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Help and advice for Brightwell

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"BRIGHTWELL, a parish in the hundred of Moreton, in the county of Berks, 2 miles to the N.W. of Wallingford. It is situated on the S.W. bank of the Thames, not far from the Great Western railway, and is bounded on the S. by the small river Tadsey. A castle existed here at an early period, which is supposed to have been destroyed in the reign of Henry II., to whom it was surrendered. There are no remains of the building, and its site is the diocese of Oxford, of the annual value of £674, in the patronage of the Bishop of Winchester. The church, dedicated to St. Agatha, is a Norman structure, but the tower was rebuilt in 1797. The church was re-roofed in 1815, and again restored in 1858. It contains a monument to Dr. Thomas Godwyn, the archaeologist, who once held the rectory, and died here in 1642. This living was also held by two other eminent men - Edward Bernard, Professor of Astronomy at Oxford, 1673-1684, and Thomas Wintle, the Hebraist. The latter was rector here for 40 years, being appointed in 1774 and dying in the parish in 1814. There is a chapel belonging to the Baptists in the village, but it has been recently closed; also a National school. The charitable endowments, including a small bequest for education, produce about £28 a year."

"MACKNEY, a village in the parish of Brightwell, hundred of Moreton, county Berks, 1 mile W. of Wallingford. It is situated on the Thames, near the line of the Great Western railway."

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.


Archives and Libraries

In addition to those listed on the Berkshire home page, see the Research Wiki from Family Search (the Church of Latter-day Saints (Genealogical Society of Utah))


Description and Travel

You can see pictures of Brightwell which are provided by:



Ask for a calculation of the distance from Brightwell to another place.

Click here for a list of nearby places.


Historical Geography

  • Brightwell was in the hundred of Moreton
  • Brightwell (in Oxfordshire from 1974) gained the chapelry of Sotwell from Wallingford in 1868 and became Brightwell-cum-Sotwell

You can see the administrative areas in which Brightwell has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.


Poor Houses, Poor Law etc.

Brightwell was in the Henley Union.  For more information, see Poorhouses.