It's not all round barrows and Roman villas here at the West Berks HER; today is the start of National Butchers' Week and we "cowdn't" resist shining the light on one of our most historic and iconic! 40 High Street, Theale came into the ownership of the Cumber family in the mid-18th century and became a butcher's shop almost 200 years ago in approximately 1820. The business prospered and a slaughterhouse was added sometime before the late 19th century at 42 and 42a High Street. As ever, find out more on Heritage Gateway where you can browse a wide selection of the sites and finds we have recorded on the HER.
In this weather the mind wanders to all things cold and icy. Did you know there are 19 icehouse recorded on the West Berkshire HER? Typically built in the 18th and 19th centuries for the occupants of some of our finest houses to store ice during more clement weather, most appear to have since been demolished. Ufton Court has a rare survival, but does anyone know of any others still standing?
It might not be in our patch, but our eastern neighbours in Windsor have had quite the discovery! A huge causewayed enclosure dating back to the Neolithic period, and believed to have been used as a ceremonial gathering place, has just been revealed in a quarry near Datchet.
Amongst the earliest known monuments in the UK, no causewayed enclosures have been found in West Berkshire (yet), but we do have two examples of the equally enigmatic and ancient cursus monument.
Our two... examples, from near Little Wawcot (http://www.heritagegateway.org.uk/Gate…/Results_Single.aspx…) and Sheffield Bottom (http://www.heritagegateway.org.uk/Gate…/Results_Single.aspx…), are also more than 5,000 years old! No trace of these monuments survive on the surface, but you can take the public footpath and walk right past the site of the Little Wawcot cursus and follow in the footsteps of the Neolithic farmers!
Historic England are launching a new scheme which lets communities identify, mark, and celebrate the spots where history has been made. Take a look and get thinking about our local places which deserve celebrating!
On the 6th February 1918 women won the right to vote in the UK. Are you planning to celebrate the centenary of this momentous event? Need some funding? Then look no further!
Newbury or Thatcham? Which is the older or more important? Join The Newbury Society on January 20th for the first ever History Duel and pick your side!
Looking to walk off some of that festive feasting? Take a look at this great article on some of Britain’s best Long Barrows (https://www.heritagedaily.com/…/seven-must-see-long-…/100889).
Fancy something closer to home (and equally as impressive), how about a trip up to Combe Gibbet barrow (http://www.heritagegateway.org.uk/Gate…/Results_Single.aspx…)?
This fantastic example of a long barrow is around 65 metres long and still stands up to 1.5 metres tall. Towards its easter...n end lies the gibbet (http://www.heritagegateway.org.uk/Gate…/Results_Single.aspx…), first erected in the 17th century, after which the barrow now takes its name.
Photo: West Berkshire Museum NEBYM:1989.155.15 View from Combe Gibbet c. 1930s, by A Parsons, Hungerford
Ever wondered how archaeological discoveries are made? Check out this great video
How does an archaeological find become an exhibition item?
Discover its way from the ground to the museum display: the professional care by Salisbury Archaeology.
We've been busy enhancing the HER with some fantastic images of buildings held by the West Berkshire Museum. Last week Ben Andrews, our wonderful volunteer, found this photograph of a previously unrecorded 18th century house. Wentworth House once stood on the edge of Stroud Green in Newbury and was demolished in the late 1960s to make way for a modern development of flats. Can you add to our understanding of this building? Do you have photos of other historic houses we should record? Then get in touch! (Museum Accession Number NEBYM:2000.20.58)
We are delighted to see that the Boxford History project has been nominated for the Current Archaeology Research Project of the Year 2018! Take a look at the other nominees and vote here: https://www.archaeology.co.uk/vote
Have you heard of the HEIR Project? It contains digitised historic photographs from all over the world and has some wonderful shots of West Berkshire. There's a great image of the Seven Barrows, a Bronze Age barrow cemetery on Lambourn Downs (http://heir.arch.ox.ac.uk/pages/view.php…&). For more information about this fascinating site, have a look at Heritage Gateway - http://www.heritagegateway.org.uk/Gate…/Results_Single.aspx…
On This Day in.... 1688
William of Orange landed in Brixham to overthrow King James II and the Glorious Revolution began. On his route towards London, Prince William passed through Berkshire and stopped at The Bear Inn, Hungerford for a momentous meeting with the King's Commissioners. Find out more about The Bear Inn and its famous brushes with history online on Heritage Gateway and on Hungerford's Virtual Museum: http://www.hungerfordvirtualmuseum.co.uk/…/22-1688-william-…
What do Grimsbury Castle, Bussock Camp, Walbury Camp, Perborough Castle, and possibly Ramsbury all have in common? They are hillforts of course! And they feature in November's Out & About magazine: The seven hillforts of Newbury.
They also star in the Atlas of Hillforts (https://hillforts.arch.ox.ac.uk/), a new online resource which records all the hillforts of Britain and Ireland. Take a look at West Berkshire's sites, or explore further afield.
As always, you can also find details about these fascinating monuments on Heritage Gateway - the online database for West Berkshire's HER. Just visit https://www.heritagegateway.org.uk/gat…/advanced_search.aspx