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Earliest information: 1719
Original estate: ?Hungerford
Common Rights? Yes (for "15 High Street") (Frontage about 65ft; 4 horses or 8 cows)
Date of current building: c.1700.
Listed: Grade II

Thumbnail History:

(There is considerable confusion between No. 15, and 16 High Street. The official listing is attached to No. 16. Common Rights currently assigned to No. 15. Current postal address of 16 High Street is 15 High Street!)
In the 18th century, this was the home of the famous Thomas Hayward (see Norman Hidden's notes below). The "Queen Anne" house appears to have had multiple occupancy in the 19th century.
In c1861 a shop unit was created in the north end of the ground floor, used first as a grocer (Daniel Allen), then Allright's Store, later Reading Co-op.

Description of property:

From Listed Building records: House, now shop. Circa 1700. Hipped tiled roof, three square dormers with glazing bar sashes, moulded dentil eaves cornice. Brick walls with band at first floor and rendered plinth. Two storeys, attic and cellar. Six glazing bar sashes with exposed box frames, the two on the ground floor right being 20th century replicas. Central door with doorcase of engaged columns with fluted necks and exaggerated entasis, semi-circular fanlight between broken frieze and open pediment.

HP&LP visited in 27.11.1999 (see store layout drawings dated 16.8.1999 relating to planned internal changes). Notes show: External walls Flemish bond, with red mortar. Rubbed 2-brick voussoir dressings. 4-course brick band. Corbel dentate. Roof overhangs boundary on north and south sides. 14.3 metres from front to rear wall. Blocked bay window at rear. 1st floor shows lath and plaster inside partition in hall cupboard. Cellar 5' high, brick walls and floor (has been lowered). 12 brick steps with wooden kick boards. Timber framing (with brick in-fill) visible on right of steps.

Photo Gallery:


16 ("15") High Street, Jan 2007

hsl-08 c1920
hsl-08 c1920

The Reading Co-operative Stores, c1920. [A Parsons]

LHS-104 Dec 1978
LHS-104 Dec 1978

Removing the shop frontage to the Queen Anne building, Dec 1978.

20220429 16 HS 14.40.29
20220429 16 HS 14.40.29

Queen Anne building under restoration, 29th April 2022.

- 16 ("15") High Street, January 2007.

- The Reading Co-operative Stores, c.1920 [A Parsons].

- Removing the shop frontage to the Queen Anne building, December 1978. [HSL-104].

- Queen Anne building under restoration, 29th April 2022.


c.1700 Probable date of present building – known as "Queen Anne" house.

Simkins/Davies family, c.1700-1772:

<1719 (NH) Jeffery Simkins local attorney, Steward of Town & Manor of Hungerford, died 1719. From his will (probate 1736) he left his freehold house in which he dwelt, to his son and heir James Simkins.

1719 (NH) James Simkins. Born 1685, died 1740. Married Bridget (nee ..?..), who died 1770. They had a daughter Eleanor, who married Rev. Thomas Davies of Hungerford.

1740 (NH) James Simkins died. The property passed to his widow Bridget Simkins.

1753-61 (QR) Mrs Bridget Simkins for her house – 6d and for her house late Cook's – 4d (=15 HS)

1760 (NH) Hungerford Court Leet: Thomas Hayward "resiant" (=resident)

1770 (NH) Bridget Simkin died. The property passed to her daughter Eleanor Davies (nee Simkins).

1771 (NH) Eleanor Davies died. The property passed to her husband, Rev Thomas Davies.

1772 (NH) Rev Thomas Davies died. The property passed to his esteemed friend, George Jones of Newbury, attorney at law.

George Jones, 1772-c.1781:

1774-90 (QR) George Jones for house late Simkins amended to Richard Townsend for house late Jones's q.r 6d

Note: George Jones also owned the adjacent property to the north, now 15 High Street, q.r. 4d.

1777 (NH) Hungerford Court Leet: Thomas Hayward "resiant" (=resident)

1778 (NH) CL: Thomas Hayward (occupier)

1781 (NH) Sun Life Insurance (by George Jones) for "one house and offices adjoining, in the tenure of Mr Hayward" – insured for £300.
Insurance also for "one house and offices near the aforesaid, in the tenure of Mr Wheeler, £100". [See Norman Hidden's "Hayward's House = a neglected celebrity"]. Thomas Hayward was nationally famous for being editor of "The British Muse" between 1760-1781. (Andrew Ashfield emailed Aug 2019 to add: Thomas Hayward was baptised 28 September 1707 at St. Nicholas, Bristol; burial 23 June 1780 at Ham, Wilts, with his residence given as Hungerford.) See "Burial of Thomas Hayward, 23 Jun 1870".

1781 (CL) Hayward deleted (following his death in that year), amended to William Lucas.

Townsend family, 1787-c.1861:

1787 (NH) Will of George Jones leaves this property (and others in Hungerford including The Angel Inn) to be administered by Richard Townsend, his partner, and the husband of George Jones' niece Ann.
1795-1804 (QR) Richard Townsend for house late Jones's q.r. 6d
1805-17 (QR) Rev. Richard Townshend for house late Jones's q.r. 6d
1818-23 (QR) Rev. Richard Townsend for house late Jones's q.r. 6d
1832 (QR) Rev. John Charles Townsend for house late Jones's q.r. 6d
1836 (QR) Rev. John Charles Townsend for house late Jones's q.r. 6d 

Bodman's drapers, c.1841-c.1861:

1841 (CS) James Bodman – draper
1847 (CL) Rev J.C. Townsend (owner). Miss Bartlett/John Bodman (occ)
1851 (CS) John Bodman (37), draper's assistant.
- ?Sarah Bernard (36), school mistress
- ?Ann Edwards (59), annuitant.

Daniel then Edward Allen, grocers, c.1861-c.1890:

1861 (CS) Daniel Allen (59) grocer employed 3 men, 1 boy.
1861 It seems likely that a shop premises had been created from the north end of the ground floor by this time.
1861 (CL) Daniel Allen
1871 (CS) Daniel Allen (69) grocer.

1881 (CS) Edward Allen (33) grocer, employed 5 men.

Allright's stores, c.1890-c.1920:

1896 (CL) Alfred Edward Allright A.E. Allright & Son
1902 (T&M Register) Alfred AEdward Allright (owner & occupier)
1905 Allrights sold earthenware, lino and carpet, shoes, china and glass, draper.
(Harold Clements) "Lino, Carpet, China glass, cooking implements. Sid Allright kept 100 turkeys, and took them to the Croft to feed!"
1914 (CL) Alfred Edward Allright, A.E. Allright & Son

Co-operative Stores, c.1920-present:

1920 Reading Co-op – [photograph 59] north end
1926 (T&M Register) Lydia Allright (occupier)
1927 (T&M Register) Sidney Walter Allright (occupier)
1928 (T&M Register) David Dathe Davies (occupier until 1936)
1932 (QR) Co-operative Stores, for "House formerly Jones' and afterwards Rev. Jas Chas Townsend", q.r. 6d.
1938 (T&M Register) Charles Franklin (occupier until 1973)
1939 (Blacket's)16: W. Tomkins Co-operative House
"15 High Street": C. Franklin, manager Reading Co-operative Stores (Different to modern numbering)
1947-1963 (CL) Charles Franklin
1968 (CL) William Jesse Tanner Charles Franklin
1968 (T&M Register) Reading Co-operative Society (owners until 1972)
1970 (CL) Charles Franklin – "Queen Anne House"
1973 (T&M Register) Co-operative Retail Services Ltd. (owners)
1970-76 At some stage it became storage only (Viv [previous butcher for the Co-op] & Rita Long live in part of it – flat accessed from rear – 15a. In a wall of their flat they found a box of labels dated 1885, saying "A.E. Allright, 11 & 12 High Street (sic!), General Draper, and hat and boot warehouse, milliner, hatter, dyer".)
- Bungalow to rear with garden on north side. Mrs Hazel Tanner.
1976-1983 (CL) Void - "Queen Anne House"
1984 (CL) Void
1985 (CL) Void
1990 (CL) Vivian Buckley Long
2000 (CL) Vivian Buckley Long
2005 (CL) Vivian Buckley Long
2011 (CL) Vivian Buckley Long

See also:

- "Hayward's House, A Neglected Celebrity", by Norman Hidden

- Letter from West Berkshire Planning re Listed Building status (and confused numbering)

- "Mayor condemns state of Co-op building" - NWN 30 May 2013

Co-op building, 15 High Street, 2014 (photos by Tony Bartlett)

- "Plea to Co-op to repair premises" - NWN 5 Mar 2020

- "Plea to Co-op to look after decaying building", NWN 26 Aug 2021.

- "Plea to MP to save High Street gem", NWN 2 Sep 2021.