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Introduction to Headington
There is evidence of occupation in Headington going back to the stone age with the name deriving from Hedena's dun, meaning "Hedena's hill", when it was the site of a palace or hunting lodge of the Kings of Mercia. In a charter of 1004, Ethelred II of England, "written at the royal ville called Headan dune", gave land in Headington to Frideswide's priory, which include the quarry and the area around it.
The area is steeped in history including evidence of an Iron Age settlement and Roman Kilns and during the civil war it was home to the Parliamentarian forces besieging Oxford.
Today, Headington is a thriving area to the east of the city divided into about six main areas: Old Headington, New Headington, Headington Quarry, Headington Hill, Sandhills and Risinghurst, bisected by the London Road, the main route to London and where you will find the majority of the local shops. Headington is home to most of Oxford’s hospitals including The John Radcliffe, Churchill, Nuffield, Warneford and the private Manor Hospital which was built on the site of Oxford United’s football former ground. Oxford Brookes University is at the top of Headington Hill including Robert Maxwell’s former residence Headington Hill Hall and Ruskin College in Old Headington which moved there in its entirety in 2012.
A few of Headington’s other famous former residents include J.R.R. Tolkein who had a house in Sandfield Road, C.S. Lewis who lived in Risinghurst and is buried in Holy Trinity Church in Headington Quarry and Emma Watson aka ‘Hermione Granger’ from the Harry Potter films who also went to Headington School.
The most famous modern landmark is the ‘Headington Shark’ in New High Street, designed by John Buckley for local broadcaster Bill Heine in 1986.
There are excellent bus services into London and the airports from London road as well as regular local services into Oxford.
There are some highly regarded state primary schools in Headington including St Andrews C of E Primary School, Windmill School and, St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School to name a few, along with Cheney Secondary School and Headington and Headington Preparatory School offer independent schooling for girls aged 3-18.
Headington has many open spaces; Bury Knowle Park in the centre which also has crazy golf and tennis courts; Shotover County Park, a site of special scientific interest which also has an orienteering course at the top of Old Road which was formerly the main road into London from the city; South Park at the top of Headington Hill overlooking the spires and from where the artist Turner painted his famous painting and Warneford Meadow.
There is a good range of local shops including Headington Homewares and Frog Orange on Windmill Road and a Waitrose supermarket on Old High Street. There are plenty of fabulous pubs and eateries in Headington with something to suit all tastes.