This is the seventh article for Arborfield in the Berkshire Local History Recording Scheme,
'The Bullock Family'
AN OLD ARBORFIELD FAMILY
In paying another visit recently to the old ruined church of St. Bartholomew at Arborfield, not far from Reading – it becomes more ruinous every day, I fear – I recalled that in 1222 the Dean of Sarum called attention to the neglected condition of its predecessor. But that predecessor was of wood and there was some excuse for its state, for the priest, like Keats’ holy bedesman, was old, infirm and blind. I recalled also that the lord of the manor of Arborfield at this time was a certain Richard Bullock, and, if I mistake not, the family have persisted in the neighbourhood to this day.
In a pedigree in the Visitation of Berkshire of 1532, the family are traced back for five generations to Richard Bullock, but an earlier member appears to have been Osmund, who was patron of the church towards the end of the 12th century.
A Robert Bullock founded a chantry in the parish church of Newbury in the 14th century for the souls of his father and mother and “all the faithful departed”, and it was probably his son who was Lord of Arborfield and Sheriff of Berkshire and Oxfordshire in 1384 and 1391. He died in 1405, and also possessed property in Goring, South Stoke and Streatley.
The manor of Arborfield continued in the hands of the family until 1589, when it was sold to Edmund Standen. As I stood in the roofless nave I remembered that by his will of 1557 a Thomas Bullock left ornaments and vestments to Arborfield Church and desired to be buried in the chancel next to the tomb of Robert. Tomb, ornaments and vestments have long vanished. Thomas also made provision for his wife to “have the upper parlour in the manor house at Arborfield”, but if she did not like Arborfield, she was to have the farm at Barkham. The manor house presumably stood on the site of the present Arborfield Hall.
Many members of the Bullock family must lie beneath the nave and chancel of this old ruined church – an impressive thought to be introspective. But the thrush still builds its nest in the ivy-covered walls, and in the spring pipes its orisons over the graves of Robert and his kin.
- Extract from the “Reading Mercury” of 17.1.53.
Name and address of recorder: J Williams 5 Chazey Road, Caversham
With acknowledgements to Reading Local Studies Library
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