The following extract is taken from an 1852 Directory of Oxfordshire
This parish lies on the banks of the Thames, which divides it from Berkshire, and comprises 4,670 acres. Its rateable value is £7,509; and the amount of assessed property is £3,802. The number of its inhabitants in 1831, was 933; and in 1841, 971 souls. The principal proprietors are Henry Philip Powys Esq., Samuel W Gardner Esq., James Morrison Esq., Adam Duff Esq., and James Pearman Esq. The land is chiefly arable. This parish is intersected by the Great Western railway, on which line there is a station about one mile distant from the village.
The Village of Goring, formerly called Little Nottingham, is situate about 6 miles south of Wallingford, and 9 north from Reading. There is scarcely a doubt that Goring was a place of some importance, at an early period. Strong foundations of ancient structures, Roman coins, vases, pavements and barrows, have been found in its fields and gardens; and the Icknild street, which entered the county at Chinnor, may be traced into this parish at the back of Grove Barn, about 2 miles N.E. of the village. Dr Plot confidently affirms that this road quitted Oxfordshire at Goring, near the old ferry to the south of the present bridge. An Augustinian nunnery was founded here in the reign of Henry II and valued at the dissolution at £60 5s 5d per annum. The site was granted by Henry VIII to Charles, duke of Suffolk; and six years afterwards to Sir Thomas Pope, founder of Trinity collage, Oxford. From several disjointed fragments, which yet linger, it appears that it adjoined the church on the west end. A tradition exists that there is a subterraneous passage from this nunnery, to Ilvington farm, the site of a priory, about two miles eastward of Goring; but no modern discovery has been made to verify the assertion.
A medicinal spring on the banks of the Thames, near the Leather Bottle Inn, was formerly of high repute for the cure of cutaneous diseases. Springwell, as it is called, had its day of celebrity, but is now disregarded.
From Goring bridge, which was erected in 1837 is a pleasing view of the river; and from the hills in the vicinity are some very extensive prospects. The church spires at Oxford may be discerned on a clear day.
A melancholy loss of life too place here, at the old ferry, in 1674. The accident is related in a rare tract entitled “Sad and deplorable news from Oxfordsheir and Barksheir, being a true and lamentable relation of the drowning of about sixty persons, men, women, and children, in the lock near Goring in Oxfordsheir, as they were passing by water from Goring to Stately in Barksheir. Printed for R Vaughan, in the Little Old Bailey, 1674.” The accident rose from the imprudence of the waterman, in rowing too near the shore of the lock; where by the force of the water, the boat was drawn down the lock, and presently overturned. Except some 14 or 15, all were unfortunately drowned in the presence of hundreds of persons, then met at the feast. The pamphlet concludes by a solemn warning and prophecy, that this was one of the signs of the approach of the Day of Judgement!
There are two corn mills, a bone mill for the manufacture of artificial manure, and a brewery in this parish. One of the mills, Clove Mill, is remarkable for its age and picturesque appearance.
The Church, dedicated to St Thomas, is a Norman structure, probably built in the reign of Henry II. It consists of nave, chancel, north aisle and porch, and an embattled tower at the N.W. corner of which is a small round tower with occasional apertures. This interesting edifice was restored a few years since and is now in good repair. The living is a perpetual curacy in the deanery of Henley, patronage of Samuel W Gardner, Esq., of Coombe Lodge, and incumbency of the Rev William Henry Stokes, M.A. The tithes were commuted in 1809 for land. Gross income of the living £146. It is endowed with £600 private benefaction; £200 royal bounty; and £1,200 parliamentary grant. The Parsonage House is commodious and pleasantly situated, a little east of the church.
There is a Dissenting Chapel of the Countess of Huntingdon’s connexion, built in 1793, which will seat 300 persons, and to which a school was built and attached in 1850. There is a small Baptist Chapel at Goring-heath, erected in 1815.
Gathampton or Gate-hampton is the name applied to a portion of this parish, which is supposed about the 12th century, to have been a place of some consequence, as the foundations of former buildings have frequently been discovered there. It is the property of James Morrison, Esq., who purchased the estate of the trustees of the Dayman family in 1845.
Goring Heath is another district of this parish which was once a barren tract. Here are Almshouses for 12 poor men, founded and endowed in 1724, by Henry Alnutt, Esq., of the Middle Temple. This institution consists of a neat chapel, a chaplain’s house, 12 houses for the almsmen, a boys school, and a kitchen, which is the apartment of the nurse, with bed rooms over it. The 12 poor men are chosen as follows: six from Goring parish; one from South Stoke; two from Checkendon; two from Cassington; and one from Ipstone. Besides the house, each almsman has a garden, firing, clothing, medical attendance, and 6s 6d per week. The chaplain says a portion of the prayers every day; the litancy on Wednesday and Fridays; and the appointed services on saints’ days and holydays; on Sundays the full morning service without a sermon, and in the evening, the prayers with a sermon. There are 27 boys educated at Goring Heath boys school, and some are educated at Ipstone, Cassington, Checkendon and South Stoke, for which £10 a year to each parish is paid out of the funds of this charity. At the age of 14 all the boys who desire it, are apprenticed with a premium of £20, and £2 for an outfit on leaving school. In 1883, a school for 31 girls was also added, and the children are from the same parishes as the boys. The boys and girls are clothed. The annual rented of the property bequeathed by Mr Alnutt for the endowment of these charities, has very much increased; it now amounts to £1,173 19s 8d per annum. After the necessary expenses the clear income to be applied to the purposes of the charity, is about £911 per annum.
Richard Lybbe, Esq., of Hardwick, by will dated December 1714 endowed almshouses for four old men, which he had built at Goring with a rent charge of £26 per annum clear of all taxes, and the rent of 18 acres of tithe free land. The latter now yields a rent of £38 per annum, and the poor men receive each 5s per weeks besides the tenements. Two of the almsmen must be from Goring and two from Whitchurch, and Checkendon.
The Poor’s money, the gifts of several persons amounts to £76 7s 6d, the interest of which is given to the poor. Two poor men of Goring are entitled to a coat each from the bequest of Thomas Cresswell.
At the time of the inclosure of this parish, in the year 1810, a close containing about 20 acres of furze land was allotted to trustees, for the use of the poor, for the purpose of cutting furze upon it. This land lets for £16 per annum.