Local Barkham History

Local Barkham History

Local Barkham History

Barkham’s history has been exstensively recorded in a local book which can be purchased by contacting the Clerk. It costs £8.50 plus P&P .’Barkham: A History by David French (Author).’


A brief history of Barkham  – an extract from and with thanks to Wikipedia

The toponym “Barkham” is derived from the old English bercheham meaning “birch home” referring to the birch trees on the edge of Windsor Forest. The name evolved via forms including Berkham’ in the 14th century and Barcombe in the 18th century.

In King Edward III’s reign the income from Barkham Manor helped to pay for the rebuilding of Windsor Castle and, not long afterwards, timber from Barkham was sent to make the roof of Westmister Abbey.

For many centuries the manor house was a secondary home of the Bullock family.

The Bull Inn public house in Barkham is named in reference to their surname. The Bullocks had inherited the manor from the family of William Neville, a 13th century valet to Saint Thomas Cantilupe the Bishop of Hereford and Chancellor of England from whom the manor was originally bought.

The present manor house is a late 18th century Georgian building of two wings of differing dates. Barkham had two moated farm-houses. One of these survives, having been divided into two cottages.

Another prominent farming family, that of Ball, is erroneously said to be that of George Washington’s mother, Mary Ball Washington .

They lived in the parish from the late 15th to the mid-17th century, but William Ball, the man once thought to have emigrated to Virginia  and become Mary’s great grandfather, actually died in London and his family lived in the East Berkshire area for at least two more generations.

An open field system of farming prevailed in the parish until early in the 19th century. Parliament passed the Inclosure Act for Barkham in 1813, but it was not implemented until 1821.

Barkham Parish church

The earliest known record of the Church of England parish church of Saint James dates from 1220.However, the present church building was built in 1860-61 or 1862 It was designed in a 13th century Gothic Revival style by the architects J.B.Clacy and Son of Reading. The chancel and transepts were added or rebuilt in 1887.

The bell-tower has a ring of four bells cast in 1863 by John Warner and Sons of Cripplegate in the City of London . Rev. David Davies (1741–1819) was Rector of Barkham from 1782 until his death in 1819.He studied the condition of the labouring poor, recorded statistics of their wages, cost of food, etc. in various districts of England and Scotland. He published his findings in 1785 in the form of a book called Cases of Labourers in Husbandry Stated and Considered. Rev. Peter Ditchfield FSA (1854–1930) was Rector of Barkham from 1886 until his death. He was a Freemason, historian and prolific author. With William Page he co-edited three Berkshire volumes of the Victoria County History, which were published in 1907, 1923 and 1924.

Information on Barkham residents who fought in WW1 can be found on our own tribute page Barkham Remembers

Other good sources of local history information