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Speen (St. Mary)

SPEEN (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Newbury, partly in the hundred of Kintbury-Eagle, and partly in that of Faircross, county of Berks, 1 mile (W.) from Newbury; containing, with the chapelry of Speenhamland, and the tythings of Bagnor and Marsh-Benham, 3069 inhabitants, of whom 224 are in the tything of Church-Speen, and 632 in that of Wood-Speen. This place was the Spinœ of the Romans, a station on the road from Gloucester to Silchester. To the north of the church, traces of an agger, or fortification, are distinctly visible: on Speen Moor, a large urn has been found under a tumulus of earth eight feet high; and a Roman altar, consecrated to Jupiter, was discovered in 1730, at Fulsham, in the neighbourhood. The second battle of Newbury, on October 27th, 1644, took place here, between what is now the castle and the village. A market was formerly held on Monday. The parish is bounded on the south by the river Kennet and the Kennet and Avon canal, and on the north by the river Lambourn. It comprises 3350 acres; the soil is in general of a gravelly nature, and the surface much varied. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £14. 0. 10.; net income, £424; patron and appropriator, the Bishop of Salisbury: the tithes were commuted for land and annual money payments in 1779. The church contains some curious monumental figures. An additional church, now a district church, was erected and endowed by the vicar, the Rev. H. W. Majendie, in the hamlet of Stockcross, in 1839: the living is in the gift of the Vicar of Speen.

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

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