Blewberry (St. Michael)

BLEWBERRY (St. Michael), a parish, in the union of Wantage, partly in the hundred of Moreton, but chiefly in that of Reading, county of Berks, 4½ miles (N. E. by N.) from East Ilsley; containing, with the chapelries of Aston-Upthorp and Upton, and the liberty of Nottingham-Fee, 1096 inhabitants. The parish comprises upwards of 4000 acres, of which about 2500 are arable, and the rest pasture and meadow: the soil is partly of a cold, chalky nature, but round the village it is a strong clay loam, and in other parts gravel and peat. A large stream, issuing from a bed of chalk, runs through the village; it turns several mills within three miles, and falls into the river Thames at Wallingford. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £16. 6. 10½., and in the patronage of the Bishop of Salisbury: the great tithes have been commuted for £1100, and the vicarial tithes for £232. 13.; there are 217½ acres of impropriate glebe, and 1a. 3r. belonging to the vicar. In addition to the parochial church, there are chapels of ease at Aston-Upthorp and Upton. William Malthus, by will dated Nov. 16th, 1700, after specifying certain bequests, directed the residue of his estate to be sold, and the money to be invested in land: the net income is about £916; the trustees allow £161 for the support of ten boys at Reading, and other sums for the instruction, clothing, and apprenticing of children in Blewberry. An almshouse for one poor man was founded, and endowed with £271. 13. 4., by Mr. Bacon, in 1732; the lands are let for £38 per annum. A large edifice called the Charter-house, supposed to have been used as a place of worship previously to the Reformation, was taken down a few years since. A field between Blewberry and Aston is thought to have been the scene of a severe conflict between the Saxons under Ethelred and his brother Alfred, and the Danes, the latter of whom were defeated with great slaughter; and in forming a new turnpike-road, in 1804, many human skeletons and military weapons were found near the spot. The parish is intersected by a Roman and a British road, termed respectively Ickleton and Grimsditch. There is an encampment of considerable extent on a hill called Blewberton; and Loughborough Hill, the loftiest eminence in the county, has also been crowned by an ancient work, apparently constructed for purposes of warfare.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.

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