Upton Estate

The following is a transcript of the Particulars and Conditions of Sale of The Upton Estate, offered for sale by auction on August 8th, 1925.


Surrounding Upton Station, 3 miles from Didcot, 8 from Wantage, 13 from Newbury, 16 from Oxford and 17 from Reading.

Particulars and Conditions of Sale
Freehold Agricultural and Sporting Estate

“The Manor House,” Upton, containing 3 Reception Rooms, 8 Bedrooms, Usual Offices, &c.;
5 FARM HOMESTEADS, SMALL HOLDINGS, 20 ACRES OF VALUABLE ORCHARDS, 20 COTTAGES, together with EXCELLENT ARABLE AND PASTURE LAND, capable of growing exceptional crops of corn and parts being particularly adaptable for fruit growing being on the upper green sand the whole extending to a total area of about 1,092 ACRES.
of practically the whole of the Estate; which Messrs. SIMMONS & SONS have received instructions to offer for Sale by Auction,
On SATURDAY, AUGUST 8th, 1925,
at THREE o’clock (unless previously sold by private treaty).



TENURE. – The Estate is Freehold.

SITUATION. – The Upton Estate is situated surrounding Upton Station (G.W.R.) on the Newbury to Didcot line, 3 miles from the important junction of Didcot with its excellent train services, 8 miles from the ancient market town of Wantage, 13 miles from Newbury, and 16 miles from Reading.

POSSESSION. – The Upton Estate is practically all in hand and Vacant Possession will be given on completion of the purchase, with the exception of the Manor House of which possession will be given at Lady Day next (1926), the right of Gallop over a field at the extreme South end of the Estate which is at present let at a rent of £12 per annum, the Allotments (Lot 9), and a few cottages in the Village.

POSITION. – The Auctioneers draw special attention to the important position occupied by this Estate, and to the probable rapid increase in the value of the same during the next few years owing to the proposed extension of the Didcot Depot and the proposed new Aerodrome to be erected at Chilton with railway extension thereto.

DESCRIPTION. – As a whole the Estate is particularly attractive. The interesting and picturesque Manor House, Upton, which is of convenient size, is centrally placed; in addition there are five other Homesteads, Bailiff’s House and some 20 Cottages. The land is capable of growing exceptional crops of corn. Given a proper season six quarters of wheat and eight quarters of oats or barley per acre can be obtained. The northern portion of the Property is particularly adapted for fruit-growing being on the Upper Green Sand.

POSTAL FACILITIES. – Post, telegraph and telephone office is situate in the Village.

SHOOTING. – The Estate forms an excellent Partridge Shoot.

FISHING AND BOATING on one of the most beautiful reaches of the River Thames at Streatley, about 6 miles away.

HUNTING with the Old Berkshire Fox Hounds.

GOLF at Streatley, about 6 miles away.

LANDLORD’S OUTGOINGS. – Commuted Tithe Rent Charge of £241 13s. 9d. Land Tax: Blewbury Parish £9 10s. 0d., Upton Parish £10 5s. 2d.

METHOD OF OFFERING. – The Estate will first be submitted as a whole and extending to the total acreage given in the Summary of the Estate on page 5, and if not so sold then in Lots as lotted.


Historical Notes.

THE small village known at a remote period as “Optone” is to use an almost obsolete word, “archaic”: in many of its characteristics, there being numerous indications of ancient roads and trackways which must have existed before the Roman invasion or occupation, together with the discovery of flint implements indicating the occupation by prehistoric tribes. Upton itself is practically on the actual site of the important Icknield, or Icleton, Way, which suggests a Roman settlement, and, strange to say, in quite modern times a station on the Great Western Railway has appeared very nearly on the site of the famous road which existed so many generations ago traversing England from North-East to South-West, but the passenger traffic is probably but little in excess of that using the old road during the period of Roman occupation. Not far away in the neighbouring Parish of Chilton, the famous old tribal boundary known as Grim’s Ditch or Dyke is still in evidence. That very learned but interesting and instructive volume, “The Place-Names of Oxfordshire”, by H. Alexander, has the following:- “Upton (and Signet “). There are over forty Uptons in England, also Upware, Upbury, Upham, Upthorpe, &c. The meaning is probably that the original tun was situated on a hill-side away from the river. Where the Oxfordshire Upton is we cannot say and the alternative “Signet” is equally mysterious. In Morden’s map attached to Camden’s “Britannia” of 1695 there is only one Aston in Blewbury Parish, and Upton may have derived its name from being on a hill, i.e. the Parish had its “Aston ” and Upton was so called for distinction, being at a level higher than the Parish Church. Reverting to the ancient landmarks: on an undated map in the Local Section of the Reading Art Gallery are the words under Aston Tirrold, “Noted for a battle in 871 where the Saxons beat the Danes”; the forces then engaged must have, some of them at least, marched through Upton, where the writer was actually told that King Alfred himself returned thanks for victory in the Church, which was given in 1092 to the Cluniac Abbey of Bermondsey, and was probably built in early Saxon times as a Wayside Shrine. Upton before the year 1862 was part of the Parish of Blewbury, but since that date has been united with Aston Upthorpe although the two hamlets are not geographically connected. In Domesday survey is the following entry : “The Land of Turston son of Roll. In Blitberie (Blewbury) Hundred. The same Turston holds Optone, Brietrie a freeman held it. It was then assessed at 10 hides now it is assessed at 5 hides. There is land for 9 ploughs. On the demesne are 2 and (there are) 16 villeins and 7 cottars with 6 ploughs. There are 7 serfs and 30 acres of meadow. It is and was worth 13 pounds.” There are no actual Roman or Saxon remains at Upton other than parts of the Church, but all around are many notable spots. Before mentioning them, however, a few words must be given to the Church itself, a quaint and interesting edifice which, alas ! has, like many similar buildings, suffered much from over “restoration.” Dedicated to St. Mary, the walls of the Church are nearly three feet in thickness, widely splayed for windows and doors, and there is a font which is a perfectly plain cylindrical basin of sandstone said to be of the Twelfth Century. The surrounding graveyard was not consecrated until 1662, the space having previously been open to the road. All parochial interments were before that date at Blewbury; naturally, therefore, Upton Church is devoid of monuments, but there are several in the Mother Church to the memory of residents at Upton; more particularly the Latton family, who settled there about 1324. They subsequently went to Chilton, but had a residence of some importance at Upton, of which the following mention occurs in Ashmole’s “Antiquities of Berks”: “This was antiently the seat and inheritance of a Branch of the Family of Latton in North Wiltshire who derive themselves from the House of Estoteville or Stutvile so call’d from a Borough of that Denomination in Upper Normandy.” As to the Upton residence of the Lattons, it seems reasonable to assume that the present Manor House is the successor at any rate of the ancient family seat, although from what can now be seen it must have been erected some years after the family named had ceased to reside there. The fine Jacobean staircase indicates very clearly that it was built during the Seventeenth Century, probably before, rather than after the great civil war. The Latton brasses at Blewbury are particularly interesting, and some of them are finely illustrated in Mr. H. T. Morley’s work on the Monumental Brasses of Berkshire, Fourteenth to Seventeenth Century. The chief brass is to the memory of Sir John Daunce (or Dauntsey), who had married a Latton, his wife and seven children, and is dated 1513; and another of importance is to Sir John Latton, his two wives and 15 children, and is dated 1548. Both of these Knights were important personages, not so much in Berkshire as in Oxon. Sir J. Daunce was High Sheriff for both Counties in 1515, and Member of Parliament for Oxon from 1529 to 1536. He was also one of the “King’s servants” and (query) a Treasurer of War to Henry VIII. Sir John Latton, who purchased Kingston Bagpuize in 1542, represented the City of Oxford in Parliament, to which he was elected in 1529 ; he had been admitted to the Inner Temple in 1510, became a Bencher in 1529 and Treasurer in 1534. The local importance of the Lattons is indicated by an old but undated map in the Reading Gallery, which has a note near Upton, “To the Laytons,” which evidently refers to the family. In a list of Gentry of Berks dated 1434 there is mention of Latton, also “William Umfray,” which may have been the mis-spelt name of a subsequent owner of the Upton Estate who is said to have acquired the property in 1654. Some of the cottages at Upton are exceedingly quaint ; one in particular built in “herringbone ” brickwork is very striking. The little stream from which an adjacent road takes its name is apparently of intermittent character, i.e. dependent upon the saturation of the chalk. The Manor House and Garden are exceedingly picturesque as well as historically interesting. There is quite a remarkable rain-water down pipe with fleur-de-lis ornament which may have been there for generations. The trees and shrubs, particularly the yews, have been carefully tended. Perhaps where there is so much that is interesting it is exacting to look for more, and we may have been a little casual and missed a sundial; if there is one, pardon is asked for the oversight, but in some way the Manor House and its surroundings suggest an inscription on a dial in a garden elsewhere. It runs :-

A hint to the talkative
– In silence I give instruction.

If these notes should appear a little discursive, instead of talkative, the excuse must be the varying interest aroused by Upton and its surroundings.