The River Thames, known alternatively in parts as the Isis, is a river that flows through southern England including London. At 215 miles, it is the longest river in England and the second longest in the United Kingdom, after the River Severn, it flows through Oxford, Henley-on-Thames and Windsor. The lower reaches of the river are called the Tideway, derived from its long tidal reach up to Teddington Lock, it rises at Thames Head in Gloucestershire, flows into the North Sea via the Thames Estuary. The Thames drains the whole of Greater London, its tidal section, reaching up to Teddington Lock, includes most of its London stretch and has a rise and fall of 23 feet. Running through some of the driest parts of mainland Britain and abstracted for drinking water, the Thames' discharge is low considering its length and breadth: the Severn has a discharge twice as large on average despite having a smaller drainage basin. In Scotland, the Tay achieves more than double the Thames' average discharge from a drainage basin, 60% smaller.
Along its course are 45 navigation locks with accompanying weirs. Its catchment area covers a small part of western England; the river contains over 80 islands. With its waters varying from freshwater to seawater, the Thames supports a variety of wildlife and has a number of adjoining Sites of Special Scientific Interest, with the largest being in the remaining parts of the North Kent Marshes and covering 5,449 hectares; the Thames, from Middle English Temese, is derived from the Brittonic Celtic name for the river, recorded in Latin as Tamesis and yielding modern Welsh Tafwys "Thames". The name may have meant "dark" and can be compared to other cognates such as Russian темно, Lithuanian tamsi "dark", Latvian tumsa "darkness", Sanskrit tamas and Welsh tywyll "darkness" and Middle Irish teimen "dark grey"; the same origin is shared by countless other river names, spread across Britain, such as the River Tamar at the border of Devon and Cornwall, several rivers named Tame in the Midlands and North Yorkshire, the Tavy on Dartmoor, the Team of the North East, the Teifi and Teme of Wales, the Teviot in the Scottish Borders, as well as one of the Thames' tributaries called the Thame.
Kenneth H. Jackson has proposed that the name of the Thames is not Indo-European, while Peter Kitson suggested that it is Indo-European but originated before the Celts and has a name indicating "muddiness" from a root *tā-,'melt'. Indirect evidence for the antiquity of the name'Thames' is provided by a Roman potsherd found at Oxford, bearing the inscription Tamesubugus fecit, it is believed. Tamese was referred to as a place, not a river in the Ravenna Cosmography; the river's name has always been pronounced with a simple t /t/. A similar spelling from 1210, "Tamisiam", is found in the Magna Carta; the Thames through Oxford is sometimes called the Isis. And in Victorian times and cartographers insisted that the entire river was named the Isis from its source down to Dorchester on Thames and that only from this point, where the river meets the Thame and becomes the "Thame-isis" should it be so called. Ordnance Survey maps still label the Thames as "River Isis" down to Dorchester. However, since the early 20th century this distinction has been lost in common usage outside of Oxford, some historians suggest the name Isis is nothing more than a truncation of Tamesis, the Latin name for the Thames.
Sculptures titled Tamesis and Isis by Anne Seymour Damer can be found on the bridge at Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire. Richard Coates suggests that while the river was as a whole called the Thames, part of it, where it was too wide to ford, was called *lowonida; this gave the name to a settlement on its banks, which became known as Londinium, from the Indo-European roots *pleu- "flow" and *-nedi "river" meaning something like the flowing river or the wide flowing unfordable river. For merchant seamen, the Thames has long been just the "London River". Londoners refer to it as "the river" in expressions such as "south of the river"; the river gives its name to three informal areas: the Thames Valley, a region of England around the river between Oxford and West London. Thames Valley Police is a formal body. In non-administrative use, the river's name is used in those of Thames Valley University, Thames Water, Thames Television, publishing company Thames & Hudson and South Thames College. An example of its use in the names of historic entities is the Thames Ironworks and Shipbuilding Company.
The administrative powers of the Thames Conservancy have been taken on with modifications by the Environment Agency and, in respect of the Tideway part of the river, such powers are split between the agency and the Port of London Authority. The marks of human activity, in some cases dating back to Pre-Roman Britain, are visible at various points along the river; these include a variety of structure
Swindon is a large town in Wiltshire, South West England, situated between Bristol, 35 miles to its west, Reading, the same distance to its east. The town is 71 miles west of London. At the 2011 census, it had a population of 182,441; the Town Development Act 1952 led to a major increase in its population. Swindon railway station is on the line from London Paddington to Bristol. Swindon Borough Council is a unitary authority, independent of Wiltshire Council since 1997. Residents of Swindon are known as Swindonians. Swindon is home to the Bodleian Library's book depository, the English Heritage National Monument Record Centre, the headquarters of the National Trust, on the site of the former Great Western Railway works, the Nationwide Building Society, a Honda car manufacturing plant; the original Anglo-Saxon settlement of Swindon sat in a defensible position atop a limestone hill. It is referred to in the Domesday Book as Suindune, believed to be derived from the Old English words "swine" and "dun" meaning "pig hill" or Sweyn's hill, Sweyn being derived from the German word „Schwein“, meaning pig.
Before the Battle of Hastings the Swindon estate was owned by an Anglo-Saxon thane called Leofgeat. After the Norman Conquest Swindon was given to Wadard, a knight in the service of Odo of Bayeux, brother of the king; the Goddard family were lord of the manor for many generations, living at the manor house, sometimes known as The Lawn. Swindon was a small market town for barter trade, until 1848; this original market area is on top of the hill in central Swindon, now known as Old Town. The Industrial Revolution was responsible for an acceleration of Swindon's growth, it started with the construction of the Wilts and Berks Canal in 1810 and the North Wilts Canal in 1819. The canals brought trade to the area and Swindon's population started to grow. Between 1841 and 1842, Isambard Kingdom Brunel's Swindon Works was built for the repair and maintenance of locomotives on the Great Western Railway; the GWR built a small railway village to house some of its workers. The Steam Railway Museum and English Heritage, including the English Heritage Archive, now occupy part of the old works.
In the village were the GWR Medical Fund Clinic at Park House and its hospital, both on Faringdon Road, the 1892 health centre in Milton Road, which housed clinics, a pharmacy, baths, Turkish baths and swimming pools, was opposite. From 1871, GWR workers had a small amount deducted from their weekly pay and put into a healthcare fund. In 1878 the fund began providing artificial limbs made by craftsmen from the carriage and wagon works, nine years opened its first dental surgery. In his first few months in post the dentist extracted more than 2,000 teeth. From the opening in 1892 of the health centre, a doctor could prescribe a haircut or a bath; the cradle-to-grave extent of this service was used as a blueprint for the NHS. The Mechanics' Institute, formed in 1844, moved into a building that looked rather like a church and included a covered market, on 1 May 1855; the New Swindon Improvement Company, a co-operative, raised the funds for this programme of self-improvement and paid the GWR £40 a year for its new home on a site at the heart of the railway village.
It was a groundbreaking organisation that transformed the railway's workforce into some of the country's best-educated manual workers. The Mechanics' Institute had the UK's first lending library, a range of improving lectures, access to a theatre and various other activities, such as ambulance classes and xylophone lessons. A former institute secretary formed the New Swindon Co-operative Society in 1853 which, after a schism in the society's membership, spawned the New Swindon Industrial Society, which ran a retail business from a stall in the market at the institute; the institute nurtured pioneering trades unionists and encouraged local democracy. When tuberculosis hit the new town, the Mechanics' Institute persuaded the industrial pioneers of North Wiltshire to agree that the railway's former employees should continue to receive medical attention from the doctors of the GWR Medical Society Fund, which the institute had played a role in establishing and funding. Swindon's'other' railway, the Swindon and Andover Railway, merged with the Swindon and Cheltenham Extension Railway to form the Midland & South Western Junction Railway, which set out to join the London & South Western Railway with the Midland Railway at Cheltenham.
The Swindon, Marlborough & Andover had planned to tunnel under the hill on which Swindon's Old Town stands but the money ran out and the railway ran into Swindon Town railway station, off Devizes Road in the Old Town, skirting the new town to the west, intersecting with the GWR at Rushey Platt and heading north for Cirencester and the LMS, whose'Midland Red' livery the M&SWJR adopted. During the second half of the 19th century, Swindon New Town grew around the main line between London and Bristol. In 1900, the original market town, Old Swindon, merged with its new neighbour at the bottom of the hill to become a single town. On 1 July 1923, the GWR took over the single-track M&SWJR and the line northwards from Swindon Town was diverted to Swindon Junction station, leaving the Town station with only the line south to Andover and Salisbury; the last passenger trains on what had been the SM&A ran on 10 September 1961, 80 years after the railway's first stretch opened. During the first half of the 20th century, the railway works was the town's largest employer and one of the biggest in the country, employing more than 14,500 workers.
Alfred Williams wrote about his
Longcot is a village and civil parish in the Vale of White Horse District. It was part of Berkshire; the village is about 2.5 miles northeast of Shrivenham. The A420 road between Swindon and Oxford passes through the parish 1 mile northwest of the village; the 2011 Census recorded the parish's population as 617. Longcot Civil Parish covers 1,894 acres, it is in a wide bend of the nascent River Ock, in typical low-lying vale landscape. The view to the south is dominated by the scarp of the Lambourn downs, including the Uffington White Horse; the Church of England parish church of Saint Mary the Virgin has a 13th-century Norman nave and chancel. One lancet window on the north side of the chancel is original but all other the current windows were inserted later. On the north side of the church they include one two-light Decorated Gothic and one four-light Perpendicular Gothic window; the pulpit is Jacobean. The tower was rebuilt in 1721 or 1722. Abraham Rudhall of Gloucester cast five new bells in 1722, followed by the treble bell in 1729 to complete a ring of six.
St Mary's is now part of the Church of England Benefice of Shrivenham and Ashbury, which includes Bourton, Compton Beauchamp and Watchfield. Longcot was part of Shrivenham Hundred, with the manor and most of the land being held by Viscount Barrington. For most of its history Longcot was an agricultural community, but population growth in the early 19th century began with the arrival of the Wilts & Berks Canal in 1805 and the building of Longcot Wharf, the wharf nearest to Faringdon; the village population declined in line with the loss of commercial traffic on the canal to the Great Western Railway, completed in 1841. The canal was formally abandoned by Act of Parliament in 1914; the parish has had a Church of England school since 1717, the original building in the southwest corner of the churchyard paid for by voluntary subscription. The current school building, built in 1969 opposite The Green on Kings Lane, replaced a previous building on the same site built in 1874. In 2002 Longcot won two categories in Oxfordshire's Best Kept Village competition: "Best Small Village" and "Best Newcomer".
Longcot has a pub, the King and Queen, a free house. The following data has been taken from historical Census information in the public domain. Dalby, L. J.. The Wilts & Berks Canal. Usk: Oakwood Press. P. 23. ISBN 0-85361-562-4. Page, W. H.. H. eds.. A History of the County of Berkshire. Victoria County History. 4. Assisted by John Hautenville Cope. London: The St Katherine Press. Pp. 466–471. Pevsner, Nikolaus. Berkshire; the Buildings of England. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. Pp. 171–172. Richards, Guy. Longcot: A Village in the Vale. ISBN 0-9536602-0-6. Longcot Village Great Britain Historical GIS / University of Longcott Berkshire. Retrieved 2008-01-01. Longcot & Fernham C of E Primary School
Drayton, Vale of White Horse
Drayton is a village and civil parish about 2 miles south of Abingdon, Oxfordshire. It was part of Berkshire; the parish includes the hamlet of Sutton Wick. The 2011 Census recorded the parish population as 2,353. Two sites of former settlements in the parish are scheduled monuments. One is about 1⁄2 mile north of the village at Sutton Wick, overlapping the parish boundary with Abingdon; the other is around about 1⁄2 mile southeast of the village. An episode of the Channel 4 television series Time Team called "In the Halls of a Saxon King", first transmitted on 5 September 2010, investigated archaeological sites from various periods between Drayton and its eastern neighbour Sutton Courtenay, they included. In 1965 a late Saxon sword was found during ploughing on a field beside Barrow Lane, it is similar to swords found at Windsor and Gooderstone, Suffolk. The earliest known forms of Drayton's toponym are the Old English Drægtune and Draigtun from the 10th century, it evolved through Draitune in the 10th and 11th centuries, Draitun from the 11th to the 13th century and Drettun in the 12th century.
The current spelling of the name has been used since the 13th century. In AD 955 King Eadred granted 10 hides of land at Drayton to a thegn called Eadwold. Eadred's successors confirmed the grant. Eadwold left the estate to Abingdon Abbey but King Æthelred II, crowned in 978, seems to have held the manor, as in 983 he granted three hides of it to his butler, Wulfgar. In 1000 Æthelred granted the same three hides plus a watermill at Drayton to Abingdon Abbey. In the 11th century the land seems to have been divided into two manors: East Drayton; the oldest parts of Drayton's current Manor House are 15th century. A wing was added in the 18th century and the front is early 20th century; the house is a Grade II* listed building. The oldest parts of the Church of England parish church of Saint Peter are Norman, built about AD 1200; the Perpendicular Gothic west tower and four-bay north aisle were added in the 15th century. The south transept was rebuilt about 1855 and the chancel was rebuilt in 1872. In 1879 the church was restored and south porch added, both to designs by the Gothic Revival architect Edwin Dolby.
St Peter's was restored again in 1959. It is a Grade II* listed building; the tower has a ring of eight bells. Mears and Stainbank of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry cast a ring of six for the tower in 1871; the same founders added the present tenor bells in 1880, increasing the ring to eight. There is a sanctus bell that one of the Wells family of bellfounders of Aldbourne, cast in about 1780. A Baptist chapel is now Drayton Baptist Church. A Wesleyan chapel is no longer used for worship. Drayton had a watermill by AD 1000. From 1652 and 1823 Drayton had three watermills. One survives on 3⁄4 mile southeast of the village. Drayton is said to have had five dovecotes between 1793 and 1823. In 1517 an inquiry found that enclosure of arable land at Drayton had put 16 labourers and their families out of work. In 1810–11 Parliament passed an inclosure act for the remaining common land in the parish; the inclosure award was made in 1815.69 High Street is a 15th-century cruck cottage. In 1780 an extensive fire destroyed a number of homes in the village.
Drayton is on what used to be the main road between Oxford and Newbury. The section from Oxford and Abingdon through Drayton to Chilton Pond was turnpiked in 1755. From the 1920s it was classified the A34 road. In the 1970s the A34 was re-routed as a dual carriageway bypassing Abingdon and Steventon, the section between Steventon Hill and Abingdon was detrunked and reclassified as the B4017; the route of the abandoned Wilts & Berks Canal passes through the northwest of Drayton parish, about 1 mile northwest of the village. Building had begun in 1796 at Semington Junction in Wiltshire and reached West Challow in 1807; the final section, from West Challow through Drayton to Abingdon, was completed in 1810. The canal made a long descent from its summit pound near Swindon to the River Thames at Abingdon. Drayton Lock, in the parish 1 3⁄4 miles west of the village, was the final lock in the descent, bringing the canal down to the River Ock floodplain. Traffic on the canal had ceased by 1901 and the route was formally abandoned in 1914.
The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust is restoring the canal. In June 1840 the Great Western Railway reached Steventon, 1 3⁄4 miles south of Drayton. Steventon station was the nearest station to Drayton until British Railways closed it in 1964; the nearest main line station is now about 4 miles southeast of Drayton. In 1924 Drayton still held traditional celebrations on May Day and performed a Mummers play at Christmas. Drayton has the Red Lion and the Wheatsheaf. Morland Brewery of Abingdon, which Greene King took over and closed down in 2000, used to control both pubs. Drayton has a community primary school. Since 2000 Drayton has been twinned with Lesparre-Médoc, a commune in the French département of Gironde. Dalby, L. J.. The Wilts and Berks Canal. Usk: Oakwood Press. ISBN 0-85361-562-4. Fletcher, John. "Crucks In the West Berkshire and Oxford Region". Oxoniensia. Oxford Architectural and Historical Society. XXXIII: 86. Hinton, David A. "Two Late Saxon Swords". Oxoniensia. Oxford Architectural and Historical Society.
XXXV: 1–5. Page, W. H.. H. eds.. A History of the County of Berkshire. Victoria Co
Wantage is a historic market town and civil parish in the ceremonial county of Oxfordshire, England. Part of Berkshire, it has been administered as part of the Vale of White Horse district of Oxfordshire since 1974; the town is on Letcombe Brook, about 8 miles south-west of Abingdon, 24 miles north-west of Reading, 15 miles south-west of Oxford and 14 miles north north-west of Newbury. It is notable as the birthplace of King Alfred the Great in 849. Wantage was a small Roman settlement but the origin of the toponym is somewhat uncertain, it is thought to be from an Old English phrase meaning "decreasing river". King Alfred the Great was born at the royal palace there in the 9th century. Wantage appears in the Domesday Book of 1086, its value was £61 and it was in the king's ownership until Richard I passed it to the Earl of Albemarle in 1190. Weekly trading rights were first granted to the town by Henry III in 1246 Markets are now held twice weekly on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Royalist troops were stationed in Wantage during the English Civil War.
In the 19th century, Lord Wantage became a notable national benefactor. He was involved in founding the British Red Cross Society. In 1877 he paid for a marble statue of King Alfred by Count Gleichen to be erected in Wantage market place, where it still stands today, he donated the Victoria Cross Gallery to the town. This contained paintings by Louis William Desanges depicting deeds which led to the award of a number of VCs, including his own gained during the Crimean War, it is now a shopping arcade. Since 1848, Wantage has been home to the Community of Saint Mary the Virgin, one of the largest communities of Anglican nuns in the world. Wantage once had two breweries. In 1988 the town was thrust into the headlines after a Brass Tacks programme entitled "Shire Wars" exposed the drunken violence that plagued the town and surrounding villages at that time. Wantage has a town council consisting of 16 councillors, 11 of whom are Conservatives with the remaining five councillors being made up of four Liberal Democrats and one Labour councillor.
It is part of the district of the Vale of White Horse. Until 1974, Wantage had two local government councils: Wantage Rural District, which had its headquarters in Belmont and Wantage Urban District, which had its headquarters in Portway; these bodies were both abolished as part of the Local Government Act 1972 and became part of the Vale of White Horse District Council. The Wantage constituency is represented by Conservative MP Ed Vaizey. Vaizey was first elected in the 2005 general election and was re-elected again in 2010 and 2015; the nearby towns of Didcot and Wallingford are part of the Wantage constituency. At the time of the 2010 general election, the Wantage constituency had a total electorate of 80,456. Wantage is at the foot of the Berkshire Downs escarpment in the Vale of the White Horse. There are gallops at Black Bushes and nearby villages with racing stables at East Hendred, Letcombe Bassett and Uffington. Wantage includes the suburbs of Belmont to Charlton to the east. Grove is a separate parish.
Wantage parish stretches from the northern edge of its housing up onto the Downs in the south, covering Chain Hill, Edge Hill, Wantage Down, Furzewick Down and Lattin Down. The Edgehill Springs rise between Manor Road and Spike Lodge Farms and the Letcombe Brook flows through the town. Wantage is home to the Downland Museum. There is a large market square containing a statue of King Alfred, surrounded by shops some with 18th-century facades. Quieter streets radiate including one towards the large Church of England parish church. Wantage is the "Alfredston" of Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure. Wantage is at the crossing of the B4507 valley road, the A417 road between Reading and Cirencester and the A338 road between Hungerford and Oxford. Bus services link Wantage with Oxford and other nearby towns and villages including Abingdon, Didcot and Grove. Stagecoach in Oxfordshire provide the main services between Wantage and Oxford with up to three buses per hour Monday to Saturday and up to two buses per hour on Sundays and bank holidays, operated under Stagecoach's luxury Stagecoach Gold brand.
Route S8 links Wantage with Grove, East Hanney, Marcham and Oxford, along with a late-night service on Friday and Saturday evenings with buses running to Oxford until 2am and buses from Oxford to Wantage until 3am. Route S9 provides a more direct service between Wantage and Oxford. There are up to two buses per hour between Wantage and Didcot via Harwell Campus which are operated by Thames Travel. Thames Travel operate the Faringdon to Wantage service which runs up to every 60 minutes, a local service to Grove. Wantage does not have a railway station; the Great Western Mainline is just north of Grove where the former Wantage Road railway station used to be. It was closed during the Beeching cuts in 1964; the Wantage Tramway used to link Wantage with Wantage Road station. The tramway's Wantage terminus was in Mill Street and its building survives, but little trace remains of the route. One of the tramway's locomotives, alias Jane, is preserved at Didcot Railway Centre. Oxfordshire County Council have ambitions to re-open the former Wantage Road railway station and has stated that the station is a priority in their Connecting Oxfordshire plans.
It is hoped that the station could be served by a direct service between Bristol. The
Chippenham is a large historic market town in northwest Wiltshire, England. It lies 20 miles east of Bristol, 86 miles west of London and 4 miles west of The Cotswolds AONB; the town was established on a crossing of the River Avon and some form of settlement is believed to have existed there since before Roman times. It was a royal vill, a royal hunting lodge, under Alfred the Great; the town continued to grow when the Great Western Railway arrived in 1841. Chippenham is twinned with La Flèche in Friedberg in Germany; the town's motto is Loyalty. Chippenham is in western Wiltshire, at a prominent crossing of the River Avon, between the Marlborough Downs to the east, the southern Cotswolds to the north and west and Salisbury Plain to the southeast; the town is surrounded by sparsely populated countryside and there are several woodlands in or near the town, such as Bird's Marsh, Vincients Wood and Briars Wood. Suburbs include Cepen Park, Monkton, Pewsham, Primrose Hill, Frogwell, The Folly, Queens Crescent, Fenway Park, Hill Rise, loosely corresponding to local government wards.
Chippenham lies 4 miles south of the M4 motorway, which links the town to Bristol, South Wales and London. The A4 former coach road, A420 and B4069 provide further road links to Bath and Oxford; the town is bypassed to the west by the A350, which links the M4 motorway with Chippenham and nearby towns to the south, such as Melksham and Trowbridge. The A4 national route crosses the southern part of the town, linking Chippenham to nearby Corsham and Bath. Local councillors have called for an eastern extension linking the A4 to the A350 north of Cepen Park, although this has been opposed by many residents. Chippenham has a bus station with several companies serving it; these include Stagecoach with the route 55 to Swindon, Faresaver with the X31 to Bath, X34 to Trowbridge and Frome, 33 to Devizes as well as several local routes, Coachstyle with the 92 to Malmesbury. First Bus operate a small number of late evening buses on the X31 route. A smaller secondary bus station is located at Town Bridge, which serves as a hub for short routes within the town, as well as National Express coach services for destinations including Bristol, Northampton and the South West.
Chippenham railway station is on the Great Western Main Line and is served by services between London Paddington and the West Country via Bristol Temple Meads or Swindon, is famous for its railway arches and other buildings engineered by Isambard Kingdom Brunel as part of the Great Western Railway development. It is served by main line services and a smaller service to Southampton Central via Melksham and Salisbury, it is being electrified to make train times faster from London to the West Country. The original Buttercross, a stone structure, was erected in c. 1570 and stood at the centre of the Shambles, at the current location of Barclays Bank. It was used for the sale of dairy products. In 1889, Mr E. C. Lowndes bought the Buttercross for £6 and re-erected it as a gazebo in the kitchen garden of the Castle Combe Manor House, where it subsequently fell into disrepair; the Buttercross was re-erected in 1995 by the Chippenham Civic Society, funded by many local people and organisations. It stands as the centre-piece of the pedestrianised area of the town centre, where a market is held each Friday and Saturday.
The Yelde Hall is one of few remaining medieval timber framed buildings in the town. It was divided up internally for use as a market hall. Both the hall and its meeting room upstairs were used by the burgess and bailiff for a variety of meetings and trials as well as for Council meetings; the space under the Council Chamber was used as the town gaol. Bird's Marsh is a woodland of about 24 hectares, to the north of the town, it is home to many kinds of wildlife, a popular place for walkers, due to its large size and surrounding countryside. One way into Bird's Marsh is through a field close to the Morrisons supermarket, just south of the roundabout on the A350. There are access points off Hill Corner Road and Jacksom's Lane. Although not a marsh, the ground can be boggy off the well-marked paths. In 2008, developers made a planning enquiry about building 800 homes around the Bird's Marsh area. In 2012, developers won the right to build on this area, despite fierce opposition from resident groups.
In 2013, after nearly five years of campaigning, the protesters achieved partial success. Chippenham's population has grown in recent years to 28,065, an increase of 11% from the 1991 figure of 25,376; this rapid expansion can be attributed to the development of large housing estates such as the large Cepen Park district to the west of the town, the Pewsham development to the east. By 2007 the figure had reached 34,820. Further housing developments progressed, though on a smaller scale. Council projections for 2009 estimated a population of 42,060, the actual figure was 43,880. Projections for 2012 estimated a population of 44,820, would have made Chippenham the highest town population in Wiltshire, with the exception of Swindon, thus larger than Salisbury; the 2011 census revealed this figure to have been exceeded, the census predicts, using a trend-based projection, by 2026, a total mid-year population of 49,340. The Anglo-
Abingdon-on-Thames AB-ing-dən-, known just as Abingdon between 1974 and 2012, is an historic market town and civil parish in the ceremonial county of Oxfordshire, England. The county town of Berkshire, since 1974 Abingdon has been administered by the Vale of White Horse district within Oxfordshire; the area was occupied from the early to middle Iron Age and the remains of a late Iron Age and Roman defensive enclosure lies below the town centre. Abingdon Abbey was founded around AD 676. In the 13th and 14th centuries, Abingdon was an agricultural centre with an extensive trade in wool, alongside weaving and the manufacture of clothing. Charters for the holding of markets and fairs were granted by various monarchs, from Edward I to George II; the town survived the dissolution of the abbey in 1538, by the 18th and 19th centuries, with the building of Abingdon Lock in 1790, Wilts & Berks Canal in 1810, was a key link between major industrial centres such as Bristol, London and the Black Country.
In 1856 the Abingdon Railway opened. The Wilts & Berks Canal was abandoned in 1906 but a voluntary trust is now working to restore and re-open it. Abingdon railway station was closed to passengers in September 1963; the line remained open for goods until 1984, including serving the MG car factory, which operated from 1929 to October 1980. Abingdon's brewery, whose most famous ale, Old Speckled Hen, was named after an early MG car, was taken over and closed down by Greene King Brewery in 1999, with production moving to Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk; the site of the brewery has been redeveloped into housing. The rock band Radiohead formed in 1985; the 2011 Census recorded the parish's population as 33,130. This is 2,504 more than in the 2001 Census total of 30,626, represents just over 8% growth in the population. Abingdon is 6 miles south of Oxford, 15 miles south-east of Witney and 19 miles north of Newbury in the flat valley of the Thames on its west bank, where the small river Ock flows in from the Vale of White Horse.
It is on the A415 between Witney and Dorchester, adjacent to the A34 trunk road, linking it with the M4 and M40 motorways. The B4017 and A4183 link the town, both being part of the old A34 and heavily congested. Local bus services to Oxford and the surrounding areas are run by Stagecoach Oxfordshire, Thames Travel, the Oxford Bus Company and smaller independent companies. Abingdon has no rail service. However, in recent years, urban expansion has brought Radley railway station close to town's northeastern limits; the small stopping-service, railway stations at Culham and Radley are both just over two miles from the town centre. Abingdon's eastern ring-road and newest suburbs are connected by footpath and cycleway from Radley railway station; the Radley to Abingdon railway station branch line closed to passengers in 1963. The nearest major stations with taxi ranks are Didcot Parkway. All are managed by Great Western Railway. Frequent express buses operate between the local railway stations and Abingdon, run by Oxford Bus Company and its sister company Thames Travel.
A Neolithic stone hand axe was found at Abingdon. Petrological analysis in 1940 identified the stone as epidotised tuff from Stake Pass in the Lake District, 250 miles to the north. Stone axes from the same source have been found at Sutton Courtenay, Alvescot and Minster Lovell. Abingdon has been occupied from the early to middle Iron Age and the remains of a late Iron Age defensive enclosure lies below the town centre; the oppidum was in use throughout the Roman occupation. Abingdon Abbey was founded in Saxon times around AD 676, but its early history is confused by numerous legends, invented to raise its status and explain the place name; the name seems to mean'Hill of a man named Æbba, or a woman named Æbbe' the saint to whom St Ebbe's Church in Oxford was dedicated. However, Abingdon stands in a valley and not on a hill, it is thought that the name was first given to a place on Boars Hill above Chilswell, the name was transferred to its present site when the Abbey was moved. In 1084, William the Conqueror celebrated Easter at the Abbey and left his son, the future Henry I, to be educated there.
In the 13th and 14th centuries, Abingdon was a flourishing agricultural centre with an extensive trade in wool and a famous weaving and clothing manufacturing industry. The abbot seems to have held a market from early times and charters for the holding of markets and fairs were granted by various sovereigns, from Edward I to George II. In 1337 there was a famous riot in protest at the Abbot's control of this market in which several of the monks were killed. After the abbey's dissolution in 1538, the town sank into decay and, in 1556, upon receiving a representation of its pitiable condition, Mary I granted a charter establishing a mayor, two bailiffs, twelve chief burgesses and sixteen secondary burgesses, the mayor to be clerk of the market, coroner and a JP; the present Christ's Hospital belonged to the Guild of the Holy Cross, on the dissolution of which Edward VI founded the almshouses instead, under its present name. The council was empowered to elect one burgess to parliament and this right continued until the Redistribution of Seats Act of 1885.
A town clerk and other officers were appointed and the town boundaries described in great detail. Charters, from Elizabeth I, James I, James II, George II and George III, made no considerable change. James II changed the style of the corporation to that of a mayor, twelve