It lies about 30 kilometres west of Oxford on the River Windrush and is a popular centre for tourists who visit the Cotswolds, with many antique shops on the main street. The name derives from the Old English words burh meaning fortified town or hilltown and ford meaning ford (crossing). In 1649, the church was used as a prison (during the English Civil War), when the New Model Army Banbury mutineers were held there. Some of the 340 prisoners left carvings and grafitti, which can still be found in the church.
Between the 14th century and the 17th century Burford was important for its wool. The Tolsey is located in the centre of Burford’s High Street; this was once the centre of the local wool trade. Today, the Tolsey is home to a museum.The town centre features some houses dating from the 15th century. Its most notable building, however, is the parish church dedicated to St. John, which is known for its merchants’ guild chapel, Red Indian memorial and Kempe glass.