Welford (anciently called Weligford or the Willowford), a parish comprising a village, the chapelry of Wickham, and the hamlets of Easton, Hoe Benham, and Weston, in Berks, on the river Lambourn, 3¼ miles NNE of Kintbury station on the G.W.R., and 6 NW of Newbury. It has a post office at Wickham, under Newbury; telegraph office, Boxford. Acreage, 5228; population, 855. The parish council has seven members. Roman coins and relics have been found, and the parish had two churches at the Domesday survey. The manor, with Welford House, a country mansion standing in a deer park of about 200 acres, belongs to the Archer-Houblon family, who are chief landowners. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Oxford; net value, £536 with residence. The church is a building of flint and stone in the Early English and Perpendicular styles, consisting of chancel, nave, aisles, and a circular western tower, with octagonal broach spire. It has some ancient tombs and memorials, and a very ancient cross stands in the churchyard. The rectory, a fine modern mansion in the Gothic style, contains some fine works of art. The chapelry of Wickham is about 1½ mile SW of the parish church. Its church, rebuilt in 1846-49 with the exception of the tower, is a building of cut flint consisting of chancel, nave, aisles, S porch, and an embattled western tower.
The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.
|Ecclesiastical parish||Welford St. Gregory|
|Poor Law union||Newbury|
Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.
The parish register dates from the year 1559.
Church of England
Mission Room, Weston
There is a Church of England Mission Room, at Weston, erected in 1894-5 at a cost of over £200.
St. Gregory (parish church)
The church of St. Gregory, occupying the site of earlier structures, dating originally from the Saxon period, was rebuilt during the period 1852-5, under the direction of Mr. Talbot Bury, architect, and is an edifice of flint and stone, consisting of chancel, nave of four bays, aisles, south porch and a circular western tower with octagonal spire, containing a clock and 5 bells, all cast in the 16th and 17th centuries: the west wall of the south aisle is part of the ancient edifice, and some of the old stonework was used in a few of the windows and priests' door: the tower is almost unique in its way and is circular for the greater part of its height, but near the top of the upper stage becomes octagonal and is surmounted by a ribbed octagonal broach spire with eight coupled spire lights under triangular heads: the chancel, which is Early English, has a vaulted roof of chalk and stone: the reredos is of stone arcaded with shafts of enamelled slate: the sedilia affords a good example of the style peculiar to the reign of Henry III. and the font is singular from its Norman form and Early English details, the arcading by which it is surrounded presenting evidence, as is supposed, of a Transitional character: the piers of the north aisle are Early English and those of the south aisle are Decorated and the tower arch Norman styles: the organ was huilt in 1888, at a cost of £267: the stained east window is a memorial to Mary Anne, wife of Charles Eyre, d. 1855, and there is another to the latter, d. 1886: two other stained windows in the chancel are also memorials: the church also contains a monumental slab, supposed to be that of the founder, and an altar tomb to Anne, daughter of Sir William Read kt. 1585, wife, first to Sir Adrian Fortescue (knighted 18th February, 1503), and next to Sir Thomas Parry K.B,, treasurer of the Queen's Household; here are also mural and other monuments to the families of Mundy, Archer and others: a small brass with effigy to John Westlake, a former rector of Welford, ob. 1489, and another, c. 1530, with effigy of a man, to John Younge and several children: on the south side of the churchyard is an ancient cross, consisting of an octagonal shaft on a square base, surmounted by an ornamental rounded head: there are 250 sittings.
Congregational Chapel, Weston
There is a Congregational chapel, at Weston, erected in 1831, seating 60 persons.
Primitive Methodist Chapel, Weston
There is a Primitive Methodist chapel, at Weston, built in 1864, with sittings for 70 persons.
Welford was in Hungerford Registration District from 1837 to 1974
Directories & Gazetteers
We have transcribed the entry for Welford from the following:
- Samuel Lewis' A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858. (Welford (St. Gregory))
- 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 Welford 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.