Harwell was one of the many manors given by King Edward II to his favourite, Piers Gaveston. His arms of six golden eagles on a green field can still be seen in the church windows. It’s likely that he did actually visit occasionally, as he was often at nearby Wallingford Castle where he had also been made lord. “Prince’s Manor” had been given, by the Black Prince, to the College of St. Nicholas at Wallingford Castle, but later came into the hands of the Loder family. Records show them selling the famous Harwell cherries in Abingdon in the 1610s. The area is still full or orchards today. During the English Civil War, Parliamentary troops were billeted in the village after the Second Battle of Newbury, and Cromwell is said to have held a Council of War here. A Cromwellian helmet was certainly once found in one of the village cottages. Much of the village was destroyed in the disastrous fire of 1852. It swept through the High Street, twenty-three cottages and nine farms! However, there are still many medieval buildings remaining, some dating back to the 13th & 14th century - a time when John Harewell, subsequently Bishop of Bath & Wells, is thought to have grown up in the village.
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