Bearwood from Rocque's map of Berkshire, 1761
The bishops of Salisbury held Bear Wood as part of their manor of Sonning. In 1574 it passed to the crown. It proved popular for hunting, being well stocked with game and animals.
The Crown continued to hold the wood until 1830 when it was purchased by Mr John Walter, the proprietor of the Times newspaper. He built a house and church which in 1846, with Newland and part of Winnersh, became the centre of the ecclesiastical district of St Catherine, Bear Wood. His son, John, demolished the house and began the present mansion.
Mr Walter's house at Bearwood in 1844 (© Reading Library)
The gardens and parkland, with a large lake, were laid out when the new house was built in the 1860s. A large part of the village of Sindlesham was also rebuilt at this time.
Bearwood College, 2001
Bearwood College, 2001 (click for earlier picture)
Apart from building the mansion at Bearwood, the Walter family erected the church dedicated to St Catherine. The ecclesiastical parish of Bear Wood, which included parts of Winnersh, and Newland, was formed in 1846.
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