Lambourn is situated (MAP) in the Lambourn Valley, virtually at the source of the river Lambourn and in the heart of the Berkshire chalk downs. The Village is within a few miles of the Oxfordshire, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire borders at the north west extremity of the county. The name of the village is thought to have originated from sheep on the downs and the stream. The parish covers an area of 14,000 acres and has a population of around 3000.
The first mention of Lambourn in historical records was at the time of Alfred the Great. It has even been suggested that he was born in Lambourn. One thing is certain, he owned land there which was left to his wife. The first parish priest was Croc in 1017.
The numerous ancient barrows close by are proof of much earlier settlement in the area, as are finds of Roman pottery in the vicinity. Norman invaders later made their presence felt and indeed the nave of St Michael and All Angels Church is 12th Century Norman. By the 13th Century Lambourn had assumed some importance and a charter was granted to allow a market and two sheep fairs a year to be held.
One of landmarks of the village is the lovely Market Cross in the Market Square, erected around the time that Henry VI granted the charter for the market and fairs. Across the land by the side of the church there are still some traces of the cobblestones that once covered all the village streets. This land leads to the almshouses founded by John Isbury in 1502 and largely rebuilt by Henry Hippisley in 1852. The houses were further modernized in 1956 to make homes for 8 almsmen.
More information about Lambourn can be found at: http://www.berkshirehistory.com/villages/lambourn.html