From A Topographical Dictionary of England. Originally published by S Lewis, London, 1848.
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HARWELL (St. Matthew), a parish, in the union of Wantage, hundred of Moreton, county of Berks, 7 miles (S. S. W.) from Abingdon; containing 857 inhabitants.
The manor, which is now the property of the Chetwode family, belonged in the 13th century to Richard, Earl of Cornwall, King of the Romans.
The parish is on the road from Wantage to Wallingford, and comprises 2482a. 2r. 39p., of which 2103 acres are arable, 203 meadow, and the remainder homesteads and roads; the lands were inclosed in 1802.
The living is a vicarage, valued in the king’s books at £12. 4. 2.; patron and impropriator, Sir J. Chetwode, Bart.
The great tithes have been commuted for £670, and the vicarial for £170; a rent-charge of £117. 10. 8. is paid to the rector of Brightwell, and the glebe contains 82 acres.
In the church is a handsome monument to Christopher Smith, lord mayor of London, who was a native of the parish.
In 1644, Robert Loder bequeathed land now producing £50 per annum, for instruction; and in 1772, the Rev. M. Eaton left £32 a year for apprenticing children; besides which there are several bequests for the benefit of the poor generally.