Our Parish – A Little History

The church is an ever changing group of people seeking to engage with God, often in new ways, serving the modern world as they find it.  However, while we don’t dwell on the past,  we know that people find it interesting and enjoyable to discover more of their local history.  In that vein we offer a little of our history.

St Catherine's Church

St Catherine’s Church as we know it now, showing the hall, garden room & east end extension.

The Parish of Tilehurst : St Catherine and Calcot : St Birinus covers much of the western edge of Reading.  It straddles the border of West Berkshire and Reading local authorities.

The parish church is called St Catherine of Siena and is found in the heart of our parish.  It is in the middle of a 1960’s housing estate in Wittenham Avenue, opposite Birch Copse primary school.  The church building was officially opened on Palm Sunday 1963.

The church hall was build shortly afterwards, but was not originally attached to the church !

The distinctive new east end was added to the church in 1980.

The shape and size of the parish changed in 2007 when it was merged with significant portions of St Birinus Calcot – see below for details.

A major development project at St Catherine’s, adding the ‘Garden Room’, Café and additional kitchen was opened in 2016.

The parish of St Birinus Calcot was partially merged with St Catherine’s in 2007.  More details on the old St Birinus parish can be seen below.

The St Birinus church building is no longer owned by the Church of England.  More details on the building can be found here. 

Cornwell Community Church met in the Cornwell Centre  until summer 2019.  More details about Cornwell Community Church can be found here.

Click here for some historical photos of St Catherine’s, St Birinus and Cornwell Community Church

However, the church is not a building, and is not restricted to a building or a patch of land.  A church is a worshipping group of people.  Why not join us ?

Current Parish Boundary

Parish Map

Current Parish Boundary, showing location of St Catherine’s, St Birinus and Cornwell churches

The current parish boundary is shown on the right.  Click on the map for a larger version.  The historical location of the St Birinus and Cornwell Community Churches are also shown.

If you’re not sure whether you reside within our boundary, goto the directory of Church of England churches at https://www.achurchnearyou.com/ .  You can enter your address or postcode to see whose parish you reside in.

Parish Boundary Changes of 2007

On 1st October 2007 the new parish of “Tilehurst St Catherine and Calcot St Birinus” was formed from segments of the two earlier parishes “Tilehurst St Catherine of Siena” and “Calcot St Birinus”.  The changes to their original boundaries were as follows :-

  • The part of the former St. Birinus Parish, south of the A4, joined with Southcote St. Matthew.
  • The part of the former St. Birinus Parish, east of Langley Hill, joined Tilehurst St. Michael.
  • The part of the former St Catherine’s Parish, north east of Dark Lane, joined Tilehurst St. Mary Magdalene.

Original Boundaries

The pre-2007 original boundaries of the two parishes are shown in the maps below.  Click on each picture for a larger version.

Original St Birinus Boundaries

Original boundary of St Birinus parish.

Original St Catherine's Boundaries

Original boundary of St Catherine’s parish