Whitchurch-on-Thames
(South Oxfordshire)

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Whitchurch-on-Thames

Whitchurch-on-Thames is an attractive Thames-side village opposite the Berkshire village of Pangbourne on the opposite side of the river, and linked to it by Whitchurch Bridge. Approaching Whitchurch-on-Thames by road from the north the road drops down from the Chiltern Hills into the villlage, much of which is squeezed into a flat plain about half a mile wide. Before you realise it you have reached a toll bridge across the river to Pangbourne.

Location map:

The village has several attractive flint cottages, Edwardian villas and Georgian town houses. There is also a mill which has now been converted and is no longer in use.

The original chuch is thought to have been established by St Birinus and was probably a small whitewashed building of wattle and daub. The present Church of St Mary was substantially rebuilt in 1857, although Saxon, Norman, Gothic, Georgian and Victorian architecture is still evident. To quote from the limited edition book St Mary’s Church, Whitchurch-on-Thames – A Journey through Time by Richard Hughes, Rector of Whitchurch, 1979 – 2000, "The whole has mellowed with the centuries nevertheless, so that the casual visitor will find a typical country church in which nothing, it seems, is too out of place."

Whitchurch Bridge is one of the few remaining private toll bridges across the River Thames. There has been a bridge on the site since 1792, and the current bridge is the third on the site and dates from 1902. It is owned and maintained by The Company of Proprietors of Whitchurch Bridge entirely from toll receipts. The Company of Proprietors of Whitchurch Bridge is a private Company established by the Whitchurch Bridge Acts of 1792 and 1988, empowered to collect tolls at any time of the day or night to finance its operations. The company plans to rebuild the bridge in 2013. Before this bridge was built the crossing to Pangbourne was by ferry, and this was one of the earliest crossing places into Berkshire.

Whitchurch Lock is one of the few locks on the River Thames which has no public access other than by boat. The weir crosses the river to Pangbourne.

Whitchurch-on-Thames is on the B471 half a mile north of Pangbourne, on the River Thames about half way between Goring and Reading.

Images of Whitchurch-on-Thames:
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