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Blewbury, Berkshire

Historical Description

Blewbury, a village and a parish in Berks. The village stands near the Ridge Way and Icknield Street, 1¼ mile from Upton station on the G.W.R., and 4 NE by N of East Ilsley, with a money order post office under Didcot (R.S.O.); telegraph office, Chilton. Acreage of parish, 4246; population, 628. The ancient manor-house was engirt by a moat and earthen rampart. Blewbury Hill has barrows and an ancient camp. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Oxford, and till 1866 was united with Upton and Aston-Upthorpe; net yearly value, £256 with residence. Patron, the Bishop of Oxford. The church is an ancient building of stone, flint, and rubble in mixed styles, and contains some very interesting tombs, monuments, and brasses. There are a Wesleyan chapel, an endowed school, and some valuable charities. The parish is famous for its cherry orchards, large quantities of this fruit being grown for the London markets.

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 parishBlewberry St. Michael 
HundredMoreton 
Poor Law unionWantage 

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


Church Records

The parish register dates from the year 1588.


Churches

Church of England

St. Michael (parish church)

The church of St. Michael, formerly dependent on Reading Abbey, is a structure of rubble, flint and stone, consisting of chancel, with a chapel on the south side, nave, aisles, transepts, the piers and lantern stage of a central tower, north and south porches and a fine western tower of three stages, with a quartrefoiled parapet and crocketed pinnacles with vanes, and containing a clock and 8 bells, of which the 4th and earliest is dated 1586, others respectively 1663, 1689, 1704, 1752 and 1825, and two treble bells were added in 1906: the church was originally a Norman structure, erected in the 12th century on the site of a more ancient edifice, and portions of this Norman church, including a small Norman window, still exist at each end of the north arcade: in the Transitional period (1145-90) it was greatly enlarged and made cruciform: the chancel, which is part of this work, retains a fine stone groined roof and one of its original windows, besides a small circular opening at the apex of the eastern gable, but its other windows are Late Decorated: the south aisle is also Transitional, but built at different times, and restored with new windows during the Perpendicular period: its continuation eastward, forming a south-east chapel, is Late Decorated c. 1350, and has a piscina; the piers of the former Transitional central tower are of unusual thickness, and at the angles are slender nook shafts, the capitals having the volute and straight-leaved ornament peculiar to this date: this tower it would seem had four bells: the two easternmost piers are pierced with hagioscopes, that on the south being Perpendicular and the other square and probably original; the north-west pier contains a flight of stone steps leading to an open archway on the right of the nave and anciently the entrance to the rood loft, which retains a piscina formed out of a Norman cap, a unique feature discovered during the restoration of 1877; the door is Perpendicular, with elaborately carved panelled tracery; the nave is separated from the south aisle by an arcade of five Transitional arches; the north arcade is Decorated and has two arches only, supported by octagonal columns: the windows are Perpendicular and Late Decorated: the western tower opens to the nave by a bold and lofty arch, and its lower stage, lighted by a large Perpendicular window, serves as a vestry, and is enclosed towards the nave by an oak screen with cusped openings and cresting, erected in 1906; the porches, erected in the Perpendicular period, were of open timber-work with barge boards richly carved; of these the south porch remains and has been well restored; but the north porch was rebuilt in 1882 of flint with stone dressings, its carved work reproduced and a new oak door hung: above the doorway is a stone niche, with a modern figure of St. Michael, and on either side are small stone slabs, containing matrices of brass figures with scrolls: the south door, a venerable relic, has a huge wooden lock and fine iron work: the font, of Perpendicular date, is octagonal and panelled in quartrefoils: the carved oak cover was presented in 1902 as a memorial of the Coronation of King Edw. VII.

In the church are several brasses to the ancient family of Latton, of Upton and Chilton, the earliest is that of a knight in a full suit of plate armour with his two wives and several children, c. 1500, and perhaps representing Thomas Latton, of Upton, d. 8 April, 1503, two of these figures are on the chancel wall, one wife being now on one of the piers of the former central tower: on the north side of the chancel, on the floor, is a brass of John Latton, of Chilton, esq. ob. 31 May, 1548, with effigies of himself, habited in a tabard of his arms, Anne (Yate), his wife and nine children out of the 15 named in the inscription, a part of which has been found to be palimpsest; Alice, sister of this John Latton, married Sir John Daunce, general surveyor of the Crown lands in the reign of Henry VIII. who accompanied the King to France in 1513, and was knighted by him in the church at Tournay; in 1515 he was sheriff of Oxon and Berks; represented Oxfordshire in the parliament of 1529, and died 7th Dec. 1545; the remains of the tomb, erected apparently both to himself and his wife, with brass effigies and shields of arms, is now in the south chapel, having been removed thither since the time of Ashmole, and has an inscription to Dame Alice Daunce, ob. 27 Aug. 1523; against the south-east pier, in a slab of Purbeck marble, is a brass with effigy and Latin inscription to John Balam, a former vicar, ob. 25 May, 1496, on the south side a modern brass, with a figure of Faith and inscription to the Rev. Jacob Macdonald LL.B. 35 years vicar of this parish, d. 4 June, 1871: his wife Eliza, 1849, and his son John, 1841, and on the north side a large brass, with arms to the Lowsley family, placed about 1896 in lieu of an iron slab, buried under the floor in 1877: the mural monuments were partially destroyed during the repairs of 1876-7, and include a despoiled marble tablet to the Rev. Arthur Bromley, chaplain to John, 3rd Earl of Clarendon, and for five years curate here, d. 29 Dec. 1831, and on the opposite side the inscription only of a monument to Mrs. Sarah Witherell, d. 12 Oct. 1728, originally enclosed by fluted pilasters rising from a corbelled base with cherub's head and supporting a segmental pediment on which lay a book with red edges, now on a bracket in the north aisle: the memorial slabs formerly on the chancel floor were buried in 1876 and the floor entirely relaid with heraldic tiles having no reference to the place: of these slabs one bore an inscription to Elizabeth, wife of Daniel Lousley, d. 15 June, 1828, and has been reproduced on a smaller scale; the remainder are indicated only by initials; the stained east window, a memorial to Augusta Sarah, wife of the Rev. John Hugh Burgess, vicar 1871-90, was designed and executed by Mr. John Bentley of London, the subject being suggested by the figure of an angel censing, the only fragment of ancient glass which remained in the tracery; it was dedicated 16 Oct. 1887: by the north entrance is another memorial window to Mrs. Burgess, erected by the late Rev. Canon Liddon D.D. and in the chancel one to Eliza Serre Rotch, d. 16 April, 1878; there are also mural monuments to John Bushnell esq. 1816; Ann Goddard, 1847; John Gammon, 1828, and to the family of Humfrey, 1788-1860; and floor-stones inscribed to Thomas Plott M.A., fellow of Pembroke College, Oxon, c. 1720; Martha, daughter of James Baker Jauno, 1720, and to the family of Slade, 1757-1820; in the north aisle is a small inscription on brass to "John Casberde, one of the good benefactors to this church," c. 1500, and a large floor slab in the tower retains a similar one, much worn, to John Bouldre, 1499. The partial restoration of the church was carried out during the period 1877-82 under the direction of the late Mr. Edwin Dolby, architect, of Abingdon: an ancient aumbry behind the altar table was also refitted, a reredos of carved alabaster set up and the north porch rebuilt, at a total cost of £3,000; the north aisle was restored and an organ introduced in 1882: the restoration, of the south aisle, transept, and south-east chapel, in memory or the Rev. John Hugh Burgess, vicar 1871-90, was effected in 1891, under the direction of Mr. J. Oldrid Scott F.S.A. architect, at a total cost of £1,146, and in 1906 the tower was restored, 2 bells added and the tower screen erected, at a total cost of £420, under the same architect: a communion table, of carved oak, with a slab of Belgian marble, for use in the south chapel, was presented by the Rev. W. C. Sayer-Milward M.A. rector of St. Leonards, Wallingford, 1873-91; the communion plate includes a silver chalice and paten dated 1663, and a paten of silver made in 1725-6, and given by Malthus's trustees: there are 300 sittings.

Methodist

Primitive Methodist Chapel

There is a Primitive Methodist chapel.

Wesleyan Chapel

The Wesleyan chapel, built in 1869, on the site of a former chapel, is an edifice of brick with stone dressings, in a simple style of Gothic, from designs by the late Mr. W. H. Woodman, of Reading; John Wesley visited Blewbury twice in 1746 and once in 1750.

Society of Friends

Friends' Meeting House

The old Quakers' chapel which stood a little south-west of Blewbury farm, in what is now an orchard, was removed during the 19th century.


Civil Registration

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

Blewbury was in Wantage Registration District from 1837 to 1937 and Wallingford Registration District from 1937 to 1974


Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Blewbury from the following:


Land and Property

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


Maps

Online maps of Blewbury 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.

DistrictVale of White Horse
CountyOxfordshire
RegionSouth East
CountryEngland
Postal districtOX11
Post TownDidcot