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History Oxford was first occupied in Saxon times, and was initially known as "Oxenaforda", meaning "Ford of the Ox"; fords being very important before the days of bridges. It began with the foundation of St Frideswide's nunnery in the 8th century, and was first mentioned in written records in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for the year 912. In the 10th century Oxford became an important military frontier town between the kingdoms of Mercia and Wessex and was on several occasions raided by Danes. St Frideswide is the patron saint of both the city and university. In 1191, a city charter stated in Latin: “Be it known to all those present and future that we, the citizens of Oxford of the Commune of the City and of the Merchant Guild have given, and by this, our present charter, confirm the donation of the island of Midney with all those things pertaining to it, to the Church of St. Mary at Oseney and to the canons serving God in that place. “Since, every year, at Michaelmas the said canons render half a mark of silver for their tenure at the time when we have ordered it as witnesses the legal deed of our ancestors which they made concerning the gift of this same island; and besides, because we have undertaken on our own part and on behalf of our heirs to guarantee the aforesaid island to the same canons wheresoever and against all men; they themselves, by this guarantee, will pay to us and our heirs each year at Easter another half mark which we have demanded; and we and our heirs faithfully will guarantee the aforesaid tenement to them for the service of the aforesaid mark annually for all matters and all services. “We have made this concession and confirmation in the Common council of the City and we have confirmed it with our common seal. These are those who have made this concession and confirmation.”Plasterwork is one of the most ancient of building techniques. Evidence shows that the dwellings of primitive man were erected in a simple fashion with sticks and plastered with mud. The pyramids in Egypt contain plasterwork executed at least four thousand years ago, probably much earlier, and yet hard and durable, at the present time. From recent discoveries it has been ascertained that the tools of the plasterer of that time were practically identical in design, shape and purpose with those used today. For their finest work, the Egyptians used a plaster made from calcined gypsum just like plaster of Paris of the present time, and their methods of plastering on reeds resemble in every way our lath, plaster, float and set work. Hair was introduced to strengthen the material, and the whole finished somewhat under an inch thick.