History of The Berkshire Arms and Midgham
The Berkshire Arms dates back to the 18th century when it was built as a farmhouse, remaining a private residence until the mid 1980’s.
Midgham’s history reaches back several hundred years however and local historian, John Trigg, has compiled that history into several fascinating books.
Evidence points to the Knights Templar holding land in the area, although few details are known, and trade tokens have been found near Midgham’s church – clear evidence there was trade in the area during the early modern period.
After the Norman Conquest, Midgham was acquired by the Pinkney family and divided into three sub-manors - Erley’s Manor and two others of unknown name. Erley’s Manor, which is now Midgham House, was originally owned by the Earley family of Earley Whiteknights, near Reading. This stately Manor’s most famous owner was the diplomat, Stephen Poyntz, who was governor and steward to the household of the young Prince William, Duke of Cumberland.
Midgham’s present church was built by the architect, John Johnson, in 1869. However, this historic Berkshire village had its own church from at least 1309. Local legend has it that the church was built as the opposing twin to Brimpton Church, so two sisters could wave at each other across the beautiful Kennet Valley.
A notable historic building in Midgham is the Button Court Farmhouse. Originally Button Court, this 16th century Grade II listed farmhouse was erected on land owned by the Button family as early as the mid 13th century. For several centuries, the present farmhouse was owned by the Tull family, whose most famous descendent, Jethro Tull, helped bring about a revolution in farming methods in the early 18th century with his horse-drawn seed drill.
Also famous locally is clergyman and poet, William Crowe, who was born in a carpenter’s cottage in Midgham in 1745. It is thought his fine voice gained him entry into Winchester college and then New College, Oxford, where he became a fellow and public orator. Crowe’s famous poem, On Lewesdon Hill, was admired by Coleridge and Wordsworth.
Set in the River Kennet valley and surrounded by the pretty North Wessex Downs, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this charming country pub is the perfect location for exploring the rolling chalk downs, including Watership Down, made famous by the Richard Adams book, less than 10 miles south of The Berkshire Arms. Several ancient walks and trails, including The Test Way and The Wayfarer’s Walk criss-cross the Downs. So after strolling through scenic country lanes and steeping yourself in the history of Midgham, you’ll be ready for some well-earned rest and refreshment at The Berkshire Arms.
Today, this rustic former farmhouse serves delicious traditional pub food come rain or shine. So whether you’re dining al fresco in our lovely beer garden or cuddling up indoors in front of our open fires, be sure to take your time over a sumptuous seasonal special or hearty Sunday lunch, along with a glass of fine wine or a real cask ale.
Directions to The Berkshire Arms
You can find The Berkshire Arms on Bath Road in Midgham, Reading. Simply key RG7 5UX into your satnav.