Oxford, the City of Dreaming Spires, has special place in the pride of our nation, evoking a quintessential picture of British life.
This picturesque city where the rivers Cherwell and Thames meet boasts the oldest English speaking university in the world. It is the 52nd largest city in the UK, but punches well above its weight as the birthplace of some notable people. Here is a sample of them, drawn from yesterday and today and from widely varying fields of endeavour.
Richard the Lionheart
Richard I was born on September 8th, 1157 at Beaumont Place, Oxford. He became known as the Lionheart due to his courage and military exploits, which he began by commanding his own army at the age of 16. He was crowned King of England in 1189 upon the death of his father, Henry II. He was noted for leading the Third Crusade to the Holy Land, and for his conquest of Cyprus. He was fatally wounded while besieging the French castle of Chalus and died on April 6th, 1199.
Richard’s successor to the English throne was his younger brother, King John, He had been left in charge of the country when Richard was away in the Holy Land and tried to seize the crown for himself, resulting in his having to beg for forgiveness upon the Lionheart’s return. After ascending to the throne he raised taxes to pay for his wars, causing an unrest that led to civil war and the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215, a document that reined in the power of the monarchy and guaranteed freedoms we still enjoy today. Had he lived in the digital age, perhaps he would have had a website designed in his home county by datrim.co.uk.
Moving on 800 years from the Middle Ages to the era of cutting edge physics and Oxford Website Design, we discover our next Oxford-born celebrity. This theoretical physicist and bestselling writer has made the most abstruse aspects of science comprehensible to all of us. His achievements are all the more impressive considering that he has suffered from ALS, a form of Motor Neurone Disease, for over 50 years.
Actor, writer, director, musician and comedian; he’s a veritable Renaissance man, and one of Oxford’s most famous sons. Born in 1959, he came to fame as half of the Fry and Laurie comedy team with his friend, Stephen Fry. He went on to star in such fondly remembered TV shows as Blackadder and Jeeves and Wooster before finding international stardom as the irascible lead character in the medical drama, House, a role for which he won a clutch of awards and which made him one of television’s highest paid actors.
One of the most fondly regarded British sportsmen of all time, Tim Henman is undoubtedly the most successful English tennis player since the glory days of Fred Perry. He achieved his highest world ranking in 2002, and achieved the pinnacle of his career in 2003 when he beat Roger Federer to win the Paris Masters. Although he retired from first class tennis in 2007, he is still a popular figure on the sports pundit circuit.