Cholsey Grange

Has been described as a Questionable Siege Work

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains

NameCholsey Grange
Alternative NamesCholsey Castle
Historic CountryBerkshire
Modern AuthorityOxfordshire
1974 AuthorityOxfordshire
Civil ParishCholsey

Near Cholsey Church are some ancient earthworks believed to be the remains of a Norman siege-castle. It would have been one of those built by King Stephen to harass to the Empress Matilda who was opposing his claim to the throne from nearby Wallingford Castle. Being on Reading Abbey lands, it may have been the castle, mistakenly called Reading Castle, that was destroyed by the Empress' son in 1153. Alternatively, it may have fallen two years earlier and been replaced by the fortification at South Moreton. (David Nash Ford)

Site of Medieval moated grange and abbot's house, attached to Reading Abbey, represented by earthworks. (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

The VCH mentions the moat near the church and gives some history of the abbot's house but does not draw the conclusion that the moat is the site of this house, although this seems entirely likely, nor does it mention any possibility of this being a siege work, which seems a rather less likely suggestion although not one that can be entirely dismissed. The Oxfordshire HER records, at least some of, these earthworks as medieval fishpounds. Spurrell (1995) writes 'The castle here is represented by a fragment of a moat' but his evidence for this being a castle is based on a theory of siege warfare rather than actual physical or historical evidence. See Wallingford siege castles for historical references.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSU585868
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  • Knowles, David and Hadcock, R. Neville, 1953, Medieval religious houses in England and Wales (Longman) p. 63
  • Page, Wm and Ditchfield, P.H. (eds), 1923, VCH Berkshire Vol. 3 p. 297 online transcription


  • Spurrell, M., 1995, 'Containing Wallingford Castle, 1146-53' Oxoniensia Vol. 60 p. 257-70 online copy
  • Keysey, C.E., 1908, 'An Architectural Account of the Churches of Cholsey and South Moreton' Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Archaeological Journal Vol. 14 p. 42-3 download copy