The old village of Speen was centred on the area immediately round the junction of the Bath Road and Speen Lane on the northern edge of Newbury, and the village spread along the Bath Road and Speen Lane and the area between the two. Now Speen has grown and with the inevitable housing estates is very much a suburb of Newbury.

Location map:


The original settlement of Speen dates from Saxon times and it is known that there was a Roman presence. It is widely believed that Speen may be the site of 'Spinae', a known Roman station on Ermin Street between Silchester and Cirencester. The earthwork bank st Speen House may be pre-Roman.

The parish church is the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, a medieval church built on Saxon foundations. The medieval nave and chancel of the parish church remain despite almost total rebuilding of 1860 when the south side of the church was converted into a hall by a glazed partition.

The setting of the church is very rural with only a cluster of 18th and 19th century houses nearby. About fifty yards away from the graveyard is a holy well (the Ladywell) which might suggest that this was a religious area before Saxon times as springs and wells were important in Iron Age traditions. Local tradition says its water is able to cure eye diseases and other ills, and there have been reports it is haunted.

Next to the church is Elmore Abbey, a Benedictine Monastery whose Anglican monks moved to the Abbey in 1987.

A mile or so to the west of the village is Benham Park or Benham Valence Manor. It was erected in 1775 under the direction of Henry Holland, in collaboration with his father-in-law, the great English landscape artist 'Capability' Brown. The building is Grade II* listed and park is Grade II listed.

Speen is on the Bath Road (A4) 2 miles north-west of Newbury.

Images of Speen:
(Click to view)

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