"HARWELL, a parish in the hundred of Moreton, county Berks, 6 miles N.E. of Wantage, and 2½ from the Didcot station of the Great Western railway. The land is chiefly arable, and was enclosed in 1802. The village is situated on the road from Wantage to Wallingford. In the 13th century the manor belonged to Richard Earl of Cornwall, King of the Romans. The impropriate tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £670, and the vicarial for £170. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Oxford, value £320. The church, dedicated to St. Matthew, is an ancient structure with square embattled tower containing six bells. In the interior are several monuments, one to Christopher Smith, Lord Mayor of London, who was a native of this parish. The Wesleyans have a chapel, and there is a National school for boys and girls, with a small endowment. There are almshouses for six widows, with an income of £141, besides several other small charities for apprenticing children and for the poor. Sir John Chetwode, Bart., is lord of the manor."
From The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland(1868). Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003.
Other descriptions can be found from other periods in various trade directories covering Berkshire from the early 19th century onwards and from A Vision of Britain Through Time.