Shotover House
Shotover Early History

Shotover is one of few surviving parts of the large medieval royal forest of Wychwood. As well as Shotover this area included Stowood, Bernwood and the village of Headington Quarry. Originating in the Saxon period but adopted by the Normans the term forest refers to the laws by which the land and any hunting thereon was controlled by the monarch even if owned by others. Some areas were wooded while others were cultivated. By AD1086 some 51,000 acres of Oxfordshire were classified as forest.

The name Shotover, like so many early names, is of obscure origin but is most likely to have come from the Old English ‘scoet ofer’ meaning ‘hill slope’ which, given the local topography, seems to be a reasonable explanation. In the Domesday Book the name is shown as ‘Scotorne.’ The suggestion in some books that it is a corruption of ‘chateau vert’ seems rather fanciful and is linguistically unlikely.
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