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Judgement from Jeffreys

Winkfield -  Nash Ford Publishing

The name comes from Wineca's Field. Wineca being a man's name meaning Little Friend. In 942, when the village was owned by a nun named Saethryth, the parish boundary was the subject of a detailed charter, in which can be identified such places as Bracknell, Black Moor (around Englemere Pond) and Chawridge Manor Farm. The original manor house at the latter probably stood within one of the old moats to be found at Maiden's Green. It was owned by the nuns of Bromhall Priory until St. John's College, Cambridge took it on at the dissolution. They appointed Thomas Warde, Keeper of Cranbourne Chase, to look after it.

Thomas Warde's son, Richard of Hurst House, later became Lord of the adjoining manor of Winkfield and it was under the next generation that the 14th century Parish Church underwent sweeping changes in 1592. This is when the extraordinary row of wooden pillars was installed down the middle of the nave. Bride and Groom now have to part company as they return from the altar. The church houses a very interesting twelfth century shaft piscina with intricate carving, including a horn-blowing huntsman. The Royal Arms are eighteenth century. The 17th century White Hart Inn, opposite the church, used to be the local Court House. Judge Jeffreys is said to have sat in judgment there. The Wardes' manor house called Godwins also stood somewhere in this area, but they would have rarely visited and it probably fell into disrepair during the time of their successors, the Royalist Harrisons. In 1652, during the Commonwealth, the confiscated manor was sold off and divided up. The major landholder was the Meek family who sold their portion to King George III in 1782. 'Farmer George' built the present Winkfield Manor, south of Forest Road, four years later and appears to have used it as a hunting lodge. 

There are a number of other great houses in the parish. One of the best known is the third manor in Winkfield, at Foliejon. The present house on the hill dates from 1801. The original moated manor down on the Drift Road, once called Bellestre, was the early 14th century Berkshire home of John De Drokensford, the Bishop of Bath & Wells, who needed a base near to the Royal Court at Windsor. He may have been the one to promote the holy well of St. Hubert, in the grounds, as a cure for eye complaints. The manor's name is said to have changed when a certain Lady of the Manor discovered her footman in flagrante delicto with one of the village wenches. She apparently exclaimed, "This is folly, John!". It is more likely, however, that the extravagant bishop built an early folly at his Berkshire manor, for the lands were eventually seized by the King as security against Drokensford's mounting debts. The park surrounding it was enclosed in the early fourteenth century by Oliver De Bordeaux, one of Edward II's Gascon favourites. He held the manor as his main residence in return for the rent of a single red rose. It later passed to his step-son, Sir William Trussell, but the King wanted to attach the park to Windsor Great Park and soon forced William to swap it for Eaton Hastings. He later made his home in Shottesbrooke. Not far from Foliejon is the Tudor-Gothic New Lodge, built in 1857 for the Belgian Ambassador, Jan Silvain der Weyer. This site also has a long long and interesting history.

In 19th century, an old lady lived in the village who was generally thought to be a witch. One story is told how a man who borrowed her spectacles and failed to return them, found that the lady turned herself into a squirrel and pelted him with nuts! Later, when a number of workmen made too much noise in an adjoining house, she became a hare and made trouble around the worksite. One of the labourers, however, brought his dog to work and set it on the rodent. The hare got a blooded leg and barely escaped with its life by jumping through the window of the witch's house. Spying on the old lady later that evening, the workmen saw her nursing her wounded leg by the fire!

Winkfield Row originally stretched out along the Forest Road in Winkfield. Today it is concentrated around St. Mary's School, the Working Men's Club and used to be the White Horse pub (now an Italian Restaurant). This latter was once owned by the lead singer of 'Mungo Jerry'. Winkfield Row is no stranger to celebrities. Across the road stands Lambrook School, since the 1860s, a private preparatory school for boys, attended by many a son of the rich and famous. W.C. Sellar and R.J. Yeatman, who wrote the classic historical spoof "1066 and All That" in 1931, were, apparently, two of its more famous pupils. Perhaps their work was based on their old history lessons.

Maiden's Green is the area beyond Stirrups and the garden centre opposite, around the two pubs and the garage. It once had its own windmill just to the west. Windmill Hill reminds us where it stood. Chavey Down was the northernmost section of the little known South Berkshire Moors that stretched from Sandhurst to Bracknell and Ascot. Its most interesting feature was its windmill which is thought to have stood at the junction of Longhill and Priory Roads and Locks Ride. Chavey Down Farm may have been the Miller's House. The area was wild heathland until 1813, when George III enclosed as much common land as he could get his hands on. Chavey Down was sold off to the Sewell family. Ascot Priory was founded there in 1861 by Dr. Edward Bouverie Pusey, but it wasn't until 1879 that any widespread building work started. The first house was Rosemont on the corner of Church Road and Priory Road, and from there the village grew rapidly.

See also Cranbourne, Swinley & Bracknell Suburbs in Winkfield

References: J Harris & GM Stantan's 'A History of Winkfield' & R Timbrell's 'Chavey Up, Down & Around'.


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