Woodstock - Travel Guide
Located 7 miles North East of Witney & easily accessible from Oxford, this pretty market town is dominated by its proximity to the wonderful Blenheim Palace. This little town was a Royal manor, before the Norman Conquest, the park of Blenheim was first enclosed by Henry I, in the early part of the 12thC creating a 7 mile wall around its perimeter. The wall was created to contain his menagerie of animals, from camels, lions & porcupines. It is thought this was the first 'zoo' in England. His son Henry II enlarged the palace, and would bring his mistress Rosamund Clifford to enjoy the Cotswolds countryside. The surrounding town was built to house his courtiers. Throughout the centuries many monarchs made use of this fabulous property, each adding sections or renewing interiors, until it was damaged beyond repair during the English Civil War. It cam to the Marlborough family after the Battle of Blenheim, and was gifted to the first Lord Marlborough, John Churchill in 1704, who set about creating the fantastic property you can explore today.
The town was also famous for it's glove making which prospered well into the 20th century.
Woodstock is a fine Georgian market town, situated in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds & has royal connections dating back to Saxon times. There is a variety of apple, called the Blenheim orange that was first grown in a garden in Woodstock town in 1822 & it was so good it had been awarded a medal. In the centre of the town there is a large town hall that was originally an open market hall for market traders. In the Victorian era the towns fire engines were stored there up until it was closed in 1898. Look for the sundial on the side of the town hall that has the Latin words of 'tempus fugit' meaning time flies. The stocks located in Park Street are quite unusual, as they have 5 leg holes. Stocks were a form of punishment for criminals who had committed minor crimes. Criminals had to sit on a low bench called a whipping post & have either one or both legs pinned down in the stocks. Woodstock has many festivals & events throughout the year, one such event is called the 'Old Woodstock Mock Mayor' a centuries old fun filled tradition of electing a new mock mayor who is then dunked into the River Glyme!
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