lies at the foot of the Berkshire Downs. If you look at any description of Harwell you will
see a reference to its cherry orchards. In fact records
show them selling the famous Harwell cherries in Abingdon
in the 1610s, and the area still has local orchards today!
is thought to have held a Council of War in the village
After the Second Battle of Newbury during
the English Civil War and Parliamentary troops were billeted
in the village at that time. In 1852 a
disastrous fire swept through the village and much
of the village was destroyed. It is believed the fire
was started when a discharged labourer set fire to a hay
rick and the result was the loss of nine
farms and twenty-three
cottages. Despite the fire many medieval buildings remain,
some dating from the 13th & 14th century.
Matthew's Church was mainly built in the 13th Century
and has rubble walls of clunch covered with plaster on
the inside and with roughcast on the outside. Its size
reflects the existence of a considerable population in
the village, then on the Wallingford to Gloucester highway,
and was formerly dedicated to St. Mary. The date of the
rededication to St. Matthew's is not known.
atomic research establishment,
which used to occupy
the nearby former airfield, has been decommissioned but
this is now the home of the Rutherford
Appleton Laboratory, whose scientists use their spectacular
microwave dish to gather information on outer space, the
Harwell International Business Park and the new Diamond
synchrotron light source, a new scientific facility
housed in a futuristic doughnut-shaped building which
covers the area of 5 football pitches.
is just off the A417
about 2 miles west of Didcot. It is bypassed by the A34.