In this guest article, find out how Caversham became associated with Kings, Royalty and the greatest knight in the land. 

Caversham came to prominence thanks to a series of fascinating relics that were supposedly stored there, namely the dagger that killed King Edward the Martyr, as well as the spearhead that pierced the body of Jesus Christ and the noose which Judas Iscariot used to hang himself. 

A manor was also established there as a residence for nobles. 

Throughout the years the manor estate grew larger and larger, and was notably developed by William Marshall, who became known as the greatest knight of the land during the Middle Ages. 

By the time William had married Isabel de Clare in August 1189 there was a chapel with Our Lady of Caversham shrine.

While it is not clear why pilgrims visited the shrine, it is believed Christians went there to pray and see the dagger that killed King Edward 'the Martyr' which devotees believed had miraculous properties

There were Augustine monks based in Caversham and one of them was based in the chapel all the time.

When William Marshall died on May 14, 1219 he was laid in the Chapel for the day, then lay in state in Reading Abbey.

After that, a Requiem Mass for his held in Westminster, and his body was buried at the Knights Templar Church in London, which is located near the River Thames. 

Many Royals were linked with Caversham Manor. 

Eleanor, the daughter of King John, Joan of Acre, the daughter of Edward I, Constance of York, the granddaughter of Edward III, and many more important people.

Henry VIII's first wife Catherine of Aragon visited often asking for forgiveness for her parent's involvement in the death of Edward Plantagenet in November 28, 1499. 

Edward, the son of  George the Duke of Clarence, was executed for treason at the tender age of 24, allegedly following pressure from Catherine of Aragon's parents King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, who funded Christopher Columbus, the adventurer who began the colonisation of the Americas and bringing Christianity to the continent. 

Many kings gave gifts to the Chapel shrine. Henry II and Henry III gave oak trees to build ferries to take pilgrims across the Thames between Reading Abbey and the shrine.

But pilgrimages would come to a terrible end when John London and his troops destroyed the Our Lady of Caversham shrine on September 14, 1538 on the order of Henry VIII during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. 

The troops seized the relics, destroyed the chapel, and brought the statue of Our Lady to London using a barge where it was burnt.

In the time prior to his decision to break with Rome, Henry VIII had given money to the chapel.

Now he had taken the heart out of Reading, also destroying Abbey and other religious connections.

Caversham became part of Reading Borough in 1911, but always was part of Reading's history.

A splendid replica of Our Lady of Caversham stands in Our Lady and St Anne's Roman Catholic Church in South View Avenue. 

This article was written by historian Colin Describe and edited by Reading Chronicle staff.