Power Flush Burford

Powerflush nearby to Burford



Burford is a town in the West Oxfordshire district of Oxfordshire, England, located on the River Windrush in the Cotswold hills. It is frequently referred to as the “gateway” to the Cotswolds. Burford is 18 miles (29 kilometers) west of Oxford and 22 miles (35 kilometers) southeast of Cheltenham, about 2 miles (3 kilometers) from the Gloucestershire border. The toponym is derived from the Old English words burh, which means fortified town or hilltown, and ford, which means a river crossing. Burford parish had a population of 1,422 according to the 2011 Census.



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    HISTORY

    The town began in the middle Saxon period with the establishment of a village near the current priory site. This settlement remained in use until shortly after the Norman conquest of England, when it was replaced by the new town of Burford. On the site of the old village, a hospital was established, which remained open until King Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries. The modern priory building was built around 1580, some 40 years later.

    The Church of St John the Baptist, a Church of England parish church and Grade I listed building, is the most notable structure in the town center.

    It is known for its merchants’ guild chapel, memorial to Henry VIII’s barber-surgeon, Edmund Harman, featuring South American Indians and Kempe stained glass, and memorial to Henry VIII’s barber-surgeon, Edmund Harman, featuring South American Indians and Kempe stained glass, as described by David Verey as “a complicated building which has developed in a curious way from the Norman.” During the Civil War, the church was used as a prison for the New Model Army Banbury mutineers in 1649. Some of the 340 prisoners left carvings and graffiti in the church, which are still visible today.

    There are also some 15th-century houses in the town center, as well as the baroque-style townhouse that is now Burford Methodist Church. Burford was important for its wool trade between the 14th and 17th centuries. The Tolsey, which was once the focal point of trade on Burford’s High Street, is now a museum. Burford: Buildings and People in a Cotswold Town (2008) authors argue that Burford should be considered an Arts and Crafts town rather than a medieval town. A 2020 Country Life magazine article summarized the community’s recent history:

    Similarly, Burford bustled during the coaching era, but coaching inns such as the Ramping Cat and the Bull were reduced or closed when the railways arrived. Agriculture remained antiquated, if not Biblical, and was severely harmed by the long agricultural depression that began in the 1870s. Gibbs had to publish a glossary to explain George Ridler’s Oven, one of the folk songs he collected, in the 1890s because the local dialect was so thick. The Cotswolds took on a Sleeping Beauty charm in the late 1800s, similar to Burne-Jones’ Legend of the Briar Rose at Buscot Park in the Thames Valley.

    The Banbury Mutiny in the English Civil Wars
    On the orders of Oliver Cromwell, three Leveller soldiers were executed in the churchyard of Burford on May 17, 1649, following a mutiny started over pay and the prospect of being sent to fight in Ireland. Corporal Church, Private Perkins, and Cornet Thompson were the key leaders of the mutiny and were shot after a brief court-martial in the churchyard at Burford. The remaining soldiers were granted amnesty. ‘Levellers Day’ is observed each year on the weekend closest to the Banbury mutiny. 

    The Bell Foundry
    Burford has had two bell foundries: one in the 17th century run by the Neale family and another in the 19th and 20th centuries run by the Bond family. Between 1627 and 1641, Henry Neale was a bellfounder with a foundry in Somerford Keynes, Gloucestershire. By 1635, Edward Neale had joined him as a bell-founder at Burford, where he remained until 1685. Several Neale bells are still in use, including those at St Britius in Brize Norton, St Mary’s in Buscot, and St James the Great in Fulbrook. A few no longer rung Neale bells are displayed in Burford parish church. From 1851 to 1861, Henry Bond operated a bell foundry in Westcot. He then relocated it to Burford, where he stayed until 1905. He was succeeded by Thomas Bond, who continued to build bells at Burford until 1947. Among the remaining Bond bells are four of the ring of six at St John the Evangelist, Taynton, one and a Sanctus bell at St Nicholas, Chadlington, and one each at St Mary the Virgin, Chalgrove and St Peter’s, Whatcote in Warwickshire. 

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