- Susan Wollenberg
English cathedral and university city, on the River Thames (known locally as the Isis).
The first documented reference to Oxford is in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle under the year 912. Parts of the medieval fortifications survive today in the remains of the city walls (some of which were incorporated into the colleges) and castle tower (built for William the Conqueror in 1071). Among the medieval monasteries were St Frideswide’s (within the city, to the south) and Oseney Abbey (beyond the city walls, to the west). These centres of learning, together with the exclusion of English students from France (1167) and dispersal of the University of Paris (1229), contributed to the development of the new university. The chancellor (first mentioned in a document of 1214) was originally appointed by the Bishop of Lincoln (in whose diocese Oxford was then situated), but the right of nomination passed to the masters of the university, until in ...