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St Mary, Sulhamstead Abbots, Berkshire

(51°24′26″N, 1°4′26″W)
Sulhamstead Abbots
SU 645 680
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Berkshire
now West Berkshire
medieval Salisbury
now Oxford
  • Ron Baxter
16 September 2001, 19 November 2013

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Feature Sets

Sulhamstead Abbots is the easternmost of a group of three Sulhamsteads (the others are Sulhamstead and Sulhamstead Bannister) on the south bank of the Kennet, 5 miles SW of the centre of Reading. The village is little more than the church and a few timber-framed, thatched houses nearby. It consists of a nave with S doorway and bellcote over W end; a narrow N aisle with a three-bay arcade of the early 13thc.; and an aisleless 19thc. chancel with a 20thc. vestry to the N. The chancel is centred on the nave with its aisle, not on the unaisled nave, and not on the fine timber nave roof of 14th–15thc. The chancel arch belongs to the 19thc., and presumably in this period the original chancel was replaced with one shifted to the N. The only feature recorded here is the font.


The manor of Sulhamstead Abbots is not mentioned in Domesday, but appears as a possession of Reading Abbey by 1173 (Kemp (1986)). A chapel here is mentioned in confirmations of the abbey's possessions by Hubert Walter in 1193 and 1195–98. By 1240 it has become a church. It now belongs to the parish of Sulhamstead Abbots and Bannister with Ufton Nervet.





Pevsner disagrees with the architectural analysis above, placing the whole structure, including the chancel, around 1200. The font is earlier than any of the fabric of the building, features of its pseudo-architecture pointing to a date c.1170-80.


B. Kemp (ed.), Reading Abbey Cartularies, 2 vols., London, (Camden Fourth Series vols. 31 (1986) and 33 (1987)), I, 159, 161–62, 166, 169, 171.

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Berkshire. Harmondsworth 1966, 232

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

Victoria County History: Berkshire III (1923), 306-11.