White Hart Crest of the Royal County of Berkshire David Nash Ford's Royal Berkshire History

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Oakley Green
Ancient Saxon Battlefield

Oakley Green, Berklshire - © Nash Ford Publishing

As its name implies, Oakley (or Aukeley in 1220) means 'Oak-Clearing' (within Windsor Forest). The green was one of several in the parish of Bray used by drovers to graze their sheep.

When the Danes started raiding England in the 9th century, one of the earliest battles was the Battle of Acleah of AD 851, probably fought in this area. It was a great victory for King Aethelwulf who sent the Danish packing. The village grew up around some common grazing land on the packhorse route from Reading to Windsor. The interesting moated site at Mills Farm was where the house of Sheeres stood, said at one time to have been an inn for the packhorse traders.

The area contains a number of reputed manor houses, notably Bishop's and Kimber's Farms. By far the most impressive is New Lodge. Built in 1857 for Jean Sylvain Van De Weyer, the Belgian Minister to the English Court, until recently it was the home of a technical publishing company. It is in the Jacobean style and was then the centre of the large Braywood Estate, complete with a, now demolished, estate church where the founderís tomb can still be seen. The house replaced an earlier version of unknown date. The Duke of Cumberland is thought to have lived there when he was appointed Ranger of the Forest. In the fifteenth century it had connections with the nearby Royal Kennels and was the centre of  New Lodge Walke, one of the sixteen sub-divisions of Windsor Forest. It was probably the Newest of these Royal Hunting Lodges, and was unusual in having fallow rather than red deer to hunt. It was here that King James I is said to have met an unsuspecting tinker and knighted him, as told in an old ballad.

See also Bray, Water Oakley and Winkfield


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