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Themes Explorers and Adventurers Nobel Prize Winners
Actors/Actresses and Directors Famous People Places of Interest
Anglo-Saxons and Danes Historic Events Prime Ministers
Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty Inventors and Scientists Royal Consorts and Heirs
Artists and Architects Monarchs World Heritage Sites
Composers National Parks Writers and Poets


Berkshire lies in southern England and borders the west of London. In 1974 part of the county was incorporated into neighbouring Oxfordshire. The county of Berkshire has since been broken up into smaller authorities.

Towns include the county seat of Reading.

Anglo-Saxons and Danes
Once part of the West Saxon kingdom of Wessex.

Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Spread over four counties the North Wessex Downs AONB was designated in 1972 with its eastern end lying in Berkshire. The third largest AONB takes in the Marlborough, Berkshire and North Hampshire Downs and reaches from the Chilterns in the east to the White Horse Vale in the west.

Famous People

Richard Neville, the Earl of Warwick, known due to his power and influence as "the Kingmaker" was buried at Bisham Priory in 1471. Neville's vast inherited wealth and land meant he had been influential enough to enable both the Yorkist Edward IV and the Lancastrian Henry VI become king during the Wars of the Roses. Neville had been killed by Edward IV' s army at the Battle of Barnet.

In 1722 the Duke of Marlborough died at the Great Lodge in Windsor Great Park. During a long military career he had been at the centre of events which changed the course of British history.

In 1685 at the
Battle of Sedgemoor he led the forces which put down the Monmouth Rebellion against the Catholic James II. In 1688 when the Protestant William of Orange landed in Dorset, Churchill promptly changed sides, abandoning James II who was forced into exile. In 1692 he was imprisoned in the Tower of London for six weeks.

During the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-14) he commanded the British forces gaining an important victory at Blenheim in 1704, a victory which altered the balance of power in Europe. Later he would
be forced into exile himself before finally - towards the end of his life - falling back into favour with the country's ruling elite.

For his victory at Blenheim he was given the former royal palace at Woodstock in Oxfordshire. This he had rebulit and renamed
Blenheim Palace and it was here that his descendant Winston Churchill would be born over a century and a half later.

Duke of Marlborough
Famous people imprisoned at the Tower of London

Inventors and Scientists
Born in 1738 in Hanover, the astronomer William Herschel died in Slough in 1822. He had moved to England in 1755, where after settling in Bath in 1766, he started to build his own telescopes. In 1781 he discovered the planet Uranus, the first planet to be discovered since ancient times, and the first ever by telescope. The following year George III made Herschel his private astronomer and he moved to Slough to be near the King at Windsor. Herschel is buried at Upton.

William Herschel
Herschel Society


House of Normandy
House of Normandy
In 1121 Henry I married his second wife Adela of Louvaine at Windsor Castle.

Henry I

William the Conqueror's youngest son Henry I was buried at Reading Abbey in 1135, ending a reign which had begun in 1100. On Henry's death the succession became unclear, for William, his only legitimate son and heir, had drowned in the White Ship which sank in the English Channel in 1120. Henry had only one other legitimate child, a daughter, Matilda. But England was not yet ready for a female monarch and so it was Henry's nephew Stephen who became king, a succession which would lead to civil war.

Henry I

House of Plantagenet
House of Plantagenet
Edward III was born at Windsor Castle in 1312. His reign would last half a century, from the murder of his father Edward II at Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire in 1327 until his own death in 1377.

Until his 18th birthday his mother Isabella of France and her lover Roger Mortimer acted as his regents. Then in 1330 Edward took back his throne, and - due to their complicity in his father's death - had Mortimer executed and his mother kept at Castle Rising Castle in Norfolk for the rest of her life. After his eldest son and heir
Edward the Black Prince died in 1376 he was succeeded the following year by his grandson Richard II.

Edward III
Windsor Castle in 1807

House of Lancaster
House of Lancaster
In 1421 Henry VI was born at Windsor Castle. He acceded to the throne at the age of one and ruled until 1461 when he was deposed by the Yorkist Edward IV. He regained the Crown again for a short period from 1470-71 before he was murdered in the Tower of London. His rival Edward IV denied the dead king the honour of a burial in Westminster Abbey and had him buried at Chertsey Abbey in Surrey. It was not until 1484 when Richard III had the last Lancastrian monarch disinterred and reburied at Windsor Castle in St George's Chapel.

Henry VI
Windsor Castle in 1807
Monarchs buried at Windsor
Famous people imprisoned at the Tower of London

House of Hanover
House of Hanover
In 1820 George III died at Windsor Castle. He had ruled since 1760 but due to bouts of insanity his eldest son, the future George IV, had ruled from 1811 as Prince Regent. He was buried in St George's Chapel at the Castle.

George III
George III
Windsor Castle in 1807
Monarchs buried at Windsor

The Prince Regent became George IV on his father's death in 1820. He ruled until 1830 when he died at Windsor Castle and was buried with his father in St George's Chapel.

George IV
George IV
Windsor Castle in 1807
Monarchs buried at Windsor

His brother William IV succeeded him in 1830. He ruled until 1837 when he also died at Windsor Castle and was buried in St George's Chapel.

William IV
Windsor Castle in 1807
Monarchs buried at Windsor

House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
Edward VII married Alexandra of Denmark in 1863 in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.

Edward VII
Alexandra of Denmark
Edward VII

Places of Interest

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle in 1807
Monarchs buried at Windsor

Cathedrals and Abbeys
Reading Abbey

Historic Buildings
Eton College was founded by Henry VI in 1440 since when 19 of its pupils have become Prime Minister including the current holder of the office David Cameron.

Eton College in 1787
Eton College in 1823

The Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst is where the British Army has trained its officers since 1799.

Notable Places
The over 100 metre long White Horse of Uffington is carved in a chalk hill near Kingston Lisle (then in Berkshire) and has been dated to around 800 B.C.

The Vale of the White Horse

Royal Consorts and Heirs

House of Plantagenet
William, the Count of Poitiers and eldest son and heir to the throne of Henry II, was buried in 1156 at the age of two at Reading Abbey. It would be his younger brothers Richard (the Lionheart) and John (Lackland) who would become king (in 1189 and 1199 respectively) on their father's death.

Philippa of Hainault, Queen to Edward III, died at Windsor Castle in 1369. She was buried in Westminster Abbey. She had married Edward in 1328 and two of her grandchildren would ascend the throne as Richard II and Henry IV.

Philippa of Hainault

Windsor Castle in 1807
Royal consorts buried at Westminster Abbey

House of Stuart
In 1637 Anne Hyde, the first wife of James II, was born at Windsor. Although she would never become Queen (she died in 1671 and it was not until 1685 that her husband ascended to the throne), she did give birth to two future Queens: Mary II in 1662 and Anne in 1665.

Anne Hyde
With James II

House of Hanover
Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, consort to Queen Victoria, died at Windsor Castle in 1861. He was buried at Frogmore House in Windsor Home Park. He was the father of Edward VII who had been born in 1841.

Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
Windsor Castle in 1807
Royal consorts buried at Windsor

House of Windsor
Philip of Greece died in 2021 at the age of 99 at Windsor Castle. He had been married to Queen Elizabeth II for 73 years and the royal consort for 69, the longest serving royal consort in British history. He is buried in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.

Prince Philip
Royal consorts buried at Windsor

Writers and Poets
The playwright and poet Oscar Wilde was prosecuted for homosexuality in 1895, and found guilty, imprisoned in Reading jail. On his release in 1897 he left England to live in Paris where he died 3 years later.

Oscar Wilde
Poetry Archive

I never saw a man that looked
With such a wistful eye
Upon that little tent of blue
Which prisoners call the sky.

The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898)

Something was dead in each of us,
And what was dead was Hope.

The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898)

And the wild regrets, and the bloody sweats,
None know so well as I:
For he who lives more lives than one
More deaths than one must die.

The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898)

The ashes of the poet Robert Bridges were interred at the church of St Peter and St Paul in the village of Yattendon in 1930. He had been Poet Laureate since succeeding Alfred Austin in 1913 and was succeeded by John Masefield.

Robert Bridges
Poets laureate

County Links Genealogy in England

Genealogy Links

Births, Marriages
and Deaths (BMD)
Berkshire Archaeological Society
Berkshire Local History Association
Record Society
Royal Berkshire