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Purley, Berkshire

Historical Description

Purley, a village and a parish in Berks. The village stands on the river Thames, adjacent to the G.W.R., 2½ miles ESE of Pangbourn station, and 3½ WNW of Reading. It has a post office under Reading; money order and telegraph office, Pangbourn. The parish comprises 873 acres; population, 180. The manor, with Purley Park-a large mansion of stone in the Italian style, standing in a park on the banks of the Thames-belongs to the Storer family. Purley Hall is a larye mansion of brick in the Tudor style. It was built by the South Sea schemer Law, was the residence of Warren Hastings during his memorable trial, and is now the seat of the Wilder family. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Oxford; net value, £252 with residence. Patron, the Lord Chancellor. The church stands half a mile from the village; was rebuilt, with the exception of the tower, in 1870; and contains a fine Norman font, and a monument by Nollekens to Mr A. Storer.

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 parishPurley St. Mary 
Poor Law unionBradfield 

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

Church Records

The Phillimore transcript of Marriages at Purley 1662-1840, Berkshire is available to browse online.

The register dates from the year 1660.


Church of England

St. Mary (parish church)

The church of St. Mary, beautifully situated on the banks of the Thames, half-a-mile from the village, is a building of flint and stone, in the Early English style, consisting of chancel, nave, north aisle, south porch and a small embattled western tower of brick, with pinnacles, and containing 6 bells: the church, with the exception of the tower, was rebuilt in 1870: there is a good Norman arch, originally forming the entrance to the chancel, but now between the chancel and the organ chamber, built in 1877: there is also a good Norman font: the arms of the Bolingbroke family, who formerly had property in this parish, are affixed to the south front of the tower: there is a lych gate of oak at the entrance to the churchyard: and there are 170 sittings.

Civil Registration

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

Purley was in Bradfield Registration District from 1837 to 1937 and Wokingham Registration District from 1937 to 1974

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Purley from the following:

Land and Property

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


Online maps of Purley 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