Parish Church of St Nicholas, Church Hill, Hurst

Church Hill, 1723

Aerial view of Church Hill (© I J H Richardson)

Hurst Church, 2001 (click for earlier picture)

Hurst Church 2001 (click for earlier picture)

Interior, Hurst Church, 2001 (click for earlier picture)

On the 8th of January 1984 a year long festival was inaugurated by the Rt. Revd. Eric Wild, the former Bishop of Reading, to celebrate the founding of Hurst Church. The bells rang all day, and the sound was spread across the nation by the BBC on Radio 4. Musical events, a summer pageant, a 'mediaeval fayre', and a year long exhibition in the church depicting the village history were all part of the festivities.

Vicar (Hurst & Winnersh -
Revd. John Coombs)

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The Tithe Barn, Church Hill


Left: Church Hill with the tithe barn, 1820
Right: Church Hill, 1840. Plot 767 was owned by Robert Palmer and occupied by Henry H Wingfield.

The tithe barn was used to store tithes, a payment in kind of a tenth of the produce that went towards the upkeep of the Church. Tithes were anciently calculated in three different ways: 'Praedial Tithes' one tenth of corn, oats, timber etc produced. 'Mixed Tithes' based on stock and labour, and 'Personal Tithes' calculated on income.

In 1836 an Act was passed allowing for tithes to be commuted to a rent-charge. Commissioners were appointed to negotiate fair cash payments, and this made the storage barn redundant.

The Tithe Map for Hurst, produced in 1840, shows the site of the barn being occupied by Henry Hawthorne Wingfield's carpenter's shop. At about this time the Rev. Allen Cameron used part of the site to build the first parish vicarage.

The Castle, Church Hill (formerly known as the Church House, and the Bunch of Grapes)

The Castle Inn (click for modern picture)

The Castle, 2001 (click for earlier picture)

In 1999 the Castle was fully restored and converted into a restaurant by new owners. It quickly gained a reputation for serving high  quality food and wine combined with friendly service. After just over two years of operation, the restaurant was awarded two AA rosettes and received a recommendation the The Good Food Guide, the only restaurant in Berkshire to receive such an honour.

Castle Restaurant

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The Almshouses

Almshouses, Hurst, 2001 (click for earlier picture)


Tablet to William Barker, Hurst Almshouses, with Barker Arms.

References in main text (Tithe Barn):

      IV   Visitations (1)
    XIII   New Farmland (2)

References in main text (The Castle):

     VII   Peace and Prosperity (2)
       X   Bread (1)
      XI   Commuting (3)