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Parish church of St John the Baptist
|Area||5.46 km2 (2.11 sq mi)|
|Population||420 (2011 Census)|
|• Density||77/km2 (200/sq mi)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Website||South Moreton Village website|
South Moreton is a South Oxfordshire village and civil parish in England, about 3 miles (5 km) east of Didcot, 4 miles (6.4 km) west of Wallingford, and 7 miles (11 km) south of Abingdon. It is only separated by the Great Western Railway cutting from its twin village of North Moreton, a quarter of a mile to the north. Mortune took its name in the Domesday Book from the houses on the ridge above the moor of Hakka's Brook (now known as the Hagbourne or Hadden Marsh), and was part of Berkshire until the 1974 boundary changes. The 2011 Census recorded the parish population as 420.
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The Domesday book of 1086 refers to Moretune. Its meaning is not entirely clear but four of the five manor houses are identifiable. Saunderville is still called The Manor. It is a moated manor house with horses grazing in the railed paddocks, seen to advantage from the railway. Huse or Bray is a recently renovated low building nearby, with a paddock in front, at the T-junction at the east end of the village. The only trace of Adresham is the terrace on which it once stood, opposite the village school. There is a 1950s house on the site. Fulscot is 1⁄2 mile (800 m) west of the village, and is still a farm.
At the time of the South Moreton Inclosure Act, 1818 c.18, the main landlord was Henry Hucks Gibbs, 1st Baron Aldenham and many of the inclosures were allotted to him. Later in the century a London butcher called Hedges used Rich's Sidings of the new Great Western Railway 2 miles (3 km) west by Didcot railway station, to supply much of the London meat trade. Hedges amassed a fortune and much local land, including the inclosures at Hall Farm and Fulscot Manor, both of which are still owned and farmed by his descendants.
The Church of England parish church of Saint John the Baptist at Bethesda, with its possibly Saxon doorway, stands by ancient earthworks at the southwestern edge of the village, by a ford on the former pilgrim route from the Downs to Dorchester. The church holds services only on major feast days and a few other occasions. Weddings, funerals and baptisms are also held by arrangement. The parish is part of the Churn Benefice, along with the neighbouring parishes of North Moreton, Aston Tirrold, Aston Upthorpe, Blewbury, Hagbourne, and Upton.
Character and amenities
There are a few large old houses on the High Street, some newer cottages at the east of the village, modern social housing to the West, and some 17th-century cottages between, many thatched.
The largest house in South Moreton is The Hall, very close to the Huse. It is the last working farm in the village.
Much Victorian history of the village is recorded in The Rector's Book, handwritten around 1905 from memories extending to 1845. It now deposited in the Berkshire County Archives at Reading.
South Moreton has a pub, a school, a church and a chapel, but no longer a shop or village hall, and both the Moretons Cricket Club ("MCC"!) and the North & South Moreton Women's Institute are now based in North Moreton.
South Moreton School, 200 yards east of Gothic Lodge on the High Street, is a County Primary School. with an attached pre-School.
Thames Travel route 94 provides a limited service to South Moreton from Mondays to Fridays, linking the village with Didcot and with Didcot Parkway railway station. Buses run only during school terms, and there is no Saturday or Sunday service.
Didcot Parkway, three miles to the West, is amajor rail junction West, North, and East, and has frequent 40 minute train services to and from London, but whenever there are no fast trains Cholsey is nearly as close and nearer London.
- UK Census (2011). "Local Area Report – South Moreton Parish (1170217826)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 20 July 2018.
- An Act for inclosing lands in the Parish of South Moreton in the County of Berks. 58 Geo III Cap. 18, Berkshire Record Office D/EX 1215/1 1818
- South Moreton Inclosure Award and Map
- Ditchfield & Page 1924, pp. 498–504.
- "St John the Baptist, South Moreton". Churn Churches.
- South Moreton School: primary school
- "route 94/94S/94C" (PDF). Thames Travel. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
- Ditchfield, PH; Page, William, eds. (1924). "South Moreton". A History of the County of Berkshire. Victoria County History. IV. assisted by John Hautenville Cope. London: The St Katherine Press. pp. 498–504.
- Pevsner, Nikolaus (1966). Berkshire. The Buildings of England. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. pp. 222–223.
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