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A selection of photographs, prints and postcards. Some have personal or family connections
St. Mary's Parish Church, Shinfield
The brick tower of Shinfield Church

Our photograph shows the square brick tower and the west door of St. Mary's parish church in the small village of Shinfield near Reading. The original church was built in 1069 by the Lord of the Manor, a Norman knight who was installed by William the Conqueror. It was rebuilt in 1170 and the present north doorway survives from that time. The tower was built in 1630. During the English Civil War, in 1643, it was badly damaged by cannon balls fired by the Roundheads; soldiers supporting the King were sheltering inside. The bells were destroyed and the terrible damage caused, still visible in the brickwork, meant it was rebuilt in 1664.

Writing in 1806, Daniel Lysons said that part of the parish of Shinfield is "an insulated district of Wiltshire". ... "Richard Pigot founded a school at Shinfield, in 1707, and endowed it with 42l [£] per annum, for the education of 20 poor children" ("Magna Britannica of Berkshire"[1]).

In 1854 the village was descibed thus:
"Shinfield is a large village and parish 4 miles south-east of Reading, in the hundred of Charlton. ... The church is an ancient edifice, with low tower, nave, south aisle and chancel; the interior is plain and contains several monuments. Here is a Wesleyan chapel, and a National School, also a Free school, endowed by Mr. William Piggott, a citizen of London, for the education of 29 boys, who are clothed on the 30th of May annually ..."(Kelly's Directory[2]).

Shinfield Church Tower

We visited Shinfield on one of those late Spring days that is a mixture of sunshine and showers so the photo on the left is rather darker than we'd hoped. It shows the tower from another angle and includes the lovely church porch.

Several generations of the Exell family, descending from the children of Thomas Exell, were baptised here. The Exell's moved to nearby Reading at the beginning of the 19th century. The Shinfield parish registers also record members of the Hawksworth family living in the village.

There is more information on this website:
EXALL & EXELL Surnames
Our Genealogy
Research Queries
War Graves

Images © Andy Andrews whom you should contact if you are interested in Exell genealogy.
All other information provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Images rescanned 2007.
Intended for personal use only.

References and notes on the text:

[1] Lysons Daniel, "Magna Britannica of Berkshire", reprinted 1978, EP Publishing Ltd., East Ardsley, Wakefield, West Yorkshire ISBN 0 71588 1313 , p.93

[2] "Post Office Directory of Berkshire, Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire ... " (1854), Kelly and Co., 19 and 20 Old Boswell Court, Temple Bar, London, p361

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