Swallowfield, a parish, with a village; in Berks, on the rivers Blackwater and Loddon, which unite in this parish, 3½ miles E of Mortimer station on the Reading and Basingstoke branch of the G.W.R., and 6 S by E of Reading. It has a post, money order, and telegraph office under Reading, and formerly had a fair on 9 June. The parish consists of the townships of East and West Swallowfield. Acreage of East Swallowfield, 1522; population, 363; of West Swallowfield, 2223; population, 1142; of the ecclesiastical parish, 1505. For parish council purposes East and West Swallowfield have been united, and have a council of nine members. Swallowfield Park, the seat of the baronet family of Russell, is a fine quadrangular building built in 1678, but which includes some portions of a much older building. It was here that Clarendon wrote the greater part of his "History of the Rebellion." Loddon Court is a modern mansion standing on an eminence in a park of 100 acres. Parley Hill Place stands in a park of 80 acres, and Parley Castle, Parley Court, and Wyvols Court are chief residences. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Oxford; net value, £220 with residence. Patrons, the Dean and Chapter of Hereford. The church of All Saints is an ancient building of flint, dating from 1256, and consisting of chancel, nave, S porch, and a western tower. It contains some old monuments and brasses. The church of St John the Evangelist is at Fairley Hill, and an iron mission room at Riseley. There are Baptist, Primitive Methodist, and Wesleyan chapels.
The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.
|Ecclesiastical parish||Swallowfield All Saints|
|Poor Law union||Wokingham|
Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.
The register dates from the year 1539.
Church of England
All Saints (parish church)
The church of All Saints is a structure of flint, built in 1256 by John le Despencer, then Baron of Swallowfield, and was restored in 1862-70 by the late Sir Charles Russell bart.: it consists of chancel, nave, south porch and a western tower with wooden belfry containing 5 bells; the tower is supported on wooden piers fixed in the floor, from which the bells are hung: in the church are several monuments and brasses; Sir John le Despencer died in 1274 and was buried here: on restoring the church his remains were found halfway between the south door and the chancel screen in a stone coffin, surmounted by a stone cross: there are 300 sittings.
There is a Baptist chapel here.
Primitive Methodist Chapel
There is a Primitive Methodist chapel here.
Swallowfield was in Wokingham Registration District from 1894 to 1974
Directories & Gazetteers
We have transcribed the entry for Swallowfield from the following:
- Samuel Lewis' A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858. (Swallowfield (All Saints))
- Kelly's Directory of Berkshire, 1915
Land and Property
The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Berkshire is available to browse.
Online maps of Swallowfield are available from a number of sites:
- Bing (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- Google Streetview.
- National Library of Scotland. (Old maps)
- old-maps.co.uk (Old Ordnance Survey maps to buy).
- Streetmap.co.uk (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- A Vision of Britain through Time. (Old maps)
Newspapers and Periodicals
The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Berkshire papers online:
The Visitations of Berkshire 1532, 1566, and 1665-6 is available online.