On the journey home we stopped at Bicester North, one of the stations for that ancient town.
The name of this town is of course pronounced “Bister” to rhyme with “mister”. The -cester part of the name immediately betrays it as Anglo-Saxon as it comes originally from the Latin word castrum, denoting a Roman fortress or fortified town. Where such settlements were later taken over by the Anglo-Saxons, the word mutated in their language to ceaster (with the ‘c’ pronounced as modern ‘ch’), giving -cester or -chester in many modern town names.
What the Bi- part of the name means is a different matter and no one knows for sure. Bicester has been spelt in a number of different ways in its history and these suggest a possible origin in the personal name of the person who reinhabited the town in the Anglo-Saxon period. We will never know for certain.