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Lambourn (St. Michael)

LAMBOURN (St. Michael), a parish, in the union of Hungerford, hundred of Lambourn, county of Berks; containing, with the tythings of Blagrave, Bockhampton, Eastbury, and Hadley, 2595 inhabitants, of whom 388 are in Upper Lambourn tything, and 1333 in the town of Chipping-Lambourn, 5 miles (N.) from Hungerford, and 68 (W.) from London. This place formed part of the dower of Ealswitha, queen of Alfred the Great, and continued in royal demesne under Edward the Confessor; after the Conquest it was given to the baronial family of Fitzwarren, at whose instance a market and three fairs were granted to it by Henry III. The town is pleasantly situated in a hilly district; the inhabitants are supplied with water from wells, and in the centre of the town is an ancient cross, consisting of a tall pillar, approached by a circular ascent of steps, and surmounted by an ornamented capital, supposed to have been originally the figure of a sphynx, but now nearly obliterated. The market is on Friday; and fairs are held on May 12th, October 14th, and December 4th, chiefly for cattle. The parish comprises 14,425a. 3r. 4p.: the soil is partly good corn land, and partly down land, which, since the inclosure, has been under tillage; the low grounds are watered by a river which takes its name from the town, and which, during the summer, affords an abundant supply, but during the winter months is nearly dry. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £10. 11. 10½.; net income, £154; patron, the Dean of St. Paul's: the impropriation belongs to Mrs. Clark. The church is an ancient and handsome cruciform structure, in the early English style, with a square embattled tower; and has two chantry chapels, in one of which the inmates of some adjoining almshouses assemble every morning for prayers. A church was built and endowed at Lambourn-Woodlands, in 1837, by the Misses Seymour, of Speen: the living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of the Founders, who presented, as first incumbent, the Rev. John Bacon, grandson of the celebrated sculptor of that name. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans. On the north side of the parish church is an hospital, established in 1502, for ten men; and some ancient almshouses, now called Place Almshouses, were rebuilt in 1827.

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