Maps & Travels
Towns & Villages
Castles & Houses
Odds & Ends
Kendrick Charity for poor to
Learn a Trade
- Minster Street is named after St.
Mary's Church. It was a Saxon Minster.
- There was a stone preaching
cross called 'Gerrard's Cross' for the grey
friars to use somewhere in the street.
- In Tudor times, there were lots of smelly tanneries (leather making
works) down by the river there.
- There was a famous pub there called the Cardinal's Hat:
- The dangerous document, Aske's
Manifesto, first started to spread round the town when Sir
William Essex's servant brought a copy there.
Palmer was arrested there.
- Later, John Kendrick was born over his family's cloth shop in
- He grew up in the town and attended the Reading School in the old
Abbey guesthouse. Then he went to Oxford University.
- His father died when he was a teenager. He took over the business. He employed several hundred people weaving on 104 looms.
- But this wasn’t enough. John wanted to hit the big time. He moved to London where he became very very rich exporting cloth to the Netherlands.
- When he died in 1624, he left lots of money in his will to enable the people of
Reading and Newbury to help the poor get work.
- In Reading, they built a workhouse called the ‘Oracle’ on the site of John’s old
house. It was not like horrible Victorian workhouses. It was a nice place for poor people to live and learn a trade, so they could support themselves.
- John’s family were greedy and took most of the money needed for the ‘Oracle’. So, in 1849, it was closed.
- What was left of the money was used to set up the Kendrick Boys’ School (now part of Reading School) and the Kendrick Girls’ School.