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Domesday Borough

There are two mentions of Reading in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. The first is in 870, when King Alfred fought the Danes who were camped there. Reading is mentioned again in 1006 as a town that the Danes burnt. It is probable that the name Reading came from a group whose leader was someone nicknamed Reada, or Red.

When the Domesday Book was compiled in 1086, the principal landowners in Reading were the King and the Abbot of Battle Abbey in Sussex. The description of the King’s property includes some within the ‘borough of Reading’. This description supports the argument of the Merchant Gild that the town enjoyed chartered status long before the creation of the Abbey.

Reading at Domesday was a town of around 60 households. The county town of Berkshire was Wallingford, with its own castle and around 500 households. Reading was also of much lesser importance than Abingdon, with its Benedictine Abbey, and a similar size to Newbury and Windsor.

Domesday Book: The Abbot of Battle’s holdings in Reading
Domesday Book: The Abbot of Battle’s holdings in Reading
(reproduced by permission of Alecto Historical Editions)

Reading at Domesday was a town of around 60 households. The county town of Berkshire was Wallingford, with its own castle and around 500 households. Reading was also of much lesser importance than Abingdon, with its Benedictine Abbey, and a similar size to Newbury and Windsor.


Domesday Book: the King’s holdings in Reading

Domesday Book: the King’s holdings in Reading
(reproduced by permission of Alecto Historical Editions)

 
 

 

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