There is evidence of prehistoric settlement on the Berkshire Downs, including the Iron AgeUffington White Horse, now in Oxfordshire. In the Anglo-Saxon period the region was contested by Mercia and Wessex, and Alfred the Great was born in Wantage, also now in Oxfordshire. Windsor Castle, which would become the official country residence of the British monarch, was built after the Norman Conquest. The county has been the site of several battles, particularly during the First English Civil War, when Reading and Wallingford were besieged and Newbury was the site of two battles, in 1643 and 1644. The east of the county's proximity to London led to development from the nineteenth century, when Slough became an industrial centre and Bracknell was designated a new town. Software development and high-tech industry dominate the economy in the east, but the west remains an agricultural region. (Full article...)
Aldermaston may have been inhabited as early as 1690 BCE; a number of postholes and remains of cereal grains have been found in the area. Written history of the village is traced back at least as far as the 9th century CE, when the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles showed that the Ealdorman of Berkshire had his country estate in the village. The manor of Aldermaston was established by the early 11th century, when the village was given to the Achard family by Henry I; the manor is documented in the Domesday Book of 1086. St Mary the Virgin Church was established in the 13th century, and some of the original Norman architecture remains in the building's structure. The last resident Lord of the Manor, Charles Keyser, died in 1929. Aldermaston Court, the manor estate and house, was requisitioned for armed forces use during the Second World War.