town, Cherwell district, administrative and historic county of Oxfordshire, England. It lies along the River Cherwell. For centuries Banbury was noted for its ale, cheese, and Banbury cakes, a spiced currant pastry. Part of the original 16th-century cake house remains, together with several timbered and stone houses. The original Banbury Cross, celebrated in the English nursery rhyme, was destroyed by Puritans in 1602 but was replaced in 1858. Banbury Castle (1125) was twice besieged by Parliamentarians during the English Civil Wars of the mid-17th century and was later demolished. Broughton Castle (14th-16th centuries) lies 2.5 miles (4 km) to the southwest. Banbury market is noted for its cattle sales. The town is expanding as a centre for the overspill population of Greater London and is increasingly important for light industry, commerce, and tourism. Pop. (2001) 43,867.
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