Reading Castle Hill

Has been described as a Possible Timber Castle (Other/Unknown)

There are no visible remains

NameReading Castle Hill
Alternative Names
Historic CountryBerkshire
Modern AuthorityReading
1974 AuthorityBerkshire
Civil ParishReading

The site of Reading Castle, said to have been demolished circa 1153 appears to be lost, but may have stood on the high ground called Castle Hill. (PastScape)

There was a castellle in the Saxons tyme in this towne: and the name of Castlelle-Streat yet remaynithe, lying from est to west to passe to Newbyri: but I could not percieve or clerely lerne wher it stoode. But by al lykelihod at the west-ende of the Castelle-Streat: and, as sum think, about the place of execution. (Leland)

Daniel and Samuel Lysons in their Magna Britannia published in 1806 state: “There can be little doubt, but that the old county gaol, in Castle Street, occupied the site of the castle; and the lancet windows and round arches, discovered upon pulling down the building in 1798 were part of the original structure.” (From

Gatehouse Comments

Slade suggests the castle demolished in 1152 was that at Forbury Hill in the Abbey built de novo by Stephen in 1150. He suggest Castle Hill might have been the site of an immediate post-Conquest castle of short-term use. The masonry remains are unlikely to have been from a C11/C12 castle but the location near the church and the tendency to maintain function at a specific site (the gaol), as well as the Castle Street name (of medieval origin), are evidence for this being the site of a castle.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSU713732
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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  • Slade, C.F., 1969, 'Reading' in Lobel, M.D. (ed), Historic Towns: Maps and Plans of Towns and Cities in the British Isles, with Historical Commentaries, from Earliest Times to 1800 Vol. 1 (London: Lovell Johns-Cook, Hammond and Kell Organization) online copy
  • Page, Wm and Ditchfield, P.H. (eds), 1923, VCH Berkshire Vol. 3 p. 343 online transcription
  • Oman, Charles W.C., 1926, Castles (1978 edn Beetham House: New York) p. 27-8
  • Man, J., 1816, History and Antiquities of Reading p. 176
  • Lysons, 1813, Magna Britannia Vol. 1 Part 2 p. 329, 339
  • Coates, 1802, Map of Reading (Scale 18" to 1 mile)


  • Camden, Wm, 1607, Britannia hypertext critical edition by Dana F. Sutton (2004)
  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England  (Sutton Publishing) p. 28
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1907, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 1 p. 109-10 online copy


  • Clark, G.T., 1889, 'Contribution towards a complete list of moated mounds or burhs' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 46 p. 197-217 esp. 200 online copy