St Michael's Church, Enborne
Enborne is a village in Berkshire, found just to the west of Newbury in the west of the county. The River Enborne shares its name, although it does not run through the village; rather, it runs through the nearby village of Enborne Row.
Enborne is both a civil and an ecclesiastical parish. The parish is very roughly rectangular in shape and comprises rather fewer than 2,500 acres, having lost some of its eastern territory to Newbury's 20th century expansion. The village name has had many variant spellings in the past, including Anebourne in 1086, and Enbourne, Enborn, Enbourn in the last 200 years.
The parish lies immediately west of Newbury contains Enborne along with a scatter of hamlets, amongst which are Redhill, Crockham Heath, Skinner's Green, Enborne Row and Wash Water. There is no main population centre; the settlements are scattered.
The River Enborne marks the southern boundary of the parish, where Berkshire adjoins Hampshire. The northern boundary is the railway line. Newbury lies to the east, and the parish of Hamstead Marshall to the west. The Kennet and Avon Canal passes across the northern end of the parish, together with the River Kennet.
The parish has always been, and still is, mostly agricultural in character, with substantial woodland and private parkland. However, in recent years, many of Enborne's former farmsteads have been redeveloped into housing.
About the village
Enborne's parish church is of 12th-century origin, dedicated to St Michael and All Angels. There is a Church of England primary school, founded in the 1820s. There is also a pub, the Craven Arms, which certainly dates back to the early 18th century and probably much earlier.
Unusual legal tenure
In the days of copyhold tenure, under which owners held their land according to the custom of the manor, the lands within the Manor of Enborne had an unusual custom, which was accepted as law. A widow had the right to inherit her husband's copyhold land, but the right to the inheritance was forfeit if she remarried or was unchaste. However, the steward of the manor was obliged to reinstate the widow's rights if she rode into the manor court, backwards on a black ram, whilst at the same time reciting a particular set of bizarre lines ending in a request for the restoration of the lands. All remaining copyhold was abolished in 1925.
| ("Wikimedia Commons" has material|
- Enborne – Berkshire Family History Society