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History Month Fact 21: Building Firms

In 1881 the census lists only two building firms in Thatcham. One was run by the Bailey family of Crown Street. It comprised Mrs Jane Bailey, a widow, her daughter and two sons. They employed nine 'mechanics', three boys and seven labourers; and is described later as 'builder, undertaker, contractor and timber merchant...Read more

History Month Fact 20: Starving Children

To aid the children in the hard times of 1886, some 250 children were fed at a special children’s dinner party with cold boiled beef, hot potatoes, hot carrots and bread at the Infant School-room. They devoured 130 lbs. of beef, four bushels of potatoes, a bushel of carrots and twelve gallons of bread.Read more

History Month Fact 19: Hard Times

The winter months of 1886 not only being harsh with the weather but also economy created problems for the people of Thactham. One extract from the NWN (28th January 1886) shows to what extent – “A man, his wife and four children were last week endeavouring by singing in Chapel Street to induce the villagers to extend their charity towards them. Three Bluecoat boys came along, Carter, Wells and Maccabee by name. Two of the three gave a copper to the singers, and the third sacrificed his dinner for the benefit of the apparently starving children.”Read more

History Month Fact 18: William Northway

William Northway, in his will dated 25th November, 1820, left to the churchwardens and overseers of the parish of Thatcham a large the sum of money. The income from this, he directed this should be divided in two halves and paid out annually; one half was to be distributed equally between the three oldest single poor men of the parish, and the other half was to be spent on providing bread for the poor of the parish.Read more

History Month Fact 17: Population and employment

By 1851 Thatcham had a population of 2,861, and although many of its inhabitants still worked on the land, others were now employed in such industries as wood-turning (carried on by firms like Brown's and Pinnocks in the Broadway) and paper-making (carried on at Colthrop Mills)...Read more

History Month Fact 16: Thomas White

In 1540 a lease on Colthrop Mill was granted to Thomas White and his wife, Agnes. By this time the premises were described as “... a fulling (cloth) mill, lately new built, together with a tenement (house) adjoining”; there was also some land mentioned in the lease. In 1541 the annual rent of the mill, the tenement and the land was stated to be £4.Read more

History Month Fact 15: Water Pumps

Beau Nash in 1754 organises water pumps on the Bath Road to keep the dust down from passing traffic. There are still the remains of or replacements for five of them today, at intervals along the side of the Bath Road (A4) in Thatcham. The pump at the head of the Broadway is, however, believed to be the parish pump.Read more

History Month Fact 14: Church Properties

A written survey lists the properties of Thatcham church which include the vicarage house with two little gardens and an acre of ground, 2 ½ acres in a close, an acre of arable land, tithes from several smaller areas of arable land and pasture for cows.Read more

History Month Fact 13: Thomas Sare

In 1398 Thomas Sare of Thatcham, the miller at Colthrop, is fined six shillings (a large sum in those days) because he and his family, with force and arms, tore up trees and shrubs belonging to John Shilford, lord of the manor of Colthrop.Read more

History Month Fact 12: Chamberhouse

The estate of Chamberhouse seems to have been so called from its owner, Roger de la Chambre, who was living there in the year 1250. Additional evidence of the identity of the locality may be found in the fact that the road leading from it to Thatcham, being one of the boundaries of the estate, is called Chamber Lane in a document dated as 1384. It was not until about the middle of the fifteenth century that a royal grant was made to the then owner of the estate of the rights and privileges attaching to a manor. Before that date it formed part of the manor of Crookham.Read more