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A selection of photographs, prints and postcards. Some have personal or family connections
East Hagbourne & St. Andrew's Church
St. Andrew's Church - some of the very old gravestones

"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, 1848[1])

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"[2]) 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[3].

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[4]).

St. Andrews Church, East Hagbourne

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[3].

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"[5]). 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[3].

In more recent times the railway line (now dismantled) added an extra division between the two communities.

Interior of St. Andrew's Church

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 and sundial, 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.

East Hagbourne - the ancient Cross

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 Boot Inn looked like during the 1950's and was kindly provided by Max Beran, the present owner.

The Boot Inn, East Hagbourne, © from a Private Collection

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 years ago.

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:
Our Genealogy

Or visit the GENUKI site:
What's in a name - The Surname Andrews (opens in a new window)

Images © Andy Andrews whom you should contact if you are interested in Andrews, Hobbis and Napper genealogy. Image of The Boot very kindly provided by Max Beran of East Hagbourne.
All other information provided by and © Ann Andrews
Images rescanned 2007.
Intended for personal use only

References and notes on the text:

[1] "Kelly's Berkshire Directory " (1848), Kelly and Co., London, p1988

[2] Gelling, Margaret, "The Place Names of Berkshire, Part II" (1974) English Place Names Society, p.519

[3] With grateful thanks to the West Hagbourne Village History Group and Sheila Taylor in particular for help with this. For more information see the history of West Hagbourne: "Windsor Hakeborne: the Story of West Hagbourne" (2000) pub. West Hagbourne Village History Group

[4] "Kelly's Directory of Berkshire", (1899), Kelly's Directories Limited, London - High Holborn, WC, pp81-2

[5] Lysons Daniel, "Magna Britannica of Berkshire", reprinted 1978, EP Publishing Ltd., East Ardsley, Wakefield, West Yorkshire ISBN 0 71588 1313 , p.284

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