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Uffington (St. Mary)

UFFINGTON (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Farringdon, hundred of Shrivenham, county of Berks, 4¼ miles (S. S. E.) from Farringdon; containing, with the chapelries of Baulking and Wolstone, 1170 inhabitants, of whom 640 are in Uffington township. The parish comprises 6028a. 1r. 13p.; and is intersected by the Wilts and Berks canal, and the Great Western railway. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £21; net income, £369; patron and impropriator, C. Eyre, Esq. The church is a handsome cruciform structure in the early English style; the spire was destroyed by lightning, about 1750. There are chapels of ease at Baulking and Wolstone. Thomas Saunders, in 1636, founded and endowed a free school; the rents for its support amount to £40. On White-Horse Hill, just above the village, is Uffington Castle, a large encampment surrounded by a double vallum, the inner one very high; it is 700 feet from east to west, 500 from north to south, and is supposed to be a work of the Britons, afterwards occupied by the Romans. The hill takes its name from the rude figure of a horse, 374 feet in length, cut in the turf, near the summit, and said to be commemorative of a victory which Alfred obtained over the Danes in the neighbourhood, though some consider it a British work: lands were formerly held here by the tenure of cutting away the turf to render the figure more visible. Westward of Uffington Castle is a large tumulus or cromlech called Wayland Smith's cave; and various other tumuli are scattered on the downs, particularly between Uffington and Lambourn, the most considerable of which are those called the Seven Barrows. Uffington gives the inferior title of Viscount to the Earl of Craven.

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