The county is one of the oldest in England. It may date from the 840s,
the probable period of the unification of "Sunningum" (East Berkshire)
and "Ashdown" (the Berkshire Downs, probably including the Kennet
Valley). The county is first mentioned by name in 860. Berkshire has
been the scene of many battles throughout history, during Alfred the
Great's campaign against the Danes, including the Battle of Englefield,
the Battle of Ashdown and the Battle of Reading. Newbury was the site of
two Civil War battles, the First Battle of Newbury (at Wash Common) in
1643 and the Second Battle of Newbury (at Speen) in 1644.
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