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


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'.

12th Century


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

13th Century


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

14th Century


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.

15th Century


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.


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

16th Century


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 who was a wealthy cloth merchant.


The town was granted a Charter by Queen Elizabeth I.

17th Century


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 first Baptist church was founded in Newbury.


First battle of Newbury.


Second battle of Newbury.


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

18th Century


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.


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.


William Plenty founded a firm making ploughs and went on to build a revolutionary lifeboat. 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.

19th Century


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.


The streets were lit by gas lights.


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


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 built, it would last until 1969 when it closed.


The Railway had extended to Didcot.


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


The Railway had extended to Lambourn.

20th Century


Newbury gained a museum.


Newbury racecourse was opened.


The first public library opened.


The first cinema opened.


The Clock Tower opened.


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


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


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.


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).


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


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 was demolished to widen Bear Lane.


Waterside Youth Centre opened.


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


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.


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.

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.

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.

21st Century


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.


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.


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).