The hundred of Reading
Introduction and map

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Victoria County History

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P.H. Ditchfield and William Page (eds)

Year published

1923

Pages

275-276

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'The hundred of Reading: Introduction and map', A History of the County of Berkshire: Volume 3 (1923), pp. 275-276. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=43216 Date accessed: 23 August 2014.


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THE HUNDRED OF READING

CONTAINING THE PARISHES OF

BEENHAM THATCHAM
BLEWBURY with UPTON and ASTON UPTHORPE TILEHURST (fn. 1)
BUCKLEBURY And the Borough of READING with ST. GILES with WHITLEY and ST. MARY with SOUTHCOT
CHOLSEY
PANGBOURNE
SULHAMSTEAD ABBOTS with GRAZELEY (fn. 2)

The hundreds of Reading and Theale were both included in Reading Hundred at the time of the Domesday Survey, when the whole was assessed at 111 hides and 2 virgates; in the reign of the Confessor the assessment had been 146 hides. (fn. 3) Neither Sulhamstead Abbots, Beenham nor Tilehurst is mentioned in the Survey. The last two may possibly have been included in Reading Manor. (fn. 4) The tithing of Beech Hill in Stratfield Saye is also absent, while Blewbury, Bucklebury and Thatcham belonged respectively to hundreds bearing their names, (fn. 5) and Cholsey to 'Esliteford.' (fn. 6) The hundred was granted by Henry I to Reading Abbey at its foundation, the men of the adjacent manors being bound to come to the court according to custom. (fn. 7) The grant, however, seems to have led to a reconstruction of the hundred, which was formed of the manors, with their dependent manors, held by the abbey in demesne in Berkshire. The abbot's liberty was divided into the hundred 'intrinsecus' of Reading, the hundred of Theale and the borough of Reading, whilst to Reading, Hundred were transferred the townships of Bucklebury, Cholsey, Windsor Underore, and part of Blewbury, Thatcham and East Hendred, all of which were held by the abbey. The exact date when this division took place is uncertain, but it was certainly before 1241. (fn. 8) The manor of Windsor Underore was included in Reading Hundred in 1327. (fn. 9) Beech Hill, then called Trunkwell, and Southcot belonged to Theale in the reign of Edward I (fn. 10) and continued to be members of that hundred as late as 1549, (fn. 11) when Reading was held by the Duke of Somerset, at which date the only townships represented at the hundred court were Pangbourne, Whitley, Battle, Sivearstrete, Stratfield Mortimer and part of Stratfield Saye, the tithing of Trunkwell (fn. 12) being excepted. In 1666 the hundred was practically the same as in 1831, (fn. 13) and there have been few alterations since that date. Grazeley was formed into a separate parish in 1854 and Beech Hill in 1868, while Cholsey, after being for some time a member of Moreton Hundred, returned to Reading between 1899 and 1911. Upton and Aston Upthorpe, formerly hamlets of Blewbury, but now forming a separate parish, are in Moreton Hundred.


Index Map to the Hundred of Reading

Footnotes

1 Shinfield, of which a part lies in this hundred, will be found under Charlton.
2 The extent of the hundred in 1831 (Pop. Ret.).
3 V.C.H. Berks. i, 334, 344–5, 349–56, 361–3, 366, 367, 369. The hundred then included the unidentified townships of 'Lonchelei' and 'Burlei' (ibid. 355, 349, 369).
4 See below.
5 V.C.H. Berks. i, 327, 330, 345.
6 Ibid. 328.
7 Harl. MS. 1708, fol. 2.
8 Assize R. 37, m. 27; cf. Lay Subs. R. bdle. 73, no. 5. In 1225 (the date of the only earlier assize roll) no part of the abbot's liberty was represented among the hundreds of Berkshire which appeared before the justices of assize (Assize R. 36, m. a/1).
9 Lay Subs. R. bdle. 73, no. 6.
10 Ibid. no. 5.
11 Feud. Aids, i, 48, 70; Ct. R. (Gen. Ser.), portf. 154, no. 51.
12 Ct. R. loc. cit. At the view of frankpledge held at Reading the same year the tithings of Maidenhatch and Colley attended, but not Battle or Stratfield Saye, whilst separate views were held for Blewbury and Cholsey (ibid.).
13 Lay Subs. R. bdle. 75, no. 246; Pop. Ret. 1831. Beech Hill was assessed under Reading Hundred in 1640 (Lay Subs. R. bdle. 75, no. 355). No definite date can be given for the annexation of Southcot to Reading, but it must have taken place before 1831.