Newbury

page 1

  1. Location
  2. Adjoining parishes
  3. Size
  4. Population
  5. Place names within modern Newbury

page 2

  1. Genealogical resources
  2. Other sources and links

page 3

  1. Anglican churches
  2. Other churches

page 4

  1. Local history

Location

Newbury is the principal town of West Berkshire and also (within the area of the original borough) a civil parish. Through it runs the river Kennet, the Kennet & Avon Canal, the Great Western Railway line to Devon and Cornwall, and the A4 (formerly known as the Bath Road). The latter’s arterial function has now been superseded by the M4 motorway a few miles north of the town. From the 1880s until the 1960s north-south links were augmented by the Didcot, Newbury and Southampton Railway. The Newbury bypass (A34) opened on the west side of town in 1998.

The civil parish of Newbury consists today of the original town and acquired suburbs, several of which were separate parishes until 1878, when the northern and eastern town boundaries were extended to take in Speenhamland, Shaw and part of Donnington, Wood Speen, Church Speen and Greenham. The borough boundaries were extended again in 1934, taking land from Cold Ash, Thatcham and Enborne.

Hundred

Faircross

Poor Law union

Newbury

Registration district

Newbury

Present-day local authority

West Berkshire (unitary authority) since 1998, replacing Newbury District Council.

Grid reference

SU 46 67

Adjoining parishes in 1851

Enborne, Speen, Shaw-cum-Donnington, Greenham, Thatcham, and (in Hants) Highclere, East Woodhay

Size

  • in 1851: 1,242 acres  (503 hectares)
  • in 1924: 1,826 acres (740 hectares)

Population

1851: Newbury 6,568; Speen 3,295; Shaw 653; Greenham 1,182

2011: Newbury 41,553

Place names within Newbury

Bartholomew Street: the main route leading southwards from the town centre.

Cheap Street, one of the trio of town centre roads, leading southwards from the Market Place. It was severely truncated by the arrival of the railway in 1843, and again with the construction of the ring road in the 1960s.

The City: a group of streets south-west of the town centre, never a separate parish, but having a distinctive culture, which included election of its own mock mayor. Until the early nineteenth century it was known at St Bartholomew’s, and was at one time the site of St Bartholomew’s Fair. There are numerous almshouses in and near this area.

Donnington: a village north of the town, site of the Second Battle of Newbury (1644), during which the castle and much of the village was destroyed. The village contains a former priory and almshouses. The castle ruins remain Berkshire’s only stone castle apart from Windsor. See Shaw-cum-Donnington.

East and West Fields: former commons within Newbury town, enclosed in 1844, and now wholly built over.

Greenham: a separate village to the south-east of the town. Most of it was incorporated within Newbury 1878, but it is still a separate civil parish. Greenham Common (which occupies a large part of the parish) was commandeered for an airbase during the Second World War, and was occupied by the USAF from the 1950s until 1990.

Northbrook Street: the main shopping street running north from the river Kennet towards Speenhamland.

Market Place, a triangular space south of the river Kennet, where Newbury's charter market has been held since medieval times. The town hall is also here.

Newbury-Northbrook-St-1950s_edited-1

Northcroft: a commons to the west of Newbury town, and still a grassy open space. It has long been the site of racing, fairs and festivals.

Sandleford: extra-parochial district on the south eastern edge of Newbury, 520 acres. Noted for Sandleford Priory, now a school.

Shaw-cum-Donnington: two parishes to the north and north east of the town centre, joined by 1839. Taken into Newbury in 1878, but still a separate civil parish.

Speen: a village to the north-west, partly incorporated into Newbury in 1878, but still a separate civil parish.

Speenhamland: on the northern edge of Newbury, bridging the gap between the town and Speen, and spanning the London/Bath road. It was the centre of Newbury’s coaching trade 1750 - 1850.

Newbury-Speenhamland-Money_edited-1

St Bartholomew’s: see the City.

Victoria Park: formerly town commons on the north bank of the Kennet, this area is now a public park with boating lake, bandstand and playground. Formerly called the Marsh, it was renamed in honour of Queen Victoria’s 1897 jubilee.

Wash Common: scene of the First Battle of Newbury in 1643, the Wash was around 450 acres of common land south of the town centre, divided between the parishes of Newbury and Enborne, and virtually uninhabited until the end of the nineteenth century. Newbury Wash was enclosed in 1858, and in 1934 the town boundary moved westwards to take in Enborne Wash. Wash Common is now wholly developed.

Wash Water is the name of the southern tip of Newbury, part of Wash Common, lying alongside the river Enborne. The name also covers part of Enborne.  

Additional information