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St Michaels's Church, Begbroke
St Michaels's Church, Begbroke

Begbroke is a village and civil parish in the Cherwell district of Oxfordshire, England. It is a few miles north of Oxford on the A44, near Woodstock, Kidlington and Oxford Airport. The 2001 census recorded a population of 792.

Begbroke is home to the 17th century Royal Sun Inn, the 12th century Norman church of St. Michael, St. Philip's Priory (formerly Begbroke House), Hall Farm, a Post Office, and a modern village hall with cricket and bowling greens.

The former Begbroke Hill Farm, owned by the Giffard and FitzHerbert families for 500 years, is now the site of the Oxford University Begbroke Science Park (which, despite the name, is accessible only from the neighboring village of Yarnton and yet lies within the parish boundary of Begbroke). Land belonging to the farm is slated for an upmarket residential development.

Orchard House, next to the church, also belonged to the FitzHerberts and, more recently, was home to science fiction author Brian Aldiss (his short story Super-Toys Last All Summer Long became the Steven Spielberg film A.I.)

Begbroke Place became the home of St. Juliana's Convent School for Girls, which closed in 1984. This was run by the sisters of the Servite Order. Its newer buildings (now demolished) were favourably commented on by Pevsner in his Oxfordshire volume of Builings of England.

Commuter homes were built in the village beginning in the 1930s, mainly on the east side of the Oxford-Woodstock Road.

Begbroke is also the headquarters of Solid State Logic, the world's largest manufacturer of professional analogue and digital audio consoles for music, broadcast, post production and film. It was this company that bought the convent and convent school buildings.

Begbroke's manor house was the novitiate house for the Servite Friars in England (a Roman Catholic order often known as the Servants of Mary or just as the Servites) until 2000 when it was sold to a Church of England order of nuns. The brethren of the Servites were well known in the village and served as Air Raid Precaution (ARP) wardens during World War II.

The name "Begbroke" is Anglo-Saxon for "Little Brook" and refers to Rowel Brook, a protected watercourse that runs through the village and was also the reason for its early settlement. Rowel Brook is a tributary of the River Cherwell.

Fragments of early pottery have been found here, as well as flints, scrapers, and an axe and arrow head. Aerial photographs show ancient crop marks.

Begbroke Wood is home to muntjac deer that escaped from nearby Blenheim Park. The village has footpaths leading to Bladon, where Sir Winston Churchill is buried at St. Martin's Church, as well as Kidlington and the other surounding villages.

[edit] Further reading

(Source: Wikipedia)
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