Finchampstead is a small
villageand civil parishnear Wokinghamin the English county of Berkshire. Its northern extremity is sitated 2 miles south of Wokingham, 5 miles west of Bracknell, 8 miles south-east of Reading, and 33 miles west of Central London.
Finchampstead parish extends from 'The Throat' on the southern edge of Wokingham, just past the Inchcape Garage, down to the Tally Ho pub on the River Blackwater which forms the southern border with
Eversleyand Hampshire, over Eversley Bridge. Finchampstead Bridge is further east, just above Eversley Cross. To the east of the parish is Sandhurstand, to the west, Swallowfield, Arborfieldand Barkham.
Nine Mile Ride(or B3430) runs the entire width of Finchampstead, through California and then on, between King's Mere and Queen's Mere, to the border with Crowthorne, and eventually Pinewood and its termination in Bracknell. California is the name of this Northern part of the parish. It is a large residential village with its own Country Park surrounding the fine Longmoor Lake, on the edge of BarkhamCommon.
The southern portion of the parish contains
St James' parish church; Finchampstead Village itself, at the top of Fleet Hill on the B3348; Finchampstead Lea, to the west along the A327; and the woodlands of the Ridges, spreading north to the Nine Mile Ride. This is a dense, mostly pine tree, wood much of which – including Simon's Wood (of sweet chestnuts) – is owned by the National Trust. It has dramatic hills that give very picturesque views of the surrounding area. In the winter if there has been a good snowfall it can provide very good sledging opportunities and in the summer the long evenings make for beautiful quiet walks.
Finchampstead lies within the
unitary authorityof Wokingham. It also has its own parish councilwith seventeen councillorsrepresenting North & South wards.
Warren Wood, an area of secondary birch oak and pine woodland and a large meadow, between Nine Mile Ride and Warren Lane, contains a scheduled ancient monument, a round burial mound, which is the largest example of a
bell barrowin Berkshireand dates back to between 2000 and 1300 BC. Trees have been removed from the mound in recent years as their roots can damage archeological remains and paths have been rerouted around the mound.
St. James' Church stands on the top of a prominent hill and has an old Roman earthwork surrounding it. It was probably the site of a
pagantemple. The Roman roadfrom Londonto Silchester, called the 'Devil’s Highway', ran through the middle of the parish and a Roman milestone survives at Banisters.
Finchampstead's Anglo-Saxon name is said to have derived from the large variety of finches that still populate the area. It is referred to by the younger generation as 'Finch'. St. Oswald apparently visited the village in the 7th century and named the local
holy well, which is recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicleto have flowed with blood in times of National crisis!
Finchampstead is a richly wooded area on the western edge of old Windsor Forest and once the centre of one of its divisional 'walkes' and 'bailiwicks'. It was the hunting place of Royalty and an old tale tells how King Henry VII brought his son, Prince Arthur, out onto the Ridges to see his bride,
Catherine of Aragon, for the first time. His other son, Henry VIII, is said to have wooed two sisters at East Court Manor until one committed suicidein a fit of jealousy.
The present St. James' Church is almost entirely Norman with a few alterations dating from the late 16th century. It has a contemporary Norman eastern
apseand a sturdy brick tower added in 1720. The font inside is late Saxon.
There are three
manor houses. East Court stood next to the church, but has been replaced by a Victorian building. The name has been taken up by another house in the village. West Court is a good 17th and 19th century house at Finchampstead Lea. Banisters, on the lower slopes of Fleet Hill, is a fine brick Restoration house of 1683.
Most of the parish's housing is at California, most notably the 1970s Fernlea estate, built on private farmland, and the Gorse Ride estate, where the southern half was built as a temporary measure. Gorse Ride has the only Swedish-style dwellings in the UK – prefabricated wooden structures, now deemed permanent.
The village has a number of charming old cottages. In 1960, Finchampstead Memorial Hall was built alongside Finchampstead
CricketClub there. A location offering magnificent out views onto the cricket fields and the tree lined perimeter of the park itself. Furthermore there are tenniscourts and a children's playground area available for use within the park. Finchampstead Church of EnglandPrimary School is found opposite the park and is a popular school for children from reception (age 5) up to year 6 (age 11).
Next to the school is the old village chapel built in 1840. It is a
Baptistchurch with a working baptistry and has been in use by its members ever since. However in recent years its congregation has exceeded the capacity of the church, so it now meets regularly at Waverley School.
The only pub in the country with the name of the 'Queen's Oak' sits opposite the parish church. The Tally Ho, down by the Blackwater (and often incorrectly stated to be in Eversley), is now a Blubeckers Eating House. The Greyhound was a Brewers Fayre pub and restaurant situated at the top of the village main road but is currently awaiting development into a restaurant named L'auberge.
port & Leisure
* [http://www.finchampsteadcc.co.uk Finchampstead Cricket Club]
*Finchampstead Football Club [http://www.finchampsteadfc.co.uk]
* [http://www.finchnetball.co.uk Finchampstead Netball Team]
* [http://www.1finch.org.uk 1st Finchampstead Scout Group]
* [http://www.finchcoasters.org.uk Finch Coasters Running Club]
* [http://devilshighway.googlepages.com/home The Devil's Highway]
* [http://www.bash.gwr.bz/venue/venue.htm Finchampstead Memorial Hall]
* [http://www.finchampstead-pc.gov.uk/ Finchampstead Parish Council]
* [http://www.berkshirehistory.com/villages/finchampstead.html Royal Berkshire History: Finchampstead]
* [http://www.finchampstead.co.uk/ Welcome to Finchampstead Village]
* [http://writerguy.users.btopenworld.com/ WriterGuy's Weborama Page: Finchampstead Ridges Panorama]
* [http://www.finchampstead-north-conservatives.webeden.co.uk/ Finchampstead North Conservative Party]
* [http://www.finchampsteadcakes.webeden.co.uk/ Finchampstead Cakes]
* [http://www.finchampstead.com/ Finchampstead Baptist Church]
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