Maidenhead is a large market town in Berkshire, England, on the south-western bank of the River Thames. With a population of about 73,000, Maidenhead is the largest town in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead; the town is situated 25.7 miles west of Charing Cross, London, 11.7 miles northeast of the county town of Reading, 28.3 miles southeast of Oxford, 8.0 miles east-south-east of Henley on Thames and 5.8 miles northwest of Windsor. The town is currently the political constituency of the current British Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Theresa May; the antiquary John Leland claimed that the area around Maidenhead's present town centre was a small Roman settlement called Alaunodunum. He stated. Although his source is unknown, there is documented and physical evidence of Roman settlement in the town. There are two well known villa sites in the town, one being in the suburb of Cox Green, the other just west of the town centre on Castle Hill; this villa sat on the route of the Camlet Way, a Roman road linking Silchester and Colchester via St Albans, passes through the present town centre.
Remnants of the road have been unearthed at various locations nearby, but its exact route is unclear. Maidenhead's name stems from the riverside area where the first "New wharf" or "Maiden Hythe" was built, as early as Saxon times. In the year 870, an army of Danes invaded the kingdom of Wessex, they disembarked from their longboats by the wharf and ferry crossing at Maidenhead and fought their way overland to Reading where they set up camp and made it their regional power base. The area of the present town centre was a small Anglo-Saxon town known as "South Ellington"; the town would have developed on the Camlet Way on the site of Alaunodunum as the Bath Road was not re-routed until the 13th century. Maidenhead is recorded in the Domesday Book as the settlement of Ellington in the hundred of Beynhurst. A wooden bridge was erected across the river in about 1280 to replace the ferry in South Ellington; the Great West Road to Reading and Bristol was diverted over the new bridge. It had kept to the north bank and crossed the Thames by ford at Cookham, the medieval town to become Maidenhead grew up on the site of Alaunodunum and South Ellington, between the new bridge and the bottom of Castle Hill.
Within a few years a new wharf was constructed next to the bridge to replace the old Saxon wharf which needed replacing. At this time, the South Ellington name was dropped with the town becoming known as Maidenhythe; the earliest record of this name change is in the Bray Court manorial rolls of 1296. The new bridge and wharf led to the growth of medieval Maidenhead as a river market town; the market was held outside the old town hall, set back from the High Street to form the market square. Maidenhead became the main stopping point for coaches on journeys between London and Bath and the town became populated with numerous inns. By the mid 18th century, Maidenhead had become one of the busiest coaching towns in England with over ninety coaches a day passing through the town; the late 18th-century Bear Hotel on the High Street is the best of the town's old coaching inns surviving to this day. The current Maidenhead Bridge, a local landmark, dates from 1777 and was built at a cost of £19,000. King Charles I met his children for the last time before his execution in 1649 at the Greyhound Inn on the High Street, the site of, now a branch of the NatWest Bank.
A plaque commemorates their meeting. When the Great Western Railway came to the town, it began to expand. Muddy roads were replaced and public services were installed; the High Street began to change again, substantial Victorian red brick architecture began to appear throughout the town. Maidenhead became its own entity in 1894, being split from the civil parishes of both Bray and Cookham. Maidenhead Citadel Corps of the Salvation Army was first opened in the town in the mid-1880s. Maidenhead Citadel Band was soon founded in 1886 by Bandmaster William Thomas, who became mayor of the town. By Edwardian times, nearby Boulter's Lock became a favoured resort on Ascot Sunday, Skindles Hotel developed a reputation for illicit liaisons; the town is part of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, with an urban population of around 95,000. Cllr Simon Dudley is the Leader of the Conservative held cabinet, it was an independent municipal borough. Maidenhead is one of the safest Conservative seats in the country, the current MP is Theresa May of the Conservative Party, first elected in 1997 and has served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom since 13 July 2016.
The mayor of Windsor & Maidenhead is Councillor Paul Lion. The Maidenhead urban area includes urban and suburban regions within the bounds of the town, called Maidenhead Court, North Town, Furze Platt, Pinkneys Green, Tittle Row, Boyn Hill and Bray Wick. Bray village is linked to Maidenhead by the exclusive Fishery Estate which lies on the banks of the Thames. To the east, on the opposite side of the river from Maidenhead, is the large village of Taplow in Buckinghamshire which adjoins the suburban village of Burnham, in itself part of the urban area of the large, industrial town of Slough. To the north are the Cookhams, Cookham Village, Coo
South East England
South East England is the most populous of the nine official regions of England at the first level of NUTS for statistical purposes. It consists of Berkshire, East Sussex, the Isle of Wight, Oxfordshire and West Sussex; as with the other regions of England, apart from Greater London, the south east has no elected government. It is the third largest region of England, with an area of 19,096 km2, is the most populous with a total population of over eight and a half million; the headquarters of the region's governmental bodies are in Guildford, the region contains seven cities: Brighton and Hove, Chichester, Portsmouth and Winchester, though other major settlements include Reading and Milton Keynes. Its proximity to London and connections to several national motorways have led to South East England becoming an economic hub, with the largest economy in the country outside the capital, it is the location of Gatwick Airport, the UK's second-busiest airport, its coastline along the English Channel provides numerous ferry crossings to mainland Europe.
The region is known for its countryside, which includes the North Downs and the Chiltern Hills as well as two national parks: the New Forest and the South Downs. The River Thames flows through the region and its basin is known as the Thames Valley, it is the location of a number of internationally known places of interest, such as HMS Victory in Portsmouth, Cliveden in Buckinghamshire, Thorpe Park and RHS Wisley in Surrey, Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, Windsor Castle in Berkshire, Leeds Castle, the White Cliffs of Dover and Canterbury Cathedral in Kent, Brighton Pier and Hammerwood Park in East Sussex, Wakehurst Place in West Sussex. The region has many universities. South East England is host to various sporting events, including the annual Henley Royal Regatta, Royal Ascot and The Derby, sporting venues include Wentworth Golf Club and Brands Hatch; some of the events of the 2012 Summer Olympics were held in the south east, including the rowing at Eton Dorney and part of the cycling road race in the Surrey Hills.
At Eartham Pit, Boxgrove near Halnaker in West Sussex in December 1993, the oldest human remains in the UK – a tibia bone and a pair of lower incisor teeth – were found. An Acheulean hand axe was found. Bones of a Megalosaurus were found at a slate quarry at Stonesfield in Oxfordshire and named in 1824: it is now at Oxford University Museum of Natural History. In 1822 an Iguanodon was found at Whitemans Green near West Sussex; the Meonhill Vineyard, near Old Winchester Hill in east Hampshire on the South Downs south of West Meon on the A32, was the site of where the Romano-British grew Roman grapes. The Ridgeway runs through Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire and is Britain's oldest road; the post office at Shipton-under-Wychwood in Oxfordshire, in the Cotswolds, is the oldest still in use in England, built in 1845. The first British Grand Prix was held in 1926 at Brooklands, the world's first purpose-built motor circuit built in 1907 by Sir Hugh F. Locke-King, the land owner. Much of the Battle of Britain was fought in this region in Kent.
RAF Bomber Command was based at High Wycombe. RAF Medmenham at Danesfield House, west of Marlow in Buckinghamshire, was important for aerial reconnaissance. Operation Corona, based at RAF Kingsdown, was implemented to confuse German night fighters with native German-speakers, coordinated by the RAF Y Service. Bletchley Park in north Buckinghamshire was the principal Allied centre for codebreaking; the Colossus computer, arguably the world's first, began working on Lorentz codes on 5 February 1944, with Colossus 2 working from June 1944. The site was chosen, among other reasons, because it is at the junction of the Varsity Line and the West Coast Main Line; the Harwell computer, now at the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley, was built in 1949 and is believed to be the oldest working digital computer in the world. John Wallis of Kent, introduced the symbol for infinity, the standard notation for powers of numbers in 1656. Thomas Bayes was an important statistician from Tunbridge Wells. Sir David N. Payne at the University of Southampton's Optoelectronics Research Centre invented the erbium-doped fibre amplifier, a type of optical amplifier, in the mid-1980s, which became essential for the internet.
Henry Moseley at Oxford in 1913 discovered his Moseley's law of X-ray spectra of chemical elements that enabled him to be the first to assign the correct atomic number to elements in periodic table. Carbon fibre was invented in 1963 at the RAE in Farnborough by a team led by William Watt; the Apollo LCG space-suit cooling system originated from work done at RAE Farnborough in the early 1960s. Donald Watts Davies, who went to grammar school in Portsmouth, took over from Alan Turing in developing Britain's early computers, invented packet switching in the late 1960s at the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington. Packet-switching was taken up by the Americans to form the ARPANET. The
Wargrave is a large, historic village and civil parish in Berkshire, England. The village is on the River Thames but along the confluence of the River Loddon. Wargrave is situated in the A321 road 7 miles from both Maidenhead and Reading and 3 miles from Henley-on-Thames; the village is larger than the county average, having a railway station on the Henley Branch Line, off the Great Western main line from London Paddington. The village has many old listed buildings, two marinas with chandlery services for boats, a rowing club and rises steeply to the northwest in the direction of Bowsey Hill, with higher parts of the village known as Upper Wargrave. In Upper Wargrave is a Recreation Ground with a cricket club, bowls club, football pitch and tennis club, it is in the Borough of Wokingham. The name Wargrave is derived from'Weir-Grove', as was in the Assize Rolls and Patent rolls of the medieval times recorded as'Weregreave', settling on a different pronunciation after the Great Vowel Shift rendering it Wargrave.
The first documentary evidence of the settlement was recorded in 1061 which indicates that it was a village and had a manor in the feudal system. The Domesday Book of 1086 records the settlement as having a population of 250. In the 13th century the current High Street was lined with backstreets developed. Architecturally, Wargrave Court was erected in the early Tudor period and extended in the Georgian to post-Edwardian period. Wargrave Manor occupies its medieval site on the northern outskirts, bounded by its lower meadow that overlooks Wargrave Marsh below it, drained farmland downstream and the local primary floodplain; however this building, while grade II listed, is larger, with a modest landscaped park. It is late Georgian and altered in a painted stucco with moulded, chamfered quoins, moulding over second floor windows, hipped slate roof with several chimneys, spread over three storeys save for the wings; the east front has a conical roof over a protrusion of similar shape with three sash windows flanked by single bays with similar windows: all windows have architrave surrounds, ground floor windows having Victorian panes.
This section has a Doric veranda with coupled columns supporting entablature across the whole front. Flanking wings have two upper sash windows and venetian windows on their ground floor, its Victorian south front has 5 bays repeating the design and a central porch of angle pilasters supporting entablature and blocking course, above the double door is a radiating fanlight. The west front has a large Victorian semi-circular terrace in front; the village continued to develop into its current form in the 18th century growing up the hill from High Street eastwards so that by the end of the 19th century this axis, now Victoria Road, was settled. In the 20th century the village's population grew especially in the 1970s and 1980s as new developments on farmland inside the parish boundaries responded to demand for housing for commuters working in and on the commercial western outskirts of London. Wargrave War Memorial was commissioned in the aftermath of the First World War. Taking the shape of a hexagonal cross on the village green, it was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and unveiled on 28 May 1922.
It is a grade II listed building. The village encloses in its west the confluence of the River Thames, it is on the A321 north-south road between Henley-on-Thames. On the opposite bank of the River Thames are the villages of Lower Shiplake; when taken as its civil parish, such as in all of its history and in civil parish council provision of footpath maintenance and annual village events, it includes Hare Hatch and Cockpole Green. These largest hamlets rely for education. Wargrave railway station is on the Henley Branch Line between Henley-on-Thames; the railway operator provides trains at least every 30 minutes each way Monday-Friday and allows connections to Reading and London Paddington. If a change of train is made at Twyford, the time to the capital is 53–70 minutes. A large proportion of the residents in employment commute to outlying areas, as the village itself supports a small range of shops and businesses, but the average commute is more than five miles to support the local economy as at the 2011 census.
The Church of England parish church of Saint Mary dates from the 12th century and has the wide ecclesiastical parish of Wargrave with Knowl Hill. It is situated off the High Street. In 1914 it was set on fire and gutted as a result of a mistakenly targeted direct action by the Suffragette Movement; the north door remains from the 12th century, the tower from 1635 and the remaining structure was built following the fire. This is a Grade II* listed building. In the gardens of the churchyard is the Hannen Columbarium, a columbarium built to house the remains of the Hannen family, it is considered an interesting example of his early work. The ashes of Sir Nicholas John Hannen, his son, Nicholas "Beau" Hannen and Beau's wife Athene Seyler an actor, are all interred in the Columbarium. Thomas Day and abolitionist, is buried in the churchyard, after being fatally thrown from his horse; the Roman Catholic church of Our Lady of Peace was built in 1963 and is supported by the
Berkshire is one of the home counties in England. It was recognised by the Queen as the Royal County of Berkshire in 1957 because of the presence of Windsor Castle, letters patent were issued in 1974. Berkshire is a county of historic origin, a ceremonial county and a non-metropolitan county without a county council; the county town is Reading. The River Thames formed the historic northern boundary, from Buscot in the west to Old Windsor in the east; the historic county therefore includes territory, now administered by the Vale of White Horse and parts of South Oxfordshire in Oxfordshire, but excludes Caversham and five less populous settlements in the east of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. All the changes mentioned, apart from the change to Caversham, took place in 1974; the towns of Abingdon, Faringdon and Wantage were transferred to Oxfordshire, the six places joining came from Buckinghamshire. Berkshire County Council was the main local government of most areas from 1889 to 1998 and was based in Reading, the county town which had its own County Borough administration.
Since 1998, Berkshire has been governed by the six unitary authorities of Bracknell Forest, Slough, West Berkshire and Maidenhead and Wokingham. The ceremonial county borders Oxfordshire, Greater London, Surrey and Hampshire. No part of the county is more than 8.5 miles from the M4 motorway. According to Asser's biography of King Alfred, written in 893 AD, its old name Bearrocscir takes its name from a wood of box trees, called Bearroc; this wood no longer extant, was west of Frilsham, near Abingdon. Berkshire has been the scene of some notable battles through its history. Alfred the Great's campaign against the Danes included the Battles of Englefield and Reading. Newbury was the site of two English Civil War battles: the First Battle of Newbury in 1643 and the Second Battle of Newbury in 1644; the nearby Donnington Castle was reduced to a ruin in the aftermath of the second battle. Another Battle of Reading took place on 9 December 1688, it was the only substantial military action in England during the Glorious Revolution and ended in a decisive victory for forces loyal to William of Orange.
Reading became the new county town in 1867. Under the Local Government Act 1888, Berkshire County Council took over functions of the Berkshire Quarter Sessions, covering the administrative county of Berkshire, which excluded the county borough of Reading. Boundary alterations in the early part of the 20th century were minor, with Caversham from Oxfordshire becoming part of the Reading county borough, cessions in the Oxford area. On 1 April 1974, Berkshire's boundaries changed under the Local Government Act 1972. Berkshire took over administration of Slough and Eton and part of the former Eton Rural District from Buckinghamshire; the northern part of the county became part of Oxfordshire, with Faringdon and Abingdon and their hinterland becoming the Vale of White Horse district, Didcot and Wallingford added to South Oxfordshire district. 94 Signal Squadron still keep the Uffington White Horse in their insignia though the White Horse is now in Oxfordshire. The original Local Government White Paper would have transferred Henley-on-Thames from Oxfordshire to Berkshire: this proposal did not make it into the Bill as introduced.
On 1 April 1998 Berkshire County Council was abolished under a recommendation of the Banham Commission, the districts became unitary authorities. Unlike similar reforms elsewhere at the same time, the non-metropolitan county was not abolished. Signs saying "Welcome to the Royal County of Berkshire" exist on borders of West Berkshire, on the east side of Virginia Water, on the M4 motorway, on the south side of Sonning Bridge, on the A404 southbound by Marlow, northbound on the A33 past Stratfield Saye. A flag for the historic county of Berkshire was registered with the Flag Institute in 2017. All of the county is drained by the Thames. Berkshire divides into two topological sections: west of Reading. North-east Berkshire has the low calciferous m-shaped bends of the Thames south of, a broader, gravelly former watery plain or belt from Earley to Windsor and beyond, are parcels and belts of uneroded higher sands, flints and acid soil and in north of the Bagshot Formation, north of Surrey and Hampshire.
Swinley Forest known as Bracknell Forest, Windsor Great Park and Stratfield Saye Woods have many pine, silver birch and other acid-soil trees. East of the grassy and wooded bends a large minority of East Berkshire's land mirrors the clay belt being of low elevation and on the left bank of the Thames: Slough, Eton Wick, Wraysbury and Datchet. In the heart of the county Reading's northern suburb Caversham is on that bank but rises steeply into the Chiltern Hills. Two main tributaries skirt past Reading, the Loddon and its sub-tributary the Blackwater draining parts of two counties south and the Kennet draining part of upland Wiltshire in the west. Heading west the reduced, but large, part of county becomes further from the Thames which flows from the north-north-west before the Goring Gap. To the south, the land crests along the bo
England is a country, part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to Scotland to the north-northwest; the Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south; the country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight. The area now called England was first inhabited by modern humans during the Upper Palaeolithic period, but takes its name from the Angles, a Germanic tribe deriving its name from the Anglia peninsula, who settled during the 5th and 6th centuries. England became a unified state in the 10th century, since the Age of Discovery, which began during the 15th century, has had a significant cultural and legal impact on the wider world; the English language, the Anglican Church, English law – the basis for the common law legal systems of many other countries around the world – developed in England, the country's parliamentary system of government has been adopted by other nations.
The Industrial Revolution began in 18th-century England, transforming its society into the world's first industrialised nation. England's terrain is chiefly low hills and plains in central and southern England. However, there is upland and mountainous terrain in the west; the capital is London, which has the largest metropolitan area in both the United Kingdom and the European Union. England's population of over 55 million comprises 84% of the population of the United Kingdom concentrated around London, the South East, conurbations in the Midlands, the North West, the North East, Yorkshire, which each developed as major industrial regions during the 19th century; the Kingdom of England – which after 1535 included Wales – ceased being a separate sovereign state on 1 May 1707, when the Acts of Union put into effect the terms agreed in the Treaty of Union the previous year, resulting in a political union with the Kingdom of Scotland to create the Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1801, Great Britain was united with the Kingdom of Ireland to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
In 1922 the Irish Free State seceded from the United Kingdom, leading to the latter being renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The name "England" is derived from the Old English name Englaland, which means "land of the Angles"; the Angles were one of the Germanic tribes that settled in Great Britain during the Early Middle Ages. The Angles came from the Anglia peninsula in the Bay of Kiel area of the Baltic Sea; the earliest recorded use of the term, as "Engla londe", is in the late-ninth-century translation into Old English of Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People. The term was used in a different sense to the modern one, meaning "the land inhabited by the English", it included English people in what is now south-east Scotland but was part of the English kingdom of Northumbria; the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle recorded that the Domesday Book of 1086 covered the whole of England, meaning the English kingdom, but a few years the Chronicle stated that King Malcolm III went "out of Scotlande into Lothian in Englaland", thus using it in the more ancient sense.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, its modern spelling was first used in 1538. The earliest attested reference to the Angles occurs in the 1st-century work by Tacitus, Germania, in which the Latin word Anglii is used; the etymology of the tribal name itself is disputed by scholars. How and why a term derived from the name of a tribe, less significant than others, such as the Saxons, came to be used for the entire country and its people is not known, but it seems this is related to the custom of calling the Germanic people in Britain Angli Saxones or English Saxons to distinguish them from continental Saxons of Old Saxony between the Weser and Eider rivers in Northern Germany. In Scottish Gaelic, another language which developed on the island of Great Britain, the Saxon tribe gave their name to the word for England. An alternative name for England is Albion; the name Albion referred to the entire island of Great Britain. The nominally earliest record of the name appears in the Aristotelian Corpus the 4th-century BC De Mundo: "Beyond the Pillars of Hercules is the ocean that flows round the earth.
In it are two large islands called Britannia. But modern scholarly consensus ascribes De Mundo not to Aristotle but to Pseudo-Aristotle, i.e. it was written in the Graeco-Roman period or afterwards. The word Albion or insula Albionum has two possible origins, it either derives from a cognate of the Latin albus meaning white, a reference to the white cliffs of Dover or from the phrase the "island of the Albiones" in the now lost Massaliote Periplus, attested through Avienus' Ora Maritima to which the former served as a source. Albion is now applied to England in a more poetic capacity. Another romantic name for England is Loegria, related to the Welsh word for England and made popular by its use in Arthurian legend; the earliest known evidence of human presence in the area now known as England was that of Homo antecessor, dating to approximate
Reading is a large minster town in Berkshire, England, of which it is now the county town. It is in the Thames Valley at the confluence of the River Thames and River Kennet, on both the Great Western Main Line railway and the M4 motorway. Reading is 70 miles east of Bristol, 24 miles south of Oxford, 40 miles west of London, 14 miles north of Basingstoke, 12 miles south-west of Maidenhead and 15 miles east of Newbury as the crow flies; the first evidence for Reading as a settlement dates from the 8th century. It was an important trading and ecclesiastical centre in the medieval period, as the site of Reading Abbey, one of the richest monasteries of medieval England with strong royal connections, of which the 12th century abbey gateway and significant ruins remain. By 1525, Reading was the largest town in Berkshire, tax returns show that Reading was the 10th largest town in England when measured by taxable wealth; the town was affected by the English Civil War, with a major siege and loss of trade, played a pivotal role in the Revolution of 1688, with that revolution's only significant military action fought on the streets of the town.
The 18th century saw the beginning of a major iron works in the town and the growth of the brewing trade for which Reading was to become famous. The 19th century saw the coming of the Great Western Railway and the development of the town's brewing and seed growing businesses. During that period, the town grew as a manufacturing centre. Today, Reading is a major commercial centre, with involvement in information technology and insurance, despite its proximity to London, has a net inward commuter flow, it is ranked the UK's top economic area for economic success and wellbeing, according to factors such as employment, health and skills. Reading is a major regional retail centre serving a large area of the Thames Valley, is home to the University of Reading; every year it hosts one of England's biggest music festivals. Sporting teams based in Reading include Reading Football Club and the London Irish rugby union team, over 15,000 runners annually compete in the Reading Half Marathon. In the 2011 census, the urban area around Reading had an estimated population of 318,014, making it one of the largest towns in the UK without city status.
The Borough of Reading has a population of 163,100. It is represented in Parliament by two members, has been continuously represented there since 1295. For ceremonial purposes the town is in the county of Berkshire and has served as its county town since 1867 sharing this status with Abingdon-on-Thames. Reading may date back to the Roman occupation of Britain as a trading port for Calleva Atrebatum. However, the first clear evidence for Reading as a settlement dates from the 8th century, when the town came to be known as Readingum; the name comes from the Readingas, an Anglo-Saxon tribe whose name means Reada's People in Old English, or less the Celtic Rhydd-Inge, meaning Ford over the River. In late 870, an army of Danes set up camp at Reading. On 4 January 871, in the first Battle of Reading, King Ethelred and his brother Alfred the Great attempted unsuccessfully to breach the Danes' defences; the battle is described in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, that account provides the earliest known written record of the existence of Reading.
The Danes remained in Reading until late in 871, when they retreated to their winter quarters in London. After the Battle of Hastings and the Norman conquest of England, William the Conqueror gave land in and around Reading to his foundation of Battle Abbey. In its 1086 Domesday Book listing, the town was explicitly described as a borough; the presence of six mills is recorded: four on land belonging to the king and two on the land given to Battle Abbey. Reading Abbey was founded in 1121 by Henry I, buried within the Abbey grounds; as part of his endowments, he gave the abbey his lands in Reading, along with land at Cholsey. It is not known how badly Reading was affected by the Black Death that swept through England in the 14th century, but it is known that the abbot of Reading Abbey, Henry of Appleford, was one of its victims in 1361, that nearby Henley lost 60% of its population; the Abbey was destroyed in 1538 during Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries. The last abbot, Hugh Cook Faringdon, was subsequently tried and convicted of high treason and hanged and quartered in front of the Abbey Church.
By 1525, Reading was the largest town in Berkshire, tax returns show that Reading was the 10th largest town in England when measured by taxable wealth. By 1611, it had a population of over 5000 and had grown rich on its trade in cloth, as instanced by the fortune made by local merchant John Kendrick. Reading played an important role during the English Civil War. Despite its fortifications, it had a Royalist garrison imposed on it in 1642; the subsequent Siege of Reading by Parliamentary forces succeeded in April 1643. The town's cloth trade was badly damaged, the town's economy did not recover until the 20th century. Reading played a significant role during the Revolution of 1688: the second Battle of Reading was the only substantial military action of the campaign; the 18th century saw the beginning of a major iron works in the town and the growth of the brewing trade for which Reading was to become famous. Reading's trade benefited from better designed turnpike roads which helped it establish its location on the major coaching routes from London to Oxford and the West Country.
In 1723, despite considerable local opposition, the Kennet Navigation opened the River Kennet to boats as far as Newbury. O
In England, a civil parish is a type of administrative parish used for local government, they are a territorial designation, the lowest tier of local government below districts and counties, or their combined form, the unitary authority. Civil parishes can trace their origin to the ancient system of ecclesiastical parishes which played a role in both civil and ecclesiastical administration; the unit rolled out across England in the 1860s. A civil parish can range in size from a large town with a population of about 75,000 to a single village with fewer than a hundred inhabitants. Eight parishes have city status. A civil parish may be known as and confirmed as a town, neighbourhood or community by resolution of its parish council, a right reserved not conferred on other units of English local government. 35% of the English population live in a civil parish. As of 31 December 2015 there were 10,449 parishes in England; the most populous is Weston super Mare and those with cathedral city status are Chichester, Hereford, Ripon, Salisbury and Wells.
On 1 April 2014, Queen's Park became the first civil parish in Greater London. Before 2008 their creation was not permitted within a London borough. Wales was divided into civil parishes until 1974, when they were replaced by communities, which are similar to English parishes in the way they operate. Civil parishes in Scotland were abolished for local government purposes by the Local Government Act 1929, the Scottish equivalent of English civil parishes are community council areas, which were established by the Local Government Act 1973; the Parish system in Europe was established between the 8th and 12th centuries and in England was old by the time of the Conquest. These areas were based on the territory of one or more manors, areas which in some cases derived their bounds from Roman or Iron Age estates. Parish boundaries were conservative, changing little, after 1180'froze' so that boundaries could no longer be changed at all, despite changes to manorial landholdings - though there were some examples of sub-division.
The consistency of these boundaries, up until the 19th century is useful to historians, is of cultural significance in terms of shaping local identities, a factor reinforced by the adoption of parish boundaries unchanged, by successor local government units. There was huge variation in size between parishes, for instance Writtle in Essex was 13,568 acres while neighbouring Shellow Bowells was just 469 acres, Chignall Smealy 476 acres; until the break with Rome, parishes managed ecclesiastical matters, while the manor was the principal unit of local administration and justice. The church replaced the manor court as the rural administrative centre, levied a local tax on produce known as a tithe. In the medieval period, responsibilities such as relief of the poor passed from the Lord of the Manor to the parish's rector, who in practice would delegate tasks among his vestry or the monasteries. After the dissolution of the monasteries, the power to levy a rate to fund relief of the poor was conferred on the parish authorities by the Act for the Relief of the Poor 1601.
Both before and after this optional social change, local charities are well-documented. The parish authorities were consisted of all the ratepayers of the parish; as the number of ratepayers of some parishes grew, it became difficult to convene meetings as an open vestry. In some built up, areas the select vestry took over responsibility from the entire body of ratepayers; this innovation allowed governance by a self-perpetuating elite. The administration of the parish system relied on the monopoly of the established English Church, which for a few years after Henry VIII alternated between the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England, before settling on the latter on the accession of Elizabeth I in 1558. By the 18th century, religious membership was becoming more fractured in some places, due for instance to the progress of Methodism; the legitimacy of the parish vestry came into question and the perceived inefficiency and corruption inherent in the system became a source for concern in some places.
For this reason, during the early 19th century the parish progressively lost its powers to ad hoc boards and other organisations, for example the loss of responsibility for poor relief through the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834. Sanitary districts covered England in Ireland three years later; the replacement boards were each entitled to levy their own rate in the parish. The church rate ceased to be levied in many parishes and became voluntary from 1868; the ancient parishes diverged into two distinct, nearly overlapping, systems of parishes during the 19th century. The Poor Law Amendment Act 1866 declared all areas that levied a separate rate: C of E ecclesiastical parishes, extra-parochial areas and their analogue, chapelries, to be "civil parishes". To have collected rates this means these beforehand had their own vestries, boards or equivalent bodies; the Church of England parishes, which cover more than 99% of England, became termed "ecclesiastical parishes" and the boundaries of these soon diverged from those of the Ancient Parishes in order to reflect modern circumstances.
After 1921 each ecclesiastical parish has been the responsibility of the parochial church councils. In the late 19th century, most of the ancient irregularities inheri