Tilehurst St Michael

There has been a church in Tilehurst from the 12th century and the first one would have been a simple building of wood. The Church is dedicated to St Michael.  It was generally thought that the Archangel Michael was the most likely to descend to earth so a church built on a hill was often dedicated to him.  The first mention of the church at Tilehurst was in a Charter dated 1189-1193 by the Bishop of Salisbury which stated that £10 was paid yearly to the Abbott of Reading.  The South Aisle of the Church, which is now the Lady Chapel, was built towards the end of the 13th or the beginning of the 14th century and may have been the entire Church at that time.  There were other additions and alterations over the years including the building of a square tower in 1730.  By 1854 the church had fallen into a state of disrepair and it was almost completely rebuilt in 1856 to a design by G. E. Street, but retaining the South Aisle and adding a spire to the tower.  There were 400 sittings – 300 of them free.

TilehurstStMichael

In 1954 more improvements took place including the removal of the chancel screen, alterations to the choir stalls and the repositioning of the organ.  The organ was replaced by an electric organ in 1998.  In 1957 the Church was declared an Ancient Monument.  An extension to the church was built in 1993 which includes a cloister and garden, meeting rooms, offices, kitchen and other facilities for meetings and groups.  New parishes have been created in Calcot (St Birinus), Little Heath (St Catherine of Sienna) and  Kentwood (St Mary Magdalen).  Each of these were originally mission halls which later became daughter churches of St Michaels’ before becoming parish churches in their own right.

The parish registers of Tilehurst St Michael are available on CD from the Berkshire Family History Society Bookshop and cover the Baptisms 1559-1946, Marriages 1614-1986, Banns 1823-1991 and Burials 1614-1941.

Additional information