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When looking at a modern map of "Berkshire", it is important to remember that it shows a boundary that was drawn in 1974 and that will be erased 24 years later in 1998, and only refers to the administration of the county. Berkshire proper includes the Vale of the White Horse, Abingon and even parts of Oxford itself. The town of Slough has been administered as part of Berkshire since 1974.

Before 1974, Berkshire was:
Berkshire, an inland county of England, on the south bank of the River Thames, having Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire on the north, Hampshire on the south, Surrey on the south-east, and Wiltshire on the west. Berkshire is irregular in shape, with an extreme length of 43 miles from east to west, and an extreme breadth of 30 miles from north to south, and an area of 462,210 acres. There is a chalk ridge running through the county, joining the Chiltern Hills and the Marlborough Downs ...

The county has three parliamentary divisions (returning each one member), seven municipal boroughs, twenty hundreds, and one hundred and ninety-three parishes ...

The historic castle and royal borough of Windsor require a special notice. Berkshire had a great share in the [English] Civil War, two battles having been fought at Newbury, Reading having been besieged, and attacks made on Windsor Castle, Abingdon and Donnington. There are many ancient churches with good examples of Norman and later architectural periods, and mitred Benedictine abbots lived at Reading and Abingdon respectively. (From Cassell's Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland, 1899) Administration of Berkshire

Berkshire has been arguably ill-served by administrative boundary changes.
In 1974, the county lost the Vale of the White Horse, including Wantage, Didcot, Wallingford and Abingdon, to Oxfordshire, but gained Slough from Buckinghamshire. An earlier boundary change assimilated Reading's growth north of Thames into Berkshire.

GenUKI Berkshire page


The parish of West Henred lies less than a mile south of the A417 Streatley-Wantage Road. It includes the hamlet of East Ginge. It is the Vale of White Horse which was transferred to Oxfordshire in 1974 for local administration purposes, but is still in the Berkshire Archdeanery for ecclesiastical purposes.

Source: Berks and Oxon Parish Registers - West Hendred - Oxfordshire Family History Society, 1994

Hendred, East and West Oxon. Hennarith 956, Hennet 1086 (Doomsday Book), Stream frequented by hens (of wild birds) Old English henntrith. Source: A Dictionary of English Place Names, A. D. Mills, Oxford University Press , ISBN 0-19-283131-3 9 (Location Moruya Historical Society).


Birth place of Stephen SMITH born about 1791

West Ginge and East Ginge are on the current 1:25000 Ordnance Survey map, about 0.5 km apart, 2.5 km south of the A417 Wantage to Harwell road, National Grid reference 446867, about longitude 121'20"W, latitude 5134'30"N! The Ginge Brook rises at West Ginge and flows north. East and West Lockinge are about 3 km NW.

Ginge was in Berkshire, now Oxfordshire. It is a small hamlet, about one mile south of West Hendred. Part is in West Hendred parish, part in Lockinge (or Ardington after 1887)

"Ginge, East and West OXON Gaeging 10th Century, Gainz 1086, Estgeyng Westgenge 13th Century. Originally an Old English river name meaning 'one that turns side', from the stem of Old English gaeganting." p. 143 Source: A Dictionary of English Place Names, A. D. Mills, Oxford University Press , ISBN 0-19-283131-3 9 Trevor Ogden

also shows Crowmarsh Gifford where Stephen married and died.

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