Yuletide Greetings!

We’re fast approaching Morris Oxford’s third Christmas: a time for celebration, commemoration, consumption – and possibly even combustion. Before we finally ring out the old and bring in the new, let’s take a moment to reflect on the extraordinary year that was 2021.

On New Year’s Day (what a long time ago that now seems) we published the first ever Morris Oxford New Year Quiz. You still have a few days left to complete it, if you haven’t done so already.

On the anniversary of the execution of King Charles I on 30 January 1649, we documented the central role played by Oxford as the Royalist Capital in the English Civil War. To think that our city was besieged three times yet never ransacked …

The Feedback was remarkable, featuring contributions from several world-renowned historians. So we continued the Civil War theme into February with a story about John Bigg’s Other Shoe – not to mention Arthur Aston’s Wooden Leg.

In March we announced the publication of the Morris Oxford Mini-History of Oxford. A big THANK YOU to everyone who bought a copy (a dozen copies in the case of one heroic subscriber). All sales proceeds go to the Morris Oxford Verdant Green Fund for ‘the beautification of our brilliant city through the planting of trees and wildflowers’.

The tragic, romantic tale of Rosamund the Fair featured in April, as part of a broader Story about the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the spectacular disappearance of Osney Abbey, and the poignant ruins of Godstow.

In May we delved into the mysteries of Oxford street names. Crotch Crescent and Squitchey Lane featured large, and there was intense speculation about the precise relationship between North and South Parade; but it was the story of Magpie Lane which raised most eyebrows.

The arrival of summer and the long-heralded Great Unlocking was marked with a solstice feature about the Trout Inn ­– including the revelation that its notorious peacock is named Krug.

The following month we continued the waterside theme, with a video posting: Rivers Run by the Jericho Singers under the direction of the multi-talented Steph Pirrie.

Back on dry land we were delighted when, one sweltering day (remember them?) in August, Blackwell’s bookshop put in an order for 50 copies of the Mini-History, a transaction sealed with a special visit to The Gaffer’s Office in Broad Street.

Close by, we took the opportunity to visit Brasenose Lane, and speculate upon the stones, setts, kennels and cobbles which make up  some of Oxford’s most ancient and picturesque thoroughfares.

In October we took to the skies in the company of local hero and pioneer balloonist James Sadler, England’s first aeronaut, Oxford born and bred. Did you know there are plans to create a spectacular visitor attraction in his honour?

How could we fail to remember remember the Fifth of November, when we have a tangible memento of the dramatic events of 1605 in the form of Guy Fawkes’ Lantern? It was good to be able to attend a few bonfire parties after the isolation of the past months.

Thank you to all MOxfordians who, over the course of the past year, have been in touch with comments, reflections, anecdotes, and images. Week by week the Feedback section is growing into an ever richer archive of insight and information.

There really is no end to the number of remarkable Oxford stories. We’ve only just begun to scratch the surface. So do, please, continue to get in touch. And encourage your friends, family, and neighbours to get in touch too. We’d love to hear from you.

Onward and Oxford!

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