Warfield Park
Warfield, Berkshire

The major house of the parish, Warfield Park, no longer stands but the area is a rather classy estate of park homes. The old house was built, along with numerous grottoes, lakes and terraces, by Colonel John Walsh in 1766. He had made a fortune for himself in India with his friend, Lord Clive, and now wished for a quiet life in an English country retreat. His many mistresses are said to have lived at the house (not all at once) while John partied in London. The current lady-of-the-moment must have been a great comfort to the Colonel after he shot a highwayman on Ascot Heath one day. Another of his lady-friends, however, was not so dependable. She was a chronic depressive who drowned herself in the defunct pool known as Rachel's Lake. Her ghost is said to haunt the bridge on the north side of the park, but she also runs screaming down Jigs Lane with John hot on her heals!

The Colonel's monument (1797) is in the parish church: a life-size young maiden with an extinguished torch. His heir was his nephew-in-law, Sir John Benn, who added the name Walsh to his upon inheriting the Warfield estates. His son was created Lord Ormathwaite in1868. The second Lord was thought, by the villagers, to be mistreating his wife, so they arranged for him to receive a concert of Rough Music. This was a common rural way of showing disapproval: some four hundred locals gathered outside Warfield Park and banged about with pots and pans for several hours.

Warfield Park no longer stands. The grounds are now an estate for Park Homes.

 

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