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"SHRIVENHAM, a parish in the hundred of Shrivenham, county Berks, 5½ miles S.W. of Farringdon, and 2 from Longcott. It is a station on the Great Western railway. The parish, which is of large extent, is situated on the Wilts and Berks canal, and a branch of the river Cole. It comprises the chapelries of Becket, Bourton, Fernham, and Longcott, and the township of Watchfield. The village, which is large and well built, was formerly a market town, under a charter obtained by William de Valence in 1257. The tithes were commuted for land and a money payment under an Enclosure Act in 1789. The living is a vicarage* with the curacy of Watchfield annexed, in the diocese of Oxford, value £550, in the patronage of the lord chancellor. The church, dedicated to St. Andrew, is a cruciform structure, with a tower rising from the centre; it formerly had a chantry, founded by John de Burghton in 1336. It contains a monument to Admiral Barrington, by Flaxman. There is also a district church at Longcott, the living of which is a perpetual curacy, value £300. The parochial charities produce about £108 per annum, of which £84 go to the almshouses, founded in 1642 by Sir Henry Marten. There are National schools for both sexes. Backett House, the principal residence, is situated in White Horse Valley. Viscount Barrington, M.P., is lord of the manor."

"BECKET, a tything in the parish and hundred of Shrivenham, in the county of Berks, 5 miles to the S.W. of Farringdon. Becket House was the seat of Viscount Barrington."

"BOURTON, a tything in the parish and hundred of Shrivenham, in the county of Berks, 7 miles to the S.W. of Farringdon, and 6 from Swindon. The Great Western railway passes by it, and the Wilts and Berks canal has several wharfs here. There is a chapel of ease, built by Archdeacon Berens; also a Baptist chapel, built and supported by the great silk manufacturers, Messrs. Baker and Tucker, who, in 1842, likewise presented to the inhabitants a neat Gothic structure for a school, which is well attended, and several almshouses."

"FERNHAM, a hamlet in the parish of Shrivenham, hundred of Shrivenham, county Berks, 2 miles S. of Farringdon. It is situated in the vicinity of White Horse Vale and the Great Western railway."

"LONGCOT, a township and chapelry in the parish and hundred of Shrivenham, county Berks, 4 miles S.W. of Faringdon, its post town, and 9 N.W. of Wantage. It is situated in White Horse Vale, close to the Wilts and Berks canal, and the Great Western railway passes through the neighbourhood. The tithes were commuted for land, and an annual money payment under an Inclosure Act in 1796. The living is a perpetual curacy* in the diocese of Oxford, value £300, in the patronage of the Lord Chancellor. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, is an ancient edifice, recently enlarged, and has an embattled tower. The Wesleyans have a chapel. There are charity and parochial schools. Viscount Barrington is lord of the manor."

"WATCHFIELD, a township in the parish and hundred of Shrivenham, county Berks, 4½ miles S.W. from Great Farringdon, its post town, and 1 mile from Shrivenham. The village is situated on the Great Western railway, near the river Cole. The living is a curacy annexed to the vicarage of Shrivenham, in the diocese of Oxford. The church was taken down in 1770. There is a charity school for both sexes."

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.


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Church History

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Description and Travel

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Historical Geography

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Poor Houses, Poor Law etc.

  • Shrivenham was in the Faringdon Union.  For more information, see Poorhouses.