Five more Medieval New Towns in Oxfordshire


This course will examine five Oxfordshire market towns, all of which originated as new towns between AD 800 and 1200 - Wallingford, Woodstock, Bicester, Dorchester on Thames and Faringdon. There are alternating class sessions and field trips.

Many of the market towns in Oxfordshire share a common plan. They have a broad open market area surrounded by the tenements and land strips  which belonged to the earliest town merchants. The church is often detached from the market. Most of the small towns of Oxfordshire originated between AD 1100-1300 as planned settlements attached to older villages. In this course we will look at five well-known medieval market towns and trace their origins and development through their street-plans and historic buildings. We will also look at the founders of these urban experiments and assess how commercially successful they were.  There will be alternating class sessions and field visits to the study towns.

Programme details

Course starts: 26 Apr 2024

Please note: There will be no class on 7 June.

Week 1: Class - Wallingford

Week 2: Field Trip - Wallingford

Week 3: Class - Woodstock

Week 4: Field Trip - Woodstock

Week 5: Class - Bicester

Week 6: Field Trip - Bicester

Week 7: Class - Dorchester on Thames

Week 8: Field Trip - Dorchester on Thames

Week 9: Class - Faringdon

Week 10: Field Trip - Faringdon


Students who register for CATS points will receive a Record of CATS points on successful completion of their course assessment.

To earn credit (CATS points) you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Coursework is an integral part of all weekly classes and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework in order to benefit fully from the course. Only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard.

Students who do not register for CATS points during the enrolment process can either register for CATS points prior to the start of their course or retrospectively from the January 1st after the current full academic year has been completed. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.


Description Costs
Course fee £257.00
Take this course for CATS points £10.00


If you are in receipt of a UK state benefit, you are a full-time student in the UK or a student on a low income, you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees. Please see the below link for full details:

Concessionary fees for short courses


Mr Trevor Rowley


MA, MLitt, FSA,  was formerly Deputy Director in the Department for Continuing Education and before that Director of Archaeology in the department. He is now an Emeritus Fellow of Kellogg College and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. He has published many books on landscape history and the Normans, most recently a biography of William the Conqueror’s half-brother, Bishop Odo of Bayeux and an examination of the landscape of the Bayeux Tapestry. His book on Norman Landscapes is to be published in October 2022    

Course aims

To understand the urban topography of early market towns in Oxfordshire.

Course Objectives:

  • To learn how to look at a medieval town.
  • To learn how to use the main sources for the analysis of small towns.
  • To learn how to interpret the topography of small towns.

Teaching methods

Class Seminars on individual towns will be followed by a field trip to each of the chosen study towns. The topography and buildings of the study towns will be analysed.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will be expected to:

  • know how to identify and use the main secondary sources for town analysis;
  • know the chronology of the chosen study towns;
  • have gained an understanding of the process of analysis of the topography of small towns.

Assessment methods

Students will be asked to write a 1,500 word assessment of one of the chosen study towns or to compare two or more of the towns.

Students must submit a completed Declaration of Authorship form at the end of term when submitting your final piece of work. CATS points cannot be awarded without the aforementioned form - Declaration of Authorship form


To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an enrolment form (Word) or enrolment form (Pdf).

Level and demands

Most of the Department's weekly classes have 10 or 20 CATS points assigned to them. 10 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of ten 2-hour sessions. 20 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of twenty 2-hour sessions. It is expected that, for every 2 hours of tuition you are given, you will engage in eight hours of private study.

Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS)