The Berkshire Record Society

Registered Charity No: 1027976

President: Mr James Puxley, Lord-Lieutenant of Berkshire

Chairman: Professor Ralph Houlbrooke

General Editor: Dr Peter Durrant

Notices and Newsletters


2018 Annual General Meeting

The 2018 Annual General Meeting will be held at 2.30pm on Saturday 21st April at Douai Abbey, Upper Woolhampton, RG7 5TQ. Following the AGM the Abbot, Geoffrey Scott, will give a short talk on Monastic Libraries.

Launch of Berkshire Record Society volume 25, Records of Reading Abbey, at St James's Church, Reading, on Saturday 23rd June 2018. (Time to be confirmed)

The Chairman and Council of the Berkshire Record Society cordially invite members of the Berkshire Record Society, the Friends of Reading Abbey, the Friends of Reading Museum, and members of St James's congregation, to join them to celebrate the publication of Professor Brian Kemp's edition of Records of Reading Abbey.

Volume 25 will be available to members of the Berkshire Record Society as part of their 2018 subscription.

Volume 25 will be available to non-members of the Berkshire Record Society for £10.00 plus £2.50 Post and Packaging if ordered before the 14th April and £12.50 plus £2.50 Post and Packaging if ordered after the 14th April. Postage and Packing will not apply if the volume is collected on the 23rd June.


Berkshire Feet of Fines, 1307-1509

In December 2017 the Berkshire Record Society published volumes 23 and 24, Berkshire Feet of Fines, 1307-1509, edited by Dr Margaret Yates, in two parts.

The volumes contain abstracts of all the fines in the records of the county of Berkshire, amounting to 1,581 fines for the reigns of Edward II to Henry VII. The Introduction discusses the nature of the documents and their constituent features, and provides an indication of their use as historical evidence revealing a wealth of information about Berkshire’s landowners and their properties.

Newbury and Chilton Pond Turnpike Records 1766-1791

In May 2017 the Berkshire Record Society published volume 22, Newbury and Chilton Pond Turnpike Records 1766-1791, edited by Jeremy Sims.

The Berkshire section of the Andover, Newbury and Chilton Pond turnpike ran from Wash Water, just south of Newbury, to the pond just west of the village of Chilton on the Berkshire downs. Here it met the turnpike from Oxford. From Newbury, a short spur ran to the Newtown river, south of Sandleford, where it met the turnpike from Winchester. The road, which in the twentieth century became the A34, thus formed an important link in the route from Southampton and Winchester to Oxford and the Midlands.

The surviving records of the turnpike trust – comprehensive minutes and detailed accounts for the period 1766 -1791 – make this the best documented of all Berkshire's eighteenth-century turnpikes. Through them we learn how the road was planned and how the funds were secured to get the turnpike trust established. They show the practical difficulties of raising and spending money and of negotiating with interested parties, and show also how the road was maintained and improved and how attempts were made to control its use. Along the way we meet a great many of the people who, in way or another, were connected with the turnpike trust. There were the promoters of the project and the turnpike trustees, the people who subscribed money, the officers of the trust — the clerks, the surveyors, the gatekeepers and other servants of the trust — as well as many of the local users. Editions of turnpike records are relatively rare among the publications of English county record societies. This volume will be a rich source, not just for the history of this trust but also for the wider story of turnpikes in Berkshire and beyond.

In 2015 the Berkshire Record Society came of age with the publication of its twenty-first volume. In this short article, the General Editor, Dr Peter Durrant highlights this achievement.