Botley is a village in the civil parish of North Hinksey, just west of the Oxford city boundary in the English county of Oxfordshire. It adjoins the intersection of the A34 and A420 to its north and was in Berkshire until 1974.
Botley, aside from central offices and a modest row of stores, is a residential suburb of Oxford. Generally house prices are above average for the Oxford area, from average in its east (similar to much of Dean Court), to very expensive towards where the settlement adjoins Cumnor Hill, in its south.
The contiguous neighbourhood Dean Court adjoins Botley to its west, in the Cumnor civil parish. The other settlements which merge into this settlement are North Hincksey and Cumnor Hill.
Elevations range from 56m on the Hincksey Stream marking much of the eastern border to the western border which ranges from 80 to 120m AOD from north to south. The southern point is a border of Cumnor Hill and adjoins Matthew Arnold School (Oxford).
Botley was first settled in the Saxon era. Its toponym comes from Old English, meaning a woodland clearing of a man called Bota. It has since inception fallen within the parish of North Hinksey, and so was historically in the county of Berkshire, as marked in its northern half by the Vale of White Horse district boundary on the map. Because the main road west out of Oxford has passed through Botley since the 16th century, development since then was centred here rather than in the village of North Hinksey itself, slightly further south east. From the 1880s the centre of the village began to be called Old Botley, in distinction to the New Botley development along Botley Road in Oxford. The name Old Botley is preserved in a street set back from the main road. The major development which began in the 1930s took place to the west, beyond the current ring road.
To the north of Botley was the lost village of Seacourt. The site of the former village is in neighbouring Wytham parish, but it is commemorated in Botley in the names of Seacourt Tower, the Seacourt Bridge public house.
Online Historical References
Nineteenth Century Local Administration
English Jurisdictions is a webpage provided by FamilySearch which analyses every ecclesiastical parish in England at the year 1851. It provides, with the aid of outline maps, the date at which parish records and bishops transcripts begin, non-conformist denominations with a chapel within the parish, the names of the jurisdictions in charge: county, civil registration district, probate court, diocese, rural deanery, poor law union, hundred, church province; and links to FamilySearch historical records, FamilySearch Catalog and the FamilySearch Wiki. Two limitations: only England, and at the year 1851.
During the 19th century two bodies, the Poor Law Union and the Sanitary District, had responsibility for governmental functions at a level immediately above that covered by the civil parish. In 1894 these were replace by Rural and Urban Districts. These were elected bodies, responsible for setting local property assessments and taxes as well as for carrying out their specified duties. Thses districts continued in operation until 1974. Urban districts for larger municipalities were called "Municipal Boroughs" and had additional powers and obligations.
Poor Law Unions, established nationally in 1834, combined parishes together for the purpose of providing relief for the needy who had no family support. This led to the building of '"union poorhouses" or "workhouses" funded by all the parishes in the union. The geographical boundaries established for the individual Poor Law Unions were employed again when Registration Districts were formed three years later. In 1875 Sanitary Districts were formed to provide services such as clean water supply, sewage systems, street cleaning, and the clearance of slum housing. These also tended to follow the same geographical boundaries, although there were local alterations caused by changes in population distribution.