"East and West Hagbourne comprise two villages and one parish,
6 miles south-west of Wallingford, in the diocese of Oxford and Hundred
of Moreton. They are situated on a stream having no name, which rises
from a spring called Shovel Spring ; it was never known to be dry.
... The church, dedicated to St. Andrew, is principally a Gothic structure,
with a portion of the florid and an intermixture of the perpendicular
... The entire population amounts to 820. ... There is a fine old
cross at the top of the village, near the church." (Kelly's,
There has been a settlement at Hagbourne since early Saxon times.
Margaret Gelling provides the very early dates of 6th - 10th century
for Haccabburna ("The Place Names of Berkshire")
and the West Hagbourne Village History Group found East and West Hagbourne
were being were tithed and taxed as two separate holdings as far back
as the reign of Edward the Confessor.
East Hagbourne is one of many beautiful villages in Berkshire and
Oxfordshire. Its ancient church, St. Andrew's, has a carved mediaeval
roof and was described in 1891 as "a building of stone and rubble
in mixed styles, consisting of a chancel and nave of six bays, both
clerestoried, aisles, north and south porches, and an embattled western
Perpendicular tower, with a stair turret and, on the roof, a unique
bellcot, with canopy and pinnacles, in which hangs one small bell.
... The population in 1891 was, East Hagbourne 1,297, West Hagbourne
157" (Kelly's, 1899).
This was the church used by many of Andy's
ancestors who lived in the village and were baptised, married
and were buried here over several centuries.
In the churchyard you can still see headstones commemorating
Andrews, Dearloves, Nappers and Taylors although some memorials
are now very difficult to read. Members of the Hobbis family
were also buried here in the first half of the nineteenth century,
but no stone survives for them. Family gravestones can also
be found in the Old Cemetery, Main Street, which is on the outskirts
of the village.
There is a story, which has persisted for many years, about how Hagbourne
became divided into East and West, with fields in between. The story
stems from a tragic event.
In 1659, just before the Restoration of Charles II to the British
throne, there was a terrible fire in Hagbourne. It destroyed many
of the cottages but got no further than the church. In 1661 Charles
II issued a proclamation, drawing attention to the terrible plight
of the people; money was collected in London for their relief. A few
years later, after the Great Fire of London in 1666, the villagers
repaid the charity and sent money to help the Londoners.
The myth that has grown up is that the fire followed the course of
a stream and several cottages beside the stream were destroyed; according
to the tale these cottages were never rebuilt, thus creating the gap
between east and west. The West Hagbourne Village History Group carefully
examined this part of the story over a number of years, using both
documentary evidence and aerial photography, and found it to be untrue.
Daniel Lysons, writing in 1806, says that "the Parliamentary
army, under the command of the Earl of Essex, were quartered in this
village on the 24th of May, 1644, on their route from Reading to Abingdon".
He also mentions the two manors - East and West Hagbourne - and describes
West Hagbourne as a hamlet in the parish of East Hagbourne, which
"appears to have formerly been a chapel of ease" ("Magna
Britannica of Berkshire").
Whilst Lyson's informant was most likely to have been the vicar of
the time it was slightly misleading to describe West Hagbourne as
a hamlet. The West Hagbourne Village History Group have said that
East and West Hagbourne had their own separate entries in the Domesday
Book and the two villages were tithed and taxed as two separate holdings
as far back as the reign of Edward the Confessor.
In more recent times the railway line (now dismantled) added an extra
division between the two communities.
This view of the interior of the church shows part of the chancel
arch which was built between 1222 and 1250. Other parts of the church
date from the 11th century when the church was in the custody of Rainbald,
who was a Norman priest. He was chancellor to Edward the Confessor
(1042 - 1066). Rainbald died in 1133.
The village cross, also ancient, is in the centre of East Hagbourne
village. This view of the cross is from the parish church and shows
some of the village's timber framed cottages.
Not far from here is The Boot Inn where Andy's great
grandmother, Mira Hobbis, was born and lived for part of her life;
The Boot is now a private home. Charles Napper, listed in Kelly's
Directory of 1887 as being at the Boot, was Mira's half brother. The
picture below shows what the the Boot Inn looked like during the 1950's
and was kindly provided by Max Beran, the present owner.
The picture shows two women, one of whom was Nora Warwick, the daughter
of the then publican. Nora was born in the house and died only a few
Following boundary changes, East Hagbourne is now in Oxfordshire.
However, the parish registers are held by the Berkshire Record Office.
The parish also includes Coscote and West Hagbourne.
There is more onsite information:
Or visit the GENUKI site:
in a name - The Surname Andrews (opens in a new window)