Sometimes people come up to me and ask me about the history of Oxford and how the city began. Unfortunately, the actual origins of Oxford are clouded by the relentless passage of time.
A medieval historian by the name of John Rous, took to his creative flair when inventing a dramatic genealogy for Oxford. Writing his 1490 piece Historium Regum Angliae, John Rous claimed that there was a city called Caer-Memre built on the River Thames during the era that Samuel was Judge in Judea. This would have time placed Oxford to about 1500 BC.
There are other exotic medieval versions of the foundation of Oxford. One legend cites the Trojans to have founded the city, having supposedly landed in the UK about 1100 BC.
Another legend has a more royal theme. A king name Arviragus is claimed to have founded Oxford in 70 AD. In comparison to some of the other more creative tales, there may at least be some historical basis to this king!
More conventional history suggests Oxford was first settled in Saxon times, where the Saxon name “Oxenforda” emerged. It was here the “Ford of the Oxen” arose. During Saxon period, fords were more abundant than bridges. By this account, Oxford began with the establishment of an oxen crossing around 900 AD and this is the most widely accepted version.