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BERKSHIRE  (abbreviations: Berks, BRK)

1887, John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles
Berkshire, one of the inland cos. of England, lying between Hants and the river Thames, bounded on the N. by Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, and Bucks, E. by Surrey, S. by Hants, and W. by Wilts; greatest length, E. and W., 53 miles; greatest breadth, N. and W., 30 miles; area 462,210 ac., pop. 218,363. It is intersected in a westerly direction by a line of chalk hills, a continuation of the Chilterns, the highest elevation being White Horse Hill, alt. 893 ft. N. of this is the White Horse Vale (so called from the figure of a horse cut out on the hill-side), and to the S. lies the Vale of Kennet, watered by the Kennet stream. These tracts are well cultivated, and produce good crops of grain, &c., especially in the Vale of the White Horse. Dairy farms and commons abound; much of the surface is under woods, chiefly of oak and beech. Windsor Forest, covering upwards of 50,000 ac., lies in the E. (For agricultural statistics, see Appendix.) The Thames flows along the entire N. boundary (100 miles in extent); its tributaries are the Kennet, Lambourn, Ock, and Loddon. The mfrs. are unimportant, being chiefly agricultural implements and malt. The Great Western Ry., the Thames, and 2 canals are the chief means of transit. The co. contains 20 hundreds, 193 pars. with parts of 4 others, the parl. and mun. bors. of Reading (1 member) and New Windsor (1 member), the mun. bors. of Maidenhead, Newbury, and Wallingford, and the greater part of the mun. bor. of Abingdon. It is almost entirely in the diocese of Oxford. For parliamentary purposes it is divided into 3 divisions, viz., Northern or Abingdon, Southern or Newbury, and Eastern or Wokingham, 1 member for each division.
See also general descriptions about Berkshire from Berkshire FHSPigot's 1830 Directory,  The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)Cassell's Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland, 1899 .  Other descriptions can be found from other periods in various trade directories covering Berkshire from the early 19th century onwards and from A Vision of Britain Through Time.

What is Berkshire?  The geographic extent of the county has changed over the centuries (more about boundary changes... and also see Historical Geography below).  For the purposes of these pages, Berkshire is the pre-1974 county defined by the Towns and Parishes list and this map of the ecclesiastical parishes of 19th century Berkshire. If in any doubt, consult the GENUKI Gazetteer to determine on which county page your place of interest is located.  

See Berkshire Genealogy to understand how these Berkshire pages are structured and how do we fit into the rest of GENUKI. 


Location of County of Berkshire

Archives and Libraries

Some BRO records have been indexed, transcribed and published by Berkshire FHS, the Berkshire Record Society and the Eureka Partnership.
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Bibliography Business and Commerce Records Cemeteries (including church yards)
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Church History

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Church Records (mainly of interest for baptisms, marriages and burials before 1837).  

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Civil Registration

Correctional Institutions

Court Records

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Description and Travel

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Historical Geography

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Medical Records

Monumental Inscriptions (MIs) - see Cemeteries

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Military Records

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Names, Geographical

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Names, Personal

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Occupations Organisations, Other

See below for records of organisations other than Business and Commerce RecordsSchools, Courts, Military, Newspapers.  Check the links below, and use TNA's Discovery advanced search and include "Berkshire Record Office" in the "Exact word or phrase" field, in addition to your own search term(s).    
Sources of historical information:
Parish Records - see Church Records
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Poorhouses, Poor Law, Workhouses, etc.

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Probate Records (Wills)

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Beech Hill Church of England School, 1951-1967 (D/EX 1864); Mrs Bland’s School, Burghfield Common, 1904-1991 (D/EX2082); Bradfield CE Primary School, 1921-2000s (SCH24); Wildmoor Heath (formerly Broadmoor) Primary School, Crowthorne, 1873-2000 (SCH29); Princess Margaret Rose School (formerly St Stephen’s Senior Girls’ School), Clewer, 1889-1983 (SCH8); St Mary’s School, Datchet, 1844-1980s (SCH30); St Nicolas’ Primary School, East Challow (2003/SCH/1 & 21?); Maidenhead Infant School, Brock Lane, 1870-1884 managers’ minutes (D/P 194); Reading schools:  the British Infants School (later a Board School) in Southampton Street, 1870-1907, and George Palmer Infants School, 1907-1996 (2001/SCH/3) (see also The Centenary of the George Palmer School, Daphne Barnes-Phillips); Battle Mixed/Senior/Secondary Modern School, 1891-1968, Wilson Mixed, Central and Senior Schools, 1905-1972, and Meadway Comprehensive, 1972-2001 (2001/SCH/4); and Christchurch C of E Primary School (now New Christ Church CE (VA) School), 1983-2000 (2001/SCH/5); Katesgrove Primary School, Reading 1872-1987 (SCH6); Reading and Earley Board School (later New Town Board School and New Town Secondary Modern School) and Alfred Sutton Secondary Girls’ School, Reading, log books, 1877-1895 and 1949-1973 (D/EX2015); plans for several Reading schools, 1851-1872 (D/EX2009); Reading Teachers’ Centre, 1970-c.1983 (D/EX2081); Battle Primary School, Reading, 1893-2000 (SCH20); Wilson Primary School, Reading, 1904-c.1990s (SCH14); and Churchend School, Tilehurst, 1962-2008 (SCH15); Letcombe Bassett National school, 1864-1926 log books (D/EX 1904); Newbury County Grammar School for Girls, 1950-1961 (D/EX2308); Newbury County Girls’ Grammar School, 1904-2003 (SCH12 and D/EX2060); St Bartholomew’s Grammar School, Newbury, 1945-1975 (SCH11); St Bartholomew’s School, Newbury admission registers, 1975-1998 (2004/SCH/1); St Bartholomew’s [Comprehensive] School, Newbury, 1975- 2001 (SCH13); Winchcombe Junior School, Newbury records, 1950-2005 (SCH2); Winchcombe Infants’ School, Newbury, 1964-1981 (SCH10); Streatley C of E School 1873-2003 (D/EX2127); photographs of Courtenay Lodge School, Sutton Courtenay and Maiden Erlegh School, Earley, 1930s-1950s (D/EX1914); Lambs Lane Council School, Swallowfield 1908-1916 (SCH19); Sir Charles Russell's school, Swallowfield 1873-1908 admissions register (SCH17); St Mary’s Church of England Junior School, Thatcham, formerly Thatcham National School, 1883-2005 (SCH4); Parsons Down Junior School, Thatcham, 1997-2004 (SCH27); West Hendred School admission register, 1904-1966, (SCH1/11/1); St John’s Primary School, Wallingford, 1863-2010 (SCH22); Robert Piggott Church of England Junior School, Wargrave, 1993-2000 log books (2001/SCH/2); Lambrook School, a private preparatory boarding school for boys in Winkfield, 1870-1997 (D/EX1832); Winkfield St Mary’s Church of England School 1943-2003 (SCH18); Ranelagh School, founded as an elementary charity school in Cranbourne by the Earl of Ranelagh in 1709, refounded as a grammar school in new premises in Bracknell in 1908, and since 1981 a comprehensive school (SCH5) and Cranbourne Ranelagh School, Winkfield, 1904-1942 (D/EX1979).




Town Records

Vital Records - see Civil Registration

Voting Registers

Workhouses - see Poorhouses

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Berkshire Towns and Parishes are listed on a separate page.

This county is maintained by Robert Monk.  [Last updated 23 Apr 2016]
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