Thatcham

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Thatcham
The Broadway, Thatcham - geograph.org.uk - 725456.jpg
The Broadway, Thatcham
Thatcham is located in Berkshire
Thatcham
Thatcham
 Thatcham shown within Berkshire
Area  21.76 km2 (8.40 sq mi)
Population 25,267 (2011 census)[1]
   – density  1,161/km2 (3,010/sq mi)
OS grid reference SU5167
Civil parish Thatcham
Unitary authority West Berkshire
Ceremonial county Berkshire
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town THATCHAM
Postcode district RG18 and RG19
Dialling code 01635
Police Thames Valley
Fire Royal Berkshire
Ambulance South Central
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament Newbury
List of places
UK
England
Berkshire

Coordinates: 51°24′18″N 1°15′50″W / 51.405°N 1.264°W / 51.405; -1.264

Thatcham is a town in the historic county of Berkshire, England centred 3 miles (5 km) east of Newbury and 15 miles (24 km) west of Reading. Its housing and consequently population grew rapidly in the second half of the 20th century from 5,000 in 1951 and 7,500 in 1961 to 22,824 in 2001.

It straddles the River Kennet, the Kennet and Avon Canal, the A4 and the course of a Roman road. It is served by Thatcham railway station on the line between the larger nearby towns mentioned. Local employment is chiefly in light industrial premises, sales and distribution, retail and public sectors, see also West Berkshire, its district.

History[edit]

The area has evidence of occupation dating from prehistoric times[2] and is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the strongest claimant to being the oldest continuously inhabited place in Britain. The well-preserved remains of a Mesolithic settlements dating from 7,700 BC[2] have been found in its vicinity. There is also evidence of Bronze and Iron Age settlements and of a Roman town.

The name may have been derived from that of a Saxon chief called Tace (or perhaps Tac or Tec), who established a village in around 500.[3][4] The settlement was known as Taceham - ham meaning village in Saxon. It is also possible that the name may have come from the Saxon thaec (thatch). Wherever it came from, the name Taceham persisted until after the Norman Conquest in 1066 before going through several minor changes until the current one was adopted in the 16th century.

Chapel of St. Thomas the Martyr was erected around 1304

The town had a period of great prosperity around 1304[5] when the Chapel of St. Thomas the Martyr on the A4, now called the Old Bluecoat School, was constructed. At this time the population was larger than Newbury's[3] but declined as a result of the Black Death which decimated the area in 1348. There is a Norman parish church of St. Mary which was largely reconstructed in 1857. This is believed to be built on the same site as an earlier Saxon church. It was also previously known as St. Luke's. A local attraction is the Nature Discovery Centre situated at Thatcham Lake, a flooded gravel quarry.

In 1121 King Henry I founded the great Abbey of Reading and endowed it with many gifts of land, including the Manor of Thatcham. At the same time Thatcham Hundred ceased to exist, the western party being transferred to Faircross Hundred, and the remainder to the Hundred of Reading.

In 1141 Thatcham Church, previously the property of the Diocese of Salisbury, was granted to Reading Abbey by the Empress Mathilda, who at the same time confirmed her father's gift of the manor to the Abbey.

Thatcham ratings[edit]

The name "Thatcham" is brand-associated with the approval ratings for car security systems issued by the Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre near the town (see link below). For instance, "Thatcham Cat 1" (or just "Cat 1" is the approval for a combined car alarm and immobiliser, "Thatcham Cat 2" is for a standalone immobiliser and "Thatcham Cat 3" is for additional physical security devices such as steering wheel locks.

Demography[edit]

2011 Published Statistics: Population, home ownership and extracts from Physical Environment, surveyed in 2005[1]
Output area Homes owned outright Owned with a loan Socially rented Privately rented Other km² roads km² water km² domestic gardens Usual residents km²
Civil parish 2640 4629 1439 1160 65 0.871 0.676 2.323 25267 21.78

July 2007 flooding[edit]

Railway station during flooding

On July 20, 2007, parts of Thatcham were flooded during a period of sustained heavy rain, during which 3 times the average July monthly rainfall hit the town in just 24 hours. While the rivers did not burst, the quantity of water flowing down the hills from Cold Ash and Bucklebury made many roads impassable and stranded hundreds of pupils at Kennet School who tried to wade with rope across Stoney Lane. Approximately 1100 properties were affected in this period, with many residents being forced to move out into mobile homes.[6]

Town twinning[edit]

Thatcham is twinned with:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]