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Newbury was established in the 11th century shortly after the Norman Conquest. Trade and commerce were increasing in England and as a result, many new towns were being created. The new settlement was originally called New Burgh, meaning new fort or new fortified settlement.

During the middle ages, the town grew alongside the importance of the cloth industry, with a number of fulling mills, to clean cloth from impurities and make it thicker, being built on the River Kennet and Lambourn.

In 1715, an Act of Parliament approved work to allow barges along the Kennet from the Thames at Reading to Newbury Wharf, and the waterway was completed in 1723. As a result of the town’s easy accessibility to the river, Newbury became an important inland port, transporting goods to markets and fairs. This was primarily due to it being cheaper to transport heavy goods by water, as roads were often poorly built. Some of the prosperity generated in the town during the 18th century is reflected in the range of surviving 18th century buildings in the centre of Newbury.

Later, in 1794, an Act of Parliament was granted to link the Kennet Navigation in Berkshire with the Avon Navigation further west, creating the Kennet and Avon Canal. This eventually opened in 1810.

Many additional changes took place over the 19th century. A railway branch line opened in 1847, connecting Reading via Newbury to Hungerford, where the line ended. Market Street was also added and a new cattle market created, reflecting Newbury's role as an agricultural market town. The town grew resulting in multiple additional public buildings being built, such as the Town Hall, St Bartholomew's School and Newbury District Hospital.

Newbury Town Hall

Newbury Town Hall was built from 1876 to 1878 by architect James Money, with the town hall clock and clock tower being added in 1881. The municipal offices, facing Mansion House Street, were added later from 1909-10, after the demolition of the Mansion House.

The Gothic style, Grade II listed building still has a number of its original Victorian features, including the stone fireplaces and beautiful tall windows.

West Berkshire Museum (Cloth Hall)

The Cloth Hall was built in 1626-27 by Richard Emmes, with money left by John Kendrick, as a cloth factory for the Newbury Corporation to give employment to the poor.

The Grade I listed building has had multiple uses since being a cloth factory. By 1659, it was used as a workhouse (Kendrick's Hospital) before being adapted for use as a school from 1706.

With the construction of the Kennet Canal in 1714 the old Cloth Hall became a grain store, before housing the West Berkshire Museum from 1904.

Today only the former south range of the original building still survives. The north and east ranges were believed to have been demolished in 1829 when the south range was renovated.

Newbury timber windows

Highclere Castle

Highclere Castle, known as the location for the television programme Downtown Abbey, was built between 1839 and 1878 by the architects Charles Barry, who designed the Houses of Parliament, and Thomas Allom.

The current building was not the first house on the site. An early Anglo-Saxon charter dated 749AD records the existence of buildings around the present site of the Castle. Later records reveal a medieval palace built during the twelfth and thirteenth century. This was later succeeded by a red brick, Tudor house which was rebuilt into a classical Georgian mansion before being transformed into the Jacobethan style building which still stands today.

The grade I listed stately home is located just outside of Newbury and has been home to the Carnarvon family since 1679.

In 2009 the building was suffering from damp and rot problems, with at least 50 rooms being uninhabitable. However, the success of Downtown Abbey resulted in an increased number of visitors to the property, meaning that vital repair work could be carried out.

Shaw House

Shaw House, also Grade I listed, was built in 1581 and is an example of an early symmetrical H-plan Elizabethan mansion, located on the north-eastern outskirts of Newbury.

The layout of the house with two wings separated by a central range was a popular design towards the end of the 16th century. However, as originally built, Shaw was one of the earliest houses to have completely symmetrical façade, where the windows gave no hint of the interior layout. The original ground floor windows to the east of the south entrance porch matched the windows to the west of the porch, making the exterior symmetrical.

The west façade is the least altered elevation of the house. The windows are generally as they were built and some retain the Elizabethan diamond-leads and original glass. The west doorway is the only original entrance door to the house.

Multiple alterations have been carried out to the house since it was originally built, including in 1729 when the Duke of Chandos requested “large sashes of glass and woodwork” to replace the mullion windows on the front of the house. Sash windows were fitted to the dining room and the Duke’s dressing room, significantly altering the exterior of the house.

Multiple monarchs have visited Shaw over the years. James I and Queen Anne originally visited Newbury in 1603 when the King granted the Manor of Newbury to his Queen. It is believed that they would have stayed at Shaw on this visit. Queen Anne later revisited Shaw on 4th September 1612. Over the following century Shaw was visited by almost every Stuart monarch.

Timber Windows in Newbury

With the ever expanding population of Newbury the area is home to a wide range of architecture styles, resulting in a large number of both sash and casement windows in the area.

Like many historic towns and cities across the UK, Newbury has multiple listed buildings and conservation areas protecting the local heritage of the town.

If you are a homeowner in Newbury and your timber windows need repairing or replacing, contact us today to arrange a free, no obligation site survey and quotation or call us on 01344 868668.

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