Henry Rich, 1st Earl of Holland
Henry Rich, 1st Earl of Holland, known as Lord Kensington between 1623 and 1624, a member of the influential Rich family, was an English courtier and soldier. He was the second son of 1st Earl of Warwick by his first wife Penelope Devereux, his elder brother was Robert Rich, 2nd Earl of Warwick. He began his career as a courtier and soldier in 1610, swiftly becoming a favourite of King James I, but fell out of favour on the accession of Charles I, he was created Baron Kensington in 1622, Earl of Holland in 1624. He was one of the many lovers of the veteran of French court intrigue, he was elected a Member of Parliament for Leicester in 1610 and was re-elected in 1614, having failed to be elected for the prestigious county seat of Norfolk. He was appointed joint Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire for 1628–1632 and sole Lieutenant of that county for 1632–1643, he was joint Lord Lieutenant of Middlesex for 1628–1642 and sole Lieutenant for 1642–1643. He served as Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard from 1617 to 1632, Master of the Horse in 1628, Constable of Windsor Castle from 1628 to 1648 and Chancellor of the University of Cambridge from 1628 until his death.
During the Civil War, On Sunday 9 July 1648, seven months before the execution of King Charles I, the Earl and his army of 400 men entered St Neots in the county of Huntingdonshire. The Earl's men were hungry and weary, following their escape from Kingston upon Thames, where the Parliamentary forces had overwhelmed them. Of his original army of 500, the Earl escaped with about 100 cavalry and was followed by a small party of Puritan and Parliamentary cavalry. After much hesitation concerning which direction they should flee to, the Earl decided on Northampton, whither the group made their way via St Albans and Dunstable. At the outskirts of Bedford the group turned eastward towards the town of St Neots. At Kingston, the Earl was joined by the young George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham, his young brother Francis Villiers and Henry Mordaunt, 2nd Earl of Peterborough, they were joined by Colonel John Dalbier, an experienced German soldier, hated by the Roundheads, having served with them under the Robert Devereux, 3rd Earl of Essex until he defected to the Royalist side.
The field officers of Holland's force sought only safety. Colonel Dalbier called a council of war, at which many officers voted to disperse into the surrounding countryside. Others suggested. Colonel Dalbier advised on the strategic position of St Neots and the fact that the joint remnants of the forces of Buckingham and Holland had increased sufficiently since the retreat from the Roundheads at Kingston, he suggested they should engage their pursuers. He further added. Due to his vast experience as a soldier, his words were listened to with respect, he further offered to guard them through the night in case of a surprise attack, or to meet a soldier's death in the defence of the town. A vote was taken and Dalbier’s plan was adopted; the Earl of Holland, who it was said "had better faculty at public address than he had with a sword", joined Buckingham and Peterborough in addressing the principal residents and townsfolk of St Neots. The Duke of Buckingham spoke at length, claiming "they did not wish to continue a bloody war, but wanted only a settled government under Royal King Charles".
Assurances were given that their Royalist troop would not riot or damage the townfolks’ property. On the latter promise it is recorded. Fatigued by their battle and consequent retreat from Kingston, the field officers eagerly sought rest. True to his word, Colonel Dalbier kept watch over them; the small group of Puritan horsemen who had pursued them had, upon reaching Hertford, met with Colonel Adrian Scrope and his Roundhead troops from their detachment at Colchester. At two o’clock on Monday morning, 10 July, 100 Dragoons from the Parliamentary forces arrived ahead of the main army at Eaton Ford. Dalbier was at once informed, gave the alarm: "To horse, to horse!" The Dragoons, equipped with musket and sword, crossed St Neots’ Bridge before the Royalists were prepared. The Battle of St Neots had begun; the few Royalists guarding the bridge fell back from the superior numbers before them. The ensuing battle was now fought on streets of the town; the remaining Royalists were now prepared for combat.
The main army of Roundheads had arrived, a further wave of Puritans crossed the bridge into town. The battle was fierce, with the Puritans gaining ground. Colonel Dalbier died during the early stages of the battle. Other prominent Royalists, including Buckingham's younger brother Francis Villiers, Kenelm Digby, were killed during the battle. Other officers and men drowned whilst attempting to escape by crossing the River Ouse; the young Duke of Buckingham, being overwhelmed by the speed of these events, escaped with 60 horsemen to Huntingdon, with the intention of continuing towards Lincolnshire. Upon realising the Roundheads were in hot pursuit, he changed plans, via an evasive route returned to London from where he escaped to France; the Earl of Holland with his personal guard fought their way to the inn at which he had stayed the previous night. The gates had been closed and locked, but were opened to admit him, closed again as he entered; the Parliamentarians entered the inn. The door of the Earl's room was burst open to reveal him facing sword in hand.
It is record
Oxfordshire (UK Parliament constituency)
Oxfordshire was a county constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of England of the Parliament of Great Britain from 1707 to 1800 and of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1885. It was represented by two Members of Parliament. In 1832 this was increased to three Members of Parliament; the constituency was abolished in 1885. The bitterly contested Oxfordshire election of 1754 was the main inspiration for Hogarth's famous series of paintings and engravings, The Election; the constituency comprised the whole of the historic county of Oxfordshire, in the northern part of South East England. There were minor boundary changes at the time of the Great Reform Act in 1832, when five parishes or parts of parishes were transferred to other counties while six parishes or parts of parishes were added. In 1885 the representation of the county was changed from one three member constituency to three single member divisions. Banbury and Woodstock ceased to be parliamentary boroughs but the same names were used for two county divisions.
The three new county constituencies were Banbury. The county franchise, from 1430, was held by the adult male owners of freehold land valued at 40 shillings or more; the bloc vote electoral system was used in two seat elections and first past the post for single member by-elections. Each elector had as many votes. Votes had to be cast by a spoken declaration, in public, at the hustings, which took place in Oxford; the expense and difficulty of voting at only one location in the county, together with the lack of a secret ballot contributed to the corruption and intimidation of electors, widespread in the unreformed British political system. The expense, to candidates and their supporters, of contested elections encouraged the leading families of the county to agree on the candidates to be returned unopposed whenever possible. Contested county elections were therefore unusual; the Tory Dukes of Marlborough, dominated the county from their seat at Blenheim Palace. One seat was held by a Spencer, the other by a local family acceptable to the Duke.
Between 1700 and 1826 there was only one contest. Note on percentage change calculations: Where there was only one candidate of a party in successive elections, for the same number of seats, change is calculated on the party percentage vote. Where there was more than one candidate, in one or both successive elections for the same number of seats change is calculated on the individual percentage vote. Note on sources: The information for the election results given below is taken from Stooks Smith 1715–1754, Namier and Brooke 1754–1790 and Stooks Smith 1790–1832. From 1832 the principal source was Craig, with additional or different information from Stooks Smith included. Death of ClerkeDeath of Jenkinson Death of Herbert Death of StapletonDeath of Perrot Succession of Quarendon to the peerage as The 3rd Earl of Lichfield Wenman was a Peer of Ireland. There was a double return after the most hotly contested county election of the century; the disputed election was decided by the House of Commons on petition, with Parker and Turner being declared duly elected on 23 April 1755.
Seat vacated on Spencer being appointed Ranger of Windsor Forest. Seat vacated on Spencer being appointed Comptroller of the Household. Note: By-election in Stooks Smith, but not in Namier and Brooke. Wenman was a peer of Ireland Seat vacated on the appointment of Spencer as Treasurer of the Chamber Seat vacated on the appointment of Spencer as a Vice Treasurer of Ireland Seat vacated on the appointment of Spencer as Postmaster General Creation of Spencer as 1st Baron Churchill Death of FaneNote: Stooks Smith records that the polls were open for three days Note: Stooks Smith records that the polls were open for three days Representation increased to three seats under the Reform Act 1832Note: Stooks Smith classifies Harcourt and Weyland as Whig candidates and Norreys as a ToryNote: For this election Stooks Smith classifies Harcourt and Norreys as Tory candidates and Weyland as a Whig, he records the number of registered electors as 5,164 instead of the number given by Craig used above. Note: Stooks Smith was the source for the number of electors voting.
He classified Norreys and Parker as Tories, with Stonor as a Whig. Note: Stooks Smith classifies Harcourt and Norreys as Tories, he records the number of registered electors as 5,721 instead of the number given by Craig used above. Note: Stooks Smith classifies Harcourt and Norreys as Tories. Seat vacated on the appointment of Henley as President of the Board of TradeNote: The minimum possible turnout is estimated by dividing the number of votes cast by three. To the extent that electors did not use all their three possible votes the figure given will be an underestimate of the true turnout Seat vacated on the appointment of Henley as President of the Board of Trade Death of HarcourtThe Reform Act 1867 expanded the electorate and introduced the limited vote for three seat constituencies (reducing the maximum number of votes per elector from three
Thomas Boleyn, 1st Earl of Wiltshire
Thomas Boleyn, 1st Earl of Wiltshire, 1st Earl of Ormond, 1st Viscount Rochford KG KB was an English diplomat and politician in the Tudor era. He was born at the family home, Blickling Hall, purchased by his grandfather Sir Geoffrey Boleyn, a wealthy mercer, he was buried at St. Peter's parish church in the village of Hever, his parents were Sir William Boleyn and Lady Margaret Butler, daughter and co-heiress of Thomas Butler, 7th Earl of Ormond. He was the father of Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry VIII, through her, the maternal grandfather of Queen Elizabeth I of England. Sometime before 1499, Boleyn married Lady Elizabeth Howard, eldest daughter of Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk and Elizabeth Tilney. Five children are attested, only three of: Mary Boleyn. Thomas Boleyn the younger Anne Boleyn, he was created a Knight of the Bath at Henry VIII's coronation in 1509. His appointment as ambassador to the Low Countries brought him into contact with the regent Archduchess Margaret of Austria.
Like Thomas, Margaret of Austria spoke French and Latin and they got along well enough for her to accept his daughter, Anne, as a maid of honor. Through his ability and the connections of his extended family, Thomas Boleyn became one of Henry VIII's leading diplomats. Known appointments and missions included: 1511 and 1517: Sheriff of Kent 1512: One of a party of three envoys to the Netherlands. 1518–1521: ambassador to France, where he was involved in arrangements for the "Field of Cloth of Gold" meeting between Henry and the new French King Francis I in 1520. 1521 and 1523: Envoy to Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. 1527: One of a large envoy to France 1529: Envoy to a meeting of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and Pope Clement VII, to seek support for the marriage annulment of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. This was followed by another envoy to France. Boleyn was invested as a Knight of the Garter in 1523. Boleyn's claim to his other titles derived from his mother, Lady Margaret Butler, the younger daughter and co-heir of Thomas Butler, 7th Earl of Ormond.
Thomas Butler, as an Irish peer, should only have sat in the Parliament of Ireland. However, as a personal friend of Henry VII he was summoned to the English parliament in November 1488 as "Thomas Ormond de Rochford, chevaler". At this time, he was 8th Earl of Carrick and 7th Earl of Ormond. In English law, matrilineal descent is not considered valid for earldoms, in Brehon law largely still in use in Ireland, new leaders were chosen by election; these customs were, in Boleyn's case, outweighed by a more important consideration – he was the father of two pretty daughters. Henry VIII dallied first with Boleyn's elder daughter Mary with his younger daughter, Anne. Boleyn's ambition was so considerable that unsubstantiated rumors had it that he allowed his wife to have an affair with the king, but those rumours were intended to steer the king away from marrying Anne, suggested that she was his own daughter; when it was claimed that Henry had had an affair with both Anne's sister and mother, the king replied to the rumors, "Never with the mother."In 1525, Henry VIII became enamoured of Anne and began pursuing her.
Her father was elevated to the peerage as Viscount Rochford on 18 June 1525. The title referred to the "barony" of Rochford created in 1488 for his grandfather; the title had fallen into abeyance as Ormond had died without any male heir in 1515. Boleyn is thought of as a power hungry and scheming man who sacrificed his daughters for personal gain, but his biographer, Dr Lauren Mackay, has argued that he enjoyed a successful career as an ambassador and courtier years before his daughters caught the King's eye; as Henry's passion for Anne intensified, so did her father's titles, though these rewards were not due to Anne but Boleyn's own merit. Henry pressured the main claimant to the earldom of Ormond, Piers Butler, to renounce all his claims to the titles in 1529. Piers Butler was rewarded by being created Earl of Ossory five days later. Boleyn's claims to the Earldom of Wiltshire depended upon his Irish relatives; this time, he had to go back to his maternal great-grandfather, James Butler, 5th Earl of Ormond, to establish a claim.
While James Butler was indeed the 1st Earl of Wiltshire, on 1 May 1461 he lost his titles and his life when he was executed by the victorious Yorkists. The title was subsequently bestowed on people unrelated to the Butlers of Ormond; this did not prevent the creation of the earldom for the 6th time. On 8 December 1529 Thomas Boleyn, Viscount Rochford, was created Earl of Wiltshire and Earl of Ormond. On 8 December 1529, the Earl of Wiltshire's only surviving son, was granted the courtesy title of Viscount Rochford, his title of Viscount, although a courtesy title, ceased to be a mere courtesy title sometime before 13 July 1530. On 17 May 1536, Lord Rochford was executed for treason, all his titles were forfeited, his widow, Viscountess Rochford, continued to use the title after her husband's death. Lady Rochford was herself attainted for treason and behe
Wallingford Castle was a major medieval castle situated in Wallingford in the English county of Oxfordshire, adjacent to the River Thames. Established in the 11th century as a motte-and-bailey design within an Anglo-Saxon burgh, it grew to become what historian Nicholas Brooks has described as "one of the most powerful royal castles of the 12th and 13th centuries". Held for the Empress Matilda during the civil war years of the Anarchy, it survived multiple sieges and was never taken. Over the next two centuries it became a luxurious castle, used by royalty and their immediate family. After being abandoned as a royal residence by Henry VIII, the castle fell into decline. Refortified during the English Civil War, it was slighted, i.e. deliberately destroyed, after being captured by Parliamentary forces after a long siege. The site was subsequently left undeveloped, the limited remains of the castle walls and the considerable earthworks are now open to the public; as an important regional town, overlooking a key crossing point on the River Thames and with its own mint, the town of Wallingford had been defended by an Anglo-Saxon burgh, or town wall, prior to the Norman invasion of 1066.
Wigod of Wallingford, who controlled the town, supported William the Conqueror's invasion and entertained the king when he arrived in Wallingford. After the end of the initial invasion, the king set about establishing control over the Thames Valley through constructing three key castles, the royal castles of Windsor and Wallingford, the baronial castle transferred to royal hands, built at Oxford. Wallingford Castle was built by Robert D'Oyly between 1067 and 1071. Robert had married Wigod's daughter Ealdgyth, inherited many of his father-in-law's lands; the wooden castle was built in the north-east corner of the town, taking advantage of the old Anglo-Saxon ramparts, with the motte close to the river overlooking the ford, required substantial demolition work to make room for the new motte-and-bailey structure. Unusually, it appears that the castle was constructed on top of high-status Anglo-Saxon housing belonging to former housecarls; the motte today is 13 metres high. Robert endowed a sixteen-strong college of priests within the castle, which he named St Nicholas College.
Wallingford Castle passed from Robert to first his son-in-law Miles Crispin, Brien FitzCount, who married Robert's daughter after Miles died. Brien, an important supporter of Henry I, was the son of the Duke of Brittany, strengthened the castle in stone in the 1130s, he produced a powerful fortification, including a shell keep and a curtain wall around the bailey, combined with the extensive earthworks, has been described by historian Nicholas Brooks as "one of the most powerful royal castles of the 12th and 13th centuries". After the death of Henry, the political situation in England became less stable, with both Stephen of England and the Empress Matilda laying claim to the throne. Brien had been considered a supporter of Stephen, but in 1139 Matilda travelled to England and Brien announced his allegiance to her, joining forces with Miles of Gloucester and other supporters in the south-west. Wallingford Castle was now the most easterly stronghold of the Empress's faction – it was either the closest base to London, or the first in line to be attacked by Stephen's forces, depending on one's perspective.
Stephen attacked the castle in 1139 intending to besiege it, as the walls were considered impregnable to assault. Brien had brought in considerable supplies – contemporaries believed the castle could survive a siege for several years if need be – and Stephen changed his mind, putting up two counter-castles to contain Wallingford along the road to Bristol, before continuing west; the next year, Miles of Gloucester acting under orders from Robert of Gloucester, struck east, destroying one of the counter-castles outside Wallingford. The civil war between Stephen and Matilda descended into an attritional campaign, in which castles like Wallingford played a critical role in efforts by both sides to secure the Thames Valley. After the fall of Oxford to Stephen in 1141, Matilda fled to Wallingford, the importance of the castle continued to grow. Around this time Brien established a notorious prison within the castle, called Cloere Brien, or "Brien's Close", as part of his efforts to extract money and resources from the surrounding region.
The nobleman William Martel, Stephen's royal steward, was one of the most high-profile prisoners to be kept there. Contemporary chroniclers reported the cries of tortured prisoners in the castle disturbed the inhabitants of the town of Wallingford. There was not enough space in the castle for all of Brien's forces, various houses in the town had to be taken for the use of his knights. Between 1145 and 1146 Stephen made another attempt to seize Wallingford, but was again unable to take the castle despite building a powerful counter-castle to the east, opposite Wallingford at Crowmarsh Gifford, building castles to the west at Brightwell, South Moreton and Cholsey, he returned with larger forces in 1152, reestablishing the counter-castle at Crowmarsh Gifford and building another one overlooking Wallingford bridge, settled his forces down to starve the castle out. Brien, supported by Miles' son, Roger of Hereford, who had become trapped in the castle, attempted to break through the blockade, but without success.
By 1153, the castle garrison was running low on food, Roger made a deal with Stephen allowing him to leave the castle with his followers. Henry, the Empress' son and the future Henry II intervened, ma
James VI and I
James VI and I was King of Scotland as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the Scottish and English crowns on 24 March 1603 until his death in 1625. The kingdoms of Scotland and England were individual sovereign states, with their own parliaments and laws, though both were ruled by James in personal union. James was the son of Mary, Queen of Scots, a great-great-grandson of Henry VII, King of England and Lord of Ireland, positioning him to accede to all three thrones. James succeeded to the Scottish throne at the age of thirteen months, after his mother was compelled to abdicate in his favour. Four different regents governed during his minority, which ended in 1578, though he did not gain full control of his government until 1583. In 1603, he succeeded the last Tudor monarch of England and Ireland, Elizabeth I, who died childless, he continued to reign in all three kingdoms for 22 years, a period known after him as the Jacobean era, until his death in 1625 at the age of 58.
After the Union of the Crowns, he based himself in England from 1603, only returning to Scotland once in 1617, styled himself "King of Great Britain and Ireland". He was a major advocate of a single parliament for Scotland. In his reign, the Plantation of Ulster and British colonisation of the Americas began. At 57 years and 246 days, James's reign in Scotland was longer than those of any of his predecessors, he achieved most of his aims in Scotland but faced great difficulties in England, including the Gunpowder Plot in 1605 and repeated conflicts with the English Parliament. Under James, the "Golden Age" of Elizabethan literature and drama continued, with writers such as William Shakespeare, John Donne, Ben Jonson, Sir Francis Bacon contributing to a flourishing literary culture. James himself was a talented scholar, the author of works such as Daemonologie, The True Law of Free Monarchies, Basilikon Doron, he sponsored the translation of the Bible into English that would be named after him: the Authorised King James Version.
Sir Anthony Weldon claimed that James had been termed "the wisest fool in Christendom", an epithet associated with his character since. Since the latter half of the 20th century, historians have tended to revise James's reputation and treat him as a serious and thoughtful monarch, he was committed to a peace policy, tried to avoid involvement in religious wars the Thirty Years' War that devastated much of Central Europe. He tried but failed to prevent the rise of hawkish elements in the English Parliament who wanted war with Spain. James was the only son of Mary, Queen of Scots, her second husband, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley. Both Mary and Darnley were great-grandchildren of Henry VII of England through Margaret Tudor, the older sister of Henry VIII. Mary's rule over Scotland was insecure, she and her husband, being Roman Catholics, faced a rebellion by Protestant noblemen. During Mary's and Darnley's difficult marriage, Darnley secretly allied himself with the rebels and conspired in the murder of the Queen's private secretary, David Rizzio, just three months before James's birth.
James was born on 19 June 1566 at Edinburgh Castle, as the eldest son and heir apparent of the monarch automatically became Duke of Rothesay and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland. He was baptised "Charles James" or "James Charles" on 17 December 1566 in a Catholic ceremony held at Stirling Castle, his godparents were Charles IX of France, Elizabeth I of England, Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy. Mary refused to let the Archbishop of St Andrews, whom she referred to as "a pocky priest", spit in the child's mouth, as was the custom; the subsequent entertainment, devised by Frenchman Bastian Pagez, featured men dressed as satyrs and sporting tails, to which the English guests took offence, thinking the satyrs "done against them". James's father, was murdered on 10 February 1567 at Kirk o' Field, Edinburgh in revenge for the killing of Rizzio. James inherited his father's titles of Duke of Earl of Ross. Mary was unpopular, her marriage on 15 May 1567 to James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell, suspected of murdering Darnley, heightened widespread bad feeling towards her.
In June 1567, Protestant rebels imprisoned her in Loch Leven Castle. She was forced to abdicate on 24 July 1567 in favour of the infant James and to appoint her illegitimate half-brother, James Stewart, Earl of Moray, as regent; the care of James was entrusted to the Earl and Countess of Mar, "to be conserved and upbrought" in the security of Stirling Castle. James was anointed King of Scots at the age of thirteen months at the Church of the Holy Rude, Stirling, by Adam Bothwell, Bishop of Orkney, on 29 July 1567; the sermon at the coronation was preached by John Knox. In accordance with the religious beliefs of most of the Scottish ruling class, James was brought up as a member of the Protestant Church of Scotland, the Kirk; the Privy Council selected George Buchanan, Peter Young, Adam Erskine, David Erskine as James's preceptors or tutors. As the young king's senior tutor, Buchanan subjected James to regular beatings but instilled in him a lifelong passion for literature and learning. Buchanan sought to turn James into a God-fearing, Protestant king who accepted the limitations of monarchy, as outlined in his treatise De Jure Regni apud Scotos.
In 1568, Mary escaped from her i
Rotherfield Greys is a village and civil parish in the Chiltern Hills in South Oxfordshire. It is just over 1 mile east of Rotherfield Peppard, it is linked by a near-straight minor road to Henley. The Domesday Book of 1086 mentions Rotherfield Greys under the ownership of the Norman knight Anchetil de Greye and in a period when the county was administered in hundreds, in Binfield Hundred. Rotherfield derives from the Old English redrefeld meaning "cattle lands"; the parish church includes the 16th-century Knollys Chapel, which houses an ornate tomb of the Knollys family. This includes effigies of Sir Francis Knollys and his wife, lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth I; the Church of England parish church of Saint Nicholas is Norman and was restored in 1865. The village has a public house, The Maltsters Arms, controlled by W. H. Brakspear & Sons. In the parish is Greys Court, whose predecessor was the manor house of the Grey family, it is owned and maintained by the National Trust and its Dower House is in the top category of listed building, Grade I.
As to other buildings and monuments 31 are listed in the parish for historic or architectural merit, most in the Grade II starting category. Sherwood, Jennifer. Oxfordshire; the Buildings of England. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. Pp. 734–737. ISBN 0-14-071045-0. Townley, Simon C, ed.. A History of the County of Oxford, Volume 16: Binfield Hundred: Henley-on-Thames and Environs. Victoria County History. Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer. ISBN 978-1-904356-38-7. UK National Archives — Domesday Greys Court at Rotherfield Rotherfield Greys Parish Website A birds-eye view of Greys Court Rotherfield Greys in the 17th or 18th century from SCRAN Roll of Honour
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