St James Church
Winterbourne shown within Berkshire
|OS grid reference|
|Unitary authority||West Berkshire|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
The Church of England parish church of Saint James was completely redeveloped in the 18th and 19th centuries. The north chapel was added in 1712 and the bell tower in 1759. The architect J.W. Hugall rebuilt the nave in 1854 and a Mr. Hudson restored the chancel in 1895. Hudson retained the chancel's 14th century east window, and an earlier lancet window in the south wall.
Winterbourne and the surrounding area had an eventful Civil War. Donnington Castle was remodelled by cannon and two battles were fought nearby. On 26 October 1644, Cromwell stayed the night in the Blue Boar public house in the north of the parish and his forces camped at North Heath. In July that year, his forces had taken on Prince Rupert and company at Ripley in Yorkshire, during which successful (for the Parliamentarians) skirmish, they liberated a statue of a wild boar that Lord Ingleby had brought back from Italy as one of a pair. The other remains in Ripley Castle. In the 17th century's equivalent of the dash for the 7.48 from Newbury, the blue boar was left behind at the pub. The pub has become a successful hotel and changed to 'The Crab'. The owners used to run the famous Crab and Lobster near Harrogate before moving south.
One history reports that in the Autumn of 1644 a maiden of Bussock House in the very east of the parish - the daughter of Philip Weston, a Royalist - fell for a Parliamentarian officer. Father and lover went into the Second Battle of Newbury, agreeing before departure that news was to be returned of their fate through trumpet blasts. One was to signal that Philip had been killed; two that the lover was no more; three that both had died. The maid waited by her window. Upon hearing three blasts, she threw herself into a well in despair. Her ghost, apparently, haunts it still.
- Pevsner, 1966, page 307
- Pevsner, Nikolaus (1966). The Buildings of England: Berkshire. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. p. 307.
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