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All Saints, Swallowfield, Berkshire

(51°22′39″N, 0°56′58″W)
SU 732 648
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Berkshire
now Wokingham
medieval Salisbury
now Oxford
  • Ron Baxter
13 July 1997, 08 November 2013

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Feature Sets

Swallowfield is a village on the Blackwater river, 5 miles S of the centre of Reading and a mile from the Hampshire border. The village itself is largely 19thc and later, and the church stands well outside the centre to the E, on the edge of Swallowfield Park. Flint-faced 12thc. nave and 13thc. chancel roofed as one, with a timber-framed bellcote with brick nogging, topped by a stumpy broach spire at the W end. The chancel E wall is 19thc. and there is an added N transept of ashlar. Features of interest are the N and S nave doorways, the latter heavily restored.


Swallowfield was held by the king in 1086, and no church was mentioned at that time. Gilbert de Breteuil might have held Swallowfield from the king at this time, but the evidence is contradictory (see VCH (1923), 267). By 1166 the overlordship was held by William, Earl of Warwick, and it was held from him by the St John family. After the death of Roger de St John in 1265 it was granted to Roger de Leybourne, but was returned to the St Johns before 1316.

The church was originally a chapel of Shinfield and was granted with Shinfield to the abbey of Lire by William fitzOsbern, passing later to the lords of the manor and from them to the Dean and Chapter of Hereforford cathedral c1294. The advowson was still with the cathedral in 1923.


Exterior Features



The centripetal chevron on the N doorway is not uncommon in the county, also being seen at e.g.Lambourn and Shellingford.


N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Berkshire. Harmondsworth, 1966, 238.

G. Tyack, S. Bradley and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Berkshire. New Haven and London 2010, 554-55.

Victoria County History: Berkshire III (1923), 267-74.