was a small Romano-British
settlement. It grew up around an important crossing on the River
Thames. The name means 'Welsh People's Ford'. Welsh is a Saxon
word for the Romano-British.
In the 9th
century, the Saxon King, Alfred the Great,
beat the Vikings who had invaded Wessex.
To make sure they could not return, he built lots of forts or 'burghs'.
There was one at Wallingford. You can still see its banks and ditches
grew into an important trading town. It was the capital or 'county
town' of Berkshire. The Ealdorman lived
there. It had 14 churches!
the Conqueror invaded England in 1066. His army was unable to cross
the River Thames at London. Lord Wigod let them cross at Wallingford.
Important people, like the Archbishop of Canterbury, came and saw
William in the town and told him they accepted him as their new King.
son-in-law built a castle at
Wallingford. It was an important base for the Empress Matilda
during the Civil War with her
Stephen. It was besieged 3 times.
flourished during the medieval period. It had a stone bridge carrying the the
main road from London to Gloucester. Its shops and merchants became very rich.
In 1416, the people
of Abingdon built their own bridge and the road
was moved. Wallingford wasn't so popular any more. The two towns hated each
other and there were lots of fights.
The King's men held
the castle during the English Civil War and they
kept two big cannons in the town. General Cromwell beat them after a long
In the 18th
century, a famous judge called Sir William Blackstone came to live in
Wallingford. He helped the town become rich again by getting two 'turnpike'
roads built through it. Roads were very muddy and bumpy in those days, but you
could pay to ride on good 'turnpikes'.