"SPEEN, a parish in the hundreds of Faircross and Kintbury-Eagle, county Berks, 1½ mile N.W. of Newbury, its post town. The village, which is of large extent, is situated betwixt the rivers Kennet and Lamborne, near Donnington Castle. The parish includes the hamlets of Bagnor, Marsh Benham, Speenhamland, Stock Cross, and Wood-Speen. This place occupies the site of the Roman station Spinae
, mentioned by Antonine, situated on Icknield and Ryknield Streets, whence a way turned to Bath. It was the scene of the second battle of Newbury, fought between Charles I. and the parliamentary army in 1646. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Oxford, value £250, in the patronage of the bishop. The church is dedicated to St. Mary, and contains a monument to the Margrave of Anspach. In addition to the parish church are the district churches at Speenhamland and Stock Cross, the livings of which are perpetual curacies The parochial charities produce about £38 per annum. There is a parochial school for both sexes. Benham Park is the principal residence. The Wesleyans have a chapel at Stock Cross."
"BAGNOR, a tything in the parish of Speen, and hundred of Knitbury Eagle, in the county of Berks, 2 miles to the N. of Newbury. It is situated on the north bank of the river Kennet."
"BENHAM, (or Marsh Benham), a tything in the parish of Speen, and hundred of Faircross, in the county of Berks, 2 miles W. from Newbury. It is pleasantly situated in the valley of the river Kennet. Benham Place, near the village, is the seat of the Earl of Craven, to whom the manor belongs. The mansion, which is of stone, with an Ionic portico, stands in the midst of beautiful and well-wooded grounds.
"SPEENHAMLAND, a chapelry in the parish of Speen, county Berks, 1 mile E. of Speen, and 9 miles from Hungerford. The living is a perpetual curacy* in the diocese of Oxford, value £152, in the patronage of the vicar. The church was built in 1831."
"SPEENWOOD-WITH-BAGNOR, a township in the parish of Speen, county Berks."
"STOCK-CROSS, an ecclesiastical district in the parish of Speen, county Berks, near Newbury."
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, from Berkshire FHS, and from A Vision of Britain Through Time.