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St Mary the Virgin Church, Church Green, Witney - - 247742.jpg
St Mary the Virgin parish church
Witney is located in Oxfordshire
Population 27,522 (2011 census)
OS grid reference SP3509
Civil parish
  • Witney
  • West Oxfordshire
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Witney
Postcode district OX28
Dialling code 01993
Police Thames Valley
Fire Oxfordshire
Ambulance South Central
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament
  • Witney
Website Witney Town Council
List of places
51°47′N 1°29′W / 51.78°N 1.49°W / 51.78; -1.49
Arms of Witney Town Council
Crest On a Wreath of the Colours upon a Mount Vert between a Crescent and a Star Or a Paschal Lamb proper.
Blazon Vert on a Fess wavy Argent between in chief a sinister Glove of the last between two Leopards' Faces each holding in the mouth a Shuttle Or and in base a representation of the Butter Cross at Witney Gold a Barrulet wavy Azure.
Motto Ingenio Floremus
Granted to the urban district council on 9 September 1955.

Witney is a market town on the River Windrush in West Oxfordshire in the county of Oxfordshire, England. It is 12 miles (19 km) west of Oxford. The place-name "Witney" is derived from the Old English for "Witta's island". The earliest known record of it is as Wyttannige in a Saxon charter of 969. The Domesday Book of 1086 records it as Witenie.


Witney is twinned with:


In July 2007 Witney saw its worst flooding in more than 50 years. Homes and businesses were evacuated and Bridge Street, a major road into the town and the only road across the Windrush, was closed. About 200 properties in central Witney were flooded, with areas around Bridge Street, Mill Street and West End the worst affected. The new and incomplete housing development Aquarius also suffered substantial flooding.


Witney has a maritime climate type typical to the British Isles, with evenly spread rainfall, a narrow temperature range, and comparatively low sunshine totals. The nearest official weather station is Brize Norton, just under 4 miles to the South West.

The absolute maximum recorded was 35.4c(95.7f) during August 1990, although in a typical year the warmest day should only reach 29.5c(85.1f) with an average of 14.6 days reporting a maximum temperature of 25.1c(77.2f) or above.

The absolute minimum is −20.7c(−5.3f), recorded in January 1982. In a more typical year the annual minimum temperature should be −8.1c(17.4f), although a total of 47.1 nights should report an air frost.

Rainfall averages slightly under 644mm per year with over 1mm of rain falling on just under 115 days of the year.

Climate data for Brize Norton, elevation 88m, 1971–2000, extremes 1901–
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 14.7
Average high °C (°F) 6.9
Average low °C (°F) 1.3
Record low °C (°F) −20.7
Precipitation mm (inches) 59.84
Source: KNMI


Notable buildings

Holy Trinity Church, Woodgreen, Witney
Holy Trinity parish church, Woodgreen
Witney ButterCross east
The Butter Cross
Witney TownHall south
Witney Town Hall

The Church of England parish church of St Mary the Virgin was originally Norman. The north porch and north aisle were added in this style late in the 12th century, and survived a major rebuilding in about 1243. In this rebuilding the present chancel, transepts, tower and spire were added and the nave was remodelled, all in the Early English style. In the 14th century a number of side chapels and some of the present windows were added in the Decorated style. In the 15th century the south transept was extended and the present west window of the nave were added in the Perpendicular style. The tower has a peal of eight bells. The tower of the church is 69 feet (21 metres) high, topped by a tall and slender spire, which brings the total height of the church to 154 feet (47 metres).

Holy Trinity Church, Wood Green, was built in 1849 in a Gothic Revival rendition of Early English Gothic. St Mary the Virgin and Holy Trinity are now members of a single team parish.

The Friends Meeting House in Wood Green was built in the 18th century. Since 1997 Quakers in Witney have met at the corn exchange. The Methodist church in the High Street was built in 1850. It is now one of five Methodist churches and chapels in Witney. The Roman Catholic parish of Our Lady and Saint Hugh was founded in 1913. It originally used a chapel in West End built in 1881 but now has its own modern building. The old chapel in West End is now Elim Christian Fellowship. Witney High Street still has several older buildings, which are protected by the Witney and Cogges conservation area.

Witney Market began in the Middle Ages. Thursday is the traditional market day but there is also a market on Saturday. The buttercross in the market square is so called because people from neighbouring towns would gather there to buy butter and eggs. It was built in about 1600 and its clock was added in 1683. Witney Town Hall, which is arcaded on the ground floor and has an assembly room on the first floor, was completed in 1786. Witney has long been an important crossing over the River Windrush. The architect Thomas Wyatt rebuilt the bridge in Bridge Street in 1822.

Witney Workhouse was on Razor Hill (now Tower Hill). It was designed by the architect George Wilkinson and built in 1835–36. It had four wings radiating from an octagonal central building, similar to Chipping Norton workhouse, which also was built by Wilkinson. His younger brother William Wilkinson added a separate chapel to Witney Workhouse in 1860. In the First World War the workhouse held prisoners of war. In 1940 the workhouse was converted into Crawford Collets engineering factory under the direction of Leonard Frank Eve. The chapel was made the factory canteen. In 1979 Crawford Collets had the main buildings demolished and replaced with a modern factory, but preserved the entrance gate and former chapel. In 2004 the modern factory was demolished for redevelopment. The gate and chapel have again been preserved and the former chapel converted into offices.


Witney United Football Club, formerly known as Witney Town and nicknamed the Blanketmen, played in the Hellenic League Premier Division, until they dissolved in the 2012–2013 season. Witney and District League is a local association football league with about 32 clubs in five divisions; Witney Rugby Football Club first XV plays in the RFU South West 1 East; Wychwood Ladies Hockey Club's first team play in the Trysport Hockey League Division 1; and also Witney Hockey Club men's first XI plays in the England Hockey Men's Conference East division and its ladies' first XI plays in South Clubs' Women's Hockey League Division 3A. Witney Swifts Cricket Club first XI plays in Oxfordshire Cricket Association Division Three. Witney Houstons Basketball Club plays in the Oxford and Chiltern League.

The Toleman Group Motorsport racing team was once based in Witney until it was rebranded Benetton Formula in 1986. The team itself stayed in Witney until 1992 when they moved to Enstone eventually being rebranded in 2002 as Renault F1 when the team was purchased by the French Renault car company. The team competed as Renault F1 until 2011, when it was again rebranded this time under the "Lotus Renault GP" name after forging a partnership with the British Lotus Cars company. The subsequent year the team became Lotus F1 after they dropped the Renault name. The team was later re-purchased by Renault in late 2015 to become the Renault Sport F1 Team for 2016.


Witney has three county secondary schools: Henry Box School, Wood Green School and Springfield School. In 1660 Henry Box founded Witney Grammar School. In 1968 it became the comprehensive Henry Box School. In 1970 new school buildings were added to the original 17th-century premises beside Church Green. Wood Green School was founded in 1954 and is at the top of Woodstock Road. Springfield School was founded in 1967 and is a special-needs school for pupils with severe learning difficulties. Springfield School senior section is a self-contained unit, with some shared facilities, within the grounds of Wood Green School. Wood Green was substantially expanded from 2000 to 2004; an additional block with 15 teaching rooms was added, together with a purpose-built sixth form centre, school restaurant and new AstroTurf pitch. 2009 saw part of the old Lower School being remodelled to provide new changing and shower facilities for the AstroTurf pitch and its many users from local community sports clubs.

The King's School is independent of Oxfordshire Local Education Authority. It was founded by Oxfordshire Community Churches, an evangelical Christian organisation, in 1984. Cokethorpe School is an independent secondary school, founded in 1957. St. Mary's School beside Church Green was established in 1813. It was a Church of England primary school but in 1953 it became a Church of England controlled School for Infant children, and the Junior children transferred to the Batt School premises. Witney now has two Church of England primary schools: The Batt School in Corn Street and The Blake School in Cogges Hill Road. Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Primary School is a Roman Catholic school founded in 1958.

Witney has six community primary schools: Madley Park Community Primary School, Queen's Dyke Primary School, Tower Hill Community Primary School, West Witney Primary School, Witney Community Primary School and Windrush Church of England Primary School.

There is also one SEN primary school, Springfield School, which is part of the same school as Springfield secondary School. Springfield school (Primary) shares a building with Madley Brook Primary, but aside from sharing a building, some resources and integration, the schools run independently of one another. The former Witney Technical College is now part of Abingdon and Witney College. A complete rebuilding of its premises began in September 2008.


Witney has four museums. Cogges Manor Farm Museum, in the 13th-century manor house and farm of Cogges, represents farming and countryside history. The Witney and District Museum has many artefacts and documents representing the history of the town. Witney Blanket Hall, built in the 18th-century, showcases both the history of the Hall and of Witney's blanket industry and has Witney blankets for sale. The Wychwood Brewery has a museum open at weekends.

Notable people

Notable people associated with Witney include:

  • David Cameron, former MP for Witney in Parliament, and former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Conservative Leader
  • Jamie Cook (footballer)
  • Alan Dapre, children's TV show writer
  • Lawson D'Ath, footballer, Yeovil Town F.C. lived in Witney and attended Henry Box School
  • Jorge Grant, footballer, Lincoln City, attended Wood Green School.
  • Darrell Griffin, England rugby league footballer
  • Douglas Hurd, former Conservative MP for Witney
  • Charlie Hutchison, British communist, only black British volunteer to join the International Brigades, and liberator of Belsen concentration camp, born in Witney.
  • Martin Jones, concert pianist
  • Simon King, Former Gillingham and Oxford United footballer, grew up in Witney and attended Henry Box School.
  • Daniel Leach, Select Group 2 Assistant Referee
  • Graham Leonard, 130th Bishop of London, subsequently Prelate of Honour
  • Robert Llewellyn, Red Dwarf actor and author, attended Henry Box School and was expelled
  • Andrew Logan, artist, born in Witney
  • Gugu Mbatha-Raw, TV and film actress, grew up in the town and attended Henry Box School
  • Maddie Moate, television presenter and YouTuber, attended Henry Box School and grew up in nearly Curbridge
  • David Moss, footballer, Luton Town, previously Swindon Town and Witney Town
  • Robbie Mustoe, footballer, notably with Middlesbrough
  • Miss Read (Dora Saint), author, lived in Witney. The town was the inspiration for the fictional "Lulling" of the Thrush Green novels.
  • Larry Sanders, Green party councillor and brother of US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders
  • William Smith, cricketer
  • James Allen Shuffrey, notable watercolour artist, was born in Wood Green, Witney in 1858.
  • Leonard Shuffrey, leading architect and architectural designer was born in Wood Green, Witney, in 1852.
  • Patrick Steptoe, pioneer of fertility treatment, attended Henry Box School
  • Shaun Woodward, Conservative and then Labour MP for Witney, then Labour MP for St Helens South from 2001 to 2015.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Witney para niños

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