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Wokingham, Berkshire

Historical Description

Wokingham, Oakingham, or Ockingham, a municipal borough, a market-town, and a parish in Berks. The town stands within the limits of Windsor Forest, 7 miles SE from Reading, 14 SW from Windsor, and 32 .from London. It has a station, which is the junction of the Reading and Staines loop-line of the South-Western railway, and the Reading, Guildford, and Reigate branch of the S.E.R., and a head post office. It consists of several irregularly-built streets, meeting in a central market-place, and has a good supply of water derived from an artesian well over 400 feet deep sunk into the chalk. The government was formerly vested in an alderman and burgesses, who derived their authority from ancient Saxon charters, which are referred to in the oldest extant charter, granted by Queen Elizabeth in 1582. Another charter, also in existence, was given by James I., and was that by which the borough was worked until 1885, when the old charters were annulled, and the borough reconstituted under the new Act of 1885. The borough now consists of a mayor, 4 aldermen, and 12 councillors. The corporation act as the urban sanitary authority. The town is the head of a union and petty sessional division, and it has a weekly market which is held on Tuesday. The market at one period was celebrated for its supply of poultry, but it is now of little importance. A block of buildings in the centre of the town, occupying the site of the old town-hall, contains the town-hall, market-house, police station, and reading-room. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Oxford; gross value, £300, in the gift of the Bishop of Oxford. The church is a fine ancient building of stone, chiefly in the Early English style, consisting of chancel, nave, aisles, transepts, S porch, and an embattled western tower. It was partly restored in 1864, and the restoration was completed in 1882. The ecclesiastical parish of St Paul's was formed from the mother parish of All Saints in 1863. The living is a rectory of the gross value of £300. The church, erected in 1864 and enlarged in 1874, is a building of stone in the Decorated style of the 14th and 15th centuries, consisting of chancel, nave, aisles, N porch, and a western tower and spire. The ecclesiastical parish of St Sebastian was formed out of the parishes of All Saints and St Paul's in 1871. The living is a vicarage of the gross value of £250. The church, erected in 1864, is a building of red brick and stone in the Early English style, consisting of chancel and nave only. There are Baptist, Primitive Methodist, and Wesleyan chapels. The charities are numerous, and produce in the aggregate about £450 a year. In 1661 a certain George Staverton left a house at Staines, the rent of which should be applied to the purchase of a bull to be baited at Christmas, and in consequence of this bequest the custom of bull-baiting was carried on until the sport was forbidden by Act of Parliament in 1840. There is an endowed hospital at Chapel Green for twelve poor men, and there are eight alms-houses. The workhouse, erected in 1850, is a plain building of red brick capable of holding 200 persons. Area of the parish, 8487 acres; population, 5314; of the municipal borough, 3254; of the ecclesiastical parish of All Saints, 2912; of St Paul, 1919; of St Sebastian, 379.

Wokingham or Eastern Parliamentary Division of Berks was formed under the Redistribution of Seats Act of 1885, and returns one member to the House of Commons. Population, 60,207. The division includes the following:- Reading (part of)-Swallowfield (East), Swallowfield (West); Windsor-Clewer (part of), Sunninghill, Windsor (Old); Maidenhead-Bisham, Bray, Cookham, Hurley, Remenham, Shottesbrook, White Waltham, Winkfield; Wokingham (or the Forest)-Arborfield, Barkham, Binfield, Broad Hinton, Earley, Easthampstead, Finchampstead, Newland, Ruscomb, Sandhurst, Sonning, Waltham St Lawrence, Warfield, Wargrave, Whistley, Winnersh, Wokingham, Woodley and Sandford; Maidenhead, municipal borough.

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

Administration

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

Ancient CountyBerkshire 
Ecclesiastical parishWokingham All Saints 
HundredSonning 
Poor Law unionWokingham 

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


Church Records

The register of All Saints' dates from the year 1674.

The register of St. Paul's dates from the year 1864.

The register of St. Sebastian's dates from the year 1864.


Churches

Church of England

All Saints (parish church)

The parish church of All Saints is an ancient and handsome building of stone, principally in the Early English style, and consists of chancel, clerestoried nave of 5 bays, aisles, transepts, south porch and an embattled western tower containing a clock and 8 bells, recast in 1903 at a cost of about £328: it was partly restored by public subscription in the year 1864, and the tower in 1880, at a cost of £1,600: there is a flat stone to the memory of Dr. Thomas Goodwin, Bishop of Bath and Wells (1584-90), who was a native of this town (1517) and died here 19th November, 1590: the tower, nave and font all date from about 1450: the windows, with one exception, are all stained: in 1897 a new organ was provided at a cost of £1,450: there are 850 sittings.

St. Paul's Church (parish church)

St. Paul's is an ecclesiastical parish, formed July 28, 1863, from All Saints; the church, built by the late John Walter esq. of Bear Wood (d. 1894), and consecrated July 23rd, 1864, is an edifice of stone in the Decorated style of the 14th and 15th centuries, and consists of chancel, nave of 6 bays, aisles, north porch and a western tower with two tiers of crocketed pinnacles with flying buttresses, and spire containing 8 bells: the aisles were added in 1874 at a cost of £4,500, of which £4,000 was given by Mr. Walter: the west window and others in the north and south aisles are stained: there are over 600 sittings.

St. Sebastian (parish church)

St. Sebastian's is an ecclesiastical parish, formed March 28, 1871, out of All Saints' and St. Paul's; the church, situated 3 miles from the town, was built by subscription in 1864 at a cost of about £900, and is an edifice of red brick with stone facings, in the Early English style, consisting of chancel and nave only; in 1882 a vestry was added and the chancel re-decorated and fitted with oaken stalls at a cost of £510, defrayed by the Rev. A. Carr, then vicar; there are 100 sittings.

Baptist

Baptist Chapel

The Baptist chapel was first founded in 1774; the present building is a commodious edifice of red brick, rebuilt in 1861, and has 550 sittings.

Methodist

Wesleyan Chapel

The Wesleyan chapel, built in 1870, will seat 300 persons.

Other

Salvation Army meeting room

The Salvation Army meeting room, built in 1857, has 100 sittings.

Roman Catholic

Catholic Church of Corpus Christi, the Terrace

The Catholic Church of Corpus Christi, erected on the Terrace in 1910, is a building of red brick, with stone facings, containing a marble altar: there are 130 sittings.

Catholic Church of the Holy Ghost, Wokingham New Road

The Catholic Church of the Holy Ghost, in Wokingham New road, erected in 1909, is a building of iron, and has 100 sittings.


Civil Registration

Wokingham was in Wokingham Registration District from 1837 to 1974


Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Wokingham from the following:


Land and Property

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


Maps

Online maps of Wokingham 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.

CountyWokingham
RegionSouth East
CountryEngland
Postal districtRG40
Post TownWokingham