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what's so special ?

Everyone who lives (or has lived) in Eynsham has their own reasons why it's so special. Here are some you may not have thought of:

- it has no supermarkets (well, not big ones), or chain stores* and that's a big advantage. Basically supermarkets kill local shops; between 1965 and 1990, 15% of rural settlements saw their last food store close - and in the six years 1991-7, over 4,000 food stores closed in rural areas - more on this in Parliament's report High Street UK 2015. Eynsham's good fortune is that its population (just under 5,000) doesn't justify a supermarket - but it does justify a range of high-quality and good value and food and specialist shops.

- it has never had a big family/landlord/nob. This is bad news for historians**, but good news for current residents, who can take advantage of centuries of independent living. It's difficult to quantify the effect of not having a big family/landlord around, but a glance at Blaydon, client village of the Blenheim estate, and only a few miles away, shows what Eynsham could have been. As The Village Development Statement says: "Nobody has dominated Eynsham since the dissolution of the Abbey. The village has developed down the centuries into a vigorously
Two views of Eynsham from the church tower. Unfortunately access is rather difficult - and the top is a bit scary.
independent community with a warm welcome for newcomers and equally strong aversion to anything which might threaten its identity. While it has good links with Oxford and Witney, it is beholden to neither".

- there are very few second homes in Eynsham - almost every house is lived in all the time - unlike lots of villages in the Cotswolds and elsewhere, where lots of houses are only occupied at the week-ends. Maybe this is another thing that contributes to Eynsham's community life.

- and finally, two improbable statistics;

- nursing homes in and round Eynsham have a higher proportion of local residents than anywhere else in Oxfordshire - people who live in Eynsham like to live here as long as possible !

- there are at least 42 ways of spelling Eynsham - click here to see them

If you have other reasons why Eynsham is special, tell us, and we can add them to this page.

*technically the Co-op, Spar, Martins (newsagents), Lloyds (chemists) and the mini-Tesco across the A40 are part of chains - but they are small and (apart from the relatively remote mini-Tesco) village-y; they're not what people mean when they talk about chain stores making every High Street in England the same.

**There's more on the disadvantages to historians in the current issue of the Eynsham Record, in Don Chapman's review of Pamela Richard's new history of Eynsham (No 23, p 40).