Basildon (St. Bartholomew)
BASILDON (St. Bartholomew), a parish, in the union of Bradfield, hundred of Moreton, county of Berks, 8 miles (N. W. by W.) from Reading; containing 812 inhabitants. This place appears to have been anciently a place of much greater importance than it is at present, being noticed in Domesday book as having two churches; and in the reign of Edward II. the inhabitants obtained the grant of a weekly market, and a fair on St. Barnabas' day. The parish comprises 3083a. 6p., of which 52 acres are roads and waste; the soil varies, but is principally flinty; the ground is hilly, and the vicinity abounds with picturesque scenery. The river Thames here separates the counties of Oxford and Berks, and is crossed by a viaduct of four arches on the line of the Great Western railway, erected at a cost of £25,000. The living is a discharged vicarage, with the living of Ashampstead annexed, valued in the king's books at £7. 14. 4½.; patrons, alternately, the family of Sykes and the Trustees of the late Rev. C. Simeon. The great tithes have been commuted for £770, and the vicarial for £215 per annum; the glebe comprises 19 acres. The church contains some hatchments of the family of Fane, formerly proprietors of the estate; also some chaste monuments belonging to the family of Sir Francis Sykes, Bart. In excavating for the railway, a beautiful tessellated pavement was discovered a few inches below the surface of an elevated spot, not far from the Thames; and coins of Vespasian in a high state of preservation, domestic utensils, and several skeletons, with a Roman sword lying near them, were also found in the immediate neighbourhood.