Wednesday, 11 September 2013


We arrived in Oxford on a beautiful sunny summer day, but there is heavy rain in the forecast, so we are hoping we can fit in our walking tour of Oxford before that happens.   George Howson (1790), is my 3 times great grandfather and I believe he was born in Oxford.  This reference comes from a publication entitled   "Commemorative Biographical Record of the County of York" (Canada) published in circa 1905.

There is a paragraph  about George Plant who married Georgianna Adelaide Howson (granddaughter of George Howson) " ...George Howson, who was born in Oxford, England where he married Jane Lay. In 1832 they came to Canada settling at Belleville, where Mr. Howson was a market gardener...." 

So, I'm not sure if George actually lived in the City of Oxford, or if the reference is for the County.  But, I do know that George Howson and Jane Lay were married in Abingdon, Berkshire, which is not far away.   Oxford dates back to 900 AD and the University is one of the oldest in the English speaking world. There is also a long history of brewing beer in Oxford.  Since I think George Howson was an Innkeeper in Abingdon, it's conceivable that he lived and worked in Oxford as well.

The University is a series of Colleges and does not have a main campus.  Since the colleges date so far back in history is easy to imagine what the area looked like in the 1800s.

The University dominates the City and there are lots of students and tourists here.  The main mode of transportation appears to be the bicycle.  Our tour guide tells us to be wary of the bikers or as he calls them the "assassins."  As they don't stop for pedestrians.

Several scenes from Harry Potter movies were filmed here.  The Divinity School, Bodelian Library was used as the infirmary for Harry.

Divinity School, Bodelian Library

C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) held academic positions at both Oxford and Cambridge and wrote his novel The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, while in Oxford.  These might have been an inspiration for his work:

 There are also lots of pubs here so after our tour we will have a quick lunch and a pint.  Then we will head to Abingdon to see where my George Howson lived.