St Giles' Church, Reading

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St Giles' Church
The tower of St Giles' Church
St Giles' Church is located in Reading Central
St Giles' Church
St Giles' Church
Location within Reading Town Centre
51°27′3.54″N 0°58′13.45″W / 51.4509833°N 0.9704028°W / 51.4509833; -0.9704028Coordinates: 51°27′3.54″N 0°58′13.45″W / 51.4509833°N 0.9704028°W / 51.4509833; -0.9704028
Location Reading
Country England
Denomination Church of England
Founded 12th century
Dedication St Giles
Functional status Active
Heritage designation Grade II
Archdeaconry Berkshire
Diocese Oxford

St Giles' Church is a parish church in the town of Reading in the English county of Berkshire.

St Giles' was one of the three original parish churches, along with St Mary's and St Laurence's, serving the medieval borough of Reading. The church is on Southampton Street, just outside the town centre and in the portion of the original borough to the south of the River Kennet.[1]

St Giles' Church, 1840-1849 by William Fox Talbot

The original church was built in the 12th century to serve the population to the south of the River Kennet, who found it difficult to reach St Mary's during winter floods of the river. In 1191 Pope Clement III gave the church to Reading Abbey and throughout the Middle Ages it enjoyed the right of sanctuary. In 1539, John Eynon, the then priest of St Giles', was found guilty of high treason and along with Hugh Cook Faringdon, the abbot of Reading Abbey, was hanged in front of the abbey gateway.[1][2][3]

During the Civil War, when the Parliamentarian forces besieged Reading, the church tower was garrisoned by the King's forces and used as a gun platform. As a consequence it was in turn attacked by the besieging artillery and the upper part of the tower, including its spire, was destroyed in 1643. The fabric was restored at the end of hostilities.[1][2]

In 1798 there was a disagreement between members of the congregation of St Giles' Church. Many of them left and founded a new chapel in Castle Street, on the site of Reading's old gaol. This chapel eventually became the Church of St Mary, Castle Street.[4]

In 1872, the original small mediaeval church was rebuilt by James Piers St Aubyn in Early English style retaining only the 13th century aisle walls and Perpendicular style west tower. A new ashlar steeple was added in 1873. The exterior of the church is faced in flint and the roof is tiled. The church is a Grade II listed building.[1][5]

The current vicar of St. Giles in Reading is Canadian, Father David Harris.


  1. ^ a b c d "S Giles Church in Reading". PCC of S Giles Church in Reading. Retrieved 2007-11-28. 
  2. ^ a b "St Giles'". Reading History Trail. Retrieved 2007-11-28. 
  3. ^ Cross, Claire (2004–9). "Cook, Hugh". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2009-06-12.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  4. ^ "St Mary’s Castle Street". Reading History Trail. Retrieved 2007-11-27. 
  5. ^ "Images of England - Church of St Giles and Churchyard Tombs, Southampton Street, Reading". English Heritage. Retrieved 2007-11-28. 

External links[edit]

Media related to St Giles' Church, Reading at Wikimedia Commons