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St. Giles - in - Reading Church

Heritage Open Days 2022

Sat 10 and Sat 17 Sep 10:00 – 17:00

View one of the three medieval churches in Reading.

The original St. Giles was built in the twelfth century, to serve a large Parish with a small population in well-wooded country through which the River Kennet flowed. It stood on the main road south, on the outskirts of the town, hence perhaps the dedication. In 1191 Pope Clement III gave the church to Reading Abbey: and throughout the middle ages, it enjoyed the right of sanctuary.

The building grew gradually. During the Civil Wars of the seventeenth century, when the parliamentarians besieged Reading, St. Giles tower was garrisoned for the King and the upper part was destroyed in 1643. The fabric was restored at the end of hostilities, and again under a series of popular incumbents in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. In the second half of the nineteenth century, the Catholic Revival began to influence the life and work of what was by now a very populous parish.