One story on the origin of Oxtail Soup is that during the French Revolution when the slaughterhouses sent the their hides to the tanneries without cleaning them, leaving on the tails. A French noble asked for a tail, which was willingly given to him, and he created the first oxtail soup. Soon, the tanners began charging for the tails because of the constant demand that had been created for them.
The dish was supposedly introduced to England by French refugees from the 'terror'.
Email from Moorland Martineau of the UK 2/26/03:
“I think you will find that oxtail soup came to this country before the French revolution. The Huguenots claim to have brought it with them.”