of Romans & Retreats
It is not known whether there were any Romans resident in Beech Hill, but they would certainly have passed through, along the Camlet Way between St Albans and Silchester. It joined the Devil's Highway at Fair Cross on the southern border of the parish. Perhaps travellers would have stopped at the 'Trunk Well', immediately north-west of the present village, to refresh themselves. This may have been named by the Anglo-Saxons as the Vigorous Spring. Trunkwell House stands near the site today. The present building was built as the Trunkwell Farm House in 1878 and renamed when the adjoining manor house was demolished in 1898.
Beech Hill appears to be a Norman name given to the place by the De la Beche family from La Beche Castle in Aldworth. These people had a secondary home at Beaumys Castle on the edge of Beech Hill. Adjoining this stronghold, was a hermitage, later converted into Stratfield Saye Priory. It passed into secular hands in 1399 and a 17th century house stands now stands on the site and is still known as The Priory. The old naem remonds us that, until 1866, Beech Hill was the Berkshire part of Stratfield Saye parish.
Read more history of Beech Hill and other nearby settlements, like Riseley, in David Nash Ford's book, 'Mid-Berkshire Town and Village Histories'. Click to Order direct from the Author.
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