St Mary's, Cholsey
|Website:||Cholsey Parish Council|
A Bronze Age site has been found beside the River Thames at Whitecross Farm in the northeast of the parish.
The village was originally founded on an island (Ceol's Isle) in marshy ground close to the Thames. There is evidence that the West Saxon royal family owned land in Cholsey in the 6th and 7th century. A royal nunnery, Cholsey Abbey, was founded in the village in 986 by Queen Dowager Ælfthryth on land given by her son, King Ethelred the Unready. The nunnery is thought to have been destroyed by invading Danes in 1006 when they camped in Cholsey after setting nearby Wallingford ablaze. However, Anglo-Saxon masonry still survives in the parish church of St Mary. Most of this flint and stone church was built in the 12th century.
In the 13th century a tithe barn was built in the village. It was, at the time, the largest aisled building in the World, being 51 feet high, 54 feet wide and over 300 feet long. It was demolished in 1815.
The novelist Agatha Christie's grave is in the churchyard. She died at Winterbrook House in the parish in 1976.
The station was also the junction for a branch line to Wallingford, which the heritage Cholsey and Wallingford Railway now operates on Bank Holidays and some weekends.
- Cromarty, Barclay, Lambrick & Robinson, 2006
- Samuel Lysons, Magna Britannia, Berkshire volume, page 264
- Cromarty, Anne Marie; Barclay, Alistair; Lambrick, George; Robinson, Mark (2006). Late Bronze Age Ritual at Whitecross Farm, Wallingford. Thames Valley Landscape Series. 22. Oxford: Oxford University School of Archaeology. ISBN 0947816674.
- Page, W.H.; Ditchfield, P.H., eds (1924). A History of the County of Berkshire, Volume 4. Victoria County History. pp. 296–302.
- Pevsner, Nikolaus (1966). Berkshire. The Buildings of England. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. pp. 115–117.
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