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Reading's Country Village
- 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
- 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
- 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
- It was later given a small slender wooden spire.
- In the 18th century St. Giles village became properly part of
- The church was almost entirely rebuilt in 1871-3.