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Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of Berkshire

by Peter Kessler, 8 July 2012. Updated 22 November 2019

West Berkshire Part 5: Churches of Inkpen to Newbury

Inkpen Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Berkshire

Inkpen Wesleyan Methodist Chapel stands on the eastern side of Post Office Road, with a large area of woodland immediately to its south and east. It was opened in 1872. Post-war attendances dropped rapidly across Britain, and it was no different for the Methodists. The chapel closed in the 1970s (this shot was taken in 1994), and is now a private residence called The Old Chapel. A Sunday School sat at the rear of the chapel, since incorporated into the residence.

St Mary's Church, Hamstead Marshall, Berkshire

St Mary's Church Hamstead Marshall sits atop a steep crest on the southern side of Park Lane, approximately 3.3 kilometres east of Kintbury in Berkshire and on the south bank of the Kennet. Known until recently as Hampstead Marshall, the 'p' has been dropped to avoid confusion with other, similarly named places. The earliest part of the church is the twelfth century south doorway, while the fifteenth century north aisle was only partially modernised by the Victorians.

St Mary's Church, Hamstead Marshall, Berkshire

Around 1622, the church was largely altered, gaining its tower at the same time. It is not clear whether this replaced an older version. Much of the walls are of flint and stone rubble with an intermingling of brick and tile, while the roofs are of modern red tiles. The three-stage tower is entirely brick, and the doorway has been rebuilt. The tower contains two bells, the second cast by Henry Knight of Reading in 1592 and the first by Lester & Pack in 1756.

Northbrook Street Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Newbury, Berkshire

Northbrook Street Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Newbury, sits on the western side of the street in the northern area of the town, flanked to the south by the truncated remains of Albert Road. The first church on this site (or perhaps the second - this is unclear) opened in 1804 to replace Cheap Street Chapel, but a larger building in turn replaced it in 1837-1838. This was extensively restored in 1898 and sat five hundred. Today it is Newbury Methodist Church.

St Nicholas Church, Newbury, Berkshire

St Nicholas Church, Newbury, is on the western side of Bartholomew Street (formerly West Street), bordered on the northern side by the Kennet & Avon Canal and West Mills in Newbury. The church was built at the start of the 1500s, some of which, at the tower end, was handled by John Smallwood (alias 'Jack [Winchcombe] of Newbury'), the clothier. It consists of chancel, north and south chapels, nave, north and south aisles and porches, and half-enclosed tower.

St Nicholas Church, Newbury, Berkshire

The tower bears the date 1532 on a corbel. The north vestry is a modern addition. The tower contains eight bells, all by James Wells in 1803. The tenor (which was recast with the rest) was donated in 1729. This church entirely replaced an older building of which nothing remains. It may have begun as a chapel for the nearby Thatcham parish church and was granted by Ernulf de Hesding to the abbey of St Pierre de Préaux, probably about 1080.

Four photos on this page by P L Kessler, and two kindly contributed by Keith Guyler/British Methodist Buildings via the 'History Files: Churches of the British Isles' Flickr group.

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