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History Month Fact 25: Samuel Barfield

Samuel Barfield wrote the book "Thatcham, Berks, and its Manors" but died in 1899, before it could be published. James Parker took on the material and had it published in 1901. To this day the book remains one of the most complete histories of Thatcham. It is spread over two volumes, one containing the appendices which has much of the source material used in the research for the book...Read more

History Month Fact 24: Employment

For those who could not find employment here in Thatcham in the late nineteenth-century, but who were young enough to risk trying to make a fresh start, there was always emigration. Thousands of people left England in the nineteenth-century to seek a new life in a new country, including many from Thatcham. A “goodbye supper” was held on the evening of Monday, 9th March, 1891, at the “Wheatsheaf” for “Three Colonists” about to leave Thatcham - Albert Hobbs (the landlady's son), Albert Lavender and Robert heeler. They were emigrating to Manitoba, Canada...Read more

History Month Fact 23: St Mark's Church

The foundation stone of St Mark's church in Cold Ash is laid in 1864. The church is consecrated in 1865 and a "district Chapelry" in the parish of Thatcham is formed. The architect of the church is C.N.Beazley. The first vicar is Wallis Marmaduke Pickthall, who lives in Vicarage House in Collaroy Road until his death in 1875...Read more

History Month Fact 22: British School

John Barfield, solicitor of the Priory in Church Lane, conveys land next to the Independent Chapel in Church Lane to be used for the British School (Non conformist). It opens in 1847 largely as result of the efforts of Mrs Barfield.Read more

History Month Fact 21: Thatcham Workhouse

Edward Winbolt, master of Thatcham workhouse, dies in 1835. The workhouse closes in 1837, becoming a private house that is later split into four cottages. It had probably existed from c.1782 or earlier.Read more

History Month Fact 20: Swing Riots

The Swing Riots start in Berkshire at Thatcham in 1830. A small group of labourers tours the local farms collecting others, and up to 300 gather in the churchyard to ask for more work and higher wages. They are met by members of the Select Vestry who offer work but no extra pay.Read more

Bron: The Girl with the Golden Ankle

For those of you who enjoy historical fiction, the third book in Iris Lloyds BRON series was published last month. Part I, Daughter of Prophecy (ISBN 978-1-906206-07-9 ), and Part II, Flames of Prophecy (ISBN 978-1-906206-23-9 ), take place on a site being excavated at Beedon, north of Newbury. Iris has created an Atrebate settlement there and Bron is born into the village in AD 385, towards the end of the Roman occupation. In Part III, The Girl with the Golden Ankle (ISBN 978-1-906710-35-4 ), she takes ship for Italia and has many adventures and dangers to face before setting foot in Ostia...Read more

History Month Fact 19: Open Fields

Around 1820, the last of Thatcham's open fields are enclosed under the Enclosure Award of 1817. The Award is made mainly on the basis that it will lead to better farming practice, but it is one of the main causes of rural unemployment and depopulation...Read more

History Month Fact 18: Mail Coach Service

A mail coach service is introduced in 1784. Edward Fromont of The King's Head is contracted to provide horses for the first Royal Mail coach. The coaches stop at Cooper's Cottage (where Beverley Close is today) and the King's Head and White Hart inns. The mail coach era lasts until the 1840s when the railway takes over, being cheaper and faster...Read more

History Month Fact 17: Turnpike

Around 1720, the Bath Road through Thatcham is turned into a turnpike; tollhouses are built and tolls are charged for use of the road. One of the tollhouses, known as Thatcham Gate, is built near where Wyevale Garden Centre is today. Sadly the toll house was demolished in 1965.Read more