Osney Walk, SM5

PLACE NAME

Osney Abbey started life as a priory for Augustinian canons on the island of Osney, Oxfordshire. It was built in 1129 by Robert D’Oyly the younger, the Norman governor of Oxford, who is said to have been solicited to do so by his wife Edith Fornes to make amends for her sins as a former mistress of Henry I. The name, applied to the local area since early times, comes from Old English: either the personal name Osa and -ey, the old word for island, literally Osa’s island, or in reference to the nearby River Thames, ouse being an old word for river, in which case its literal meaning would be island in the river. The priory became an abbey in around 1154, and briefly after its closure under the orders of King Henry VIII, a cathedral and the seat of the first Bishops of Oxford. Not long after, the seat was transferred to Christ Church and Osney was abandoned. Like many of the roads on the St Helier’s estate this is named after British monasteries and abbeys in remembrance of the area’s historic ownership by Westminster Abbey. The road names are in alphabetical order, of which Aberconway Road in the north west of the estate is first.

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