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East Hendred, Berkshire

Historical Description

Hendred, East or Great, a village and a parish in Berks. The village stands near a small affluent of the river Thames, 2 miles S by W from Steventon station on the G.W.R., 2½ N of the Ridge Way, and 4½ E by N from Wantage; was formerly a market-town and a seat of cloth manufacture, ie-now a picturesque and interesting place, and has a posty money order, and telegraph office, of the name of East Hendred, under Steventon (R.S.O.) The parish comprises 3198 acres; population of the civil parish, 802; of the ecclesiastical, 788. The property formerly belonged chiefly to the abbeys of Sheen, Reading, and Abingdon. Hendred Housa is a seat of the Eyston family, has belonged to that family since the 13th century, is adorned with ancient monograms, and contains relics and memorials of Sir Thomas More. A chapel, called the chapel of St Amand, is attached to the mansion, dates from about the year 1256, has always, like only other two chapels in England, been used for Roman Catholic worship, and is of Early English architecture with very thick walls. Hendred Down House is a modern mansion standing in a park of 90 acres. Remains of a monastery connected with Sheen Abbey, and comprising a Later English chapel and a small monastic house, now used as a granary, are at the entrance of the village. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Oxford; net yearly value, £406. Patron, the Bishop of Oxford. The church is ancient, was restored and enlarged in 1861, has an embattled tower with ancient chimes, and contains a lectern of the 13th century and several ancient brasses. There is a Roman Catholic church, dedicated to St Mary, which was erected in 1865, and is a building of stone in the Decorated style. There are also a Primitive Methodist chapel and charities worth about £110 a year. Two abbots of Abingdon were natives, Robert de Hendred and Richard de Hendred, both of the 13th century.

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


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

Ancient CountyBerkshire 
Ecclesiastical parishEast Hendred St. Augustine 
Poor Law unionWantage 

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

Church Records

The parish register dates from the year 1537.


Church of England

St. Augustine of Canterbury (parish church)

The church of St. Augustine of Canterbury is a building of stone, consisting of chancel, nave of eight bays, aisles and an embattled western tower, with open quatrefoiled parapet and pinnacles, containing 6 very fine bells, rehung in 1889, and a clock dated 1525, with quarter chimes, and remarkable for its hymn tune played every three hours: a striking feature of the interior is an arcade of slender piers without arches separating the two south aisles, of which the eastern-most pier is original; the Early English piers are also notable; there is also a canopied rood loft and a lectern of the 15th century, and a fine Jacobean pulpit: in the church are brasses to Henry Eldysley and his brother Roger Eldysley, both merchants, 1439, with one effigy; to John Eyston, 1589, with his effigy in armour, Jane (Burington or Burton) his wife, and 5 children and an inscription of 10 verses; and one with inscription only to William Whitwey, clothier and woolman, 1479: a new organ was provided at Christmas, 1902: the church was enlarged and restored in 1861 and affords 405 sittings.


Primitive Methodist Chapel

There is a Primitive Methodist chapel.


Chapel of Jesus of Bethlehem

There is an old wayside Carthusian monastery chapel, known as the Chapel of Jesus of Bethlehem, with priest's chamber and dwelling house attached, dating from the 15th century, with adjacent monastic buildings on the opposite side of the road.

Roman Catholic

St Amand, Hendred House

Attached to the mansion of Hendred House is an ancient chapel, dedicated to St. Amand, the existence of which can be traced back to 1264; it is the private chapel of the Eyston family, and previous to the building of the Catholic church was used for public services: it is a plain structure, with a family pew in a gallery, some old glass and several carved stone figures.

St. Mary

St. Mary's Catholic church, erected in 1865, is a building of stone in the Decorated style and will seat about 200 persons.

Civil Registration

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

East Hendred was in Wantage Registration District from 1837 to 1974

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for East Hendred from the following:

Land and Property

Hendred House is a mansion pleasantly situated near the centre of the village.

Down House is a modern mansion surrounded by a park of about 90 acres.

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


Online maps of East Hendred 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
RegionSouth East
Postal districtOX12
Post TownWantage