Local History Society

 Churches - Old Church References

Photos of the old church building, just before it became disused

Monuments in the old churchyard

Notes by Peter Ditchfield for a Berks Archaeological Society field-trip, 1922

Article on the old church before removal of Conroy Chapel roof, 1939

Articles by Leslie North in the Reading Chronicle, 1960s


Article in Berks Archaeological Journal, 1934

Stained Glass from Old Arborfield Church

What has long been thought to be some pieces of Old Flemish glass in the new church of Arborfield, have been found to be the work of an 18th century glass stainer of Reading.

It appears that when the old church was abandoned in 1863, an attempt was made to take down the stained glass window over the altar. In the process the glass was badly damaged, and only a head (Aaron) was saved. The other fragments were thrown away. The true story of this window is as follows:-

Among the less worthies of Reading in the 18th century was John Rowell, by calling a plumber, who also practised the more artistic craft of painting on glass, first at High Wycombe, and afterwards at Reading. While it cannot be said that his skill was equal to that of the glass stainers of the earlier and glorious epochs, he is reputed to have discovered the wonderful red which was so conspicuous a feature of ancient work. His secret is supposed to have died with him in 1756. The window at Arborfield has two compartments in which were represented in half-length the figures of Moses and Aaron holding the two Tablets of the Law. In 1802 it was stated that “the colours of the drapery are crimson, blue and purple: all very rich: the breastplate of Aaron remarkably brilliant.” Under the window was an inscription in the Latin and Greek tongues stating that the work was done in the year 1744, when John Waterman was rector. He also bore the cost as well as that of beautifying the chancel of the church.

Berks Archaeological Journal. Vol. 38 p. 95 (SPRING 1934)




There was a stained glass workshop in London Street in Reading with a shop-front entitled 'C J Earthy', and owned by the Parish of St. Giles. Although it had long since been disused as a workshop, the name remained until the shop-front was repainted in the late 1980s.

Was this the site of John Rowell's premises?


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