St Mary's parish church
|Population||783 (2011 Census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
Within the historic county boundaries of Berkshire, in 1974 it was transferred for local government purposes to Oxfordshire under the Local Government Act 1972. Uffington is most commonly known for the Uffington White Horse hill figure on the Berkshire Downs in the south of the parish.
Geography and characterEdit
The village is about 1 mile (1.6 km) north of the foot of the Berkshire Downs escarpment and 1 1⁄4 miles (2 km) north of the B4507 road that links Wantage and Ashbury. Its older houses are built of chalk blocks and thatched. The parish church is nicknamed "The Cathedral of the Vale". The village is in the middle of the Vale of White Horse, which is the valley of the River Ock.
Like many parishes in the Vale, Uffington parish is long and thin, running north-south, so that it includes both low-lying arable land and grazing upland on the Berkshire Downs. It measures about 4 1⁄2 miles (7 km) north – south, and almost 1 1⁄2 miles (2.4 km) east – west at its widest point. In 1924 its area was 6,451 acres (2,611 ha). The parish formerly included Baulking and Woolstone.
The River Ock forms most of the northern boundary of the parish. The western boundary crosses Dragon Hill, White Horse Hill, Uffington Down and the gallops on Woolstone Down. The eastern boundary crosses Kingston Warren Down and Ram's Hill, almost to Fawler and partly along Stutfield Brook.
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The White Horse is one of the United Kingdom's best-known archaeological sites. It is a 374 feet (114 m) long Bronze Age hill figure, cut out of the turf on White Horse Hill on the Berkshire Downs just south of the village of Woolstone. It is generally thought[by whom?] to have been a Celtic religious totem, associated with the people who were later called the Atrebates.
The white horse may have been associated with the adjoining Dragon Hill, a small natural hillock with an artificially flattened top. Above these stands Uffington Castle, an Iron Age hill fort (overlying a Bronze Age predecessor) where some of this tribe may have lived. There are also a number of associated burial mounds and there are others further south. Just south of the hill fort the Ridgeway passes through the parish. Ram's Hill seems to have been a Bronze Age cattle ranching and trading centre.
The earliest known records of the toponym are as Uffentun and Offentona in Anglo-Saxon charters from AD 931 now reproduced in the Cartularium Saxonicum. Another 10th- and 11th-century spelling was Offentune. The Domesday Book of 1086 records it as Offentone. Later spellings include Offinton in the 13th century, Uffinton in the 14th century and Offington in the 16th century.
Uffington is recorded in 10th century boundary charters. In AD 931 Earl Æthelstan granted a large estate at Uffington by seisin to Abingdon Abbey. The abbey held the manor throughout the Middle Ages and in 1291 King Edward I visited his grange there.
In 1630 Elizabeth Craven, widow of Sir William Craven, bought the manors of Uffington and Compton from Sir Francis Jones. This began a 329-year connection between the Craven family and Uffington. St Mary's parish church suffered in the Civil War because of the Craven family's Royalism. The Earls of Craven lived not in Uffington but at nearby Ashdown House.
The Church of England parish church of St Mary is cruciform and was completed about 1250. The tower central, positioned over the crossing between the nave, chancel and transepts, and is octagonal. Some of the present windows were inserted in the 17th century.
In the south transept is a Jacobean monument to John Saunders, who died in 1638. It has a semi-reclining effigy of Saunders set in a semi-circular coffered arch, with a large plaque surrounded by strapwork.
The crossing tower had a ring of five bells until 1992, when they were increased to six by the addition of a new treble bell. The five original bells were all recast in 1657, but each has since been recast again. In 1762 Thomas Rudhall of Gloucester recast the tenor bell and in 1770 Robert I Wells of Aldbourne, Wiltshire recast what is now the fifth bell. In 1803 James Wells, also of Aldbourne, recast what is now the second bell. Mears and Stainbank of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry recast the fourth bell in 1867 and the third bell in 1886. The Whitechapel Bell Foundry also cast the treble bell that was added in 1992.
Between 1805 and 1807 the section of the Wilts & Berks Canal between Longcot and Challow was completed. It passes through the parish just north of the village. Uffington had its own wharf, just northwest of the village, where Wharf Farm now is. Traffic on the canal had virtually ceased by 1901 and the route was formally abandoned in 1914. The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust is currently restoring the canal.
The Great Western Main Line was built through the parish in 1840, passing just over 1⁄2 mile (800 m) north of the village. In 1864 the Faringdon Railway was completed, joining the Great Western at a junction 1 mile (1.6 km) northeast of the village. Uffington railway station was opened at the junction. British Railways closed the station in 1964.
- The poet John Betjeman (1906–84) lived in the village in the 1930s. He was also a churchwarden of St Mary's church when it was converted from oil lamps to electricity and its royal arms were cleaned.
- Thomas Hughes (1822–96), author of Tom Brown's Schooldays, was born in the village. The village school mentioned in the book survives as Tom Brown's School Museum, with exhibits on Thomas Hughes, the Uffington White Horse, and other local subjects. The village hall is named the Thomas Hughes Memorial Hall.
Amenities and eventsEdit
Uffington has a pub, the Fox and Hounds.
Uffington United Football Club plays in North Berks Football League Division Three. Uffington Cricket Club plays in Oxfordshire Cricket Association Division Four. Uffington has also a tennis club.
- "Uffington Parish". nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
- Ditchfield & Page 1924, pp. 543–551
- Ekwall 1960, Uffington
- Ekwall 1960, tūn
- Loyn 1962, pp. 171–172.
- Davies, Peter (11 November 2014). "Uffington S Mary". Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers. Central Council for Church Bell Ringers. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
- Historic England. "Church of St Mary (Grade I) (1198865)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
- Archbishops' Council. "Benefice of Uffington Shellingford Woolstone and Baulking". Church of England. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
- Dalby 2000, p. 23.
- Delaney 1983, p. 158.
- Tom Brown's School Museum
- Thomas Hughes Memorial Hall, Uffington
- The Fox & Hounds Uffington
- "Clubs & Associations". Uffington.net. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
- North Berks Football League
- "Tables". Oxfordshire Cricket Association. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
- Uffington White Horse Show
- Charity Commission. The White Horse Show Trust Limited, registered charity no. 1151533.
- Dalby, LJ (2000) . The Wilts and Berks Canal (3rd ed.). Usk: Oakwood Press. p. 23. ISBN 0-85361-562-4.
- Delaney, Frank (1983). Betjeman Country. Paladin (Granada). p. 158. ISBN 0-586-08499-1.
- Ditchfield, PH; Page, William, eds. (1924). "Uffington". A History of the County of Berkshire. Victoria County History. IV. assisted by John Hautenville Cope. London: The St Katherine Press. pp. 543–551.
- Ekwall, Eilert (1960) . Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-Names (4th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Uffington. ISBN 0198691033.
- Hooke, Della (1987). "Anglo-Saxon Estates in the Vale of the White Horse" (PDF). Oxoniensia. Oxfordshire Architectural and Historical Society. LII: 129–144. ISSN 0308-5562.
- Loyn, HR (1962). Anglo-Saxon England and the Norman Conquest. Social and Economic History of England. London: Longmans, Green & Co. pp. 171–172.
- Pevsner, Nikolaus (1966). Berkshire. The Buildings of England. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. pp. 243–245.
- Rhodes, PP (1950). "The Celtic Field-Systems on the Berkshire Downs" (PDF). Oxoniensia. Oxford Architectural and Historical Society. XV: 1–28. ISSN 0308-5562.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Uffington, Oxfordshire.|
- Ford, David (2001). "Uffington: St Mary's Church". Royal Berkshire History.
- Ford, David (2003). "The Uffington White Horse, Part 1". Royal Berkshire History.
- Ford, David (2004). "Uffington". Royal Berkshire History.
- Haval, Nikhilesh. "St Mary's, Uffington". Oxfordshire in 360 degrees. Nikreations.