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

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Warfield Hamlets
from Hawthorn Hill to Wick Hill

Hawthorn Hill
The area around Hawthorn Hill has changed its name numerous times. It is the site of a village called Bras in the Domesday Book (1086). The name is related to 'Bray'. The residents deserted the place in medieval times. Later, the area became Cruchfield, still retained in Cruchfield Manor. It has been suggested that the Cruch stems from a roadside boundary cross, showing where Bray became Warfield. Most scholars agree, however, that it comes from Celtic Crug meaning "Hill". The word may have been more specific, a "burial mound", for such a barrow stands not far from the manor. Legend says a Crock of Gold was dug up here, and this was what really gave the settlement its name. A Hawthorn Tree also grew on the spot, hence Hawthorn Hill.

Jealott's Hill (See also Hawthorn Hill & Moss End)
Jealott's Hill, originally Jealous Hill or Common, is the home of Zeneca (formerly ICI). People say it glows in the dark! The Leathern Bottle here was the scene of a gruesome murder in the mid nineteenth century. Hannah Carey, the publican's wife, had been carrying on with a local man. Though her husband, John, put up with the situation for some time, he eventually snapped and took to beating Hannah, both in private and in public. One particularly bad day, she had taken herself to her room with her bruises. John arrived home and, in a fit of rage, threw their marital bed ontop of his wife and jumped up and down on her. Hannah survived, but for only a month.

Moss End (See also Jealott's Hill)
This was originally Mosslands, an area of Warfield belonging to Easthampstead Manor. It is now a very small settlement, though still rather busy, for here we have the large Moss End Garden & Antiques Centres. Opposite is the Shepherd's House, a very popular pub and restaurant. It was originally a simple Beer House. It was here that the inquisitive curate of Cranbourne was found wandering in a daze after he had tried to investigate a coven of local witches. No-one ever discovered what had happened to him and an apparent conspiracy forced him to leave the area. Below Moss End, the hamlet of Cotton Green, near Warfield Hall, has now completely disappeared.

Warfield Hall is best known as the home of Sir Charles Brownlow, a great benefactor to the parish of Warfield. He repaired the church tower and built the Brownlow Hall for the whole community. It used to house his library. Sir Charles had been a Field Marshall in the British Army, fighting in the Punjab Wars, various Indian campaigns and the 1860 China War. He inherited Warfield Hall through his wife, just after it had been totally rebuilt a little nearer the road following a disastrous fire.

Priestwood
Priestwood Common was originally an area of common grazing land adjoining Ascot Heath. In times past, it was frequented by many a highwayman. The area appears to have been named after the monks of Hurley Priory who were Lords of the Manor of Warfield in medieval times. Since the housing estate was built, there have been various reports of ghostly monks in the area.

The Admiral Cunningham Pub, off Stoney Road, is one of Priestwood's only historic houses. It was built at the turn of the century as Priestwood Court, still remembered in Priestwood Court Road, and became the home of the Gilder family. It was opened as a hotel by the Admiral himself in 1954. The Garths were another well-known local family who have left their mark on the area, this time in the form of Garth Hill School. Mr TC Garth was the master of Bracknell's local fox hunt from 1855 to 1902. The hunt, which dates from the late 18th century, eventually became named after the man. Today the Garth Hunt has merged with the South Berkshire at Mortimer.

Quelm Park
Quelm Park is the newest of Bracknell's housing estates. It is named after the ancient Quelm Lane, a name that implies a gibbet, perhaps where local highwaymen where hung, once stood in the vicinity. Quelm Lane is haunted by the ghost of a man on a white horse who, children are told, will steal them away if they are out late at night. Dogs will, apparently, not walk down it.

Warfield Park
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!

Warfield Park, Berkshire (now demolished) -  Nash Ford PublishingThe 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.

Whitegrove
Whitegrove is a new housing estate that has spilled over into the modern parish of Warfield from neighbouring Bracknell. Its original name of Warfield Green is said to have been chosen as an ironic play on a slogan popular with anti-development protestors who wanted to keep Warfield green! An old name for the area was Edmunds Green.

Wick Hill & Lawrence Hill
Wick Hill, which is unlikely to have been named after a Roman Vicus, probably has its origins in an ancient Saxon dairy farm. Bracknell was once well known for its hand-made brick production, and the longest lived of the old brick firms, Thomas Lawrence of Bracknell (or TLB for short) started off at the foot of Wick Hill. The brown clay to be found in this area was ideal for making rich warm red-fired bricks, some of which were used in the construction of Westminster Cathedral!

Wick Hill has always been the residential area of Bracknell's gentry, and it still retains many beautiful old houses. Wick Hill House was the residence of a famous 19th century explorer, Mr. St. George-Littledale. He travelled the World in search of unusual animals to hunt. His taxidermic trophies were used to decorate his Bracknell home and upon his death in 1921 were presented to the British Museum. George V was given his prized Asiatic Ibex! He was best known, however, for his mapping expeditions and became the first European to travel many of the uninviting mountain passes of Tibet.

For West End, Newell Green, Warfield Street & Hayley Green see Warfield Village. See also Warfield Village and Bracknell.

  

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