Volume II of the Victoria History of Oxfordshire was published in 1907, under
the editorship of Dr. William Page. Though a further volume was then in preparation, it did not appear, and the whole project lapsed for many years.
In November 1932 Sir George Clark (now Provost of Oriel College), the
late Sir Charles Peers, Sir Maurice Powicke, and the late Dr. H. E. Salter held
a meeting at All Souls College to discuss the possibility of completing the
Victoria History of the county. At this time Dr. Page's rights in the Victoria
History of the Counties of England were in process of transfer to the University
of London, and on the completion of the transfer in 1933, a Victoria County
History Committee was set up in the Institute of Historical Research. At the
first meeting of this Committee, in July 1933, Sir Charles Peers and his Oxford
collaborators came forward with a concrete proposal for the continuation of the
Oxfordshire History. The proposal was well received and a few months later
it was decided to concentrate first upon the City and University of Oxford. A
local committee, consisting of Sir George Clark, Mr. A. B. Emden, Sir Charles
Peers, Sir Maurice Powicke, and Dr. Salter, was formed. It raised a fund and
attracted generous contributions from the City Corporation and the Colleges
of Oxford, the City being the first local authority, so far as is known, to make a
grant towards the expenses of the History. Dr. Salter was appointed editor with
Mrs. M. D. Lobel as his assistant. Nearly all the articles which they had commissioned were already in type when the Second World War broke out and put
an end to all activity. In the same year (1939) Volume I of the Oxfordshire
History was published under the editorship of Mr. L. F. Salzman, the general
editor of the Victoria History at that time.
In 1948 plans began to be made for writing those volumes of the History
which are to deal with the topography of rural Oxfordshire, and in the following year an Oxfordshire Victoria County History Committee was formed. This
Committee, whose present members are named below, is similar in character to
the Wiltshire Victoria County History Committee described in the Editorial
Note to the Victoria History of Wiltshire, Volume VII. That is to say it is an
element in a partnership between a particular county and the University of
London, whereby a local Committee undertakes to meet the costs of writing and
the University the costs of finally editing and publishing the history of the
county in question. The new Oxfordshire Committee, once formed, accepted
responsibility for the completion of the University and City volume, and
entrusted the task to Mrs. Lobel whom it had appointed its local editor. This
enlargement of the Committee's responsibility has necessarily delayed the
primary task of compiling the history of rural Oxfordshire.
After the articles set up in Dr. Salter's time had been reviewed it was found
that additional articles on the University must be commissioned, and that full
justice could not be done to both City and University in a single volume. It
was therefore arranged that the history of the City should appear separately,
and a due proportion of the money contributed for the original joint volume
was set aside for the purpose. The present volume therefore deals with the
University alone. The University of London, though bearing a substantial part
of the costs of printing, has not otherwise concerned itself with the volume.
In respect of the volume as it now stands a peculiar debt of gratitude is due to
the late Dr. Salter, than whom no scholar, living or dead, has made a larger
contribution to the history of Oxford and of Oxfordshire. Indeed, the sheer
bulk of the documents he has published, while it has greatly enriched the book,
may also be said to have delayed its appearance.
Special thanks are also due to the following people, who have generously
helped with advice on illustrations, heraldry, and other matters, or with the
revision of articles, or have given permission for blocks to be used: Mr. W. J.
Arkell; Mr. T. S. R. Boase, President of Magdalen; Mr. E. G. Collieu; Dr.
A. M. Cooke; Mr. W. C. Costin; Mr. A. D. M. Cox; Dr. Joycelyne D. Dickinson; Mr. R. Drummond-Hay; Mr. A. B. Emden; Professor E. W. Gilbert;
Dr. U. S. Haslam-Jones; Mrs. Hester Jenkins; Professor A. H. M. Jones; Mr.
K. B. McFarlane; the Revd. R. L. P. Milburn; Mr. J. N. L. Myres, Bodley's
Librarian; Mr. W. A. Pantin; Mr. R. L. Rickard; Mr. A. L. Rowse; Mr.
Lawrence Stone; and, in particular, Mr. H. M. Colvin and Mr. P. S. Spokes
who, in addition to advising on the illustrations, made valuable additions and
corrections to all the articles on the buildings of the University and Colleges.
Thanks are also returned to the following architects, and student architects
(formerly of the Oxford School of Architecture and Building) for their expert
assistance in drafting the College ground-plans: Mr. I. W. Beese, A.R.I.B.A.;
Mr. H. A. James, F.S.A., A.R.I.B.A.; Mr. G. I. Boella; Mr. J. R. Dorrell;
Mr. L. Horwood; Mr. P. del Nevo; Mrs. M. M. Preston; Mr. B. H. Soanes;
and above all to Mr. R. J. P. Boby who undertook the largest share. The
editors are also indebted to Mr. Geoffrey Webb for the loan of original drawings, and to the Controller of H.M. Stationery Office, to many Oxford Colleges,
University and other institutions and individuals, whose courtesy is acknowledged elsewhere in the volume, for permission to make use of documents, plans,
and illustrations in their possession.