Place:Faringdon, Berkshire, England

Watchers
NameFaringdon
Alt namesGreat Faringdonsource: wikipedia
TypeTown
Coordinates51.667°N 1.583°W
Located inBerkshire, England     ( - 1974)
Also located inOxfordshire, England     (1974 - )
See alsoGreat Faringdon, Berkshire, Englandparish in which town of Faringdon is located
Faringdon Rural, Berkshire, Englandrural district in which the parish was located until 1974
Vale of White Horse, Oxfordshire, Englandadministrative district in which the parish has been located since 1974
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

Faringdon is a market town formerly in the rural district of the same name in Berkshire, England. In 1974 the whole of Faringdon Rural District was transferred to Oxfordshire where it became part of the administrative district known as Vale of White Horse.

The civil parish is formally known as Great Faringdon, to distinguish it from Little Faringdon in West Oxfordshire. Faringdon is the main settlement within Great Faringdon and was the location of the offices of Faringdon Rural District Council.

History

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

The name Faringdon means fern covered hill. The Anglo-Saxon kings of Wessex and later England had a palace located in Faringdon However, claims that King Edward the Elder died there are misguided.

The town was granted a weekly market in 1218. This is reflected in its name as Chipping Faringdon. The weekly market is still held today. King John also established an abbey in Faringdon in 1202, (probably on the site of Portwell House)but it soon moved to Beaulieu in Hampshire. In 1417 the aged Archbishop of Dublin, Thomas Cranley, died in Faringdon while journeying to London.

The Church of England parish church of All Saints may date from the 12th century, and the clerestorey and possibly the west end of the nave survive from this period.[1] A Norman doorway survives, although not in its original position, in the baptistery. The chancel and north transept are 13th century and the west chapel is 14th century.[2] The north chapel is a late mediaeval Perpendicular Gothic addition[2] with 15th-century windows.[1]

All Saints has a central bell tower, which was reduced in height in 1645 after it was damaged by a cannonball in the English Civil War.[1] Faringdon was fought over because it commands the road to the Radcot Bridge over the River Thames. The tower now has a ring of eight bells. The three oldest bells were cast in 1708. James Wells of Aldbourne, Wiltshire cast the tenor bell in 1779 and another bell in 1803. The three youngest bells, including the treble, were cast in 1874 by Mears and Stainbank.[1]

Faringdon churchyard is reputedly haunted by the headless apparition of naval officer Hampden Pye.

The Old Town Hall (formerly the Market Hall) dates from the late 17th or early 18th century.[1] It remains the centre of the town and its focal point.

The £1.6 million three-mile A420 bypass opened in July 1979.

Faringdon Folly

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Just east of the town is Folly Hill or Faringdon Hill, a Greensand outcrop (at grid reference ). In common with Badbury Hill to the west of the town, it has an ancient ditched defensive ring (hill fort). This was fortified by supporters of Matilda sometime during the Anarchy (1135–1141) – her campaign to claim the throne from King Stephen – but was soon razed to the ground by Stephen. Oliver Cromwell fortified it in his unsuccessful campaign to defeat the Royalist garrison at Faringdon House. The Pye family had Scots Pines planted around the summit, around the time that Faringdon House was rebuilt in the late 18th century. This is a conspicuous and recognisable landmark that can be seen from afar, including from the Vale of White Horse, White Horse Hill, the Berkshire Downs near Lockinge and the Cotswold Hills to the north.

The folly on Folly Hill was designed by Gerald Wellesley, Marquess of Douro for Lord Berners and built in 1935. It is high and affords panoramic views of the Vale of White Horse. During the Second World War the Home Guard used it as an observation post. In 1982 Robert Heber-Percy restored it and gave it to the town in trust.

Near the top of London Street near Faringdon Folly is the pub bearing the same name. Resembling a small living room with a bar placed in the middle, it is a popular haunt for those that like an "old-fashioned" pub.

Research Tips

Maps

  • GENUKI's collection of maps for Berkshire. For basic reference are the two online maps Berkshire Parishes and Berkshire Poor Law Union areas. These locate the individual parishes and indicate the urban and rural districts to which each belonged. There are many other maps listed, some covering specific parts of the county.
  • Wikipedia's outline map of the unitary authorities, shown on many of their Berkshire pages, shows how the new divisions of government relate to the former districts. It has to be remembered that the county was reshaped in 1974 with the urban and rural districts of Abingdon and Faringdon and part of Wantage going to Oxfordshire, and the Borough of Slough (with Eton) coming in from Buckinghamshire. Every attempt is being made to indicate here in WeRelate the civil parishes, towns and villages for which these transfers occurred. Currently there are maps to be found on place pages that deal with civil parishes that transferred from Buckinghamshire into Berkshire. It is planned to provide maps within WeRelate for places that transferred from Berkshire to Oxfordshire.
  • The extensive collection provided by Genmaps is provided free of charge online.

Online Historical References

  • Berkshire Record Office. The Berkshire Record Office [BRO] was established in 1948 to locate and preserve records relating to the county of Berkshire and its people, and anyone who is interested in the county's past. As well as original documents, catalogues and indexes, there is a library at the Record Office.
  • Berkshire Family History Society Research Centre. "The Berks FHS Centre can help you - wherever your ancestors came from. There is a Research Centre Library open to all."
  • West Berkshire Museum, Newbury, housed in a building with an interesting past, but is currently closed for redevelopment. No information on their collections.
  • The GENUKI provision for Berkshire has been updated more recently than that for some of the other counties. A member of the Berkshire Family History Society is credited with this revision.
  • The FamilySearch Wiki on Berkshire explains the jurisdictions relating to civil affairs, parishes and probate (wills and testaments) for each parish in the county and also outlines when these jurisdictions were in existence. Alterations required to cover the post-1974 period have not been carried out for every parish concerned.
  • The Berkshire section of The Victoria History of the Counties of England, in four volumes, is online and provides an extensive history of the county, parish by parish, up to the end of the 19th century. Parishes are arranged in their original "hundreds", a fairly archaic scheme of dividing counties into reasonably sized sections.
  • Local History Online is a compilation of websites from Berkshire local history clubs, societies and associations.

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.

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Faringdon. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.