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History Month Fact 16: Midgham and Greenham

In 1622, the Bishop of Salisbury's court decides that Midgham and Greenham inhabitants have the right to have the bells of their mother church of Thatcham rung for marriages and deaths within the tithings...Read more

History Month Fact 15: Work Shortage

In 1800, a mob of 300 to 400 local farm labourers gathers in Thatcham churchyard to protest about lack of work, low wages and high food prices. The vicar and local worthies listen to their complaints and the mob is dispersed peacefully by the Thatcham Volunteer Cavalry Corps with the help of the infantry. This is the first time that the Volunteers are used as a police force.Read more

History Month Fact 14: Thatcham Market

Thatcham market, in 1160AD, is attacked by men from Newbury who overturn stalls and cause a pitched battle in the Broadway. The monks at Reading Abbey appeal to the King who issues a further charter directing that the monks be allowed to hold their Thatcham market without interference and forbids the men of Newbury to do any injury to it.Read more

History Month Fact 13: Hard Times

Of course, times were at their most difficult during the winter months, and there had been a succession of dreadful winters in the late nineteenth century. On January 19th, 1881, George Hawkins was found frozen to death in Cold Ash; he had died whilst returning from Tile Mill with a wagon and horses. It is not recorded what happened to the horses! The weather must have been really terrible; on 23rd January, the evening service at St. Lukes, now known as St. Mary’s, had had to be altered from 6 pm to 3 pm.Read more

History Month Fact 12: Occupations

The occupations of people recorded in the 1881 census together with adverts and comments in the local paper show that sheep, dairy cattle and pigs were farmed locally. They were also marketed locally at Newbury and Reading as well as by public auction at farms; sheep also went to the local sheep fairs such as those at East Ilsley. Drovers, such as the one living in Long Lane, must have been important in moving animals to market and elsewhere. Milk almost certainly was sent off to the big cities by rail in the milk train.Read more

History Month Fact 11: Road Names

Roads were not officially named until 1928. Before this point, several road names were different from the modern day and some had more than one name. Chapel Street was once known as East Street, the Broadway was known as Broad Street in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and was also known as South Street. The present High Street was referred to as Crown Street after the public house of that name then present.Read more

History Month Fact 10: Population

The population of the parish in 1881 was 2,882 persons. This had slightly increased over that in 1871, 2,845 persons, and was to continue to increase more rapidly over subsequent decades. In 1981 the population of the parishes of Thatcham and Cold Ash combined (in 1881 Cold Ash was part of Thatcham parish) was 16,649 persons and this excludes persons living in part of the 1881 parish which has been lost to Newbury. Thus there has been over a fivefold increase in persons living in the area in the hundred years following 1881. Today there is and estimated population of at least 23,000 people.Read more

History Month Fact 9: Civil War

During the civil war between Empress Matilda and King Stephen, Matilda presents Thatcham church to Reading Abbey. The abbots possess absolute power over their territories and are freed from all taxes and feudal dues on lands granted to them. A house is erected at Henwick (the first time the name is mentioned) for overseers of the abbey lands to collect rents, fines and profits.Read more

History Month Fact 8: Bluecoats School

St. Thomas Chapel, the “chapel of the borough”, is built in 1304AD at East Street, now Chapel Street, financed by Sir Richard de Fokerham of Colthrop. It will later become the Bluecoat School and is Thatcham's oldest remaining building after the church of St. Mary’s, and the only grade 1 listed building in Thatcham. The building has been used as a chapel, a school and an antiques shop. You can find out more about this chapel at www.oldbluecoatschool.org.uk...Read more

History Month Fact 7: Domesday

The Domesday book shows that Thatcham is the centre of a royal estate of five manors; Thatcham, Midgham, Greenham, Crookham and Colthrop. As a royal estate it pays no taxes. The Domesday entry for Thatcham records demesne lands as two hides and land for 25 ploughs, 35 villeins and 12 cottagers, with 25 ploughs between them; 12 houses of freemen worth 55/- rental per annum, two mills worth 22/6d per annum, 147 acres of meadow and woodland providing pannage for 60 hogs. The church of the manor is held by two clerics with three hides which are worth £3. Thatcham's total value is £34...Read more