The village of Finmere lies to the north of Bicester, half way between Brackley and Buckingham.
In 2000 archaeologists found evidence of Bronze Age, Iron Age and Roman activity in Finmere Quarry, about 0.8 miles west of the village. Five early Bronze Age cremation pits were excavated, and from one of the pits two collared urns were recovered. The cremations were dated to about 2040 to 1880 BC.
The site of a late Iron Age settlement was found west of the cremation pits and just east of the trackbed of the former Great Central Main Line railway. The settlement consisted originally of a number of roundhouses packed close together in a straight line, and then developed in phases with later structures overlapping the sites of some of the earlier ones. Enclosures, presumably to contain livestock, were created at different times and in different shapes, with the outlines of some enclosures from different periods overlapping the sites of the roundhouses and each other. Iron Age pottery recovered from the site suggests that the settlement was occupied in phases from the 4th to the 1st century BC.
A pair of ditches were found running parallel across the site about 15ft apart and in a roughly east-west direction. The ditches were identified as flanking a track, and fragments of wheel-thrown pottery found on part of the site led to the track being dated to the period of Roman occupation of Britain. The site is about 0.8 miles (1.3 km) from the course of the Roman road that linked Alchester near Bicester with Lactodurum (now Towcester), which runs through the eastern side of Finmere village.
Before and after the Norman Conquest of England Wulfward the White, a thegn of King Edward the Confessor’s Queen Edith, owned the Manor of Finmere. However, by 1086 William of Normandy had granted the manor to Geoffrey de Montbray, who was Bishop of Coutances as well as one of William’s senior military commanders. Subsequently the manor passed to the Earl of Gloucester, in whose family it stayed until the 4th Earl of Gloucester died without a successor in 1314. In 1347 the manor passed to the 1st Earl of Stafford, in whose family it then remained.
The village had a parish church by 1189, when its advowson was granted to an Augustinian Friary in Bristol. But the only surviving remnant from that parish church seems to be the 12th century font. The earliest surviving parts of the present church of St Michael and All Angels are the tower, the north wall of the chancel and the south wall of the nave.
The church underwent major repairs at various times in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. A west gallery was added, probably in the 1760s. In 1856–58 the Gothic Revival architect G.E. Street removed the west gallery, restored the church, widened the chancel arch and added the north aisle. A vestry was added in 1868 and a porch in 1876.
The bell tower houses three bells. William Chamberlain, of Aldgate, cast the tenor in about 1470 and an unidentified bellfounder cast the treble in about 1599. The middle bell is of unknown age but Lester and Pack, of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, recast it in 1754. The tower also has a historic turret clock that was installed in 1697; twenty- two donors having raised between them the £8 10s cost. The clock was altered with a new escapement and other alterations in 1858. Dr James Clarke of Finmere House designed the escapement and paid the £10 cost of reinstallation, which was done by William Bayliss, the village carpenter.
The Domesday Book records that by 1086 the village had a watermill. The village continued to have a mill on the Great Ouse until early in the 19th century when Richard Temple- Grenville, 1st Duke of Buckingham and Chandos, had it demolished.
In 1645, during the English Civil War, a Parliamentarian force from Newport Pagnell surprised a platoon of eighteen Royalists stationed in Finmere. The Parliamentarians drove the Royalists out of the village, which thereafter remained under Parliamentarian control.
In 1824 the 1st Duke of Buckingham and Chandos built a National School for the village. In 1926 it was reorganised as a junior school, with senior pupils going to the school in Fringford. The first Finmere school was closed in 1948 but a new school was built and opened in 1959.
Finmere was on the main road between Buckingham and Banbury, which was made into a turnpike by an Act of Parliament in 1744. Since the 1920s the road has been classified as the A421, and later in the 20th century a bypass was built south of the village to take the A421 past both Finmere and the neighbouring village of Tingewick.
In 1847–50 the Buckinghamshire Railway built a branch line to Banbury Merton Street through the northern part of the parish. Fulwell & Westbury station was built on the line about 1.5 miles northwest of the village. In 1899 the Great Central Railway built its main line to London through the western part of the parish and built “Finmere for Buckingham” station about 1 mile south of the village. Buckingham already had a railway station on the Banbury to Verney Junction Branch Line and was almost 5 miles from the Great Central station, so the name was subsequently shortened to the more appropriate “Finmere”. British Railways closed Finmere station in 1963, and then closed that section of the line in 1966.
The War Department built a military airfield south of Finmere and Tingewick which was commissioned in July 1942 as RAF Finmere. It served as a Bomber Command operational training unit flying Bristol Blenheim medium bombers which, by then, were obsolete for combat operations and used only for training. They were eventually withdrawn from this role as well and from January 1944 the training unit at RAF Finmere flew DeHavilland Mosquitoes. After the Second World War RAF Finmere served as a Transport Command storage depot until the 1950s when it was decommissioned and closed as an RAF base, although part of one runway remains in use as a private airfield.