A History of Oxfordshire

            In a letter of 1931, Falkner wrote, “The most serious thing of mine is the History of Oxfordshire. It has appeared in many shapes; but it is not reprinted now, and is, I fancy difficult to find in any case. Messrs Parker and Son Broad Street Oxford had a few copies left in sheets, which they were selling in a cheap binding at 3/6, but I suspect that they will all be gone by this time”.

            Kenneth Warren, Meade Falkner’s biographer, argues that “his sense of history is enlivened by fine writing” and quotes considerable extracts in support of this assessment. The History [as did his Handbook to Oxfordshire] showed a strong preference for the early periods. Of the 321 pages only 40 dealt with the eighteenth or nineteenth centuries, and Falkner was criticised by reviewers for this imbalance. The Oxford Magazine of November 1899 mixed criticism with appreciation. It summed up that in the History he had “attained a fair measure of success in attempting an almost impossible task – a short and popular history of the county, city and university of Oxford”, but that it would have been more sensible to have excluded the university and concentrated more on the nineteenth century. However, the book was “a most stimulating and suggestive” introduction, in which “Mr Falkner’s sense of proportion is seldom at fault, and he shows special skill in blending topography and history”.

The book was issued in three forms:
I     The ordinary edition in half blue cloth, claret coloured sides, spine lettered in gilt, edges uncut, at 7s.6d.
II    An edition of 250 copies only in half black roan, dark green cloth sides, top edges gilt, other edges uncut, 
      on handmade paper, at 10s 6d 
III   Fifty large paper copies, similarly bound, on handmade paper, at £1 11s 6d.