The present Burford was created in Medieval times. It was granted a Charter in 1088 which established a merchant guild and gave them all the liberties usual when creating a new town. For example, the right to own property and hold a weekly market. This makes Burford one of the oldest, if not the oldest Town in the country.
The cruciform style and existing pattern of streets and house plots were laid out between the late 11th and mid 13th century by manorial lords hoping to capitalise on the expanding trade and commerce. Burford flourished into the mid 17th century when it lost its medieval importance as a market town and became a modestly successful town serving the immediate locality.
The development of the coaching trade added to the town’s prosperity but from the mid 18th century the town was falling into terminal decay, it’s houses dismissed as ancient, irregular and ill-built, the town described as insignificant and a place proverbial for its dullness. This rural torpor became Buford’s greatest asset – Burford was fortunate to escape the invasion of the railway and this detachment from the modern world allowed it to escape the general sweep of alterations and it’s beautiful buildings were preserved.
By the early 20th century the town regained it’s popularity, the income from visitors allowed its buildings to be repaired and preserved. The wide variety of independent shops, pubs and hotels have allowed Burford to flourish to the present day.