Chieveley is a village and civil parish about 4 miles (6.4 km) north of Newbury
Newbury, Berkshire
Newbury is a civil parish and the principal town in the west of the county of Berkshire in England. It is situated on the River Kennet and the Kennet and Avon Canal, and has a town centre containing many 17th century buildings. Newbury is best known for its racecourse and the adjoining former USAF...

 in Berkshire
Berkshire is a historic county in the South of England. It is also often referred to as the Royal County of Berkshire because of the presence of the royal residence of Windsor Castle in the county; this usage, which dates to the 19th century at least, was recognised by the Queen in 1957, and...

, close to the M4 motorway
M4 motorway
The M4 motorway links London with South Wales. It is part of the unsigned European route E30. Other major places directly accessible from M4 junctions are Reading, Swindon, Bristol, Newport, Cardiff and Swansea...

 and A34 road.


Chieveley is a village of 1,481 people (2001 census) and 508 households. A map of 1877 stated the area at the time to be roughly 5328.189 acres (21.6 km²). Chieveley Service Station
Chieveley services
Chieveley services is a UK motorway service station on the M4 motorway at Chieveley near Newbury in Berkshire, England. It is owned by Moto.-History:...

 serves Junction 13 of the M4 motorway
M4 motorway
The M4 motorway links London with South Wales. It is part of the unsigned European route E30. Other major places directly accessible from M4 junctions are Reading, Swindon, Bristol, Newport, Cardiff and Swansea...


The landscape is of gently rolling chalk hills. The land is predominantly arable with some dairy, sheep and pigs. There is a healthy quantity of woodland and abundant wildlife. There is a network of green lanes and footpaths that afford good walking.

The civil parish consists of the villages of Chieveley and Curridge
Curridge is a village in the civil parish of Chieveley in the English county of Berkshire.-Location and character:It is located in the south-east of Chieveley parish, adjoining Hermitage, and its chief population areas are Curridge village, Longlane and the Denison Barracks, home of the 42 Engineer...

 and the hamlets
Hamlet (place)
A hamlet is usually a rural settlement which is too small to be considered a village, though sometimes the word is used for a different sort of community. Historically, when a hamlet became large enough to justify building a church, it was then classified as a village...

 of Downend, Oare
Oare, Berkshire
Oare is a small village in the civil parish of Chieveley in the English county of Berkshire.-History:Oare boasts the earliest documented history within the parish. In 638, King Edgar gave Oare Chapel to the Abbot of Abingdon, a gift witnessed by Saint Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury...

 and Snelsmore Common. The original parish also included Leckhampstead
Leckhampstead, Berkshire
Leckhampstead is a village and civil parish in Berkshire, England lying in the North Wessex Downs. It is a mixture of modern and more traditional thatched houses....

 and Winterbourne
Winterbourne, Berkshire
Winterbourne is a village and civil parish in the Berkshire Downs about north of Newbury in West Berkshire.-Parish church:The Church of England parish church of Saint James was completely redeveloped in the 18th and 19th centuries. The north chapel was added in 1712 and the bell tower in 1759. The...

. The structure has been much affected by roads. The M4 passes east-west through the middle of the parish and has done much to cut Curridge and Oare from Chieveley. This was opened in 1971. The A34 running north-south quarters the parish. Its path has moved several times, the most recent development being a change to Junction 13 that opened in Autumn 2004.

The landscape is dominated by farming. There are currently three working farms in the parish. Other industries include a garden centre, land-fill site, hotels, baker and many small businesses.


There is ancient civilisation nearby that indicates early settlement. The parish boasts a fine Iron Age hill fort
Hill fort
A hill fort is a type of earthworks used as a fortified refuge or defended settlement, located to exploit a rise in elevation for defensive advantage. They are typically European and of the Bronze and Iron Ages. Some were used in the post-Roman period...

 in Snelsmore, called Bussock Camp
Bussock Camp
Bussock Camp is the site of an Iron Age bivallate hillfort located in Berkshire. It has a double bank and ditch to the south and east, with only a single bank remaining the north and western sides...

. This is in private grounds but is visible in May when they are opened to the public to view the fine display of bluebells.

The name Chieveley is said to be derived from 'Field of Chives'. The WI's 'Berkshire Book' assures the reader that chives were noted in the area as far back as 951. This is the same year that King Edred gave the village to his bailiff, Wulf.

The Domesday Book
Domesday Book
Domesday Book , now held at The National Archives, Kew, Richmond upon Thames in South West London, is the record of the great survey of much of England and parts of Wales completed in 1086...

 of 1086 says this of Chieveley (source: The National Archives):
In Rowbury Hundred
The abbey itself holds Chieveley. It has always held it. TRE (in the reign of King Edward) it was assessed at 27 hides; now at 7½ hides. There is land for 20 ploughs. In demesne are 3 ploughs; and 28 villains and 10 bordars with 18 ploughs. There are 3 slaves, and 4 acres (16,187.4 m²) of meadow, [and] woodland for 60 pigs. Of this land William holds of the abbot 5 hides, and Godfrey 1½ hides, and there is 1 plough, with 3 villains and 2 bordars having 1 plough, and 3 acres (12,140.6 m²) of meadow. The whole, TRE and afterwards, was worth 12l; now the abbot
The word abbot, meaning father, is a title given to the head of a monastery in various traditions, including Christianity. The office may also be given as an honorary title to a clergyman who is not actually the head of a monastery...

's portion [is worth] 10l; [that] of his men 50s.

This text is a structured shorthand tax assessment.

In August 1207, King John
John of England
John , also known as John Lackland , was King of England from 6 April 1199 until his death...

 seems to have had a good few days' hunting in West Berkshire. He is reported in Curridge on the 3rd and Chieveley on the 5th.

The first vicar of Chieveley was Elias, appointed in 1154. It is likely that there was a Saxon
History of Anglo-Saxon England
Anglo-Saxon England refers to the period of the history of that part of Britain, that became known as England, lasting from the end of Roman occupation and establishment of Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in the 5th century until the Norman conquest of England in 1066 by William the Conqueror...

 church before it was replaced by the Normans
The Anglo-Normans were mainly the descendants of the Normans who ruled England following the Norman conquest by William the Conqueror in 1066. A small number of Normans were already settled in England prior to the conquest...

 and later the Victorians
Victorian architecture
The term Victorian architecture refers collectively to several architectural styles employed predominantly during the middle and late 19th century. The period that it indicates may slightly overlap the actual reign, 20 June 1837 – 22 January 1901, of Queen Victoria. This represents the British and...

. Chieveley parish register
Parish register
A parish register is a handwritten volume, normally kept in a parish church or deposited within a county record office or alternative archive repository, in which details of baptisms, marriages and burials are recorded.-History:...

s start on 10 April 1560. There are still several families in the area who were recorded in those annals.

Chieveley once had its own maypole
A maypole is a tall wooden pole erected as a part of various European folk festivals, particularly on May Day, or Pentecost although in some countries it is instead erected at Midsummer...

, on the site now occupied by Maypole Cottage (on the corner of the High Street and Church Lane).

Famous people

  • Robert Goff, Baron Goff of Chieveley
    Robert Goff, Baron Goff of Chieveley
    Robert Lionel Archibald Goff, Baron Goff of Chieveley PC DCL FBA is a retired British Judge.Lord Goff, High Steward of the University of Oxford, retired in 1998 as Senior Law Lord after more than a decade as a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary in the House of Lords...

    , Lord of Appeal in Ordinary
    Lord of Appeal in Ordinary
    Lords of Appeal in Ordinary, commonly known as Law Lords, were appointed under the Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876 to the House of Lords of the United Kingdom in order to exercise its judicial functions, which included acting as the highest court of appeal for most domestic matters...

  • the mother of Lord Chief Justice Holt came from Chieveley.
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