Twyford is a village and civil parish in the English Royal county of Berkshire with a population of around 7,000 people. It is situated, at , in the heart of the Thames Valley on the A4 between Reading and Maidenhead, close to Henley-on-Thames and Wokingham.
The town's name is Anglo-Saxon in origin, and means double ford. It is a common name in England. Twyford did, as the name suggests, have two fords, on the Old Bath Road to the west of the centre. Both are now bridged. William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania, spent the final years of his life in Ruscombe Fields, a property close to Twyford, and is remembered by a residential street named 'Pennfields'.
Twyford was primarily an agriculturally based settlement until the coming of the railway in 1838 placed it on the main line to the west and subsequently made it a junction for the Henley Branch Line. However, its position on the Bath Road had always brought activity which was centred on the King's Arms, an important coaching inn. The opening of a by-pass in 1929 finally ended the east-west flow of main road traffic through the centre, but Twyford is still on a busy north-south route from Wokingham in the south to Henley in the north. The greatest expansion, however, has taken place since the Second World War, particularly in the last 50 years, with the construction of several estates to the north and south of the village. The population at the 2001 census was 6216, but Twyford is still affectionately known by the residents as a village.
Source: Kelly's Directory of Berkshire (1915), transcribed by Robert Monk ©2012 for GENUKI.
Online Historical References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.