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Wallingford is a small market town and civil parish in the upper Thames Valley in England. For most of its history it was part of Berkshire, until the reorganisation of local government in 1974 when it was transferred to Oxfordshire.
Wallingford grew up around an important crossing point of the River Thames. The place has been fortified since at least Saxon times, when it was an important fortified borough of Wessex with the right to mint Royal coinage. It was enclosed with substantial earthworks by King Alfred the Great in the 9th century as part of a network of fortified towns known as burhs to protect Wessex against the Vikings. These can still be seen around the centre of the town and are probably the best preserved such fortifications in England. Wallingford became the chief town of Berkshire and the seat of the county's Ealdorman. During the Norman conquest of England in 1066, the Saxon lord Wigod allowed William the Conqueror's invading armies to cross the Thames unopposed from west to east in order that his army might march on Berkhamsted, where he received the English surrender before marching on London. At that time, the river at Wallingford was the lowest point at which the river could be forded. The town subsequently stood in high favour with the Normans. The Domesday Book of 1085 lists Wallingford as one of only 18 towns in the kingdom with a population of over 2,000 people.
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