Witney

The Buttercross and Church Green, Witney

Scenes of WitneyThe Town of Witney is the administrative centre for the district of West Oxfordshire and the size of the town has grown substantially since 2001 where many new homes have been built. Witney lies on the river Windrush and is about 12.5 miles west of Oxford. It is West Oxfordshire's largest settlement with a population of 24,000 [est.] inhabitants.

The Church of St. Mary the Virgin (pictured above) at the head of the green was originally a Norman church and was extended in the 12th century when the tower and spire were added. Chapels were added in the 14th century. The Buttercross at the other end of the green was built in the early 17th century as part of the town's market place. The clock was added to the building in 1683.

The bridge (appropriately in bridge street) was constructed in 1822 over the river Windrush. This is still an important crossing and route into and out of Witney. The bridge was under water in the 2007 floods and after subsequent inspection was reopened.

During the early 18th century the Witney Blanket Weavers company was formed. This was a guild to protect Witney's weavers and products from unregulated companies. By the 19th century, there were over 70 different companies making, or selling blankets in Witney. After the 1960s the industry went into decline, largely because of the adoption of the duvet cover. The last mill to close in Witney was in 2002 ending a huge chapter in Witney's industrial history.

Regarding politics, Witney has long been a safe Conservative seat and of course is held by the current prime minister, David Cameron.