Earley is a town and civil parish in the English county of [[Place:Berkshire, England|Berkshire}}. It is located on the border of Reading Borough, but is part of the Borough of Wokingham, a unitary authority responsible for the area of east and south of that of Reading Borough Council. The name is sometimes spelt Erleigh or Erlegh.
The town consists of a number of smaller areas, including Maiden Erlegh and Lower Earley, and lies some 2 miles (3 km) south and east of central Reading, and some 5 miles (8 km) west of Wokingham. It has a population of around 30,000. Most of its growth occurred in the first half of the 20th century and Earley was not given town status until 1974.
The University of Reading is situated for the most part in Earley, but spreads into Reading itself.
For more information, see the EN Wikipedia article Earley. The "History" section is quite extensive.
Earley was originally part of the Sonning Hundred and the Wokingham Poor Law Union. The parish was located in the Bradfield Rural District 1894-1974, and since that date in the Wokingham Borough unitary authority.
Online Historical References
Nineteenth Century Local Administration
English Jurisdictions is a webpage provided by FamilySearch which analyses every ecclesiastical parish in England at the year 1851. It provides, with the aid of outline maps, the date at which parish records and bishops transcripts begin, non-conformist denominations with a chapel within the parish, the names of the jurisdictions in charge: county, civil registration district, probate court, diocese, rural deanery, poor law union, hundred, church province; and links to FamilySearch historical records, FamilySearch Catalog and the FamilySearch Wiki. Two limitations: only England, and at the year 1851.
During the 19th century two bodies, the Poor Law Union and the Sanitary District, had responsibility for governmental functions at a level immediately above that covered by the civil parish. In 1894 these were replace by Rural and Urban Districts. These were elected bodies, responsible for setting local property assessments and taxes as well as for carrying out their specified duties. Thses districts continued in operation until 1974. Urban districts for larger municipalities were called "Municipal Boroughs" and had additional powers and obligations.
Poor Law Unions, established nationally in 1834, combined parishes together for the purpose of providing relief for the needy who had no family support. This led to the building of '"union poorhouses" or "workhouses" funded by all the parishes in the union. The geographical boundaries established for the individual Poor Law Unions were employed again when Registration Districts were formed three years later. In 1875 Sanitary Districts were formed to provide services such as clean water supply, sewage systems, street cleaning, and the clearance of slum housing. These also tended to follow the same geographical boundaries, although there were local alterations caused by changes in population distribution.