Coordinates: 51°24′18″N 1°15′50″W / 51.405°N 1.264°W / 51.405; -1.264
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Market town
The Broadway, Thatcham - - 725456.jpg
The Broadway, Thatcham
Thatcham is located in Berkshire
Location within Berkshire
Area21.76 km2 (8.40 sq mi)
Population25,267 (2011)
• Density1,161/km2 (3,010/sq mi)
OS grid referenceSU5167
Civil parish
  • Thatcham
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtRG18, RG19
Dialling code01635
PoliceThames Valley
FireRoyal Berkshire
AmbulanceSouth Central
UK Parliament
List of places
51°24′18″N 1°15′50″W / 51.405°N 1.264°W / 51.405; -1.264

Thatcham is an historic market town and civil parish in the English county of Berkshire, centred 3 miles (4.8 km) east of Newbury, 14 miles (23 km) west of Reading and 54 miles (87 km) west of London.


Thatcham straddles the River Kennet, the Kennet and Avon Canal and the A4. The parish currently covers the town of Thatcham, with its suburbs of Henwick, Dunston Park and Colthrop, and the village of Crookham including Crookham Common and the eastern ranges of the old RAF Greenham Common airfield. The historic parish once also covered Midgham, Cold Ash, Ashmore Green and Greenham. Thatcham Reed Beds, just to the south of the town, is a site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).[1]


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 AD.[2][3] The settlement might have been known as Taceham - ham meaning village in Saxon. However, some of the earliest written references, in c.951 and c.975,[2][4] records it as Thaecham. The Thaec comes from the Saxon þæc or thaec meaning roof-covering[5] and the ham has been speculated to be a shortened hamm which would mean a river meadow.[6]


The area has evidence of occupation dating from prehistoric times[7] and was 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 settlement, dating from 8400 to 7700 BCE,[7] have been found in its vicinity. Evidence also exists of Bronze and Iron Age settlements and of Romano-British activity.

Chapel of St. Thomas the Martyr, erected around 1304

In the Domesday Book of 1086, following the Norman Conquest, the name had altered slightly to Taceham before going through several minor changes until the current form was adopted in the 16th century. The town had a period of great prosperity around 1304,[8] when the Chapel of St. Thomas the Martyr on the A4, now called the Old Bluecoat School, was granted permission to hold services. At that time the population was larger than that of Newbury.[2] The chapel is a Grade I listed building.[9] 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 Anglo-Saxon church. It was previously known as St. Luke's. The church is a Grade II* listed building.[10]

In 1121, Henry I founded Reading Abbey and endowed it with many gifts of land, including the Manor of Thatcham. At the same time Thatcham Hundred ceased to exist: the western part was 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 Matilda, who at the same time confirmed her father's gift of the manor to the abbey. During World War II, Thatcham housed one of the biggest Prisoner of War camps in the South, known as camp 1001. Thatcham's 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.[citation needed]


Station Road during flooding

On 20 July 2007 parts of Thatcham were flooded during a period of sustained heavy rain, during which three times the average July monthly rainfall hit the town in just 24 hours. While the rivers did not flood, 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. About 1,100 properties were affected; many residents moved out into mobile homes.[11]



Although there are many primary schools in the area, the only secondary school in Thatcham is the Kennet School.

Motor Insurers' Automotive Research Centre[edit]

The motor insurers' automotive research centre is located at Colthrop.[12] The 'Thatcham categories' issued there are the industry standard for vehicle immobilisers and alarms[13]


Thatcham railway station is on the Reading to Taunton line, with regular services between Reading and Newbury and between Paddington and Bedwyn, operated by Great Western Railway. The main east–west road through the town is the A4 Bath Road, which runs between London and Bristol. This road has been superseded as a long-distance route by the M4 motorway which runs almost parallel to the A4, about 3 miles (4.8 km) to the north. The closest junction to the town is the Chieveley interchange at Junction 13.

Sports and leisure[edit]

Waterside Park, the home of Thatcham Town

Thatcham is home to non-league football club Thatcham Town, who play their matches at Waterside Park, 300 metres (330 yd) south of the Thatcham railway station. The club reached the final of the FA Vase in the 2017–18 season, becoming the first Berkshire side to reach a national cup final. Thatcham Town Cricket Club is based at a ground on Brownsfield Road, next to the council offices. The Henwick Worthy Sports Ground is the home of the Newbury and Thatcham Hockey Club and the Thatcham Rugby Union Football Club, and plays host to a number of amateur and youth sports.


The town is divided into four wards for West Berkshire Council elections: Thatcham Central, Thatcham North, Thatcham South & Crookham and Thatcham West. Seven councillors represent Thatcham on the West Berkshire Council with the Liberal Democrats having five, and the Conservatives having two.[14] These wards are used in town council elections, with fourteen Liberal Democrats, three Conservatives, and one Green Party member sitting on the town council.[15] At national level it is represented by the MP for Newbury.

Town twinning[edit]

Thatcham is twinned with:


Local employment is chiefly in light industrial premises, sales and distribution, retail and public sectors.[citation needed]

2011 Published Statistics: Population, home ownership and extracts from Physical Environment, surveyed in 2005[16]
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 2,640 4,629 1,439 1,160 65 0.871 0.676 2.323 25,267 21.78

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Magic Map Application".
  2. ^ a b c Barfield, Samuel; Parker, James (24 May 2019). "Thatcham, Berks, and its manors. Edited and arranged for publication by James Parker". Oxford J. Parker – via Internet Archive.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 20 November 2008. Retrieved 18 October 2009.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "The name of Thatcham". 8 October 2017. Retrieved 30 June 2022.
  5. ^ "Þæc etymology". Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  6. ^ "A history of the name Thatcham". 5 May 2022. Retrieved 30 June 2022.
  7. ^ a b "Thatcham: an historic town in a changing world - Thatcham Historical Society". 21 July 2009.
  8. ^ "Medieval Thatcham". Thatcham Historical Society.
  9. ^ Historic England (10 November 1983). "The Old Bluecoat School (Grade I) (1303195)". National Heritage List for England.
  10. ^ Historic England (6 April 1967). "Church of St. Mary (Grade II*) (1155799)". National Heritage List for England.
  11. ^ "Briefing note: Flooding and Thatcham" (PDF). West Berkshire Council. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 24 February 2010.
  12. ^ "Thatcham Research: Contact Us". Motor Insurers' Automotive Research Centre. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
  13. ^ "Thatcham Research: Vehicle Security". Motor Insurers' Automotive Research Centre. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
  14. ^ "Your Councillors". West Berkshire Council. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  15. ^ "Councillors". Thatcham Town Council. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  16. ^ "Local statistics - Office for National Statistics".

External links[edit]