Newbury Town Council’s programme of tree ring dating has identified 102a/103 Bartholomew Street as probably dating from 1623. The dating, carried out by Tree-Ring Services of Micheldean (Dr Andy Moir) is described as probable as only one beam contained sufficient rings for a secure dating. An additional factor supporting the date is that the style of part of the timber framing is late 16th Century/early 17th Century. The building is currently occupied by the Jaipur restaurant and Khonkaen Thai Cuisine.
This brings the number of Newbury buildings dated securely to before the English Civil War of 1642-48 to 13. They are, with known or approximate dates: Bartholomew Manor (1436); 17-18 West Mills (formerly Pearce’s Almshouses, 1476); The Litten, Newtown Road (late medieval); 102/3 Northbrook Street (1497); Jack of Newbury’s House, Northbrook Street (early 16th century); 49/50 Northbrook Street (early 16th century); St Nicolas Church (1520-34); Shaw House (1581); Eight Bells, Bartholomew Street (early 17th century); Falkland Garth, Essex Street (early 17th century); 102a/103 Bartholomew Street (1623); Cloth Hall, The Wharf (now West Berkshire Museum, 1627); and 1&2 Weavers Cottages, West Mills (1633). Other buildings may be dated to that period by later research, or may date from that period but lack sufficient evidence.
Tree-ring dating, or dendrochronology, enables the secure dating of a building from the study of the growth rings of the beams from which it was constructed. The growth rings form a unique pattern which identify the year of construction, or very closely, provided that a sufficient wood sample is obtainable.
Cllr Anthony Pick, Chairperson of the Newbury Town Council Heritage Working Group, said: “The Town Council is very grateful to the current residents of the building for their co-operation; to my colleagues, especially Dr David Peacock and Fiona Walker, for their diligence and expertise in arranging the tree ring research; and to Dr Moir. This research adds to our growing knowledge of early Newbury and emphasises the importance of preserving our remaining old buildings”.