from Hawthorn Hill to Wick
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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
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 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.
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
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
End, Newell Green, Warfield Street & Hayley Green see Warfield
Village and Bracknell.