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Coordinates: 51°36′43″N 1°38′28″W / 51.612°N 1.641°W / 51.612; -1.641

Watchfield
Westmill Wind Farm.jpg
Westmill Wind Farm
Watchfield is located in Oxfordshire
Watchfield

 Watchfield shown within Oxfordshire
Population 2,222 (2001 census)[1]
OS grid reference SU248904
Parish Watchfield
District Vale of White Horse
Shire county Oxfordshire
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Swindon
Postcode district SN6
Dialling code 01793
Police Thames Valley
Fire Oxfordshire
Ambulance South Central
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament Wantage
Website Watchfield Parish Council
List of places: UK • England • Oxfordshire

Watchfield is a village and civil parish in the Vale of White Horse, about 3 miles (4.8 km) southeast of Highworth in neighbouring Wiltshire. Watchfield is about 1 mile (1.6 km) north of the village of Shrivenham. Both villages used to be on the main road between Oxford and Swindon, which is now the A420 road. The Vale of White Horse was part of Berkshire until the 1974 boundary changes transferred it to Oxfordshire.

Contents

Toponym

Watchfield's toponym evolved from the Old English Wacenesfield in the 8th century via Wachenesfield in the 11th century, Wachenfeud in the 13th century, and Wachfeld, Wasshyngfeld and Watchyingfeld in the 16th century before reaching its present form.[2]

Churches

Watchfield was originally part of the Church of England parish of Shrivenham and therefore villagers were required to worship there at St. Andrew's parish church.[2] The Church of England parish church of Saint Thomas was designed by the Gothic Revival architect G.E. Street in a late 13th century style.[3] The building, which was completed in 1858, includes a bellcote and a north aisle.[3] St. Thomas's is now part of the Shrivenham and Ashbury Benefice.[4]

The Roman Catholic Church of Saint Alban was built in the 20th century.

Economy and amenities

Watchfield consists partly of military accommodation for the Joint Services Command and Staff College (JSCSC) and the Conflict Studies Research Centre (CSRC) in the parish, as well as for the Defence College of Management and Technology and Cranfield University across the boundary in Shrivenham.

Local amenities include the Eagle and College Farm public houses, a Post Office, a Midcounties Co-operative supermarket, a unisex hairdressers, opticians, a McDonald's and a small industrial estate.

A wind farm, owned by the community-owned Westmill Wind Farm Cooperative, came online in March 2008 and was formally opened in May 2008 on the site of the former RAF Watchfield near the village.[5][6] It consists of five 1.3 MW turbines, and is described by its promoters as the UK's largest community-owned wind farm.

Watchfield Festival 1975

In August 1975, a disused military site at Watchfield became the location of a free rock festival attended by several thousand people. Musicians who performed there included Hawkwind and Vivian Stanshall. The site was offered to the organisers by the government as an alternative to the Windsor Free Festivals of the previous three years, the last of which had been forcibly terminated by the police in 1974.

The first Big Green Gathering festival was held at Watchfield in 1994.

References

  1. ^ "Area: Shrivenham CP (Parish): Parish Headcounts". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. http://neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/dissemination/LeadTableView.do?a=7&b=798769&c=Watchfield&d=16&e=15&g=481439&i=1001x1003x1004&o=1&m=0&r=1&s=1268443073962&enc=1&dsFamilyId=779. Retrieved 8 March 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Page & Ditchfield, 1921, pages 531-543
  3. ^ a b Pevsner, 1966, page 259
  4. ^ Shrivenham & Ashbury Benefice
  5. ^ Energy4All Press Release, December 5, 2005, Westmill Wind Farm Celebrates Success of Public Share Launch. Retrieved on November 14, 2006. Archive copy at the Internet Archive
  6. ^ Energy4All Press Release, February 1, 2008. Fresh Wind Farm. Retrieved on March 8, 2008.

Sources

External links

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