"WOKINGHAM, (or Oakingham), a parish and market town in the hundreds of Sonning and Amesbury [actually in Wiltshire], county Berks, 7 miles S.E. of Reading, 14 from Windsor, and 51/2 from the Twyford station of the Great Western railway. It is a junction station on the Reading branch of the London and South-Western and London and South-Eastern railways. The town is situated within the bounds of Windsor Forest, on the borders of Wiltshire. It consists of four principal streets, at the intersection of which stands the old market-house and townhall, where the forest courts are held. Manor courts are also held, and the corporation holds a court of sessions in April and October. Petty sessions are held on the first and third Tuesdays in each month.
The town is governed by an alderman, 7 burgesses, and a high steward. It is a polling place for the county elections, and the head of a Poor-law Union comprising 16 parishes, of which one is in Wilts, and the remaining 15 in Berks, but the poor-house is situated in the parish of Wargrave. It also gives name to a superintendent registry, but belongs to the Reading New County Court district. The population of the parish in 1861 was 4,144, and of the town, 2,404. A considerable business is done in the malt trade, and some of the inhabitants are employed in the silk, gauze, and shoe manufactures. In the vicinity, large lumps of iron ore are found, called "ferrils."
The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Oxford, value £150, of which £50 only is allowed by the Dean of Salisbury, who is impropriator of the rectorial tithes, producing £1,700, besides 30 acres of glebe. The church, dedicated to All Saints, has a clerestory and a carved oak ceiling. The Wesleyans and Baptists have chapels, and there are National, British, and infant schools. The parochial charities produce about £450 per annum, including £60 by Archbishop Laud for the poor. Market day is on Tuesday for corn and poultry. Fairs are held on 11th October and 2nd November for cattle.
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.