Goring-on-Thames and its neighbour Streatley are both very old villages indeed. Due to their unique location at the intersection of three of the most ancient routes in Britain, they have been inhabited continuously for at least 5,000 years.
There is evidence that Old Stone Age man travelled from Europe through Goring and Streatley along the Ridgeway before Britain was separated from mainland Europe and became an island after the last Ice Age.
Some of the historical information included on this website has been extracted form the Millennium Brochure produced by Ron Bridle in April 2000 as a record of the many local events which celebrated the passing of the Second Millennium.
Other details are available in “Another Look at Goring and Streatley”, published by the Goring & Streatley Local History Society in 1999
Celtic tribes settled in Goring and made their characteristic square fields. Their Iron Age hut circles can still be seen on aerial photographs near the river at Gatehampton. Gold coins dating back to this age found in Goring and a vase found in Streatley.
Romans settled in Goring and Streatley and built a raised causeway or rebuilt a pre-existing one, near what is now Ferry Lane, Goring. Remains of a Roman villa and military stations unearthed in Goring, along with a drying oven. Aerial photography has shown the presence of another villa in the Streatley area. Roman coins dated 69 - 96 A.D. found in Goring, along with other artefacts including 2 brooches and pottery dredged from the river.
The section of the Thames in the Goring and Streatley area was an ancient boundary dividing the kingdoms of Anglo-Saxon Wessex and Mercia (Danelaw).
Streatley first documented as ’Strata’, derived from the Latin, meaning ’road’. Goring is thought to be derived from the Anglo-Saxon ’Garinges’ (the home of Gara’s people).
Goring was in Mercia under King Offa and Streatley was in Wessex under King Ine.
King Alfred fought and defeated the Vikings at the Battle of Ashdown on the Downs, believed to be near Streatley. Ethelred ruled the Kingdom of Wessex.
The Vikings final assault on the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Wessex launched from the Reading area.
Under Alfred the Great, born in Berkshire, the two kingdoms of Wessex and Mercia effectively became one. Bones of a Saxon warrior, together with his weapons, were recently found in Streatley Churchyard.
Goring and Streatley in Wessex in the reign of Ethelred the Unready.
When William of Normandy (’the Conqueror’) won the Battle of Hastings, Streatley was controlled by the Saxon ’Asgard the Staller’, an official of Edward the Confessor’s Court. Streatley had a church and a mill and the village had fishing rights. Goring was owned by Saxon Wigod, Thane of Wallingford. Goring also had a mill, but no mention of a church at that point. Goring Church was built by The Norman Baron, Robert d’Oilly, a staunch supporter of William the Conqueror. The Norman font still remains in use in the church today.
D’Oilly was rewarded for his services with the grant of 60 Manors, including the Manor of Goring and went on to build Oxford Castle. After the Norman Conquest, there were 3 manors in Goring and Gatehampton and one in Streatley.
Goring valued at £15 and Streatley at £24 in Domesday Book.
1100 - 1260
Chalk excavated from Hartstock quarry (downstream from Goring) transported by barge probably to build Reading Abbey and Wallingford and Oxford castles.
Charter of Confirmation, issued by King Henry II, confirms a grant by his grandfather, Henry I, to the Augustinian Nuns and Church of Goring.
A ferry provided an alternative method to the causeway of crossing the river between Goring and Streatley.
Goring Priory, an extension to Goring Church, built when the 36 resident nuns grew out of the available space at the Church. Margaret was the first Prioress in 1200. Visible remains of the Priory still exist today. The corbels on the south wall of St Thomas’ Church used to support the roof of the cloisters of the priory.
A Latin-inscribed bell at Goring Church was cast, being one of the oldest bells in the country. (Goring’s bell was cast about 200 years before England’s oldest manufacturing company, The Whitechapel Bell Foundry, which was established in 1570 and which cast Pennsylvania’s Liberty Bell in 1752 and Big Ben in 1858).
Ancient Dovecot built in Streatley on the site of the old Manor.
The oldest lay structure, a barn, still surviving is thought to have been built in Station Road, Goring.
A field near Ferry Lane, Goring, reputedly used for the training of the local longbow archers for the Battle of Agincourt.
Another of Goring’s oldest buildings, The Catherine Wheel, incorporating a smithy, was built. It soon had its own brew.
Goring Priory dissolved by Henry VIII when he became head of the newly formed Church of England.
Flash Lock at Goring kept by William Whystler. (The Whistler family lived at Gatehampton Manor for many years thought possibly to be related to the famous English painter, Reginald John [Rex] Whistler).
’Earl of Derby’ flash lock built at Cleeve.
May have been a beacon on Streatley Hill to warn of the approach of the threatening Spanish Armada.
During the 16th and 17th centuries, the spring at the old Leatherne Bottel hostelry was promoted as having ’medicinal properties’, claiming the water could cure skin diseases, eye complaints and the ’ache of corns’. Pilgrims and other sufferers came from far and wide to purchase bottles of the famous spring water.
The Swan at Streatley built. (One of its many owners in the 1970s was the entertainer, Danny La Rue).
Sixty people (and a mare) drowned at 7pm on 6th July when a ferry overturned in the weirpool due to the boatman rowing too close to the weir when 72 passengers were returning to Streatley after celebrating Saints Day at the traditional ’Goring Feast’.
Goring Alms Houses built and endowed by Richard Lybb (for the maintenance for ’Four Poor old Men’).
Pound locks replaced the flash lock at Goring and Cleeve. (The ancient causeway, useable up until the completion of the locks, supplemented by the ferry).
Goring Enclosure Act abolished the ’strip’ system of cultivation, replaced by the ’field’ system. Apart from the social impact, some of the local roads are now straighter than before. (To the East of Goring the Enclosures were delayed until 1812).
Countess of Huntingdon’s Connection Chapel built, now Goring Free Church.
The first national census showed the population of Goring was 677. J.M.W.Turner painted Goring Church and Mill.
Flint cottages in Goring High Street built.
Napper’s shop and cottage built. Originally pork butchers.
John Barleycorn pub first recorded as an ‘Ale House’.
Streatley Enclosure Act passed. Most of the land allocated to Rev. D. Morrell
Charitable Foundation in Streatley established by Jethro Tull, local agriculturist of the seed drill fame, was funded with £2 a year with 5 shillings to provide books for the education of 4 children.
Streatley was larger and more important than Goring due to the gate on the turnpike road from Reading to Oxford. The post house was The Bull Inn at Streatley.
Moses Saunders established a business at the Swan Boathouse at Streatley, specialising in repair and construction of weirs and locks on the Thames. Later the firm turned to boat building and was split in 1890. One grandson, Arthur, remained at the Swan, while another Samuel took over Goring Wharf, on the opposite side of the river. His showroom is now Goring Royal Mail Sorting Office, although the boat building works were up-river at Withymead. Samuel’s company went on to grow into the world-famous Saunders Roe company, of flying boat, Hovercraft and aircraft fame, based on the Isle of Wight.
Goring Brewery established.
A toll bridge was built over the river to join Goring and Streatley, to replace the ferry at a cost of £6,000.
The new Great Western Railway line between London and Bristol, built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, passed through Goring. Its presence, with a halt in the village, changed the balance between Goring and Streatley where the turnpike soon declined. The area was opened up to commuters working in London and to visitors seeking recreation on the river.
A Streatley school, erected by subscription, was in operation.
Goring and South Stoke British School built in Goring High Street. (Nonconformist, founded by the British and Foreign School Society and funded by subscriptions)
Goring School built with voluntary contributions in Station Road (now the Visitor Information Centre and Community Centre).
Renovations of the parish church of St Mary’s Streatley began.
Goring and Streatley Golf Club founded on Streatley Downs.
Streatley Parochial School erected. Ninety pupils attended.
Goring Cricket Club founded.
Temperance Hall built in Station Road (across road from pub!). Now Goring Library.
Goring and Streatley and Thames Valley Water Company started, with a bore hole in Cleeve.
Squire Gardiner sold his land between Goring and Cleeve as building plots. Large houses, such as Clevemede, Nun’s Acre and Thames Bank, were built by wealthy professional and business men who moved into the village and influenced local activities.
The first Goring and Streatley Regatta held.
Her Majesty’s Inspector’s report on Goring School read ‘On the whole, this is a fair rural school… A firmer discipline is needed’.
Goring Working Man’s Club built for ‘the amusement and instruction of the village working men’.
Great Western Railway changed from broad gauge to standard gauge lines and the number of lines doubled from two to four. The old brick railway bridge was blown up and replaced by a new iron girder one. The station was demolished, re-sited and named Goring and Streatley.
Foundation stone laid of the newly established Goring Free Church.
Goring Mill (then Goring Electric Light and Power Co Ltd) reputedly the first communal electric power supply, sold electricity locally and then extended the supply to Streatley in 1908, or thereabouts, when the company was sold.
Malthouse and laundry in Church Lane, Streatley, converted into a Gentleman’s Club with reading room by the Morrell family (now the Morrell Room).
Catholic Church built in Ferry Lane.
Goring Parish Room (now the Village Hall) built.
During the late 1800s and early 1900s, Goring became a very fashionable place to live and now famous people lived here. (eg Oscar Wilde, in the late 1890s, Air Chief Marshall of the RAF, Sir Arthur (Bomber) Harris and Admiral Sir William Harwood, victor of the Battle of the River Plate).
Goring’s population reached 1,419. Goring Volunteer Fire Brigade formed.
Kelly’s Directory list 5 cottages for ‘Letting to visitors’.
The Morrell family, brewers of Oxford, own most of Streatley.
New river bridge completed at a cost of £31,000 and made toll free.
Clock on Goring Village Hall installed.
Streatley Mill burned down.
Goring Fire Station opened in Icknield Road
Major Edmonson (Lord Sandford) bequeathed Rectory Garden to the village.
Mrs Morrell died and her estate, most of Streatley, was broken up.
Goring and Streatley welcomed various evacuated individuals and organisations during the war, including: The Royal Veterinary College (from Potters Bar, staying until 1958), The Royal School for Deaf and Dumb (from Margate), The Alexandra Orphanage, The Belgian Air Force Command, London schools from West Ham and Ealing and Czech refugees amongst many others.
One stick of bombs fell on Goring, killing 1 person.
Mains sewerage came to Goring (having been considered since 1898).
Small housing estates started to be built in Goring increasing the population to double the size it was at the beginning of the century.
Several Tudor black and white, timber framed cottages demolished to build ’a modern Arcade’
Goring became twinned with Bellême, Normandy.
Goring won the Best Kept Village in Oxfordshire and was a finalist in the National competition.
On 31 December, Goring and Streatley celebrated the eve of the new Millennium with street parties and other activities during day and night. A special Millennium book was later published to record those events and also the many other activities which took part throughout the year.
Millennium Time Capsule buried under Goring Village Hall. It contains a number of contemporary items of interest for future generations to discover, including The Goring and Streatley Millennium Book and the Electoral Roll.
Old 1892 iron railway bridge demolished on Christmas Day 2006 and the new steel one opened for traffic on 1 March 2007.
Goring won ‘Oxfordshire Village of the Year’ competition followed by the “South of England Village of the Year” 2009/2010 award.
Goring’s St Thomas’ Church refurbished and the Canterbury Room extension added. The publisher would like to thank Goring & Streatley Local History Society for the original research of much of the above information which has been taken from their various publications.