About VCH Oxfordshire

The Victoria County History of Oxfordshire is part of a unique national research project known as the Victoria History of the Counties of England (or VCH) - currently the greatest single publishing project in English local history. Started in 1899, it aims to produce a fully researched history of every village, town and parish in England, encompassing landscape, settlement, buildings, economic and social history, and religious history. The research is made available in book form (the 'Big Red Books'), each volume covering a particular area, and also online

In Oxfordshire two 'general' volumes were published in 1907 and 1939, but detailed work on individual parishes and towns did not begin until the 1950s-60s, with the most recent volume published in July 2016. In all 18 volumes have been published out of 23 planned, together covering two thirds of the county. All but Volume XVIII (Ewelme Hundred) are available online as well as through local libraries.

A small team based in Oxford is working to complete the remaining five volumes, of which those on the Wychwood area and the South Chilterns are well advanced. Work on the other three volumes (to focus on Burford, Chadlington, and Chipping Norton) will begin over the next few years, subject to adequate funding.

On this website you can read work in progress, find out about future plans and how to support us, or access published volumes. For more information, contact one of the county team profiled below.

Please note that places in the Vale of White Horse (absorbed into Oxfordshire in 1974) were covered in the Berkshire VCH series, published in 1906-27. Current projects all fall within the ancient (pre-1974) county of Oxfordshire.

Read more about the Victoria County History.

Staff Profiles

Simon Townley Simon Townley, County Editor

Dr Simon Townley (County Editor) joined Oxfordshire VCH in 1987, after completing a DPhil on medieval church and society in the West Midlands. He became County Editor in 1996. Over that time he has made major contributions to eight Oxfordshire volumes and has edited six, including those focused on the market towns of Witney (Volume XIV) and Henley-on-Thames (Volume XVI), the recent Ewelme Hundred volume (Volume XVIII, 2016), and the forthcoming volume on Wychwood Forest and Environs (Volume XIX, to appear late 2019). He is also author of the Oxfordshire EPE book Henley-on-Thames: Town, Trade and River (Phillimore 2009). From 1989 to 1996 Simon edited the county history and archaeology journal Oxoniensia, and he serves on the committees of the Oxfordshire Buildings Record, the Oxfordshire Local History Association, and Oxfordshire Record Society. He regularly gives talks to local societies, and has appeared on BBC Radio Oxford. Future plans include work on Chipping Norton for VCH Oxfordshire XXI. Email simon.townley@history.ox.ac.uk

Dr Mark Page Mark Page, County Assistant Editor

Dr Mark Page (Assistant Editor) joined Oxfordshire VCH in 2005, having previously worked as a Research Fellow on the Winchester Pipe Rolls Project, and on the University of Leicester's Whittlewood Project. He is joint author (with Richard Jones) of Medieval Villages in an English Landscape: Beginnings and Ends (Windgather Press, 2006), which emerged from the Whittlewood work. Mark has published widely on related topics, and has made substantial contributions to several VCH Oxfordshire volumes including our forthcoming Wychwood Forest volume. He is currently working on North Stoke and Ipsden for the South Chilterns volume (Volume XX), having already completed drafts on Crowmarsh Gifford, Newnham Murren, and Mongewell. Future plans include work on the Rollrights for VCH Oxfordshire XXI. Email mrp15@le.ac.uk

Stephen Mileson Stephen Mileson, County Assistant Editor

Dr Stephen Mileson rejoined VCH Oxfordshire in October 2015, having previously worked for the project from 2005-12. From 2012-15 he led the South Oxfordshire Project - a 3-year University of Oxford research project funded by the Leverhulme Trust, which looked at landscape, settlement, and buildings in Ewelme Hundred 500-1650, and raised innovative questions about how ordinary people perceived their environment. The conclusions will be published in a forthcoming monograph and in a variety of journal articles. For the VCH Stephen made substantial contributions to Volume XVI (Henley and Environs, published 2011), and Volume XVIII (Ewelme Hundred, published 2016). He is currently working on Hook Norton for the VCH's new project on the Chipping Norton area, having completed work on Shiplake, Caversham, Mapledurham, and Eye and Dunsden for the forthcoming South Chilterns volume (Volume XX). Stephen edits the county history and archaeology journal Oxoniensia, and is also author of Parks in Medieval England (OUP 2009). Email: stephen.mileson@history.ox.ac.uk

Simon Draper Simon Draper, County Assistant Editor

Dr Simon Draper (Assistant Editor) joined VCH Oxfordshire in 2012, having previously worked for the VCH in Gloucestershire (2007-10), and for the University of the West of England's British Surnames project. A landscape historian by training, in 2005 Simon completed a Durham University PhD on the early landscape and settlement of Wiltshire, which was published in 2006 as Landscape, Settlement, and Society in Roman and Early Medieval Wiltshire. He is also Hon. Editor of the Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society. Simon contributed several parish histories for VCH Gloucestershire, and for Oxfordshire has researched and written Brightwell Baldwin and Newington (published in the Ewelme Hundred volume in July 2016), and more recently Shipton-under-Wychwood and Ascott-under-Wychwood for the forthcoming Wychwood volume. He is currently working on Whitchurch for our South Chilterns volume (Volume XX), having completed a draft on neighbouring Goring. Email simon.draper@history.ox.ac.uk