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St Mary the Virgin, Aldermaston, Berkshire

(51°22′51″N, 1°8′42″W)
SU 596 650
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Berkshire
now West Berkshire
medieval Salisbury
now Oxford
  • Ron Baxter
19 August 1998, 19 November 2013

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Aldermaston is a village on the south bank of the Kennet, 5 miles E of Newbury and 10 miles SW of Reading. The church is on the edge of the grounds of Aldermaston Court, east of the village. It is a large pebble-dashed church with a single nave and chancel and no chancel arch. The original church was shorter, but was extended E and W in the 13thc., the W part of the nave being slightly wider than the E. At the same time a S transept was added as a chapel. There is a 15thc. tower with a spire. The only features of interest are the large reset W doorway and a carved head set on the S wall inside the nave.


The manor was held by King Harold before the Conquest, and by the Conqueror in 1086, both as part of the royal demesne. It was assessed at 15 hides in Harold's time. The population numbered 50 recorded people, equivalent to a total of over 200 in 1086. There was a church, a mill, 2 fisheries and a church. Henry I granted the tenancy to Robert Achard, and it passed to his son and grandson (both Williams) and remained in the same line throughout the middle ages and beyond. The manor was sold in 1893 to the distinguished antiquarian, C. E. Keyser, well known for his discovery of stone from Reading Abbey at Borough Marsh.

William Achard, grandson of Robert, granted the church to Sherbourne Priory in Hampshire, and as this was a cell of St Vigor de Cerisy it was taken into royal hands during the Hundred Years War.


Exterior Features


Interior Features

Interior Decoration


The W tower doorway is certainly reset, but seems too large to have been anything other than a W doorway originally.


N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Berkshire. Harmondsworth, 1966, 61-62.

G. Tyack, S. Bradley and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Berkshire. New Haven and London 2010, 120-21.

Victoria County History: Berkshire III (1923), 386-95.