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St Mary, Bucklebury, Berkshire

(51°26′0″N, 1°12′21″W)
SU 553 708
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Berkshire
now West Berkshire
medieval Salisbury
now Oxford
  • Ron Baxter
28 August 1990, 19 November 2013

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Feature Sets

Bucklebury is a village on the river Pang in West Berkshire, between between Reading (12 miles) and Newbury (8 miles). The church is in the centre of the village, and is built of flint and rubble with stone dressings and tile roofs. It consists of a west tower, nave with S porch and N aisles, chancel and a 19thc vestry on the N side of the tower. The ornate S doorway is all that remains of the 12thc. work.


The church was on the king's holding in 1086, having previously belonged to King Edward. In 1151 X 54 the monks of Reading received the church by exchange from St Albans Abbey. By an agreement between Hubert FitzWalter (Bishop of Salisbury 1189-93) and Abbot Hugh of Reading, the revenues of Thatcham and Bucklebury were assigned to Abbot Hugh's hospital in Reading, saving only sufficient provision for vicars. This arrangement was confirmed by Clement III (1187-91) and by Celestine III (1191-98).


Exterior Features



The R capital with its deeply recessed shield, beaded border and fluted bell is obviously related to capitals from Reading Abbey found by Charles Keyser at Sonning and deposited in Reading Museum in 1916 (e.g. Keyser (1916) no.15). The multifoil infills of the triangles on the Bucklebury door jambs also appears on the impost chamfer of one Reading capital (Keyser no.9). In such a rich and varied structure, a few similarities are hardly surpising, but the scarcity of parallels and the coarser carving renders any workshop connection unlikely. The later S doorway at Thatcham, also has a spiral colonnette, and a similar bifurcated leaf on the outer order but this, like everything else at Thatcham, is treated as a geometrical rather than a vegetal form. A date c.1140-60 would place the doorway around the period when the church came into Reading's possession.


A. L. Humphreys, Bucklebury, A Berkshire Parish, privately published, 1932.

B. Kemp (ed.), Reading Abbey Cartularies, 2 vols., London, (Camden Fourth Series vols. 31 (1986) and 33 (1987)). I: 16n, 134-38, 160, 163, 166-73; 2:26-38.

C.E. Keyser, 'The Norman doorways in the County of Berkshire', Berks, Bucks and Oxon Archaeological Journal 6 (1900), pp.8-18.

C. E. Keyser, 'Norman capitals from Sonning, Berks., and sculptured stones at Shiplake and Windsor Castle, probably brought from Reading abbey', Proc. Soc. Ants. Lond., 2nd ser.28, 1916, 234-45, figs. 1, 2, 8 for Reading capitals.

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Berkshire. Harmondsworth 1966, 106-07.

Victoria History of the Counties of England: Berkshire. London. Vol. 3 (1923).