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Title: Berkshire
Author: Monckton, H. W.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Berkshire" ***

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                      Cambridge County Geographies



                     H. W. MONCKTON, F.L.S., F.G.S.

                 With Maps, Diagrams and Illustrations

                        at the University Press

                       PRINTED BY JOHN CLAY, M.A.
                        AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS



     1. County and Shire. Meaning of the Words                1
     2. General Characteristics                               6
     3. Size. Shape. Boundaries                               8
     4. Surface and General Features                         15
     5. Watershed. Rivers and their Courses. Lakes           18
     6. Geology and Soil                                     25
     7. Natural History                                      41
     8. Climate and Rainfall                                 47
     9. People--Race. Population                             52
    10. Agriculture                                          55
    11. Industries and Manufactures                          57
    12. Minerals. Building Materials                         61
    13. The History of Berkshire                             65
    14. History (continued)                                  75
    15. Antiquities--(a) Prehistoric                         80
    16. Antiquities--(b) Roman and Saxon                     89
    17. Architecture--(a) Ecclesiastical. Churches           91
    18. Architecture--(b) Religious Houses                  102
    19. Architecture--(c) Military                          109
    20. Architecture--(d) Domestic                          113
    21. Communications--Ancient and Modern                  117
    22. Administration and Divisions--Ancient and Modern    125
    23. Public and Educational Establishments               128
    24. The Forest in Berkshire                             135
    25. Roll of Honour                                      137
    26. The Chief Towns and Villages of Berkshire           146



    Windsor Castle from the North-West                        2
    The Ridgeway--Uffington Castle in the distance            7
    The Thames near Pangbourne                               10
    The Thames at Maidenhead                                 12
    The River Kennet at Hungerford                           13
    Crown Hill, South Ascot                                  16
    Cookham Dean                                             17
    Streatley from Goring                                    19
    The Pang at Pangbourne                                   21
    Pangbourne                                               22
    The Thames near Abingdon                                 24
    Diagram to illustrate the Geology of Berkshire           30
    Diagram-section of the Berkshire Rocks                   31
    Corallian Rock, Shellingford                             33
    Specimen from the Reading Leaf-Bed                       37
    Bagshot Heath Country from Bog Hill                      39
    Sarsens in Gravel, Chobham Ridges                        40
    The Pine Plantations near Wellington College             45
    Wellingtonia Avenue near Wellington College              46
    Factory Girls leaving Work at Reading                    58
    Whitening Factory, Kintbury                              61
    Christ's Hospital, Abingdon                              63
    White Waltham Church                                     64
    Statue of King Alfred, Wantage                           67
    St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle                       69
    St George's Chapel: the Interior                         71
    Abingdon Abbey                                           74
    St George's Hall: Windsor Castle                         78
    Statue of Queen Victoria at Windsor                      79
    Wayland Smith's Cave                                     83
    Flint Implements of the Neolithic Period found in
        Berkshire                                            84
    The White Horse                                          87
    Blewburton Hill, near Blewbury                           88
    St Nicholas's Church, Abingdon                           92
    Abbey Gateway, Abingdon                                  94
    North Door, Faringdon Church                             96
    South Door, Faringdon Church                             97
    Finchampstead Church                                     98
    Faringdon Parish Church                                  99
    The Upper Cross: East Hagbourne Village                 100
    Abingdon Parish Church                                  101
    Ruins of Reading Abbey                                  103
    Part of the Hospitium of St John, Reading Abbey         104
    The Refectory, Hurley Priory                            105
    The Abbey Barn, Great Coxwell                           106
    Bisham Abbey                                            107
    The Round Tower, Windsor Castle                         110
    Gateway, Donnington Castle, Newbury                     112
    Cottage at Cookham Dean                                 115
    Wayside Cottages, Bisham                                116
    The London Road near Sunninghill                        118
    Hungerford Canal                                        120
    Hambleden Weir                                          121
    Disused Canal between Abingdon and Wantage              122
    Boulter's Lock                                          123
    The Town Hall, Abingdon                                 127
    The Cloth Hall, Newbury                                 129
    The Town Hall, Wallingford                              130
    Royal Military College, Sandhurst                       131
    The Town Hall, Faringdon                                132
    Gate of the Old Grammar School, Abingdon                133
    Ascot Race Course                                       136
    Archbishop Laud                                         139
    The Hoby Chapel, Bisham Church                          141
    Miss Mitford                                            144
    Abingdon Bridge                                         146
    Binfield Rectory                                        148
    Bray Church                                             149
    Cookham Lock                                            151
    East Hagbourne Village                                  153
    Hurley Church and Site of Lady Place                    154
    Pangbourne                                              156
    Shottesbrook Church from the Park                       158
    Streatley Mill                                          159
    Wallingford Bridge                                      161
    The Stocks at White Waltham                             163
    Diagrams                                                165


    Berkshire, Topographical                        Front Cover
    Berkshire, Geological                            Back Cover
    England and Wales, showing Annual Rainfall               50

The illustrations on pages 7, 33, 61, 84, 88, 96, 106, are from
photographs by Mr Llewellyn Treacher, of Twyford; those on pages
83 and 87 are from photographs by Mr H. A. King, of Reading; those
on pages 37, 40, 46, 64, 74, 105, 158, 163 are from photographs by
the author. The portraits on pages 139 and 144 are reproduced from
photographs supplied by Mr Emery Walker; while the illustrations
on pages 67, 69, 71, 92, 94, 97, 99, 100, 103, 110, 112, 122, 127,
129, 130, 132, 133, 153, 156, are from photographs supplied by the
Homeland Association; and those on pages 2, 10, 12, 13, 16, 17, 19,
21, 22, 24, 39, 45, 58, 63, 78, 79, 98, 101, 104, 107, 115, 116, 118,
120, 121, 123, 131, 136, 141, 146, 148, 149, 151, 154, 159, 161, are
from photographs supplied by Messrs F. Frith & Co., Ltd., of Reigate.


If we take a map of England and contrast it with a map of the
United States, perhaps one of the first things we shall notice is
the dissimilarity of the arbitrary divisions of land of which the
countries are composed. In America the rigidly straight boundaries
and rectangular shape of the majority of the States strike the eye
at once; in England our wonder is rather how the boundaries have
come to be so tortuous and complicated--to such a degree, indeed,
that until recently many counties had outlying islands, as it were,
within their neighbours' territory. We naturally infer that the
conditions under which the divisions arose cannot have been the same,
and that while in America these formal square blocks of land, like vast
allotment gardens, were probably the creation of a central authority,
and portioned off much about the same time, the divisions we find in
England have no such simple origin. Such, in fact, is more or less
the case. The formation of the English counties in many instances was
(and is--for they have altered up to to-day) an affair of slow growth,
and their origin was--as their names tell us--of very diverse nature.

Let us turn once more to our map of England. Collectively, we call all
our divisions counties, but not every one of them is accurately thus
described. Some have names complete in themselves, such as Kent and
Sussex, and we find these to be old English kingdoms with but little
alteration either in their boundaries or their names. To others the
terminal shire is appended, which tells us that they were shorn from
a larger domain--shares of Mercia or Northumbria or some other of
the great English kingdoms.

The division of England into counties or shires has often been
attributed to King Alfred (A.D. 871-901), but the shire of Berks
is mentioned as early as the time of Ethelbert (A.D. 860-866), and
Berkshire very probably existed as a county from the days of Egbert
(died 836).

The words county and shire mean practically the same thing, but the
former is derived from the Latin comitatus through the French comté,
the dominion of a comes, or Count, and the latter from the Saxon scir
(from sciran to divide). The termination "shire" is generally used for
Berkshire and four of the neighbouring counties, viz. Buckinghamshire,
Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, and Wiltshire. The next neighbouring
county is usually called Hampshire, but in Acts of Parliament and
official papers it is called the county of Southampton. For the
remaining county, Surrey, the termination shire is not used: its
name--Suthrege--tells us that it was "the South Kingdom."

The boundary of the county follows in great part the river Thames
or its tributaries but in many places it is not distinguished from
the neighbouring counties by any natural features. On the west the
chalk downs run from Wiltshire into Berkshire with no change at the
boundary of the county, and on the south there is little distinction
between the forest and moorland of Berkshire and of the adjoining
tracts of Hampshire and Surrey.

Berkshire has thus existed as a county for about 1100 years;
previously it was part of the Saxon kingdom of Wessex, which also
comprised Hampshire, Wiltshire, Somerset, Dorset, Devon, and part
of Cornwall. The Saxons were called in by the Britons to assist them
against the Picts and Scots (A.D. 429-449). This was a short time after
the departure of the Romans, A.D. 418, or nearly fifteen hundred years
ago. The Roman rule in our district may be taken as from A.D. 40 to
418, a period of 378 years. We shall realise the length of their rule
if we remember that 378 years ago Henry VIII was reigning in England.

When the Romans came to the district they found it occupied by a tribe
of Britons named the Atrebates; and Silchester, just over our county
boundary in Hampshire, was their chief town or settlement.

The written history of the district does not go further back than the
Atrebates, but we find many relics of man of a much earlier date. There
are in our museums human bones found in old graves, but it is not
possible to give them a date or to name the tribe or tribes to which
they belonged. There are also early gold coins without any inscription,
but bearing a rude figure of a horse not unlike the celebrated white
horse cut in the chalk hill above Uffington. These coins take us back
to about B.C. 200. There are also various weapons and implements of
iron, bronze, and stone, found in graves or barrows or in the beds of
our rivers, about which we shall say more in a subsequent chapter. All
these remains belong to a period when the surface of the county,
though no doubt covered to a great extent with forest, was not very
different from what it is to-day. The streams and rivers followed to
some extent the same courses and flowed at much the same level as now.

But there are remains of man which carry us back to a very much earlier
date. In what is known as the Palaeolithic Period our rivers flowed
at much higher levels than now; possibly the land has risen since
that time, but however that may be, there are beds of gravel of the
river Thames as much as 114 feet above the present river, and these
gravels contain implements made by man. These, which are at least
as old as the gravel in which we find them, are nearly all of flint,
and often beautifully made. A large collection from Berkshire is in
the Reading Museum.

Several animals now extinct were living at that time. The mammoth,
the woolly rhinoceros, and the Irish elk roamed through the forest
of Berkshire, and in all probability were hunted by Palaeolithic man.


Berkshire is an inland county separated from the English Channel by the
full width of Hampshire. The river Thames, however, gives a waterway
to the sea, and the county town, Reading, is especially well served by
railways and has mainly on that account become the centre of trades of
great importance. Reading biscuits and Reading seeds have a world-wide
celebrity, and printing is now extensively carried on in the town.

Berkshire is, however, essentially an agricultural county, and some
of the most fertile corn land in England is found in it. Until quite
modern times great tracts were waste, or woodland and moorland. But
these, though of no agricultural value, are for the most part very
good to live in and are now being rapidly built over.

The county is divided by nature into three well-marked districts. The
first of these natural divisions is formed by the Vale of White Horse
and the part of the county north of it, as well as the low-lying
ground between Wallingford and Steventon. The soil is clay and sand,
and a few beds of limestone occur in places.

The second division is the great chalk district forming central
Berkshire, with Ashbury, Wantage, and Wallingford on the north and
Hungerford, Kintbury, Chieveley, Bradfield, and Tilehurst on the
south. The tract included in the curve of the river Thames between
Twyford and Maidenhead also belongs to the chalk district. The chalk
is not always at the surface of the ground, for it is often covered by
thin beds of clay or gravel, but it will always be found at a little
depth below the surface in this district.

The third division comprises the forest country of the southern and
south-eastern parts of the shire. Its northern boundary runs from
Inkpen in the west to Maidenhead in the east, but in places tracts
north of this line belong to the third division and in other places
the chalk comes to the surface south of it. The soil in the third
division consists of clay and sand with no limestone. These clays and
sands are very thick in the south-east of the county, but everywhere
the chalk is below them if we go deep enough.

The chalk downs of the central division are dotted over with mounds
and earthworks, probably for the most part the work of man before
the Roman occupation, for it was an inhabited part of the county in
the time of the Britons. On the other hand the Vale of White Horse
division was in those days mainly or wholly uncultivated, but it is
now the most fertile part of Berkshire. The south or forest division
has been thinly populated up to quite modern times, though the Roman
town of Silchester stood in the Hampshire part of this forest country.

Berkshire is almost all within the drainage area of the river Thames
and its tributaries, and the natural line of communication between
our county and the sea is by river, Windsor being some 85 miles from
the Nore.

The estuary of the Severn is less than 32 miles from Faringdon,
and there seems to have been a tolerably good road from Berkshire to
the west coast in quite early times. Formerly a very usual line of
communication between our county and the sea was from the south coast
across the chalk downs. Hungerford is only 35 miles from Southampton,
and the roadways across the Chalk are very old and fairly direct.


The length of Berkshire on an east and west line is 41 miles. It may
be described as a rectangle with a somewhat square projection at the
south-eastern corner. Ashmole compares it to a lute and Fuller to
a slipper. The northern boundary is practically formed by the river
Thames, and is in consequence most irregular. Where the river curves
in a southerly direction, the width of the county is contracted until
it is less than seven miles at Reading. Until 1844 Three Mile Cross
and the country between that place and the Hampshire border was an
outlying part of Wiltshire, so that the width of Berkshire at Reading
was less than four miles. This little bit of Wiltshire has however
now been joined to Berkshire.

Berkshire as it is shown upon most maps is known as the "Geographical"
or "Ancient County" of Berkshire, and its area is 462,208 acres,
that is about one-seventieth of the area of England.

For administrative purposes the boundaries are slightly different, and
the area of Administrative Berkshire including the county borough of
Reading is 462,367 acres. By deducting from this the area under water,
i.e. rivers, ponds, lakes, etc., we arrive at the figures 459,403,
which are used as the area of Berkshire in acres for the purpose of
agricultural and other returns issued by Government. The county of
Berks for registration purposes, that is for Parliamentary elections,
etc., includes all the Administrative County and also Egham in the
east, Culham and Crowmarsh in the north-east, small bits of Oxfordshire
and Gloucestershire in the north, and the rural district of Ramsbury
in the west, giving a total area of 573,689 acres.

Berkshire was, as we have said, a part of the Saxon kingdom of Wessex,
and it has inherited from that kingdom its northern boundary, the
river Thames. It is interesting to note that some rivers have been
selected as boundaries to a much greater extent than others. Thus
the Thames forms a county boundary for a great part of its course,
whilst the river Severn flows through the middle of counties.

The Thames forms the county boundary at Old Windsor from a point
a little above Magna Charta Island and separates Berkshire from
Buckinghamshire, and later on from Oxfordshire, the boundary sometimes
running in midstream, sometimes on one bank, and sometimes on the other
bank. Near Oxford the boundary passes for a short distance a little
to the west of the river, that is on the Berks side. The Upper Thames
or Isis becomes the boundary between Berkshire and Oxfordshire, and
then for a very short distance between Berkshire and Gloucestershire,
until near Buscot the river Cole joins the Isis and the boundary
turns in a southerly direction near to the bank of the Cole, the
adjoining county being then Wiltshire. The county boundary runs by
or close to the river Cole to near Bourton, and it then crosses the
chalk country with no definite marks. At one point it crosses an old
earthwork, Membury Fort, and reaches the river Kennet a little east
of Chilton Foliat. From this point to near Woodhay, a distance of
some 14 miles, the boundary of the county for administrative purposes
differs from the boundary of the ancient or geographical county (see
page 9), indeed considerable alterations have been made in this part
of the county boundary at various times. The present administrative
boundary after crossing the Kennet, turns in a westerly and then in
a south-easterly direction following the border of Hungerford and
Inkpen parishes and runs on to a point at the south-western corner
of Combe parish where Berkshire, Wiltshire, and Hampshire meet. The
Berkshire boundary then runs west to Pilot Hill and then turning
takes a northerly or north-easterly course until it reaches the
stream Emborne which it follows for several miles until near Brimpton
the stream bends sharply northwards to join the river Kennet, while
the county boundary continues its easterly course through a forest
country to the Imp Stone plantation. It then makes a wide detour to
the north leaving Mortimer West End and the Roman town of Silchester
in Hampshire. This part of the boundary has at more than one date been
subject to alteration and for a time it ran close to Silchester and
is thus marked on many maps. Stratfield Mortimer is in Berkshire, and
about a mile to the east of Silchester the county boundary reaches
a Roman road which it follows pretty closely for a considerable
distance, crossing the river Loddon at Stamford End Mill. On the east
of the Loddon we come to a small tract which, until modern times,
was an outlying part of Wiltshire, bounded in part by Berkshire and
in part by Hampshire. It is now included in the former county, and
the Berkshire boundary continues its easterly direction on or near
the Roman road until it reaches the stream Whitewater close to its
junction with the Blackwater. The county boundary reaches the latter
river close to a ford, no doubt a well-known place, for these fords
are in most cases very old crossing-places and this one certainly goes
back to Roman times and may very likely have been used in still earlier
days. The boundary then turns along the Blackwater, and though it does
not always follow the present course of the stream, it keeps near to
it for some eight miles, until we reach the Blackwater Bridge on the
London and Southampton Road. This is another ancient crossing-place,
and here the counties of Berkshire, Hampshire, and Surrey meet. The
Berkshire and Surrey boundary now runs in a north-easterly direction,
through the grounds of the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, up a
small stream to a place named Wishmoor Cross, possibly the site of
a cross in former days, and evidently a well-known place, for five
parishes meet there. From this point the boundary crosses the forest
district of Bagshot Heath, celebrated in connection with highwaymen,
and eventually reaches the Thames near Old Windsor.

In old maps it will be noticed that there are detached portions of
Berkshire surrounded by Oxfordshire, and also detached portions of
Wiltshire partially or wholly surrounded by Berkshire, but in modern
times the county boundaries have been much modified for purposes
of convenience. Thus an Act of Parliament was passed in 1844 to
annex detached parts of counties to the counties in which they are
situated. This Act transferred from Wiltshire to Berkshire parts of
the parishes of Shinfield, Swallowfield, and Wokingham. Shilton and
Little Faringdon were transferred from Berkshire to Oxfordshire, and
part of Inglesham was given to Wiltshire. The boundaries of counties
were still further simplified by an Act of Parliament of 1887,
one of the objects of which was to arrange that no Union, Borough,
Sanitary District, or Parish should be in more than one county.


We have already mentioned that Berkshire may be divided into three
natural divisions. The northern or Vale of White Horse district
is for the most part rather low-lying ground, but there is a small
range of hills along the course of the Thames or Isis from Faringdon
towards Oxford. Badbury Hill, 530 feet above the sea, and Faringdon
Clump, 445 feet, are quite prominent from a distance, and some of
the other hills from Buckland to Wytham look imposing when seen from
the river. Much of this district was to a large extent swampy and
boggy ground in old days, and a part of it is still spoken of as
"the moors" by the country people. Some of the village names end in
"ey," suggesting that they were islands in the marsh district. Goosey
and Charney are examples. A good deal of the district is stiff clay,
and there is difficulty in getting a supply of good water, hence
we find a number of towns and villages, like Wantage for instance,
close to the chalk downs, where there are many springs.

The second or central division of Berkshire is the district of the
chalk land. The downs of Berkshire are separated from the Chiltern
Hills, which are the chalk hills of Oxfordshire, by the valley of the
river Thames, whilst on the west the chalk downs run on into Wiltshire
without any natural break. The chalk ridge rises sharply up from
the Vale of White Horse, and a large part of the crest is over 700
feet above the sea. White Horse Hill attains a height of 856 feet,
and the village of Farnborough is 712 feet above sea level. There is
a general slope of the chalk surface downwards towards the south, so
that even the high part of Lambourn Downs is well below the 700-feet
contour line, and long and beautiful valleys run up from the Newbury
district into the chalk downs.

The northern border of the chalk district is a well defined line; not
so the southern border. The chalk gradually bends downwards underground
and is covered by sand, gravel, and clay, so that in many places we
find the upper part of the hills sandy or clayey whilst the valleys
beneath them are chalk. Thus Bussocks Camp and Snelsmore Common
near Newbury are situated upon a ridge of gravel, sand, and clay,
but the road from Chieveley to Newbury in the valley below the camp
runs for most of the way along a chalk valley, and the chalk extends
all around, but underneath the sand, gravel, and clay. Hence there
is no definite southern boundary to the chalk district, and there is
a bit of chalk country near Inkpen. The projecting part of Berkshire,
bounded on the south by a line drawn from Twyford to Maidenhead and on
the other sides by the river Thames, is also mainly a chalk district.

The southern division of the county has in consequence no definite
northern border, but a line drawn from Hungerford in the west to
Maidenhead in the east will have very little of chalk district
to the south and very little forest country to the north, and is
consequently a good practical boundary between the second and third
divisions of Berkshire.

The scenery of the southern division is quite different from that of
the other two divisions. The country consists to a great extent of
wide and flat table-land 300 to 400 feet above the sea, in which the
rivers and streams have cut valleys. There are also extensive tracts of
clay land, but the clay is often concealed under a few feet of gravel.


With the exception of a small tract in the south-western corner the
county is wholly drained by the river Thames and its tributaries;
that is to say, with a very few exceptions, every brook and stream
in Berkshire is more or less directly a tributary of the Thames.

The river Thames or Isis becomes the boundary between Berkshire
and Gloucestershire near Lechlade, and it flows in an easterly
direction over a clay country, keeping a little to the north of the
ridge of limestone hills upon which the villages of Buckland and
Hinton Waldrist stand. Near Appleton the river bends to the north,
curving round the outlying patch of limestone which forms Wytham
Hill, and being joined by the river Evenlode. The united streams
soon take a southerly course, and a little below Oxford are joined
on the north by the Cherwell. The river then crosses the limestone
formation near Sandford, and curves round by Radley to Abingdon. From
Abingdon the river pursues a somewhat serpentine course with a general
south-easterly trend towards Benson, being joined on the north near
Dorchester by the river Thame. A little south of Benson the river,
now the Thames proper, enters upon the chalk formation, across which
it flows in a southerly direction to Streatley, and then takes a
south-easterly course to Reading. At Streatley the river valley is
deep, with steep sides separating the chalk downs of Berkshire from
the chalk hills known as the Chilterns. The illustration above shows
the Berkshire downs in the distance and the valley of the Thames in
the foreground.

At Reading the Thames is joined by the Kennet, and it is interesting
to notice that the main stream adopts the direction of the tributary
and flows with a north-easterly course to Wargrave, near which place
the river Loddon meets it from the south, and again the direction of
flow of the tributary is adopted, the Thames taking a northerly course
past Henley. It is also of interest to observe that the river has
turned away from the soft clays which form the ground south and east
of Reading, and has cut a deep valley in the hard chalk from Wargrave
onwards. Beyond Remenham the course of the river becomes easterly,
and near Cookham it turns south and flows past Maidenhead to Bray.

Near Bray the Thames leaves the chalk over which it has flowed for
some 40 miles and enters upon a clay country, making its way in a
fairly direct line to Windsor, the one place in the district where a
knob of chalk sticks up through the clay. Windsor Castle stands upon
this knob of chalk. The course of the river from Bray to Windsor is on
the whole south-east, and after a big curve north at Eton the course
becomes more southerly, with another big curve near Old Windsor. At
Runnymede House the Berkshire boundary leaves the river, which flows
on to London and the sea.

The river Cole rises on the chalk not far from Ashbury, and flowing
in a northerly direction joins the Upper Thames or Isis at the extreme
western boundary of the county.

The river Ock rises on the chalk near Uffington, and flows down the
Vale of White Horse to join the Thames at Abingdon.

The river Pang rises on the chalk not far from Compton, and flows in
a southerly direction to near Bucklebury, where it turns eastward,
passing through a beautiful valley by way of Stanford Dingley and
Bradfield to a point near Tidmarsh. It then makes a sharp turn to
the north and joins the Thames at Pangbourne. This lower part of the
course of the Pang is worthy of study, for there is a continuous band
of river alluvium along the valley from the Thames at Pangbourne to
the Kennet at Theale. The source of the river, too, is well worthy
of investigation. In dry times it will be found in the valley near
Compton, but in wet seasons it is much further up in a branch valley
towards East Ilsley.

The Lambourn also rises on the chalk near the place of that name,
and it flows in a south-easterly direction and joins the Kennet close
to Newbury. The Pang and the Lambourn flow in chalk valleys for the
whole of their course.

The river Kennet rises in Wiltshire, enters Berkshire near Hungerford,
and flows with an easterly course by way of Kintbury, Newbury, and
Theale, finally joining the Thames close to Reading. It is a chalk
river, and obtains a considerable amount of water from springs in
the valley along its course.

The Emborne is not a chalk stream. It rises in the Inkpen district
and flows in an easterly direction, forming, as we have seen, the
county boundary for a considerable distance. Its course is almost
parallel to that of the river Kennet, the two valleys being separated
by hills or plateaux of clay, sand, and gravel. Near Brimpton the
Emborne turns sharply to the north-east, and joins the river Kennet
near Sulhampstead Bannister.

The Foudry Brook rises in a clay district of Hampshire, not far from
Silchester, and runs by way of Stratfield Mortimer and Grazeley to
the river Kennet near Reading. It is a small stream now, but there
is a good deal of alluvium along its course, showing that it was of
more importance in former times.

The river Loddon rises in Hampshire and enters Berkshire at the edge
of Strathfieldsaye Park, its direction being northerly. Soon, however,
it turns to the north-east and flows in a tolerably straight line to
join the river Thames near Wargrave.

The Blackwater rises near Aldershot and reaches Berkshire at Blackwater
Bridge, where, as we have said, the counties of Berkshire, Hampshire,
and Surrey meet. From this point the river flows in a north-west or
west direction and forms the Berkshire boundary for eight miles to a
point near Little Ford below Farley Hill. The Blackwater then turns
into Berkshire, running in a north-westerly direction to Swallowfield,
where it joins the river Loddon.

There are no natural lakes in Berkshire, though there are the deposits
of a former lake in the valley of the Kennet near Newbury.

There was formerly a sheet of water near Twyford named Ruscombe Lake,
which had some claim to be called a natural lake, in that it was a
low-lying bit of ground which was flooded owing to the absence of a
good outlet. Its natural outlet was into the river Loddon, and there
is a patch of alluvium extending from its site through Stanlake Park
to that river. It was eventually drained by making a deep channel
called the "Cut," draining a considerable area into the Thames near
Bray. It has been asked why the river Thames did not follow the line of
Ruscombe Lake and the Bray Cut, all soft clayey soil and low ground,
instead of cutting the great and deep valley through the chalk by way
of Wargrave, Henley, Great Marlow, and Maidenhead. The explanation
probably is that the river Thames existed before any of these valleys,
and that its course was determined by local features which have long
since been destroyed by rain and streams, and by the river itself.


Before giving further account of the physical geography of the county
it is necessary to learn somewhat of its geology, as the physical
conditions are to a large extent dependent upon geological structure.

By Geology we mean the study of the rocks, and we must at the outset
explain that the term rock is used by the geologist without any
reference to the hardness or compactness of the material to which the
name is applied; thus he speaks of loose sand as a rock equally with
a hard substance like granite.

Rocks are of two kinds, (1) those laid down mostly under water;
(2) those due to the action of heat.

The first kind may be compared to sheets of paper one over the
other. These sheets are called beds, and such beds are usually formed
of sand (often containing pebbles), mud or clay, and limestone, or
mixtures of these materials. They are laid down as flat or nearly
flat sheets, but may afterwards be tilted as the result of movement
of the earth's crust, just as you may tilt sheets of paper, folding
them into arches and troughs, by pressing them at either end. Again,
we may find the tops of the folds so produced worn away as the result
of the constant action of rivers, glaciers, and sea-waves upon them,
as one might cut off the tops of the folds of the paper with a pair
of shears. This has happened with the ancient beds forming parts
of the earth's crust, and we therefore often find them tilted, with
the upper parts removed. Tilted beds are said to dip, the direction
of dip being that in which the beds plunge downwards, thus the beds
of an arch dip away from its crest, those of a trough towards its
middle. The dip is at a low angle when the beds are nearly horizontal,
and at a high angle when they approach the vertical position. The
horizontal line at right angles to the direction of the dip is called
the line of strike. Beds form strips at the surface, and the portion
where they appear at the surface is called the outcrop. On a large
scale the direction of outcrop generally corresponds with that of the
strike. Beds may also be displaced along great cracks, so that one
set of beds abuts against a different set at the sides of the crack,
when the beds are said to be faulted.

The other kinds of rocks are known as igneous rocks, which have been
melted under the action of heat and become solid on cooling. When in
the molten state they have been poured out at the surface as the lava
of volcanoes, or have been forced into other rocks and cooled in the
cracks and other places of weakness. Much material is also thrown out
of volcanoes as volcanic ash and dust, and is piled up on the sides
of the volcano. Such ashy material may be arranged in beds, so that it
partakes to some extent of the qualities of the two great rock groups.

The production of beds is of great importance to geologists, for by
means of these beds we can classify the rocks according to age. If
we take two sheets of paper, and lay one on the top of the other on
a table, the upper one has been laid down after the other. Similarly
with two beds, the upper is also the newer, and the newer will remain
on the top after earth-movements, save in very exceptional cases
which need not be regarded by us here, and for general purposes we
may regard any bed or set of beds resting on any other in our own
country as being the newer bed or set.

The movements which affect beds may occur at different times. One set
of beds may be laid down flat, then thrown into folds by movement, the
tops of the beds worn off, and another set of beds laid down upon the
worn surface of the older beds, the edges of which will abut against
the oldest of the new set of flatly deposited beds, which latter may
in turn undergo disturbance and removal of their upper portions.

Again, after the formation of the beds many changes may occur in
them. They may become hardened, pebble-beds being changed into
conglomerates, sands into sandstones, muds and clays into mudstones
and shales, soft deposits of lime into limestone, and loose volcanic
ashes into exceedingly hard rocks. They may also become cracked,
and the cracks are often very regular, running in two directions at
right angles one to the other. Such cracks are known as joints, and
the joints are very important in affecting the physical geography
of a district. As the result of great pressure applied sideways,
the rocks may be so changed that they can be split into thin slabs,
which usually, though not necessarily, split along planes standing at
high angles to the horizontal. Rocks affected in this way are known
as slates.

If we could flatten out all the beds of England, and arrange them
one over the other and bore a shaft through them, we should see
them on the sides of the shaft, the newest appearing at the top and
the oldest at the bottom. Such a shaft would have a depth of between
50,000 and 100,000 feet. The beds are divided into three great groups
called Primary or Palaeozoic, Secondary or Mesozoic, and Tertiary or
Cainozoic, and at the base of the Primary rocks are the oldest rocks
of Britain, which form as it were the foundation stones on which the
other rocks rest, and are termed Precambrian rocks. The three great
groups are divided into minor divisions known as systems.

     NAMES OF         SUBDIVISIONS                    CHARACTERS OF ROCKS

   {                { Metal Age Deposits            }
   { Recent         { Neolithic     ,,              } Superficial Deposits
   { Pleistocene    { Palaeolithic  ,,              }
   {                { Glacial       ,,              }
T  {
E  {                { Cromer Series                 }
R  {                { Weybourne Crag                }
T  { Pliocene       { Chillesford and Norwich Crags } Sands chiefly
I  {                { Red and Walton Crags          }
A  {                { Coralline Crag                }
R  {
Y  { Miocene          Absent from Britain
   {                { Fluviomarine Beds of Hampshire}
   {                { Bagshot Beds                  }
   { Eocene         { London Clay                   } Clays and Sands
   {                { Oldhaven Beds, Woolwich and   } chiefly
   {                {   Reading Groups              }
   {                { Thanet Sands                  }

   {                { Chalk                         }
   { Cretaceous     { Upper Greensand and Gault     } Chalk at top
   {                { Lower Greensand               } Sandstones, Mud and
   {                { Weald Clay                    } Clays below
   {                { Hastings Sands                }
   {                { Purbeck Beds                  }
S  {                { Portland Beds                 }
E  {                { Kimmeridge Clay               }
C  {                { Corallian Beds                }
O  { Jurassic       { Oxford Clay and Kellaways Rock} Shales, Sandstones
N  {                { Cornbrash                     } and Oolitic
D  {                { Forest Marble                 } Limestones
A  {                { Great Oolite with Stonesfield }
R  {                {   Slate                       }
Y  {                { Inferior Oolite               }
   {                { Lias--Upper, Middle, and Lower}
   {                { Rhaetic                       }
   {                { Keuper Marls                  }
   { Triassic       { Keuper Sandstone              } Red Sandstones and
   {                { Upper Bunter Sandstone        } Marls, Gypsum and
   {                { Bunter Pebble Beds            } Salt
   {                { Lower Bunter Sandstone        }

   {                { Magnesian Limestone and       }
   { Permian        { Sandstone                     } Red Sandstones and
   {                { Marl Slate                    } Magnesian Limestone
   {                { Lower Permian Sandstone       }
   {                { Coal Measures                 } Sandstones, Shales
   { Carboniferous  { Millstone Grit                } and Coals at top
   {                { Mountain Limestone            } Sandstones in middle
   {                { Basal Carboniferous Rocks     } Limestone and Shales
   {                {                               } below
   {                { Upper  }                      } Red Sandstones,
   { Devonian       { Mid    } Devonian and Old     } Shales, Slates and
P  {                { Lower  } Red Sandstone        } Limestones
R  {
I  {                { Ludlow Beds                   } Sandstones, Shales
M  { Silurian       { Wenlock Beds                  } and Thin Limestones
A  {                { Llandovery Beds               }
R  {
Y  {                { Caradoc Beds                  } Shales, Slates,
   { Ordovician     { Llandeilo Beds                } Sandstones and
   {                { Arenig Beds                   } Thin Limestones
   {                { Tremadoc Slates               }
   { Cambrian       { Lingula Flags                 } Slates and
   {                { Menevian Beds                 } Sandstones
   {                { Harlech Grits and Llanberis   }
   {                { Slates
   {                                                { Sandstones,
   { Pre-Cambrian     No definite classification    { Slates and
   {                  yet made                      { Volcanic Rocks

In the preceding table (p. 29) a representation of the various great
subdivisions or 'systems' of the beds which are found in the British
Islands is shown. The names of the great divisions are given on the
left-hand side, in the centre the chief divisions of the rocks of each
system are enumerated, and on the right-hand the general characters
of the rocks of each system are given.

Berkshire is now part of an island and is a long way from the sea,
but there have been times when the arrangement of land and sea on
the globe was very different from what it is now. Our district has
during some periods been part of a continent, and in others it has
been overflowed by the sea.

These changes in the distribution of land and water were due to
movements of the crust of the earth, and very largely to movements
of compression from the sides, causing folding of the strata of which
the crust of the earth is composed.

After many and great changes, at a time geologically recent, but
still long before the beginning of history in the usual sense of the
word, the district now known as Berkshire rose above the sea for the
last time.

Since that date deposits of clay, sand, etc., have been formed in our
area, and their formation is indeed still going on to some extent,
but though these are true geological deposits they are of no great
thickness, seldom as much as 20 feet. They are, however, at or near
the surface of the ground, and consequently exercise considerable
influence on the character of the country. We will, however, leave
them out of account for the moment and consider the deposits formed
before the district finally rose above the sea.

These deposits are usually spoken of as forming the solid geology
of the area, and the three divisions, into which as we have said
Berkshire is divided, are characterised as follows:--

1.  In the northern part of the county, including the Vale of White
    Horse, the geological strata are older than the chalk formation.
2.  In the central part of Berkshire the chalk formation is at or
    near the surface of the ground.
3.  In the forest country of south and east Berkshire, the surface
    is formed of geological formations newer than the chalk, but the
    chalk is always to be found underground if one goes deep enough.

If we look at a sectional plan of geological strata we shall see that
none of the formations which come to the surface in our county are
of any great antiquity, but somewhere deep down, say over a thousand
feet below us, there is a platform of much older rocks, upon which
those that come to the surface rest in an irregular manner. What these
old rocks may be we do not know, but probably New Red Sandstone and
possibly beds of coal may occur amongst them.

Speaking generally, we pass from older to newer geological formations
as we go from the north-west towards the south-east, and we find that
the Oxford Clay is the oldest formation which comes to the surface
in Berkshire.

The Oxford Clay forms a strip of low land along the banks of the Isis
from the Cole to the Cherwell near Oxford. It was originally mud
deposited in a sea which extended over a great part of England. It
is dark coloured, often shaley, with a little clayey limestone. A
large oyster is one of its common fossils. Its thickness is about 450
feet, and it is not a water-bearing formation. The Oxford Clay dips
underground to the east and is covered by newer rocks, the first of
which is the Corallian.

The Corallian forms a very well-marked band running across the
county from the Cole to the Thames. Wytham Hill is formed of it, and
Shrivenham, Coleshill, Faringdon, Buckland, Fyfield, Appleton, and
Cumnor are situated upon it. It is essentially a calcareous formation
with some hard limestone beds, and has a thickness of from 50 to 80
feet. It was formed in the sea; probably a shallow sea with shoals,
sand, and coral banks. Fossil corals are abundant, and many specimens
of Ammonites and other marine shells are to be found. There are some
good examples of these from Marcham in the Reading Museum. Supplies
of good water may often be obtained from this formation. The Corallian
beds are quarried for building stone and road material in many places.

The Kimmeridge Clay, which comes above the Corallian, is, like the
Oxford Clay, a bed of hardened marine mud. It has now become a shaley
clay, and is about 140 feet thick. It forms a narrow east and west band
across the county. Much of the Vale of White Horse is on this clay,
and the town of Abingdon stands upon it. It is not a water-bearing

The Portland Beds. A small patch of this formation is found resting
upon the Kimmeridge Clay in Berkshire. It caps the rising ground
south of Shrivenham, and the village of Bourton stands upon it. Its
thickness is about 20 feet.

After the deposition of the Portland rocks, which are of marine origin,
there is reason to believe that our district became land and a part
of a continent, but no relics of this period remain here. They were
all swept away when the land sank again and the Cretaceous sea flowed
over Berkshire.

The Lower Greensand--our next deposit--was formed after a long
interval, and, owing to earth movements which had taken place during
that interval, it rests upon the older rocks in an irregular manner. It
is a marine formation, and only occurs in patches, the largest of which
extends from Uffington to near Faringdon. Its greatest thickness is
about 60 feet, and it consists of sand with some ironstone and chert,
pebble beds, and a calcareous sponge gravel. The sponge gravel,
so-called from the number of fossil sponges it contains, is dug for
garden paths and walks, and is exported to long distances. The fossil
sponges in the gravel are abundant and beautifully preserved, and
they seem to have lived on the spot. The ironstone was at one time
worked near Faringdon. At New Lodge, in the parish of Winkfield, the
Lower Greensand was reached in a boring at a depth of 1234 feet. A
good supply of water was obtained, but it contains a large quantity
of common salt.

The Gault, the next formation, consists of grey clay in the lower part
and of a silty marl in the upper part, with a total thickness of some
220 feet. It crosses the county as a band, from one to three miles in
width, from Ashbury to the Thames between Abingdon and Wallingford. It
is a marine formation, and does not give a water-supply.

The Upper Greensand runs across the county as a narrow and irregular
band about 90 feet thick, and consists of green sands and grey marl,
with beds of stone in places. It is of marine origin, and provides
a supply of excellent water, and consequently many villages stand
upon or close to it. Ashbury, Childrey, Wantage, Hendred, and Harwell
are examples.

The Chalk. This is far the most important geological formation in
Berkshire, for it occupies a large portion of the surface of the
county, and in the eastern part, when not at the surface, it is to be
found underground. It is a light-coloured limestone, usually soft and
earthy, but in parts very hard. Its full thickness is over 700 feet,
and being a porous rock, the rain which falls on its great surface
sinks in and furnishes a water-supply over its whole area whether the
chalk be at the surface or underground. It was deposited in a sea which
not only covered our district but spread over much of Europe. There
was, however, probably land to the west which included Cornwall,
parts of Wales, and of Ireland. The upper part of the Berkshire Chalk
contains many layers and nodules of flint.

There is a long break in our geological record after the newest beds
of the Chalk found in Berkshire had been deposited, for both the top
of the Chalk and the bottom of the next series are wanting here, and
in order to fill the interval we have to study rocks in other parts
of England, in Belgium, and in Denmark. During this great interval
in time the chalk sea retired, and much of Britain became land.

The Reading Beds repose upon a water- and weather-worn surface of
chalk. They consist of clays and sands, and were deposited in the bed
of a great river. Their thickness is from 70 to 90 feet, and good
water may be obtained from the sands. In the lower part we find a
bed of oysters, and rather higher up there is in some places a bed
of leaves, known as the "Reading Leaf-Bed," a specimen of which is
shown below. It will be noticed that the leaves are crowded together,
and were no doubt buried in the mud of the river.

The Basement Bed of the London Clay comes next in order and the fossils
are marine, showing that the sea was again spreading over our area. It
is from 6 to 16 feet in thickness, and consists of loam and clay with
green sand and pebbles. A set of shells from this bed is arranged in
the Reading Museum.

The London Clay is a marine formation of very uniform character,
a stiff clay, blue underground, but becoming brown near the
surface, owing to the action of surface water. It contains layers of
cement-stones. The thickness in the east of the county is nearly 350
feet, but the formation thins to the west, and is under 50 feet thick
at Inkpen. Fossils are not uncommon, and there is a fair collection
of Berkshire London Clay fossils in the Wellington College Museum. It
is not a water-bearing formation. Most of Windsor Park is on London
Clay, and a number of places the names of which end with "field"
are upon this formation, such as Arborfield, Binfield, Burghfield,
Shinfield, Swallowfield, Warfield, and Winkfield.

The Bagshot Beds, named after Bagshot Heath, consist of sand with
a few beds of clay. The maximum thickness is nearly 350 feet. They
are probably mainly of marine origin, but formed near the estuary
of a large river. Fossils are rare in this formation in Berkshire,
but a few specimens will be found in the Museums at Reading and at
Wellington College. The Bagshot Beds are a water-bearing formation,
but the water is not always of a satisfactory character. The scenery
of the sandy Bagshot country is well shown by the view opposite.

Some indefinite time after the deposition of the Bagshot Beds
considerable earth movements took place in the south of England,
and Berkshire became, and has since remained, dry land. The Bagshot
Beds are consequently the last marine formation in our district,
and we thus complete our account of the solid geology of the county.

The solid strata are, however, to a considerable extent covered
with a variety of geological deposits due to rain, frost, streams,
and rivers. These deposits, often termed Drift, though not marked
on the majority of geological maps, have a great importance for the
dwellers in our county, simply because they form the actual surface
and determine the character of the soil.

Clay with Flints is a formation covering a good deal of our Chalk. It
is partly débris of the chalk formation and partly of clay beds which
once rested on the Chalk. In places it is 20 feet thick. Some of the
best timber in the county grows upon it.

Gravel covers a good deal of the surface in Berkshire. It is found
both on the high ground and in the valleys. The high-level gravels
are often over 10 feet thick and the valley gravels are more than 20
feet thick in several places. Windsor, Bray, Maidenhead, Cookham,
Twyford, Wokingham, Reading, Theale, Pangbourne, and Newbury stand
partly or wholly upon gravel.

Alluvium, the modern deposit of the rivers, covers a good deal of
ground in some places, more especially in the valley of the Kennet.

Sarsens are blocks of sandstone which are found on or near the
surface of the ground or in the beds of gravel. They were probably
derived in part from the Reading Beds and in part from the Bagshot
Beds. The illustration on page 40 shows three sarsen stones lying
at the bottom of a thick bed of gravel in a gravel pit on Chobham
Ridges. The locality is in Surrey, but not far from the Berkshire
border, and similar examples occur in Berkshire.


The fertile district of the Vale of White Horse, the wide chalk downs,
and the forest country with its sandy tracts covered by heather or
pines, together with the river Thames and its tributaries, give us a
considerable variety of soil, of climate, and of general conditions;
and we consequently have a large variety of species both of animals
and of plants, though being an inland county, many forms which people
the coast are absent, or merely come as rare visitors. Naturally, too,
the increase of population and the advance of civilisation have caused
a great change in animal and plant life. Many species, once common,
are no longer to be found and many new species have been introduced.

Probably the most imposing of the animals which have roamed over
our district since the advent of man was the form of elephant known
as the mammoth. It possessed enormous tusks and was covered with
long coarse hair with an under pelage of short woolly hair so as to
be fitted for life in a cold climate. Its bones have been found in
several places in Berkshire, and teeth from Abingdon and Reading are
in the Reading Museum.

The rhinoceros once lived in Berkshire, for bones, probably belonging
to a woolly species, have been found in a railway cutting near
Chilton. Bones of the bear, wolf, and bison have been found in
the Drift deposits, and the wild boar was hunted in Berkshire in
historic times.

The badger is a harmless animal which lives a quiet life, spending
the daytime in a burrow, often in a fox earth, and only coming out
at night. It is in consequence much more common than is generally
supposed, and our county forms no exception.

The history of the various forms of deer in Berkshire is of
considerable interest. The red deer is a native of the county, for
its remains have been found in the marsh deposits. It lived in various
parks until the Commonwealth, when most of the deer were killed. It has
been reintroduced and is now to be seen in Windsor Park, Calcot Park,
and at Hampstead Marshall. The fallow deer lives in a more or less tame
state in several parks in the county, and it is probably an original
inhabitant of Berkshire, for it occurs as a fossil at Brentford, in
Middlesex. The roe is certainly a native, for remains have been found
in the Newbury marshes. It now lives in the woods about Virginia Water
and Sunningdale. The reindeer has been found as a fossil at Windsor.

An imperfect skull of the musk ox was found in a bed of gravel near
Maidenhead in 1855, and is now in the Natural History Museum at South
Kensington. It was the first discovery of the remains of this animal
in Britain.

As might be expected there are no very outstanding features in
Berkshire ornithology. The midland position of the county is against
any long list of foreign visitors, and there are no fens or broads
to tempt the special birds affecting such localities. The heron
is often to be seen, and there is a heronry at Virginia Water, and
others at Coley Park, Buscot, and Wytham Abbey. Woodpeckers, as might
be supposed, are more especially common in the forest districts of
eastern Berkshire. The carrion crow is a resident but is very local in
occurrence. The hooded crow is a rather uncommon winter visitor. The
peregrine falcon often visits us, but the buzzard, which used to
live and breed in the county, is now but a rare visitor. The great
bustard was a resident up to the end of the eighteenth century but
is now no longer to be counted as a British bird. The swans which we
see on the rivers and on many lakes and ponds are for the most part
private property, but there are often wild birds amongst them.

Of reptiles found in Berkshire, the slow-worm, common snake, and
lizard abound on the moorlands, and the first of these on the chalk;
the adder is not at all common.

Time was, and that not so very long ago, when the salmon might be
caught in the Thames. In the reign of Edward III (1341), a petition
was made to the King, complaining that salmon and other fish in the
Thames were taken and destroyed by engines placed to catch the fry,
which were then used for feeding pigs. The King was asked to forbid
the use of these engines between London and the sea, and also to
decree that no salmon be taken between Gravesend and Henley bridge in
winter. A book on angling published in 1815 speaking of salmon says,
"some are found in the Thames which the writer believes were justly
considered to be superior to any bred in other rivers."

In recent years an attempt has been made to reintroduce the salmon
into the Thames, and many young salmon have been turned out in the
river, but so far without any useful result.

But though the salmon has been, and again may be an inhabitant of
the Thames, the brown trout is, and always has been, the fish of
Berkshire. It attains a large size, and fish of from 8 to 12 lbs. are
frequently caught in the Thames. There is, however, a scarcity of
suitable breeding-places for trout in the river, and the stock,
during recent years, has been kept up by introducing young fish, and
not only brown trout but also Lochleven trout and rainbow trout have
been turned into the river in great numbers. Many of the tributaries
of the Thames are excellent trout streams, the Lambourn being a
particularly good one.

The pike is found in the rivers and in many a lake and pond throughout
Berkshire. Grayling occur in the Kennet and are occasionally caught
in the Thames. The gudgeon is a well-known Thames fish; and perch,
roach, dace, barbel and minnows abound. The little ruff or pope is
fairly common in the Thames, and the miller's thumb, another small
fish belonging to the cooler parts of the world, is to be seen in most
of our streams darting from place to place with great rapidity. The
rudd, which is generally distributed through the more level part of
England, is not common in Berkshire. The bream is occasionally caught
in the Thames, but it is not a native and was probably introduced
from Norfolk.

The great variety of soil found in the river valleys, on the chalk
downs, and in the forest district gives rise to much difference in
the vegetation in different parts of the county. The beds of bullrush,
the yellow and purple loosestrife, and the white and yellow water-lily
are intimately associated with the beauty of the Thames.

The ling, the bell heather, and the cross-leaved heath cover large
tracts in the eastern part of the county, and the bilberry is found
in the woods of the same district. The bramble abounds in the forest
parts, and of cultivated fruits we have large orchards of plums and
cherries in the northern part of the county. Some rare orchids are
to be found on the chalk, and in the peat districts the interesting
little sundew is quite common.

In the chalk district the holly and beech grow well, and fine oaks are
to be seen in many parts of our county. Herne's Oak, in Windsor Park,
has given rise to much discussion, but there can be little doubt that
the tree known by that name to Shakespeare was cut down in 1796. There
are some avenues of fine elms in Windsor Park--notably the Long Walk.

Of the conifers, the yew is a native of our district and grows well on
the chalk, and the so-called Scotch fir (in reality a pine), a native
of Scotland, has been introduced and forms extensive woods in the sandy
parts of the county. The cedar of Lebanon, various kinds of cypress,
the araucaria of Chile, the cryptomeria of Japan and the Wellingtonia
(Sequoia) of California have been introduced into the county. On
the opposite page is a view of an avenue of the Wellingtonia near
Wellington College.


The climate of a country or district is, briefly, the average weather
of that country or district, and it depends upon various factors,
all mutually interacting, upon the latitude, the temperature, the
direction and strength of the winds, the rainfall, the character of
the soil, and the proximity of the district to the sea.

The differences in the climates of the world depend mainly upon
latitude, but a scarcely less important factor is proximity to the
sea. Along any great climatic zone there will be found variations
in proportion to this proximity, the extremes being "continental"
climates in the centres of continents far from the oceans, and
"insular" climates in small tracts surrounded by sea. Continental
climates show great differences in seasonal temperatures, the winters
tending to be unusually cold and the summers unusually warm, while the
climate of insular tracts is characterised by equableness and also by
greater dampness. Great Britain possesses, by reason of its position,
a temperate insular climate, but its average annual temperature is
much higher than could be expected from its latitude. The prevalent
south-westerly winds cause a drift of the surface-waters of the
Atlantic towards our shores, and this warm-water current, which we know
as the Gulf Stream, is the chief cause of the mildness of our winters.

Most of our weather comes to us from the Atlantic. It would be
impossible here within the limits of a short chapter to discuss
fully the causes which affect or control weather changes. It must
suffice to say that the conditions are in the main either cyclonic
or anticyclonic, which terms may be best explained, perhaps,
by comparing the air currents to a stream of water. In a stream a
chain of eddies may often be seen fringing the more steadily-moving
central water. Regarding the general north-easterly moving air from
the Atlantic as such a stream, a chain of eddies may be developed in
a belt parallel with its general direction. This belt of eddies or
cyclones, as they are termed, tends to shift its position, sometimes
passing over our islands, sometimes to the north or south of them,
and it is to this shifting that most of our weather changes are
due. Cyclonic conditions are associated with a greater or less amount
of atmospheric disturbance; anticyclonic with calms.

The prevalent Atlantic winds largely affect our island in another
way, namely in its rainfall. The air, heavily laden with moisture
from its passage over the ocean, meets with elevated land-tracts
directly it reaches our shores--the moorland of Devon and Cornwall,
the Welsh mountains, or the fells of Cumberland and Westmorland--and
blowing up the rising land-surface, parts with this moisture as
rain. To how great an extent this occurs is best seen by reference
to the map of the annual rainfall of England on the next page, where
it will at once be noticed that the heaviest fall is in the west,
and that it decreases with remarkable regularity until the least fall
is reached on our eastern shores. Thus in 1906, the maximum rainfall
for the year occurred at Glaslyn in the Snowdon district, where 205
inches of rain fell; and the lowest was at Boyton in Suffolk, with a
record of just under 20 inches. These western highlands, therefore,
may not inaptly be compared to an umbrella, sheltering the country
further eastward from the rain.

The above causes, then, are those mainly concerned in influencing the
weather, but there are other and more local factors which often affect
greatly the climate of a place, such, for example, as configuration,
position, and soil. The shelter of a range of hills, a southern aspect,
a sandy soil, will thus produce conditions which may differ greatly
from those of a place--perhaps at no great distance--situated on a
wind-swept northern slope with a cold clay soil.

Berkshire is an inland county but no part of it is as much as 75
miles from the coast. The chalk downs have a fine bracing climate, and
though some of the valleys may be relaxing and some of the moorland
tracts bleak, the general climate of the county is exceedingly
healthy. Compared with the south coast of England Berkshire is rather
cooler, with somewhat less sunshine and less rain than the coast.

Temperature, it should be remarked, varies according to height above
sea level, falling about 1° Fahr. for each 100 to 300 feet upwards. In
a comparatively level district, like Berkshire, this is not a very
serious consideration. The mean temperature for the year varies
in different parts of England from about 47·3 in the north-eastern
counties to about 49·6 in the south-east. The mean temperature is
about 49·0 in northern Berkshire and about 47·5 in south-western
Berkshire. It may be of interest to give the mean temperature for one
year at places in and close around Berkshire. We take the year 1907 and
the figures are as follows--Maidenhead 49·4, Wokingham 47·7, Swarraton
in Hampshire 47·9, Marlborough in Wiltshire 47·4, and Oxford 48·9.

The average temperature in the month of January varies from 37·0 to
38·0 in different parts of the county, and the average temperature
for July from 59·7 to 62·0.

In England bright sunshine is most prevalent on the coast and
decreases inland. The annual total amount for the south and east
coast from Cornwall to Norfolk is nearly 1800 hours, whilst in the
northern midland counties the amount is about 1200 hours. There
are no definite data available for giving the amount for Berkshire,
but there are probably about 1500 hours of bright sunshine in the year.

The rainfall varies a good deal in different parts of the county. The
amount is lowest in the north-east and highest in the south-west. Thus
Wallingford and Cookham have a rainfall of about 23 inches a year on an
average. At Reading, which is somewhat to the south-west, the amount
is nearly 24 inches a year, and on a line running through Wellington
College and Yattendon the amount is nearly 25 inches. Letcombe
Regis and Ashbury have a rainfall of between 25 and 26 inches. At
Faringdon the figure is above 26, and in the south-western corner of
the county there is a rainfall of about 29 inches a year. The average
yearly rainfall for the whole of England is 31·62 inches, and for the
British Isles it is 39·25 inches. Looking at the extremes of rainfall
in England we find the lowest at Shoeburyness with an average of 19·7
inches for the year, whilst Seathwaite in Cumberland has an average
rainfall of 133·53 inches per annum.


We know little about the ancient people who made and used the flint
implements which are found in the river gravels around Reading and
at other places, and even when we come to the latter part of the
Stone Age, though we find skeletons in the barrows or mounds upon
our downs, our information about the race is exceedingly small, and
this is perhaps not to be wondered at, for in no case do we find any
knowledge of the art of writing in the stage of culture when only
stone and no metal implements were used. Moreover, we must bear in
mind that all we know about early England from written history is
from the works of foreign merchants or of foreign conquerors.

The Belgae who occupied the part of Britain south of the Thames
at the time of Caesar's invasion may have been partly or mostly
Gauls. The tribe named the Atrebates occupied most or all of what is
now Berkshire, and Silchester in Hampshire was their chief town.

During the Roman occupation the district was far from the frontier,
and the inhabitants continued their peaceful village life, becoming
more or less Romanised.

After the departure of the Romans the Saxons spread gradually over the
country and were probably settled in Berkshire before A.D. 568. The
invaders made a clean sweep of Roman civilisation, destroyed the
villages and houses, and extirpated the Christian religion.

In A.D. 597 Augustine with his band of monks landed in the Isle of
Thanet, and the conversion of the Saxons proceeded rapidly, and in
time letters, arts, and civilisation returned to the county.

In later times Berkshire was overwhelmed by the Danes, and conquered
by the Normans, but neither Danes nor Normans made anything like so
great a change in the face of the country as had been effected by the
Saxons, and there is even now a large Saxon element in our people,
in our language, and in our manners and customs.

In early days there was a considerable population living on the chalk
downs, but by degrees they moved elsewhere, and for a long time the
people were mainly gathered in the valleys, especially along the banks
of the rivers Thames and Kennet. Nearly all the Berkshire towns are
situated upon one or other of those rivers. In quite modern times
there has been a great increase of population in the eastern end of
the county, large areas of heath-land having been built over.

The population of Berkshire was steadily increasing during the
whole of the last century. In 1801 the census gave a population of
110,752, and this had increased in 1851 to 170,243, and in 1901 to
256,509. That is to say the population of the county had more than
doubled in the century.

In 1901 there were 72,217 people living in the county borough of
Reading. Of the six municipal boroughs in Berkshire Windsor had the
largest population, and the others in order of numbers of inhabitants
were Maidenhead, Newbury, Abingdon, Wokingham, and Wallingford.

Of the persons registered as inhabitants of Berkshire in 1901, 398
were in hospital, 150 of whom were in the Royal Berkshire Hospital
at Reading; 1638 were in Lunatic Asylums, of whom 646 were in the
County Lunatic Asylum, Cholsey; 657 in the Criminal Lunatic Asylum
at Broadmoor, and 335 in the Holloway Sanatorium, Egham, which is in
the county of Surrey, but is included in Berkshire for registration

One man and one woman were described as over 100 years of age and
they were both living in Reading. Five men and thirteen women were
described as between 95 and 100 years of age.

In the military barracks in the county there were 392 officers and
1860 non-commissioned officers and men--the 344 cadets at the Royal
Military College, Sandhurst, being included amongst the officers.

The number of men engaged in the general or local government of the
county was 1423. The number engaged in teaching as schoolmasters,
professors, etc., was 590 men and 1712 women.

In many counties a large number of persons are described as living
in ships, barges or boats, but in Berkshire the number in 1901 was
only nine.


The cultivation of the soil has probably been carried on, to some
extent, since the days of the people who made the stone implements,
though they doubtless chiefly concerned themselves with the chase. The
early inhabitants lived partly on the chalk land and partly on
the banks of the rivers. The art of cultivation no doubt spread by
degrees amongst the natives, and not only the flat chalk surfaces
but even the steep sides of the downs were brought into service, and
they may be seen now scored with horizontal terraces in many places,
partly the result of cultivation in long strips on the hill side,
and partly made intentionally to assist cultivation. Terraces of this
kind are found in many parts of England and are known as "linchets" or
"lynchets." They form a marked feature in the landscape, near Compton
Beauchamp for instance, and were at one time thought to be old sea
beaches, but this was an error; the sea had nothing to do with their
formation. They are cultivation terraces in most cases, though in
some instances they may be, at least in part, due to landslip or to
a natural accumulation of rain wash.

During Saxon times the greater part of Berkshire came under
cultivation, and agriculture has ever since been the main industry
of our county. The Vale of White Horse and its neighbourhood is one
of the most fertile tracts in England, and there is also some rich
pasture land on the alluvium by the rivers at Abingdon, Purley,
Newbury, Woolhampton, Theale, Reading, and Twyford.

In the eighteenth and the early part of the nineteenth centuries
corn-growing was very profitable, and a great deal of land was laid
down in corn, some of it being far from suited to the purpose. In
later times the profit on corn has been reduced and some of this land
has been turned to other uses or has gone out of cultivation. In 1905
the area in Berkshire devoted to corn was 98,968 acres, and in 1908
the area was 96,169 acres, a reduction of 2799 acres. The reduction
was mainly in the crop of wheat, there was only a slight reduction
in barley, whilst there was an increase in the amount of oats. The
relative amount of wheat, barley, and oats grown in 1908 is shown in
the diagram at the end of this volume.

Berkshire is not one of the great fruit-growing counties. In 1908
the acreage returned as orchards was 2942.

The total amount of arable land in the county in 1908 was 179,047
acres. This includes the land under clover, sainfoin, and grasses under
rotation 35,760 acres. The area of permanent grass was 175,017 acres,
making a total of 354,064 acres under either crops or grass.

At the present time the production of milk is one of the most important
industries of the county, the chief dairy district being the northern
part and the tracts along the rivers. In 1908 the number of cattle
in the county was 48,118. A cheese like single Gloucester is made in
the Vale of White Horse.

The number of sheep in Berkshire was returned as 167,413. They do
not belong to the breed formerly known as "Berkshire." This was a
large animal with black face and black or mottled legs, which is now
replaced by other kinds. The county has long been famous for its pigs,
which numbered 26,171 in the year 1908.

In former days the vine was cultivated in Berkshire, and a little
vineyard existed as late as the reign of George III outside Windsor
Castle and to the east of Henry VIII's gateway. We also find mention
of vineyards at Abingdon, Bisham, Burghfield, and Wallingford.

The number of men engaged in agriculture in Berkshire was 14,918 at
the time of the last census.


As we have said, Berkshire is essentially an agricultural county,
and the cloth-making which in the days of Ashmole was so great a
trade that almost the whole nation was supplied from our county,
has become practically obsolete. There are however at the present
day several industries which give employment to a large number of
workers in the county. Probably the one most definitely connected
with our county town Reading is the making of biscuits, an industry
of quite modern growth. Printing, too, is carried on at important
works at Reading belonging in many cases to London firms, and there
are also more or less active printing presses at nearly all our towns
and in country places too. Printing in Berkshire goes back certainly
to 1528, when John Scolar set up a press in the Abbey of Abingdon and
printed a breviary, a copy of which is preserved at Emmanuel College,
Cambridge. One of the oldest of existing newspapers is the Reading
Mercury, started in that town in 1723.

Brewing has been carried on from the days of the monks, and no
doubt plenty of good ale was brewed in the Abbeys of Abingdon and
Reading. There is a record of malting mills in Wallingford Castle
in 1300. At the present time there are large breweries at Reading,
Windsor, and other places. Tanning is another very old industry
which is still carried on with activity. The bark of the oak was
formerly used to a large extent in tanning, and there has always been
an abundance of oak trees in the county. Oak bark is still used to
some extent. Shoe-making used to be an important cottage industry,
but the introduction of machinery has carried the work to large
factories elsewhere.

Newbury was at one time a great place for barge building, and boats of
many kinds are now built at various places on the Thames and Kennet,
indeed boat building counts amongst the more important of our active

We have already mentioned cloth-making as one of the great industries
of the county in former times. The chief centres were Reading,
Abingdon, and Newbury. A fulling mill at Newbury is mentioned in
1205. The interesting Cloth Hall at that place, now a museum, was
built by the Guild of Clothworkers of Newbury, which was incorporated
in 1601, and the beautiful old house of Shaw was built by a Newbury
clothier named Thomas Dolman in 1581. The most famous of the Berkshire
clothiers was John Winchcombe or Smalwoode, known as Jack of Newbury
(died 1520). During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the
clothing trade declined. This was partly due to the activity of the
northern clothiers and to the introduction of machinery with the
resulting factory system. Still as late as 1816 there were works
in Katesgrove Lane, Reading, where sail-cloth for the navy was
manufactured in large quantity.

The silk industry too, once of some importance, has left the
district. At the end of the sixteenth century silk-stocking making
was quite an important industry at Wokingham, and many mulberry trees
were planted in and near the town. Silk manufactures were also active
at Reading, Newbury, Kintbury, Twyford, and other places.

Seed-growing is an important industry at Reading and employs a large
number of people.

Iron and brass foundries of some importance are established at
Reading and many other places, and there are large engineering works
at Wantage.

There was a good bell-foundry at Wokingham in the last quarter of the
fourteenth century (temp. Richard II), and several bells made there
still exist. About 1495 the business was transferred to Reading,
and bell-founding was carried on at that place until the beginning
of the eighteenth century.

Lastly, the open country near Lambourn has long been used for training
race-horses, and there are very large stables in this part of the
country. The "gallops" now extend from Compton, Ilsley, and Wantage
to Lambourn.


There is very little in the way of minerals in the rock or soil of the
county. Bands of ironstone are found in the Lower Greensand formation,
and it appears to have been worked near Faringdon. A group of small
hollows to the east of Little Coxwell are known as Cole's Pits and
were probably dug to get the iron ore.

Two chalybeate springs at Sunninghill were at one time quite well

Whiting or whitening has for a long time been manufactured at
Kintbury from soft chalk which is dug there. A layer in the Reading
Beds at Reading used to be dug as fuller's earth for the clothiers
of that town.

Before the Norman conquest most of the buildings in the county were
of wood, and of course wood has been very largely used in buildings
at all times. Splendid examples of hewn timber-work may be seen in
many of our churches and other buildings. There is for example some
very fine old timber in the Canon's Cloisters at Windsor Castle.

Brick was a building material in the time of the Romans and its use
was most probably never wholly discontinued. In Tudor times many of
the buildings were of brick and timber, and picturesque brick and
timber structures of various dates will be found in all parts of our
county. The gallery at Christ's Hospital, Abingdon, shown on the next
page, is a good example.

All the clay formations in Berkshire have been used for brick and tile
making. The works at Katesgrove and other places on the banks of the
Kennet at Reading are very old and certainly go back to the sixteenth
century. In 1901 there were 1029 men and 35 women engaged in brick,
cement, pottery, and like works in Berkshire.

The limestone rocks of the Corallian formation have been much quarried
in the district between Faringdon and the river Thames near Oxford,
and the stone has been used in buildings of all ages.

Chalk has also been extensively quarried for building purposes. There
is a great deal of chalk in the walls of the Dean's Cloisters and
also in other parts of Windsor Castle. Chalk frame-work may be seen
in many church windows, at Old Windsor and Bray for instance. At
Waltham St Lawrence there is a very curious example, for some flints
are actually left in the chalk mullions of the east window of the
north chantry. It may be of interest to mention that in the valley
of the Seine in northern France chalk has been extensively used as
a building stone--in some of the best buildings at Rouen for example.

Flints from the chalk are much used as building-material in Berkshire;
they are employed fixed in concrete to form the core of walls,
as at Reading Abbey, and as facing to walls with stone corners and
window-frames. Shottesbrooke Church is faced with beautifully dressed
little flints. In other churches the flints are not squared but in
the rough state. At St Mary's Church, Reading, there is building of
a chess-board pattern, one set of squares being stone and the others
formed of small dressed flints. Another example of this chequer-work
is shown in the view of the church at White Waltham here given.

The hard sandstone which has been derived from the Eocene strata and
is termed "sarsen" (see p. 40) is an important Berkshire building
stone. There is a great deal of it in the walls all over Windsor
Castle, several of the towers and walls being faced with sarsen.

In some of the Berkshire gravel beds there is a hard irony
conglomerate, and this has been used as a building material. There
is a good deal in the tower of St Giles Church, Reading, and in the
parish church at Wokingham.

There are many building-materials used in the county which have been
brought from other districts, but this chapter only deals with things
found in Berkshire itself.

Chalk was formerly used to a large extent for chalking the soil, but
the practice has now almost fallen into disuse, and in consequence
one sees abandoned chalk pits all over the chalk district. The reasons
for giving up chalking are the increase in the cost of labour and the
decrease in the value of corn crops, together with the much larger use
of artificial manures. The fertility of many farms now is nevertheless
due to the liming and chalking of old days, and it is to be regretted
that the practice has been abandoned to so great an extent.


It has already been mentioned that Berkshire probably came into
existence as a county in the time of King Egbert, who brought the
long struggle between the kingdoms of the Heptarchy to a close
and established the ascendancy of Wessex over much of the south of
England. It is probable that there was still a population living on
the chalk downs and in occupation of the old forts, and the fertile
Vale of White Horse was gradually coming under cultivation. In any
case there was a royal residence at Wantage, where Alfred the Great
was born in 849, and a religious foundation at Abingdon. There were
also at least two towns, Reading and Wallingford.

Already in the previous century the English coast had been harried by
the Viking pirates, but there is no record of their having penetrated
to our district. In 851 they did indeed make their way up the Thames
into Surrey, but were defeated by Ethelwulf, the son of Egbert, and
his son Ethelbald at Ockley. They next approached Berkshire from the
south coast, and in 860 attacked and plundered Winchester, but were
defeated by the united forces of Berkshire and Hampshire. Ivor the
Dane is said to have reached Reading in 868, and Reading was captured
and occupied by the Danes in 871.

Ethelred was at this time king and together with his brother Alfred
fought the Danes near Reading, but was not successful and retreated
westwards. The Danes followed and the great battle of Assandun, in
which the Danes were put to flight, was fought on the chalk downs at
some place to the west of Aldworth in 871. There is much doubt as to
the exact site of the battle. At one time it was supposed that the
White Horse was cut on the hill-side as a memorial of the victory,
but it is now known that this was not so, for the horse is much
older than the date of the battle. The Danes retreated to Reading,
and only 14 days afterwards they got the better of the Saxons in a
fight at Basing in Hampshire, and were again victorious two months
later at Merton. A truce, however, followed and the Danes retired
to London. All this was in the year 871, and during the same year
King Ethelred died and Alfred the Great became king. How King Alfred,
who ruled until 901, eventually defeated the Danes and came to terms
with them is well known, and Berkshire for a time enjoyed peace.

About this time there was a royal residence at Faringdon, for it is
recorded that Edward the Elder died there in 925. His son Athelstan
had a mint at Wallingford, and three coins struck by him at that
place are in the collection at the British Museum. The monastery at
Abingdon had been destroyed by the Danes, and St Ethelwold was told
by King Edred to re-establish it, but the work was not accomplished
until the reign of Edgar. Ethelred the Unready had a mint at Reading.

In 1006 the Danes again appeared in Berkshire and burnt Reading. They
then advanced up the Thames to Wallingford and burnt that town. They
did not, however, remain in the county, but carried their booty
to the sea by way of Winchester. Both Reading and Wallingford were
soon rebuilt. Edward the Confessor struck coins at both these towns,
and there are specimens in the British Museum. The Confessor had a
residence at Old Windsor, and the great Earl Godwin is said to have
died there in a manner attributed to the judgment of God. The King
gave Windsor to the Abbey of Westminster, but William the Conqueror
exchanged it for some land in Essex, and built a castle on the chalk
hill near the Thames where the present Windsor Castle stands. Ever
since the time of the Conqueror Windsor has been a favourite residence
of our Sovereigns.

In 1121 Reading Abbey was founded by King Henry I and the first Abbot
was appointed in 1123. Henry added to the buildings at Windsor, and
his marriage to his second wife Adelais, daughter of Godfrey Count of
Louvain, took place there in 1121. There was at this time a castle
at Wallingford, for it is recorded that Waleran, Earl of Mellent,
was imprisoned there in 1126.

Henry I died in 1135 and was buried in Reading Abbey. On his death
the peace of the county was disturbed by civil war, for the crown
was claimed by Henry's nephew, Stephen of Blois, though he had sworn
to support the cause of Henry's daughter Maud or Matilda. Matilda
had been married twice, and as her first husband was Henry V,
the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, she is known as the Empress
Matilda. War between Stephen and Matilda began in 1139 and spread
over most of England. Windsor and Reading were held for Stephen,
whilst Brian of Wallingford, a great magnate in Berkshire, took the
side of Matilda. Wallingford Castle was besieged by Stephen in 1139
and again in 1145, but without success. A castle at Faringdon built
by Robert Earl of Gloucester was taken and destroyed by Stephen. In
1145 Matilda gave up the contest and retired to France, but in 1152
her son Henry renewed the war and Stephen again besieged Wallingford
and again unsuccessfully. He also besieged Newbury Castle, which
was held by John Marshal of Hampstead Marshall. Eventually in 1153
peace was made at Wallingford--Stephen to be king for life and to be
succeeded by Henry, son of Matilda. Stephen died in the next year,
1154, and Henry was crowned as King Henry II. He possessed himself
of Wallingford Castle and held a Council there in 1155. Henry added
to the buildings at Windsor Castle, and the lower part of the south
side of the Upper Ward dates from his time.

In 1163 a duel or wager of battle was fought between Robert de
Montfort and Henry of Essex on an island in the Thames below Caversham
Bridge. Essex was accused of treachery or cowardice, having thrown
away the standard in a battle at Coleshill. He was defeated in the
duel and was allowed to join the community of Reading Abbey.

On April 19th, 1164, the ceremony of hallowing the Abbey Church at
Reading was performed by Thomas à Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury,
in the presence of the King. In 1175 Henry held a royal festival at
Reading, and in 1185 we hear of a state ceremony at this town, when
Henry received Heraclius, the Patriarch of Jerusalem. Henry died in
1189 and was succeeded by his son Richard I. Soon after his accession
Richard left England on a crusade, having appointed the Bishops
of Ely and Durham guardians of the kingdom during his absence. To
his brother John he gave the government of some English districts
and places, including the Honour of Wallingford. After Richard's
departure a quarrel arose between the Bishop of Ely, whose name was
Longchamp, and Geoffrey Archbishop of York, and Longchamp caused
Geoffrey to be arrested. Prince John took the part of Geoffrey and
called a Council at Reading to demand justification from Longchamp,
who was summoned to meet the prince at Loddon Bridge, presumably
the bridge on the Reading and Wokingham road. Longchamp did not
appear, and all the participators in the arrest of the Archbishop
were excommunicated in Reading church. Longchamp eventually retired
to the continent, and John obtained possession of Windsor Castle,
but gave it up to Queen Eleanor until Richard should come back--which
he did in 1194. On Richard's death, in 1199, his brother John became
King. In 1204 he obtained possession of Beckett near Shrivenham,
once the property of the Earls of Evreux, and he probably lived there
at times, for a mandate to the Sheriff of Oxfordshire is dated from
Beckett. In 1213 John held an important ecclesiastical Council at
Reading Abbey. He died in 1216 and was succeeded by his son Henry,
who was in his tenth year. William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, son of
John Marshal already mentioned, was appointed Regent of the kingdom,
and he held the office until his death in 1219.

In the Dean's Cloisters at Windsor may be still seen the crowned
head of Henry painted during his life by William the monk of
Westminster. Henry added largely to Windsor Castle, and the outer walls
and towers of the Lower Ward are to a great extent his work. Disputes
arose between Henry and his barons, and Berkshire was again the scene
of civil war. In 1261 Parliament was summoned to meet at Windsor,
and the castle was fortified by Prince Edward. It was taken in 1263
by Simon de Montfort, and the prince was captured. In time, however,
he escaped and got the better of the barons.

In 1295 Berkshire sent two knights of the shire to Parliament, and
Reading and Wallingford also sent representatives. In 1307 the Templars
were expelled from their Preceptories at Bisham and Templeton. In
the time of Edward II we hear complaints of robbers in Windsor Forest.

Edward III was born at Windsor in 1312, and his tenure of power began
at a Court held at Wallingford in 1326, though his father was not
deposed until the next year. King Edward wished to hold a Round Table
in imitation of King Arthur, and he invited a number of knights both
English and foreign to assemble at Windsor Castle in 1344. No doubt
a splendid tournament took place and others followed in subsequent
years. In 1347 or 1348 a garter with the motto Hony soit qui mal y
pense was worn as a device at jousts at Windsor, and the institution
of the Order of the Garter in all probability took place at Windsor
in 1348, though some authorities give the date as 1349. At Christmas,
1346, the King was at Reading and a great jousting was held in his
honour, and in 1359 John of Gaunt, afterwards Duke of Lancaster, was
married at Reading, and there was a great pageant and a tournament
in which the King and his sons took part.

During the reign of Edward III, William of Wykeham built, or re-built,
the Round Tower and much of the castle at Windsor. The sword of the
King is still preserved there.

In 1327 Abingdon had a little fight of its own. Some of the
townspeople, assisted by the Mayor of Oxford and it is said by some
scholars, attacked the Abbey and drove out the monks, part of the
buildings being burnt and the muniments destroyed. In the end twelve
of the attacking party were hanged and the monks restored.

In 1361 the Black Prince married Joan the Fair Maid of Kent. The
marriage took place at Windsor, and after her husband's death Joan
lived a good deal at Wallingford.

The reign of Richard II, which lasted from 1377 to 1399, was marked
by constant troubles between the King with his favourites on the
one hand and the nobles on the other. In 1387 Radcot Bridge was the
scene of a fight between the King's party of 5000 men under De Vere,
Duke of Ireland, and Henry Earl of Derby (afterwards Henry IV). De
Vere was defeated, and only escaped by swimming down the Thames.

In 1399 Richard's inglorious reign came to an end. He was deposed in
favour of Henry of Bolingbroke, son of John of Gaunt, who became King
as Henry IV.


The reign of Henry IV lasted from 1399 to 1413. The hereditary heir to
the Crown on the death of Richard II was a child, Edmund Mortimer, Earl
of March, and he was detained a prisoner at Windsor Castle during the
whole of Henry's reign, and only liberated by Henry V in 1413. There
was at least one fight in Berkshire during the time of Henry IV. In
1400 an attempt was made by some of the nobles to fall on the King
at Windsor, but he was warned in time, and retired to London, and
when the insurgents reached Windsor, they entered the Castle without
opposition, searched for the King, but found he had gone. Meanwhile
he had raised a force in London, and came to attack the insurgent
nobles, who retreated, and a sharp encounter took place at Maidenhead
Bridge. The insurgents retired to Oxford and were eventually defeated.

James I, King of Scotland, was a prisoner at Windsor during most of
the last ten years of his long captivity, which ended by his release
in 1424. His book, The King's Quhair, was written at Windsor, and it
was at Windsor that he fell in love with Jane Beaufort, who afterwards
became his Queen.

Henry VI was born at Windsor in 1421, and became King when about nine
months old. He grew up weak in mind, and during his reign all England
was involved in the Wars of the Roses. Berkshire was during most of
the time held by the Lancastrian party, but in 1460 Newbury was taken
by the Earl of Wiltshire on behalf of the Yorkists. In the next year,
1461, the Duke of York obtained the Crown under the name of Edward IV.

Henry VI held several Parliaments at Reading, and Edward IV also
visited the Abbey, and it is recorded that in 1464 he made the first
public announcement of his marriage with Elizabeth Woodville at a
great Council of the Peers at Reading. The marriage was not popular,
and it was especially disliked by the Nevilles, the most powerful of
whom, Richard Earl of Warwick, subsequently defeated Edward's forces
and restored Henry VI, but Henry's renewed reign lasted only some six
months, for Edward defeated Warwick, who was killed, at the battle
of Barnet in 1471. Warwick and his brother the Marquis of Montagu,
also killed at Barnet, were both buried at Bisham Abbey in Berkshire.

The greater part of St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle dates from
the reign of King Edward IV, and he was the first of our kings to
be buried there, 1483. The body of his rival Henry VI was removed to
Windsor from Chertsey Abbey in 1484. The beautiful Rutland Chapel in
St George's Chapel was built by Sir Thomas St Leger in memory of his
wife Ann, sister of Edward IV. St Leger was beheaded by Richard III,
but was buried in the chapel and a brass to himself and his wife
still remains on the wall there.

After the Wars of the Roses peace reigned in Berkshire for many a
long year, and the county no doubt increased in wealth and prospered
generally. A considerable part of the land was in the possession
of the Church, but in the days of King Henry VIII the whole of the
monastic institutions were swept away.

Owing to the dissolution of the monasteries a large part of the land in
Berkshire passed into the hands of the Crown. Some of it was granted
to Oxford colleges and much to private persons.

In 1544 three persons, Testwood, Filmer, and Peerson were burnt at
Windsor as heretics, and in 1556 Julius Palmer, Master of Reading
Grammar School, John Gwin, and Thomas Askew were burnt at the sandpits
near Newbury.

Elizabeth, before her accession in 1558, lived for some three years
at Sir Thomas Hoby's house at Bisham; indeed she was practically a
prisoner under the charge of Sir Thomas and his wife's sisters. When
she came to the throne Elizabeth like her predecessors lived a good
deal at Windsor, and we hear of visits by her to Reading, Englefield
House (Sir F. Walsingham) and other places. It was in her days that the
tragedy took place which made "Cumnor Hall" known all over the world,
though its celebrity is due more to Scott's novel Kenilworth than to
history. The real facts were, however, sufficiently tragic. Amy, the
daughter of Sir John Robsart, married Lord Robert Dudley, afterwards
Earl of Leicester, in 1550. Ten years later she was found dead, at
Cumnor Place, which had been recently purchased by Anthony Forster the
steward of Lord Robert. Foul play was suspected and it was suggested
that Dudley had reasons for wishing to get rid of his wife as she
stood in the way of higher ambitions. There were no "haunted towers
of Cumnor Hall" for Cumnor Place was not a large house. Now only a
few remains of walls are left on the site.

At the beginning of the Civil War Berkshire was generally Royalist,
and the county was the scene of much fighting during the whole war,
an account of which can be found in any History of England. The Earl
of Essex captured Reading after a siege in 1643, and on September
20th of the same year there was a hard-fought battle between Charles
and Essex near Newbury. Lord Falkland, who was on the King's side,
was killed at this battle, and a granite monument to his memory stands
on the high ground south of the town.

A second battle took place near Newbury on October 27th, 1644, when
the Royalists occupied a position near Shaw House between the rivers
Kennet and Lambourn. Earthworks, remains of this fight, may still
be seen at Shaw House. Donnington Castle, near by, held out for the
King until 1646, and Wallingford Castle fell into the hands of the
Parliament in the same year.

On February 8th, 1649, Charles was buried in St George's Chapel at
Windsor Castle.

Since the Civil War there has been only one small fight in Berkshire
and that was in 1688. On December 6th of that year William of Orange
reached Hungerford, and a force of 250 of his men came into conflict
with 600 of James's Irish troops at Reading. Superior discipline
enabled William's men to drive the Irish in confusion through the
streets into the market-place where they attempted to rally, but
being vigorously attacked in front, and fired upon at the same time
by the inhabitants from the windows, they fled with the loss of their
colours and 50 men, the conquerors only sustaining a loss of five.

There is not much to say of the history of the county since that
date, though, owing to the frequent residence of the Sovereign at
Windsor, many an event of the highest importance and interest has
taken place there.


We have no written records of Man as he first lived in our land long
ages ago. Writing was an unknown art, and records--even if they had
existed--could not have survived to come down to us. We therefore
speak of this period as the Prehistoric--the time when the people of
the past were unable themselves to record their story. Yet, though
these sources of information are closed to us, we are able from the
relics they have left behind them--the implements and weapons that
they used, the bones of the animals they fed upon, the structures
they erected--to form a fairly clear idea of these early peoples.

But this Prehistoric period, vast in its extent, has for convenience
sake been further subdivided. At first the metals were unknown, or at
least unused, and this period is spoken of as the Stone Age, for it
was of flints and other stones that weapons and domestic implements
were mainly fashioned. Later, man learnt how to get the easily-worked
ores of tin and copper from the rocks and by their admixture to form
bronze. From this, beautiful weapons and other articles were made,
and from the time of the discovery we date what is known as the
Bronze Age. Doubtless the ores of iron had long been known, but how to
smelt them was another matter. At length the method was discovered,
and mankind was in possession of hard metal implements having great
advantages for all purposes over those previously employed. Thus the
Iron Age began, and the early inhabitants of Britain had arrived at
this stage of civilisation when the Romans came to our land.

We may now turn to a consideration of these various epochs in their
order. Firstly the Stone Age. This, though a convenient term as
covering all the period before the advent of the Metal Ages, is
too indefinite both as to time and race, and hence it is usual to
speak of the Palaeolithic or Old Stone Age, and the Neolithic or
New Stone Age. The people of these two Ages were very distinct, and
most authorities hold that--at all events in our land--a vast gap of
time separated them, though no such gap occurred between the later
Ages. Palaeolithic man, from various causes, ceased to inhabit what
we now call Britain, and when the country was re-peopled it was by
Neolithic man. Palaeolithic man lived in the days when the mammoth,
reindeer, and hyaena roamed over our country; made leaf-shaped
roughly-flaked flint weapons which were never ground or polished;
cultivated no plants and tamed no animals; and built no monuments,
graves, or houses. Neolithic man, on the other hand, learnt how to
grind and polish his implements; was both a farmer and a breeder of
stock; had many industries; and built megalithic monuments, houses,
and graves--the remains of which survive to the present day.

The earliest signs of the existence of man in Berkshire are, as we have
said, the implements of stone, mostly flint, found in the gravels;
and the implements of the Palaeolithic Period take us back to a very
old time, so old that the surface features of our district were then
quite different from what we see now.

There is a fine series of Palaeolithic implements in the Reading
Museum, and most of them have been found in gravel-pits near the
river Thames in the Reading and Twyford district, or in the Cookham
and Maidenhead district. The implements occur in the gravel in such
a way as to prove that they were brought into the position in which
we find them at the same time and in the same manner as the other
stones in the gravel, and the men who made them consequently lived
at or before the date of the making of the beds of gravel. All the
gravels in question were made by our rivers, and as the places where
we find the implements are in some cases from 85 to 114 feet above
the present level of the river, we infer that the valley has been
deepened as much as from 85 to 114 feet since the time when the men
who made the implements lived.

We now come to the Neolithic Period when, as we have seen, man was a
much more civilised person than the earlier man is believed to have
been. Some of his burial mounds still remain, and being oval in plan
are known as long barrows. Wayland Smith's Cave, a mile to the east
of Ashbury (p. 83), is composed of some 32 stones, the remains of a
long barrow of Neolithic times.

Neolithic implements are of stone, but in many cases they are unlike
the older implements in being of polished stone. In the Reading
Museum there is a fine polished flint chisel from Englefield, and also
polished axes from Broadmoor, from Pangbourne, and from the beds of the
Thames and Kennet. In the British Museum there is a beautiful dagger
of flint from a barrow on Lambourn Down. Pretty little arrow-heads have
been found at many places on the downs and in the Wallingford district.

There was in Berkshire a long interval between the Palaeolithic and
the Neolithic Periods, but so far as we know there was no such break
between the Neolithic Period and the Bronze Age. All we can say is
that there was a time when the inhabitants of our district began to
use implements of copper, or of copper alloyed with tin, i.e. bronze,
for some purposes, but they still continued to use implements of stone,
and it is not always possible to say whether a stone implement belongs
to the Neolithic Period, to the Bronze Age, or to an even later date.

Many remains of the Bronze Age have been found in burial-mounds or
barrows, and the barrows of this period are circular, with a diameter
of fifty to one hundred feet, and hence termed round barrows. Many
pieces of sepulchral pottery of this age from Berkshire will be found
both in the British Museum and the Reading Museum. A considerable
number of bronze implements were found in one place at Yattendon,
and another hoard of them was discovered at Wallingford. A great many
bronze swords, daggers, and spear-heads have been found in the river
Thames, and are to be seen in the Museums.

A cemetery of this period was found at Sulham, and many earthenware
urns from it are in the Reading Museum. There are also in the Museum
some urns from Neolithic barrows at Sunningdale.

The extensive deposits of peat at and around Newbury show that it was
a marsh and lake district until historical time, and remains of pile
dwellings have been found in the market-place, in Bartholomew Street,
and in Cheap Street. Their date cannot be fixed with certainty,
but they are almost certainly prehistoric in age.

The substitution of iron for bronze indicates a considerable advance
in knowledge, for, except in meteorites, pure iron is not found in
nature, and no small skill is required to separate the metal from
the earth or rock in which it occurs. There is, however, no definite
division between the Bronze and the Iron Age, for implements and
ornaments of both bronze and stone continued to be used. Nor is there
any definite end to the Iron Age: it passes onwards into the period
of written history.

A number of bones and various objects found in a grave on Hagbourne
Hill seemed to show that a man, a horse, and possibly also a chariot
had been buried there.

Ancient British coins have been found at Brightwell, Newbury,
Wallingford, and at other places in Berkshire. Many of them bear on one
side a rude representation of a horse, probably an imitation of the
horse on the gold stater of Philip II of Macedon, who became king in
B.C. 359. These gold coins, known as Philips, were current in Greece
and in the East for a long period, and have been occasionally found
in circulation even in modern times. The White Horse, which is cut
in the turf on the chalk hill above Uffington, bears a considerable
resemblance to the horse on the British coins, and may very probably
be of the same date.

There are a great number of mounds and earthworks scattered over
Berkshire, and it is exceedingly difficult to assign to them their
proper dates. We have already mentioned Wayland Smith's Cave as
the remains of a long barrow of the Neolithic Period, and we have
also referred to the round barrows of the Bronze Age. Some of the
fortifications may date from these early times but many are probably
of later date. It was for a long time needful to provide defence for
the dwellings, not only against men, but also against wild animals,
and the earthworks were no doubt used over and over again by successive

As we have said, the chalk district was at one time the most populous
part of the county, and we consequently find the downs dotted over with
mounds and earthworks of very ancient date. Perhaps the best known of
these is the fine earthwork named Uffington Castle on White Horse Hill
(see p. 7). Alfred's Castle is a circular earthwork close to Ashdown
Park and three miles south-west of Uffington Castle. Letcombe Castle
is another fair-sized work on the Ridge Way, rather more than five
miles east of White Horse Hill. There is a large earthwork called
Danish Camp on Blewburton Hill to the south of Didcot.

There are a few old earthworks in the Vale of White Horse district. One
crowns Badbury Hill near Faringdon. Cherbury Camp is a large oval work
on low ground near Buckland. Sinodun Hill to the north of Wallingford
has evidently been fortified in early times, and Wallingford itself
has the remains of an old and extensive earthwork round the town.

Passing to the Forest District we find many mounds and banks on the
heaths, and there is one very fine earthwork known as Caesar's Camp
near Easthampstead. It was very likely used by the Romans, but is
almost certainly of still older date. Finally it is highly probable
that Windsor Castle stands on the site of an old fort.


The Reading Museum contains one of the finest Anglo-Roman collections
in England. It is the result of careful and systematic excavation,
carried on for a series of years, on the site of the town of
Silchester, and the collection is of the greatest interest to us as
illustrating the life in an English country town in the days of the
Romans. The locality is however in Hampshire, the Berkshire boundary
making a detour so as to leave it in the neighbouring county.

According to the ordnance map, Speen House near Newbury was the site
of the Roman Spinae, but no Roman remains have been found there, though
there is evidence of a settlement of some importance at Newbury itself.

The foundations of houses of the Roman period have been found at
several places in Berkshire; thus at Frilford near Marcham the
remains of a small Romano-British house were found; and near by, in
Frilford Field, a cemetery of the same period, which had subsequently
been used by the Anglo-Saxons. Remains of a house with tessellated
pavements were found on the Great Western Railway at Basildon, and
other remains of Romano-British buildings have been discovered near
Maidenhead and Waltham St Lawrence.

The words "Roman Villa" will be found marked on the ordnance map
at two places to the south of Hampstead Norris, and remains of
buildings have been discovered near Letcombe Regis, and at other
places. The earthworks on Lowbury Hill to the west of Streatley are
usually believed to be a Roman camp, and it is probable that the Roman
soldiers occupied many of the old British forts at one time or another.

Roman coins and pottery of the Romano-British period have been found
almost all over the county, though they may be said to be most common
along the valley of the Thames and least so near Faringdon. In the
Reading Museum there are a good many objects of Roman date which were
found in Reading itself. Specimens are exhibited from two small hoards
of coins dating from the Emperor Valentinian A.D. 364 to the Emperor
Honorius A.D. 423. The coins are in very good preservation and were
probably hidden when the Roman soldiers departed from England.

There are signs of Roman settlements along the Devil's Highway,
the road from Silchester to London. Thus there was evidently a
Romano-British village at Wickham Bushes close to Caesar's Camp
on Easthampstead Plain. A collection from this locality exists at
Wellington College.

A number of objects of the Anglo-Saxon period found in Berkshire will
be seen in the Anglo-Saxon room at the British Museum. There is a very
fine sword-blade from Ashdown, and a variety of objects--shield-bosses,
knives, etc.--from Long Wittenham, where a Saxon burial-place has been
explored. In some cases the body had been burnt, whilst in others the
skeletons remained, and were found to be of a large-sized and robust
race. Another Anglo-Saxon cemetery was discovered at Arne Hill near
Lockinge, and a number of Anglo-Saxon interments in the Lambourn valley
near East Shefford. Two burial-places of this period have been found
at Reading. One contained spear-heads, knives, and bronze ornaments,
and was probably of pagan date, whilst the other is believed to have
been to some extent a Christian burial-place. In it a pewter chalice
was found which may have been buried with a priest. The objects from
these two localities are in the Reading Museum. Numbers of Anglo-Saxon
coins have been dug up in Berkshire, more especially in the Cholsey
and Wallingford district. They are of silver about the diameter of
a sixpence but much thinner and are called pennies.


A preliminary word on the various styles of English architecture
is necessary before we consider the churches and other important
buildings of our county.

Pre-Norman or, as it is usually, though with no great certainty
termed, Saxon building in England, was the work of early craftsmen
with an imperfect knowledge of stone construction, who commonly used
rough rubble walls, no buttresses, small semi-circular or triangular
arches, and square towers with what is termed "long-and-short work"
at the quoins or corners. It survives almost solely in portions of
small churches.

The Norman conquest started a widespread building of massive
churches and castles in the continental style called Romanesque,
which in England has got the name of "Norman." They had walls of
great thickness, semi-circular vaults, round-headed doors and windows,
and lofty square towers.

From 1150 to 1200 the building became lighter, the arches pointed,
and there was perfected the science of vaulting, by which the weight
is brought upon piers and buttresses. This method of building,
the "Gothic," originated from the endeavour to cover the widest
and loftiest areas with the greatest economy of stone. The first
English Gothic, called "Early English," from about 1180 to 1250, is
characterised by slender piers (commonly of marble), lofty pointed
vaults, and long, narrow, lancet-headed windows. After 1250 the
windows became broader, divided up, and ornamented by patterns of
tracery, while in the vault the ribs were multiplied. The greatest
elegance of English Gothic was reached from 1260 to 1290, at which
date English sculpture was at its highest, and art in painting,
coloured glass making, and general craftsmanship at its zenith.

After 1300 the structure of stone buildings began to be overlaid with
ornament, the window tracery and vault ribs were of intricate patterns,
the pinnacles and spires loaded with crocket and ornament. This later
style is known as "Decorated," and came to an end with the Black Death,
which stopped all building for a time.

With the changed conditions of life the type of building
changed. With curious uniformity and quickness the style called
"Perpendicular"--which is unknown abroad--developed after 1360 in all
parts of England and lasted with scarcely any change up to 1520. As
its name implies, it is characterised by the perpendicular arrangement
of the tracery and panels on walls and in windows, and it is also
distinguished by the flattened arches and the square arrangement of
the mouldings over them, by the elaborate vault-traceries (especially
fan-vaulting), and by the use of flat roofs and towers without spires.

The mediaeval styles in England ended with the dissolution of the
monasteries (1530-1540), for the Reformation checked the building of
churches. There succeeded the building of manor-houses, in which the
style called "Tudor" arose--distinguished by flat-headed windows,
level ceilings, and panelled rooms. The ornaments of classic style
were introduced under the influences of Renaissance sculpture and
distinguish the "Jacobean" style, so called after James I. About this
time the professional architect arose. Hitherto, building had been
entirely in the hands of the builder and the craftsman.

Much of the stone used in Berkshire is of local origin, as has already
been mentioned in Chapter 12, but a great deal has also been brought
from a distance. Thus it is recorded that when the Abbot of Abingdon
in 1100 rebuilt the conventual buildings as well as much of the
abbey church, the materials were brought from Wales, six waggons,
each drawn by twelve oxen, being engaged in the work. A great deal
of Bath stone will be found in Berkshire buildings and some has even
been brought from Caen in Normandy. Pillars and tombstones of Purbeck
marble are common in the churches. In the south wall of the Dean's
Cloisters at Windsor (temp. Henry III) there are clusters of columns
and one column in each is of Purbeck marble.

The tower of the church at Wickham, north-west of Newbury, is of
a very early style of architecture, showing a variety of "long and
short" work. Two of the belfry windows are double with a pillar in
the middle, and are characteristic of this early work. The walls are
very thick. The remainder of the church has been rebuilt.

On pages 96 and 97 there are views of Norman doorways at Faringdon,
both round-headed and one with an embattled moulding over the door. The
church at Avington on the banks of the river Kennet a little below
Hungerford is a good example of the Norman style of architecture,
and there is a most interesting little church at Finchampstead
near Wokingham of which a view is given on page 98. It was built
in the twelfth century and the east end of the chancel is round,
as was usual at that time. The original windows were probably very
small, and those which we now see were cut in the wall since Norman
times. The north aisle, too, is newer than the body of the church,
and the brick tower only dates from the seventeenth century. In the
church there is a Norman font. There is more or less Norman work
remaining in many of our other churches. Thus the illustration on
page 92 gives a view of the church of St Nicholas at Abingdon, and a
round-headed Norman doorway will be seen under the tower, whilst the
remainder of the building belongs to a later style of architecture,
probably of the fifteenth century. The tower of West Shefford church
is curious, the lower part is round and of Norman date, whilst the
upper part is octagonal and was built subsequently.

Passing now to the Early English style of architecture there is on
page 99 a view of Faringdon Church, which it will be seen is built in
the form of a cross with a massive square tower in the middle. Some of
the arches inside the church are round-headed like Norman arches, but
the windows are of the long narrow shape usual in the Early English
style of building. We have churches built mainly in this style in
many places, such as Ardington, Buckland, and Uffington.

Of the Decorated style there is a most beautiful church at Shottesbrook
near White Waltham, which was built by Sir William Tressel in 1337. It
is cruciform with a tall spire. The walls are of small dressed flints,
with corners and window and door frames of stone. The roof is tiled
and the spire of stone, the east end window large with beautiful stone
tracery (p. 158), and the church is an unusually good example of the
Decorated style. The Greyfriars Church at Reading was also built in
the Decorated style. It was long a ruin or used for various purposes,
but is now restored. We also have churches mainly in this style of
architecture at Sparsholt, Warfield, and at other places.

We have many examples of Perpendicular style in Berkshire, but by
far the best is the Chapel of St George in Windsor Castle (pp. 69,
71). The greater part of this chapel was built in the time of Edward
IV. The windows are large and the nave consequently very light. The
stone roof of the nave was added by Henry VII, and that of the
choir by Henry VIII. In the choir are the stalls of the Knights of
the Garter, and installation ceremonies of the Order are performed
here. St Helen's Church, Abingdon, is our best Berkshire parish church
in the Perpendicular style (the tower is Early English). It is large,
with five aisles, as will be seen in the illustration here given. The
church at Bray is chiefly celebrated on account of a vicar, one Simon
Aleyn, who died in 1588 after holding the living under Henry VIII,
Edward VI, Mary, and Elizabeth and altering his views as occasion
required. The church is however of itself interesting, and in it will
be found examples of Early English, Decorated, and Perpendicular
work. The tower belongs to the latest of these styles and is but
badly joined on to the aisle of Edwardian date. It is mostly built of
flints, but a broad band of chalk will be noticed about half-way up
(p. 149). There is a good example of a church in this style at Newbury.

Brick church towers are a feature of eastern Berkshire and many of
them date from the seventeenth century. One of these, at Finchampstead,
is shown in the illustration on page 98.

There are crosses or their remains in many of the churchyards and
villages. At Ardington there is both a new cross and the shaft of
an old one. There are crosses at Denchworth, Goosey, East Hagbourne,
Inglesham, North or Ferry Hinksey, Steventon, etc.

At Harwell the rood-screen still remains; there are interesting lead
fonts at Childrey and at Long Wittenham; and stands for hour-glasses
still exist in the churches at Binfield, Hurst, and Inglesham.

In former times it was very common to keep books in the churches
fastened to the shelf or reading-desk by chains, and a few of them
still remain. There are several in St Helen's Church, Abingdon. A
chained Bible of 1611 is in Cumnor church, and until recently
there were several at Denchworth, but they have been removed to the
vicarage, and Caxton's Golden Legend of 1483 which used to be chained
in Denchworth Church is now in the Bodleian Library.


In the year A.D. 528 Benedict of Nursia drew up his celebrated rules
at Monte Cassino in Italy, and founded the order of the Benedictine or
Black Monks. The order rapidly spread over Europe and was established
in Berkshire at an early period. The great Abbey of Abingdon dates
from the days of the Saxon Kings, and at the time of Domesday survey
it possessed 30 manors in Berkshire besides lands in other counties,
and it continued to grow in wealth and power until its dissolution by
Henry VIII. The great church of the abbey has been destroyed, but there
are some interesting remains of the abbey buildings which, after having
been put to varied uses, are now in the hands of the Corporation and
carefully preserved. The illustration given on page 74 shows the south
side of what appears to have been a dormitory divided by partitions.

In 1121 Henry I founded a second great Benedictine abbey in Berkshire
at Reading, probably upon the site of an older monastic dwelling. Cluny
had been founded in 910 as an order with a reformed Benedictine rule,
and Reading was founded as an abbey of that order. Its connection with
Cluny did not, however, last long, and early in the thirteenth century
the abbey seems to have become attached to the general Benedictine
order. Reading became one of the greatest of English abbeys. Its
abbot, like the Abbot of Abingdon, was entitled to wear the mitre
and was summoned with the other spiritual peers to attend parliament.

Both Reading and Abingdon were dissolved by Henry VIII, and on
November 14th, 1539, Hugh Faringdon, the 31st abbot of Reading, was
hanged, drawn, and quartered within sight of his own gateway. The
last abbot of Abingdon had made himself more agreeable to the king,
and was granted the manor of Cumnor for life, and a pension as well.

The stone from Reading Abbey was much used for buildings in Reading
and the neighbourhood, and in 1556, during the reign of Philip and
Mary, a great deal was removed from the abbey and taken by river to
Windsor for building the Poor Knights' Lodgings. The inner gateway of
the abbey is still standing but has been partially rebuilt in modern
times. There are also some remains of the abbey buildings probably
belonging to the Hospice of St John.

In the time of William the Conqueror (about 1086) Geoffrey de
Mandeville gave the church of St Mary at Hurley, together with certain
lands, for a cell of Benedictine monks to be subject to the Abbey of
Westminster, and the remains of the priory thus founded are exceedingly
beautiful and of much interest. The chapel, built in the Norman style
of architecture, is now the parish church of Hurley. The illustration
above shows the refectory or dining hall of the priory. The lower
part is in the Norman style and the upper part of Edwardian date. On
the opposite side of this building is the river Thames.

There was a priory of the Benedictines at Wallingford, and a
Benedictine nunnery at Bromhall in the parish of Sunninghill, but
there are now no remains of either.

The only establishment connected with the great order of the
Cistercians in the county was a small cell at Faringdon and a grange
or barn at Great Coxwell, both belonging to the Abbey of Beaulieu in
Hampshire. The fine abbey barn, dating from the fourteenth century,
still remains.

The Austin Canons, an order founded at Avignon about 1061, had priories
at Bisham, Poughley, and Sandleford. After the dissolution of the
monasteries Bisham Abbey became the seat of the Hoby family. It is
beautifully situated on the Thames. Poughley Priory was situated in the
chalk district one and a half miles south of Chaddleworth, and there
are remains of the buildings at a farm. Sandleford Priory is about
the same distance south of Newbury, and some remains are incorporated
in the modern house which was built after plans by Wyatt in 1781 for
Elizabeth Montague (1720-1800) the leader of the Blue-stockings.

We have already mentioned Bisham as an abbey of the Austin Canons,
founded in 1338, but it had previously been a preceptory of the
Knights Templars. That great military order was however suppressed in
the time of Edward II and the preceptory dissolved (cir. 1312). The
Templars also had a preceptory at Brimpton which passed into the
possession of the other great military order of monks, the Knights
Hospitallers. Their chapel, which stands close to Brimpton Manor,
still remains and is an interesting building. Shalford farm, a little
to the east, was also the property of the Hospitallers. The order
was suppressed in England in 1540, and was only temporarily revived
under Queen Mary.

There were priories in the county belonging to foreign abbeys and
hence termed Alien Priories--one at Steventon belonging to the Abbey
of Bec in Normandy, and the other known as Stratfieldsaye, but in
Berkshire, belonging to the Abbey of Vallemont, also in Normandy. Both
were abolished in the time of Edward III and there are no remains
of buildings. A farm named the Priory near Beech Hill occupies the
place of the latter, which was on the site of an old hermitage.

There were colleges at Shottesbrook, Windsor, and Wallingford. They
were houses of priests who performed divine service in the churches
attached to the colleges. We have already mentioned Shottesbrook. There
is a very curious alabaster monument to William Throckmorton, one
of the later Wardens of the college, in the chancel of the church
representing him lying in his coffin.

Besides these religious houses there were houses of Friars at Reading
and Donnington, and a number of Hospitals in the county.


Attention has already been drawn to the earliest fortifications in the
county. They were banks of earth and had probably wooden palisades. In
Norman times fortified residences became common and were usually of
stone. The history of a Norman castle was probably often as follows. In
the first place a tower called a "keep" was built and was protected
by a moat and probably by some earthworks. Then at a later date the
earthworks were replaced by walls, which usually enclosed a larger
space than the older fortification. The walls were usually strengthened
by towers, but the keep still remained the citadel of the fortress.

We know that William the Conqueror built a castle on the chalk hill at
Windsor before the year 1086, but we know nothing of its plan or form,
for no part of the present castle can be dated before the reign of
Henry II, and even of that time there are only the foundations and part
of the lower story on the south side of the Upper Ward. The imposing
western wall of the Lower Ward, with its three towers, belongs to the
time of Henry III. The Round Tower on its high mound is the keep of
the castle, and much of it is as old as the time of Henry III. The top
part, however, is modern. Close to the Round Tower is an old Norman
gate which was rebuilt by Henry III and again by Edward III. The
gateway could be closed by doors and also by a portcullis or grille
let down from above, and the portcullis is still in its place ready
to be lowered.

The view of Windsor Castle given on p. 2 is taken from the
Buckinghamshire bank of the river Thames and shows the north side
of the castle. On the left are the buildings which contain the state
apartments; in the centre is the Round Tower. To the right we see St
George's Chapel with its great west end window, and still further to
the right is the Clewer or Curfew Tower with the pointed roof. The main
part of this tower dates from Henry III, and it has been used as a bell
tower since the time of Edward III.  The pointed roof is modern. St
George's Hall (p. 78) is in the part of Windsor Castle known as the
State Apartments, and in it the feasts of the Knights of the Garter are
held. It is an old hall, but was much altered by Sir Jeffry Wyatville,
the architect employed by George IV to repair the castle. There was
nearly always a well in the keep of a Norman castle, and this was
the case at Windsor, the well in the Round Tower being 160 feet deep.

There is a great rectangular earthwork at Wallingford which may go back
to Roman or early British times, but in any case it was adopted by the
Normans and a castle was built on the site. The mound on which the keep
was built still exists, but little else of these buildings survives.

No remains of the castle at Newbury exist. It stood on the south
bank of the river Kennet and was built about 1140. The mound upon
which the keep stood is all that we have left of the castle of the
St Walerys at Hinton Waldrist, and a moated enclosure by the side of
the river Loddon is all that remains to mark the site of the castle
named Beaumyss, built by one of the De la Beche family in 1338.

Of Donnington Castle near Newbury we have the remains of some walls
and a gateway with two round towers. The walls are mainly flint with
some stones of various sorts intermingled. There are stone courses and
stone door and window frames. Repairs have been made with brick. The
castle was built in the time of Richard II. It stands upon a hill or
spur which runs out in a southerly direction from the plateau named
Snelsmore Common, and it overlooks the valley of Newbury. On the west
and south there is a steep slope down towards the river Lambourn,
and on the east is a deep valley in the chalk. On the north the slope
up to the Common is gradual, and so the position is a very strong
one. Donnington Castle played an important part in the Civil War of
1642-9, and underwent a long siege in 1644-6.

In former times dwelling places, even though not fortified, were at
least protected by a moat. The interesting old manor house of Ashbury
is still moated on three sides, and the old moat remains in a more
or less perfect state round many a farm in the county.


The churches of the eleventh and succeeding centuries which remain
are well adapted for their use now, but this cannot be said of the
dwelling-houses of Norman or Edwardian landowners, and this is one
reason why we have but few left in anything like perfect condition. The
residence of the chief landowners of the twelfth century, when not a
castle, consisted of a hall, usually on the ground floor, but sometimes
with a lower story half below the surface level, and the hall was not
only a reception and dining room, but was also the sleeping place
for the greater number of the persons living in the house. In many
cases there were, no doubt, subsidiary chambers, which might serve
as more or less private apartments for the landowner himself, and as
time went on the number of the subsidiary chambers increased and the
importance of the hall diminished, but it impressed itself so firmly
on the popular mind that the word still remains in use for the house
of the landowner, which is often spoken of as "the Hall."

There is a doorway belonging to a hall of the Norman period at Appleton
in the northern part of the county, and we have already noticed
some remains of the residential buildings of the monks of Abingdon,
belonging to the thirteenth century. At Charney, about seven miles to
the west of Abingdon, there are some interesting remains of a building
which was occasionally the residence of the Abbots. The private
chapel and much of the house are still standing. These buildings,
known as the "Monks House," date from the thirteenth century and are
incorporated in a modern house.

There are two old houses at Sutton Courtney south of Abingdon. The
one is opposite the tower of the church, and is of Norman and Early
English style, the second is a manor house of the time of Edward III,
the hall of which, with its roof and windows, has been very little
altered. Cumnor Hall has vanished, excepting a fragment of wall,
but some of the windows and a doorway are still to be seen in Wytham

It has been mentioned that one reason why few old dwelling-houses
remain is that they would not be suited to modern requirements,
but another reason is that they were often built of wood. In the
fifteenth century buildings of timber and brick became common,
and some of them remain at the present day. Ockwells, rather more
than a mile south-west of Maidenhead station, was probably built
in the time of Edward IV. It was for some time the residence of the
Norris family (see page 138). The house was not fortified, and is of
timber and brick with a tiled roof. One may gain a good idea of the
appearance of the dwellings of our ancestors in Tudor times from the
Horseshoe Cloisters in Windsor Castle, though they were practically
rebuilt recently by Sir Gilbert Scott. Timber and brick farmhouses
and cottages may be seen all over the county, belonging to all dates
from the Tudor times to the present day.

Many of the most beautiful private houses in England were built
during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and we have some examples in
Berkshire. Shaw House, about a mile north-east of Newbury, was built
in 1581. It is of red brick, with tall brick chimneys and a tiled
roof. The corners of the house and the window and door frames are
of stone, and in fact there is a good deal of stone. The house was
occupied by Charles I on the day of the second battle of Newbury,
October 27th, 1644, and the remains of earthworks thrown up by his
troops are still to be seen in the garden. Billingbear, near Binfield,
is an Elizabethan house standing in a large and beautiful park.

Ufton Court, near Aldermaston, was built in the latter part of the
sixteenth century.  Farmhouses of the same period are to be seen
at Lyford, west of Abingdon, East Hendred, Great Coxwell and at
other places.

Secret rooms are often to be found in old houses. There is an example
at Bisham Abbey, with a fireplace, the chimney of which is said to
be connected with that of the hall, so as to prevent its smoke being
observed. At Ufton Court there are several hiding-places, one of
which has an exit to the open air. It is said that Charles I passed
the night of November 19th, 1644, in a secret room at the manor house,
West Shefford.

In 1852 some houses which stood on the site of the former ditch of
Windsor Castle were removed, and a passage was found cut through the
chalk, with stone steps and stone arching. It had probably been a
secret way from the interior of the Castle to the moat.

We have many buildings in Berkshire belonging to the seventeenth
century. Coleshill House, south-west of Faringdon, was built by
the celebrated architect Inigo Jones (1572-1652) at the time of the
Commonwealth, and he also built most of Milton House, near Steventon,
in which village are some beautiful old houses. Buscot House, in
the north-west corner of Berkshire, is an example of the comfortable,
though not very beautiful mansions built at the close of the eighteenth
century. The residential part of Windsor Castle dates in part from
the reign of Henry II, but it has been greatly altered from time to
time. Its present appearance is largely due to Sir Jeffry Wyatville
(1766-1840), who modified and rebuilt a great deal in the time of
George IV. His object was to make the Castle a comfortable residence
and at the same time to preserve the appearance of an ancient fortress.


The Ridge Way is one of the oldest roads in England. It enters
Berkshire on the chalk downs above Ashbury at a level of 600 feet
above the sea, and runs in an easterly direction by Wayland Smith's
Cave and Uffington Castle; thence by Hackpen Hill to Letcombe Castle,
along the top of the ridge north of West and East Ilsley. From here,
turning to the right across the little valley on Compton Downs, the
road probably reached the river Thames at Streatley. This old road is
also known as the Icknield Way, and there is another old road named
the Port Way, which follows the valley north of the chalk downs,
running through Ashbury and Wantage. It is marked on the maps as
a Roman road, and probably both roads were in use in Roman times,
though the Ridge Way at least is almost certainly of much older date.

The Roman road from Marlborough to Silchester followed much the same
line as the modern road from Hungerford to Speen near Newbury, but
there does not seem to be any trace of the road from that place to
Silchester. The Roman road from Cirencester to Silchester ran by way
of Baydon and Wickham, joining the Marlborough road at Speen. There
is but little trace of the Roman road from Silchester to Dorchester
in Oxfordshire, but the Silchester and London road is fairly well
marked, and part of it, as we said in a former chapter, is known as
the "Devil's Highway."

In the middle ages the roads were exceedingly bad, and even in the
seventeenth century they were far from satisfactory. Pepys mentions,
in his Diary, June 16th, 1668, that he lost his way driving from
Newbury to Reading. This, it will be observed, was in the summer,
and one would think on a well-known road.

In the eighteenth century the roads were gradually improved, and
towards the end of the century began to be kept in good order for
the coaches, which were also rapidly improving.

In the early part of the nineteenth century two mail coach routes
ran through Berkshire.

The road from London to Gloucester entered Berkshire at Maidenhead
and left the county at Henley. After passing through Oxford it again
entered Berkshire, and ran by Cumnor and Fyfield to Faringdon. From
that place it ran by Buscot Park and crossed the river Isis at St
John's Bridge near Lechlade.

The London and Bath mail route ran through the county by Maidenhead,
Reading, Newbury, and Hungerford.

Besides these mail-coach routes there were several roads in the county
which came under the head of "turnpike roads." The term turnpike
road means a road having toll-gates or bars on it. The toll-gates
were first constructed about the middle of the eighteenth century,
and were called turns, and the turnpike road was one upon which those
who refused to pay toll could be turned back. Turnpike roads are now
practically extinct and a new species of highway called main roads
has taken their place. The cost of repair is borne partly by the
county and partly by the Local Highway Authority.

Canals and Rivers. Canals have to a large extent been superseded by
railways in these days. It is, however, possible that the advent
of cheap motor traction may cause them to revive. The Kennet and
Avon Canal runs from Newbury, and entering Wiltshire near Hungerford
furnishes a waterway from the Thames to the Severn. The navigation of
the river Thames is improved by a number of weirs and locks, most of
which have been re-made in recent times, and if more useful they are
much less picturesque than in former days. The level of the river at
Hambleden weir is just about 100 feet above the sea. The river Kennet
is also provided with a series of weirs and locks. A canal which ran
from Wantage to Abingdon is now disused.

The bridges over the rivers are for the most part modern, but many of
them replace older structures, indeed most of the crossing-places are
very old. The bridge at Abingdon was originally built in the fifteenth
century, and was under the charge of the Guild of the Holy Cross, and
Maidenhead Bridge was the property of a corporation from early days.

Railways. The Great Western Railway enters Berkshire at Maidenhead,
and runs by way of Reading to near Goring, where it crosses the Thames
into Oxfordshire, returning into Berkshire near Moulsford. It then
passes by way of Didcot into Wiltshire, which county is entered a
little before the line reaches Swindon. An important branch of the
Great Western runs from Didcot to Oxford, and another branch of the
same railway from Reading to Newbury, Hungerford, etc. Express trains
to the west of England pass over both the Didcot and the Newbury
line, and in these days they are frequently run from Paddington to
far beyond the Berkshire border without a stop.

The Great Western has branch lines to Windsor, to Cookham for High
Wycombe, to Henley, to Wallingford, to Abingdon, and to Faringdon,
and also a rather important line from Reading to Basingstoke, giving
a communication from Oxford to the south coast. There is also a light
railway with auto-cars running between Newbury and Lambourn which
belongs to the Great Western.

The Didcot, Newbury, and Southampton Railway runs from the first-named
place in a southerly direction, crossing the Reading and Newbury line
at right angles.

The South Eastern and Chatham Railway Company have a branch line
running to Reading. It enters Berkshire near the village of Sandhurst.

The London and South Western Railway have branches to Windsor and
to Wokingham, and from the latter place run trains over the South
Eastern line to Reading.


The division of the county into Hundreds dates from Saxon times. Each
Hundred was governed by a High Constable, or Bailiff, and formerly
there was a Court of Justice, called the Hundred Court, which was
held regularly for the trial of causes, but this court fell into
disuse. By various Acts of Parliament the Hundred is made liable for
damage caused to persons by riots.

In early days most of Berkshire was divided amongst different manors,
and each manor had a Manorial Court or Court Baron.

It has been already explained in Chapter 3 that the present
administrative county differs somewhat from the geographical county,
and as the town of Reading with a tract around it has been formed
into the "County Borough of Reading" it is not for most administrative
purposes a part of the county of Berks.

The chief officials of Berkshire, under His Majesty the King, are
the Lord Lieutenant, the Custos Rotulorum, and the Sheriff. The first
two of these offices are usually held by the same person.

The office of Lord Lieutenant dates from about the time of Edward IV,
and he was formerly the chief military officer of the Crown in the
county. The Custos Rotulorum is the first amongst the justices, but
the High Sheriff has precedence in the county. The Custos selects the
county magistrates, and they are appointed by the Lord Chancellor. The
office of Custos dates from the time of Edward III. He is nominally
the keeper of the County Records, but in these days they are in fact
in the charge of the Clerk of the Peace.

The Sheriff was originally elected by the people in the county, but
since the time of Edward II he has been appointed by the Crown. He was
the agent through whom the King collected his dues, and in time became
the military as well as the judicial and executive head of the county
and headed the posse comitatus or power of the county. During the Wars
of the Roses his influence became less, and the Lord Lieutenant took
his place to some extent. It is recorded in Domesday Book that Godric
the Sheriff of Berkshire gave a lady with the name of Aluuid half an
acre of the royal domain as a present for teaching his daughter the
art of gold embroidery.

The Sheriff is the first man in the county, taking precedence of all
peers and of the Lord Lieutenant. He is appointed annually.

The county is divided into Petty Sessional divisions for magisterial
purposes, and the Court of Quarter Sessions is a general meeting of all
the justices of the county. In boroughs, Reading, Abingdon, Newbury,
and Windsor, the Court of Quarter Sessions is held by a Recorder.

The affairs of the county (not including Reading, which is a County
Borough of itself) are managed by the County Council, which was
established by statute of 1888, and by District and Parish Councils,
which were established by an Act of 1894. The county is divided
into eleven districts, Bradfield, Windsor, Cookham, Easthampstead,
Wokingham, Newbury, Hungerford, Wantage, Wallingford, Faringdon,
and Abingdon.

The affairs of the County Borough of Reading are managed by its Mayor
and Corporation.

For purposes of Assizes, Berkshire is on the Oxford circuit, and the
Court is held at Reading. County Courts are held from time to time
at the various towns. The County Court circuits are quite different
from the Assize Court circuits.

For Parliamentary elections the county is divided into three divisions,
Abingdon, Newbury, and Wokingham, each of which returns one member
to Parliament. Reading also returns a member to Parliament, and so
does Windsor, but the Parliamentary borough of Windsor includes a
considerable tract outside Berkshire.


The municipal buildings at Reading were erected during the period
1875-1897, and consist of two Town Halls, the Borough Council offices,
a Free Library, the Museum, and an Art Gallery. On the walls of the
reading-room there is a good collection of views of Reading and of
the river Thames.

The Town Hall at Windsor was built by Sir Christopher Wren. On the
exterior there are statues of Queen Anne and her husband, Prince George
of Denmark. The Town Halls at Wokingham and Newbury are modern brick
buildings. The Cloth Hall at the latter place, now a museum, is very
interesting. It was built by the Guild of Clothworkers of Newbury,
which was incorporated in 1601, and has a picturesque wooden cornice
and wooden pillars, and a red tiled roof.

The Town Hall at Wallingford dates from 1670, and is supported by
pillars, leaving an open undercroft. The Abingdon Town Hall has also
an undercroft and dates from 1677. It is said, however, to have been
designed by Inigo Jones, who died in 1652. There is an interesting
old Town Hall at Faringdon.

The Royal Berkshire Hospital at Reading was opened in 1839, and
there are many hospitals, homes, and orphanages in various parts of
the county.

The Prison at Reading stands upon part of the site of Reading
Abbey. There is a large County and Borough lunatic asylum at Moulsford,
and a very large criminal lunatic asylum at Broadmoor, in the eastern
end of the county.

The Royal Military College, Sandhurst, is one of the chief Government
institutions for the education of officers for the army. It was built
in 1812, and though quite plain in style, the long frontage on a rising
ground, above a fine lake, is distinctly effective. The Staff College
is in the same grounds, but is in Surrey. Considerable additions are
now (1910) being made to the buildings at the Military College.

Wellington College, also near Sandhurst, was built as a public school
by public subscription in memory of the great Duke of Wellington,
who died in 1852. By the end of 1858 a sum of £145,785 had been
received. This included a grant of £25,000 from the Patriotic Fund. The
buildings are of red brick with stone corners, etc., and were completed
in 1859. They have, however, been greatly added to since. The chapel
is by Sir Gilbert Scott. The first head master was Edward White Benson,
who subsequently became Archbishop of Canterbury.

Bradfield College is another important public school, founded by
Thomas Stevens in 1850. The buildings are of red brick and flint,
and are partly old. There is an open-air theatre where Greek plays
are performed.

Radley College is beautifully situated by the river Thames. The site
was part of the property of the Abbots of Abingdon, and passed through
the hands of the families of Stonehouse and Bowyer. Much of the old
mansion is incorporated in the college buildings. The college was
founded by the Rev. William Sewell, D.D.

University College, Reading, is a comparatively new establishment,
and the buildings are still in process of construction. Higher
teaching in literary and scientific subjects is given, and there is
an Agricultural Department, a Dairy Institute, and a Horticultural
Department. There has been a school at Reading from quite early times,
but its history has been a somewhat broken one. In 1783 John Lempriere
published his Classical Dictionary whilst an assistant master at the
school, and Richard Valpy was its head master for 55 years (1781-1836).

In addition to the above there are several important recognised
secondary schools at Abingdon, Bracknell, Clewer, Maidenhead, Newbury,
Wallingford, Wantage and Windsor.

There are many almshouses in Berkshire, the most interesting of
which is Christ's Hospital, Abingdon. It is of brick and timber with
an open gallery (p. 63). It was founded under its present name by
Charter of Edward VI, but had a previous existence. The almshouses
near Wokingham, built 1663, and known as Lucas Hospital, are a good
example of seventeenth century brickwork, and are very picturesque. The
Jesus Hospital at Bray was founded in 1627 for 40 poor persons. It
is a most attractive red brick building, with a quadrangle in the
middle, and a small chapel, the windows of which have stone frames
which were probably taken from an older building. The quadrangle is
shown in the picture by Frederick Walker in the Tate Gallery, named
"The Harbour of Refuge."


Windsor Forest consisted in early times of a tract of wood and
heath which even before the Norman Conquest was looked upon as
Crown property. It is one of the five forests mentioned by name in
Domesday. It was no doubt of great extent, but its boundaries are not
known even if they were ever very clearly defined. There is in the
British Museum a volume of maps and plans of Windsor by John Norden,
made in the early part of the reign of James I, and the map of the
forest shows that it was at that time bounded by the Thames on the
north, by the Loddon on the west, by the Blackwater on the south,
and that it extended to the east into Surrey as far as the Hog's Back,
Guildford, and the river Wey.

The forest was at that time divided into 16 walks, each under a
Keeper. Two of these, Cranbourne and New Lodge Walks, appear to
have been previously known as Cranbourne Chase, and together with
Egham Walk were the part of the forest lying nearest to the castle,
and including what is now the Home Park and the Great Park. The other
walks in Berkshire were Swinley Walk, Easthampstead Walk, Sandhurst
Walk, Bigshot Walk, Bearwood Walk, and Warfield Walk. There was also
a large district extending from Maidenhead and Bray to Wokingham and
Twyford, which was called the Fines Bayliwick, and of which Sir Henry
Neville claimed to be Keeper by inheritance.

Several parks are marked in the forest. Of these the Little Park is
now the Home Park, Windsor, and the Great Park and Moat Park are in
the present Windsor Great Park. Sunninghill Park, Foliejon Park,
Easthampstead Park, and Bagshot Park, the last mostly in Surrey,
still remain.

Besides the Parks there were certain enclosed places called
Rails. Cranbourne Rails is in Windsor Park. Swinley Rails was until
recently the place where the deer for the Royal Hunt were kept,
and Bigshot Rails is apparently the place now named Ravenswood,
near Wellington College.

In the early part of the nineteenth century there was a great deal
of discussion as to the rights of the Crown over Windsor Forest,
and in 1813 an Act of Parliament was passed dealing with the matter,
and the Forest is now enclosed either as Crown land or as the property
of private persons. Ascot Race Course is in the old Swinley Walk.

Walter Fitz Other was appointed by William the Conqueror Castellan,
or Governor of Windsor Castle, and Warden of the Forest; and the
office, which has become known as that of Constable of the Castle,
has existed from his appointment to the present day.


King Alfred was born at Wantage in the year 849, and his statue by
Count Gleichen stands in the market place. The exact site of the
palace of the Kings of Wessex, in which he was born, is not known,
probably it was a wooden building. Edward III and Henry VI were both
born at Windsor; Henry I was buried at Reading; Henry VI, Edward IV,
Henry VIII, Charles I, George III, George IV, and William IV were
buried at Windsor; and Queen Victoria and the Prince Consort lie
in the mausoleum at Frogmore, in Windsor Park. King Edward VII was
buried at Windsor May 20, 1910.

The Marshals of Hampstead Marshall were a family of warriors. The most
distinguished of them was William, first Earl of Pembroke. When he
was a child his father, John Marshal, was besieged at Newbury by King
Stephen, 1152, and William was given as a hostage for a truce and the
surrender of Newbury Castle. The father did not keep his terms, and the
child would have been killed had not Stephen taken a liking to him and
saved his life. He became a great soldier and served Henry II, Richard
I, John, and Henry III with the utmost fidelity, becoming Regent of
England during the early part of the reign of Henry III. He died in
1219 at Caversham, and is buried in the Temple Church in London.

In later times another warrior owned Hampstead Marshall. This was
William Craven, Earl of Craven (1606-1697). He fought in the German
wars of 1632-37 and was the faithful champion of Elizabeth Queen of
Bohemia, the only daughter of James I. At the Revolution of 1688,
though over 80 years old, he was in command of the King's Guards,
and Macaulay, in his History of England, describes how unwillingly the
stout old soldier made way for the Dutch troops at Whitehall. Ashdown
Park was another seat of the Earl, and is still in the possession of
his descendant.

Radley belonged to a gallant sailor, Admiral Sir George Bowyer,
Bart. (1740?-1800), who lost a leg off Ushant, June 1st, 1794. Another
Admiral, Samuel Barrington (1729-1800), is buried at Shrivenham. He
served under Hawke and Rodney, and was commander-in-chief in the
West Indies.

The family of Norris or Norreys has long been connected with
Berkshire. Richard de Norreys, a member of a Lancashire family,
held the office of cook to Eleanor, wife of Henry III, and in 1267
the manor of Ockholt, near Maidenhead, was granted to him. One of
his descendants, John Norris, who held office in the Court of both
Henry VI and Edward IV, built the house Ockwells at Ockholt, which
has been already mentioned on page 114. He was buried at Bray in
1467. One branch of the family settled at Fyfield, and another branch
became Norris of Rycote, which is in Buckinghamshire, but they too
held much Berkshire property. Hampstead Norris derives its second
name from this family. Henry Norris was an intimate friend of Henry
VIII, and was present at the Field of the Cloth of Gold. He, however,
fell under the suspicion of being a lover of Anne Boleyn, and was in
consequence executed in 1536. His son, also named Henry, was created
Baron Norris of Rycote in 1572. He died at Englefield, and there is a
monument to him and to one of his six soldier sons, Sir John Norris,
in Yattendon church. Francis Norris, a grandson of Henry Lord Norris,
was born at Wytham, and in 1621 was created Earl of Berkshire. He left
no sons, and the earldom became extinct at his death, 1623. The barony
descended through two ladies, Elizabeth and Bridget, to James Bertie,
who was created Earl of Abingdon 1682. The present peer, whose seat
is Wytham Abbey, is the seventh Earl of Abingdon.

St Edmund (1170?-1240), Archbishop of Canterbury, was born at
Abingdon, and William Laud (1573-1645), also Archbishop of Canterbury,
was born at Reading, the only son of William Laud, a clothier. He
was educated at the Free School at Reading, and he gave a farm to
Reading for charitable purposes. It was sold a short time ago, and
the purchase money invested, producing some £330 a year. Another
charity at Wokingham established by him also still exists.

John Jewel, Bishop of Salisbury (1522-1571), was for some time
vicar of Sunningwell. He was a voluminous writer on theological
subjects. Another churchman connected with Sunningwell was John
Fell (1625-1686), Bishop of Oxford, who was born either there or at
Longworth. His father was rector of the parish. In 1648, at the time
of the Civil War, he was turned out of his Studentship at Oxford, but
continued to celebrate the rites of the church in a house opposite
Merton College. He was a distinguished man, but is best known by
the lines referring to him which begin "I do not love thee, Doctor
Fell." Joseph Butler (1692-1752), Bishop of Durham, and the author of
the Analogy of Religion Natural and Revealed to the Constitution and
Course of Nature, was born at Wantage, the son of a retired draper
who lived at the Priory.

Sir Philip Hoby (1505-1558) and his half-brother, Sir Thomas Hoby
(1530-1566), were both distinguished diplomatists. The former
received the manor of Bisham from Henry VIII, and they are both buried
there. Queen Elizabeth was domiciled at Bisham under the charge of
the Hobys for a time during the reign of her sister Mary.

Sir John Mason, another diplomatist of the same period, was the son
of a cowherd at Abingdon. He is described as a paragon of caution,
coldness, and craft, and held high office, diplomatic and political,
under Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary, and Elizabeth, being in favour
with all these sovereigns.

Sir Henry Unton, or Umpton, who died in 1596, was both diplomatist
and soldier of the time of Elizabeth. He was born at Wadley Hall,
near Faringdon, where the Queen visited him in 1574. The house
is still standing. There is a fine alabaster monument to him in
Faringdon church.

In 1626 the title of Earl of Berkshire was conferred on the Hon. Thomas
Howard, of Charlton, Wilts. He was a son of the Earl of Suffolk,
and in 1745 the two titles passed to one man, and are so held at the
present day.

William Lenthall (1591-1662), the Speaker of the House of Commons in
the Long Parliament, bought Besselsleigh, the house of the ancient
family of Besils, and his descendants still own it.

William Penn (1644-1718), the Quaker and founder of Pennsylvania,
though London-born, lived at Ruscomb, near Twyford, for some time
towards the end of his life and died there.

Passing now to authors, Henry Hallam (1777-1859), the historian, was
born at Windsor, the son of one of the canons. Catherine Sawbridge
(1731-1791), who became in turn Mrs Macaulay and Mrs Graham, was the
authoress of a History of England. In her later years she lived at
Binfield and is buried in the churchyard there. The antiquary, Thomas
Hearne (1678-1735), was the son of the parish clerk at White Waltham,
and was born at Littlefield Green.

Jethro Tull (1680-1741), a well-known writer on agriculture, was
born at Basildon, and farmed land first near Wallingford, then in
Oxfordshire, and finally near Hungerford. About the year 1701 he
invented a horse-drill for sowing seed. He is buried at Basildon.

Sir William Blackstone (1723-1780), of the Commentaries, was buried
in St Peter's, Wallingford, at which place he had spent much of
the latter part of his life. John Shute, first Viscount Barrington
(1678-1734), author of the History of the Apostles, lived at Beckett
House, Shrivenham, which was left to him by Sir John Wildman.

Several poets were connected with Berkshire, but chief of them all
was Alexander Pope (1688-1744), whose father owned a small property
at Binfield. Here the poet lived for much of the early part of his
life. His poem Windsor Forest contains many lines dealing with the
district around Binfield. Sir William Trumbull (1639-1716), the friend
of Pope, and Secretary of State in 1695, lived at Easthampstead, not
far from Binfield; and Elijah Fenton (1683-1730), another of Pope's
friends, himself a poet, lived with the Trumbull family during his
last years.

Henry James Pye (1745-1813), though Poet Laureate, wrote but poor
verses. He commuted the tierce of canary to which the Poet Laureate
was entitled for £27 a year. He was a son of Henry Pye of Faringdon,
and at one time was M.P. for Berkshire. Joshua Sylvester (1563-1618),
also a poet, is said to have lived at Lambourn as steward to the
ancient family of Essex, and one of his volumes is dedicated to
Mistress Essex of Lambourn.

Mrs Elizabeth Montague (1720-1800), whose London house was a centre of
intellect and fashion, where the term "Blue-stocking" was first applied
to her conversation parties, lived a good deal at Sandleford Priory,
near Newbury, and built a large house there from plans by Wyatt.

She cannot, however, claim the close connection with Berkshire, both as
regards life and writings, which is so characteristic of Mary Russell
Mitford (1787-1855) who lived for a time at Reading, then at Three
Mile Cross, and finally at Swallowfield, in the churchyard of which
place she lies buried. Her best known work is Our Village, the scenes
in which are laid in the district at and around Three Mile Cross.

Thomas Day (1748-1789), the author of Sandford and Merton, was the
owner of Bear Hill, Wargrave.

John Winchcombe, alias Smalwoode (died 1520), was a pioneer of the
clothing manufacture at Newbury, and acquired thereby great wealth. He
built a house at Bucklebury on land which had belonged to the Abbey
of Reading. His descendant, Frances Winchcombe, married in 1700 the
celebrated Viscount Bolingbroke, who resided at Bucklebury for a
time. John Winchcombe is buried in Newbury church. He was popularly
known as "Jack of Newbury" and many fables are told about him. Thomas
Deloney, a weaver by trade, who lived in the latter part of the
sixteenth century, wrote the ballad "The Pleasant History of John
Winchcomb, in his younger days called Jack of Newbury."


(The figures in brackets after each name give the population of the
town or parish in 1901, and those at the end of the sections give
the references to the text.)

Abingdon (6441). A municipal borough in the Abingdon division of
the county. It is situated at the junction of the river Ock with
the Thames, 61 miles from Paddington by railway, and 56 miles from
London by road. It was incorporated by Charter granted by Philip and
Mary in 1555. Its trade is mainly in agricultural produce, and its
manufactures are carpets, woollen goods, and sacking. We have already
referred to the remains of its great Benedictine Abbey as well as
to its churches, Christ's Hospital, and the Town Hall. The Earl of
Abingdon is the High Steward of the borough. (pp. 19, 24, 34, 57,
62, 65, 74, 92, 94, 97, 100, 101-4, 113, 116, 122, 123, 129, 134, 140.)

Aldermaston (482). A village with a railway station eight miles from
Reading on the Newbury line. The church is of various styles. There
is a Norman doorway built in at the west end under the tower. The
east window of three lights is Early English. (p. 116.)

Aldworth (211). A village on the chalk downs three miles west of
Streatley. The church is celebrated for the series of tombs of the
De la Beche family with effigies and canopies of the Edwardian period.

Appleton (466). A village near the Thames five miles north-west
of Abingdon. The remains of a Norman manor house exist near the
church. It is defended by a moat, and there are two other moated
houses at no great distance. (pp. 18, 113.)

Ardington (433), a village at the north side of Lockinge Park with
a church mainly in the Early English style. There is a fine chancel
arch, and the north doorway is round-headed. (pp. 78, 101.)

Ascot Heath (1927). A village and parish with a railway station 29
miles from Waterloo. The race-course is close to the station. (pp. 16,
39, 136.)

Ashbury (589). A village five miles north-west of Lambourn; the church
with some windows in the Decorated style, a good Norman doorway,
and other points of interest. In the parish there is a manor house of
the fifteenth century moated on three sides. The area of the parish
is 5609 acres and the population has been reduced from 786 in 1851
to 589 in 1901. (pp. 84, 113, 117, 119.)

Avington (97). A village on the river Kennet two and a half miles
east of Hungerford. It has a very curious and fine Norman church
with a rich arch between the nave and the chancel. The font with 13
figures is Norman. (p. 95.)

Balking (295). A village in Uffington parish, and near Uffington
station. The church is small with a very good Early English chancel,
and an east window of three lancet lights.

Basildon. (pp. 90, 142.)

Beech Hill (265). (p. 108.)

Beedon (232). A scattered village or hamlet in the chalk district
south-west of Compton. The church belongs to the period of transition
between the Norman and Early English styles. The font is Early English.

Binfield (1892). A village and district three miles north-east of
Wokingham, the early home of the poet Pope. The church is largely
built of conglomerate from the gravel. The arch under the tower,
Perpendicular in style, is of chalk. In the church there is a chained
copy of the Paraphrase of Erasmus upon the New Testament. Billingbear,
a fine Elizabethan house with a large park, lies to the north-west
of the village. (pp. 101, 116, 142, 143.)

Bisham (594). A parish on the Thames a little above Cookham. The
church and abbey have been already referred to. (pp. 57, 73, 76, 77,
106, 107, 116, 141.)

Boxford (461). A village with a railway station on the Lambourn line
four miles north-west of Newbury. Many Roman remains have been found
in the parish.

Bradfield (1526). A village seven miles to the west of
Reading. Bradfield College is a well-known public school. (pp. 21,

Bray (1722). A village on the Thames between Maidenhead and
Windsor. The well-known vicar, Simon Aleyn (died 1588) succeeded in
retaining his living during the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary,
and Elizabeth. The song wrongly gives him a later date. The church
is partly Early English; the tower is Perpendicular. Bray gives its
name to the Hundred, which includes most of Maidenhead. (pp. 20, 62,
100, 134, 138.)

Buckland (665). A large village four miles north-east of Faringdon. The
large cruciform church is mostly Early English. The central tower is
low and massive with fine Early English tower arches. The tracery has
in modern times been removed from most of the windows. The population
of the parish has diminished in recent years. (pp. 88, 98.)

Bucklebury (1066). A village in a large parish six miles north-east
of Newbury. Swift visited Henry St John, Viscount Bolingbroke, at
Bucklebury in 1711. (p. 21.)

Burghfield (1352). A village in the clay district five miles south-west
of Reading. A curious wooden effigy of the fourteenth century is
preserved in the church. (p. 57.)

Chieveley (1204). A village four miles north of Newbury. The church
is partly in the Early English style, the chancel with good lancet
windows. The south doorway is round-headed and late Norman. Cromwell
is said to have slept at the Old Blue Boar Inn the night before the
second battle of Newbury.

Cholsey (1826). A large village with a railway station 48-1/2 miles
from Paddington, the junction for Wallingford, distant 2-1/2 miles to
the north-east. The large cruciform church has a fine Early English
chancel. The arches of the central tower are massive and early Norman,
and there are good Norman doors and windows in the church. The upper
part of the tower belongs to the Decorated period. (p. 91.)

Clewer (6171) on the river Thames is practically a suburb of Windsor,
with numerous orphanages, homes, and other charitable institutions.

Coleshill (342). A village three and a half miles west-south-west of
Faringdon on the Berkshire side of the river Cole. Coleshill House
was built from designs by Inigo Jones. There are late Norman and also
Early English arches in the church and the tower with its parapet and
pinnacles is a good example of the Perpendicular style. The base and
shaft of a village cross remain in the churchyard. (p. 117.)

Cookham (3007). A village with a railway station on the Thames a little
above Maidenhead. The church is largely Early English in style, the
solid square tower is Perpendicular and is a prominent object from
the river. (p. 17.)

Coxwell, Great (264). (pp. 106, 116.)

Crowthorne (3185). A village and ecclesiastical district in the
parish of Sandhurst. On Norden's map of Windsor Forest (temp. James I)
the name is given to a tree at a point where three of the Walks met,
and the place is also on the boundary of three parishes. Wellington
College and Broadmoor Lunatic Asylum are close to the village.

Cumnor (870). A village three miles south-west of Oxford. The church
is late Norman and Early English with some later work. The tower has
a round-headed west doorway and good Transition tower arch. There
are scarcely any remains of Cumnor Hall. (pp. 77, 102, 104, 114, 120.)

Didcot (420). An important junction on the Great Western Railway 53
miles from Paddington. In the church is an effigy of the thirteenth
century with a mitre, supposed to be that of the first mitred abbot
of Abingdon. The base of the cross in the churchyard is old. (pp. 88,

Donnington. A hamlet two miles north of Newbury, with a castle and
priory. (pp. 80, 108, 111.)

Earley (10,485), is becoming a suburb of Reading. Whiteknights, a
seat of the 4th Duke of Marlborough, has now vanished and the park
is partly built over.

Easthampstead (1708), a village three and a half miles south-east
of Wokingham, gave its name to one of the Walks in Windsor
Forest. Caesar's Camp (see page 89) is a mile to the south. There
are four windows by Burne Jones in the church. (pp. 89, 90, 135, 143.)

Englefield (315). A village and park five miles west of
Reading. (pp. 77, 139.)

Faringdon (2770). A market town with railway station 70 miles
from Paddington. The trade is mainly in cattle, sheep, bacon,
and corn. (pp. 35, 62, 67, 70, 88, 95, 97, 99, 106, 117, 120, 129,
141, 143.)

Finchampstead (666). A village three miles south-west of
Wokingham. (pp. 96, 98.)

Hagbourne, East and West (1360). Villages near Didcot junction, both
very attractive, with old cottages and half-timbered houses. There
are two village crosses and part of a third. In the church at East
Hagbourne are good examples of Transition Norman and of all the
later styles of architecture. The chancel arch is Transition, the
tower arch and chancel Early English, and the tower Perpendicular in
style. (p. 86.)

Hampstead Marshall (244). A village three and a half miles south-west
of Newbury. There is a beautiful deer park, the house in which was
burnt in 1718 and has not been rebuilt. (p. 137.)

Hampstead Norris (760). A village and railway station on the
Didcot-Newbury line and in the chalk district. The church has a
Norman doorway and an Early English chancel, and the staircase to
the rood-loft remains. (pp. 21, 90, 138.)

Hendred, East and West (1038) are villages between Wantage and Didcot,
both most attractive, with half-timbered houses and churches of mixed
styles but with many points of note. Hendred House with an old chapel
attached is of considerable interest. (p. 116.)

Hungerford (2364). A market town on the old Roman road to Bath on the
river Kennet, a part of the town being in Wiltshire. It is a great
resort of anglers. Charles I was at the Bear Inn, November 1644,
and at the same inn William of Orange met the commissioners from
James II in 1688. (pp. 8, 13, 18, 22, 80, 119, 120, 142.)

Hurley (493). An interesting village on the Thames with old houses,
four miles north-west of Maidenhead. (p. 105.)

Hurst (1214). A village three miles north-west of Wokingham. (p. 101.)

Ilsley, East (482). A small town in the chalk district two and a
half miles from Compton station with a large sheep market. The Duke
of Cumberland, uncle of George III, had a house and training stables
here, and it is now a great place for training horses. The church is
mainly Early English. (pp. 80, 118.)

Inkpen (658). A village four miles south-east of Hungerford. To the
south of the village there is a range of chalk hills, the highest
of which is Inkpen Beacon, 975 feet above the sea. Walbury Camp is
a large earthwork on the same range a little to the east, with an
altitude of 959 feet. (p. 12.)

Kintbury (1548). A large village with a railway station nearly
midway between Newbury and Hungerford. It is on the river
Kennet. Brick-making is carried on in the neighbourhood and there
is a whitening factory. The church is largely Norman with an Early
English tower. (pp. 60, 61.)

Lambourn (1476). A small town in the midst of the chalk district with
a light railway to Newbury (12 miles). It is an important centre for
training race-horses. The river Lambourn is a good trout stream. There
is an old market cross. The large church is cruciform with a
central tower which is Norman in character with small round-headed
windows. Much of the church is Transition Norman. The east window is
of the Perpendicular period. (pp. 85, 143.)

Lockinge, East (301). A village two miles south-east of Wantage. The
church, mainly of the Decorated style but with a good Norman doorway,
has been recently enlarged. Lockinge House stands in a beautiful park
close to the village. (p. 91.)

Maidenhead (10,757). A municipal borough and market-town on the Thames
with a railway station 24-1/2 miles from Paddington. The borough is
partly in Bray and partly in Cookham parish. There are grain mills
and breweries, and some trade in timber is carried on. (pp. 12, 17,
20, 75, 90, 114, 119, 120, 123, 138.)

Marcham (798). A village two and a half miles west of Abingdon with
many stone quarries in the neighbourhood. (pp. 34, 89.)

Mortimer. See Stratfield Mortimer.

Newbury (8924). A municipal borough and market-town with a railway
station on the Great Western 53 miles from Paddington, and also
with railways to Didcot, Southampton, and Lambourn. The borough
was incorporated by charter of Elizabeth. The chief trade is in
agricultural produce. There are maltings and corn mills. The town has
large new municipal buildings, a free library, a district hospital,
and a large grammar school as well as many charities. A race-course has
recently been made a little to the east of the town with a separate
railway station. (pp. 17, 22, 59, 70, 76, 79, 86, 89, 101, 111, 115,
119, 128, 129, 137, 145.)

Pangbourne (1235). A village with a railway station 41-1/2 miles
from Paddington, situated at the junction of the river Pang with the
Thames. (pp. 10, 21, 85.)

Radley (444). A village with a railway station 58 miles from
Paddington. Radley College, a large public school, is situated a mile
to the west of the village. (pp. 133, 138.)

Reading (52,660). A county, municipal, and parliamentary borough,
and the county town of Berkshire. It is a most important railway
centre 36 miles from Paddington and is served by the South Western
and South Eastern as well as by the Great Western railways. It has,
in fact, excellent railway communication with every part of England
and Wales. The charter of incorporation was granted by Henry III.

Reading is situated on the river Kennet close to its junction with
the Thames. There are large municipal buildings with a free library
and an excellent museum, a county hospital, a university college, a
grammar school, and many other schools and charitable institutions. The
Berkshire County Hall and the Assize Courts are at Reading and are
close to the old gateway of Reading Abbey. The few remains of the
abbey are now the property of the Corporation and are laid out as
gardens adjoining the public Forbury garden. The railway works are
extensive and there are iron foundries, engine and agricultural
implement works, cycle works, electric-light works, printing works,
a very large establishment for making biscuits, and also one for the
production and sale of seeds. There are also flour mills, breweries,
brick and tile works, steam launch and boat-building yards, and
establishments for making ropes and sacks. St Mary's church is said to
have been built of materials from the ruins of the abbey. The walls
are largely of a chequer pattern of dressed flints and squares of
freestone. (pp. 6, 19, 22, 36, 54, 58, 62, 64-84, 89, 90, 99, 103,
104, 108, 125-133, 140, 144.)

Sandhurst (2386). A village on the river Blackwater four and a half
miles south-east of Wokingham with a railway station on the South
Eastern and Chatham railway. The Royal Military College is two miles
south-east of the village near Blackwater station. (pp. 130, 132.)

Shefford, Great or West Shefford (422). A village between Lambourn
and Newbury. The church has been already mentioned. (p. 117.)

Shinfield (1015). A large village three miles south of Reading.

Shottesbrook. A park four miles south-west of Maidenhead. The beautiful
church has been already mentioned. (pp. 63, 108.)

Shrivenham (951). A village with a railway station on the Great Western
71-1/2 miles from Paddington, near the border of Wiltshire. It gives
its name to the Hundred. (pp. 72, 138, 143.)

Sonning (526). A very attractive village on the Thames two and a half
miles below Reading, the parish is partly in Oxfordshire. In the
tenth and eleventh centuries there was a Bishop of Berks and Wilts
and the palace was at this place. The church is large with Early
English arches and many monuments.

Sparsholt (646). A village three and a quarter miles west of
Wantage. There is a fine church in the Decorated style. (p. 99.)

Stanford in the Vale (853). A village nearly four miles south-east of
Faringdon. The church, in mixed styles, is interesting. The tower is
Early English, there is a squint from the north aisle to the altar,
and a very curious piscina with a reliquary above it.

Steventon (797). A village with railway station on the Great Western
three and a half miles south-south-west of Abingdon. There is a raised
flood-path by the road through the village, a number of old houses,
and a church in mixed styles with a south aisle and tower arches of
the Decorated period. (pp. 101 108, 117.)

Stratfield Mortimer (1405). A village and residential district with
a railway station named Mortimer on the Reading and Basingstoke line,
the nearest station to the Roman town of Silchester in Hampshire.

Streatley (562). A village on the Thames opposite Goring in
Oxfordshire, with which it is connected by a bridge. This is a
very old crossing place and the Ridgeway is directed towards this
point. (pp. 19, 90, 118.)

Sunningdale (1409), five miles south of Windsor, with a station on the
London and South Western, was until recently a district of heath and
pine woods, but it is being rapidly built over and good golf links
attract many visitors. (p. 86.)

Sunninghill (2479). A village and residential district close to the
above. Two chalybeate springs, Sunninghill Wells, were a fashionable
resort in the eighteenth century. (pp. 106, 118, 135.)

Sunningwell (289). A village two miles north of Abingdon. Bishop Jewel
was vicar and is said to have built the singular octagonal porch at
the west end of the church.

Sutton Courtney (1295). A village on the Thames two miles south of
Abingdon. The abbey, the manor house, and the manor farm were buildings
connected with Abingdon Abbey, and are all of interest, dating from
the twelfth to the thirteenth century. In the church the chancel arch
and walls are Transition Norman, the tower arch is Norman. (p. 114.)

Swallowfield (1375). A village on the river Blackwater five miles
south of Reading. The church has a wooden bell-cot with very fine
old timber work. A Bible of 1613 is preserved in the church and Miss
Mitford's grave is in the churchyard. (p. 144.)

Thatcham (2177). A large village three miles east of Newbury which
was once a small town with a market. There is some good Norman work
in the church.

Three Mile Cross. (p. 144.)

Tidmarsh. (pp. 21, 30.)

Tilehurst (5965). A village on the plateau two miles west of Reading
with a considerable brickmaking industry.

Twyford (1106). A small town in Hurst parish four miles north-east
of Reading, with a railway station on the Great Western, the junction
for the Henley line. (pp. 17, 142.)

Uffington (518). A village in the Vale of White Horse about six miles
west of Wantage with a railway station 66-1/2 miles from Paddington,
the junction for the Faringdon line. There is a large cruciform church
mainly dating from the Early English period. The central tower is
octagonal. Uffington Castle is a large earthwork on the chalk downs
close to the White Horse and two miles south of the village. (pp. 5,
7, 86, 88, 98.)

Upton (338). A village with railway station on the Didcot and Newbury
line, two and a half miles south of the former and on the edge of the
chalk district. The church is a small Norman chapel of early character.

Wallingford (3049). A municipal borough and market-town 51 miles by
rail from Paddington and 46 miles by road from London. It is situated
on the Thames and is built on a wide area of river gravel. The charter
of its incorporation dates from the time of Henry II. There is a bridge
over the river built in 1809 on the site of an older structure. The
town hall with an undercroft of 1670 has been already mentioned
(page 128). There is a corn exchange, free library, and grammar
school. The trade is in agricultural produce and malt. On the three
sides of the town away from the river are very ancient earth ramparts,
and the keep-mound and some slight remains of a Norman castle still
exist. (pp. 57, 59, 65, 67, 68, 70, 71, 73, 74, 80, 85, 88, 91, 106,
111, 128, 142, 143.)

Waltham St Lawrence (867). A village four and a half miles south-west
of Maidenhead. (pp. 62, 90.)

Waltham, White. See White Waltham.

Wantage (4146). A market-town in the Vale of White Horse. The
railway station, Wantage Road, is nearly two and a half miles from
the town. There are ironworks but otherwise the trade is mainly in
agricultural produce. The church is large, cruciform and in mixed
styles. Wantage was the birthplace of Alfred the Great, and Butler,
the author of the Analogy, was also a native. (pp. 30, 67, 119, 122,
137, 140.)

Warfield (919). A village in Windsor Forest with an interesting
church mainly in the Decorated style. A mile to the north-west is
the steeplechase course of Hawthorn Hill. (p. 99.)

Wargrave (1857). A large village on the river Thames between Reading
and Henley. (pp. 20, 23, 144.)

White Waltham (679). A village three miles south-west of
Maidenhead. Prince Arthur, son of Henry VII, lived in the manor house,
now a farm. (pp. 64, 142.)

Wickham. A village on a clayey hill five and a half miles north-west of
Newbury. The very old church tower has been already noticed. (pp. 95,

Windsor or New Windsor (13,958). A municipal borough and market-town
22 miles from London. It is a parliamentary borough, a large part of
which is in Buckinghamshire. The town, which has grown up round the
castle, was incorporated by Edward I. The High Steward is H.R.H. Prince
Christian. There is a town hall, public library, and reading room,
and both cavalry and infantry barracks. Windsor Castle has long been
a favourite residence of our Kings and Queens. (pp. 20, 62, 68-80,
89, 95, 99, 104, 108, 114, 117, 128, 134, 142.)

Windsor, Old (1962). A village two miles south-east of the castle. It
was the residence of Edward the Confessor. The church is a small one
in the Early English style. Beaumont College is in this parish.

Winkfield (1026). A village in Windsor Forest four and a half miles
south-west of Windsor. Foliejon Park is a little to the north of the
village. (p. 35.)

Wittenham, Long (470). A village on the Thames between Abingdon and
Wallingford with an interesting church of mixed styles but mainly of
the Decorated period. (pp. 91, 101.)

Wokingham (5923). A municipal borough and market-town with a railway
station 36-1/4 miles from Waterloo. The charter of incorporation was
granted by Queen Elizabeth. There is a town hall and also a number
of charitable endowments, one of which was founded by Archbishop
Laud. The trade is mainly in agricultural produce, timber, bricks
and tiles. (pp. 60, 128, 134, 140.)

Wytham (230). A village in the most northern corner of Berkshire, close
to Oxford. The church is built of material which was mostly brought
from Cumnor Hall. Wytham Abbey, a building of the sixteenth century,
is close to the church and has a fine park. (pp. 114, 139, 140.)

Yattendon (274) stands on a clayey hill five and a half miles west
of Pangbourn. The church, built about 1450, is a good example of the
Perpendicular style. There are some extensive and ancient underground
galleries in the chalk near this place. (pp. 85, 139.)

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Berkshire" ***

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