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.
It is delightfully situated on a sloping bank of the Thames, (over which there is a handsome stone bridge of five arches, by Sir R. Taylor, connecting the counties of Oxford and Berks) amid extensive beech woods. The church has a fine tower, and some interesting decorated work. There is a handsome town hall, on pillars, forming a market piazza. The musical divine, Dean Aldrich, was rector here, and bequeathed his library for the use of the inhabitants paying church rates. Close by are Park Place, Bolney Court, Harpsden Court, and Culham Court (two miles), near which are the remains of Medmenham Abbey, surrounded by sheltering groves, a fit place for the abode of sleek friars, who might have plenty of fish for Lenten days. This place, however, was made famous in the last century for the whim of Lord le Despenser, who fitted the old ruin up after its original style, and created much scandal in mocking religion, and in the repetitions of debaucheries to which that of the monks of old were pious orgies.
The Chiltern Hills behind rise to 820 feet at Nettlebed, and 760 at Nuffield; they give name to a nominal office in the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s gift, by which a member of parliament is enabled in a formal manner to vacate his seat.
Spotted a mistake? Suggest a correction on GitHub.
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.