Grove

Location

Grove was formerly a chapelry of Wantage, from which it separated as an ecclesiastical parish in 1835. Today it is the largest village in the Vale of White Horse. It was described in 1924 as a long and straggling village about a mile and a half to the north of Wantage, with a small green. Letcombe Brook and the Wilts and Berks Canal both run through the parish.

In 1840 the Great Western Railway opened the Wantage Road Station on the northern boundary of Grove. The station connected with Wantage by means of the Wantage Tramway Company in 1875 -- a single track alongside the turnpike road, on which ran England’s first steam-powered passenger and goods service. The service closed in 1945, and one of the original engines can be seen today in Didcot Railway Museum.

As with all of the White Horse Vale, Grove was part of Berkshire until the boundary changes of 1974 moved it into Oxfordshire.

Population

7,178 in 2011. Vastly fewer before the mid-twentieth century

Hundred

Wantage

Poor law union

Wantage

Registration district

Wantage

Present-day local authority

Vale of the White Horse, Oxfordshire

Grid reference

SU 40 90

Genealogical resources

Available from BerksFHS Books:

Berkshire Burials 12th ed CD covers St James/St John the Baptist 1832 - 1993

Berkshire War Memorials CD includes Grove

See also Berkshire Record Office holdings.

Anglican church and parochial organisation

According to the Victoria County History (1924) Grove was said to have had a chapel dedicated to St John the Baptist which was destroyed in 1733. A new church was built in 1832, and a new ecclesiastical parish formed three years later. Another parish church was built in 1900, in Early English Gothic style, and dedicated to St James. In the 1960s Nikolaus Pevsner reported this as derelict. Yet another church was built in the 1960s, dedicated to St John the Baptist.

According to www.churchofengland.org/media/810796/oxford.pdf the church of St Michael in Grove was converted to residential use in 1976.

Other churches

In 1924 Grove had an early eighteenthth-century Baptist chapel, and a Wesleyan chapel. Today there are a Free Evangelical Church, a Methodist Church and the Vale Elim Church.

Schools

Today there are two primary schools: Millbrook School and Grove Church of England Primary School.

Pubs (today)

The Bell was recorded in 1738, when it was known as the Bell Ale House, later changed to the Kings Head and Bell; the Baytree; and the Volunteer Inn.

Other local history

Thomas Grove held a capital messuage and a water-mill at Grove in 1622.

Grove Farmhouse is dated 1684.

In the 1851 census Grove Farm was a holding of 413 acres, on which were employed 24 men, 14 women and 9 boys.

In 1940 the Royal Air Force requisitioned a large area of agricultural land to the west of Grove, where was opened a Bomber Command base in 1942. By 1943 the USAF 45th Air Depot Group was running RAF Grove as a huge supply airfield. The base was handed back to the RAF after the war, when it was used for non-aerial operations. The next occupant, in the 1950s, was the UK Atomic Energy Authority, which released the land in the 1960s, thus creating the basis for the development of present-day Grove.

Additional information