Bicester is an Ancient Parish and a market town in the county of Oxfordshire.

Other places in the parish include: Wretchwick, Bicester Market End, and Bicester Kings End.

Alternative names:

  • Bisster
  • Bister
  • Burcester

Parish church: St. Eadburg

Parish registers begin:

  • Parish registers: 1539
  • Bishop’s Transcripts: 1680

Nonconformists include: Independent/Congregational and Wesleyan Methodist.

Adjacent Parishes

Parish History

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

BICESTER-popularly Bister-a town, two townships, a parish, a subdistrict, and a district in Oxford. The town stands in a rather flat situation, on Akemanstreet, and on the Oxford and Bletchley railway, near the ancient Alcester, 12 miles NNE of Oxford. It was called by the Saxons Burenceaster or Bernaceaster; was probably built, in the time of Birinus, from the ruins of Alcester; and was a frontier garrison of the West Saxons against the Mercians. An Augustinian priory, dedicated to St. Edburgh, was founded at it, in 1182, by Gilbert Basset, baron of Hedingdon; and given, at the dissolution, to Charles, Duke of Suffolk. Both parties, in the civil war of the time of Charles I., inflicted damage on it; and the royalists, in 1643, were defeated in a skirmish here. A fragment of the priory, now a dwelling house, still exists; a spring called St. Edburgh’s well, formerly held in high repute for medicinal virtue, is in the neighbourhood; and a path, called Edburg balk, a corruption of St. Edburgh’s walk, leads from the priory to the well. Numerous ancient coins and other relics have been found. The town is neat; contains many recently rebuilt houses; and has, of late years, been much extended by new streets and buildings. The parish church is spacious; was erected in 1400, on the site of the priory church; has a seemingly Saxon arch, early English and decorated nave, and perpendicular tower; was recently restored and adorned, at a cost of £3,500; and has a brass and many tombs. There are three dissenting chapels, a cemetery of 1861, large national schools, a workhouse built at a cost of £4,640, and charities £247. A handsome county courthouse was erected in 1864. The town has a head post-office, a railway station, a banking office, and two chief inns; is a seat of petty sessions; and publishes two weekly newspapers. A weekly market is held on Friday; and fairs on Easter Friday, the first Friday of June and of July, 5 Aug., the Friday before and the Friday after 11 Oct., and the second Friday after 11 Oct., and the Friday after 11 Dec. Manufactures in clothing, sacking, and pale ale are carried on. Pop., 2,798. Houses, 620.

The two townships are called Bicester-Market-End and Bicester-Kings-End. B.-Market-End contains most of the town, and includes Wretchwick hamlet. Acres, 1,040. Pop., 2,711. Houses, 593. B.-Kings-End lies to the N; had formerly a market, which was removed to B.-Market-End; and contains Bicester House and the site of Bigenhall. Acres, 1,540. Pop., 338. Houses, 64. The parish consists of the two townships. Acres, 2,580. Real property, £10,498. Pop., 3,049. Houses, 657. The property is not much divided. The hunting establishment of T. T. Drake, Esq., the master of the Bicester hounds, is at Stratton-Andley, 2 miles N of the town. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Oxford. Value, £270. Patrons, the Trustees of the late Sir G. P. Turner.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].

A Topographical Dictionary of England 1848

BICESTER (St. Eadburg), a market-town and parish, and the head of a union, in the hundred of Ploughley, county of Oxford, 12½ miles (N. E. by N.) from Oxford, and 55 (N. W. by W.) from London; comprising the townships of Market-End and King’s-End, and containing 3022 inhabitants. This place, by the Saxons called Burenceaster and Burnacester, both implying a fortified place, is supposed to derive its name either from its founder, Birinus, a canonized Saxon prelate; from Bernwood, a forest in Buckinghamshire, not far from which it is situated; or from the small stream of the Bure, on which it stands. A priory for a prior and eleven canons of the Augustine order was founded in 1182, and dedicated to St. Eadburg, by Gilbert Basset, Baron of Haddington, and his wife, Egiline de Courteney: the revenue, at the Dissolution, was £167. 2. 10. In 1355, a royal license was granted to Nicholas Jurdan, warden of the chapel of St. John the Baptist, for the establishment of an hospital for poor and infirm people; but the design does not appear to have been carried into execution. During the civil war in the reign of Charles I., the inhabitants suffered by repeated exactions levied on them by both parties; and, in 1643, a skirmish took place, in which the royalists were defeated and driven through the town.

Bicester is situated in a valley, on the banks of a stream which falls into the river Ray, which joins the Cherwell, near Islip; it is neatly built, and amply supplied with water. The female inhabitants are employed in making pillow-lace; and the town is noted for excellent malt-liquor. The market is on Friday; and fairs are held on the Friday in Easter-week, the first Friday in June, August 5th, and the third Friday in December; there are also statute-fairs on the first three Fridays after Michaelmas. The county magistrates hold pettysessions for the district every Friday: the powers of the county debt-court of Bicester, established in 1847, extend over the registration-district of Bicester. The Living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king’s books at £16; net income, £250; patron and impropriator, Lady Page Turner: the tithes for King’s-End were commuted for land and annual money payments in 1793. There is an excellent parsonage-house, with a large and productive garden; the premises have been greatly improved by the incumbent, the Rev. J. W. Watts. The church, which is supposed to have been built about the year 1400, on the site of a former edifice, is a spacious and handsome structure with a lofty square tower, and contains many interesting monuments and some antique sculptures. There are places of worship for Independents and Wesleyans. A school is supported partly by endowment; and lands producing about £200 per annum, and a few minor charitable bequests, are appropriated to the relief of the poor. The union of Bicester comprises 38 parishes and places, of which 36 are in the county of Oxford, and two in that of Bucks, and contains a population of 15,201; the union house is situated near the town. In the vicinity, on the Londonroad, is Graven-hill Wood, on the north side of which ran the Akeman-street; and not far from the town, on the west side, is St. Eadburg’s well, famous before the Reformation for miraculous cures, and which proved very useful in supplying water to the town during the dry summer of 1666. In making some excavations in 1819, the foundations of the priory, a vast mass of sculptured fragments, pieces of painted glass, and other relics, were discovered.

Source: A Topographical Dictionary of England by Samuel Lewis 1848

Parish Records

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England, Oxfordshire, Bister

England, Oxfordshire, Bicester – Cemeteries ( 2 )
Bicester, St. Egburg monumental inscriptions
Author: Kearsey, Hugh A.; Bicester Local History Society (England); Oxfordshire Family History Society

Bicester, United Reform Chapel, Chapel Lane, Bicester (late Congregational Chapel) monumental inscriptions
Author: Oxfordshire Family History Society

England, Oxfordshire, Bicester – Census ( 1 )
Census returns for Bicester Market End, 1841-1891
Author: Great Britain. Census Office

England, Oxfordshire, Bicester – Church records ( 11 )
Abstracts from the minute book of the Congregational Church at Bicester, Oxford, 1771-1865
Author: Jenkins, Thomas Blyford

Bicester, Oxfordshire, England (Marriages)

Bicester, Oxfordshire, marriages, 1539-1837
Author: Church of England. Parish Church of Bicester (Oxfordshire); Smith, Donnette Stringham; Bryson, Maureen Smith

Bicester, Oxfordshire, parish registers, 1539-1837
Author: Church of England. Parish Church of Bicester (Oxfordshire); Smith, Donnette Stringham

Births and baptisms, 1820-1836
Author: Wesleyan Church (Bicester, England)

Births, baptisms and burials, 1786-1837
Author: Market End Chapel, Water Lane (Bicester, Oxfordshire : Independent)

Bishop’s transcripts for Bicester, 1680-1834
Author: Church of England. Parish Church of Bicester (Oxfordshire)

Congregational Church, Chapel Street, Bicester, Oxon 1695-1746 marriages and baptisms
Author: Smith, Donnette Stringham; Chapel Street Congregational Chapel (Bicester, England)

England, Oxfordshire, Bicester, Catholic parish records of Immaculate Conception, 1902-1920
Author: Catholic Church. Immaculate Conception (Bicester, Oxfordshrie); Catholic Church. Archdiocese of Birmingham (England)

Non-parochial registers of North and West Oxfordshire : registers held by the Public Record Office, except for the early register for Bicester Independent Chapel which is retained locally
Author: Young, Brian R.; Greenaway, Gwen; Fordred, Ingrid; Oxfordshire Family History Society

Parish registers for Bicester, 1539-1812
Author: Church of England. Parish Church of Bicester (Oxfordshire)

England, Oxfordshire, Bicester – Church records – Indexes ( 6 )
Computer printout of Bicester Market End, Water Lane Independent, Oxon., Eng

Computer printout of Bicester, Oxford, England

Computer printout of Bicester, Wesleyan, Oxon., Eng

Parish register printouts of Bicester Market End, Oxford, England (Independent, Water Lane) ; christenings, 1786-1837
Author: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Genealogical Department

Parish register printouts of Bicester, Oxford, England (Wesleyan) ; christenings, 1820-1836
Author: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Genealogical Department

Parish register printouts of Bicester, Oxford, England ; christenings, 1680-1685, 1699-1700, 1721-1812
Author: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Genealogical Department

England, Oxfordshire, Bicester – History ( 2 )
Bicester, Oxfordshire, England (Marriages)

The history and antiquities of Bicester, a market town in Oxfordshire : compiled from original records … to which is added an inquiry into the history of Alchester, a city of the Dobuni … : with an appendix and the whole of Kennett’s glossary
Author: Dunkin, John

England, Oxfordshire, Bicester – Poorhouses, poor law, etc. ( 1 )
Bicester Union poor law minute book, 1835-1900

England, Oxfordshire, Bicester – Schools ( 3 )
Bicester Blue Coats School : boys admitted 1745-1788 and 1860-1909
Author: EurekA Partnership

Bicester Charity School records, 1745-1889
Author: Bicester Charity School (Oxfordshire)

Bicester National School records, 1860-1899
Author: Bicester National School (Oxfordshire)

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  • County: Oxfordshire
  • Civil Registration District: Bicester
  • Probate Court: Courts of the Bishop (Episcopal Consistory) and the Archdeaconry of Oxford
  • Diocese: Oxford
  • Rural Deanery: Bicester
  • Poor Law Union: Bicester
  • Hundred: Ploughley
  • Province: Canterbury

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