Facts about Berkshire
Much of the early history of the county is recorded in the Chronicles of the Abingdon Abbey, which at the time of the survey was second only to the crown in the extent and number of its possessions, such as The Abbey, Sutton Courtenay. The abbot also exercised considerable judicial and administrative powers, and his court was endowed with the privileges of the hundred court and was freed from liability to interference by the sheriff.
Berkshire and Oxfordshire had a common sheriff until the reign of Elizabeth I, and the shire court was held at Grandpont. The assizes were formerly held at Reading, Abingdon, and Newbury, but by 1911 were held entirely at Reading. Berkshire has been the scene of some notable battles throughout its history. Alfred the Great’s campaign against the Danes included the Battles of Englefield, Ashdown and Reading.
Berkshire is a county in South East England. One of the home counties, Berkshire was recognised by the Queen as the Royal County of Berkshire in 1957 because of the presence of Windsor Castle, and letters patent were issued in 1974. Berkshire is a county of historic origin, a ceremonial county and a non-metropolitan county without a county council. The county town is Reading.
Since 1998, Berkshire has been governed by the six unitary authorities of Bracknell Forest, Reading, Slough, West Berkshire, Windsor and Maidenhead and Wokingham. The ceremonial county borders Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Greater London, Surrey, Wiltshire and Hampshire. No part of the county is more than 8.5 miles from the M4 motorway.