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Caversham is a suburb and former village (locals still call Caversham The Village), in the unitary authority of Readingmarker, Englandmarker. It lies on the north bank of the River Thames, within the ceremonial county of Berkshire, on the opposite bank from the rest of Reading. Caversham Bridgemarker, Reading Bridgemarker and Caversham Lockmarker (pedestrian only) provide crossing points, with Sonning Bridgemarker a few miles east of Caversham.

Caversham was part of the county of Oxfordshire until 1911 and formed an urban district. It was transferred to Berkshire when it became part of the county borough of Readingmarker.

Caversham spreads across from the River Thames floodplain (to the east) and up the foothills of the Chilternsmarker. Besides central Caversham (the shopping area and immediate residential surrounds), there are distinct areas known as Caversham Heightsmarker on the higher ground to the west, Lower Cavershammarker to the south east, and Caversham Park Villagemarker to the north east on what was the parkland of Caversham Parkmarker. Emmer Greenmarker, to the north, may also be considered part of Caversham.


The first written description of Caversham appeared in the Domesday Book. This entry indicates that a sizable community had developed with a considerable amount of land under cultivation.

Some time before 1106 a Shrine of Our Lady was established in Caversham. Its precise location is unknown, but it may have been near the present St. Peter's parish church. It became a popular place of pilgrimage, along with the chapel of St. Anne on the bridge and her well, whose waters were believed to have healing properties. By the 15th century the statue was plated in silver; Catherine of Aragon is recorded as visiting on 17 July 1532. The shrine was destroyed on 14 September 1538 under the orders of Henry VIII. Only the well survives, now dry and surrounded by a protective wall, topped with a domed iron grill. A modern shrine to Our Lady has been re-established at the Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady and St. Anne.

In the Middle Ages Caversham Manormarker was one of the demesnes of William Marshal (1146 or 47 – 1219), Earl of Pembroke and regent during King Henry III's minority. It was the place of his death.

The medieval community was clustered on the north side of Caversham Bridge east of St. Peter's Church, which was built in the 12th century. The third Earl of Buckingham donated the land for the church and neighbouring rectory, together with a considerable amount of land around it, to the Augustinian Abbey of Notley near Long Crendonmarker in Buckinghamshire. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the these lands were given to Christchurch College, Oxfordmarker. The rectory stood in what is now Caversham Courtmarker public park.

In the Civil War there was fierce fighting around Caversham Bridge for a short time in April 1643. Reading had been held by Royalists and was besieged by a Parliamentary force under the Earl of Essex. Royalists marched south from Oxfordmarker to try to relieve the town's defenders but were heavily defeated, and the town fell to the Parliamentarians a few days later.

The fortified manor house was replaced by Caversham Park in the 16th century. Several houses have stood on the site, notably the home of William Cadogan, 1st Earl Cadogan. The present Caversham Park House, built in 1850, is occupied by BBC Monitoring, which is a section of the BBC World Service that analyzes news, information and comment gathered from mass media around the world. It is also the premises of the BBC Written Archives Centre and BBC Radio Berkshire.


Caversham is entirely within the borough of Reading and forms four of the borough's sixteen electoral wards: Caversham, Peppard, Mapledurham and Thames wards. Confusingly, two of Caversham's wards share their names with Oxfordshire villages that are some distance outside the borough boundary: Mapledurhammarker and Rotherfield Peppardmarker.

Caversham is in the Reading East parliamentary constituencymarker, currently represented by Rob Wilson of the Conservative Party.


There is one local authority secondary school in Caversham: Highdown School.Many children from the area also attend Chiltern Edge School in South Oxfordshire. In the independent sector, Queen Anne's School educates girls between the ages of 11 and 18.

There are several primary schools in Caversham including Caversham Primary Schoolmarker, Caversham Park Primary School, Emmer Green Primary School, The Hill Primary School, St. Anne's RC Primary School, and Thameside Primary School. There is a shortage of primary school places in the west of Caversham. A 2006 proposal to use part of Mapledurham playing fields to build a replacement for Caversham Primary School did not receive public support.

Chiltern College, once a training school for nannies, now provides training in all aspects of child care, and claims to be the only childcare training college in the UK with its own nurseries, school, training college and residential accommodation on campus.

Amateur Football

Caversham has one of the largest youth football clubs in the South Chiltern minor league with many of these youth teams competing in the top divisions of South Chiltern minor league.The under 17s consist of Caversham AFC Colts and Caversham AFC Cobras.

Caversham AFC's main ground is Clayfield Copse, commonly referred to as "Swan's Lair" because the mascot for the team is a swan. In previous seasons, Highdown School has been used as Caversham AFC's training ground. The club colours are red and black.

See also


  2. Berkshire Record Office. Charter 750 — A County Borough. Retrieved October 6, 2005.
  3. A Vision of Britain Through Time (2004). Caversham UD Oxfordshire through time. Retrieved October 6, 2005.
  4. Caversham Court HLF Application. Retrieved February 7 2008.
  5. Royal Berkshire History: Caversham in Oxfordshire
  6. RC Parish of Our Lady & St. Anne, Caversham: The Shrine of Our Lady of Caversham
  10. Chiltern College

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