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Berkshire (pronounced 'Barksheer') is a county in the south of England, to the west of London. It is also known as Royal Berkshire, and this title was made official with a grant in the 1930s. The historical county is one of the oldest in England, being reliably dated back to the setting of the county borders by King Alfred the Great of Wessex. The administrative county, formed in the 1890s originally followed very similar borders to the historical county, but Reading, as a County Borough, was not part of this so Abingdon became the county town. Following the reorganisation of the administrative counties in 1974, Abingdon and the Vale of the White Horse were transfered to Oxfordshire, Slough was added from Buckinghamshire, and Reading became the county town. In the 1990s the county council was abolished and the districts became unitary authorities.

The county takes its name from a large forest of birch trees that was called Bearroc (Celtic for 'hilly') and was originally a transaction of land to King Cenwalh of Wessex. At this time, it only consisted of the northerly and westerly parts of the current county.

In the past the county town (capital) has been in Abingdon (which became administered by Oxfordshire when boundaries were changed in 1974) and Reading.

Other notable towns are:

The town of Slough, in the historical country of Buckinghamshire, became part of the administrative county of Berkshire as part of the reorganisation of 1972. At the same time the following Berkshire towns, mainly in the Vale of the White Horse, became administered by Oxfordshire:

External Links

Royal Berkshire History