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Lambourn, Berkshire

Historical Description

Lambourn or Chipping Lambourn, a small town, a township, and a parish in Berks. The town stands on the river Lambourn, 2½ miles from the boundary with Wilts, and 7 N by W of Hungerford station on the G.W.R., and has a post, money order, and telegraph office (R.S.O.) The town dates from a remote period, contains an ancient market cross and many neat modern houses, is a seat of petty sessions, and has a police station, a church and a chapel of ease at Upper Lambourn, Wesleyan and Primitive Methodist chapels, an endowed hospital for ten poor men, with an income of £179, five small almshouses, and other charities. The church is cruciform and large, variously Norman, Early English, and Perpendicular, has a massive square embattled tower surmounted by four octagonal turrets, was extensively restored in 1849; in 1863 the chancel was restored, and the tower and part of the church in 1892. A handsome lych gate was erected in 1892. The church contains some beautiful memorial windows, an altar-tomb with an effigy in copper of John Estbury (1485), an alabaster tomb of Sir Thomas Essex and his wife (1558), and several other interesting brasses and monuments. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Oxford; net value, £125 with residence. Patron, the Bishop of Oxford. Formerly the town had a weekly market, which was held on Friday, and a fair, which was held in February on the festival of St Matthew, but both have become obsolete. Two fairs, however, are still held on 2 Oct. and 4 Dec. for sheep, horses, and cattle. The township includes the town, and also is sometimes called Chipping Lambourn. The parish contains also the tithings of Upper Lambourn, Blagrave, Hadley, and Bockhampton. Acreage, 14, 873; population of the civil parish, 2238; of the ecclesiastical, 1571. Eastbury is an ecclesiastical parish formed out of the civil parish of Lambourn in 1867. It is 1½ mile SE from Lambourn. Population, 277. The church is a building of flint in the Early English style, and the living is a vicarage of the gross yearly value of £132, in the gift of the Bishop of Oxford. Woodlands St Mary is an ecclesiastical parish formed out of the civil parish of Lambourn in 1838. Population, 390. The church, erected in 1852, is a building of flint and stone in the Early English style. The living is a vicarage of the gross value of £186 with residence. The manor was given by Alfred to his nephew Alfrith, passed to the families of Fitzwarren and De Essex, and belongs now to the Earl of Craven. Lambourn Place is a fine modern mansion in the Elizabethan style containing a magnificent collection of armour, an ancient wassail bowl, and some valuable paintings and curiosities. A large proportion of the surface consists of chalk downs; many barrows are here, the Ridge Way passes along the N, and the remarkable antiquities called the White Horse and the Blowing Stone are in the vicinity of that way. On the downs the business of horse training is carried on, and coursing meetings are held every February and October.

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 parishLambourn St. Michael 
Poor Law unionHungerford 

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

Church Records

The register dates from the year 1560, and is in excellent preservation.


Church of England

St. Michael (parish church)

The church of St. Michael is an ancient and spacious cruciform building of stone and shingle in the Norman, Early English and Perpendicular styles, consisting of chancel, nave, transepts, three chapels, south porch and a central embattled tower, with four octagonal turrets and containing 8 bells and clock: the chancel is of Early English date, and has a fine Perpendicular east window of five lights and a small Decorated piscina: on the south side an arch of the same period opens into an aisle called St. Mary's chapel, and eastward of it is a window, the sill of which forms sedilia; on the north side two Perpendicular arches open to an aisle of that date: at the east end is a mural monument of late Elizabethan or Jacobean date to Thomas Garrard and Agnes (Waldwyne) his wife; and in the south wall a slab of black marble, with effigies in brass of his son, Thomas Garrard, gent. 1619, Anne (Jutt) his wife, 1610, and Thomas, their son: there is also a medallion of Charles I. in alabaster, with figures representing Truth and Justice, standing on "Round Heads" in chains: the lower arches are good Norman, almost Early English: the transepts have chiefly Decorated and Perpendicular windows, but one lancet survives in the north transept, which has a Transition Norman arch on the west side: the chapel of St. Mary, east of the south transept, belongs to the Decorated period, and was built by John de Estbury about 1360: he died October 25, 1375, and, his tomb with that of his son is in the chapel: the sumptous marble monument, to the Garrard family of Bockhampton, also formerly in this chapel, now remains only in fragments, which record the names of Roger Garrard and Elizabeth (Violett), his wife: south of St. Mary's chapel, and opening into it, is the chapel of the Holy Trinity, a Late Perpendicular structure, in the centre of which is an altar tomb, with an effigy in copper of John Estbury, 1508, in a surcoat of his arms and a marginal inscription: this John Estbury was also the founder of the almshouse or hospital, situated near the churchyard, for ten poor men, who, during divine service, are wont to kneel round the founder's tomb, about which new oaken stalls were placed, in 1888, by trustees, at a cost of £45, for that purpose: there is also a brass, with half-effigies, to John de Estbury, c. 1400, and Agnes, his wife: the Essex chapel, north of the church, occupies the site of the older chantry, founded by the De Bathes or the Bohuns, but was extended eastward nearly two centuries later to its present dimensions, and most probably by Sir Thomas Essex kt. whose very fine alabaster monnment is placed in this chapel; this tomb bears life-size recumbent figures of Sir Thomas Essex, who died 29 August, 1558, and of dame Margaret, his wife, fourth daughter of William, first baron Sandys of the Vine, with a marginal inscription: around are many memorials of the Seymour's, who for nearly three centuries resided at Inholmes, in this parish, on one of which, that of Edward Seymour esq. (ob. 1798), are some verses by Henry James Pye esq. M.P., D.C.L. and Poet Laureate in 1790; here also rests Charles Fettiplace, a benefactor to the local charities: this chapel was for a long time used as a house for the parish fire engine, but was rebuilt from the foundations about 1850, and is now used as a choir vestry. The nave is the oldest part of the church, and dates from the 11th century (1085); it has four bays, with Late Norman arches and massive pillars, and a clerestory: at the west end are traces of its original Norman windows, with an existing circular window in the gable: the staircase to the rood-loft, diverted from its origina1 course, is now connected with the tower, but the entrance is from the exterior: on the wall, formerly crossed by the rood-loft, is a piscina: the aisles were originally much lower and lighted with small Norman windows; but the existing south aisle seems to be Decorated and that on the north side Perpendicular: the only remains of the old roofing are to be found in the sonth aisle, elsewhere it was entirely renewed, with the exception of the tie beams, in 1849-50: the tower, erected some 60 or 70 years later than the nave, is a perfect square of about 20 feet, and an excellent example, as far as the top of the clock, of Transition Norman; the upper portion is Perpendicular: about 1770 it was bound round on the exterior with ironwork, and an independent bell-frame erected within: in 1892 the tower was thoroughly restored, refaced with stone, and the bells re-hung upon a new iron frame; a new vaulted oak ceiling beneath the tower was also erected: the south porch is Decorated, with Perpendicular additions; above it is a parvise or priest's room, which used to be reached by a stone staircase from the outside, but now by a spiral iron stair within the porch; a corresponding porch on the north side was removed in 1850: there are two fonts: the earlier, a work in the de based Renaissance style, was obtained between 1663 and 1666, and after having stood in the north transept till 1849, was then removed and sold, and used as a flower-pot in the garden of Mr. Lyne's farm, at Barton, near Marlborough, Wilts: in its place, Mr. Hippisley presented a new font of pseudo-Norman character, but in 1903 the 17th century font was recovered and replaced in the church; the stained windows in the Trinity chapel are memorials, inserted by H. Hippisley esq. of Lambourn Place: the east window, representing the "Last Judgment." was erected in 1876 in memory of Robert Milman, bishop of Calcutta (1867-76), who died 15 March, 1876, and was formerly vicar of Lambourn: the west stained window was erected in 1905 in memory of Dr. Kennard: there is also a memorial window in the chancel to the Rev. John, Murray, a former vicar: a stained window has been inserted in the nave to the memory of Miss Twynam, by Col. Twynam C.B.: the organ, restored in 1890 at a cost of £157, was erected in 1862: the restoration, carried out in 1892 at a total cost of £3,300, included, in addition to the work already mentioned, the erection of new oak choir stalls, the repair of the north doorway and new heating apparatus: the cost of restoring the chancel was borne by the lay impropriators, and that of Holy Trinity chapel by the trustees of the almshouses of John Estbury: the lych gate, erected at the same time at a cost of £130, is a memorial to Charles William Jousiffe of Seven Barrows: some relics, found six feet beneath the tower, during the recent restoration, are now in the Essex chapel: fragments of a valuable pre-Reformation stained window, purchased in a sale for a nominal sum, have been presented to the church by Police-Sergeant Frederick Smith of Lambourn, and are now in a window of the Holy Trinity chapel: there are 600 sittings. The church and churchyard were closed against further interments March 2, 1880, except at the western side of the churchyard where some years ago a piece of ground was added and consecrated.


Primitive Methodist Chapel

There is a Primitive Methodist chapel.

Wesleyan Chapel

There is a Wesleyan chapel.

Civil Registration

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

Lambourn was in Hungerford Registration District from 1837 to 1974

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Lambourn from the following:

Land and Property

Lambourn Place is a fine Elizabethan mansion, erected in 1843 on the site of the ancient residence of the Hippisley family itself traditionally built on the site of a Saxon palace belonging to King Alfred the Great; until 1893 the hall contained a collection of armour, said to be the largest private collection in the country; one of the suits formerly belonged to Sir William Temple and subsequently to Lord Palmerston: there were also portraits of Charles I., Wiclif, and Sir Thomas Horde, a Parliamentarian, pictures by Gainsborough and Sir Joshua Reynolds, and an old wassail bowl, formerly belonging to the Earls of Huntingdon, and reputed to be of the time of Robin Hood, 1189-99, besides many other rare curiosities: the whole collection was sold in 1893 for upwards of £4,000.

The manor of Lambourn was given by Alfred the Great to his wife Ealhswitha, daughter of Ethelred, a Mercian thane, and she survived him four years, dying A.D. 904: at the time of the Domesday Survey it belonged to the Crown; it was subsequently held by Sir Thomas Grandison, 4th baron Grandison, who in 1361 conveyed it to Sir John Peche kt. who died in 1376, and the manor afterwards came again to the Crown; it appears also that this manor, together with that of Upper Lambourn, had at some time been granted by Henry III. to Henry de Bathe, Justiciar of England, who died in 1252, and is buried in Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, and thence by a female heir to the Bohuns; in 1543 both manors were granted by Henry VIII. to Sir William Essex kt. of Lambourn, and his son Thomas, afterwards Sir Thomas Essex kt. whose tomb is in the church: in 1609 an Act of Parliament was passed, enabling the representatives of the Essex family to dispose of these estates, and soon after they became the property of Sir William Craven kt.

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


Online maps of Lambourn 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:

Villages, Hamlets, &c


Visitations Heraldic

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

CountyWest Berkshire
RegionSouth East
Postal districtRG17
Post TownHungerford