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Aldworth, Berkshire

Historical Description

Aldworth or Allder, a village and a parish in Berks, in a high hilly tract, near Icknield Street, 3 miles WSW from Goring station on the G.W.R., 4 E by S from East Ilsley, and 2 E of Compton station on the Didcot, Newbury, and Southampton railway, with a post office under Reading; money order office. Goring; telegraph office, Compton. Acreage, 1806; population, 266. The manor belonged to the family of De la Beche, one of whom was tutor to the Black Prince; and a farm called Beach was the site of their baronial castle. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Oxford; net yearly value, £320 with residence. Patron, St John's College, Cambridge. The church contains eight tombs (one of which has two figures on it, and each of the others one) of the De la Beches, and all so interesting that Queen Elizabeth made a journey on horseback to see them. A yew tree, 27 feet in girth, is in the churchyard. There is a Primitive Methodist chapel in the parish.

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

Administration

The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyBerkshire 
Ecclesiastical parishAldworth St. Mary 
HundredCompton 
Poor Law unionWantage 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.


Church Records

The parish register dates from the year 1556.


Churches

Church of England

St. Mary (parish church)

The church of St. Mary is a building of flint and stone in mixed styles, chiefly in Decorated, consisting of chancel, nave, south aisle, south porch and a western tower with saddle-back roof and containing 3 bells and a sanctus bell; the north and south windows and a piscina in the chancel belong to the Decorated period, while the lately removed chancel screen and some bench ends are of late Perpendicular work: this church is well known as containing the famous tombs of the De la Beches, who were resident in this parish in the 14th century; these consist of eight altar-tombs bearing nine recumbent effigies, two being ladies, and the rest, with one exception, of knights in armour; six of the effigies lie under richly foliated ogee arches attached to the north and south walls; the figures, together with the slabs on which they repose, are each carved out of a single block of stone, excepting that in the middle of the church, which is in three pieces; the large figure to the east; in the north wall, represents Sir Philip de la Bèche, who was, according to tradition, over 7 feet in stature: floruit 1313-1329; the effigies on the altar tomb under the centre arcade at the east end represent Sir John, son of the aforesaid Philip, and Isabella his wife; the single figure in the middle of the same arcade probably represents Sir Nicholas de la Bèche, who died 1347, and who was constable of the Tower and tutor to the Black Prince; the effigies have, unfortunately, received much wilful injury, and on one, which has lost both hands and feet, may be seen the dates 1511, 1561, 1641 and 1706; they were celebrated even in the time of Queen Elizabeth, who herself came hither from Ewelme to inspect them; the de la Bèche family became extinct in the direct male line, probably by the death of Edmund de la Bèche, archdeacon of Berks, in 1371; the church has been partially restored at intervals from 1845 to 1878, under the direction of Mr. J. P. St. Aubyn, architect: there are 200 sittings: in the churchyard is a very ancient yew tree measuring 9 yards round the trunk, and supposed to be older than the church, indeed in Rock's "Church of Our Fathers," it is calculated to be over fifteen centuries since it was planted: Richard Graves, author of "The Spiritual Quixote," was curate here c. 1744-48.

Methodist

Primitive Methodist Chapel

The Primitive Methodists have a chapel here.


Civil Registration

For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.

Aldworth was in Wantage Registration District from 1837 to 1974


Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Aldworth from the following:


Land and Property

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


Maps

Online maps of Aldworth are available from a number of sites:


Newspapers and Periodicals

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


Visitations Heraldic

The Visitations of Berkshire 1532, 1566, and 1665-6 is available online.

CountyWest Berkshire
RegionSouth East
CountryEngland
Postal districtRG8
Post TownReading