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Pangbourne village centre
Pangbourne is located in Berkshire
 Pangbourne shown within Berkshire
Population 2,981 (2001 Census)
OS grid reference SU6376
Civil parish Pangbourne
Unitary authority West Berkshire
Ceremonial county Berkshire
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Reading
Postcode district RG8
Dialling code 0118
Police Thames Valley
Fire Royal Berkshire
Ambulance South Central
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament Reading West
List of places

Coordinates: 51°29′02″N 1°05′13″W / 51.4839°N 1.0869°W / 51.4839; -1.0869

Pangbourne is a large village and civil parish on the River Thames in the English county of Berkshire. It includes an independent school, Pangbourne College.


Pangbourne is located some 5 miles (8 km) from Reading and 20 miles (32 km) from Oxford on the River Thames and is directly across the river from the smaller Oxfordshire village of Whitchurch-on-Thames. The two villages of Pangbourne and Whitchurch are connected by both Whitchurch Bridge and by the weir of Whitchurch Lock.[1]

Pangbourne railway station, on the Great Western Main Line serves both villages and gives direct access to Oxford, London Paddington and Reading. The River Pang flows through the centre of Pangbourne village before joining the River Thames between the lock and bridge.[1]


Village name sign

Pangbourne is a civil parish with an elected parish council. The parish covers the immediate area around the village, together with a rural area to the south-west. This rural area contains no other significant settlements, but includes Pangbourne College.[2]

The parish shares boundaries with the Berkshire parishes of Purley-on-Thames, Tidmarsh with Sulham, Theale, Englefield, Bradfield and Basildon. Along the River Thames to the north, there is also a boundary with the Oxfordshire parish of Whitchurch-on-Thames.[2]

The parish is in the area of the unitary authority of West Berkshire. The parish council and the unitary authority are responsible for different aspects of local government. Pangbourne forms part of the Reading West parliamentary constituency.

The parish is twinned with Houdan in France.[3]


St James the Less parish church

Pangbourne's name is recorded from 844[4] as Old English Pegingaburnan (dative case), which means "the stream of the people of [a man called] Pǣga". This name was shortened to make the name of the River Pang.

In Norman times, the manor was given to Reading Abbey and the manor house – called Bere Court – became the Abbot's summer residence. The last abbot, Hugh Cook Faringdon, was arrested there in 1539[citation needed] and subsequently executed in Reading. The manor was later purchased by Sir John Davis, the Elizabethan mathematician and the Earl of Essex' fellow-conspirator. His monument is in the Church of England parish church of Saint James the Less. Other monuments and hatchments in the church are mostly to the Breedon family, the first of whom bought the manor in 1671. He was High Sheriff of Berkshire and brother of the Governor of Arcadia and Nova Scotia, whose son later succeeded him. The family produced a number of sheriffs and MPs for Berkshire, as well as doctors and rectors of the parish.[4]

Kenneth Grahame, author of The Wind in the Willows, retired to Church Cottage in Pangbourne. He died there in 1932. E. H. Shepherd's famous illustrations of his book are said to have been inspired by the Thameside landscape there.[4]

The Falkland Islands Memorial Chapel at Pangbourne College was opened by Queen Elizabeth II in March 2000. It was built to commemorate the lives and sacrifice of all who died during the Falklands War of 1982, and the courage of those who served with them to protect the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands.[5] The Queen revisited the Memorial Chapel in 2007 to mark the 25th anniversary of the Falklands war.

At the north-west of the village is wildlife gardens Beale Park.

Pangbourne and District Silver Band[edit]

The Pangbourne and District Silver Band July 2010

The history of the Pangbourne Band began in 1893 when a fife and drum band used to rehearse in a shed behind the water mill, but when the First World War broke out the band broke up, re-forming in 1919 after the Armistice. Regular concerts were held from then until the outbreak of the Second World War, when many of the bandsmen served in the Armed Forces and the band again broke up and the instruments were held in storage.

In 1962, the late Mr Henry Fuller started a brass group in the village, giving lessons to six children at his home. Local musicians became involved when the old instruments were recovered from storage, and the band was established as a full-size contesting brass band within a few years.[6]

In 2009 a Youth Band was started, although in 2011 this was renamed the Pangbourne All-Comers' Band, including adults as well as children.


  1. ^ a b Ordnance Survey (2006). OS Explorer Map 159 – Reading. ISBN 0-319-23730-3.
  2. ^ a b "Election Maps". Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 27 February 2008. 
  3. ^ "British towns twinned with French towns". Archant Community Media Ltd. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c Ford, David Nash (2004). "Pangbourne". Royal Berkshire History. Nash Ford Publishing. Retrieved 25 April 2009. 
  5. ^ "The Falklands Island Memorial Chapel". The Trustees of the Falkland Island Memorial Chapel Trust. Retrieved 25 April 2009. 
  6. ^ History – Pangbourne Band Website Retrieved on 17 July 2013.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]