Powerflush nearby to Abingdon-on-Thames
Abingdon-on-Thames, also known as Abingdon, is a historic market town and civil parish on the River Thames in the ceremonial county of Oxfordshire, England. Abingdon was historically the county town of Berkshire, but since 1974 it has been administered by the Vale of White Horse district of Oxfordshire. The area was inhabited from the early to middle Iron Age, and the remains of a late Iron Age and Roman defensive enclosure can be found beneath the town center. Abingdon Abbey, which gave the town its name, was founded around 676. Abingdon was an agricultural center in the 13th and 14th centuries, with a thriving wool trade, as well as weaving and clothing production. Various monarchs, from Edward I to George II, granted charters for the holding of markets and fairs.
The town survived the abbey’s dissolution in 1538, and by the 18th and 19th centuries, with the construction of Abingdon Lock in 1790 and the Wilts & Berks Canal in 1810, it was a vital link between major industrial centers such as Bristol, London, Birmingham, and the Black Country. The Abingdon Railway opened in 1856, connecting the town to the Great Western Railway at Radley. The Wilts & Berks Canal was closed in 1906, but a volunteer trust is working to restore and reopen it. In September 1963, the Abingdon railway station was closed to passengers. The goods line remained operational until 1984, including service to the MG car factory, which was in operation from 1929 to October 1980.
Greene King Brewery took over and closed down Abingdon’s brewery, Morland, whose most famous ale, Old Speckled Hen, was named after an early MG car, in 1999, with production moving to Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk. The brewery site has been redeveloped into housing. Radiohead was formed in 1985 while the members were students at Abingdon School, a day and boarding independent secondary school. The parish’s population was 33,130 according to the 2011 Census. This is 2,504 more than the total population of 30,626, according to the 2001 Census, and represents an increase of slightly more than 8%.
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At Abingdon, a Neolithic stone hand axe was discovered. In 1940, the stone was identified as epidotised tuff from Stake Pass in the Lake District, 250 miles (400 km) to the north. Axes from the same source have been discovered at Sutton Courtenay, Alvescot, Kencot, and Minster Lovell. Abingdon has been inhabited since the early to middle Iron Age, and the remains of a late Iron Age defensive enclosure (or oppidum) can be found beneath the town center. During the Roman occupation, the oppidum was in use. In 1926, a Neolithic causewayed enclosure dating from the 36th or 37th century BC was discovered in Abingdon.
Abingdon Abbey was founded in Saxon times, possibly around 676, but its early history has been muddled by numerous legends created to elevate its status and explain the place name. The name appears to mean ‘Hill of a man named bba or a woman named bbe,’ possibly referring to the saint to whom St Ebbe’s Church in Oxford was dedicated (bbe of Coldingham or a different bbe of Oxford). Abingdon, on the other hand, is located in a valley rather than on a hill. It is believed that the name was first given to a location on Boars Hill above Chilswell, and that it was transferred to its current location when the Abbey was relocated. William the Conqueror celebrated Easter at the Abbey in 1084, and it is possible that his son Henry I received some education there as well.
Abingdon was a thriving agricultural center in the 13th and 14th centuries, with a thriving wool trade and a well-known weaving and clothing manufacturing industry. From very early times, the abbot appears to have held a market, and charters for the holding of markets and fairs were granted by various sovereigns, from Edward I to George II. In 1337, there was a famous riot in which several monks were killed in protest of the Abbot’s control of this market. After the abbey’s dissolution in 1538, the town fell into disrepair, and in 1556, Mary I granted a charter establishing a mayor, two bailiffs, twelve chief burgesses, and sixteen secondary burgesses, with the mayor serving as clerk of the market, coroner, and a JP. The current Christ’s Hospital was originally part of the Guild of the Holy Cross, which was disbanded when Edward VI established the almshouses under its current name instead.
The council was given the authority to elect one burgess to parliament, which it did until the Redistribution of Seats Act of 1885. A town clerk and other officers were appointed, and the town boundaries were meticulously described. Later charters issued by Elizabeth I, James I, James II, George II, and George III made no significant changes. The corporation was restructured by James II to include a mayor, twelve aldermen, and twelve burgesses. After receiving its Royal Charter in 1556, Abingdon became the county town of Berkshire. Abingdon had assize courts since 1570, but by the 17th century, it was competing with Reading for county town status. To assert this status, the county hall and courthouse were built between 1678 and 1682. The building, which is now the Abingdon County Hall Museum, is said to have been designed by Christopher Kempster, who collaborated with Sir Christopher Wren.
Abingdon Lock was built in 1790 to replace navigation to the town via the Swift Ditch. The Wilts & Berks Canal opened in 1810, connecting Abingdon to Semington via the Kennet and Avon Canal. Abingdon developed into a vital link between major industrial centers such as Bristol, London, Birmingham, and the Black Country. The Abingdon Railway opened in 1856, connecting the town to the Great Western Railway at Radley. However, Abingdon’s failure to fully participate in the railway revolution, accepting only a branch line, sidelined the town in favor of Reading, which was named County Town in 1869.
The Wilts & Berks Canal was closed in 1906, but a volunteer trust is working to restore and reopen it. In September 1963, the Abingdon railway station was closed to passengers. The line served the MG car factory, which opened in 1929 and closed in October 1980 as part of a British Leyland rationalisation plan. Radley railway station is two miles (3.2 kilometers) away. Much of the original Abingdon branch line is now a cyclepath, and the land where the station once stood has been extensively redeveloped, becoming the site of a large Waitrose store and surrounded by a large number of new flats and houses.
The Municipal Corporations Act of 1835 reformed the corporation, but the Local Government Act of 1972 abolished it. Abingdon became a civil parish with a town council under local government reorganisation in 1974, when it became part of Oxfordshire and the seat of the new Vale of White Horse District Council. Abingdon has been home to a number of information communication companies since the 1980s, with many of them based in the town’s respective business and science parks. As a result of this, and the town’s proximity to academic and scientific institutions in Oxford, Abingdon has seen an influx of young professionals settling in the town’s many residential areas, such as Peachcroft.
The town was historically known as “Abingdon-on-Thames,” but the borough’s official name (as stated in statutes ranging from the Municipal Corporations Act 1835 to the Local Government Act 1972 and all intervening Ordnance Survey maps) was simply “Abingdon.”
Local councillors voted in November 2011 to change the town’s official name to “Abingdon-on-Thames,” and the change went into effect on February 23, 2012.
Abingdon is located 9 miles (14 kilometers) south of Oxford, 15 miles (24 kilometers) south of Witney, and 22 miles (35 kilometers) north of Newbury in the flat Thames valley on its west (right) bank, where the small river Ock flows in from the Vale of White Horse. It is located on the A415 between Witney and Dorchester, next to the A34 trunk road, which connects to the M4 and M40 motorways. The B4017 and A4183, both of which are part of the old A34 and are frequently congested, also connect the town. The Oxford Bus Company, its sister company Thames Travel, and smaller independent companies provide local bus services to Oxford and the surrounding areas.
There is no longer a rail service in Abingdon.
However, urban expansion in recent years has brought Radley railway station close to the town’s northeastern limits. The small, primarily stopping-service railway stations at Culham and Radley are both about two miles (3.2 kilometers) from the town center. Radley connects to Abingdon’s eastern ring road and newest suburbs via a footpath and cycleway.
When Culham station first opened in 1844, it was known as “Abingdon Road,” as it was the closest station to the town at the time. When the Abingdon Railway branch line to Abingdon railway station opened in 1856, it was renamed “Culham.” This branch line connected to the main line at Abingdon Junction before being extended to Radley station, which opened in 1873. The Radley-Abingdon branch line was closed to passengers in 1963. Oxford (6 miles/9.7 km) and Didcot Parkway (8 miles/13 km) are the nearest major stations with taxi ranks. Great Western Railway manages them all. Oxford Bus Company and its sister company Thames Travel run frequent express buses between the local railway stations and Abingdon.