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Is an ancient borough town, in the county of Wilts, situate on the upper part of the Thames, and where that river becomes navigable for vessels of a small tonnage.


By some writers it has been called Greekislade, or Grekelade; which names they have fancifully derived from the accounts given by some of the monkish historians, of a school or college, for the cultivation of the Greek language; which they pretended was either founded or restored by Theodore, archbishop of Canterbury, about the year our Lord six hundred and sixty. But in the more authentic opinion of the right reverend and learned editor of Camden's Britannia, this conjecture has arisen merely from an apparent resemblance of names, which has as little foundation as the derivation of Letchlade from Latin-lade, on the tradition of its having been at the same period, the seat of a school or college, for the cultivation of the Latin tongue.

It is, however, evident from the accounts of those antiquarian writers, whose character and learning justify a full reliance on their information, that Greke-lade and Latin-lade, the two places which originally bore these denominations, were contiguous to each other, and in the neighbourhood of Oxford or Oxenford, juxta Oxoniam; to which place, or to use the language of Grafton in his Chronicle, " to the soil where Oxford now standeth, the philosophers allured, by the pleasant situation of the place, removed, and there taught the liberal sciences.

Thus, the learned author of the additions to Camden's Britannia is completely justified, in deriving the name of Cricklade from the British word Cerigwâld, which signifies a stony country, and is descriptive of the soil in the environs of the place; or from two Saxon words, epacca, a brook, and ladean to empty; as the Churn and the Rey dis


charge their tributary streams into the Thames in its immediate neighbourhood.

This place was far more considerable in former times than in our day; as, in the Red Book of the Exchequer, it is recorded, that there once belonged to it a thousand and three hundred hide lands, and that it gave the name to an hundred, since united to that of Highworth, an adjacent market town in the same county. It has sent members to parliament since the 20th year of the reign of Edward II. though for some notorious acts of bribery and corruption in the elec tion of their representatives, it deservedly suffered the displeasure of the House of Commons; and by an act of parliament, passed in the twenty-second year of his present Majesty, the right of election was extended to the freeholders of the hundred, in common with the voters of the borough itself. The advowson and manor were appropriated, in the seventh year of Henry the Sixth, to keep the spire of Salisbury in repair. Here was also an hospital, in the reign of Henry the Third, which was dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, and was valued at four pounds ten shillings. The free-school was founded by Robert Jenner, Esquire, who endowed it with an annual revenue of forty pounds. There are two churches, one of which has a large, lofty, and handsome tower, that serves as a landmark to the surrounding country. There is also two ancient crosses still entire; one of them is situated in the lower church-yard, and is of a pretty shape; the other is in the centre of the high-street. They remain as relics of former superstition; but no historical document exists to mark any particular circumstance connected with them. The municipal government of the place is entrusted to the care of a Bailiff, who is appointed by the Lord of the Manor.

The appearance of the town is such as to discourage particular description. Nothing curious or inviting belongs to it; but on an elevated spot of Cricklade Common, called Windmill-hill, about a mile from the town, on the road to


Malmsbury, the view is equally varied and extensive.


the north-west, the high country about Tetbury is the distant object, and to the north is seen the tower of Cirencester, with the Oakley woods, backed by the extending sweep of the Cotswold hills. The interval is composed of rich, woody lowlands, where the village and the spire vary. the scene; and through which, though the water is not visible, the early course of the Thames is marked by the meandering range of willows on its banks, by the misty exhalation that floats above it, or by some other half distinguishable, vapoury circumstance, which the eye can scarce discern, and language cannot describe. To the east and south-east, the prospect is still more extensive. Cricklade, with its stately tower, is seen in the bottom. The Wiltshire hills, blending with those of Berkshire, form an high waving boundary to the right, and force the eye onwards over a rich country to Letchlade steeple, the town of Highworth, rising in the view, and Faringdon hill, which breaks the line of a remote horizon. A spot of ground planted with trees, on the north-east part of the common, is just sufficient to divide the extensive prospect in these distinct pictures, which contain the leading features, or character of the country, through which the Thames flows from its source to Faringdon.

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