All you need to know about Thatcham

Thatcham is a market town in Berkshire, England, located 3 miles from Newbury, 14 miles from Reading, and 54 miles from London. It has a population of more than 26,000, and is twinned with the town Nideggen in Germany. The town straddles both the River Kennet and the Kennet and Avon Canal, and is home to a site of Special Scientific Interest – the Thatcham Reed Beds.

There is evidence of occupation in Thatcham as early as prehistoric times. The town lays claim to being the oldest inhabited area in Britain and has played host to historic Mesolithic remains, dating back to 7700 BC. Early Bronze and Iron Age relics have also been discovered in its vicinity.

The name, Thatcham, is thought to derive from a Saxon chief named Tace, who formed a village in the area in AD 500. The village originally went by the name, Taceham, which was later updated to the name we have today.

The town experienced a period of prosperity in 1304, with the construction of the Chapel of St. Thomas the Matryr, now Old Bluecoat School. At this point, Thatcham had a larger population than nearby, Newbury.

In 1121, King Henry I established Reading Abbey - an important religious building in the town - and decorated it to an impeccable standard. Shortly thereafter, Thatcham Church was issued to Reading Abbey by Empress Matilda, daughter of King Henry I of England.

Today, Thatcham is a town rich in sight and landmarks. Popular attractions include the Watermill Theatre, Nature Discovery Centre and Snelsmore Common. Other sites worth seeing are Donnington Castle, Shaw House and Bucklebury Farm Park. For shopping, head to the Kingsland Centre.

Thatcham railway station, the town’s main train station, offers regular services to Newbury and Reading. It also runs to London. Thatcham is linked by the A4 road, which runs from Bristol to London. The A4 joins the M4 motorway, which can be boarded from Thatcham at Junction 13 on the Chieveley interchange. The closest airport to Thatcham is Southampton Airport at roughly 40 miles away.

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