slideshow

Market Place & Queen Victoria Memorial c.1903

Cheap Street c.1900

Northbrook Street c.1906

Timeline of Newbury

The following is a timeline of historical events of the market town of Newbury in West Berkshire.

Use the menu below to quickly navigate to the Century of interest.


11th Century

1079

The earliest recorded mention of Newbury was in the book ‘Ecclesiastical History of England and Normandy’. The town was granted the right to hold a fair and a market, this tradition still happens to this day.

1080

Ernulph de Hesdin (1038-1097), a French knight who took part in the Norman Conquest was granted the manor of Newbury by William the Conqueror.

1086

Newbury was recorded in the Domesday Book as a town with 22 households in 1086.

Speen (a village just outside and west of Newbury) also recorded in the Domesday Book, the village was built on the Roman military outpost of 'Spinae'.

12th Century

1152

Newbury Castle was built by John Marshal, 4 miles west of Newbury in the village of Hamstead Marshall.

13th Century

1248

On Ash Wednesday the Newbury Tournament took place with King Henry III present and William de Valance taking part.

14th Century

1349

Up to a third of the population of Newbury perished during the Black Death.

1386

Sir Richard Abberbury rebuilt Donnington Castle after he had received the necessary royal licence.

15th Century

1460

During the War of the Roses, the town leaders declared allegiance towards the side of the Yorkist. When the Lancastrian Army arrived, they looted the shops and hanged the ringleaders.

1466

St. Bartholomew's School was founded by Henry Wormestall, it started as a Boys Grammar School in the area of the junction of Bartholomew Street and Pound Street.

1483

Henry Stafford the 2nd Duke of Buckingham (1454-1483), and several local barons held a gathering in Newbury during October, to overthrow King Richard III and place Edward V back on the throne. Buckinghams men deserted, he fled to Salisbury and was caught. Buckingham was convicted of treason and beheaded on 2nd November near the Bull's Head Inn in Salisbury.

1490

Thomas Tyler, a local cloth worker was arrested for challenging church beliefs.

16th Century

1518

Christopher Shoemaker was burnt at the stake in Newbury, for preaching the Gospels.

1556

During Queen Mary's reign, three Protestants were put on trial for their faith in the parish church, they were condemned to death and burnt at the stake at a site along Enborne Road, they became known as ‘The Martyrs of Newbury’.

1568

Queen Elizabeth I arrived in Newbury and was greeted by ringing bells, rumour says that she secretly gave birth to an illegitimate son at nearby Hamstead Marshall just west of Newbury.

1581

Shaw House was built by Thomas Dolman who was a wealthy cloth merchant.

1596

The town was granted a Charter by Queen Elizabeth I.

17th Century

1604

The town suffered a severe outbreak of the plague.

1611

The Guildhall was built in the Market Place, later additions to the building would include a prison built on the east side.

1640

The first Baptist church was founded in Newbury.

1642

First battle of Newbury.

1644

Second battle of Newbury.

1665

Another outbreak of the plague occurred, open graves were dug on the surrounding downs for the infected bodies.

18th Century

1706

Kendricks school, a charity school for boys opened.

1723

Newbury Wharf on the River Kennet was built, it was a common sight to see Barley that was grown for malting being loaded on to barges which would end up at the Thames in Reading.

1766

The Bread Riot started during an August market day, during the time the sack of corn were being pitched for sale, the people broke out into wild riot.

1772

Newbury Bridge was built in stone along Northbrook Street that spans across the River Kennet, the bridge replaced an earlier built wooden bridge.

1790

William Plenty founded a firm making ploughs and went on to build a revolutionary lifeboat. Plenty now make pumps and filters.

1793

Kimbers almshouses were built.

1794

An Act of Parliament was granted to link the River Kennet in Berkshire with the River Avon in the west, it would become known as the Kennet and Avon Canal.

1795

Local magistrates, meeting at the George and Pelican Inn in Speenhamland, introduced the Speenhamland System which tied parish poor relief (welfare payments) to the cost of bread.

19th Century

1801

At the time of the first census the population of Newbury was 4,725.

1810

The Kennet and Avon Canal had been built between Reading and Bristol mainly for transporting corn.

1811

The famous Newbury Coat was made in a single day, a result of a bet between Sir John Throckmorton and John Coxeter.

1825

The streets were lit by gas lights.

1847

A branch line of the Great Western Railway (GWR) opened, connecting Reading via Newbury to Hungerford, where the line ended. The Kennet and Avon Canal started to go in decline due to the railway.

1862

The corn exchange was built where grain could be bought and sold.

1867

Newbury gained its first newspaper.

1872

The stocks in Newbury were last used when Mark Tuck was sentenced to 4 hours for drunkenness.

1873

The cattle market was built, it would last until 1969 when it closed.

1882

The Railway had extended to Didcot.

1885

The Railway had extended to Winchester, Newbury Hospital was built.

1898

The Railway had extended to Lambourn.

20th Century

1904

Newbury gained a museum.

1905

Newbury racecourse was opened.

1906

The first public library opened.

1910

The first cinema opened.

1929

The Clock Tower opened.

1940

The Supermarine Spitfire is manufactured for the RAF by Vickers Armstrong in a 126,000 sq.ft. building along Turnpike Road.

1942

Newbury Racecourse became a marshalling yard for the American army. Greenham Common airbase was built.

1943

Newbury was bombed by German Dornier 217 bombers, a council school, St.John's Church and houses were destroyed which resulted in 15 people being killed and 41 people injured.

1944

The famous 101st Airborne Division left Greenham Common airbase using planes with scores of gliders (built by Elliotts of Newbury) for D-Day.

1948

Newbury was given a Coat of Arms. It shows Newbury castle and wavy lines for the river Kennet. The sheaf represents Newbury’s long history as an agricultural market town. The teasel represents the wool industry that used to exist in Newbury (teasels were used to comb wool).

1957

St. John’s Church is rebuilt in a modern style, S.E. Dykes-Bower was the architect.

1958

St. John’s roundabout built partly over the original location of St. John's Church (that was destroyed during the bombing in 1943) and the London Apprentice pub.

1961

Western Avenue (A4) built to bypass London Road and The Broadway, a Fire Station along with an Ambulance Station built adjacent to The Greyhound pub.

14th December - The Masonic Centre at Clarendon Gardens along London Road was dedicated by Freemason Lieutenant Colonel R.H. Ingham Clark, the building was built earlier in the year.

1963

The Black Bear Inn located on the corner of Bear Lane and Market Place was demolished to widen Bear Lane.

1964

Waterside Youth Centre opened.

1965

Police Station and a Court in an adjoining building are built in Mill Lane.

1966

The A34 bypass (now A339) is built to for traffic to bypass the Town Centre. The Greyhound pub (at the end of Smith's Crescent) and a private house (The Myrtles) are both demolished, to make way for the Robin Hood Roundabout.

1967

The Fairclose Day Centre is formally opened by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, the build is on the site of the almshouses the were destroyed during the bombing in 1943.

The Watermill Theatre opened.

1971

The M4 motorway was opened.

1972

Snelsmore Common north of Newbury, becomes a Country Park.

1974

The Newbury District Council was formed.

1977

The A34 (now A339) is extended northbound to the M4, bridge built over Western Avenue (A4) along with alterations to the Robin Hood Roundabout.

1979

The A34 (now A339) is extended to the south, known locally as the Sandleford link.

1980

The building of six nuclear bunkers was started at Greenham Common.

The Newbury District Council offices built along Market Street.

Northcroft Leisure Centre is opened by Reg Stubberfield, the Chairman of Newbury District Council.

1981

Womens peace camps were established around Greenham Common in protest at the deployment of cruise missiles.

1982

Quantel founded by Sir Peter Michael in 1973, moves the company headquarters in to the building once occupied by Vickers Armstrong along Turnpike Road. The Air raid shelters are still present within the grounds.

1983

Greenham Common becomes a US Air Force Cruise Missile base when 96 fully operational cruise missiles were flown in by USAF Lockheed C-5 Galaxys.

Bayer opens its UK headquarter offices along Bath Road, Racal-Vodafone sets up at 2/4 London Road, after gaining a cellular license.

1984

The Community Theatre opened.

1991

At the Newbury Show there was an event to recreate the famous Newbury Coat in a single day that was first achieved in 1811.

Tesco built a superstore in Pinchington Lane.

1993

Greenham Common Airbase was declared surplus to requirements and closed.

1994

Sainsbury’s build a superstore adjacent to the Police Station east of the A34 (now A339).

1996

Queen Elizabeth II visits the town to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Newbury receiving the Royal Charter by Queen Elizabeth I.

1997

Newbury Retail Park opens along Pinchington Lane, built on the site of Newbury Rugby Club.

Greenham Common was designated as public park-land.

1998

Berkshire County Council was abolished and Newbury District Council changed its name to West Berkshire Council and took on the former County Council's responsibilities within its area.

The Newbury bypass (A34) was opened after a long battle with protestors (including the infamous protestor called ‘swampy’) over the building of the road.

Northbrook Street becomes pedestrianised during the day.

21st Century

2000

Newbury Library moved to a new building in The Wharf during July.

Bartholomew Street becomes pedestrianised during the day.

2002

Vodafone moved in to their new £129 million world headquarters, 3,250 employees are located in the campus of seven buildings.

2004

The improved A34-M4 junction 13 was re-opened which allowed North–South traffic on the A34 to completely bypass the earlier roundabout at the M4. A new Community Hospital opened.

2011

The Parkway Shopping Centre opened.

2014

A pilot of a civilian light aircraft flying over Greenham Common took photographs which appeared to reveal that the former airbase was being used as a filming location for the Star Wars film (The Force Awakens).