John Dunn

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Oxford to Cambridge

The Oxford to Cambridge Arc 2

John Dunn Wendlebury The Lion on Dr John Dunn. Gosford Bridge to Buckingham

The Oxford to Cambridge Arc

The Lion at Wendlebury (formerly the Red Lion). It was built in the 17th century and seems to have been trading as an inn by 1732. Ogilby may have seen the building, but missed its use as an inn by 57 years.

After crossing Gosford Bridge our principal map and itinerary makers were free to roam and construct their own routes to the next major bridging point, already delineated on the Gough Map as Buckingham.

Ogilby and Moll travelled via Bicester, Stratton Audley and Gawcott. Cary went via Weston-on-the-Green, Middleton Stoney, Ardley, Finmere and Tingewick, whereas Patterson combined something of the others, travelling via Bicester, Finmere and Tingewick.

Ogilby’s 1675 route

Ogilby travelled from Gosford to Bicester, noting ‘common fields’ for most of the way. This would have been an open, pre-enclosure landscape with few hedgerows and land parcelled out to individual peasants who would followstrip farming methods. Evidence of this type of farming can often still be seen in the familiar ridge and furrow rippling of the fields where land was later given over to pasture.

I have shown John Senex's 1780 reiteration of Ogilby's original map as it reproduces more clearly.

On his way to Bicester, Ogilby passed through Wendlebury. He was essentially following what are now the A34 and A41, although the winding stretch through Wendlebury itself was by-passed some time between 1935 and 1939 by the dead straight road which now connects Bicester with the M40. However, a good stretch of the old Oxford to Bicester road, now unclassified, which passes through Wendlebury, can be followed in much the same way that Ogilby would have travelled. It winds though Wendlebury before turning eastwards to pass over the Gagle Brook (presumably at the easiest bridging point), before resuming the journey northwards to Bicester. The point at which the road turns northwards marks its conjunction with a Roman road. Immediately in the opposite direction is the site of the entrance gate to the old Roman town of Alchester.

Ogilby continued along the old Roman road to Bicester, or ‘Burcester vulgo Biscester’ as he named it; ‘Biscester’ presumably being the common, or vulgar, name.

He left Bicester, still travelling northwards, along a continuance of the same Roman road, these days the A4421, before bearing right towards Stratton Audley, or ‘Streton Audley’ as he called it, just north of Caversfield (named ‘Caffield’ on the map).

It can only be assumed that the Roman road northwards was not useable, or ran too wide to the West through Fringford, leading Ogilby to prefer the more geographically direct route to Buckingham.

Ogilby travelled from ‘Streton Audley’ northwards on a lane (today unclassified) to a ‘Water Mill’ (still extant as a residence and labelled The Old Mill on the modern Ordnance Survey Map), and into Buckinghamshire.

He travelled to the west of ‘Chickwood’ (Chetwode), as does the lane still, passing through Tingewick Woods, but not through Tingewick itself, before bearing eastwards through ‘Gaynat’ (Gawcott) and so into Buckingham.

In Buckingham, the route will have crossed the River Great Ouse at Hunter Street over the Lord’s Bridge, which for thousands of years was a wooden structure that was repeatedly subject to flooding. The current brick and stone bridge was built in 1846 when the river was redirected to make way for the railway embankment.*

*Buckingham Circular Walk Map

Herman Moll's 1710 route

This basically maps (on a small scale) the route described above by Ogilby via Bicester. One thing we can take away from Moll's map is that by 1710 the name Bicester had been agreed.