Thatcham

Thatcham is an historic market town and civil parish in the English county of Berkshire, centred 3 miles (5 km) east of Newbury, 14 miles (24 km) west of Reading and 54 miles (87 km) west of London.

Thatcham
The Broadway, Thatcham - geograph.org.uk - 725456.jpg
The Broadway, Thatcham
Thatcham is located in Berkshire
Thatcham
Thatcham
Location within Berkshire
Area21.76 km2 (8.40 sq mi)
Population26,217 (2017 est.)
• Density1,205/km2 (3,120/sq mi)
OS grid referenceSU5167
Civil parish
  • Thatcham
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Region
CountryEngland
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townTHATCHAM
Postcode districtRG18, RG19
Dialling code01635
PoliceThames Valley
FireRoyal Berkshire
AmbulanceSouth Central
UK Parliament
List of places
UK
England
Berkshire
51°24′18″N 1°15′50″W / 51.405°N 1.264°W / 51.405; -1.264Coordinates: 51°24′18″N 1°15′50″W / 51.405°N 1.264°W / 51.405; -1.264

GeographyEdit

Thatcham straddles the River Kennet, the Kennet and Avon Canal, the A4. The parish currently covers the town of Thatcham, with its suburbs of Henwick, Dunston Park and Colthrop, and the village of Crookham including Crookham Common and the eastern ranges of the old RAF Greenham Common.[1] The historic parish once also covered Midgham, Cold Ash, Ashmore Green and Greenham.[1]

Thatcham has a site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) just to the south of the town, called Thatcham Reed Beds.[2]

Flood riskEdit

 
Station Road during flooding

On 20 July 2007 parts of Thatcham were flooded during a period of sustained heavy rain, during which three times the average July monthly rainfall hit the town in just 24 hours. While the rivers did not overtop, the quantity of water flowing down the hills from Cold Ash and Bucklebury made many roads impassable and stranded hundreds of pupils at Kennet School who tried to wade with rope across Stoney Lane. About 1,100 properties were affected; many residents moved out into mobile homes.[3]

GovernanceEdit

The town is divided into four wards for West Berkshire Council elections: Thatcham Central, Thatcham North, Thatcham South & Crookham and Thatcham West. Seven Councillors represent Thatcham on the West Berkshire Council with the Liberal Democrats having five, and the Conservatives having two.[4] These wards are used in town council elections, also, with fourteen Liberal Democrats, three Conservatives, and one Green Party member sitting on the town council.[5]

Town twinningEdit

Thatcham is twinned with:

DemographyEdit

2011 Published Statistics: Population, home ownership and extracts from Physical Environment, surveyed in 2005[6]
Output area Homes owned outright Owned with a loan Socially rented Privately rented Other km² roads km² water km² domestic gardens Usual residents km²
Civil parish 2,640 4,629 1,439 1,160 65 0.871 0.676 2.323 25,267 21.78

Local employment is chiefly in light industrial premises, sales and distribution, retail and public sectors; see also West Berkshire, its district.[citation needed]

HistoryEdit

The area has evidence of occupation dating from prehistoric times[7] and was listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the strongest claimant to being the oldest continuously inhabited place in Britain.[1] The well-preserved remains of a Mesolithic settlements dating from 8400 to 7700 BC[7] have been found in its vicinity. Evidence also exists of Bronze and Iron Age settlements and of Romano-British activity.[1]

The name may have been derived from that of a Saxon chief called Tace (or perhaps Tac or Tec), who established a village in around AD 500.[8][9] The settlement might have been known as Taceham - ham meaning hamlet in Saxon. However one of the earliest written references in c.951 and c.975[8][10] records it as Thaecham. The Thaec comes from the Saxon þæc or thaec meaning roof-covering. By the time of Domesday Norman Conquest in 1086 the name had altered slightly to Taceham before going through several minor changes until the current form was adopted in the 16th century.

 
Chapel of St. Thomas the Martyr, erected around 1304

The town had a period of great prosperity around 1304[11] when the Chapel of St. Thomas the Martyr on the A4, now called the Old Bluecoat School, was granted permission to hold services.[1] At that time the population was larger than Newbury's.[8] There is a Norman parish church of St. Mary, which was largely reconstructed in 1857. This is believed to be built on the same site as an earlier Saxon church. It was also previously known as St. Luke's.

In 1121 King Henry I founded the great Abbey of Reading and endowed it with many gifts of land, including the Manor of Thatcham.[1] At the same time Thatcham Hundred ceased to exist: the western part was transferred to Faircross Hundred, and the remainder to the Hundred of Reading.[citation needed]

In 1141 Thatcham Church, previously the property of the Diocese of Salisbury, was granted to Reading Abbey by the Empress Matilda, who at the same time confirmed her father's gift of the manor to the Abbey.[citation needed]

During World War II, Thatcham housed one of the biggest Prisoner of War camps in the South, known as camp 1001.[citation needed] Thatcham's population grew rapidly in the second half of the 20th century: from 5,000 in 1951 and 7,500 in 1961 to 22,824 in 2001.[citation needed]

InstitutionsEdit

SchoolsEdit

Although there are many primary schools in the area, the only secondary school in Thatcham is the Kennet School.

Motor Insurers' Automotive Research CentreEdit

The motor insurers’ automotive research centre is located at Colthrop in Thatcham.[12] The 'Thatcham categories' issued there are the industry standard for vehicle immobilisers and alarms[13]

TransportEdit

RailEdit

Thatcham railway station is the only railway station within the town. The station falls on the Reading to Taunton line, with regular services between Reading and Newbury are operated by Great Western Railway, as well as between London Paddington and Bedwyn. The station saw 581,000 passengers in the 2016–17 period.

RoadEdit

The town is split in the middle by the A4, which runs between London and Bristol, in an east–west direction. This road has been superseded as a long distance route by the M4 motorway which runs almost parallel to the A4, located 3 miles (4.8 km) north. The closest junction to the town is the Chieveley interchange at Junction 13.

Sports and leisureEdit

 
Waterside Park, the home of Thatcham Town

Thatcham is home to non-league football club Thatcham Town, who play their matches at Waterside Park located 300 metres (330 yd) south of the town's railway station. The club reached the final of the FA Vase in the 2017–18 season, becoming the first Berkshire side to reach a national cup final. Their highest league finish is fifth in the Southern League Division One South & West, the eighth tier of English football, set in the 2010–11 season. The club won the Berks & Bucks Senior Cup in 1975.

Thatcham Town Cricket Club are based in the town, playing their matches 500 metres (550 yd) west of the Broadway – the town centre – on Brownsfield Road, next to the Town Council offices.

The Henwick Worthy Sports Ground is the home of the Newbury and Thatcham Hockey Club and the Thatcham Rugby Union Football Club. The ground is approximately 37 acres (15 hectares) in size, located in the west of the town. Henwick plays host to a number of amateur and youth sports, such as football and rugby.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f Ford, David Nash (2020). West Berkshire Town and Village Histories. Wokingham: Nash Ford Publishing. ISBN 9781905191031.
  2. ^ "Magic Map Application". magic.defra.gov.uk.
  3. ^ "Briefing note: Flooding and Thatcham" (PDF). West Berkshire Council. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 24 February 2010.
  4. ^ "Your Councillors". West Berkshire Council. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  5. ^ "Councillors". Thatcham Town Council. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  6. ^ "Local statistics - Office for National Statistics". www.ons.gov.uk.
  7. ^ a b "Thatcham: an historic town in a changing world - Thatcham Historical Society". www.thatchamhistoricalsociety.org.uk.
  8. ^ a b c Barfield, Samuel; Parker, James (24 May 2019). "Thatcham, Berks, and its manors. Edited and arranged for publication by James Parker". Oxford J. Parker – via Internet Archive.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 20 November 2008. Retrieved 18 October 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "The name of Thatcham – Nickbits". nickbits.co.uk. Retrieved 28 February 2021.
  11. ^ "Medieval Thatcham". Thatcham Historical Society.
  12. ^ "Thatcham Research: Contact Us". Motor Insurers' Automotive Research Centre. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
  13. ^ "Thatcham Research: Vehicle Security". Motor Insurers' Automotive Research Centre. Retrieved 4 March 2021.

External linksEdit