The first reference to what became Peasemore Parish was in 951AD in King Edred’s Charter when the boundaries of the Parish were defined and described as part of the Chieveley Parish. The village is first recorded in the Domesday book, in 1086, as Praxemere, and again in 1166 as Pesemere, meaning the “pond by which peas grow”, from the Old English “pise” peas, and “mere” pond.
At the time Peasemore had no less than three Manor Houses, though one of these moved to the ownership of Beedon upon the marriage of the owner’s daughter. The remaining two Manors came into the hands of Henry VIII, who ran them both as one.
In the 13th century two pieces of land were given to the Priory of Poughley, the first to Peasemore House, which was an annexe to the Priory and formerly known as Priorside; the second piece was Priors Wood, which then covered about 100 acres of land. Dutch elm disease has caused the temporary disappearance of Priors Copse, which extended to a mere three acres by this time, but this area has been completely replanted with indigenous trees. At the Dissolution of the Monastries Peasemore House was given to Cardinal Wolsey and when he was impeached it fell to the Abbot of Westminster, who subsequently sold it to a John Carlton.
The old church of St. Peada was of Norman construction but was demolished during the 19th century. The tower on the existing church of St. Barnabas was built by Coward and dates back to about 1730, although the rest of the church was built during the last century. It does, however, boast a nice peal of six bells – possibly one of the best in the county
Peasemore is first recorded on a map, drawn by Rocque in 1761, and again on a copy by Willis in 1768. The road network has not much changed since and a circular enclosure, which may be evidence of an Iron Age settlement (an archeological research project headed by BARG is currently underway) is clearly visible on successive maps.
Fire broke out on 27 July 1736 at Drakes Farm destroying the whole of the centre of the village, the church barns and rectory and also the woollen mills which served the Jack O’Newbury
A Neolithic stone axe head was discovered at Prince’s farm in the 1950’s [now at The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford] and a number of flint tools have been found at Warren Down. These have been authenticated by Newbury museum and suggest that the area has been occupied for at least five thousand years.
Peasemore had two shops and a post office (in Hailey Lane) in the nineteenth century. The post office closed around 1980. Peasemore also had a school, built in 1850, replacing an earlier school in what is now called Drakes Cottage. The village primary school closed in the 1950’s.
Noteworthy residents have included prime minister David Cameron as a child, and the novelist Dora Saint (aka ‘Miss Read’) who was headmistress of the school for a short while (pictured). The Peasemore Manor house was also owned by Thomas Chaucher son of the famous Poet