To put Blue Row's history into context, on this page we have reviewed what else was happening in the world those first residents would have lived in. Much of this information has been gleaned from Wikipedia. We offer no apology for the narrowness of this 'world' view. Many villagers would never have been so far as Oxford, 19 miles away. In the context of this time line, not long after the earlier demesne on the land had burnt to the ground, Blue Row Cottages were built by John Powell, stone mason.

The world in 1806

Ongoing Events

Detailed events of the year



What was the world like when Blue Row was built in 1806?

"Two hundred years ago, in the shadow of a mammoth Naval victory, the United Kingdom was a nation in mourning for Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson, killed by a French sniper's bullet at the Battle of Trafalgar. " (BBC, January 2006)  

The world was changing rapidly, but many of the key historical  events probably passed by the inhabitants of this little corner of rural England. Remember, the time is not long since the American and French Revolutions. The Union Jack has only existed for 5 years, with the union with Ireland. But rural England and the wider landscape were at this time perhaps relatively unchanged since medieval times, even though many of Swerford’s present buildings date from around this time.  The landscape itself was to change over the next century, as land was concentrated in fewer hands. There is no evidence of rioting against enclosures in Swerford itself, as in Otmoor, only a few miles away, but there is no doubt that Swerford’s people would have been affected. There are many descriptions of how the countryside would have been changing, for example: The biggest excitement for many would have been a visit to the market at Chipping Norton, 5 miles’ walk away, or to Banbury, 8 miles to walk, or an outing for the school children on the village green. The big event of the calendar might have been seeing the Morris Men from Adderbury or Bampton.  

But the villagers would undoubtedly have heard of the great procession in January 1806 in honour of Admiral Lord Nelson. This event would have eclipsed the death and funeral in modern times of Diana, Princess of Wales, but the latter in terms of the outpouring of public grief is the nearest perhaps that we can imagine.  

Meanwhile, elsewhere, 1806 saw:  

o        the birth of Isambard Kingdom Brunel in Portsmouth

o        the return of the great North American explorers Lewis and Clark from the Pacific coast of North America  

o        the first performance of Beethoven's monumental violin concerto in D Major  

o        Jane Austen living in Clifton near Bristol, and forming her ideas for some of her novels, including Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park  

o        the abolition of the slave trade by England (in 1833 slavery itself was abolished).  

Charles Dickens and Charles Darwin had yet to be born, as had Abraham Lincoln. It would be 9 years before the battle of Waterloo was won, 13 years before Queen Victoria was born, 31 years till she ascended the throne, and one hundred years until the great San Francisco earthquake. But the great era of the Romantic poets was just beginning. Wordsworth’s Daffodils was written in 1804, and published in 1807, with Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner having been published around 10 years earlier, and Keats, Shelley and Byron would soon be producing their best known poems.  

The following detailed bullet points have been retrieved from  


Ongoing events  


Detailed events of 1806  




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