About Silchester

History

The first evidence of settlement in the area dates from the first century BC when the Iron Age town of Calleva was founded by people of the Atrebates tribe from northern Gaul. It grew into a major trading centre for horse and chariot gear, metals, grain, slaves and other commodities. During the Roman occupation of Britain, which lasted for 400 years, the town was taken over by the Romans in the mid 1st century AD and became Calleva Atrebatum. The Roman wall and the amphi-theatre are still standing and extensive archeological work has been done on the site firstly by the Victorians and more recently by Reading University. The town was largely abandoned for unknown reasons during the fifth or sixth century. Little is know about the history after this but an entry in the Domesday Book in 1086 records two manors in Silchester as the town was now known. The only surviving evidence of any Medieval occupation of the site is the 12th century church of St Mary the Virgin. The site appears to have been deserted around 1400 AD perhaps as a consequence of the Black Death.

The present village was founded to the west of the Roman town where the earliest houses date from the 17th and 18th centuries.

A detailed history of the ancient site at Silchester and current archaeological work can be found at the Reading University website

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Present Day Silchester

Today the village has a population of 1000. The centre of the village was designated a conservation area in 1992 and the 53 hectares of open common land has been designated as a site of special scientific interest. The common is maintained by volunteers from the village.

More information about the Conservation Area can be found on the Silchester Parish Council site

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Public House

The Calleva Arms provides a meeting place and focal point for the village.

It is situated in the heart of the village facing the section of the common which is used for sports and other village activities.

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The Village Hall

Also facing the cricket/football pitches, provides a centre for village activities and is used by the pre-school, youth groups, village associations, the local drama group and is also available for private hire.

It is run as a registered charity and all income from hiring out the hall is put towards its maintenance. 

More information about using the hall can be found here.

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Silchester Village Market

On the first Saturday of the month, a village market is held in the village hall featuring local traders selling produce and crafts.

More information about the market can be found here.

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Sports in Silchester

The village has an active sports section centred round the Pavilion at the edge of the car-park at the sports ground.

Cricket is played in the summer months and football in the winter.

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Walking Trails around Silchester

There are some wonderful walking trails around Silchester. We are very lucky to have the Common and Pamber Forest as well as the lovely woods of Benyon’s Enclosure to walk in. There are many managed footpaths in the area and one of the best ways to explore Silchester by foot is to follow the ‘Silchester Trail’.

Every year, in October, the Silchester Association together with St Mary the Virgin church organize a walk around the Boundary of Silchester. Look out for details in the upcoming events section of this site.

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Silchester Primary School

The school which was founded in the nineteenth century is supported by the Church of England and has many links with the local community.

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The Silchester Association

Is a village organisation which supports the village and organizes events such as the annual Fun Run, Beer Festival and Bonfire Night.

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