Church & Castle

the Normans took over from Bana's Saxon successors, the bishops of Dorchester-on-Thames and (later) of Lincoln ran the growing town as part of their North Oxfordshire estates.

The original Saxon cluster of wooden huts gave way to planned streets and market square, even a castle (built by Bishop of Lincoln, Alexander the Magnificent). The Normans were great ones for castles.

This one was regarded as sufficiently grand to be a regular resting place for many English kings on tour. Edward I came here six times, including one stay of nearly a week. Of course, Eddie wasn't sight-seeing; he was the sight to be seen, showing the regal presence to his subjects (and, incidentally, saving on the household bills back at the palace).

It wasn't until the middle of the sixteenth century that the bishops gave way to a court of Common Council, a self-perpetuating bunch of local toffs. What effect they had on the townscape isn't certain, but they were the ones who failed to prevent the destruction of the Cross that made Banbury famous. They also failed to prevent a disastrous fire, in 1628, which destroyed most of Banbury's older buildings.

They had hardly rebuilt, when the Civil War broke out, sweeping back and forward across this territory, and Banbury became one of the ruins that Cromwell knocked about a bit.

Throughout the Civil War, Banbury Castle stood out against the Parliamentary forces, despite the ideological support within the town, only surrendering when Charles himself had been captured. The town responded to the castle's steadfastness by demanding that it be pulled down to provide building stone, a request which Cromwell gladly granted.

Bana's Burh Bana's Burh Banbury's Buildings Banbury's Buildings
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