In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Kennet like this:
KENNET (THE), a river of Wilts and Berks. It rises near Marlborough Downs, not far from the centre of Wilts; runs eastward, past Marlborough, Hungerford, Newbury, and Aldermaston; and falls into the Thames at Reading. It has a course of about 19 miles in Wilts to Hungerford, and of about 25 through Berks; receives the Lambourne on its left side below Newbury, and the Enborne on its right near Aldermaston; and is noted for trout, and especially for eels. Pope speaks of "the Kennet swift, for silver eels renown'd."
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Kennet has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Kennet. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Kennet and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Kennet in Wiltshire | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 21st May 2013
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