Earley from Rocque's map of Berkshire, 1761
Named after eagles that flew in the area, Earley lay in the south west of Sonning parish. Two manors were mentioned there when the Domesday Book was compled in 1086; Erlegh which belonged to Osbern Gifford and probably took its name from a chapel dedicated to St Bartholomew, and Erlegh Regis which, in the late 13th century, became known as White Knights after the nickname of John de Erlegh. Maiden Earley was formed out of White Knights, probably in the 15th century. St Peters church in Earley was built in 1844. It was enlarged in 1882-3. St Bartholomews church was built in 1879.
Whiteknights, or 'Earley White Knights'
Whiteknights is mentioned in the 12th century as a house attached to the Hospital for Lepers that was founded by Aucherius, the second abbot of Reading, who died in 1134. It was held by several families before 1798 when the property was purchased by the Marquess of Blandord, later to become Duke of Marlborough.
The buildings subsequently fell into ruins and were demolished in 1840. In 1947 the park became the property of Reading University.
In the second half of the 21st century, virtually the whole of Earley became a housing estate. The population in 2011 was recorded at 29,958 people living in 11,608 houses.
(click map for Earley 1761)