The village of Bampton was a major late Anglo-Saxon centre: the focus of a royal manor, and site of a 'minster' church. At the time of the Norman Conquest, Bampton was a large settlement and in the Domesday Book of 1086 there is already mention of a market in Bampton. The town enjoyed amazing prosperity in the early Middle ages, and much of its wealth was based on wool though later on there was also textile and leather working.
Bampton may seem oddly familiar to many first time visitors – it was used for filming the village scenes in the popular TV drama ‘Downton Abbey’: the old Grammar School Building which houses Bampton Community Archive, with its impressive collection of old photographs of Bampton and its people, served as the 'Downton' hospital and St Mary’s Church, whose spire provides one of the landmarks of the upper Thames Valley, also featured prominently.
Bampton is lively village with a good array of amenities including West Ox Arts Gallery, which is housed on the first floor of the town hall right in the centre of the village and has a rolling programme of exhibitions of various art forms. For generations Bampton has been famous for its Morris Dancing traditions celebrated each late May Bank Holiday in Bampton Day of Dance.