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.
Market Place & Queen Victoria Memorial c.1903
Northbrook Street c.1906
Cheap Street c.1900
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.
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.
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.
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'.
Newbury Castle was built by John Marshal, 4 miles west of Newbury in the village of Hamstead Marshall.
On Ash Wednesday the Newbury Tournament took place with King Henry III present and William de Valance taking part.
Up to a third of the population of Newbury perished during the Black Death.
Sir Richard Abberbury rebuilt Donnington Castle after he had received the necessary royal licence.
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.
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.
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.
Jack of Newbury (John Winchcombe) was born, he became one of the richest English cloth merchants in Newbury during the 16th Century.
Thomas Tyler, a local cloth worker was arrested for challenging church beliefs.
Christopher Shoemaker was burnt at the stake in Newbury, for preaching the Gospels.
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’.
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.
Shaw House was built by Thomas Dolman, a wealthy cloth merchant.
The town was granted a Royal Charter by Queen Elizabeth I (1553-1603).
The town suffered a severe outbreak of the plague.
The Guildhall was built in the Market Place, later additions to the building would include a prison built on the east side.
The Manor of Newbury is puchased from the Crown by Newbury Borough, along with all its common rights.
26th March - Rev Thomas Parker (1595–1677) the master of St Bartholomew’s Grammar School left Newbury, and traveled to London to board the 400-ton ship, 'Mary and John' (along with a number of Wiltshire men) to embark for New England, United States of America. He became the first pastor of the church in Newbury Plantation (Newburyport) in Massachusetts in 1635, he remained there for the rest of his life.
The first Baptist church was founded in Newbury.
20th September - The First battle of Newbury, became the last major battle of the English Civil War to be fought entirely by Royalists and Parliamentarians that were Englishmen.
27th October - The Second battle of Newbury, the combined armies of Parliament inflicted a tactical defeat on the Royalists but failed to gain any strategic advantage.
Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) passed through Newbury, he was at the head of a large force destined for the conquest of Ireland. On his return through Newbury the following year, he was enthusiastically received, and congratulated on the result.
A third-rate 52-gun Speaker-Class Frigate HMS Newbury was built at Graves shipyard in London.
Another outbreak of the plague occurred, open graves were dug on the surrounding downs for the infected bodies.
Kendricks school, a charity school for boys opened.
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.
A Workhouse built in Cheap Street, would be demolished in 1906.
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.
Newbury Bridge was built in stone along Northbrook Street that spans across the River Kennet, the bridge replaced an earlier built wooden bridge.
Mail coach services began in the town, with 42 coaches passing through Newbury each day.
April- The Corporation of Newbury petitioned Parliament against the Slave Trade.
William Plenty founded an iron foundry and engineering business, making ploughs, he went on to build a revolutionary lifeboat in 1816. Plenty now make pumps and filters.
Kimbers almshouses were built.
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.
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.
At the time of the first census the population of Newbury was 4,725.
The Kennet and Avon Canal had been built between Reading and Bristol mainly for transporting corn.
The famous Newbury Coat was made in a single day, a result of a bet between Sir John Throckmorton and John Coxeter.
William Plenty produces a revolutionary design of a 'Pulling and Sail' lifeboat called the Plenty, was 24 foot long by 8 foot beam and equipped with six oars. In 1824 The Royal National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwrecks (1854 became Royal National Lifeboat Institution 'RNLI') was formed with 14 lifeboats placed round the English coast, 11 were the 'Plenty' class lifeboat built at Newbury.
27th December - Newbury suffered from the Great Storm. The storm of hail and rain, accompanied with thunder and lightning. The river banks were washed away in many places, bridges were destroyed by the rush of water, chimneys and walls were thrown down by the gale, and many large trees were uprooted with some being broken short.
29th December - The streets of Newbury were lit by gas lights. Newbury and Speenhamland Improvement Act is passed, enabling the Borough to road improvements to Andover Road and Newtown Road.
Burgess a draper and clothier store in the Market Place opens, Richard Beynon took over and renamed the store Beynon Ltd in 1890, the store closed during 1990.
The Speenhamland Lamp is built in the Broadway as one of Newbury's earlisest gas lamps, it was paid for by public subscription. The lamp (known as the Speen Obelisk) was moved to the juction of Speen Lane and (Old) Bath Road when a new Clock Tower was built in 1887.
August - The foundation-stone was laid to the Newbury Union Workhouse, that was set up under the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834. The estimated cost of the building was £5,ooo.
Newbury Methodist Church is built in Northbrook Street.
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.
The first Freemasons Masonic Lodge is founded in Newbury.
Camp Hopson is founded in Northbrook Street, later moved to its present building in 1921.
The Corn Exchange (architect J.S. Dodd) was built in the Market Place, where grain could be bought and sold. It ceases trade during the 1980s, after a refurbishment the buildig would be reopened as an arts and entertainment centre in 1993.
21st April – The Roman Catholic Chapel (St. Joseph's) at Speenhamland was opened for worship on St. Anselm's Day.
Newbury gained its first newspaper.
The stocks in Newbury were last used when Mark Tuck was sentenced to 4 hours for drunkenness.
The cattle market was opened in Market Street by Lord Carnavon, it would last until 1969 when it closed.
Mains water is supplied to Newbury.
The Primitive Methodist Chapel, Schools, and Minister's house in Bartholomew-street were erected at a cost of about £5,000.
Two old cottages in Pelican Lane were converted to be used as the Police Station, Newbury had 45 officers and one mounted officer.
9th September - The Earl of Carnarvon lead a procession from Newbury to Andover Road in Wash Common for the unveiling of the Falkland Memorial, dedicated to Lord Falkland and the Royalist officers that were killed at the First Battle of Newbury in 1643.
The Railway had extended to Didcot.
Newbury Town Hall is built, James Money was appointed as the architect. After the demolition of the adjoining Mansion House, the Town Hall was extended in 1910.
The Railway had extended to Winchester, Newbury Hospital was built along Andover Road.
A cast iron Clock Tower is built in the Broadway to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. It would be replaced by a Clock House in 1928.
Newbury Post Office is built in Cheap Street.
The Railway had extended to Lambourn.
The Marsh is renamed Victoria Park to celebrate the life of Queen Victoria.
A statue of Queen Victoria and four lions on a plinth is built by Royal Doulton (paid by George Sanger), unveiled in the Market Place. The statue was moved to Greenham Park in 1933.
Electricity supply comes to the town. Newbury Museum opens in the Cloth Hall in the Wharf, it is extended in to the Granary in 1985.
Newbury racecourse was opened.
The Public Library is opened in Cheap Street, built on the site of the Workhouse (built 1726). The Library closed in 1998 to become a restaurant.
Newbury's first cinema open in Cheap Street, and Newbury Railway Station is rebuilt.
During the years of the World War I, Newbuy Racecourse used by mounted troops and prisoners of war, during the later part of the war tank testing and munitions inspecitons took place.
Racecourse-Class Minesweeper HMS Newbury was built at shipbuilders A & J Inglis Ltd in Scotland for the British Royal Navy.
30th May - A British Mk IV Tank arrived in Newbury, it toured around the town promoting a campaign to raise the sale of war bonds.
St George’s Avenue became the site for the first council houses built in Newbury.
The Regal Cinema is built in Bartholomew Street, the Cinema was demolished for shops (Iceland) in 1969.
S.S. Newbury a steam merchant ship was built at shipbuilders R. Duncan & Co. Ltd. in Scotland.
The Clock House (known as the Clock Tower) is built in the Broadway. The Clock House has carvings representing the Clock Tower (1887), and the Speenhamland Lamp (1828).
Woolworths opens in Northbrook Street, closes in 2008.
Newbury Brewing Company (27 Northbrook Street) closes, becomes the last Newbuy Brewery.
Miss Elsie Lilly Kimber (1889-1954) becomes the first female Mayor of Newbury, previously Newbury's first woman Town Councillor in 1930. Elsie died at Newbury District Hospital 29th April 1954.
The parishes of Speen, Speenhamland and Greenham are incorporated in to Newbury Borough.
Newbury Lido is opened at Northcroft.
The Supermarine Spitfire is manufactured for the RAF by Vickers Armstrong in a 126,000 sq.ft. building (now Quantel) along Turnpike Road.
Two RAF Presentation Spitfires are named after the town, through a wartime fund raising scheme that ran throughout the war years.
An airbase built at Greenham Common opened, used by the Royal Air Force and United States Army Air Forces (USAAF Ninth Air Force took over in 1943). Newbury Racecourse became a marshalling yard for the American army, and a prisoner of war camp.
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.
The famous 101st Airborne Division left Greenham Common airbase using planes with scores of gliders (built by Elliotts of Newbury) for D-Day.
8th May - Many residents of the town celebrated VE Day by having street parties to mark the end of the War in Europe.
Park House School in Andover Road opens as a school for boys.
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).
The Union Workhouse in Newton Road becomes Sandleford Hospital. Ormonde House in Oxford Road becomes Newbury College.
A collapse of a lock in Newbury causes the Kennet and Avon Canal to close. The canal reopened by Queen Elizabeth II, after a campaign by John Gould MBE to restore the lock in 1990.
St. John’s Church is rebuilt in a modern style, S.E. Dykes-Bower was the architect appointed.
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.
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.
The Black Bear Inn located on the corner of Bear Lane and Market Place is demolished to widen Bear Lane.
Waterside Youth Centre along the Kennet and Avon Canal opened.
Police Station and a Crown Court in an adjoining building are built in Mill Lane, Queen Victoria’s statue is relocated from Greenham Park to Victoria Park.
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.
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.
The M4 motorway was opened, by-passing the A4.
Snelsmore Common north of Newbury, becomes a Country Park.
The Newbury District Council was formed.
The A34 (now A339) is extended northbound to the M4, bridge built over Western Avenue (A4) along with alterations to the Robin Hood Roundabout.
The A34 (now A339) is extended to the south, known locally as the Sandleford link.
The building of six nuclear bunkers was started at Greenham Common, becomes a US Air Force Cruise Missile base in 1981.
The Newbury District Council offices built along Market Street.
Northcroft Leisure Centre is opened by Reg Stubberfield, the Chairman of Newbury District Council.
Womens peace camps were established around Greenham Common in protest at the deployment of cruise missiles.
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.
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. The missiles would leave using the same method in 1991.
Bayer opens its UK headquarter offices along Bath Road, Racal-Vodafone sets up at 2/4 London Road, after gaining a cellular license.
The Community Theatre opened.
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.
Greenham Common Airbase was declared surplus to requirements and closed.
Sainsbury’s build a superstore adjacent to the Police Station east of the A34 (now A339).
Queen Elizabeth II visits the town to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Newbury receiving the Royal Charter by Queen Elizabeth I.
Newbury Retail Park opens along Pinchington Lane, built on the site of Newbury Rugby Club.
Greenham Common was designated as public park-land.
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.
Newbury Library moved to a new building in The Wharf during July.
Bartholomew Street becomes pedestrianised during the day.
Vodafone moved in to their new £129 million world headquarters, 3,250 employees are located in the campus of seven buildings. Newbury College moves to new premises in Monks Lane, previous site of Ormonde House is demolished and redeveloped as houses.
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. West Berkshire Community Hospital opened, along London Road (A4) between Newbury and Thatcham.
Sandleford Hospital is demolished for redevelopment.
Newbury Hospital is demolished, and flats built on the site.
The Parkway Shopping Centre opened.
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).