Timeline

History of Newbury in West Berkshire from Saxon Times to Today.

11th Century
1086 Newbury was recorded in the Domesday Book as a town with 22 households in 1086.
 
12th Century
1152 Newbury Castle was built by John Marshal 4 miles west of Newbury in the village of Hamstead Marshall.
 
13th Century
1248 On Ash Wednesday the Newbury Tournament took place with King Henry III present and William de Valance taking part.
 
14th Century
1386 Sir Richard Abberbury rebuilt Donnington Castle after he had received the necessary royal licence.
 
16th Century
1556 During Queen Mary's reign, three Protestants were put on trial for their faith in the parish church, they were condemned to death and burnt at the stake at a site along Enborne Road, they became known as ‘The Martyrs of Newbury’.
1581 Shaw House was built by Thomas Dolman who was a wealthy cloth merchant.
1596 The town was granted a Charter by Queen Elizabeth I.
 
17th Century
1604 The town suffered a severe outbreak of the plague.
1611 The Guildhall was built in the Market Place, later additions to the building would include a prison built on the east side.
1640 The first Baptist church was founded in Newbury.
1642 First battle of Newbury.
1644 Second battle of Newbury.
1665 Another outbreak of the plague occurred but fortunately this would be the last one.
 
18th Century
1706 Kendricks school, a charity school for boys opened.
1723 Newbury Wharf on the River Kennet was built, it was a common sight to see Barley that was grown for malting being loaded on to barges which would end up at the Thames in Reading.
1766 The Bread Riot started during an August market day, during the time the sack of corn were being pitched for sale, the people broke out into wild riot.
1790 William Plenty founded a firm making ploughs and went on to build a revolutionary lifeboat. Plenty now make pumps and filters.
1793 Kimbers almshouses were built.
1795 Local magistrates, meeting at the George and Pelican Inn in Speenhamland, introduced the Speenhamland System which tied parish poor relief (welfare payments) to the cost of bread.
 
19th Century
1801 At the time of the first census the population of Newbury was 4,725.
1810 The Kennet and Avon Canal had been built between Reading and Bristol mainly for transporting corn.
1811 The famous Newbury Coat was made in a single day, a result of a bet between Sir John Throckmorton and John Coxeter.
1825 The streets were lit by gas lights.
1847 A branch line of the Great Western Railway (GWR) opened, connecting Reading via Newbury to Hungerford, where the line ended. The Kennet and Avon Canal started to go in decline due to the railway.
1862 The corn exchange was built where grain could be bought and sold.
1867 Newbury gained its first newspaper.
1872 The stocks in Newbury were last used when Mark Tuck was sentenced to 4 hours for drunkenness.
1873 The cattle market was built, it would last until 1969 when it closed.
1882 The Railway had extended to Didcot.
1885 The Railway had extended to Winchester, Newbury Hospital was built.
1898 The Railway had extended to Lambourn.
 
20th Century
1904 Newbury gained a museum.
1905 Newbury racecourse was opened.
1906 The first public library opened.
1910 The first cinema opened.
1929 The Clock Tower opened.
1942 Newbury Racecourse became a marshalling yard for the American army. Greenham Common airbase was built.
1943 Newbury was bombed by German Dornier 217 bombers, a council school, St.John's Church and houses were destroyed which resulted in 15 people being killed and 41 people injured.
1944 The famous 101st Airborne Division left Greenham Common airbase using planes with scores of gliders (built by Elliotts of Newbury) for D-Day.
1948 Newbury was given a Coat of Arms. It shows Newbury castle and wavy lines for the river Kennet. The sheaf represents Newbury’s long history as an agricultural market town. The teasel represents the wool industry that used to exist in Newbury (teasels were used to comb wool).
1963 The A34 Dual Carriageway was built east of the town centre to ease congestion (today the road is the A339).
1964 Waterside Youth Centre opened.
1965 The new police station was built.
1967 The Watermill Theatre opened.
1971 The M4 motorway was opened.
1974 The Newbury District Council was formed.
1980 The building of 6 nuclear bunkers was started at Greenham Common. Newbury Leisure Centre opened.
1981 Womens peace camps were established around Greenham Common in protest at the deployment of cruise missiles.
1983 96 fully operational cruise missiles were flown in to Greenham Common by Lockheed C-5 Galaxys.
1984 The Community Theatre opened.
1991 At the Newbury Show there was an event to recreate the famous Newbury Coat in a single day that was first achieved in 1811.
1993 Greenham Common Airbase was declared surplus to requirements and closed.
1997 Greenham Common was designated as public park-land.
1998 Berkshire County Council was abolished and Newbury District Council changed its name to West Berkshire Council and took on the former County Council's responsibilities within its area. The Newbury bypass (A34) was opened after a long battle with protestors (including the infamous protestor called ‘swampy’) over the building of the road.
 
21st Century
2004 The improved A34-M4 junction 13 was re-opened which allowed North–South traffic on the A34 to completely bypass the earlier roundabout at the M4. A new Community Hospital opened.
2011 The Parkway Shopping Centre opened.
2014 A pilot of a civilian light aircraft flying over Greenham Common took photographs which appeared to reveal that the former airbase was being used as a filming location for the Star Wars film (The Force Awakens).
 
Newbury Folklore
Some interesting short stories of a Haunted Newbury.