"Abingdon, Berkshire or Oxfordshire." Abingdon-on-Thames by Tdiver

Abingdon-on-Thames Travel Guide: 22 reviews and 57 photos

A brief history.

As the title said,Berkshire or Oxfordshire.Up until 1867 it was the County town of Berkshire but under local government reshuffles it was moved into Oxfordshire in 1974.Reading became the new County town of Berkshire.
It is thought that because it was only served by a branch line of the railways,it got passed by and remained much the same size.Whereas Reading grew much bigger and as a result took over.
Settled since probably the Bronze age,it was a well known town in Roman times which then became a Saxon one.Earliest records show a hamlet called Sevekesham across the river Thames.
Hence it is regarded as being the oldest continually inhabited town in the Country.
Hean the nephew of King Cissa was granted land to build a monastery called Abbandun (Hill of Ebba),where the hill is is debatable and his sister Cilla founded the Nunnery of Helnestowe on or near the present church of St.Helens.
The monastery was the 6th richest in England before King Henry VIII's abolition.
The market has been on a monday since 1556 but some say 1328,who knows?
The Michaelmas Fair now called the Ock Fair is a popular event with the Runaway Fair a week later,both in October.The Michaelmas Fair was originally a hiring fair when workers sold themselves into a years bond of work,the runaway fair a week later when workers who had runaway from hard masters re-sold themselves.
Each June the local Morris Men gather to celebrate the election of the Mayor of Ock street.
Morris Men
In 1810 the Wilts and Berks canal reached Abingdon but was abandoned in 1906 due to the railway which also closed in September 1963 so now the only public transport is by bus,about every 20mins to Oxford,
or by boat in summer,from Oxford or Wallingford.
Salters Steamers
The bridge seen in the picture is 550 years old.
The town has lately been famous for it's MG cars but that factory also closed in 1980.Rallies still held by enthusiasts in the town.
MGCC
The most prominent thing you see when entering the town is its famous County hall,now the museum.Designed by the mason who also worked on St.Pauls in London under Sir Christopher Wren,between 1678-82

The famous Morland brewery established in 1711 was also based in the town down Ock street since 1912 has also sadly gone,in 2000,taken over by Greene King.It was the country's second oldest independent brewery.
Lots of great pubs still in the town to visit as well as restaurants.
Town centre map
Vale of the White Horse Parishes

More history.

More in depth history found on these sites below.
Berkshire villages
Britannia/Abingdon
Abingdon history
Abingdon churches
Aaahs
Since i am originally from Windsor i couldn't help but put this in as well (The Wiches of Windsor)as they were tried here in Abingdon
Witches

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Compact little town.
  • Cons:Slightly difficult to reach if not driving a car.
  • In a nutshell:Loved it and will go back in summer next time.
  • Last visit to Abingdon-on-Thames: Jan 2007
  • Intro Updated Apr 20, 2007
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Reviews (48)

Comments (4)

  • ines2003's Profile Photo
    Jul 3, 2008 at 9:35 AM

    your twon look nice and quiet, real english style!!

  • aaaarrgh's Profile Photo
    Nov 9, 2007 at 12:11 PM

    Interesting to know the TIC has moved. But I'm still not sure what a 'Twitty' is :o)

  • Jan 31, 2007 at 2:57 PM

    Hi Tdiver Really enjoyed your pages on Abingdon. I must look up the Witches of Windsor!! Hope the Black Swan is'nt in for some bad luck this year as Bart is still happily hanging up outside!! Look forward to your next visit :-)

  • kiwi's Profile Photo
    Jan 31, 2007 at 3:53 AM

    Hi there, lots of links in your transport tips, but how about giving us some details to read here instead of on other sites. just a thought anyway. Great that you are building pages :-)

Tdiver

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