Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Eton Wick: A Changing Village Before 1934


This part of the village has almost always been mainly residential, but elsewhere there 
Clifton House
were new shops and businesses being set up. One of the first additions in the twentieth century was probably the shop at Clifton House, now the post office. It has the distinction of being the first purpose-built shop in the village, and the cause of much open-eyed wonder to at least one small boy, who about 1902 watched they high sky-light going into place, and large marble slabs for counters being carried in. Before this he had only seen marble as tomb stones! The shop was 'built as a wedding present to young Mr Pratt from his father of Pratt & Sons, family grocers of Eton High Street. Unfortunately romance and business did not mix: tradition has it that the young couple were too kind-hearted so that within a few years the shop had to be sold. The next shopkeepers after this were the Harman's, after them Anderson, then Wiggington; until in 1931 the shop became Chantler's and remained so for the next forty years.


About 1907 Edward Woolhouse set up in business at 58 Eton Wick Road as a cyclemaker and repairer, though there was far more to his business than that. He hired out cycles, particularly to Eton College boys for this was the era of the bicycle. He also made and mended perambulators and many other household items. There is no doubt of his importance in Eton Wick nor his prestige when he became one of the first villagers to own a car, a De Dion. For many years the present Baron's Stores (no 62 Eton Wick Road) was occupied by William Hearn, boot and shoe repairer, saddler and even umbrella maker. Thomas Henry of Inkerman Road, on the other hand was a bespoke shoemaker. Like several other shoemakers in the village, though their names were not recorded in the trade directories, Mr Henry worked for Ganes of Eton and his customers were mainly from the College. About this period in the years before the First World War, Thomas Bond was first advertised as greengrocer of Alma Road; Albert Bond was following the same trade from his home at Ye Olde Cottage. Bert had begun his interest in business long before - while he was still at school - by selling fish to the workmen building the new lock at Boveney. When he left school he took to selling fruit and vegetables from a donkey and cart, promoting himself to a horse and cart as soon as he was able, and selling fish and rabbits as well. He was a familiar figure in the village for well over half a century, and his cart, piled high with clean and polished produce, annually took part in the Windsor Hospital Parade. North of New Town the land not built upon was a market garden known as Home Close and owned by Harry Prior. Albert Borret was a cowkeeper though he lived at Vine Cottage in the Eton Wick Road until he moved to Eton Cottage. Like the farmers he sold milk from a churn, measuring out the quantities into the customers' own jugs.

The Fly-paper Man
The long established shops continued through this forty year period, though the shopkeepers and the types of goods they sold changed. At one time there was a fish and chip shop, a fishmonger's, a confectioner's and Uneedus the draper's. All of these were advertised in the directories; but there were several small businesses that were not. Tinker' Palmer mended pots and pans, and boots and shoes at his home in Prospect Place. Mr Bolton attempted to establish a butcher's shop in Alma Road, but it was not a success. Meat could be bought from one of the grocer's shops when a carcass had been bought from Windsor market, or from one of the travelling horse-drawn shops that came into the village each week. Hendley's high-box type van was a familiar sight each Thursday until the Second World War. It carried all manner of household goods, pots, pans, baskets, tin baths, oil for lamps which were hung outside and inside of the van and piled high on top as it was so laden. Mappin's from Slough delivered cakes; the muffin man and the winkle man came in their seasons and in the summer the fly-paper man, complete with his top hat adorned with a sticky paper ribbon decorated with dead flies. How far he travelled is not known, but his song is remembered in Slough, Chalvey and Windsor: - 'Flies! Flies! Catch 'em alive! His appearance fascinated one small boy in Slough who captured his likeness on a page in his school history book.

After 1895 the launderies were rarely advertised either, though until the end of the 1920s they continued to play an important part in the working life of the village. Before the First World War there were at least five launderies operating. These were cottage launderies employing at the most about eight women as at Mrs Langridge's of Thatch Cottage. Even so not all the workers came from the village. At least a few lived in Dorney. Gradually much of the work done by these launderies was taken over by the College Laundry until there were only those of Mrs Cox and Mrs Miles left. All seem to have ceased by 1930. Many women, however, still took in washing, specialising in the items of clothing that were better hand washed such as jerseys and woollen socks.

In the village two other businesses still in existence, made their beginnings in the first decade of this century. From his home in Inkerman Road Albert Sibley, a shoemaker by trade, began his newspaper agency. It was a part time family affair, the sons collecting the local newspapers from the printer's in Windsor, and carrying them home in a home-made box on wheels. They would then distribute them if it were not too late at night. It became a full-time business when Bill Sibley set up at the corner of Alma Road in the 1940s. Rolley Bond was a smallholder, but he supplemented his income by running a cab service from his home at Palmer Place. He took College boys to the station, sick people to hospital, and regularly each holiday Miss Stearn, the village schoolmistress, to the station. Even before he left school Bob Bond, with his brothers, was helping his father with the horse and trap. Through the 1920s the business expanded to cover road haulage, becoming motorised at the end of the decade; the first advertisement is in the 1931 directory: - R. Bond & Sons, motor haulage and cartage, contractor, sand and ballast merchant. The firm was to flourish in the council building boom of the post war years, and Bob was to become one of the important members of the community. About 1935 he bought Dairy Farm and renovated the old farmhouse, and when Bell Farm no longer served as sewage farm he took over much of the land.

Other names are to be read in the directories of the 1930s - Jack Newall had taken over from Arthur Gregory as blacksmith, Miles & Sons were carpenters and undertakers in The Walk, and Scotty Hood was a coal merchant with premises in Sheepcote Road until the terrible night when his stables caught fire. There was now a chimney sweep, William Neal, and Mr Mumford had opened his butcher's shop at 31 Eton Wick Road (now Kelly's). The 1931 directory listed seven farmers and dairymen in Eton Wick; three of them were Tarrents - Alfred, George and Arthur, tenants of Little Common, Manor and Crown, and Saddocks Farms.

Perseverance House in Alma Road was the depot of the Uxbridge Gas Company. Gas had come to the village lust before the First World War; oil lamps were exchanged for gas mantles in the main rooms, and open fires and cottage ranges could be replaced by gas cookers - though this happened only very slowly. Two - or was it three - gas lamps lit the Eton Wick Road through the village. Electricity did not arrive in the village until the end of the 1930s; like gas, water and main drainage, it was brought into Eton Wick long after it was installed in Eton. Even so not all the houses were converted, several still had only gas in the 1950s, and at least one cottage in Albert Place was still without electricity when it was demolished in 1969. The only artificial light in the bedrooms was candlelight. Piped water did not come to the Boveney part of the village until the late 1920s, and only then after a campaign because the water had become contaminated.

About this time the first bus service reached Eton Wick. That was the Blue Bus which at first was no more than a converted Model H Ford van, seating six passengers and entered by steps at the back. A few years later there was competition from the yellow and brown Marguerite buses to take people to Windsor. This was the era of small bus companies and one man operations with much com-petition between rivals. The Blue Bus van was replaced by a proper bus and for several years in the late twenties and thirties Eton Wick had two bus services . Fares were only 1d and 1½d and the conductor-cum-driver would obligingly set down passengers anywhere along the Eton Wick Road. The Marguerite ceased operating before the end of the thirties, but the Blue Bus driven by Mr Cole continued well into the 1960s when his personal service was replaced by that offered by the national bus companies.
Edward Littleton Vaughan
These forty years while Eton Wick was a separate parish saw many innovations, but perhaps the most lasting has been the Village Hall. It was built by Burfoot and Son in 1906, but the land was the gift of Edward Littleton Vaughan. Known at first as the Eton Wick and Boveney Institute it was opened a year later on 22nd January 'under auspicious circumstances' according to the parish magazine. The opening ceremony was brief but impressive. The large room up-stairs was filled long before the appointed hour with parishioners and visitors'. The Institute, however, was more than just a building, it was a club replacing the old Working Men's Club which had been meeting at Wheatbutts. The new Institute, so it was explained in the speeches and reports of 1907, had been founded 'primarily for men and boys to promote fellowship and to provide whole-some recreation among these. The billiard room, a reading room and a large room suitable for concerts, the boys' room and a bar selling light refreshments and non-alcoholic drinks, all contributed to give the right atmosphere for a successful beginning to the Institute. Before the year was out, however, one note at least of dissension was being heard in the village - the women and girls were expressing their indignation and disappointment at being excluded. By December this had been altered, and the parish magazine was 'pleased to announce the formation of a Women's and Girls' Club, who thanks to the kindness of Mr Vaughan (were) now able to share in the recreation of the Institute'. Girls over thirteen years of age were eligible to become members at the cost of a 1d per week or a 1s per quarter. As well as the weekly social club there were a library, sewing class, fancy work class, gymnastics, dancing and table games.


Mr Vaughan became president of the institute and remained keenly interested in all its 
The Village Hall - 1907
activities; it was not in his character to be merely a figurehead. In 1934 he conveyed the Hall to Trustees for the use of the inhabitants of Eton Wick and Boveney. The first three trustees were all from the College and even today the Bursar by virtue of his office is always a trustee. The day to day running, however, has always been in the hands of a Village Hall Committee and various subcommittees. Over the years the range of activities and rules of the Institute have changed, and even its name as well, to the less formal 'Village Hall and Vaughan Club' , and the Boys' and Girls' Clubs have at times had no leader and had to be closed. Yet throughout the period the Hall seems to have been the social centre of the village. Dances, whist drives, concerts and debates were held there, many of them organised by the Institutes' own clubs and committees. Billiards, table tennis, darts and table games were available to its members; a billiard championship was organised in the 1930s ; Mr Vaughan presented a cup. Toddy' Vaughan, as he was affectionately known was associated with the Wick for over half a century - as president of the Village Hall, as chairman of the Parish Council and as father figure and benefactor. He took a personal interest in many of the sorrows and joys of the village, and many people still remember the help he gave them and the fun they had at his hay teas and cherry parties. It was he who bought Wheatbutts and restored it in the 1920s and who allowed Wheatbutts Field to be used each year for the Horticultural Show. He died in 1940 and the village did honour to his memory with a plaque in the Village Hall. After Mrs Vaughan's death in 1951 a stained glass window was placed in the church; it was her bequest in memory of her late husband


At last Eton Wick had become a real village and not merely a hamlet of Eton. Although it still had many connections with the town and College it had its own church and priest, a chapel, school, village hall, its own nurse and policeman, its own clubs and social life and most of the shops and services for everyday living. It seems a strange paradox then, that at this time when Eton Wick could offer its residents so much more than in any earlier period, that it should be reunited with Eton. In 1934, however, the life of the Eton Wick and Boveney Parish Councils came to an end, and all parts of the village were taken in to the Eton Urban District, while the remainder of Boveney was merged with Dorney Parish. Today Eton Wick is still part of Eton Town Council within the much larger Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.

This is an extract from The Story of a Village: Eton Wick 1217 to 1977 by Judith Hunter.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Word War 2 - Summer 1939

During the summer months of 1939 there was much to be done on the Home Front.  Men and Women  who volunteered to serve as wardens, firemen, rescue, ambulance and first aid personnel had to give of their available time for lectures and practical training Instruction. This training was generally taken after a day’s work or at the weekend. Wardens and firemen were then called upon to instruct citizens in the correct way to use stirrup pumps, how to deal with incendiary bombs, the use of the gas mask and how to take shelter safely in the event of an air raid. Air Raid Wardens were also  responsible for the fitting of gas masks and enforcing the blackout.  Parades and reviews of the military services and civil defence organizations were held during the war years. During July 1939  Harry Chantler in his capacity as ARP Warden represented Eton at the national review of ARP personnel held in Hyde Park, London where the salute was taken by Queen Elizabeth.

Although negotiations had been taking place for a considerable time regarding the installation of an electricity supply to the village, no agreement had been reached before the outbreak of hostilities, therefore no air raid siren was installed in the village.   Eton Wick relied on the sirens located at Eton, Slough and Datchet to give warning of enemy aircraft in the vicinity. Safeguards put in place to combat dislocation resulting from air raids included the establishment of emergency food supplies.  Large and small stores of dry goods were set up by the  Ministry of Food during 1940/41 at sites considered safe from bombing.  A small quantity of essential foodstuffs was deposited in Eton Wick village hall  also an emergency meat supply was lodged with the village butcher, George Mumford.  Local memories indicate that a refrigerator was installed, probably gas operated, but hearsay has it that a  temporary  electric power line  was rigged from a near point;  if this was so, the nearest supply would have been from  Cippenham or Dorney.

Civilian Gas Mask - image courtesy of Object Lessons website. 
Before an issue of gas masks could begin, the separate component parts supplied  in bulk to the local ARP units required assembly.  For the Eton district this involved the assembly of more than three thousand units,  the work being carried out during one evening by Eton College staff and helpers.  Initially there was a shortage but before September,  ARP Wardens had fitted each resident of Eton and Eton Wick with their mask complete with its cardboard carrying case.  During the summer of 1940 smoke filters were fitted to the masks. This may have been a selective procedure to combat the effects of the smoke screen lamps installed during 1940 to protect the Slough trading estate.  Damage to one’s gas mask incurred the following charges,  complete mask adult 2/6d, face piece 1/6d, container 1/0d and the cardboard box 2d.  To ensure residents knew how to use their gas masks, Wardens visited homes to checked that the fit was correct. This  sometimes presented difficulties and Warden Harry Chantler remembered the tantrums of children who would not co-operate, whilst others found the smell of the rubber face piece nauseous.  Also to be fitted were the special designed gas mask for babies and invalids.   One case  requiring patience and tact involved a resident who mentally could not  come to terms with wearing a gas mask.  After several visits and attempts at persuasion that always met with point blank refusal even to try on the gas mask, Harry with his cool and Christian approach to such matters, decided that, rather than upset the person, it would be better to leave the situation and nip around quickly if a gas attack was likely and then see what could be done!!.

The Eton U.D.C., being responsible for the provision of private and public air raid shelters. asked for tenders from local ironmongers and engineering firms. The Council Surveyor recommended a 'Fortress' type shelter from Metal Agencies of Slough at a quoted price of £4-10 shillings with the suggestion that tenants of council properties erect their own shelters.  It was pointed out that many people in Eton living in Brocas Street, Kings Stable and other streets in that area had no space for a shelter, suggesting that permission be sought from Eton College to erect shelters on the Brocas but this scheme for various reasons was thought not to be practicable and did not proceed. Shelters had been completed at the College Arms and the archway to the Eton College boathouses with other sites already selected including the tunnels under Barnes Pool and the railway arches. The provision of air raid shelters became the subject of heated debate in the Eton Council Chamber during the following year (1940). Assurance from the Surveyor and Council Chairman that Eton was deemed a safe area, therefore having no priority for shelters, did nothing to allay the fears of the residents.

The approaching war was not the sole interest in the village. Ten new dwellings, the first council development in Eton Wick, had been erected on Bells field and were ready for letting. The new houses were of one bedroom, three bedroom and four bedroom type with corresponding rents of three shillings and sixpence, eight shillings, and ten shillings and sixpence per week.  These dwellings were named after the village benefactor ‘Toddy’ Vaughan,  and called ‘Vaughan Gardens’.

This is an extract from Round and About Eton Wick: 1939 - 1945. The book was researched, written and published in 2001 by John Denham. 

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Our Village - August 2013 - The way things were — Bounds & Names

We have previously looked at the earlier village of Eton Wick and its restricted development within the limited available building land, up to the western boundary of Bell Lane. Most of these limits still exist, and are imposed by the land being Agricultural; Green-Belt; Commons; College owned, and earlier the Crown. Defined boundaries were always perhaps deemed necessary, and of course not more so than aiding the early church when collecting tithes. 

In the mid-16th Century Queen Elizabeth I decreed that districts and property should regularly mark their boundaries. This was already an old custom and this practice survived until the mid-1850s when accurate Ordnance Survey Maps made it unnecessary. This became an annual event and perhaps an excuse to celebrate and feast the occasion. 

A procession walked the boundaries on a specific day - usually during Rogation Week (the week before Ascension Day) (Not necessarily at Eton; it being deemed better to celebrate on a day when the college boys were away). This old custom became known as 'Beating the Bounds', and when the perambulations came to a change of direction the spot was appropriately marked, i.e. a cross or cut on a tree. A number of these special occasions have been recorded locally, and are a glimpse into the past. It is tempting to say we will re-enact one of these events, using an old record, but I doubt it would be very possible. Places referred to just 200 years ago have now been built on; privatised; or more commonly, completely changed their name; becoming barely identifiable. 

We will take a look at much abbreviated records of 150 — 200 years ago: Parish Officers, Charity Children and inhabitants proceeded from the Weston's Yard (college) to the College Chapel with music and flags flying, where they sang the opening verse of the Morning Hymn before being fed a meal of roast and boiled beef and ale. Then passing through the playing fields, once known as King's Worth or King's Ward, they crossed Sheeps Bridge with the Thames on their right and where for 300 years until 1840, had stood a coal and timber wharf known as 'Leadbeaters' Wharf. Taking a track left they passed to the left of Shooting Fields, now known as Upper Club. Crossing the Slough Road, they came into Stonebridge Mead which was in earlier times three properties. One of the three holdings was owned by the Eton Parsonage; as such free of tithes — and known as Parson's Bush. Nearer Colenorton Brook was Pocock's Field and by crossing a foot bridge to the left they passed through 'Timbershaws' later known as The Timbralls and to the College lads 'sixpenny'. They then entered Common Lane and passed through Colenorton Close (not to be confused with the villages' Colenorton Crescent of 20th Century) thus entering the Eton end of Long or Great Common. A path led the procession over Colenorton Brook; near the Pumping Station of later years; under the rail viaduct and into Rossey's Piece. The long, narrow field immediately north of Colenorton Brook is Inner Meads. 

On the right of the farm track and onto Chalvey lie Broad Mead, Broad Masses or Broad Moors, a place one time famed for its cowslips (not so in my own childhood, but certainly we always gathered blue cornflowers and white dog daisies from here). 

Nearer Eton Wick they came to Northfields, and here were three little areas named Little Bush Close, Bushy Close and Long Close. At the end of this track it joins Little Common Road. Here they came to Saddocks and Manor Farms. On the Little Common stood two or three small tiled cottages. Not always tiled because under the tiles were tell-tale poles, once used for thatched roofing. Behind these cottages they came to Great Park Close later to become the Eton Sewage Farm. Then they came to Bell Farm with nearby land known as the Hyde or Great Hyde. The procession constantly marking the route of the boundary. 

From the farm they went through the water of Old Ditch, cutting yet another mark before turning right into Upper Bell Lane. Cottages stood at the bottom of the lane and the boundary actually passes through one of them. The record states the procession went through the house of William Lanfear and nailed a boundary mark at the door before proceeding north up Bell Lane to the junction with Tilstone Lane (the early name for Eton Wick Road from this junction). Old maps show this as 'Tilstone Gate', so we are left to presume the road was gated. Crossing the road at the place of today's Village Hall they followed the long hedge situated behind the hall to the far corner of today's Recreation Ground where again they cut their mark before following the Boveney Ditch to Boveney Bridge (Iron Bridge) and then kept to the river bank to Bargeman's Bridge (Chinese Bridge). Crossing and marking the bridge they came to Farm Ayte and continuing they turned by the side of the creek on the left of Dabchick Ayte, leaving a small planting of withy in the Parish of Clewer etc. — the procession continued as it wended its way via Brocas to Eton. 

Origins and place names have often changed. There was Gudgeon Pool which was the field of today between the 'Car Wash' business at Crown Farm and the main road. Today the old college Sanatorium is known at `Sandles' but Sandles was the name of the field across the road from the Sanatorium. Behind is the fairly recent estate of 'Stonebridge'; but originally Stonebridge was 300 to 400 yards north of the estate and across the Long or Great Common. 

Just two very confusing place name changes. Old maps show varying names for some places. Sheepcote is often referred to as Great Sheep Croft or Sheep Gate, and opposite the school was Crab Tree Close. The Walk is said to have got its name before the road existed. There were no houses lining a road in the early 19th century, and the Greyhound pub was owned by a Mr Deverill. Customers on the main road made a well-trod path across the land (now The Walk) to get a drink. This reputedly became known as 'Deverill's Walk'. Eighty years later the road was privately established and maintained by the tenants. 

Dare I wander over the Boveney boundary as far as the Boveney Lock? It intrigued me why an old and lone house stood on the Windsor (racecourse) bank only a few yards downstream of the weir. Its ruins can just be seen amid trees opposite the lock sanitation station. Probably it has not been occupied since WWII. Not the house but its name was intriguing. The name was 'Poison Ducks'. For years as I walked the Thames footpath I searched my mind for this odd name for the old house. Eventually I think I solved the riddle. There was no lock at Boveney before 1838, just the island or Ayte for the lock to take over. River traffic used the wider reach of water now occupied by the weir. The narrow stretch of water now used by the lock was occupied by a Mr Gills using large wicker fish and eel traps to glean a living. Those traps were known as bucks. Their proximity to the 'Poison Ducks' house, which may well have been Mr Gills home, is I believe the answer to my problem. With a play of letters an 's' to poison becomes poisson — French for fish. Change the 'B' of bucks to a 'D' and we have ducks. We can but wonder how many place names are the work of humourists. 

Lastly, I once asked a villager how his home in Sheepcote came to be named 'BYJIA'. His reply was "B"""r You Jack, I'm Alright". 

Submitted by Frank Bond 



This article was originally published in the Eton Wick Newsletter - Our Village as is republished with the kind permission of the Eton Wick Village Hall Committee. Click here to go to the Collection page.

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Little Common Farm

Little Common Farm
This old timber framed farm house dates back to the 17th century. It is situated across the end of Common Road overlooking Eton Wick Little Common (the large Common nearer the village is Great Common). Very little land went with the farm, and it depended very much in the early years on common and Lammas land grazing. Occupants during the 20th century include Alf Tarrant who bought it from his father James for £1000 in the 1930s. When Alf died, Bill Cooley (senior) took the farm on from Alf's widow Charlotte (née Bunce). It is still farmed by Bill's son. The photograph is believed to have been taken in the 1950s. 

The pond was later infilled to allow large modern farm machinery to turn into Manor Farm, which is just across the road to the right. The meadow to the left is part of Saddocks Farm. All three farm houses were built in close proximity and within view of each other. 

This article was first published in A Pictorial History of Eton Wick & Eton.

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

The Closure of St. Gilbert's Church

St. Gilbert's Church, Hayward's Mead
It was at the beginning of December when we were informed that St. Gilbert's was to close and that our last service would be on 6th January (The Epiphany). We knew the 'writing was on the wall' as, for the past few years, services had been reduced to one Sunday and one Friday Mass per month (plus Christmas Day and Easter Sunday) but we really had hoped that this might be allowed to continue, for whilst we had those few services it did at least mean that there was a visible Catholic presence in the village and the Catholic church was available for baptisms and funerals etc. In recent years, a retired priest, Father Bosco Clarke, generally came over from Maidenhead to celebrate the Sunday Masses (ably assisted by our Deacon, Paul Lipscomb); and our Parish Priest, Father Andy Richardson, was always on hand for the Friday evening service, and for special celebrations. 

A letter from our Bishop, which outlined the reasons for closure, referred to the reality of there now being fewer priests. The letter also mentioned the need to spend a lot of money on the church on maintenance issues; we had always tried very hard not to cost the diocese too much money in upkeep: for example, the interior had not been redecorated for over twenty-five years, and the interior plumbing and wiring was as installed in 1964; but inevitably major work would be required in order to bring the building up to a legally compliant modern standard. Hence, the Diocese, who are having to prioritise with many other churches around the diocese in a similar situation, took the difficult decision to close St Gilbert's and sell the land. 

The St. Gilbert's congregation always enjoyed sharing the church with our other local denominations and were often involved in ecumenical happenings: we took our turn with them in hosting the Churchyard Committee meetings, the recently established 'Thy Kingdom Come' prayer breakfast, and the annual (Women's) World Day of Prayer (some of us got together to represent Catholics at the recent one at St. John's). We even opened St. Gilbert's to an impromptu hosting of last December's 'Carols and Dress-Up Nativity Play', which couldn't take place by the village Christmas Tree due to very strong cold winds — Father Andy was represented by Father Emmanuel Okami. For more than twenty years, Mary McCarthy ran a youth club (called Charlie's Angels) at the church for children from 5 to 12 years old. We will very much miss having the opportunity to share in this way. 

As many of you will already know, it was in 1954 that a Father Dunstan (formerly a Torpedo Boat Coxswain!!) encouraged Eton Wick's Catholics to strive to finance the construction of their own church in the village. At that time, Sunday morning Mass was being celebrated in the Village Hall (for which the hire charge was 4 shillings per week and the clearing of Saturday night's debris); and, prior to that, villagers had made their way to 'Our Lady of Sorrows' at Eton. A committee was elected, a raffle held and the £3 raised was the first contribution to the fundraising. A few years (and a lot of jumble sales, bazaars, and dances) later, the funds had reached £4,000 and money subsequently pledged realised the total required for construction to commence, with the foundations being dug by the parishioners themselves. Ten years after Father Dunstan's challenge, on the day before Palm Sunday in 1964, the Roman Catholic Church of St. Gilbert was blessed by Bishop Leo Parker. St. Gilbert's was built at a cost of £16,000 on land which was purchased for £1,500. We are thankful that none of those who worked so hard to provide this Catholic church remain to see its closure. 

Interior of St. Gilbert's
Eton Wick Catholics have scattered, for a variety of reasons, to various local churches (although we officially remain in 'Our Lady of Peace' parish) and we have lost our physical `home'; but we are still together in our faith. It just remains for us to say 'Thank you' to all those villagers (whether Christian or non-Christian) who have supported St. Gilbert's in different ways throughout the past 54 years, your various kindnesses have been much appreciated and we will remember them in our prayers. 

Written on behalf of St. Gilbert's Clergy and Congregation 

This article was first published in the Our Village April 2019 edition.

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Work of the Eton Wick Council after WW1

A few items in the Minute Books make amusing reading today such as that of August 1919 when it was proposed that an application should be made to the County Council for a speed limit of 10 mph through the Wick. Motor traffic was travelling at an estimated speed of 20 to 25 mph and causing a considerable dust nuisance, but this would continue for many years until the road was tarred. 

In view of national opinion and later events one entry in 1918 is very unexpected. It was proposed that the reply to a letter from the Eton Rural District Council (RDC) should state that no need existed for working-class housing in the parish. The RDC were planning to build the first council houses in Eton Wick - 'the homes for heroes' of World War I. Perhaps there really was no need for such houses in the village, though it is likely the difficulty of finding suitable building land was uppermost in their minds. Whatever the reason the opinion of the Parish Council was disregarded and plans went ahead with no further consultations. A public meeting was held in Eton and the lammas rights were extinguished on part of Broken Furlong near the relief road. Once again the Parish Council tried to make their voice heard , but in vain. By 1921 a Housing Advisory Committee had been formed, and very soon a list of applicants for the eight houses was being drawn up. Five of them were ex-servicemen and within a very short time the first tenants were in residence. The new houses were named South View and with their red tiles sloping low over the front of each pair of houses they stand apart from the other houses in the village both in style and by distance. Accepted housing standards had changed and these houses were built with three bedrooms and a bathroom: there were few others in the village with such luxurious accommodation. 

These were not the only houses built in Eton Wick in these years. The dreadful floods at the end of the nineteenth century hastened the emigration of many families from Eton and the lower parts of Windsor, and some of them came to Eton Wick. Many moved into New Town, but others, especially the more prosperous of the families, had new homes built along the Eton Wick Road towards Dorney Common. Mr Vaughan lived for a few years in Boveney Cottage, Mr Kemp, fishmonger of Eton, at White Cottage (no 69) and the residents of Tilston Villa, The Ferns, Dayrell Villa and others were included in the 'private residents' section of the local directory, a subtle distinction we would find hard to draw today. Many of these houses were built by the expanding firm of Burfoot & Son; Henry Burfoot himself moved premises to a more prominent position on the main road. His home and business premises still stand out with its hard red bricks contrasting sharply with the yellow bricks and pebble-dash of most of his neighbours. 

Gradually much of the land south of the Eton Wick Road, or Tilston Lane as it was then known, was transformed as it was sold plot by plot by the Palmer family of Dorney. At the turn of the century it was still mostly farmland, but by 1930 Victoria Road had reached its present length ; houses, gardens, allotments and orchards and the yards of Mr Nuth's pig and rabbit farm covered much of the area. Only behind the Shepherd's Hut did there remain one last piece of meadow - Meux's Field, still cut for hay and grazed in summer. Few people can now remember this southern part of the old Tilston Field, for the last plot was sold in the 1920s, but other memories linger on, such as the long lines of drying rabbit skins and milk being sold over the bar at the Shepherd's Hut . Meux's Field was also the scene of a fun fair which brought excitement of the usual kind to the village for a week each summer. 

This is an extract from The Story of a Village: Eton Wick 1217 to 1977 by Judith Hunter.

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Our Village April 2013 - The way things were - The Village Grows


I am sure that some readers of the previous magazine were surprised to learn that just 50 - 60 years ago so many pigs were living among the homes of Common Road and of course in other parts of our village. This gives cause to reflect on what was here years ago. My memory may cover the last 80 years, but only hearsay and records can go further back. Of the latter there is scant to call on, other than Dr. Judith Hunter's book of 1977 on Eton Wick. I know of no other book of any era exclusively on Eton Wick's general history. It is said that with its Anglo Saxon name it probably pre dates Eton College (1440) by several hundred years, albeit perhaps no more than a supplier of fuel, thatch and food to the place of Eton, itself not the town that we understand today. Only 150 years ago the small village had no church, no public buildings and a small school of little more than two decades old. There was no drainage, piped water, and of course no gas or electricity. Some lucky homes had a pump in the garden, which was probably shared, and wood fires, candle and oil lamps were the norm. Perhaps of small wonder that the population of around 300 justified four pubs, where at least a roaring log fire and company were great attractions. Of all the pub names surely there was a need for a 'Linger longer Inn.

If we look at village geographic changes of that last 150 years we must remember that Eton Wick's west boundary was at Bell Lane; originally a farm track linking Bell Farm to the rutted, muddy track (allegedly an old Kings Highway, still in situ), with Eton's Brocas Street, Windsor, and the river ferries. I can think of no buildings along the north side of Eton Wick Road that would have existed 150 years ago; between the Slads and Cattle Pound and Sheepcote Road, apart from perhaps the College Sanatorium (1844) and small cottages behind it.

Eton Wick Church had not been built (three years to go), the rail viaduct was little more than ten years old, and built of wood. Three farm houses would have been visible, but were at least 120 metres away, and bordered the Great Common. Incidentally the site of the Sanatorium (now The Sandles) was considered for an Eton workhouse for the homeless in 1834, but the project was dropped in favour of a larger workhouse in Slough (Upton Hospital today).

During the 1880 - 90s era the Temperance Guild was very influential in its aim to combat the effect of alcohol and to hopefully engage the men in worthwhile pursuits. Locally they probably brought about the first allotments in I believe 1894. (Dr. Judith Hunter suggests a year or two earlier). These were on a three acre plot, opposite the Old Parsonage. (These allotments closed in 1994 when the lease expired.) More allotments soon followed. A large site covered what is now Hayward's Mead and extended to the St. Gilberts RC Church. More allotments were created on a strip of Sheepcote Field between the school and Common Road. The Haywards Mead estate ends abruptly opposite Vine Cottage. The Council of the day - Eton Urban - would have liked Hayward Mead to extend further east, but it was not possible to release the Green Belt land, as others have found out since. Incidentally, the land opposite Vine Cottage was worked by my father during the Great War, and had German POW's providing the labour. I often wish I had got more details from Dad, but we all say this when it is too late.
During the 1930s the land now occupied by the Scout Movement was used as a camp site. Perhaps never more than six to ten tents, mostly at weekends, but surely an attractive place for Londoners and others. Unfortunately the campers needed to use one of the two paths through the allotments to the village shops and pubs, and they were frequently blamed for produce being stolen from the vegetable plots. 150 years ago the village itself was very different. Along the main road we had the Old Parsonage (then a large residential home with no church connections); a small school (1840) at the main road/Walk Road junction; The Grapes public house (now Silk Route Chinese restaurant), a terrace row of ten small houses (Prospect Place) and 'The Three Horseshoes' pub. Between these sparse dwellings, apart from the two end houses of Prospect Place, which had two rooms up and two down, I understand the other eight of that row had only one up and one down. The toilet blocks were probably 20 yards behind the houses and were shared. 

Originally built as farm cottages, they were occupied into the 1930s. The land between the spaced out houses would have been the long gardens of the homes along Common Road. Having been accustomed to very long plots by todays' standards, residents would have felt the need for an allotment when their land was sold for the main road development of St. Leonards Place, Harding Cottages (now the site of Clifton Lodge), Vine Cottages, Ada Cottage, Bonaccord Cottages (originally Tarrant Cottages), Clyde Place, Welman Cottages, and Palmer Place. In the fullness of time the house names became superfluous, being replaced by street numbers. Grazing cattle on common lands were controlled not by the owner but by an appointed 'Hayward'. The local Hayward had a plot for his own use as part of his 'perks' and this was by, or part of, Church Meadow, Eton. He may have had a plot in the village also, but certainly this is where the name of Hayward Mead is derived from. 

Our area is rich with gravel which is only a few inches below the surface. When this hard core was needed for farm tracks, or perhaps foundations, it was simply dug out and utilised. The consequent pits were then used as rubbish tips, there being no rubbish collections in the years the village had its own Council (1894 — 1934) intent on controlling a very low rate. One such tip was opposite St. John the Baptist Church and was much used by the village school for its empty pottery ink bottles, old slates etc., There were at least five such 'tips' in my childhood, much to the delight of scavenging boys. Perhaps the other very rural appearance of our village was the trees. 

Predominantly elms, there were a few oaks and an occasional ash. They must be a feature of all old Eton Wick village photos with many along the south side of the Great Common and probably as many as 20 round Wheatbutts Field — now an estate. It is only 40 years since most of these succumbed to Dutch Elm disease, although some with their roots in flood water (1947) blew down in a strong wind.

In my next article I hope to write about the Boveney end of the village — west of Bell Lane, which for so long seemed independent of the old village. When Eton Wick had its own Council (1894 — 1934) Boveney Newtown also had its own Council. This tended to polarise the communities. 

Submitted by Frank Bond


This article was originally published in the Eton Wick Newsletter - Our Village as is republished with the kind permission of the Eton Wick Village Hall Committee. Click here to go to the Collection page.

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Saddocks Farm


This photograph dates to around the 1930s, when it was farmed by Arthur Tarrant and his family. Robert 'Sadocke' farmed here in the 1500s. The farm house and its extensive garden is on the left. The farm house is mainly 19th century, but closer inspection of the bricks and other features of the west (left-hand) side of the house show this part to be very much older. The farm buildings are, from the left, stables, the cow (milking) shed, and a dutch barn. The much older barn beyond that was constructed of reclaimed timbers, possibly ex-ships, pitched shiplap boards on a low brick wall, and clay roof tiles. Much of the barn, and the roof tiles of Saddocks Farm Cottages (opposite the barn beyond the photo) was lost in the great gale of 1987. Since Elizabethan times, ownership of the property has passed several times between the Crown and Eton College. When the farm cottages were built, the farm was Crown Estate as depicted on the date tablet on the west cottage — 1868 with `VR' and a Crown above. There are a number of architecturally similar cottages scattered around the farm estates in Windsor Great Park. A circular thatched corn rick can be seen in the rick yard on the right. Up to the 1960s, Eton Wick Cricket Club played on the meadow beyond the farm house. For many visiting sides it was a novel and popular venue, despite the long grass of the outfield, interspersed with cow pats and rabbit holes. The farm was re-acquired by Eton College around 1940. 

This article was first published in A Pictorial History of Eton Wick & Eton.

Monday, 20 May 2019

War Memorial Committee Meeting - May 1919


Committee Meeting held May 20th 1919

The Treasurer reported collection to date as £55.00. 

It was decided to inscribe on front of the Memorial - "In Memory of the Parishioners of Eton Wick and Boveney whose names are recorded on this cross They gave their lives for their Country in the Great War 1914-1918 passing from the strife of the world into the peace of God" and beneath the Plinth "Their names liveth for Evermore". 

Proposed Mr Percy, seconded Mr Burfoot that the lettering on Memorial Front be raised and the names of the fallen be incised and leaded. Agreed. 

Also agreed that Mr Nutt be asked to give estimate for use of Hopton Wood Stone.


This is an extract from Their Names Shall Be Carved in Stone  
and published here with grateful thanks to the author Frank Bond.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

On Their Own At Last.

For at least seven centuries Eton Wick had been administered through Eton. In 1894 this came to an end, swept away by the Civil Parishes Act. The Local Health Boards were ended to and in future the vestry would be concerned only with church affairs. Eton town was created an Urban District and the rest of the parish became the separate civil parish of Eton Wick within Eton Rural District. In spite of the recent ecclesiastical amalgamation, however,  New Town remained part of Boveney with its own parish council.  Meetings were held and some of the confusion that everyone clearly felt was dispelled, but no doubt the people of those days were as sceptical of those of 1974 that the changes were for the better.

Early in December parish meetings were held in Boveney and Eton Wick, and five councillors were elected for each of the two councils.  A few days before Christmas they met for the first time: the Eton Wick Council at Wheatbutts, the  property of its first chairman, and the Boveney Council in the schoolroom of the Methodist Chapel. Although the parish of Boveney included two communities, that is New Town and the tiny village around Boveney church, all the councillors  lived  in  New  Town. The parish  magazine gave the names of the councillors and trade directories reveal something of their  standing in the Wick.


Two matters in particular were of immediate concern to the Eton Wick Parish Council - the  acquisition of more land for allotments and the release of the money given in compensation for the loss of lammas rights. The Great Western Railway Company gave just over £200 when the branch line from Slough to Windsor was laid and the Local Health Board gave £150 when the  sewage farm was developed at Bell Farm. The money was held by trustees: by 1894, with the interest it amounted to almost a £1000.

By the end of the first year both aims had been achieved. Land was leased from the Crown - the acquisition of more land for allotments and their management, rents, fences, pumps and by-laws became regular items on the Council's agenda. The matter of the compensation was not quite so simple. How to use the money for the benefit of the whole parish had been a perplexing question for many years. Many suggestions had been made and rejected because of legal difficulties. Finally the idea of a recreation ground at Eton and Eton Wick met with approval. Eton's ground was in use by 1896, but unfortunately nine years were to pass, and land exchanged between the Crown and the Lord of the Manor, before a suitable piece of ground could be found in the village. At last in 1904 the deeds were signed, site levelled and the pitch made ready for the football and cricket teams.

Much of the work of the Parish Council concerned the upkeep of the footpaths and footbridges and the repair of the gates and stiles leading to the commons . This was not its responsibility, but the councillors acted as watchdogs, requesting, negotiating and chivvying the relevant authorities, usually the Lord of the Manor or the Rural District Council, until the jobs were done. The cleansing of the Common Ditch (the brook which runs along the north edge of the common) and the removal of refuse came into the same category, and the village suffered while the authorities dragged their feet. The Council acted as watchdog in another important matter, the use or rather misuse of the commons. It is clear from the Minutes that there was not always a Hayward and the rules were frequently not enforced. On three separate occasions in the life of the Council (1894-1934) it joined forces with the Eton Urban Council requesting the Lord of the Manor to hold a Court Baron in an attempt to ensure the better management of the commons.

A committee of parishioners was even formed to report on irregularities and it is easy to imagine the mixed feelings which this must have engendered! The Council were on watch for the violation of the lammas rights even to the extent of going against the national interests in the time of war when , during World War I, they continued to forbid the building of pig sties on the parish allotments. Several were built and ordered to be pulled down. Mr Vaughan, still the chairman of the Council, was not wholly in favour of so strict adherance to the rules, and offered the use of a boar to those villagers who, in the past year, had been keeping pigs in their own gardens. No doubt his offer was gratefully accepted and resulted in one kind of litter that could meet with approval - at least while patrotism was stronger than the smell of pigs. Some time after the war the rules were changed and later Minutes record permission to build pigsties and chicken houses. By the time the Ordnance Survey mapped the village again in the 1930s there were dozens of sties to be marked. 


Through all the forty years that the Council existed it was hampered by a lack of funds, since a rate of twopence in the pound brought in little more than £20, and even in those days this was a very small amount. In consequence the Council decided in 1895 not to adopt the Lighting Act, or to pay an extra Hospital Rate to the Eton Urban District Council so that fever patients from Eton Wick could attend the cottage hospital there rather than the Rural District hospital at Cippenham. Years later, when there was a suggestion that this hospital should be extended, the Council voted against the motion, once again the deciding factor was the cost. The question of main drainage and a scheme for refuse collection were brought up several times, but each time discussion was terminated because of the 'prohibitive' cost. Perhaps it was really true for many of the villagers were poorly paid and out of work for at least part of the year, though quite certainly there were more than a few people who believed that what was good enough for their fathers was good enough for them. The most that could be achieved was to see that the RDC Inspector checked the individual cesspits and the Common Ditch and its ponds were cleaned regularly. In the 1920s Mr Vaughan gave a small piece of land behind the Village Hall for use as a rubbish dump for both Boveney and Eton Wick, but refuse still continued to accumulate in a huge mound on the common is scavenging scheme, but this could never be a complete solution to the problem.

In 1902 the Eton Union Guardians wrote to the Council asking its views on the subject of secondary education; but even in this matter the Council were still mindful of costs and replied that their opinion it would not be sufficiently advantageous to the inhabitants and they the (did) not feel justified in advocating the proposed rate in the parish for the support of the school'. In retrospect it is well that the decision was not finally theirs to take. In other matters the Council was more positive in its actions. A small mortuary was built in 1913 on the edge of the common in place of the shed beside the Three Horseshoes which had been used for the same purpose. Drownings were not infrequent, and several elderly gentlemen can still recall the delicious horror of peering through the chinks in the shed when it was known that a body was inside: Incidentally the inquest was often held in a room at the Greyhound. Over the years provision was made for fire fighting beginning with the purchase of a hose and reel in 1912. Messrs Burfoot and Harman immediately offered the use of their telephones (probably the only two in the village) to summon the Eton Fire Brigade, and notices were printed to this effect. The services of this voluntary brigade were free, but a charge was made for out-of-pocket expenses and any damage to the engine. The bright red engine with its brass gleaming was a magnificent sight when pulled at full gallop through the village. All of this is just a memory, but the ladder, protected by a narrow roof, was bought about the same time and can still be seen on the west wall of the post office. 

This is an extract from The Story of a Village: Eton Wick 1217 to 1977 by Judith Hunter.

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

William Simmonds: The Silent Heart of the Arts and Crafts Movement


Dear Eton Wick Historians

A recently published book, William Simmonds: The Silent Heart of the Arts and Crafts Movement, Jessica Douglas-Home, Unicorn, 2018, £25, you may not have heard about. The book is a biography of William Simmonds, a ‘son’ of Eton Wick who became an artist, and then particularly a wood-carver, a maker of puppets and a puppeteer. As an adult he lived in London and in Oakridge in the Cotswolds.


The first paragraph from The Silent Heart of the Arts and Crafts Movement

His father, John Simmonds, was a builder who lived in a pub in Eton Wick, the Grapes Beer House, apparently originally kept by his father. John was working for Windsor Castle’s Office of Works when, in 1872, he was asked by the Castle’s architect to go to Turkey to help rebuild the British Embassy in Constantinople, which had burned down. In 1873 he was joined by his fiancée, Martha Walker. They married, and in 1876 William Simmonds was born. Also in 1876 the family returned to Britain. John first worked in Edinburgh, then in 1881 returned to Eton Wick. There are two houses in Alma Road that have names from Constantinople, Galate where John and Martha's daughter Annie was born and Pera, William's place of birth. 

In 1886 they moved to Eton High Street. About 1890 William became apprenticed to his father, who hoped he would join him in the building trade. William worked for his father, but was particularly interested in drawing and painting, and took evening classes at the Windsor and Eton Royal Albert Institute. In 1893 his father agreed that he could leave his apprenticeship and join the National Art Training School in South Kensington. John Simmonds died in 1912, William in 1968.

William Simmonds, though born in Istanbul, could be said to have been domiciled in Eton Wick in his earliest years, then in Eton. 

I was interested in the Eton Wick connection because my mother’s family lived there for many years. My grandparents, Thomas and Mary Wing, lived at 49 Victoria Road from about 1919 to 1946. I often stayed with them as a child. My youngest aunt, Joan Ballhatchet, was in Eton Wick from about 1919 to 2017, apart from a few years in the 1940s. I may have met some of you at her funeral.


[The Simmonds family may have had two pubs, the Grapes Beer House and the Horse Shoes, or they may be the same pub. I found them in your excellent transcript of various censuses, but I was not certain about it]


By Robin Cave

Mr Cave is a nephew of Joan Ballhatchet.

The first few pages of William Simmonds: The Silent Heart of the Arts and Crafts Movement, Jessica Douglas-Home can be read on Amazon.


Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Our Village December 2012 - The way things were - from Memory Lane

It was a warm sunny day in August — yes we did have a few — so I decided to stroll to Common Road where I could sit in the shade of the 'Victoria' oak tree. This was home from home to me as I had spent my first 29 years; apart from five years of war; in an old house exactly adjacent to that tree.

I sat alone, and with few passers-by, I really did go down memory lane with the ghosts of long departed neighbours drifting in and out of my thoughts. On similar sunny Sundays, during my childhood, my father had sat there in the shade of the tree enjoying a cup of tea and chatting to Jack Newell, the village blacksmith. They sat on the grass, but I used the seat dedicated to Jack's daughter, Jennie, her husband Allan, and neighbours Maud and Ivor Rivers. Many villagers will need no reminding of Jennie and Maud's stupendous efforts raising funds for charitable causes.

How much neater and tidier Common Road is today, but apart from an enlarged Wheatbutts Cottage; Dairy Farm House and the 'Greyhound' public house, most else has gone; to be replaced with more modern dwellings. Hope Cottages are still there, but bear little resemblance to the earlier days when unsightly backs, outhouses and toilets cluttered the view along Common Road. Many were still using bucket toilets, as the main drainage did not arrive until around 1940. The pond too was neglected and silting up. Even so, as children (we never said kids in those days, as only goats had kids) we got much seasonal pleasure on the pond with old bath tubs, fishing, and in winter, really good ice slides.

Many homes had a pail for the family food waste, vegetable trimmings etc., smelly perhaps, but many chicken and pigs were kept by householders, and farmers gladly collected the swill from the 'pig bucket' as they were called. Dairy Farm had pigs, as did Ted Watson who farmed from Wheatbutts Cottage. In fact most of the farms and some householders kept pigs. Jack Newell also had several on his blacksmith ground holding. Around the area now occupied by the Albert Place flats; the lammas Hayward, Mr Pass; who came to Eton Wick in 1933; bred pedigree and other pigs up to the 1950s and at times had as many as 400 in what was then the Thatched Cottage grounds. His large pig herd was part fed by his regular collection of food waste from the kitchens of Eton College.

During the long period of meat rationing in WW2 it was a great advantage to supplement the meagre ration allowance with home bred pork. Quite illegal of course, as it was a requirement to declare the intent to kill, and then to forego some of the official 'ration'. Not always adhered to, and I know of instances when doors were locked, complete blackout, and family vigilance while the pig was carved upon the kitchen table.

It was very pleasant on that oak tree seat, with reflections of yesteryears and the dear departed, but I was very conscious of how few people were about. One friendly lady encouraged her young lad to wave to me and we were soon having a chat. I concluded the absence of people must be due to the fact that most ladies were out at work.

In my young years the housework was so time consuming, with no washing machines, electric cookers (microwave or otherwise) and the age of 'mend or make do' rather than replace. No school meals and a dependence on a coal fired kitchen range meant very few women went out of the home to work. Consequently the houses were mostly always occupied, and the women living along the streets became very local characters. Until the mid-1930s when contractors R Bond & Sons established a vehicle base off Common Road there were no cars along the road. Apart from Cyril Doe's motorbike and sidecar at Albert Place there were virtually no motor vehicles other than the annual visit to Saddocks Farm by Ward's threshing machine, and an occasional cattle truck to one of the farms. How different now.

Despite the untidy appearance of seventy plus years ago some of today's apathy could be put to shame. Yes the ponds have gone, but the stream is a disgrace, with the large thorn hedges getting ever larger and practically hiding the water course. This is on common land and it is not good enough to say it is no concern of ours.

As a 17 year old, on a lovely sunny September morning, I was on the edge of the pond about 20 metres from where I was now sitting, when my Mother solemnly called me to the house and said "it is 11 o'clock Frank and the Prime Minister is about to broadcast to the nation". Indeed he did, declaring Britain was now at war with Germany. Far more of consequence than the landing on the moon years later.

Common Road was perhaps more fortunate in the coming conflict compared to the Great War of 1914-18. It suffered just one soldier fatality as against eight in the First World War. In fact five of the eight Great War fatalities had homes within fifty metres of the oak tree where I was now sitting and sadly the five included two pairs of brothers. Yes! They had lived out their young lives and played around this spot, albeit two of the brothers aged 20 and 23 years had lived at Dairy Farm within a stone's throw away. They had volunteered, and as I reflected, the short war poem by A. E. Houseman rang through my thoughts.


Here dead vie lie because we did not choose 
To live and shame the land from which we sprung 
Life to be sure is nothing much to lose 
But young men think it is and we were young

Another difference is the complete absence of cattle and horses grazing the commons. They were ever present between May 1st and November. Unfortunately of course, the farms and small holdings no longer have milking herds and work horses have long since disappeared. Several households had chicken and ducks which seemed to roam freely although mostly ducks kept to the ponds and the stream. Other roads in Eton Wick that existed in the early to mid-1900's had perhaps similar history to reflect upon, although the Lammas and ponds were peculiar to Common Road. What was once very rural has become more of an urbanisation.

By Frank Bond


This article was originally published in the Eton Wick Newsletter - Our Village as is republished with the kind permission of the Eton Wick Village Hall Committee. Click here to go to the Collection page.