Powerflush nearby to Wallingford
Wallingford is a historic market town and civil parish on the River Thames in England, halfway between Oxford and Reading. Although it is located in the historic county of Berkshire, it is administratively part of the ceremonial county of Oxfordshire (since 1974) as a result of the 1972 Local Government Act. Wallingford is located 12 miles (19 kilometers) north of Reading, 13 miles (21 kilometers) south of Oxford, and 11 miles (18 kilometers) north-west of Henley-on-Thames. According to the 2011 census, the town had a population of 11,600 people.
Beginning with Stigand’s surrender to William the Conqueror in 1066, which resulted in his accession to the throne and the construction of Wallingford Castle, the town has played an important role in English history. For much of the Middle Ages, the castle and town enjoyed royal status and flourished. The Treaty of Wallingford was signed there, ending a civil war known as The Anarchy between King Stephen and Empress Matilda. After the arrival of the Black Death and falling out of favor with the Tudor monarchs, the town went into decline before being called upon again during the English Civil War. Wallingford remained the last Royalist stronghold in Berkshire until surrendering after a 16-week siege. Oliver Cromwell ordered the destruction of Wallingford Castle because he feared it would be used in a future uprising.
Since then, Wallingford has grown into a market town and a hub of local commerce. There is a market square in the town center, with the war memorial and Wallingford Town Hall to the south, the Corn Exchange theatre to the east, and numerous shops around the edges. There are alleyways and streets off the square with more shops and a number of historic inns. Wallingford once had 14 churches despite its small size; now, there are three ancient churches within the parishes of St Mary-le-More and St Leonard, a modern Roman Catholic church, a Quaker Meeting House dating from 1724, and Baptist, Methodist, and community churches.
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History from the beginning
Wallingford grew up around an important Thames River crossing. There is evidence of Roman activity in the area, with traces of occupation, burials, roads, coins, and pottery left behind. The name ‘Wallingford’ appears for the first time in an 821 Saxon charter as Wlingford. It was known as Welingaford in 891 and Walingeford in 1086, according to the Domesday Book. The name derives from the phrase “the ford of the Wealh’s people.”
The first settlement was established by the Anglo-Saxons. Wallingford has been fortified since the Anglo-Saxon period, when it was a vital fortified borough of Wessex with the authority to mint royal coinage. It was surrounded by substantial earthworks in the ninth century by King Alfred the Great as part of a network of fortified towns known as burhs, or burghs, to protect Wessex from Viking raids. These defenses, which are well-preserved, can still be seen as a group of four roughly square areas around the town’s center. Wallingford became the county’s chief town and the seat of the Ealdorman.
The Middle Ages
During the Norman conquest in 1066, the Anglo-Saxon lord Wigod allowed William the Conqueror’s invading armies to rest and cross the Thames unopposed in Wallingford. Stigand, Archbishop of Canterbury, surrendered and submitted to William in Wallingford, effectively ending opposition to William’s ascension to the throne. From Wallingford, William rode east with Stigand and his armies to Berkhamsted, where he received the final surrender from Edgar and the rest of the English leadership before marching on London on Christmas Day for his coronation. At the time, the river at Wallingford was the lowest point that could be crossed. The town gained favor with the Normans as a result. Wallingford is one of only 18 towns in the kingdom with a population of more than 2,000 people, according to the Domesday Book of 1085. Soon after, on William’s orders, Wallingford Castle was built, and it became a key strategic center controlling the Thames crossing and surrounding area.
Wallingford Priory is founded (1097)
Wallingford Priory, also known as Holy Trinity Priory, is thought to have stood on the Bull Croft recreation ground off the High Street. This Benedictine priory was founded on land granted to St Albans Abbey by Henry I in 1097, and it was given to St Albans Paul, 14th Abbot of St Albans, by Geoffrey the Chamberlain, who sent some of his monks to establish a cell there. Richard of Wallingford, a mathematician, and John of Wallingford, a chronicler, were both born at Wallingford Priory.
The Age of Anarchy (1135–1153)
During the civil war that erupted following the death of her father, Henry I, the Empress Matilda’s party sought refuge in Wallingford. Matilda fled to Wallingford after the fall of Oxford Castle to Stephen in 1141, according to some historical accounts, in the snow under a moonlit sky. Wallingford Castle was unsuccessfully besieged several times before the Treaty of Wallingford ended the conflict there in November 1153.
The Royal Charter (1155)
The new king, Henry II, granted the town a Royal Charter in 1155, making it the second town in England to do so.
Prince John seizes Wallingford (1189)
During Prince John’s failed revolt against his brother King Richard I in 1189, while Richard was engaged in the Third Crusade, John seized Wallingford Castle. The rebellion was crushed, and John was forced to hand over the castle to the king’s administrators.
King John I of England (1199–1216)
After inheriting the throne in 1199, King John reclaimed the castle. The Castle was modernized, fortified, and greatly expanded by John, who used it extensively during the First Barons’ War.
The dreaded Black Death (1349)
Until the arrival of the Black Death in 1349, the castle was a regular royal residence; at least a third of the townspeople died, and only four churches remained in use. Following that, the castle declined, with much stone being removed to renovate Windsor Castle.
The Abingdon Bridge (1416)
The road connecting London and Gloucestershire passed through Wallingford, and the town thrived as a trading center for the majority of the Middle Ages. The road was rerouted, and a bridge was built in Abingdon. The opening of the Abingdon Bridge, as well as the loss of traffic that the road brought, caused the town to experience a steep economic decline.
Owen Tudor and Catherine of Valois (1422)
Catherine of Valois, Henry V’s widowed queen, was granted Wallingford and its castle in 1422. Catherine lived in Wallingford with her tutored son Henry VI. Catherine met Owen Tudor, whom she later married in secret, while living at Wallingford. Edmund Tudor, Catherine and Owen’s eldest son, fathered Henry VII, who defeated Richard III at Bosworth Field and established the Tudor Dynasty.
Tudor dynasty (1485–1603)
Wallingford was used as a royal residence for the last time in 1518, according to historical records. Cardinal Wolsey’s letters to his secretary Richard Pace discuss King Henry VIII’s dissatisfaction with Wallingford and desire to move on.  Cardinal Wolsey dissolved the priory in 1525, partly to fund the construction of the Cardinal College in Oxford. In 1540, Henry VIII separated the Honour of Wallingford from the Duchy of Cornwall, which included control over the town and its castle.
He combined it with the Honour of Ewelme, which included rights to his current residence and lands in Ewelme. This was done to consolidate control in the area because Ewelme is six miles from Wallingford. In exchange, Henry transferred several areas of Cornish land into the Duchy of Cornwall for Prince Edward. When King Henry VIII took control of Wallingford in 1540, he did not favor using Wallingford Castle as his official residence. Instead, he chose to transport materials from it to Windsor in order to expand and improve his own castle there. This practice of demolishing Wallingford Castle in order to improve Windsor Castle was carried on during the reigns of Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I.
Climate Wallingford, like the rest of the British Isles and Oxfordshire, has a maritime climate with cool summers and mild winters. Since 1961, a weather station at the nearby Centre for Ecology & Hydrology has been collecting data on the local climate. Extreme temperatures at Wallingford range from 21.0 °C (5.8 °F) in January 1982 to 35.2 °C (95.4 °F) in July 2006. Recent low temperatures include 17.6 degrees Celsius (0.3 degrees Fahrenheit) in January 2010 and 17.5 degrees Celsius (0.5 degrees Fahrenheit) in December 2010.
For centuries, the River Thames has served as a transportation route, and Wallingford’s growth as a town was partly dependent on it. Coal was transported by coaster from North East England to London and then by barge upriver to Wallingford. This supply may be unreliable during periods when river currents are too strong or water levels are too low. The Oxford Canal arrived in Oxford from Warwickshire in 1789, and the Duke’s Cut at Wolvercote connected it to the Thames. This made it possible for coal from the Midlands to reach Wallingford via a shorter and more reliable route than the sea and river from the northeast. In 1799, the Oxford Canal strengthened its commercial position by purchasing an 80-year lease on a Thames wharf just above Wallingford Bridge.
Chalmore Lock, a summer or low-water lock and weir, was built in 1838 at Chalmore Hole in Wallingford. However, the fall was only 18 inches for much of the time, and the lock was open at both ends. The lock was removed in 1883 after it fell into disrepair. In Jerome K. Jerome’s “Three Men in a Boat,” the missing lock causes confusion. From 1787, a ferry operated at the site to transport horses across the river where the towpath changed banks. Because the removal of the lock and weir left this as the upper river’s longest clear stretch, it was an ideal location for rowing, so the Oxford University Boat Club, which had long trained here, built a boathouse at Chalmore in 2006. Along with the old Wallingford Bridge, a new bridge at Winterbrook was built in 1993 to carry the A4130 bypass around Wallingford.
The Wallingford and Watlington Railway opened between Cholsey and Wallingford on July 2, 1866. Because of its speed and dependability, it was able to take a large share of the goods previously carried on the Thames. Two months earlier, in May 1866, the Overend, Gurney & Co bank had gone bankrupt, resulting in one of the most severe financial crises of the nineteenth century. The Bank Rate was raised to 10%, making it impossible for the W&WR to raise capital for its planned extension to Watlington. In 1872, the company sold the line to the Great Western Railway, which renamed it the Wallingford Bunk. British Railways closed the line to passengers in 1959 and to goods traffic in 1965, but the track between Hithercroft Road and Cholsey served the now-demolished maltings until 1981, when BR removed the Cholsey junction. The line has, however, been preserved as the Cholsey and Wallingford Railway. The nearest regular railway station to Wallingford is about three miles away in Cholsey.
Thames Travel operates the majority of the town’s bus services. Every hour, the X38 runs from Wallingford to Henley-on-Thames via Nuffield and Nettlebed. River Rapids, operated by Oxford Bus Company, consists of two routes between Oxford and Reading, both of which run approximately once every hour. The X39/X40 both continue from Wallingford to Reading, the X39 via Cane End and the X40 via Woodcote. Route 33 connects Wallingford and Didcot every 30 minutes and continues every hour to Abingdon via Sutton Courtenay and Culham.