The village and parish of Chieveley lies about four miles north of Newbury, in chalk downland. It is quartered by the M4 running east-west, and the A34 north-south.
Today the civil parish of Chieveley consists of Chieveley village and Oare (sometimes spelt with an initial H in the early 1800s). Formerly it also included Winterbourne and Leckhampstead, which are now separate civil parishes (and detailed separately in this series of articles), although the ecclesiastical parish of Chieveley still includes Winterbourne.
Other local place names include Downend, Curridge (formerly Courage), Arlington. Prior’s Court, North Heath, Bussock and Snelsmore lie in Winterbourne.
The Didcot to Southampton railway line, which operated from 1882 to the 1960s, ran through the parish, but Chieveley had no station.
Has changed with separation of hamlets. Estimates from various sources (1851 census, VCH) vary too widely to be reliable.
1,233 in 1851; 2,776 in 2011
Poor law union
Present-day local authority
SU 47 73
Adjoining parishes in 1851
See Berks FHS Books for coverage of this parish in the society’s range of CDs.
See also Berkshire Record Office holdings.
Published local history
- Bill Martin Chieveley remembered (Trafford Publishing 2006)
- Vera Pocock The days gone by in Chieveley (Pocock Publishing, 2007)
- Victor Pocock Four Chieveley village schools (Chieveley Primary School, 1997)
- B H Attlee Notes on the history of Chieveley…together with provisional lists of those…who served in the Great War (Blacket Turner, 1919)
Anglican church and parochial organisation
Chieveley lies within the deanery of Newbury and the archdeaconry of Berkshire, which transferred from Salisbury diocese to that of Oxford in 1836. The church of St Mary the Virgin is of thirteenth-century origin with the usual later additions, and the living is a vicarage.
There is a small twelfth-century church of St James the Less at Winterbourne, still in use.
The chapel of St Bartholomew at Oare, presently serving about 27 households, was built in 1852, but had a predecessor, mentioned in texts of 1811 and 1839.
From at least 1854 to 1924 there were Baptist, Primitive Methodist and Wesleyan chapels in Chieveley. Oare, formerly a Quaker stronghold, had a woodland Quaker burial ground.
In 1759 a school was founded and endowed for 10 boys and 10 girls at North Heath in Winterbourne. In 1839, now accommodating 40 children, the school house was rebuilt, and control passed to the National Society. It is on record as having also received a government grant in 1840.
(At Abingdon Assizes in 1852 the schoolmaster of this school was convicted for indecent assault on his female pupils, and sentenced to two years’ hard labour.)
In 1854 and 1863 an endowed school was recorded at Winterbourne, probably North Heath.
Parliamentary papers of 1819 recorded five schools in Chieveley (in addition to North Heath) and two Sunday schools.
A school at Curridge, built between 1852 and 1859 by Mrs Stackpool and Miss Wasey, and also licensed for divine service, was still extant in 1924.
Berkshire Record Office holds North Heath School deeds 1810, and Curridge School (Miss Wasey’s voluntary school) miscellaneous papers of 1886 and admissions registers from 1930.
Chieveley has a primary school today.
Other local history
A priory built at Oare to offer hospitality to travellers between Abingdon and Winchester was dissolved in the sixteenth century. The site is now Oare Farm House.
Arlington Manor or Grange, formerly a gentry country seat, is now the Mary Hare School for deaf children.
Prior’s Court, formerly the country seat of the prior of Abingdon, and later that of the Wasey family, is now a school for autistic children.
Other major houses of the parish included Downend House, Bradley Court, Winterbourne House/Manor and Bussock House/Mayne.
Farms named in the 1851 census (which at that time also included the now separate parish of Hermitage) were Kiln Farm, Manor Farm, Lasham’s Farm, Middle Farm (Downend), Snelsmore Pound Farm, Basing’s Farm, Bradley Farm, Ashfield Farm, Prior’s Court Farm, Downend Farm, Radnall Farm, Kiln Farm, Old Kiln Farm, Broome Down and Bird’s Farm (Oxford Road).
Pubs named in the 1851 census (also including Hermitage) were the Hare & Hounds, Old Crown (Oxford Road), the Boot, the Blue Boar at North Heath (where Cromwell supposedly spent the night after the second battle of Newbury 1644, and which has been renamed the Crab in recent years), the Fox (Hermitage) and the Wheatsheaf.
Still in existence are Ye Olde Red Lion, which occupies a fifteenth-century building. The Winterbourne Arms (formerly the New Inn), and which claims a 300-year history is now closed.
In 1924 there was a brick works at Oare.
Chieveley is well known to motorists as the site of a service station at junction 13 of the M4.