Monday 17 September 2012

I would like to tell you about the town where I was born and still live. Newbury was founded in the late 11th century following the Norman invasion as New Borough from where it got it's name.
Newbury is situated on the River Kennet and the Kennet and Avon Canal. There are many 17th century building in the town, one of the oldest buildings to be the one that belonged to John Winchcombe also locally known as Jack O' newbury who was to become the proprietor of the largest wool manufacturer in the UK. His claim to fame was when he took on a bet whether a mans coat could be made by taking the wool from a sheep's back to making it in to a coat in a single day, and he won the bet. His house can still be seen to this day in a side street off of Northbrook St.

John Winchcombe House
Looking Up At John Winchcombe House

Newbury was  the scene of two civil war battles, the first took place in 1643 at Wash Common south of Newbury and the second took place in 1644 at Speen which is north of Newbury.  At Donnington you will find Donnington Castle which was built by Sir Richard Abberbury the Elder in 1386. During the first civil war it was held by the Royalist Sir John Boys and it with stood an 18 month siege, after the garrison surrendered Parliament ordered that Donnington Castle be demolished and this was done in 1646. All that stands today is the impressive Gatehouse and the foundations of  where walls and towers once stood.

Gatehouse Of Donnington Castle

Nearby is Shaw house which was built in 1581 by Newbury clothier Thomas Dolman. In one of the rooms there is a brass plaque marking the spot where a shot from a Roundhead Musket that narrowly missed King Charles I who was dressing himself in the window on the first morning of the first battle of Newbury when the house was under heavy siege. It is also believed that an underground tunnel runs from Shaw House to Donnington Castle.

The Front Of Shaw House

A Photo Of Shaw House Taken Back In The Late 1990s

In the town you will find the church of St Nicolas. A church has stood on this site since it was mentioned in a document in 1086,The present church was entirely rebuilt between 1509-1533.
St Nicolas church is also one of the Berkshires finest wool churches; meaning it was built from the profits of the wool and cloth industry. The rebuild of this perpendicular was started by John Winchcombe (Jack of Newbury) and was completed by his son, also named John.
Inside you'll find the final resting place of John Winchcombe (Jack of Newbury), who passed away in February 1519, he is buried next to his first wife Alice. The church was used by Parliamentarian troops as a guard's room and a hospital during the civil war in the 17th century.
Much of the church was vandalised and defaced at this time with lead stripped from the nave and aisle roofs; even the weathercock was pulled down.

St Nicolas Church Seen From Bartholomew St

A Stained Glass Window Dedicated to John Winchcombe
(Jack Of Newbury)

Sign Above A Door Of The Church

The Bell Tower Facing West

The Church From Bartholomew St Once Again

One of the towns most beautiful buildings has to be the cloth hall, it was originally built in the 17th century. The cloth hall is now home to the Newbury museum which contains items from the civil war and the cloth industry.

Side Door Of The Museum

The Cloth Hall, Now The Museum

A Plaque On The Wall Of The Museum

The Dragon Weather Vain On The Museum

A Carved Wooden Support On The Museum

Next to the cloth hall is the wharf which was once a bustling depot which could load and unload large barges.The Kennet and Avon canal runs through the centre of the town, it was built by the great train engineer John Rennie and it opened in 1810. It linked the river Thames to the Bristol Channel.

The Wharf Where Once Bargees Were Loaded And Unloaded

A Lock On The Kennet And Avon Canal

A Sign By The Canal

An Old Crane By The Canal

One of the oldest parts of Newbury is West Mills, here you will find lines of quaint cottages and period houses brick. The timber-framed weavers' cottages are jacobean, one of the cottages still has its tile-hung east gable with moulded bargeboards and a picturesque oriel window and retains its old leaded lights.

Tile End Of A Jacobean Cottage

A Row Of Period Houses And Cottages

Looking Back Towards West Mills

Once Where The Flour Mill Stood, Now Flats

The Old Mill Which Is Now Flats. Seen From The Swing Bridge

The one thing Newbury is famous for is its racecourse, it has to be one of the best and most beautiful racecourses in the UK. Many top races, both flat and National hunt, are run at here. In 2005 it celebrated its 100th anniversary, one of the most popular race has to the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup, a steeplechase run in the Autumn. Many top steeplechasers have run in the event. The most famous has to be the legendary Arkle. An Irish horse that's it had be said is the greatest of all steeplechasers. He won the race twice, in 1964 and 1965. It was also here that Arkle had one of his rare failures,defeat in the 1963 race to Mill House, which was caused by Arkle slipping on landing after jumping a fence.

One person I would like to tell you about is a well known man in Newbury, he was Lord George Sanger.
He was born on 23rd December 1825, later on in his life he would be the owner of a circus. In 1903 he presented the people of Newbury with a statue of Queen Victoria and it was placed in the Market place where is father once had a stall. The monument was moved to Marsh Park in 1966, Marsh Park became Victoria Park. It's Rumoured he was murdered by a employee Herbert Charles Cooper at his home with a hatchet  on 28th November 1911. He was buried next to his wifes grave in Margate on 4th December 1911 Why I wanted to tell you about Lord George Sanger as I'm related to him on my mothers side of the family. It is said that his father James was on the HMS Victory during the battle of Trafalgar along Lord Nelson, wether this is true I'm not sure.

A Photo Of Lord Sanger

Queen Victoria With Her Lions

Queen Victoria looking not Amused

Close Up Of Three Of The Lions

The Statue Of Fame Was Once Part of the Queen Victoria Monument When It Was In The Market Place

Newbury is twinned with Braunfels (Germany), Bagnols-Sur-Ceze (France), Eeklo (Belgium) and Feltre in Italy.

The Day The Olympic Touch Came To Newbury
 11th July 2012

The town crier

Dancers in the Olympic colours

The Olympic Flame

All photos taken and owned by DDPEARCE of Darrins Photography

The photo of Lord George Sanger was taken from the book I own called, Seventy years a showman by Lord George Sanger, printed in 1926 by J.M.Dent And Sons Ltd Of London And Toronto

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