Watlington House

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Watlington House
Watlington House.jpg
Watlington House frontage
Location map United Kingdom Reading Central.png
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Location within Reading Town Centre
General information
Location Reading, Berkshire, UK
Coordinates 51°27′10″N0°57′42″W / 51.452874°N 0.961642°W / 51.452874; -0.961642 Coordinates: 51°27′10″N0°57′42″W / 51.452874°N 0.961642°W / 51.452874; -0.961642
Construction started1688
Completed1711

Watlington House is a 17th-century building, with a large walled garden, in the town of Reading in the English county of Berkshire. The building is brick built and is reputed to be the oldest surviving secular building in the town. It is a listed building, being listed grade II*. [1] [2] [3]

Reading, Berkshire Place in England

Reading is a large, historic university and minster town in Berkshire, England, of which it is now the county town. It is in the Thames Valley at the confluence of the River Thames and River Kennet, and on both the Great Western Main Line railway and the M4 motorway. Reading is 70 miles (110 km) east of Bristol, 24 miles (39 km) south of Oxford, 40 miles (64 km) west of London, 14 miles (23 km) north of Basingstoke, 12 miles (19 km) south-west of Maidenhead and 15 miles (24 km) east of Newbury as the crow flies.

England Country in north-west Europe, part of the United Kingdom

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

Berkshire County of England

Berkshire is a county in South East England. One of the home counties, Berkshire was recognised by the Queen as the Royal County of Berkshire in 1957 because of the presence of Windsor Castle, and letters patent were issued in 1974. Berkshire is a county of historic origin, a ceremonial county and a non-metropolitan county without a county council. The county town is Reading.

The western or rear part of the building was built in 1688 for Samuel and Anne Watlington, whilst the eastern part, fronting onto Watlington Street, is said to date from 1763. Samuel Watlington served as mayor of Reading in 1695 and again in 1711. [1] [3]

Samuel Watlington was a cloth merchant and leading citizen of the town of Reading in the English county of Berkshire. He held the office of Mayor of Reading in 1695 and 1711. In 1688, he and his wife Anne had Watlington House, reputed to be the oldest surviving secular building in Reading, built.

The first recorded occupant of the house was Captain Edward Purvis in 1794, renting the house for £25 annually. He fought at the Battle of Corunna in the Peninsular War with the 4th Regiment of Foot and trained the Berkshire Militia in Orts meadow near his home. The house is rumoured to be haunted by his ghost. After Captain Purvis, the house was variously occupied by a Mrs Stevens and then used as an office by the town clerk of Reading. [2] [4]

Battle of Corunna battle

The Battle of Corunna, in Spain known as Battle of Elviña, took place on 16 January 1809, when a French corps under Marshal of the Empire Nicolas Jean de Dieu Soult attacked a British army under Lieutenant-General Sir John Moore. The battle took place amidst the Peninsular War, which was a part of the wider Napoleonic Wars. It was a result of a French campaign, led by Napoleon, which had defeated the Spanish armies and caused the British army to withdraw to the coast following an unsuccessful attempt by Moore to attack Soult's corps and divert the French army.

Peninsular War War by Spain, Portugal and the United Kingdom against the French Empire (1807–1814)

The Peninsular War (1807–1814) was a military conflict between Napoleon's empire and Bourbon Spain, for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. The war began when the French and Spanish armies invaded and occupied Portugal in 1807, and escalated in 1808 when France turned on Spain, previously its ally. The war on the peninsula lasted until the Sixth Coalition defeated Napoleon in 1814, and is regarded as one of the first wars of national liberation, significant for the emergence of large-scale guerrilla warfare.

In 1877 the house became the first home of the newly founded Kendrick Girls School. The school remained on the site until 1927, when they moved to their current location on the corner of Sidmouth Street and London Road. During their stay they erected a corrugated iron hall in the garden, which still stands. [2] [3] [5]

Kendrick School school in Reading, UK

Kendrick School is a selective girls' grammar school situated in the centre of Reading, Berkshire, UK. In February 2011, Kendrick became an Academy.

Since 1931, the building has been owned by local trustees. They provide accommodation for social and educational organisations, using the rents for the upkeep of Watlington House. [2]

Since 2003, the House has been the home of the Mills Archive, the national repository for documents, images and other records on mills, milling and the historical uses of traditional power sources.

Mills Archive organization

The Mills Archive was established in 2002 to preserve and protect records of milling heritage and to make them freely available to the public. It is governed by the Mills Archive Trust, which is a charity that is based at Watlington House, Reading, Berkshire.

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References

  1. 1 2 "Watlington Street Number 44 (Watlington House)". Heritage Gateway. English Heritage, Institute of Historic Building Conservation and ALGAO:England . Retrieved 2010-09-13.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "A Brief History of Watlington House". Trustees of Watlington House. Retrieved 2010-09-13.
  3. 1 2 3 Phillips, Daphne (1980). The Story of Reading. Countryside Books. p. 138. ISBN   0-905392-07-8.
  4. "Haunted Reading". BBC Online. BBC . Retrieved 2010-09-13.
  5. Phillips, Daphne (1980). The Story of Reading. Countryside Books. p. 151. ISBN   0-905392-07-8.