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HistoryEdit

Palaeolithic and Roman artefacts were found during 20th century excavations to build the village.[citation needed] The Roman road between Dorchester-on-Thames and Alchester runs through the centre of Berinsfield.[2] An Anglo-Saxon cemetery was also found at Berinsfield.[3]

The village occupies the site of RAF Mount Farm, a satellite of RAF Benson, initially used to train bomber pilots. It was later taken over by the United States Army Air Forces, who used it as a reconnaissance base. From here stars including Bob Hope, Dorothy Lamour and Glenn Miller took off to entertain the troops in Europe. Miller performed for the US service personnel at the base in December 1944. From there he went to RAF Twinwood, boarded a Noorduyn Norseman single-engined aircraft, took off for Paris - and was never heard of again. His plane is believed to have ditched in the Channel - although 20 years ago[when?] there was a belief he may have crash-landed in the dense Chiltern woodlands. Searches found no trace of the aircraft.

After World War II, the disused airbase was occupied by squatters[4][5], some of whom stayed for over a decade until, in 1957, the Air Ministry sold the airfield for civilian use. Bullingdon Rural District Council decided to build a new council estate[6] to be named after Birinus or Berin, a local saint. The word 'field' was added because the Americans called their base an airfield.[7] Many new residents at that time lived in the old air force huts, before brick-built houses were constructed on the site.

 
part of Fane Drive, the main road within the village

Berinsfield is the first English village to be built on virgin land for over two hundred years.[citation needed] It was built by the architect and town planner William Holford in 1960.[8] The Church of England parish church of Saint Mary and Saint Berin was designed by Rev. Harold Best, vicar of Dorchester, and built in 1962.[9]

AmenitiesEdit

 
The Village Inn

Berinsfield has a public house, The Village Inn, which is a free house and anyone is welcome.The village has a primary school,[10] a public library,[11] The Abbey Sports Centre,[12] and a row of shops including a post office. Berinsfield Football Club previously played in the Reading Football League but have since transferred to the North Berks Football League as a result of their position in Oxfordshire. There is a Berinsfield Amateur Boxing Club. Berinsfield has a Women's Institute.[13] Berinsfield also had a youth club, Berry Youth Club, for 10 to 21-year-olds.

Due to county council cutbacks, Berinsfield is unique in being one of the largest villages in Oxfordshire to only have one regular bus service serving Oxford and Reading only.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Area: Berinsfield CP (Parish): Parish Headcounts". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 21 March 2010.
  2. ^ Ordnance Survey (2006). Oxford, Chipping Norton and Bicester (Landranger Maps). Ordnance Survey. ISBN 0-319-22913-0.
  3. ^ Boyle, Dodd, Miles & Mudd, 1995
  4. ^ Berinsfield Parish Council, 'Berinsfield the Community' (accessed 3 August 2018)
  5. ^ Colin Ward, 'The hidden history of housing', History and Policy, 2004 (accessed 3 August 2018)
  6. ^ Victoria County History, 'Dorchester', 1962 (accessed 3 August 2018)
  7. ^ Berinsfield Parish Council, 'Berinsfield the Community' (accessed 3 August 2018)
  8. ^ Sherwood & Pevsner, 1974, page 451
  9. ^ Sherwood & Pevsner, 1974, page 452
  10. ^ Berinsfield Community Primary School Archived 12 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ Oxfordshire County Council: Berinsfield Library
  12. ^ South Oxfordshire District Council: Leisure Centres
  13. ^ Oxfordshire Federation of Women's Institutes

SourcesEdit

 
Houses towards the northeast of Berinsfield

External linksEdit

  Media related to Berinsfield at Wikimedia Commons