Wallingford

infobox UK place
country = England
latitude= 51.5994
longitude= -1.1247
official_name= Wallingford
population= about 10,000
civil_parish= Wallingford
shire_district= South Oxfordshire
shire_county = Oxfordshire
region= South East England
constituency_westminster= Wantage
post_town= WALLINGFORD
postcode_district = OX10
postcode_area= OX
dial_code= 01491
os_grid_reference= SU607893
london_distance= 47.5mi

Wallingford is a small market town and civil parish in the upper Thames Valley in Oxfordshire, England.

Geography

Wallingford sits on the western side of the River Thames. Across the river is the village of Crowmarsh Gifford. The two are linked by Wallingford Bridge, a notable 900 ft long medieval stone bridge across the Thames and adjacent.

Character and local government

The centre of Wallingford has the feel of a typical old market town, with a large open town-square around the war memorial, the 17th century arcaded town hall and the church of St Mary-le-More, and flanked by numerous shops. There are some picturesque alleyways and a number of historic inns. Although only a small town, Wallingford has three ancient churches and a modern Roman Catholic church. It once had fourteen. Other amenities include the Wallingford Museum, the [http://www.cornexchange.org.uk/ Corn Exchange] theatre, the Cholsey and Wallingford steam railway, a number of public parks (one with a castle ruin), a [http://www.bluesandbeer.co.uk/index.htm blues] festival and the annual BunkFest folk festival. In recent years, the town has been used as a location for filming, including Midsomer Murders. Wallingford is run by a town council consisting of sixteen councillors. It is also part of the South Oxfordshire district. The current mayor is Alec Hayton.

History

Wallingford grew up around a strategically important crossing point on the River Thames. The place has been fortified since at least Saxon times, when it was an important fortified borough of Wessex with the right to mint Royal coinage. Known as a 'burh', it was enclosed with substantial earthworks by King Alfred the Great in the 9th century to protect the population against the Vikings. These can still be seen around the centre of the town and are probably the best preserved such fortifications in England. Thereafter, Wallingford became the chief town of Berkshire and the seat of the county's Ealdorman. During the Norman conquest of England in 1066, the Saxon lord Wigod allowed William the Conqueror's invading armies to cross the Thames unopposed from west to east in order that his army might march on Berkhamsted where he received the English surrender before marching on London. At that time, the river at Wallingford was the first point at which the river could be forded. The town subsequently stood in high favour with the Normans. The Domesday Book of 1085 lists Wallingford as one of only eighteen towns in the kingdom with a population estimated at over 2,000 people.

:"See main article: Wallingford Castle".
Wallingford Castle was built soon afterwards and became a key strategic centre for the Empress Matilda's party during the civil war that had begun after her father's death. The place was besieged a number of times and the Treaty of Wallingford ending the conflict was concluded there in November 1153. The town was granted a Royal Charter in 1155 by the new king, Henry II, being the second town to receive one in England. The castle was a regular royal residence until the Black Death hit the town badly in 1349. The castle declined subsequently (much stone being removed to renovate Windsor Castle) but it became a Royalist stronghold during the English Civil War. It was the last holdout of the Royalists in Berkshire, and the castle withstood a 65-day siege. Oliver Cromwell subsequently ordered the destruction of what was left of the castle and little now remains. Some of the castle rubble was used to construct a tower for the church of St Mary-le-More.

Wallingford had flourished as a trading centre throughout most of the Middle Ages, and Wallingford Priory produced two of the greatest minds of the age, the mathematician Richard of Wallingford and the chronicler John of Wallingford. However, after the opening of Abingdon Bridge at Abingdon in 1416, the town went into economic decline. This was only revived in the 18th century when the legal writer and Wallingford resident, William Blackstone, established two turnpike roads through the town. The brewing industry was important with two breweries and 17 maltings in the town. This link was effectively ended with the demolition of Paul's Malt in 2001.

Transport

Train

Wallingford was connected to the railway network in 1866 by the "Wallingford and Watlington Railway". Poor traffic receipts meant that the planned extension to Watlington was never built, and Wallingford remained at the end of a branch line from Cholsey. The line was sold to the Great Western Railway in 1872, and the line became known as the "Wallingford Bunk". It closed to passengers in 1959 and the last goods traffic into the old Wallingford Station ran in 1965. However, part of the line has been preserved as the Cholsey and Wallingford Railway cite web | url = http://www.cholsey-wallingford-railway.com/ | title = History | publisher = Cholsey and Wallingford Railway | accessdate = April 8 | accessyear = 2007] .

Bus

There are frequent buses to Reading and Oxford by Thames Travel, services X39 and X40. Other local services are provided by Thames Travel [http://www.thames-travel.co.uk/timetables.htm] and Heyfordian [http://www.heyfordian.travel/bus_services/] .

Employment

The main employers based in Wallingford are primarily on the Hithercroft Trading Estate (established in the 1970s), and include Habitat, [http://www.rowsehoney.co.uk/ Rowse Honey] , [http://www.youngsters.co.uk/ Youngsters] , Royal Mail and Fugro.

port and leisure

A.F.C. Wallingford is the local football club. Other sports clubs include the rugby club [http://www.wallingfordrfc.com/ Wallingford RFC] , [http://www.wallingfordhc.co.uk/ Wallingford Hockey Club] , [http://www.wallingford.rowing.org.uk/ Wallingford Rowing Club] , [http://www.communigate.co.uk/oxford/wallingfordcc/ Wallingford Cricket Club] and the [http://portcullis.totaltennis.net/home/home.asp/ Portcullis Tennis Club] .

chools

There are 3 local primary schools in Wallingford. Wallingford School is the secondary school in the area, located to the north of the town.

Town Twinning

Wallingford has an informal twinning link with:

flagicon|USA Wallingford, Connecticut, U.S.

flagicon|USA [http://www.sustainablewallingford.us/ Sustainable Wallingford, Seattle, U.S.A.]

and formal town twinning links with:

flagicon|France Luxeuil-les-Bains, France

flagicon|Germany Bad Wurzach, Germany.

Famous residents and associated persons

:"For residents, constables and prisoners at the castle, see Wallingford Castle".

In the town:
* Kevin Bailey, poet
* Evelyn Barbirolli, oboeist
* William Blackstone, legal writer
* Charlie Brooker, comedy writer and presenter
* John Buckley, sculptor
* Agatha Christie, mystery writer
* Gary Elkins, football player
* Edgar Field (1854–1934), England footballer and winner of the FA Cup in 1880
* Dulcie Gray, actress
* Max Mallowan, archaeologist
* James H. McClure, mystery writer
* Ann Packer, athlete
* Moses Roper, former slave
* Paul Rotha, documentary film maker
* Gladys Bronwyn Stern, novelist
* Simon Watson Taylor, actor, translator and surrealist
* Thomas Tusser, poet
* John of Wallingford, chronicler
* Richard of Wallingford, mathematician and clockmaker
* Richard of Wallingford, organiser in the Peasant's Revolt
* William of Wallingford, builder of Wallingford Screen at St Albans Cathedral
* Rex Warner, writer
* Peter Cathcart Wason, psychologist
* Charles West, mystery writer Wallingford used to return two Members of Parliament (cut to one in 1832 and none in 1885), and had some well-known MPs (often not resident) including:
* William Seymour Blackstone, builder of Howbery Park, Crowmarsh Gifford
*Thomas Browne (High Sheriff of Kent), Chancellor of the Exchequer
* John Cator, timber merchant
* Thomas Digges, astronomer
* Sir Charles Dilke, 1st Baronet, promoter of The Great Exhibition
* Edmund Dunch, member of the Kit-Kat Club
* Sir John Fortescue, Chancellor of the Exchequer
* George Parker, 2nd Earl of Macclesfield, astronomer
* Sir Thomas Parry, Comptroller of the Household to Elizabeth I
* George Pigot, Baron Pigot, British governor of Madras
* Robert Pigot, Lieutenant General in the American Revolutionary War
* Edmund Plowden, lawyer who defended religious freedom
* Francis Sykes, builder of Basildon Park
* Nathaniel William Wraxall, writer:"For more details, see Wallingford (UK Parliament constituency)"

References

General
# Bullen, L. (1989) "The Poor Man's Guide to the History of Wallingford". 2nd rev. ed., Wallingford Magazine
# Dewey, J. and Dewey, S. (1977) "The book of Wallingford, an historical portrait", Barracuda Books, ISBN 0-86023-033-3
# Griffin, S. (2000) "Wallingford in the English civil war, 1642-1646", Stuart Press
# Hedges, J.K. (1881) "Wallingford History", Wm Clowes, London
# Rodwell, K.A. (1975) Wallingford, in: "Historic Towns in Oxfordshire: a survey of the new county", Oxfordshire Archaeological Unit, No.3, The Unit, ISBN 0-904220-02-8Specific

External links

* [http://www.wallingfordtown.co.uk/ Wallingford Town Council]
* [http://www.wallingford-oxon.net/ Welcome to the Historic Town of Wallingford]
* [http://www.visitwallingford.co.uk Visit Wallingford]
* [http://www.berkshirehistory.com/villages/wallingford.html Royal Berkshire History: Wallingford]
* [http://www.sustainablewallingford.org/ Sustainable Wallingford]
* [http://uk.geocities.com/david.hemming1@btinternet.com/history Wallingford History Gateway]
* [http://www.wallingfordmuseum.org.uk/ Wallingford Museum]
* [http://www.wallingfordchristianassembly.org.uk/ Wallingford Christian Assembly]
* [http://www.wallingfordhc.co.uk/ Wallingford Wildcats]


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