Woodstock Information and History
Woodstock's royal accociations are impressive and a string of Kings were attracted to Woodstock by its impressive hunting.
Henry I, youngest son of William the Conqueror, built a royal lodge in Woodstock and this was enlarged to create a grand manor house by his successor Henry II. The Black Prince was born here in 1330. It is this area that became the Blenheim estate.
Henry II often stayed at Woodstock with his mistress 'The Fair Rosamund' and during his time spent here granted parcels of land to build hostelries for the use of his men. A weekly market, on Tuesdays was also established and a three day fair at the feast of St. Matthew.
During the Civil War the Royalists used Woodstock as a base.
The Palace that stands today was built in 1715 by the architect John Vanbrugh and the park was landscaped by Capability Brown. With the building of the new palace came much new building in Woodstock itself and many of the old timber-framed buildings were given new fronts of coursed stone and reroofed using slate from nearby Stonesfield.
Woodstock became renowned for two crafts, glove making and decorative steel work.
Woodstock Market Place is dominated by The Town Hall, built in 1766. To the south is the Bear Hotel which dates back to the 13th century. Across Park Street, behind the Town Stocks, Fletcher’s House – a 16th century merchant’s house – is home to the Oxfordshire County Museum. The tree-lined Park Street leads to Blenheim Park and one of the most breathtaking views in England.
In contrast, Market Street and High Street bustle with activity, as does Oxford Street, the main thoroughfare. Each has a pleasing mix of small shops, inns and private houses where car parking is convenient and free.