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Vale of the White Horse, Berkshire

Historical Description

White Horse, Vale of the, the valley of the river Ock, in Berks, extending about 15 miles east-north-eastward, from the vicinity of Shrivenham to the vicinity of Abingdon. It takes its name from the figure of a galloping horse, on the NW face of a chalk hill 893 feet high, and 4 miles SE of Shrivenham. The figure is traditionally said to be a memorial of Ethelred and Alfred's victory of Escendune, but on this point Mr T. Hughes (" Tom Brown ") remarks, " I incline to think it was there long before, and that Ethelred and Alfred could not have spent an hour on such a work in the crisis of 871." It measures 374 feet in length, and about an acre in superficies; is formed by trenches 2 or 3 feet deep and about 10 feet broad; can be seen in favourable weather at a distance of so much as 15 miles; undergoes a scouring, at an annual rustic festival, by the neighbouring inhabitants; and is the subject of a curious ballad in the Berkshire dialect. The hill is crowned by a large oval camp, known as Uffington Castle, 700 feet in diameter from E to W, and 500 from N to S, and commands very fine views. Wayland Smith's Cave, a curious cromlech consisting of three large stones with a fourth laid upon them, celebrated in Sir Walter Scott's " Kenilworth," is in the vicinity.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5

Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Berkshire is available to browse.

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Berkshire papers online: