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Reading's Country Village 

St. Giles Church in the Civil War -  Nash Ford Publishing


  • St. Giles' Church in Reading was built in the open fields on the south side of the River Kennet, some way from the early town.
  • It was probably the chapel for a leper hospital that was latter moved within the walls of Reading Abbey.
  • The present church was built in the 13th century.
  • The churchyard & part of Horn Street (Southampton Street) outside was a 'sanctuary'.
    • Criminals could live there for 40 days without being arrested
    • They were then given safe passage to a port from which to flee abroad
    • But they mustn't leave the highway on their journey!
  • A small village grew up around it, including a large mill & one of the first breweries.
  • In Tudor times, the vicar was a Welshman called John Einion.
  • During the Civil War, the Royalists in Reading were put under siege by the Parliamentarians. The  Parliamentary cannon blew off the church's spire!
  • It was later given a small slender wooden spire.
  • In the 18th century St. Giles village became properly part of expanding Reading.
  • The church was almost entirely rebuilt in 1871-3.


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