BerkshireNEWBURYStNicholas(readingtomCC-BY2.0)1 ReadingTom

St Nicholas

It seems odd to us, in an age where it is accepted that the super rich spend all their money on themselves, that it was not at all unusual for wealthy medieval people to spend some of their own fortunes on such things as churches.

Newbury, Berkshire

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West Mills
RG14 5HG

 This is the case with Newbury's large and lavish parish church, built between 1509 and 1533 in the Perpendicular style.

The donor was John Smallwood (also known as Jack O'Newbury and John of Winchcombe), a fabulously rich merchant who made his money in the woollen cloth trade. John, who is buried in the church, did not see it finished, as he died in 1519, but his intials, 'JS' , can be seen on the roof bosses and elsewhere in the church. His son inherited his father's wealth and lived to see the church completed.

During the Civil War of the 1640s, Parliamentary troops took the church over and used it as a stable, prison and hospital, and as well as despoiling it in that way, also physically destroyed much that they considered to be 'popish'.

The church was restored in late Victorian times, and the stained glass which makes the church so gloomy was installed after the restoration.

Among the interesting things inside is a fine Jacobean pulpit dated 1607. The reredos was made by Sir Ninian Comper in the 20th century.

  • Spectacular stained glass

  • Social heritage stories

  • National heritage here

  • Glorious furnishings

  • Captivating architecture

  • Wifi

  • Space to secure your bike

  • Level access to the main areas

  • Café within 500m

  • Accessible toilets nearby

  • Church of England

  • Repair Grant, £7,500, 2013

  • Our Repair Grants funded urgent repair work to help keep churches open.

Contact information

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