Saturday 28 February 2015

Mr and Mrs Cyril Tarrant

Mr Cyril Tarrant and his wife Vera

Mr Tarrant bred show poultry, specialising in rare and exotic breeds. He became a well-known poultry judge. This picture was taken around 1970 and shows Mr Tarrant's prize silver laced wyandottes.

Bob Tarrant's memories of farming in Eton Wick can be read here.

Friday 27 February 2015

Albert J. Caesar: a soldier remembered on the Eton Wick War Memorial

With the information about Albert Caesar on the RBWM For King and Country website we have been able to find some further information about Albert Caesar to add to the research that Frank Bond undertook in the writing of Their Names Shall be Carved in Stone.

His birth is in the register for the January to March quarter of 1884.

He was baptised at Holy Trinity, Brompton on 11th May of that year and his parents were Albert and Jane. His father is recorded as being a Corporal of Horse in the 2nd Regiment of Life Guards and at the time was stationed at the Knightsbridge barracks (also known as Hyde Park barracks).

The 1891 Census shows that the 7 year old Albert is living with his parents at the Hyde Park Barracks, Knightsbridge. His father is recorded as still being a Corporal of Horse in the 2nd Regiment of the Life Guards. He is recorded as having two sisters, Constance and Dorothy.

The 1901 census records him at the London and North Western Hotel in Lime Street, Liverpool and is an employee of the hotel. His father is recorded as working as an attendant at the Wallace Collection. He, his wife and daughters are living in Battersea.

By the time of the 1911 census Albert was a Lance Sargent in the 2nd Battalion of the Grenadier Guards. He had been married to his wife Edith for 3 years and with their two sons, John, 2 and Albert, 1 were living in South Farnborough, Hampshire.

Albert's widow, Edith remarried in 1919 to Charles Pocock and emigrated to Australia in October 1922. She died aged 36 on 9th March 1923.

Our  original article telling the story of Albert Caesar can be read here.

Thursday 26 February 2015

For King and Country

The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead are remembering The Great War with their For King and Country project. The website says

Thousands left the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead during the Great War, never to return. One of the enduring legacies we have of their sacrifice is the names on 200 war memorials in Windsor, Maidenhead and the surrounding villages.

As part of the project their team will be holding workshops around the Borough including one in Eton Wick. We will post details of this event when they are announced.

The site already has details of the servicemen whose names appear on the Eton Wick War Memorial including the first Eton Wick man who died during the early weeks of the war.

Albert Caesar's page on For King & Country project website

The Their names shall be carved in stone page for Albert Caesar.

Wednesday 25 February 2015

Dorney history on the internet

Dorney History Group 

Dorney History Group is for local residents who love Dorney village and the surrounding area and respect and enjoy the history of the area. They say "We want to research the history and share it with others around the world who might be interested. Providing access to the facts, figures, people and places is what we want to do. Sharing this through this website and social events is, we believe, the best way of bringing it all together."

Dorney history on Wikipedia Dorney is where the first pineapple in the UK was grown[citation needed] and so it has a public house named The Pineapple, Grade II listed for its age, dating half to the 17th century and half to the 18th century.

Dorney Court on Wikipedia  A full history of the descent of Dorney Manor from pre-Conquest times is traced in the Victoria County History of Buckinghamshire s.v. Dorney (vol 3, 1925) pp 221–225. Dorney Manor is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, as having been held before the Norman Conquest by Aldred, a man of Earl Morcar. In 1086, it was among the lands of Miles Crispin, and his tenant was a certain Ralf. From here it passed successively to families named Cave, Parker, Newnham, Paraunt, Carbonell, Scott, Restwold, Lytton, Bray, and Hill. In 1542, James Hill sold Dorney to Sir William Garrard, later Lord Mayor of London, and ancestor of the Palmer family which still owns and occupies Dorney Court today.

Dorney Rowing Lake  Dorney Lake was conceived as an idea by Eton College rowing teachers in the 1960's. They felt a still-water rowing course offering greater safety than the River Thames, with its fast currents, varying widths and increasing traffic, and having an all-year safe facility was important. Over 40 years later their dream came true.

Tuesday 24 February 2015

Bell Farm, Eton Wick

Bell Farm, it was enlarged by the Bell family in the 16th and 17th centuries.

This photograph of Bell Farm House, taken at the turn of the 19th century, shows farm manager Charles Tough with a shot gun on his lap and a black gun dog sitting at his feet. Presumably the shot gun is pointing somewhere between his wife Annie seated opposite, and the unidentified man seated in the doorway. Charles and Annie came to Eton Wick from Kent. Charles had been appointed by the Council to manage their recently acquired farm, the fields of which were primarily to be used as the Eton Sewage Farm. Annie was the major driving force behind the building of the Methodist Chapel in nearby Alma Road in 1886. Bell Farm House was the home of several generations of the Bell family, who were major property owners and farmers in and around the district during the 16th and 17th centuries. The house is circa 1360 in origin and is timber framed with brick infilling. There have been many alterations over the centuries. In the mid-1850s, the south elevation was tile hung and a Victorian porch replaced the gabled mediaeval bell tower. It is a Grade II* Listed Building. 

Location of Bell Farm

Monday 23 February 2015

Eton Wick School - memories of Mr Moss' time as headmaster

This picture was taken in 1976 on the occasion of Mr Moss's retirement as headmaster of the school since 1955. It features, centre, Mr Moss being presented with a radio-cassette player by right, Mr J T Ireland, a school manager and chairman of Bucks County Council. Between them is Mrs Moss, also a former teacher at Eton Wick School. Present for the photograph were Mr and Mrs Moss's three sons, l to r: Stephen, James and Robert.

Mr Moss, Headmaster 1955 - 1976

Vernon Moss arrived in Eton Wick with his family in 1955, having previously been headmaster of a small school in the village of Hopton, on the Norfolk-Suffolk border. Over the next 21 years he made a substantial contribution to village life. In addition to term-time operations, he spent many hours at weekends and during holidays raising both standards and funds on behalf of the school. In this he was greatly assisted by a dedicated and supportive PTA. A football pools scheme was launched and enough money raised to build a swimming pool at the school, as a result of which the vast majority of children could swim by the time they left the school. Performance in the 11+ examination improved year by year and by the time Mr Moss retired in 1976, the school had become one of the most popular and reputable in the area.
Despite (or perhaps because of) its disciplinary regime, Eton Wick was generally a happy as well as a successful school. The cane was still administered occasionally in those days, but Mr Moss always maintained that pupils never resented their punishment as long as they realised that it had been deserved. He also noted that the pupils who were most troublesome at home often gave no behavioural problems at all at school – and vice versa! Thus it was that he was sometimes wrong-footed when a parent came to complain or apologise about their child.

Besides his work at the school, Mr Moss also organised village sports activities for a number of years. Many will remember the annual competitions involving shinty, Danish rounders, darts, table-tennis and shove-ha’penny.

Shinty was quite an unusual sport but proved popular among both children and parents, though one or two were liable to swing their sticks a little over-enthusiastically. The final was held at the village fete at the Wheatbutts, while the indoor activities reached their conclusion at the Michaelmas Fayre in the autumn, which Mr Moss also initiated.

Mr Moss and his wife left the village in 1980 and moved to South Gloucestershire, where he died in 2001 at the age of 87. Mrs Moss, died in in 2010.

- contributed by Robert Moss

Sunday 22 February 2015

Living in the Wick in the 1930s

I was born in Eton Wick in Gallater Cottage in 1925. Lived in Shakespere Place till we moved to Colenorton Crescent after the war. The following are my thought about that time in a poem.

When I was ten

That hamlet by the winding shore
 Of memories it holds a store
 Hard pews line the chapel room
 Harmonium playing out of tune

 Singing hymns ancient and modern
 Good English tunes, nothing foreign
 Preacher raised in pulpit lonely
 Eulogising homilies homely

 So many half-forgotten tunes
 A childhood that expired too soon
 Three places that upheld the rule
 Loving home, chapel and the school

 Homeward sucking sweet gobstoppers
 Through that school where boys wore toppers
 Released from lessons running free
 Pinning winkles for Sunday tea

 November's fire and jumping jacks
 Grazed knees and jam jarred sticklebacks
 Friday's tin bath by the open fire
 Before to bed I did retire

 Grandmother's white hair brushed to her waist
 Then bound in a bun, Victorian taste
 Sticky cakes full of calories
 Kaleidoscope of memories

 Halcyon days- gone, I know not when
 That long lost world when I was ten.

 Arthur F Mylam 

Saturday 21 February 2015

Plan of the Parish of Eton-cum-Stockdales and Colenorton

This map shows the names of the fields and commons that were Eton and Eton Wick. It was published in Old Days of Eton Parish by The Rev. John Shephard that was published in 1908.

Friday 20 February 2015

1947 Floods, Eton Wick

1947 Floods, Eton Wick

The Slads 1947. This photograph was taken from the railway bridge. The full length of the plank foot bridge can be seen on the left. The driver of the horse and cart may be George Paget who lived nearby, or Ted Quayle.

The footbridge across the Slads during the 1947 flood. The sign of the former Willow Tree pub can be seen on the left of the picture. The angle iron support posts at the side of the footpath were a permanent feature. The planks and fittings were held in store for the then regular flood emergencies. Two posts have survived to the end of the century.

Wednesday 18 February 2015

Common Road, Eton Wick

Common Road, Eton Wick

Looking East

Common Road pond and old houses c. 1920 (upper photo). The large elm tree in the middle distance is at the the junction between Common Road and Sheepcote Road. The Greyhound pub and Thatch Cottage are this side of it. This, the north end of Sheepcote Road, was then a gated farm track with a stile. The bottom photo, taken in the 1990s, shows the pond area infilled and grassed, and the modern Albert Place dwellings in place of the old cottages. 

Looking West 

The top photograph of Common Road with the pond was taken in the late 1930s. The Wheatbutts is on the left. The 'old' Scout Hut in Wheatbutts Field can just be seen behind the elm trees, and beyond them, Bell Farm Cottages (now Bellsfield Court flats). A noted occupant of the Wheatbutts was film star the late David Niven, then a wartime Captain in the Highland Infantry. The ponds were used for fishing, bath tub punting, model boat sailing and skating. Note the 'young' oak tree (planted in Jubilee Year 1897), and in front of it a mound of ashes from one of the regular November the 5th bonfires. The railings protecting the tree went as part of the WWII recycling effort. The lower photograph was taken in the 1990s. The ponds were in-filled in 1969. 

Tuesday 17 February 2015

The Eton Wick Over 60s Club are looking for World War 2 memories

Memories of WW2 

If you are a local senior resident this could concern you. Please read on. There are no longer any people around with memories of the Great War 1914 - 1918, and of all the hundreds of books written about that terrible conflict we know of none that record the memories and experiences of various members of any particular community of that time. It is now too late, as they have all gone. We still have time - only just - to record our memories of the Second World War 1939 - 1945; the approaching years from mid-1930s to the aftermath into the late 1940s. If you were a child of that time you will remember the sweet rations; sirens; air raid shelters; gas masks; evacuees and so much of the population in uniform. There were 'special' firefighters, air raid wardens, police, blackouts and much more. 

The Eton Wick Over 60s Club hope to compile enough 'Memory Lane Tales' to either be serialised in 'Our Village' magazine or perhaps, with enough material, to produce a special edition. This project is extended to anybody with a few memories they would like to share. Not necessarily of Eton Wick but of the locality, or concerning some connection with the area. The articles can be short or long; the grammar or spelling of no consequence. If necessary, adjustment can be made. No material will be used without reference to, and permission from, the donor. To date we have about six articles plus one from a lady in the West Country who as an evacuee was bombed out in the College (1940) also another from a man in Sweden who was an Eton Wick boy actually enjoyed the excitement of standing at Round Moor Ditch (Dorney Common) as the anti-aircraft guns on the Common roared into action during raids. 

Hopefully you will make this a project to participate in. You can add your stories in the comment box below and we will pass them on to Iris and Charlie Tyrell . Thank You.

From Our Village magazine.

Monday 16 February 2015

Eton Wick School - gallery of class photographs / pupils' recollections

Eton Wick School - gallery of class photographs / pupils' recollections

If you know any more about the pictures on this page, please let us know. Or you might have some other class photographs from Eton Wick School which we could add?

A photograph of Eton Porny School taken around 1907.

Barbara Spicer believes the boys were aged between 8 and 13. Her father, Edmond Robert Janes, is in the second row, third from the left. If you can help with the names of any of the other boys, please let us know.

Kim Devonshire has commented: I have looked closely at the Eton Porny picture from around 1907 and would like to hazard a guess that the pupil in the second from back row, three in from the left [handkerchief in pocket] is my grandfather Bill Devonshire. I guess there is no way of knowing for sure, but strong family resemblances would indicate some likelihood.

A photograph of Eton Wick School taken between 1903 and 1906. At this time the older boys attended Eton Porny School. Very few in the photograph have been identified but the teacher is believed to be Miss Stern, the Head teacher.

Barbara Spicer wondered if three of the children could be her 2 aunts and 1 uncle: Mary Ann Janes aged 11, Lily Janes aged 8 and Jack Janes aged 5. They lived in Gordon Place. Boveney New Town.

Miss Rooke's class, standards 3 & 4 (10 and 11 year olds), 1950.
Thanks to Jean Tyler for the following:

Back row -left to right: Barry Wilcox, Maxton Clark, Ken Wilkes, Keith
Huse, Terry Harman, Conway Sutton, Alan Dowson.
Third row (Standing)- left to right: Pat Mitchell, Pat Wilcox, Jean
Ireland, Margaret Western, Judith Mayne, Margaret Drake, Dorothy Bright,
Jacqueline Alder.
Second row (sitting) - left to right: Pat Day, Fay Kirby, Gillian North,
Miss Ida M. Rooke (Form Teacher and Headmistress), Sylvia Robertson,
Kathleen Johnson, Daphne Johnson.
Front Row - left to right: Tom Foster, Leslie Hood, Alec Benham, Daphne
Cooley, Roger Wilcox, Tony Johnson.

Miss Rooke, with another class.

Stoney Stratford camp, 1955

Ken White sent in these two pictures with the following comment:

Pupils of Eton Wick Junior School packing up after a week at the Stoney Stratford camp and play acting on the penultimate night. The cost of this experience was five pounds and for some children, this was the first time away from home.

School class - 1956?

Hazel Rees (nee Pygall) has written about the date of this photograph:

I do not think this can be 1956 as I passed the 11 plus with Bobby Moss in 1956 and went to Slough High School and I think I look younger than 11 in the photo.  I recognise Lenny Milton, Margaret Scarbrough, Joan Benham to name but a few perhaps they can clarify the year.

Monica Peck and Ken White both sent in this picture, 
which shows the cast of the school play in 1956/57.

A group of teachers at the summer fair, Eton Wick School playing fields, in 1974.

Left to right are: Mr and Mrs Nash (+ baby); Mr and Mrs Moss; Mr and Mrs Pearce; and Mrs Smith. The small girl is Stephanie Nash, and the taller girl is Mrs Smith's daughter, Nicky.

The picture was taken by Derek Smith. Mrs Smith taught at Eton Wick school from 1960 - 1974.
(Thanks go to Mrs Smith and Nicky for these details)

Mrs Moss with Class 7, 14th July 1969

Class 7 children on "The Climbatron", 1969

This picture was taken on the occasion of Mrs Miles's golden wedding 
and shows (left to right): 
Mrs Miles, a teacher at the school for many years; 
Mr Moss, the then headmaster; and Miss Rooke, former headmistress.

Another memory

James Moss
"It did make me smile about people remembering Mr. Moss. Even though he was my Dad, I did make it to the green seat too! The brass bell inside the front door. Swimming in the pool with Mr. Nash. Shinty, Rounders, Shove Halfpenny, Darts, Michaelmas Fair with the somewhat damaged stalls that were stored at the Scouts Hut. The Football Scheme, Tombola - all school fund raising items. Even now when I got to my children's school fun raising I draw on those ideas. The bottle stall that was always the most popular! In these days of Dr. Who, the time a Dalek came to the school. Anyone recall Shakespeare's stores in Alma Road, The Co-op that became the Betting Shop? Barron's Stores?

"Was fun to find this site. I usually pass through every year just to see what has changed (live in Canada now, but have to visits my Mum who is very much alive). I know we have photos of Eton Wick between my brothers and I, including ones of the entire school from the 60's. Anyone go on the trips to Holland with the school, or the ones to Wolverton when in Class 4? Can think of so much more, but enough for now. Will be happy to reply to any e-mails! And still have my trophy from winning the 50 year 5 a side with Andrew Piasecki, Clive Paintin, Neil Simpson and Paul Miles! All the best. Jim "
Please share your memories of Eton Wick School by using the comment box below.

Sunday 15 February 2015

Local history websites: Eton

Eton College website 

In 1440 Henry VI founded ‘The King’s College of Our Lady of Eton beside Windsor’ and, a year later, King’s College Cambridge, which was to be supplied with scholars from Eton. The school was to be part of a large foundation which included a community of secular priests, 10 of whom were Fellows, a pilgrimage church, and an almshouse. Provision was made for 70 scholars to receive free education. Read more ......

A brief history of Eton Fives  

Most cultures in the world have invented games in which players hit a ball against a wall with their hands. Some form of fives was played by the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, Today the Irish and Americans have handball, the Basques have Pelota. In England, medieval peasants played a form of fives against their local chapel walls. The present game of Eton Fives is in that tradition. Read more ......

Vision of Britain 

Maps of Eton and the surrounding area from the early 1800's to the 1950's. View the website here.

Wikipedia on Eton

The land that is now Eton once belonged to the manor of Queen Edith, wife of Edward the Confessor. The land was appropriated by the Normans after 1066, the main road between Windsor and London went through the area and a hamlet sprang up amid pasture meadows to maintain the road and the bridge. Read more here......

British History on Eton

Eton is situated on the north bank of the Thames, and is connected with Windsor by a bridge across that river. The land lies low, and nowhere reaches a greater height than 75 ft. above ordnance datum. It is on a bed of gravel deposited in the Thames basin clay which overlies the chalk. Besides the Thames the parish is watered by several small streams, of which the largest, Colenorton Brook, flows through Eton Wick, read more here.....

Information Britain on Eton

Although there is evidence of an ancient crossing of the Thames at Windsor and Eton, the history of Eton as we know it today probably started with a Saxon settlement. It is said to have been called ‘Eyton’ or ‘Eytun’ meaning a settlement on an island. Read more here......

The Windsor and Eton Society

The official website of The Windsor and Eton Society. Read more here......

The History of Eton Church

The earliest history of the church in Eton is very obscure. The care of the Parish appears to have been in possession of the monks of Merton Priory in Surrey. There is a legend that there was a church in King's Stable Street. Later a church existed on or very near to the site of the present College Chapel, probably on the south side of the churchyard, as records show that this was being used when Henry VI was building his chapel, begun in 1441 read more here......

Saturday 14 February 2015

Eton Wick prefabs, built 1946-47.

Eton Wick prefabs, built 1946-47.

Eton Wick's Prefabs were built to meet the housing shorting in the years following the end of the Second World War. They were in use until the end of the 1960's when they were demolished to make for the Bellsfield shops that were built by Eton Urban District Council.

Prefabs built on land east of Vaughan Gardens

Bellsfield shops

Thursday 12 February 2015


Eton Wick Cricket Team, 1930s

The Cricket Club was founded c. 1889 and played in its early seasons on the Great Common. After the 1914-18 war, home fixtures were played on Saddocks Farm, where the rural outfield attracted several visiting teams. The Club won the District Cup in 1931.

Who were these village sportsmen?

Wednesday 11 February 2015

WILLIAM INGALTON (1794 - 1866)

Australian author Stephen Scheding has contacted us again about his research into this picture, which

he believes might have been painted by Eton artist William Ingalton:

I am writing a book about a mystery painting which was found many years ago having been dumped on a Sydney street during a council "throw out" campaign. The painting is about two by three feet, on an oak panel and bears a fake David Wilkie signature. The theory I have developed is that it is identifiable with a painting titled The New Road to Matrimony; or the New Marriage Act which was exhibited at the British Institution in 1823 by the Eton artist William Ingalton.

Below I have provided biographical notes on Ingalton, together with a catalogue raisonné of his works

If anyone has any additional information at all about this artist, or would like to correct any information below, I would be most pleased to be contacted. My email address is:

Although Ingalton’s reputation has faded almost into obscurity he was considered to be an important artist in Eton and Windsor in the 1820s.  Virtually the only reference to him in books on British art is in A Chronological History of the Old English Landscape Painters by Colonel Maurice Harold Grant, published 70 years ago in the 1930s.  The Colonel summarised the situation this way:

WILLIAM INGALTON (1794 - 1866) 

Little enough is known of him…   From… 1816 until 1826 [his work] consisted of mingled landscapes and rural and domestic genre, chiefly of the middle size.  But this exact decade of production is all we hear of Ingalton as an artist.  About I825… ill health turned Ingalton from painter to architect, a curious reason indeed for conversion from a less arduous profession to one more exacting.  Ingalton at any rate ceased to paint, but remained by the Thames, merely changing residence from one bank to the other, from Eton across to Clewer.  He had already foregathered much with the painter-hermit of the vale, Edmund Bristow, even to the extent, we believe (though facts are scarce), of receiving instruction from that most skilful and unapproachable of artists… 

Upon the art of Ingalton there scarcely exists a painter of merit less known than he.  His name and works alike appear to have retired into oblivion as complete as if an aeon, instead of half a century, had elapsed since his decease.  Nor will his revival prove in any way startling… 

In Ingalton we have merely one of the those quiet and simple painters of the scenery of the Thames who are apt to be considered numerous until investigation discloses how few there have really been of any distinction.  And to Ingalton distinction is certainly to be accorded, even if it be only that of complete soberness and tranquillity.  One of his little placid views about Windsor would wait long for notice on the walls of an exhibition.  Not one in ten of visitors would even perceive it; but the examination of the tenth would be close and appreciative, since he would surely be a man after Ingalton's own heart or he would not have stopped to look at all… 

His was rather the harvest of a quiet eye, dwelling on the calm of that homely vale which is England to nearly all Englishmen, the vale of the Thames.  And he especially loved it when the windless days of late Autumn invest it with that brown immobility which seems to be scented with decaying water-plants and leaves smouldering in the bonfires of unseen gardens… Beyond this restricted range Ingalton was at a loss…

But find him at his best… and we begin to regret at once his early retirement from the art… A little more of such work and Ingalton would have to bulk larger in our pages; but such canvases… are very infrequent from his hand, and if they be his masterpieces are yet insufficient [in number] to make a Master… 

Tuesday 10 February 2015

Eton Wick Cricket Team, 1923

Eton Wick Cricket Team, 1923

Who were these village sportsmen?

Why Eton Wick still has its commons.

The struggle to keep the common land.

"May Eton flourish free and ever protect her rights"

is the message on the banner.

Throughout the centuries there has been a constant struggle to preserve the common land from enclosure by private landowners.

Hardship and poverty in the 18th Century meant that the rights of pasturage and the right to subsistence farm the land were crucial to the village householder and his family. Improved farming scientific knowledge giving better returns from farming made enclosure of the common land in the 17th and 18th centuries an attraction to the rich and powerful in Society. The village householders kept an ever watchful eye for any encroachment on the small land holding around their farmstead or home.

In 1605 a complaint was brought against Henry Bell of Bell Farm for enclosing several pieces of the King’s waste including some pieces of Lammas Land. He also built eight cottages that did not go well with the parishioners. They claimed that the buildings took away privileges and benefits of the common. It appears that Bell got away with his transgression.

Several wooded areas within the village, especially around Saddocks Farm, were of fully grown trees and coppice but the use of timber seems to have been controlled by the crown as a later tenant of Saddocks Farm was given the right to take timber for the repair of farm carts and buildings. There is evidence of an elm tree being supplied from Eton Wick for the refurbishment of Eton church tower.

John Penn's plans for enclosure

In the closing years of the eighteenth century the Crown Commissioners overseeing the enclosure of land showed interest in the enclosure of Eton's Common and Lammas lands. This land was estimated to cover three quarters of the parish but the Commissioners took no action until John Penn, Lord of the Manor of Stoke Poges bought the Manor of Eton in 1793, and started planning to enclose the land surrounding the Manor Farm House.

The Manor Farm House, whose origins date to the 1700s, was just a cottage without garden or farmyard as late as 1778. Yet by the end of that century there was a farmyard and by the early 19th century the necessary exchanges had been made so that part of the North Field had become the in-land of Manor Farm. Almost certainly all this resulted from the enterprise of John Penn, Lord of the Manor. He then set about furthering his plans for enclosure of the surrounding land, but plans do not always come to fruition as John Penn in his quest for enclosed acreage found out.

John Penn had already succeeded, against heavy opposition, in enclosing Stoke Common where he then denied many poor families their customary right to gather wood for fuel from the Common; this provoked more resentment against him. Bearing this in mind and wishing to calm the situation Penn sought a compromise, in his planned bill to Parliament for enclosure at Eton, and he specifically excluded the Eton Great Common from his proposed Bill.

However, the Bill was presented to Parliament without any consultation with the Crown Commissioners or allowing them an opportunity to appoint their own Enclosure Surveyor. The Crown Commissioners, when viewing Penn’s proposal, realized that problems would arise because the strips of land attached to Saddocks and Manor farms were so intermixed and the Crown Farmhouse (Saddocks) and Penn’s Farmhouse (Manor Farm) were in such close proximity to each other that it would pose a difficulty. As Officers of the Crown belatedly became aware of Penn's plans they realized it was too late to do anything except oppose the Bill.

The Enclosure issue did not only draw battle lines between landowners; townsfolk and villagers also took up the fight as they became worried about losing their rights of pasturage. No doubt, after much debate, argument and defamation of Penn’s character by the local citizens they eventually took the only course open to them - they presented a petition to Parliament protesting that the Bill would diminish the livelihood of the inhabitants by depriving them the use of the lammas lands, thereby increasing the burden on the Poor Rate. Over 180 people signed the petition or made their mark if they could not write , and among them were Joseph and Phillip Tarrant, John Atkins, Thomas Goddard and others from Eton Wick.

Other parishes had presented petitions, often in vain, as Parliament was made up of powerful land owning families together with the new industrial magnates and Ecclesiastical gentry who tended to think in terms of protecting their own interests. As tithe-owners and the main tenant of the Crown, the Provost and Fellows of Eton College had shown interest in John Penn’s proposed Bill. As many old Etonians were Members of Parliament there is the possibility that College had some influence in managing the vote and supporting the Crown in opposing the Bill. This will have to remain as speculation: the theory cannot be proven as the records were lost when the Houses of Parliament were burnt down.

The parishioners' opposition to Penn’s plan for enclosure led to a standoff that lasted until the Bill was defeated on 1st May, 1826. With much rejoicing the town and village celebrated with bonfires and feasting, no doubt helped along with the beer and home made wines of the day.

A blue silk banner emblazoned with the words 'May Eton flourish free and ever protect her rights' was paraded triumphantly through Eton proclaiming the feelings of farmer and cottager (see picture at the top of the page). No other Bill for the enclosure of Eton was ever presented to Parliament.

The fight against enclosure continues

The people of the parish continued to be vigilant in preserving their rights, even to the extent of taking a man to court around the year 1840 for building two houses on part of South Field near the village. It was his own land: yet when the case was tried at Aylesbury he was ordered to pull them down because they were built on Lammas land. When in the middle of the nineteenth century the Crown once more became interested in enclosure, the College opposed to it and the Penn estates were 'in circumstances that rendered it difficult’.

Some 76 years later, in 1902, the Crown negotiated with the Lord of the Manor to overcome the inconvenience of the scattered strips and holdings. Lammas and pasturage were also exchanged, but the rights were untouched. As late as the 1920s some householders were still exercising their rights to graze a horse or cow on the common or on other peoples fields from August 1st to October 31st.

Monday 9 February 2015

William Ingalton and a mystery painting part one

William Ingalton and a mystery painting

Mystery painting

Australian author Stephen Scheding has contacted us about his research into this picture, which he believes was painted by Eton artist William Ingalton.

I am writing a book about a mystery painting which was found many years ago on a Sydney street during a council "throw out" campaign. The painting is about two by three feet, on an oak panel and bears a fake David Wilkie signature. The theory I have developed is that it is identifiable with a painting titled 'The New Road to Matrimony; or the New Marriage Act' which was exhibited at the British Institution in 1823 by the now obscure Eton artist William Ingalton.

I believe there are autobiographical elements in the painting. While I think it is unlikely, I am wondering whether Ingalton may have used a local building as a model for the neo-classical white house on the distant hill. Would anyone in the group know of such a building?

White house detail

As well as being about the short-lived New Marriage Act of 1822 (it was repealed in 1823) I believe the painting has autobiographical references.

Ingalton himself was about to be married when he was painting it and married only weeks after his painting was exhibited in January 1823. His wife was Sarah Ann Emlyn, the daughter of James Emlyn who was the half-brother of Henry Emlyn, the famous Windsor architect, builder and antiquary whose best-known work was in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. Both Sarah Ann's father, James, and her brother, Henry Emlyn Junior, were builders. I believe they are represented by builders depicted on the left of the painting. When William Ingalton gave up painting in 1826 he became a builder in partnership with Henry Emlyn Junior.

William Ingalton also described himself in the 1841 census as an inventor. I have found one reference to the fact that he invented a way to build fire-proof vaults for banks in 1838. This reference is from the very useful Windsor & Eton Express Master Index on Rootsweb.

Ingalton's father, William Ingalton senior, was a boot-maker/cordwainer and his aunt was a milliner who had her own address as milliner in London in 1823 before moving back to Eton High Street. The High Street had high numbers of both milliners and boot-makers at around this time. Between the censuses of 1830 and 1846 I have counted about a dozen of each in the street which has about 140 premises. (John Denham has helped me with this information). There seems to me to be an emphasis on shoes and boots in the painting. Likewise, the hats appear to me to be quite distinctive. I believe that the man in black, who wears particularly large, distinctive boots, represents the artist's father and the woman on his arm is the artist's mother. The artist had only one sibling, Ann, and I believe she is depicted in the foreground with the bird in the cage.

I believe Ingalton has depicted himself in the painting as the man in grey standing with his wife to be Sarah Ann Emlyn. My theory is that he has included children with this couple because it is his promise to have children with Sarah Ann and to stay with her. This is a reference to the New Marriage Act which was designed to close a loophole in the 1753 (Hardwick's) Marriage Act which had allowed men to abandon wives and children. The New Marriage Act was also designed "for the better prevention of clandestine marriages".

It is possible that Ingalton had a clandestine marriage before marrying Sarah Ann in April 1823. I have found references to a Lucy Ingalton, born c.1816 and a James Ingalton born c.1822. The spelling of Ingalton is so unusual that I believe these two must be from the same family but I am having difficulty placing them on the Ingalton family tree. If my theory that William Ingalton had a relationship prior to 1823 that bore children, then it may explain why he chose to paint The New Road to Matrimony; or the New Marriage Act before marrying Sarah Ann. His marriage to her would indeed be his new road to matrimony. In other words, the painting is a personal as well as apolitical statement. Hence the inclusion of family members.

I have attempted to trace descendents of the Ingalton family, using traditional family history methods, but to no avail. The hope was that I might find William Ingalton's diaries, records or sketchbooks or even more of his paintings. I would be interested to know if anyone in the Etonwick History Group has any ideas about how to get additional information on the Ingalton family, in particular on Lucy or James Ingalton, or knows the whereabouts of other Ingalton paintings.

Comments about the plausibility or otherwise of my theory would also be welcome. You can email comments to