You are here: Published Histories

Published histories are a key starting point for any local study of Oxfordshire, whether the emphasis is on archaeology, buildings, landscape or history. Finding and assessing the secondary sources, what others have recorded and concluded will provide a quarry of information, indicate available sources and methods of using them, and offer ideas for questions and interpretations. It will also identify gaps in knowledge, and often stimulate scrutiny and disagreement regarding the story as presented so far. Writing and publishing the results of their own new research will be a vital future contribution by individuals and groups of researchers to the growing understanding of Oxfordshire history.

Published histories of Oxfordshire take many forms; books, articles and book chapters, reports, pamphlets, maps, newspapers, guides and trail leaflets, videos and DVDs amongst them. The earliest date from the 16th century, and publication (now including online) continues unabated. The starting point for any new local study will be to review as many of them relevant to a chosen place and period and theme of research as possible. It is often a good idea to work backwards from the most recent. Existing publications fall into different types, reflecting phases in the development of local studies, who was writing, for what audience, using what sources, and considering what aspects of the past to be important. The modern writer needs to approach them critically and to do this it is helpful to recognise the various types. They are outlined in this section.

Helpful reviews of the historiography of Oxfordshire and Berkshire can be found in:


E.H. Cordeaux and D.H. Merry provide a comprehensive list of published works, printed Acts of Parliament, catalogues of collections with other ephemera and Oxfordshire sources up to the time of their publication in A Bibliography of Printed Works Relating to Oxfordshire (excluding the University and City of Oxford) (1955), A Bibliography of Printed Works Relating to the City of Oxford (1976) and A Bibliography of Printed Works Relating to the University of Oxford (1968). A supplementary volume for Oxfordshire appeared in 1981 (Oxfordshire Historical Society, New Series, vol. 28). After that the most comprehensive range of printed material has been captured by the Centre for Oxfordshire Studies in Oxford. Their catalogue is incorporated into that of the Oxford Libraries Information System (OLIS).

Work on Oxfordshire and Berkshire history and archaeology has frequently appeared in non-local publications and researchers will need also to check The Bibliography of British and Irish History, a summary of which is available here. Access is free for subscribing institutions, normally Universities and libraries (this is a new site and researchers need to check if their university or library subscribes).

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