Shaw- cum- Donnington | West Berkshire Villages
The two villages of Shaw and Donnington stand less than a mile apart, united in one parish and linked by the river Lambourn on the north side of Newbury and it is a small beautiful village, with a vibrant community feel. It has large church- the striking Grade II listed Norman Revival church, St Mary's and an Elizabethan House - Shaw House. it is also the home of Donnington Castle. The striking twin-towered gatehouse of 14th century Donnington Castle, survives within impressive earthworks. It shows the luxury enjoyed by Sir Richard Abberbury, Donnington's builder, whose private quarters lay within it. Both Henry VIII and Elizabeth I are thought to have stayed here.
The large defences built to protect the castle during the English Civil War still survive.
SHAW -CUM DONNINGTON | WEST BERKSHIRE VILLAGES | AMENITIES AND FACILITIES
No shops exist within the Parish boundaries any more. Two pubs (The Castle and the Three Horseshoes) and two golf courses (Donnington Grove attached to a country club and Donnington Valley attached to a 4 star hotel and spa) provide leisure and entertainment facilities. Football and cricket enthusiasts can practise their sports on the recreation ground in Donnington and there is a small recreation ground off Kingsley Close.
North of Donnington Village is the site of Donnington Castle, now managed by English Heritage. From here, a number of footpaths fan out towards Snelsmore Country Park and across the two golf courses. There is an all-weather sports pitch opposite Trinity School. St Mary’s Church Hall is the venue for a number of meetings and activities every week. The village hall hosts a number of daytime and evening courses, clubs and activities, as well as the local pre-school. Trinity Performing Arts College has facilities for community use and also houses Maestros, the West Berkshire Music School.
There is a Village Hall.
SHAW -CUM DONNINGTON | WEST BERKSHIRE VILLAGES | TRANSPORT
There are a couple of bus routes which run close to Shaw cum Donnington parish boundaries:
Routes 4, 4b + 4C: go along part of Grove Road and Sutton Road on the way to Newbury Bus Station
Route 124: Speen to Wash Common via part of Grove Road, Sutton Road and Newbury Bus Station
However, the only bus routes to actually run through the parish are:
Route 1 Jet Black: Newbury to Reading, frequent service – turns into Kiln Road at Shaw Bridge
Routes 5, 5A + 5C: Downlands villages, Castle Inn, Love Lane, Newbury, extending to/from Newbury College (a.m./p.m.) and Park House School (a.m. only) .
Routes 6 + 6A: Newbury via Castle Inn or Shaw Cemetery to the Ilsleys.
SHAW -CUM DONNINGTON | WEST BERKSHIRE VILLAGES | FOOD & DRINK
A new ownership by the Honesty Group is The Hartley Arms Pub, complete with a coffee shop and riverside terrace.
The Castle pub is within easy reach of Newbury Town Centre.
Donnington Grove Hotel Set amidst beautiful parkland with the River Lambourn winding through the grounds, this Newbury restaurant has large picture windows to make the most of the picturesque river views. The generous patio area is perfect for al-fresco dining or Afternoon Tea on a delightful, British summer day. Beau’s Bar and Restaurant. The famous Beau Brummel, son of William Brummel, lived here at Donnington Grove in the late 18th century. Beau was famously known as a Dandy and a fashion icon of his time, he introduced the style for gentlemen to wear a shirt and cravat – with a jacket! Raise a glass at Beaus to Great British style, fashion and tradition as they create and serve their new with this provenance in mind.
The Fox & Hounds is a homely, family and dog friendly pub serving beautiful locally supplied food especially the Sunday roasts.
SHAW -CUM DONNINGTON | WEST BERKSHIRE VILLAGES | COMMUNICATION
There is a Parish Council website, with all information about the area and the parish council.
SHAW -CUM DONNINGTON | WEST BERKSHIRE VILLAGES | CHURCHES
There is one place of worship at the heart of the parish – St. Mary’s C of E Church, Shaw. There are other denomination churches nearby, throughout Newbury.
SHAW -CUM DONNINGTON | WEST BERKSHIRE VILLAGES | HEALTH
The GP surgery is at Strawberry Hill.
SHAW -CUM DONNINGTON | WEST BERKSHIRE VILLAGES | ENVIRONMENT
Waste collection and recycling is organised by West Berkshire Council via their contractors Veolia. Black bins (general waste) and items for recycling (paper & cardboard, plastic bottles & cans, glass bottles, garden waste in green bins) are collected on the same weekday in alternate weeks.
Large and small household items may also be taken for recycling to the Recycling Centre in Newtown Road. Don’t forget to take your permit with you.
SHAW -CUM DONNINGTON | WEST BERKSHIRE VILLAGES | SPORT
A variety of sports activities are available in the Parish. The Village Hall offers yoga, keep fit, aerobics. It is also possible to use facilities at Trinity School. Donnington has a cricket club that plays at the recreation ground on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the summer months, and new players are always very welcome. Newbury Tennis Clubs at Poplar Place (off Almond Avenue), Shaw, Newbury RG14 1NA. The club welcomes players of all standards with a focus on club sessions during the week and at weekends. The focus is on people’s enjoyment of playing tennis in a relaxed and friendly environment. This helps players to develop their game and gain confidence. The club holds sessions on Tuesday evenings from 6.30pm BST (7pm GMT) and Saturdays from 2pm. For those wanting to play competitively the club enters teams throughout the year in the LTA Berkshire and Newbury District leagues. there is also Donnington Grove Country Club.
SHAW -CUM DONNINGTON | WEST BERKSHIRE VILLAGES |ARLINGTON ARTS
Arlington Arts is a vibrant theatre venue in Donnington, showcasing a variety of genres for people of all ages to enjoy.
SHAW -CUM DONNINGTON | WEST BERKSHIRE VILLAGES |SHAW HOUSE
Often described as a hidden gem, it is located in tranquil surroundings on the north edge of Newbury.
SHAW -CUM DONNINGTON | WEST BERKSHIRE VILLAGES | HISTORY
The area in and around Shaw-cum-Donnington has a rich historical tradition. The Parish is dominated by two settlements, Shaw and Donnington (“cum” is Latin for “with”), and both place names appear in the Domesday Book of 1086. Some 300 years after the Domesday Book, Sir Richard de Abberbury (tutor and mentor to the Black Prince) was granted a licence by Edward III to build Donnington Castle. He also founded Donnington Hospital, where “12 poor men” were to be housed and cared for in Donnington Priory. The castle, hospital and priory are all important features of the village today – albeit very much changed. In 1415, the castle and manor were sold to Thomas Chaucer, son of the famous poet Geoffrey. As a result, a number of, almost certainly false, stories of the poet and Donnington have arisen. A subsequent owner was Charles, Earl of Nottingham, Lord Howard of Effingham, who is famous as the commander of the English fleet that faced the Spanish Armada. By the 1640s the estate had come into the hands of the Packer family whose descendants, the Hartley-Russells, are still very active in the Donnington Hospital Trust. In 1554, a rich Newbury clothier, Thomas Dolman, purchased the manor of Shaw to the east of Donnington. His son, another Thomas, completed the present Shaw House in 1581. By the time the house was built the local cloth industry had declined, and there was much resentment of the way the Dolmans had moved out of the cloth business.In 1642, on the outbreak of the Civil War, a royalist force occupied and garrisoned the castle under the command of Colonel John Boys. They were to face three years of intermittent siege from 1643 until they finally surrendered in 1646. During this period the castle was reduced to the ruinous state it is in today. In October 1644, the Second Battle of Newbury took place mainly in the villages and fields of Shaw, Donnington and Speen. Two strong points in the Royalist defences were Donnington Castle and Shaw House. Although the Royalists were outnumbered by three to one, they managed to escape along the Oxford road. Bitter recriminations at this fumbled opportunity split Parliament which in turn led to the formation of the New Model Army and the eventual Parliamentary victory. Thus it can be claimed that the modern British Army was in part born out of the fields of Shaw, Donnington and Speen.
A couple of weeks after the battle, the Royalist Army returned to recover their valuables which they had left in the castle. Once again two armies faced each other across the fields of Donnington and Speen, but made no real attempt to fight. This event was known as the Third Battle of Newbury, a title hijacked in more recent times to describe the environmentalist protests at the building of the A34 Newbury bypass which cuts across the north western corner of the Parish at Snelsmore. In the 18th century a tollhouse for the Newbury to Oxford Turnpike was attached to the Donnington Castle Inn. All around Newbury new mansions sprang up. James Petit Andrews built Donnington Grove, which he sold, in 1783, to the Secretary of State, William Brummell (the father of Beau Brummell). Donnington Priory, by then a private house, was rebuilt to give us essentially the building we see today. In 1840 the Rector of Shaw, Samuel Slocock, approached the then owner of Shaw House, Thomas Penrose, who decided to demolish the old Norman church on the basis that it was too draughty and seriously dilapidated. The old church was not quite as rickety as they thought, and gunpowder had to be used to encourage it to collapse. The current church of St Mary is the result, a handsome early Victorian edifice. For a period Donnington Priory was occupied by Thomas Hughes who wrote Tom Brown’s Schooldays, and it was later used by John Buchan as the model for a house in his novel, The Thirty-Nine Steps. A smaller house, Donnington Dene, was the birthplace in 1836 of Walter Money, Newbury’s most celebrated local historian whose books are still invaluable references today.
Donnington Hospital continues to flourish although, in 1818, a survey of Berkshire charities considered the charity to be so abused that it should be abolished. Instead it was rejuvenated and the buildings restored in 1822 by Winchcombe Henry Howard Hartley, then Lord of the Manor of Donnington as well as his home manor of Bucklebury, where he was also Rector. The Hospital Trust now manages 50 almshouses in Bucklebury, Iffley (Oxford) and Donnington. During World War II Shaw House was requisitioned by the military who used it until 1943 when a secondary school in Newbury was bombed and the building was called into use as a temporary replacement. Following the war the house was put up for sale and was eventually purchased by Berkshire County Council for use, once again, as a school. Shaw House School remained there for many years, expanding into premises behind the house (now part of Trinity School). The school moved out in 1985 following concerns over the structural safety of the building. The house then lay unused until 2005 when funding from the National Lottery, Vodafone and WBC enabled the restoration of the house to commence. It is now in use by WBC as the local registry office and has meeting rooms to hire. It opened to the public in 2008. A momentous change was the building in the 1970s of the dual carriageway link (now the A339) north out of Newbury, which split the Parish into two. The Parish became home to one of Britain’s largest companies when mobile phone giant Vodafone moved to its new global HQ on the old Newbury Showground site in 2002. Shaw-cum-Donnington is a Parish steeped in history. There are reminders of the past everywhere, but there is a future too. This Parish Plan is an attempt to influence the direction of the immediate “history to come” in a manner that respects and learns from the past..
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