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.
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.
|© Nash Ford Publishing 2001. All Rights Reserved.|