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It is worth noting that another Manor was created out of land formerly part of the  old Erlegh Court estate, that being Woodley Lodge, which was just along from the Church of St. Peter’s  later to be called Bulmershe Court,  just over the border in Woodley (although the original Erlegh Manor of course spread over much of what is now East Reading and West Wokingham districts). 


The largest piece of land in Woodley prior to the enclosure was Bullmarsh  Heath. Here the Reading Races races had been held for over 60 years along with wrestling matches, cudgel matches and other sports. When the enclosure came the Chequers Inn, which had prospered while the heath was used for sport, lost much of its trade. 


The cottagers were deprived of fuel and grazing land and the gypsies lost another place to make camp. The latter Court at Woodley was built in 1777. for James Wheble and the gardens were believed to have been designed and laid out by the famous Georgian landscape designer Capability Brown..

 

  

During the time of the Napoleonic War the house was owned by Henry Addington, the Speaker of the House of Commons (who later became Prime Minister and Viscount Sidmouth, after who both Addington Road and Sidmouth Street in north Redlands are named)  The Woodley Yeomanry was formed during this period with Henry Addington as their commander. The Prime Minister William Pitt was a regular visitor to the house.


George III inspected the local militia on Bullmarsh Heath in 1798 (Rooke 1992), which was situated to the north of Wokingham Road

The " Woodley cavalry" were reviewed by his 
Majesty in person in the month of July, 1799, on 
Bullmarsh Heath, near Reading, and on that occasion 
the King and Queen, the Dukes of York and Cumber- 
land, and the five princesses, honoured the Speaker and 
Mrs. Addington, by passing the morning at Woodley, 
and partaking of a collation prepared in a tent erected 
on the lawn. 

 

 

  During the Second World War, Bulmershe Court was used by English and American troops.

  

 

Sadly this part of our heritage was erased from the map forever in 1963 when it was demolished to make way for Bulmershe Teacher Training College, which was later ,merged with the University of Reading.

 

  

The departments of what was  the Bulmershe College (especially media, and teacher training) are to be moved onto the Old London Road Site of the University (north Redlands). A mere 57 years of supposed progress with nothing to show except extinction of a piece of heritage.  Progress indeed.



 (all text above:  © Stephen B. Cox)