern cuirass studded with metal nails. The skeleton was found in near perfect state due to the exclusion of air from the sarcophagus. The coffin is now preserved in Burford Church Yard, near the West gate.

"Whose fame is in that dark green tomb? Four stones with their heads of moss stand there. They mark the narrow house of death. Some chief of fame is here! Raise the songs of old! Awake their memory in the tomb." Ossian


* The fictional GI Joe character Big Ben is from Burford.


External links

* [http://www.geograph.org.uk/search.php?i=2652508 www.geograph.co.uk : photos of Burford and surrounding area]

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