Appleton, Berkshire

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Appleton, Berkshire
Grid reference: SP4401
Location: 51°42’36"N, 1°21’40"W
Population: 897  (2001, with Eaton)
Post town: Abingdon
Postcode: OX13
Dialling code: 01865
Local Government
Council: Vale of White Horse
Oxford West and Abingdon
Website: Appleton with Eaton Parish

Appleton is a village in Berkshire, about four miles north-west of Abingdon in the Ock Hundred of the county. It forms a township of the parish of Appleton-with-Eaton.

Appleton has a community shop, a Women's Institute[1] and a cricket club.[2] Appleton All Stars Football Club[3] is a member of the North Berks Football League.[4]


In the 9th century Abingdon Abbey owned the manor of Appleton.[5] In 871 the Danes sacked the abbey and thereby obtained Appleton, but it is assumed that Appleton was recovered by Alfred the Great.[5]

The name "Appleton" means simply "an orchard". In the 10th century was Æppeltune or Appeltun, from then until the 17th century it evolved as Apletone, Apletune and Appelton, and in 1316 it was recorded as Aspelton.[5] In the 10th century the village had the alternative name of Earmundeslæh, Earmundesleah, Earmundeslee or Earmundeslei, believed to refer to King Edmund I, who in AD 942 granted it to Athelstan, one of his thegns, who may have restored it to Abingdon Abbey.[5]

The Domesday Book of 1086 records that Miles Crispin was the manorial overlord of Appleton and Eaton.[5] There was also a second landholding at Appleton of which the overlord was Odo, Bishop of Bayeux.[5] The Domesday Book records that Appleton had the most valuable fishery in Berkshire, valued at £1.4s.2d.[5]

From then on the history is largely a record of grants and reversions, the best-known names to appear in the list of grantors or tenants being William de Merton, perhaps a kinsman of the founder of Merton College, Oxford, Sir William de Shareshull, Lord Chief Justice in the reign of Edward III, and William Lenthall, Speaker of the Long Parliament (this at a time when the Lordship of the Manor descended with that of Besselsleigh) and, of more local fame, the Fettiplace and the Southby families.

Appleton Manor House dates from about 1190-1200 and has an ornate doorway.[6] The house has a porch and fireplace that were added in the Tudor period.[7]

Parish church

The oldest parts of the Church of England parish church of Saint Laurence are 12th-century[5] Norman.[6] The north aisle was added late in that century, linked with the nave by an arcade of pointed arches.[5] In the 13th century a new window and doorway were inserted in the south wall of the nave, as was the priest's doorway on the south side of the chancel.[5] The east window of the chancel is 14th century in style.[5] In the 15th century the Perpendicular Gothic[6] bell tower was added, a window inserted on the south side of the nave and the nave was re-roofed.[5] The south porch was added early in the 16th century, the north aisle was rebuilt in the 17th century and the north porch was built in about 1700.[5] The tower has a ring of ten bells.[8] Six were given in 1817, two were added in 1861, another of unknown date was recast in 1874 and the treble was given in 1875.[5] The Gothic Revival architect C.C. Rolfe restored the nave in 1882-84.[9]

White's of Appleton

In 1824 Alfred White founded White's of Appleton, a contractor for hanging church bells.[10] The company is still based in Appleton and is now the oldest bellhanging company still trading in the United Kingdom.[10]

Outside links