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Sonning (St. Andrew)

SONNING (St. Andrew), a parish, in the union of Wokingham, partly in the hundred of Binfield, county of Oxford, but chiefly in the hundreds of Charlton and Sonning, county of Berks, 3½ miles (E. N. E.) from Reading; containing, with the liberty of Early, that of Eye with Dunsden, and that of Woodley with Sandford, 2712 inhabitants, of whom 550 are in Sonning Town liberty. This parish, which is of considerable antiquity, is said to have been the seat of a diocese during the separation of Berks and Wilts from the ancient see of Sherborne; but the fact has not been satisfactorily established. The bishops of Salisbury had a palace here, in which Isabel, queen of the deposed monarch Richard II., resided from the time of his imprisonment in Pontefract Castle till his lamentable death in 1399. The village is situated on the bank of the river Thames, over which is a wooden bridge; and the surrounding scenery is agreeably diversified: the Great Western railway intersects the parish. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £20. 7. 1.; net income, £451; patron, the Bishop of Oxford; impropriator, R. Palmer, Esq. The vicarial tithes were exchanged for corn-rents in 1816, under an inclosure act; and the impropriate tithes have been recently commuted for a rent-charge of £1762. An act for establishing a general cemetery was passed in 1842. Here is a place of worship for Independents. Sir Thomas Rich, in 1766, founded a free school, which he endowed with an estate now producing £52. 10. per annum; and there are other benefactions for education yielding £26. 14. a year.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858.