Medieval Thatcham

In 1085AD, King William first authorised the preparation of a Domesday survey to establish the value of all the manors in his Kingdom, for the purpose of calculating federal dues.

Thatcham is described in the survey as having thirty-five virgates and twelve borders, with sufficient arable land for twenty-five ploughs. In addition there were two mills, one hundred and forty seven acres of meadow (pasture) and a wood giving pannage for sixty pigs.  There was a church and two clergymen, and twelve hagae (the houses or closes of townsmen).  The total value of the manor was assessed at £34 per annum, a very considerable sum in those days. 

Chamberhouse Castle

Chamberhouse was once part of the Crookham Estate. It is commonly thought the name is derived from the 13th century owner, Roger de la Chambre. The estate became the property of Sir John Pury in 1445 and in the same year is the first mention of the “Manor of Chamberhouse”, albeit a sub-manor of Crookham. Pury purchased additional land including a mill, which was to become known as Chamberhouse Mill.

Pury was granted a royal license to embattle and crenellate the manor. He did so adding a moat too. In addition over 300 acres of land were turned into a park; Pury still having large amount of additional woodland and meadow. Thus the estate became known as Chamberhouse Castle.

Chamberhouse Farm
Chamberhouse Farm, site of Chamberhouse manor / castle.

The deer park became disused after 100 years and the manor house, or rather castle, stood until the 18th century when it was demolished. A new building was erected and can be seen at Chamberhouse today via the bridle path that passes through the estate.

References

  • Barfield, S., Thatcham Berks and its Manors, 1901
  • Proser, A. W., Thatcham through the ages, Occasional Paper Number 2, Thatcham Historical Society: Thatcham, 1979
  • Young, N., Thatcham Then & Now, History Press, 2012