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History

Welcome to the Banbury Branch of The Royal British Legion

The branch was formed on 9 November 1921 and is one of the oldest in the County of Oxfordshire. Early meetings were held in The Conference Room at the Comrades Club in Butchers Row and this continued for 75 years.

In 1996 the branch moved its monthly meetings to the RAFA Club, Broad Street and still holds its meetings there to this present day, on the first Tuesday of the month at 7.45pm.

This year (2017) is both The Royal British Legion and the Banbury Branch's 96th birthday.

Some older branch members have given presentations to the local schools, to relate their memories of the campaigns in which they served and answered the pupils many questions.

For links to the Banbury local community information website click Banbury

The town of Banbury in Oxfordshire dates back much further than the nursery rhyme dedicated to it:

"Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross,
To see a fine lady upon a white horse,
With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes,
She shall have music  whereever she goes"

The nursery rhyme, a favourite with children throughout the English-speaking world, was first seen in print in the year 1784, although it was known in its current form in at least 1760. The "Fyne" lady is generally thought to be a member of the Fiennes family, ancestors of Lord Saye and Sele who owns nearby Broughton Castle.

The origins of the town lie in the tale of the twin Saxon hamlets of Banesberie and Grimsberie that were separated by the river Cherwell.

Banbury is the main town serving North Oxfordshire. It has a population of approx. 45,000 people having risen from 13,000 in 1901 (19,000 in 1951). It is twinned with Hennef in Germany and the town of Ermont in France.

The Banbury Cross, which is located on a roundabout in the middle of the town, was erected in 1859 to celebrate the wedding of Prince Frederick of Prussia to his bride, the original cross having been pulled down some 250 years earlier. Near the current Banbury Cross stands the domed parish church of St Mary's, which was built between 1793 and 1827 to replace the previous church burnt down in 1792.

The town centre holds several old coaching inns. Parsons Street houses both Ye Olde Auctioneer hostelry, with its Cotswold Stone and Herringbone brickwork, and the Reindeer Inn, with its heavy, wooden doors leading through to the yard at the rear bearing the inscription "Anno Din 1570". The old building next door houses a teashop selling the famous Banbury cakes. These delicious, flat pastries with their spicy, currant fillings have been made in the town to secret recipes since 1586 or earlier.

In Market Place and, near the site of the High Cross, stands the Unicorn Hotel. The original building included the impressive three-gabled and bay-windowed range now occupied by a building society. The entrance to the Unicorn, the town's leading tavern throughout the reign of King Charles II, is under the archway and past the gateway bearing the date 1648. To find out a bit about Banbury's History, click Banbury-Cross.

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