Reading is situated on two small eminences, whose gentle declivities fall into a pleasant vale, through which the branches of the Kennet flow till they unite with the Thames at the extremity of the town.
Staines is a pleasant market town, in the county of Middlesex, standing on the north bank of the Thames, over which is thrown a bridge, which connects the counties of Middlesex and Surrey. In the old records it is called Stana, a Saxon word for a stone, and Camden supposes that the name was derived from a stone which was fixed on the banks of the river, to mark the extent of the authority of the city of London over the Thames, westward. This town contains a handsome church, besides which there are other places of public worship for dissenters. Nearly all the houses extend along the sides of the high road, but there are a considerable number built in other directions.
A little northward of Staines Bridge is the City Boundary Stone, on which is inscribed, “God preserve the City of London, A.D. 1280.” This marks the limit of the Lord Mayor’s jurisdiction over the Thames. When the civic authorities make their tour of inspection, they disembark here, and wine is placed for them on the said stone; and such Sheriffs and Aldermen as are not “Free of the Water,” are bumped at the stone.
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The seat of her majesty the Queen, and of her ancestors from the period of the Conquest. Eton College also is within a short distance.
Hampton Court stands on the north bank of the Thames, about twelve miles from London. Numerous sovereigns have made it their temporary abode; and the last who resided here were George II. and his Queen.