THE HUNDRED OF READING
CONTAINING THE PARISHES OF
|BLEWBURY with UPTON and ASTON UPTHORPE
||TILEHURST (fn. 1)
||And the Borough of READING with ST. GILES with WHITLEY and ST. MARY with SOUTHCOT
|SULHAMSTEAD ABBOTS with GRAZELEY (fn. 2)
The hundreds of Reading and Theale were both included in Reading
Hundred at the time of the Domesday Survey, when the whole was assessed
at 111 hides and 2 virgates; in the reign of the Confessor the assessment
had been 146 hides. (fn. 3) Neither Sulhamstead Abbots, Beenham nor Tilehurst
is mentioned in the Survey. The last two may possibly have been included in
Reading Manor. (fn. 4) The tithing of Beech Hill in Stratfield Saye is also absent,
while Blewbury, Bucklebury and Thatcham belonged respectively to
hundreds bearing their names, (fn. 5) and Cholsey to 'Esliteford.' (fn. 6) The hundred
was granted by Henry I to Reading Abbey at its foundation, the men of the
adjacent manors being bound to come to the court according to custom. (fn. 7)
The grant, however, seems to have led to a reconstruction of the hundred,
which was formed of the manors, with their dependent manors, held by
the abbey in demesne in Berkshire. The abbot's liberty was divided into
the hundred 'intrinsecus' of Reading, the hundred of Theale and the
borough of Reading, whilst to Reading, Hundred were transferred the townships of Bucklebury, Cholsey, Windsor Underore, and part of Blewbury,
Thatcham and East Hendred, all of which were held by the abbey. The
exact date when this division took place is uncertain, but it was certainly
before 1241. (fn. 8) The manor of Windsor Underore was included in Reading
Hundred in 1327. (fn. 9) Beech Hill, then called Trunkwell, and Southcot
belonged to Theale in the reign of Edward I (fn. 10) and continued to be members
of that hundred as late as 1549, (fn. 11) when Reading was held by the Duke of
Somerset, at which date the only townships represented at the hundred court
were Pangbourne, Whitley, Battle, Sivearstrete, Stratfield Mortimer and
part of Stratfield Saye, the tithing of Trunkwell (fn. 12) being excepted. In
1666 the hundred was practically the same as in 1831, (fn. 13) and there have
been few alterations since that date. Grazeley was formed into a separate
parish in 1854 and Beech Hill in 1868, while Cholsey, after being for some
time a member of Moreton Hundred, returned to Reading between 1899
and 1911. Upton and Aston Upthorpe, formerly hamlets of Blewbury, but
now forming a separate parish, are in Moreton Hundred.
Index Map to the Hundred of Reading
||Shinfield, of which a part lies in this hundred, will be found under Charlton.
||The extent of the hundred in 1831 (Pop. Ret.).
V.C.H. Berks. i, 334, 344–5, 349–56, 361–3, 366, 367, 369. The hundred then included the
unidentified townships of 'Lonchelei' and 'Burlei' (ibid. 355, 349, 369).
V.C.H. Berks. i, 327, 330, 345.
||Harl. MS. 1708, fol. 2.
||Assize R. 37, m. 27; cf. Lay Subs. R. bdle. 73, no. 5. In 1225 (the date of the only earlier assize
roll) no part of the abbot's liberty was represented among the hundreds of Berkshire which appeared before
the justices of assize (Assize R. 36, m. a/1).
||Lay Subs. R. bdle. 73, no. 6.
||Ibid. no. 5.
Feud. Aids, i, 48, 70; Ct. R. (Gen. Ser.), portf. 154, no. 51.
||Ct. R. loc. cit. At the view of frankpledge held at Reading the same year the tithings of Maidenhatch and Colley attended, but not Battle or Stratfield Saye, whilst separate views were held for Blewbury
and Cholsey (ibid.).
||Lay Subs. R. bdle. 75, no. 246; Pop. Ret. 1831. Beech Hill was assessed under Reading Hundred
in 1640 (Lay Subs. R. bdle. 75, no. 355). No definite date can be given for the annexation of Southcot
to Reading, but it must have taken place before 1831.