Site of Ancient Battle
Gainfield is a small hamlet on the southern edge of the parish of Buckland. The name would appear to come from “Game Field” where summer sports were held in Saxon times. However, the locals tell a much more romantic, though now rather confused, story about its origins. It seems that, during the time of King Aethelred (the Unready) when Canute the Dane was storming across the country in great swathes, a fierce battle took place here. Canute and his army had installed themselves in the safety of Cherbury Camp (Charney Bassett), but the Saxons secretly moved up to Uffington Castle in order to persuade them to leave. A young shepherd-boy, named William Pusey, however, saw their army marching across the Downs and, being sympathetic to the Danish cause, blew his horn to warn Canute of the ensuing ambush. The two armies met just inside Buckland parish, at the field now known as the Gore because of all the blood that flowed during the subsequent battle. At first, the English were pushed back to Stanford-in-the-Vale, but they soon recovered ground when the Danes stopped to eat honey on Honeycomb Hill. The invaders, however, eventually managed to Gain-the-Field and, when Canute also gained the whole Kingdom, the brave Berkshire shepherd-boy was rewarded with the manor that still bears his name (See Pusey). The Gainfield eventually became the meeting place of the hundred local court.
See also Buckland.
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