The County of Berkshire

Members of Parliament

Members of Parliament for 1869

Lieut.-Col. Robert Loyd Lindsay, v.c, Lockinge House, Wantage, and 2 Carlton-gardens, London s.w.;

John Walter, Esq., Bearwood, Wokingham, and 40 Upper Grosvenor-street, London w.;

Richard Benyon, Esq., Englefleld House, Reading, and 17 Grosvenor-square, London W.

Hospitals and Asylums

Royal Berkshire Hospital, London-road, Reading, — Her Majesty the Queen, patroness; Rev. George Bishop, chaplain; Owen Evans, house surgeon; D. B. Skey, secretary and house steward; Miss Ellen Smith, superintendent.

The Counties Lunatic Asylum (Oxford and Berks) is situated at Littlemore, Oxfordshire. R. H. H. Sankey, resident medical superintendent; J. M. Davenport, Esq., clerk to committee; Rev. Samuel Paris Hill, B.A. chaplain; Joseph John Andrews, steward and clerk.

Law and Legislation


Coroners for the County (1869) — A. D. Bartlett, Abingdon (Abingdon district); J. Alexander, Newbury (Newbury district); R. Clarke, Reading (Reading district); W. Wasbrough, Wantage (Wantage district).


The county police force consists of a chief constable, 8 superintendents, 2 inspectors, 12 sergeants and 91 constables — total, 114. Colonel Adam Blandy, of Reading, is the chief constable, and William Grant is the chief clerk and superintendent; the head quarters are at Reading, and the County Police Station is in the Forbury, Reading; the reserve force of the county is also stationed at Reading.


County GaolCounty Gaol (Photo credit: Reading Tom)

There are two county gaols, one at Abingdon and the other at Reading. The County Gaol in Bridge-street, Abingdon, is a plain stone building, erected in 1811, at an expense of £26,000: it includes a chapel and court house: it is now unoccupied. The County Gaol, Forbury, Reading, is a red brick castellated building with white stone dressings; Samuel Ferry, governor.


The Blackwater rises near Aldershot, and bounds the county on the south from Blackwater to Swallowfield, whence it falls into the Loddon; the Broadwater and Bull Brook rise near Swinley, and, uniting their streams at Warfield, fall into the Loddon under the former name at Twyford; Cole; Emme, rises near Bagshot, and falls into the Loddon at Sandford Mill; Enbourn, rises near Inkpen, and falls into the Kennet below Wasing; Isis; "the Kennet swift, for silver eels renown'd," enters at Hungerford, and joins the Thames by Reading; Lambourn, rises near the town of that name, and after a course of eleven miles falls into the Thames at Abingdon; "the Loddon slow, with verdant alders crown'd," and the subject of Pope's fable of Lodona, enters at Swallowfield, and falls into the Thames near Wingrave; Ock, rises in the vale of the White Horse, near Kingston Lisle, and unites with the Thames at Abingdon; Shaffield Moor Brook, runs from the chalk near White Waltham, and falls into the Thames near Monkey Island; the Thames, "Though deep yet clear; though gentle, yet not dull; Strong without rage; without o'erflowiog full," enters near Lechdale; and a stream which rises at Ginge, and falls into the Thames at Button Courtney.

Inland Navigation

Kennet and Avon Canal, from Hungerford to Newbury, act passed in 1794, opened 1798; Kennet river; Thames river, its entire course; Thames and Isis canal; Wilts and Berks canal, from Bath in Somersetshire to the Thames at Abingdon, undertaken in 1793, opened 1810.


Sheep, for which there is a great market at East Ilsley; swine, of which 4,000 are annually slaughtered at Farringdon for London; horses, at Abingdon and Farringdon. Barley; wheat; oak, beach, and fir trees. Peat, at Newbury.


Malt is made in great quantities. Abingdon, hemp-dressing; sacking; and coarse weather-proof coats. Greenham Mills near Thatcham, blankets. Newbury, serge, shalloon, paper, and cotton. Reading, pins, sacking, and ribbons. Temple Mills, Bisham, copper utensils. Wokingham, silk, gauze, and shoes.

Population in 1821

Hundreds, 20; Boroughs, 4; Market Towns, 8; Parishes, 147; Parts of Parishes, 6; Divisions, 6; Liberties, 11.

Houses, 25,481.

Inhabitants. Males, 65,546; Females, 66,431; total, 131,977. By the census of 1831, 145,289.

Families. Employed in Agriculture, 14,769; in Trade, 8,773; in neither, 4,158; total, 27,700.

Baptisms in 1820. Males, 2,088; Females, 1,943; total, 4,031. Annual average of 1811 to 1820, 3,884.

Marriages, 1,002. Annual Average, 930.

Burials. Males, 1,211: Females, 1,216: total, 2,427. Annual Average, 2,306.


  • Leonard's Gazetteer of England and Wales; Second Edition; C. W. Leonard, London; 1850
  • Post Office Directory of Northamptonshire, Huntingdonshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire; E. R. Kelly; Kelly & Co., London. 1869.
  • The Family Topographer; Samuel Tymms; 1834.