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.

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:

  •   the birth of Isambard Kingdom Brunel in Portsmouth
  •  the return of the great North American explorers Lewis and Clark from the Pacific coast    of North America
  •   the first performance of Beethoven's monumental violin concerto in D Major
  •   Jane Austen living in Clifton near Bristol, and forming her ideas for some of her novels,       including Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park
  •   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 points have been retrieved from


Ongoing events in 1806

  • Napoleonic Wars (1799-1815) - Fourth Coalition
  • Russo-Turkish War, 1806-1812 

Detailed events of 1806  
  • January 8 - Cape Colony becomes a British colony.
  • January 9 – Funeral of Nelson.
  • January 10 - Dutch in Cape Town surrender to the British.
  • January 19 - The United Kingdom occupies the Cape of Good Hope.
  • February 6 - Royal Navy victory off Santo Domingo.
  • March 23 - After traveling through the Louisiana Purchase and reaching the Pacific Ocean, explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark and their "Corps of Discovery" begin their journey home.
  • March 29 - Construction authorized of the Great National Pike, better known as the Cumberland Road, becoming the first United States federal highway.
  • April 8 - Marriage of Stephanie de Beauharnais to Prince Karl Ludwig Friedrich. 
  • June 5 - Louis Bonaparte is appointed as king of Holland by his brother emperor Napoleon.
  • July 4 - Battle of Maida between England and France in Calabria.
  • July 15 - Pike expedition: Near St. Louis, Missouri, United States Army Lieutenant Zebulon Pike leads an expedition from Fort Belle Fountaine to explore the west. 
  • August 6 - Francis II, the last Holy Roman Emperor, abdicates, thus ending the Holy Roman Empire. 
  • September - Prussia declares war on France, and is joined by Saxony and other minor German states.
  • October 14 - Battle of Jena-Auerstädt - Napoleon defeats the Prussian army of Prince Hohenlohe at Jena while Marshal Davout defeats the main Prussian army under the Duke of Brunswick, who is killed.
  • October 24 - French forces enter Berlin. 
  • November - Napoleon declares a Continental Blockade against the British.
  • November 15 - Pike expedition: During his second exploratory expedition, Lieutenant Zebulon Pike sees a distant mountain peak while near the Colorado foothills of the Rocky Mountains (it was later named Pikes Peak in his honour).
  • November 24 - The last major Prussian field force, under Leberecht von Blücher, surrenders to the French near Lübeck. The king of Prussia has by this time fled to Russia.
  • November 30 - Napoleon captures Warsaw. 
  • December 26 - Battle of Pultusk. Russian forces under General Bennigsen narrowly escape from a direct confrontation with Napoleon, who goes into winter quarters.
  • Noah Webster publishes his first American English dictionary.


  • January 27 - Juan Crisóstomo Arriaga, Spanish composer (d. 1826) 
  • March 6 - Elizabeth Barrett Browning, English poet (d. 1861)
  • March 12 - Jane Pierce, First Lady of the United States (d. 1863) 
  • March 21 - Benito Juárez, Mexican statesman and folk hero (d. 1872)
  • April 9 - Isambard Kingdom Brunel, British engineer (d. 1859)
  • May 20 - John Stuart Mill, British philosopher (d. 1873) 
  • June 28 - Napoleon Coste, French guitarist and composer (d. 1883) 
  • July 5 - James Dawson, Aboriginal Guardian (d. 1900)
  • October 3 - Oliver Cowdery, American religious leader (d. 1850) 
  • December 11 - Otto Wilhelm Hermann von Abich, German geologist (d. 1886)


  • January 23 - William Pitt the Younger, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (b. 1759)
  • February 2 - Rétif de la Bretonne, French writer (b. 1734) 
  • February 19 - Elizabeth Carter, English writer (b. 1717) 
  • February 20 - Lachlan McIntosh, Scottish-born American military and political leader (b. 1725
  • April 9 - William V of Orange (b. 1748)
  • April 22 - Pierre-Charles Villeneuve, French admiral (stabbed) (b. 1763)
  • May 24 - John Campbell, 5th Duke of Argyll, British field marshal (b. 1723)
  • June 23 - Mathurin Jacques Brisson, French naturalist (b. 1723)
  • July 10 - George Stubbs, English painter (b. 1724) 
  • July 11 - James Smith, American signer of the Declaration of Independence
  • August 10 - Michael Haydn, Austrian composer (b. 1737) 
  • August 22 - Jean-Honoré Fragonard, French painter (b. 1742)
  • August 23 - Charles-Augustin de Coulomb, French physicist (b. 1736) 
  • September 9 - William Paterson, Signer of the United States Constitution, Governor of New Jersey (b. 1745) 
  • October 9 - Benjamin Banneker, American astronomer and surveyor (b. 1731) 
  • October 10 - Louis Ferdinand of Prussia, German prince (b. 1772)
  • December 22 - William Vernon, American merchant (b. 1719)
  • Mungo Park, Scottish explorer (b. 1771)