Bullmarsh Heath from Rocque's map of Berkshire, 1761
Bullmarsh Heath was a large tract of land that lay north of the Reading-Wokingham road in the Liberty of Woodley and Sandford. The manor appears to have been formed in the 15th century partially out of the manors of Sonning and Earley. In 1447 it was held by John Lovell, and was granted to Reading abbey.
When the abbey was dissolved, Bullmarsh manor passed to the crown. In 1545 it was purchased by William Grey, the author of satirical ballads. It subsequently passed to the Blagrave family, who died out in 1789 with the death of George Blagrave.
The Reading races were held on the heath in the mid 18th century. Cudgels, and other sporting events were regulary held there. In July 1799 George III reviewed the Volunteer Corps of Berkshire on the Heath. It is estimated more than 20,000 attended and the review included Cavalry from Woodley, Wantage, Reading and Wokingham.
South Lake, Woodley, marking the south-east edge of Bullmarsh Heath
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