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Jaunt at the Reading Junction for Queen Elizabeth I

  • Because Queen Elizabeth I was a Protestant and most of Europe was Catholic, there were lots of plots against her.
  • She needed to keep a close eye on her people. So she made Sir Francis Walsingham her spymaster. He had spies working for him everywhere.
  • She is said to have given him Englefield House, near Theale, as a country estate to relax in when not working hard in London.
  • He also had a town house in Reading on the corner of Minster Street and Broad Street. It was a beautiful timber-framed Tudor house called Walsingham House.
  • When the Queen stayed at her palace at Abbey House with Sir Francis Knollys, Walsingham held a party for her at Walsingham House. She was very pleased.
  • A diamond-shaped board commemorating this was placed on the end of the house.
  • After the Siege of Reading, during the Civil War, the Earl of Essex made Walsingham House his headquarters.
  • Broad Street was not very broad at this end then. There was a row of shops in the middle of the road dividing it into two small streets: Fisher Row & Butchers' Row.
  • It was very smelly and unhygienic. Eventually, they were pulled down in 1868.
  • Walsingham House also became a shop eventually. In Victorian times, it was Hounslow's Grocers and became known as Hounslow's Corner.
  • It was pulled down in 1905.

 

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