Proposed Study Day at Wallingford

Date to be confirmed.

Wallingford stands alongside the river Thames in south Oxfordshire (formerly north Berks. until 1974), one of a number of prominent former Roman, Saxon, and medieval centres along a significant north-south stretch of the river, including Oxford, Dorchester, Abingdon, and Reading. Lacking any consistent Roman presence, Wallingford was founded as a late ninth-century Alfredian Wessex burh of major dimensions, from the outset designed to be the new shire centre. It later developed as a royal castle town under the Normans, put on the map for being the point where William the Conqueror and his army crossed the Thames en route to London. The town and its castle played a significant role in the mid twelfth-century Anarchy period, withstanding numerous sieges. The Crown used and enhanced the castle during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries especially, but the town itself suffered early economic decline. The loss of various parish churches signifies some reduction (and likely relocation) of population even before the Black Death. The castle was less used in the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries, but elements at least of its then still highly visible defences were pressed into service in the mid seventeenth-century Civil War – again with Wallingford displaying extended resilience. Subsequent slighting removed substantial parts of the castle’s numerous walls, and Victorian landscaping has also altered its site. 

View ‘The Wallingford Burgh to Borough Research Project‘ by Oliver Creighton, Neil Christie, Deirdre O’Sullivan and Helena Hamerow

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