Burghfield is a village and civil parish in Berkshire, England.
It is situated in the district of West Berkshire, although it lies in the east of the district, close to Reading.
The parish of Burghfield consists of two separate villages – Burghfield Common and Burghfield Village – and several small hamlets, including Burghfield Bridge
, Burghfield Hill
and Sheffield Bottom
The main settlements of Burghfield parish lie along Burghfield Road, the major road out of Reading. From north-east to south-west: Burghfield Bridge is the closest to Reading and lies by the crossing of the Reading Road over the River Kennet; this is followed by Burghfield Village, after the crossing of the Burghfield Road over the M4 motorway which runs through the north of the parish; Burghfield Hill is in the southern upland part of the parish, naturally enough, at the top of Burghfield Hill; and Burghfield Common – named after the parish common land on which it was built and with by far the largest population – lies, in quick succession, the furthest south-west. The south-eastern part of Burghfield Common is known as Great Auclum (see History below).
The parish is largely bounded by rivers and streams. The Clayhill Brook partially forms its western border with Sulhamstead. The Burghfield Brook forms its southern border with Wokefield and Grazeley. The eastern boundary is just east of the railway line, near Smallmead, running south from Reading. The northern boundary with Theale and the Southcote area of Reading is formed by the Holy Brook and the Draper's Osier Bed Stream. The River Kennet and Kennet and Avon Canal run through the very north of the parish and are, today, surrounded by vast gravel pits where there is much wildlife and where fishing, sailing and other water sports are popular pastimes. The stream The Teg gently winds its way through the heart of Burghfield Common. Its source is close to the local school and much interesting wildlife can be found long its length.
Apart from the gravel pits, the area is mostly farmland. There are, however, still patches of scattered woodland: Brick Kiln Copse, Jame's Copse, Pinge Wood, Amner's Wood, Clayhill Copse and Scratchface Copse.
In 2001, the population of Burghfield was recorded as 5,894. In 1961, it was only 2,323. Burghfield has a parish council
served by 19 parish councillors
, as well as being part of the unitary authority
of West Berkshire
. Burghfield also has its own 'Residents Association'.
Transport in the parish is relatively restricted in terms of heavy vehicular access and public transport. Public transport is provided by the 143, 148 and 149 buses, provided by Reading Buses
whose routes lie along the Burghfield Road, and via Mortimer railway station
which lies to the South, and is connected to Burghfield Common by a minibus shuttle at peak times. Heavy vehicular access in the region is restricted by the multiple low and narrow bridges over the canal and railways which lie to the North and East.
There are moorings on the Kennet and Avon Canal on the offside bank downstream of Burghfield Island and at the layby on Burghfield Island (near Burghfield Bridge). The canal has a number of locks and a swing-bridge along the Burghfield stretch.
There are several Bronze Age burial mounds
in the parish. Excavations at one have shown that it was later used for burials when the Anglo-Saxons
moved into the area. In Old English
, they named the place 'Hill Field'. There were three manors
: Burghfield Regis, Burghfield Abbas and Sheffield. The original Burghfield Bridge was built by the De Burghfield family, but they had arguments with King Edward I
over who should repair it. There was a minor skirmish there after the First Battle of Newbury
in 1643. The Williams family bought the manors after the Dissolution of the Monasteries
and the village was the childhood home of John Williams, Lord Williams of Thame
, an important servant of several Tudor
monarchs. In the 20th century, Great Auclum at Burghfield Common was the site of a famous speed hill climb
track. It closed in 1974 and is now a housing estate.
St Mary's Church
The parish church
of St Mary
), in Burghfield Village, contains the alabaster effigy of the important historic figure, Richard Neville, 5th Earl of Salisbury
, the father of Warwick the Kingmaker
. He fought for the Yorkist
cause during the War of the Roses
, and was executed after the Battle of Wakefield
in 1460. He was buried first at Pontefract
, but his son transferred his body to the family mausoleum at Bisham Priory
and erected this effigy
as part of his monument
there. It is unclear why it was brought to Burghfield after the Dissolution of the Monasteries
. The effigy of a lady alongside him wears a headdress which is not thought to be of the right date to be his wife, but she may be one of the earlier Countesses of Salisbury buried at Bisham.
The church has six bells hung for change ringing:
||Date Dedicated |
||5 cwt 0 qr 1 lb
||Fear God, Honour the King.
||Mears and Stainbank
||20 December 1888
||5 cwt 3 qr 18 lb
||Praise God in His Sanctuary,|
Praise Him in the firmament of His Power.
||7 cwt 0 qr 23 lb
||Let Christ be known around,|
And loved where'er we sound.
||7 cwt 2 qr 15 lb
||Then shall true joys abound. |
||9 cwt 1 qr 20 lb
||Before Him lowly fall|
Whene'er we lift our call.
||11 cwt 3 qr 0 lb
||And Praise Him Lord of all. |
The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association
has its headquarters at Burghfield Common.
Education in the parish is provided by two primary schools – one in Burghfield Village and one in Burghfield Common – and one secondary school – The Willink School
(named after a prominent local family) – which provides for the secondary schooling of many of the surrounding villages.
Sport and leisure
- Burghfield Sailing Club - one of the largest inland sailing clubs in the United Kingdom
- Burghfield Island Boat Club - boat owning members club
- Burghfield Aqua Sports Club - boat owning members club
- Burghfield Leisure Sports - @ Searles Lane Gravel Pits
- Burghfield Football Club - promoting the playing of association football by boys and girls living in Burghfield and the surrounding area
- Willink Leisure Centre & Physicals Fitness Club - 25 m indoor swimming pool, outdoor sports area, sports hall & gymnasium
- Burghfield Common Library
- Burghfield Toy Library
- Burghfield Camera Club
- Burghfield Youth Club
- Burghfield Women's Institute - meets at Burghfield Village Hall
- Burghfield & District Horticultural Society