Peasmore

The Parish is set in the North Wessex Downs ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ on the southern slope of the Berkshire Downs at about 500 feet above sea level. It is situated on soil which is mainly clay with flints on chalk. Peasemore is an ancient village standing at a high point on the Downs, midway between Wantage and Newbury and just three miles North West of junction 13 of the M4. Over the centuries the village, with its landmark church spire, has developed to become a mature settlement whose buildings fit comfortably into the landscape of arable farmland within

which the village is set.

Amenities & Facilities

Peasemore has two great facilities in the Village Hall and the Cricket Pavilion, both of which are available for hire with preferential rates given to Peasemore residents.

The cricket pavilion has its own information page and provides for up to 20 people

The Village Hall provides seating for 70 or 100 standing, a good sized kitchen with sinks, running hot and cold water and cooker, tables, chairs, cutlery, plates and glasses. If you’re interested in using either venue for a meeting, party, exhibition or, well, whatever, then please refer to our hiring conditions –

Village Hall Hiring Conditions-

If you’re interested in hiring the facilities please email hall@peasemore.org.uk

Most amenities are in nearby Chieveley, such as a gardening club, tennis club etc

Food & Drink

The Fox at Peasemore is nestled in the countryside and next to the cricket ground.

They have. a full menu, light lunch menu and party menu. They also operate a loyalty card scheme and gift cards.

The retreat is relaxing, quality self-contained  1 – bed apartment

Communication

There is a facebook page for the village and for The Fox at Peasemore 

Church

St Barnabus Church is part of the East Downland Benefice.

The present church is unusually of Victorian blue brick

Health

The local surgery is the Downland Practice.

Sports

Peasemore pavilion and sports field, the home of Peasemore Village Cricket Club, is owned and operated by Peasemore Parish Council and is made available for general hire between April and September (excluding Sundays). Bookings can be made by the hour for short events such as children’s parties or meetings, or ‘all day’ or ‘evening’ to accommodate longer events.

Peasemore Village Cricket Club play friendly matches throughout the summer, usually on Sundays. 

School

There is no school actually in Peasemore, but schools are available in local neighbouring villages.

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Transport

There are no buses for Peasemore

The Parish Council

There is a Peasemore Parish Council

Environment

The Countryside Agency describes the landscape of the Berkshire and Marlborough Downs as ‘wooded downland…high, large-scale, rolling chalk landscape with intensive arable farming and sites of archeological significance12. The area was once heavily wooded and small tracts of ancient woodland still remain around Peasemore. But since Neolithic times the woods have been progressively cleared for farming: first with tiny enclosed fields for crops and livestock; then in strips surrounding medieval settlements; then in large fields bounded by the mainly hawthorn hedges of the enclosures13. It forms part of the North Wessex Downlands and is classified as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

There have been few major changes in the landscape for centuries. The rolling hills dotted with isolated farms and copses and criss-crossed by footpaths and bridleways; the long views: towards Inkpen, across Old Street to Beedon, and beyond the Wantage Road to Leckhampstead, would still be familiar to our forebears. The setting and extent of the village of Peasemore has also hardly changed: it is still a mainly linear development along two roads, the Street and Hill Green Lane, but most of the dwellings are not now thatched, and are sadly no longer shaded by giant elms. One marked change, though, is the extensive tree and hedge planting on Roughdown Farm, which in recent years has begun to provide increased nesting sites for birds and valuable wildlife corridors.

The church is home to a colony of pipistrelle bats, now protected under the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act; and the fields and woods abound with fallow and muntjac deer, badgers, foxes,

grey squirrels, hares, rabbits, hedgehogs, moles, weasels, stoats, rats and mice. 

History

The first reference to what became Peasemore Parish was in 951AD in King Edred’s Charter when the boundaries of the Parish were defined and described as part of the Chieveley Parish. The village is first recorded in the Domesday book, in 1086, as Praxemere, and again in 1166 as Pesemere, meaning the ‘pond by which peas grow’, from the Old English ‘pise’ – peas, and ‘mere’ – pond. Peasemore is

A Neolithic stone axe head was discovered at Prince’s farm in the 1950’s [now at The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford] and a number of flint tools have been found at Warren Down. These have been authenticated by Newbury museum and suggest that the area has been occupied for at least five thousand years.

Christianity was established in the village during Saxon times.

and probably centred around the Saxon Church on the site of the present Victorian, Gothic Church. Between 1078 and 1097 Richard of Peasemore built a chapel and cemetery here and this became the parish church in 1104, and was rebuilt in Victorian style in
18422. Rubble from the Norman Church was used as road foundations through
the village!

The chancel cross was rescued by the Vicar of Brightwalton and now forms part of the Brightwalton War Memorial.

In 1809 the first Primitive Methodist Chapel was built near the site of what is now Walnut Tree cottage. This was replaced in 1831 by ‘Ebenezer’ at West View and the third Chapel was erected in 1923 on the site of what is now ‘Furlongs’. All three Chapels in succession have been demolished but they reflect the strong Methodist community that existed on the Downlands in the 19th century.They continued to hold regular open air ‘camp’ meetings and services well into the 20th century on what is known as Mell Green.

The Manor is an early 15th century hall house, bought by Thomas Chaucer, the son of the great Geoffrey Chaucer in 1410 and altered and extended in the late 18th century. It is grade II listed3. Priors Side – the old name for Peasemore House was for many years owned by Poughley Priory, which is now occupied by Welford Aerodrome. The Priory was founded in 1160 and the Peasemore property of house and farmland was given to it shortly after its foundation. The Priory was dissolved by Cardinal Wolsey in 1525 to help finance the building of Christchurch, Oxford.

After Wolsey’s downfall the Priory and Priors Side were forfeited and went to King Henry VIII. Shortly before this the de la Pole family, who were Lords of the Manor and supporters of Richard II, found themselves on the wrong side after the battle of Bosworth: and their property including Peasemore Manor was also forfeited to Henry VII. So, for a period in the 16th century almost the whole of Peasemore became crown property until it was sold off

to private owners in Elizabethan times4.

A great fire broke out in Peasemore on 27th July 1736 when the whole of the centre of the village including barns and ricks were destroyed. It started in the area of Drakes and was declared a national disaster with over £1500 of damage done5, 9.

Prior to the building of the Victorian Church School in 1850 the village school was sited in what is now known as Drakes Cottage. The village school finally closed its doors in the mid-1950’s here are few natural water sources on the Downs, so settlements grew around ponds, which were later supplemented by wells.
A 1912 map of Peasemore shows several ponds, one of which is probably that which gave the village its name, and even more wells. These were still in evidence in a map dated 1960. The village has always been an agricultural community, with the majority of the adult residents dependent on farming in some way or another for their living.

In 1891 30% of the male workforce was employed in farming, mainly sheep and corn, later this was cereals, then dairy, mixed livestock and arable followed on from this, and now arable6. Only in the last forty years has farming become a marginal occupation7.

Peasemore has, to date; eleven Grade II listed buildings. Priors, Widows and Princes’ Farmsteads are recorded and

described in the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, Farmsteads survey, 1994. The Iron Age Enclosure is recorded as an ancient monument on WBC: Historic Buildings, Sites and Monuments Record 1/5/028.

The present village hall was built in 1900 and prior to this social gatherings were held in the reading rooms; a single storey thatched cottage on the site of what is now the house called Las Vegas. Here villagers came to be “read to” whilst knitting and sewing.

At one time, and within living memory, all commodities were brought to the village by carrier and the village had two shops and a Post Office. All have long since disappeared but the numerous village social events are remembered with affection – the school and village concerts, dances, whist drives, fetes and carnivals, the Peasemore W.I. and the thriving cricket club with its annual family events including the ladies’ match.

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