Tuesday 31 March 2015


ETON WICK IN THE YEAR 1893 By Frank Bond

1893, the last year before Eton Wick was to have its own Parish Council, independent of Eton (Urban).

The village had a gravel dusty through road, no main drainage, gas or electricity. The Church was twenty six years old, but burials in the village had only started the previous April. No weddings were yet licensed here. The Boveney New Town Chapel was seven years old and the village school five years old.

The largest shop was next to the Three Horse Shoes (Ada Cottage) and was currently a bakery, Post Office and general stores owned by a Mr Lovell. The village had four pubs, The Three Horse Shoes, The Grapes, TheGreyhound and The Shepherds Hut.

Undoubtedly they have all been altered over the years, and certainly at least two of them had extensive stables and cart sheds. All carting of goods and services was by horse and indeed farms and horses accounted for most of the village workers.

There were no phones in the village and Doctors had an appreciable delay in being notified by horse or runner, and getting to the village from Eton. Queen Victoria had four years to go to her Diamond Jubilee and three more before her successor came to the throne Edward the Seventh.

The Zulu Wars were over, but unrest in Africa was gradually leading the country into the Boer War of 1899. Villagers kept ducks, chicken, pigs, goats even cows and grew most of their vegetables. The annual event was the Horticultural Show held in the Wheat Butts field and this event was fifteen years old. It was to survive another forty years. Flooding was a common winter occurrence and the early 1890’s saw severe floods culminating in the disastrous 1894 flood which was higher than that of 1947. Piped water had been enjoyed by the village for less than one year. At the best it provided a stack pipe for two or more houses, but it was a godsend after the garden pump and the well.

The river was used extensively for horse drawn barges, particularly for timber and general freight movements. Boveney Lock was appreciably smaller and was the site of today’s rollers. The present lock was built three years later in 1896 and of course was manually opened and closed. There were many more trees about, and more open space. No street lighting and household lighting was by candles or oil lamps which provided the dim home lights.

Apart from The Walk that was developed about ten years later, the village was much as it is today, in that it was filled with houses. Boveney New Town was new, and several houses were built in Alma Road at this time. The population of Eton Wick with Boveney New Town was about 1000.We had an Isolation Hospital, ten years old, for infectious deceases, that could not be used by Eton Wick residents, and a Sewage Farm that could not be used for our sewage. The Wick had a cricket team established four years and a football club.

The village magazine reports a two hour "N****R" Troupe show in 1892 (could be the Eton Wick minstrels) and a Steam Circus was also held on the Common that year. The old school, now redundant for five years served the village as an Institute, and in fact was the only public hall until the present Village Hall opened thirteen years later. The old hall/school measured 29 x 21 feet. Schooling was free and had been for the last three years. Previously pupils had paid 2d per week.

Rough justice prevailed and most people used their own yardstick in applying it.

There were several ponds of varying sizes and the use of the common was strictly managed. Offences and abuses of the common or Lammas rights were quickly dealt with. The rules as to the use of the common were well defined, as for instance No cattle could be turned out on the commons before six o’clock in the evening of the first day of May.

Certain duties fell to particular people, for instance, corpse were laid out by certain women, in the same way new arrivals were dealt with locally. If the church bell tolled during the week, villagers would guess who was dead as three; two or one peel rang out to signify man, women or child.

A typical day for a labourer, married and living in Eton Wick 100 years ago would have probably be getting up before daybreak in a cold damp house, dressing in thick warm clothes by candle light, going through the other bedrooms to descend the stairs. Maybe having to go outside to pump water whilst his wife either raked yesterday’s ashes from the fire place or she could be lucky and with the aid of the bellows get yesterday’s hot cinders to spring into life. Whichever there was no hot water until the fire was going well. 

Then the breakfast would be porridge oats, some home cured bacon and an egg with bread, but some families in Eton Wick breakfast could have been just brad and dripping, because there was poverty here. Nothing was wasted and the ashes from the fire were used to fill the puddles in the garden path which quite often lead to the bucket lavatory at the end of the property or even shared bucket with the neighbours. 

In all probability he would put on his hobnail boots which could be hardened to the shape of his gait due to the boots being soaked and dried in front of the fire so often. If he was fortunate to have gaiters he would wear them to protect his trousers otherwise it would be a leather strap or a piece of cord to keep his trousers out of the mud. The farm labourer would work at least six full days dawn to dusk, and he would do some hours on Sunday because of the milking and feeding of the animals, for all of this he would get from fifteen shillings to twenty five shillings dependant on his age and job. 

Winter was a hard season for the labourer, and the winter brought sickness and there was no national health parish relief if one became ill and lost their jobs. To large families this was a constant worry. 

The summer months conditions improved but the working day became longer. Almost certainly the house would be infested with beetles, mice and maybe fleas....

As Mister left the house, then misses would call the school children to get up. The bedrooms were cold to get dressed in, but perhaps that hurried them along. Many children were used to sleeping two or three to a bed. In the winter months boots could still be wet from yesterday in spite of being stood in front of the kitchen fire overnight.

The school bell would be ringing as they hurried along past the main road Pubs to school. Meanwhile, mother would use a stiff broom to sweep the stone floors and maybe using an enamel slop bucket empty the bedroom pots. The contents would almost certainly be emptied in the corner of the garden as with no main drainage it would be silly to fill the lavatory bucket or cesspit without a need.

Depending on the day of the week, then so would her days work be governed. Monday was always washday and apart from sickness or young children needing attention washday became a full days labour because cloth was of much heavier weight. Drying of the laundry could be a problem on wet days and the washing would be hung on a clothes horse to dry around the fire. 

For the labourers family life was a continual make do and mend, Penny washers to mend the leak in the kettle or saucepan, continual darning of socks and clothes. The mending of boots and shoes. Much depended on mum’s ability to repair or bodge to keep things going. 

Children would be home from school at midday for dinner as school canteens did not exist. If it was raining hard they would need to run home avoiding the numerous puddles. An adequate change of clothing was unaffordable and good waterproof clothing as yet unthought of. 

The postman would be viewed with anticipation and also apprehension, with no telephones, bad news did not travel fast. Really bad news came by letter edged with black, presumably to prepare the recipient for the contents Death was no stranger one hundred years ago. Child mortality was high and life expectancy was about fifty five years at the time of birth of the average person. 

Despite this, despite poverty and low wages, custom decreed that if one attended a funeral that person wore black and a black armband be worn afterwards. Horse drawn and persons stopped, hats were removed as the bier or horse drawn hearse passed by. Mourners always walked in procession behind, no irreverent haste as of today. 

This was our village one hundred years ago and very much like any other rural place in the land.

Monday 30 March 2015

Five - a - Side Football Juvenile Challenge Cup Rules from 1920

Presented by DISCHARGED SOLDIERS and SAILORS of Boveney, Dorney and Eton Wick


To be played for annually on Easter Monday by boys over the age of 8 years, and under the age of 15 years.
Captains to be drawn from the eldest boys.
Any boy drawn for and not on field to play will not be entitled to a substitute.
Names of the winning teams to be engraved on the cup out of the funds.
Names of the loosing finalist to be engraved on the Dick Mitchener memorial cup out of funds.
The Captains will hold the respective cups for twelve months.
Medals will be presented to the winning and losing finalist.
The draw for the teams will take place on the field of play on the day the competition takes place.
No boy will be allowed to compete, that does not reside in one of the above mentioned villages.

Mr. H. Howard - President.
Mr W. Swain - Chairman.
Mr W. Stacey - Hon. Secretary.
Mrs J. Howard - Hon. Treasurer

COMMITTEE L. Jarrett, A. Kelly, F. Millis. R. Pitcher, A. Pethybridge

Sunday 29 March 2015

Recall 60: 10 years on: 2

In 1938 the armed services numbered 381,000. The first year of the war the number was 2 million and in 1945, 4,680,000 of whom 437,000 were females. In all, including early releases, fatalities, wounded, and Prisoners of War, 5,900,000 people served in one of the services during W.W.II.

Of the 40,000,000 civilians, 61,000 were killed and a further 86,000 severely injured. Approximately 2,500,000 of the service personnel were married, and women of eligible service age were usually given the option of doing essential civilian work, i.e. in industry, or of joining one of the services. This was not an option for the men.

Please share your memories of Eton Wick in World War Two by adding a comment in the space at the end of this article.

Saturday 28 March 2015

How a Thames flood was averted in 1992

1992 Flood Disaster only averted by quick action 

Boveney Lock Keeper
Dave Gibson
It was a little after 4 pm on December 7th 1992 when Boveney Lock Keeper Dave Gibson heard a sharp crack as the mooring chains of the 150 ton hotel barge 'ACTIEF', tied up in the weir stream, snapped. The river was high and fast as the great 90 foot boat became swept along in the 6 - 8 knot stream sweeping towards Windsor.

David phoned through the impending danger before cycling along the tow-path to overtake the 'ACTIEF'. This necessitated cycling through the partially flooded bank at 'Athens' before he joined the college boatyard met Paul Cutler, Peter Stevens and John Cork (head). They quickly boarded their motorized punt and hurried upstream to intercept the on-coming boat.

Fortunately for local residents the 'ACTIEF' was stopped just upstream of the 'Queens' Relief Road Bridge when Dave Gibson and John Cork jumped onto the runaway vessel and cast the fore and aft anchors. Meanwhile the river district inspector, Phil Green had contacted the French Brothers Windsor Steamer Co. and together with a team from Bray Steamers also gave chase and assistance.

Had the 'ACTIEF', which in fact can only just get into Boveney Lock, struck ei-ther the Queens' or Windsor Bridge the possible damage and consequent rapid flooding would have been a major local disaster. In 1993 lock keeper Dave Gibson and boatyard head John Cork were awarded the Ross-McWhirter Memorial Award for their resourcefulness and Bravery at a Dinner given at the Middle-Temple Hall, London.

Friday 27 March 2015

The 5 a-side Football competition

Juvenile Challenge Cup
presented by
Boveney, Dorney and Eton Wick
Discharged Sailors and Soldiers
When the First World War ended on 11th November 1918 the British Army had a strength of nearly 3.8 million men. A year later over nearly 75% of these servicemen had been returned home and demobbed. Eton Wick received its share of these former soldiers as well as demobbed sailors. As they returned to the normality of civilian life one of the events that they added to the village calendar was an annual 5 a side competition. 

Originally this was open to boy under the age of 15 who lived in the villages of Boveney, Dorney and Eton Wick. The Cup was played for annually from Easter 1920. In recent years it has changed to a 6 a side competition with the event taking place in July.

If you played in this village tournament or have photographs and further information about the competition please let us know by leaving a comment at the end of this article.    

This is a list of the WINNING TEAMS from 1920 to 1994.

Easter 1920. Frederick Binfield (Captain), William Mitchell, Edward Watson, Henry Slaymaker, William Pardoe. 
Easter 1921. W.Mitchell (Captain), A.Young, E.Slaymaker, H.Harman, W. Jones
Easter 1922. H.Harman (Captain), R.Martin, T.Willcox, W.Pardoe, T.Barnett.
Easter 1923. H.Cooley, Captain), F.Willcox, G.Green, E.North, C.Hutton.
Easter 1924. E.Woodley Captain), G.Green, B.Cavenaugh, E.Benham, E.Pardoe.
Easter 1925. A.Benham (Captain), D,Martin, R.Prior, L.Clark, B.Adams.
Easter 1926. T.Barnett (Captain), M.Benham, J.Oxlade, O.Brown, L.Clark.
Easter 1927. D.Martin (Captain), F.Reader, E.Coke, W.Lunnon, J.Lane.
Easter 1928. E.Coke (Captain), W.J.Benham, G.Prior, S.Marks. W.Neal.
Easter 1929. G.Prior (Captain), J.Benham, H.Binfield, L.Chamberlain, A.Bryant.
Easter 1930. R.Hood (Captain), F.Huse, F.Slaymaker, J.Stannett, J.Slaymaker.
Easter 1931. G.Bright (Captain), D.Martin, J.Ling, J.Cox, M.North.
Easter 1932. S.Bond (Captain), B.Bavin, A.Bryant, R.Huse, M.North.
Easter 1933. J.Stannett (Captain), C.Chamberlain, M.Benham, M.North, N.King.
Easter 1934. A.Rryant (Captain), J.Cox, R.Huse, D.Slade, W.Gell.
Easter 1935. R.Huse (Captain), W.Pates, D.Slade, A.Bond,
Easter 1936. H.North (Captain), H.Wilson, M.Young, J.Newall, K.Hewitt.
Easter 1937. E.Lynch (Captain), D.Slade, D.Hailey, K.Hewitt, T.King.
Easter 1938. J.Newall (Captain), A.Robson, C.Paintin, R.Mortimor, C.Brown.
Easter 1939. J.Newall (Captain), A.Bond, G.Attride, E.Bond, G.Budd.
Easter 1940. R.Wilson (Captain), J.Butt, G.Budd, P.Mitchener, H.A.Prior.
Easter 1941. A.Bond (Captain), L.Pardoe, F.Wells, K.Bloxam.


The recreation ground where the tournament took place was ploughed up for wartime food production. Frank Bond remembers that the ground was very stony and not very productive.

Easter 1948. D.Robson (Captain), W.A.Swain, J.Bass, M.Tarrant, J.Alder.
Easter 1949. J.Webb (Captain), N.Sherman, B.Hessey, L,Hood, D.Glibbon.
Easter I 950. D.Swain (Captain),J.Bond, P.Webb, M.Rayner, T.Foster.
Easter 1951. D.R.Swain (Captain), D.Springford, A.Lewis, D.Glibbon, A.Dowson.
Easter 1952. M.Collins (Captain), A.Lewis, A.Benham, A.Johnson, R.Harman.
Easter 1953. A.L.Lewis (Captain), J.O.Flarerty, A.Dowson, B.Wilcox, W.Stacey.
Easter 1954. T.Harman (Captain), A.Benham, J.Weston, R.Harman, J.Stacey.
Easter 1955. T.Johnson (Captain), J.Sumner, R.Hood, W.Welford, A.Burt.
Easter 1956. M.Phillips (Captain), P.Goodall, R.Hood, M.Kelly, D.Price.
Easter 1957. B.Alder (Captain), R.Hood, R.Young, J.Marks, J.Alder.
Easter 1958. Rob Hood (Captain), J.Stacey, R.McNeish, L.Emery, D.Bennal.
Easter 1959. J.Marks (Captain), John Alder, A.Pardoe, F.Hatch, P.Sherwood.
Easter 1960. M.Bell (Captain), S.Durbin, R.Steele, P.Brennan, W.Meakin.
Easter 1961. L.Emery (Captain), B.Eaglestone, D.Pound, S.Blay, D.Hudson.
Easter 1962. S.Durbin (Captain), B.Hurlock, A.Whitrod, F.Emery, N,Crook.
Easter 1963. N.Frazer (Captain), N.Cundy, T.Skeels, F.Emery, G.James.
Easter 1964. S.Hatch (Captain), T.Skeels, R. Reeves, A.Rainer, C.Rigden
Easter 1965. P.Attride (Captain), T.Evans, G.Rainer, G.James, S.Maw.
Easter 1966. C.Seddon (Captain), F.Emery, D.Walsh, M.Swadling, R.Carey.
Easter 1967. M.Atride (Captain), P.Burt, M.Swadling, M. Rainer, P.Atride.
Easter 1968. G.James (Captain), M.Swadling, A.Hawles, R.Pethbridge, G.Miller.
Easter 1969. M.Dobson (Captain), R. Farrell, N.Short D.Bosher, M.Lynch.
Easter 1970. A.Piaseck (Captain), C.Paintin, J.Moss, P.Miles, N.Simpson.
Easter 1971. R.Farreil (Captain), P.Reader, M.Fearn, M.Lynch, C.James
Easter 1972. C.Paintin (Captain), P.Reader, A.Emery, C.Brennan, M.Goldswain.
Easter 1973. C.Lynch (Captain), N.Wright, G.Brennan, J.Morrell, C.Jaycock.
Easter 1974. T.Gyngell (Captain), C.Benham, C.Goldswain, D.O.Flarerty, K.Rhodes.
Easter 1975. C.James (Captain), S.Thorn, R.Pitcher, K.Knight, D.Ash.
Easter 1976. M.Fogarety (Captain), K.Weeks, S.Addaway, D.Ash, N.Groves. .
Easter 1977. M.Francis (Captain), J.Critchell, N.Goldswain, ',Traynor, L.Addinwell.
Easter 1978. J.Huggins (Captain), P.Jeffries, T.Cross, S.O'Flyn, L.Stacey.
Easter 1979. K.Morris (Captain), N.Atride. B.Pitcher, M.Emery, M.Hood.
Easter 1980. B.Pitcher (Captain), M.Ralph, D.Gale, M.Handcock, P.Ross.
Easter 1981. S.O'Flyn (Captain), A.Wells, N.Bamton, R.Keith, S.Pygall.
Easter 1982. L.Ansell (Captain), R.Armfield, J.Brown, J.Shiels, M.Stafford.
Easter 1983. L.Stacey (Captain), M.Emery, P.Steptoe, J.Wells, M.James. 
Easter 1984. N.Bampton (Captain), P.Ross, J.Wells, C.Beere, K.Woolly. 
Easter 1985. D.Coates (Captain),P.Steptoe, S.Minett, D.Pitcher, B.Tweddle. 
Easter 1986. M.Riddle (Captain), W.Lloyd, S.Cunnea, D.Stacey, J.Hood. 
Easter 1987. M.Coates (Captain), D.Lloyd, D.Pitcher, A.Murry, R.Sutton. 
Easter 1988. J.Alder (Captain), P.Riddle, G.Seaborne, W.Saran, A.Fitton. 
Easter 1989. P.Riddle (Captain), L.Daly, W.Pitcher, J.Coward, A.Gregory.
Easter 1990. J.Hood (Captain), W.Saran, A.Wigley, A.Everle, T.Lewis. 
Easter 1991. J.Hood (Captain), A.Wigley, D.Tull, P.Huggins, C.Jaycock.
Easter 1992. W.Pitcher (Captain), A.Everle, J.Bond, S.Pardoe, D.Crowe.
Easter 1993. W. Pitcher (Captain), G.Belson, A.Lucas, M.Fearnley, S.Lingham-Wood.
Easter 1994. L Niven (Captain), J.Tweddle, J.Oakley, K.Marks, S.Shueville.

Thursday 26 March 2015

18th Century Eton Wick: Some background agricultural information

Some background agricultural information which may have influence the Lord of the Manor and 18th century tenant farmer of Eton Wick

Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend
Pupil of Eton College

At the beginning of the 18th century people living in Eton Wick like many other citizens no doubt suffered hardship especially for those scraping their existence from agriculture, but the century witnessed vast improvement in husbandry and in the development of farm machinery One of the main advancements is well shown by one Historian who has calculated that in the early 1700's each person engaged in farming fed 1.7 persons but by the end of the century one agricultural worker fed 2.5 persons. The late 1600's and early 1700's saw scientific improvements in the management of the soil which gave increased harvest for cereal and root crops. This resulted in better fed cattle producing higher yields of dairy and meat also the healthier animals produced more dung which in the cycle of things helped to put more humus into the soil thereby increasing its fertility.

The introduction of the turnip root crop was brought about in 1730 by Charles "Turnip" Townshend, a British politician, who imported Dutch-grown turnips. He wanted to see if his livestock could survive in good health throughout the winter on a diet of turnips. In those days it was expensive to grow and store hay all winter so most people killed their livestock in the fall. This practice left people with too much meat, all at one time. Townshend proved that with turnips, easy to grow and store, farmers could fatten cattle through the winter and slaughter only as needed. This was a great step forward but the adoption of the new ideas in agriculture may have been slow in coming to the farmer of Eton and Eton Wick as it is well known that real country folk are suspicious and do not take kindly to change, although Eton Wick may not have been so rustic as some folk in the county due to its proximity to Eton and Windsor. Records show that in 1700 the Court Baron* permitted every farmer within his jurisdiction to grow two acres of turnips for every twenty acres he farmed. The introduction of this root crop whilst beneficial to the husbandry of the sheep and cattle, was not easy for the toilers of the land, the digging of the crop, storing it against frost into clamps together with the trimming and cutting up of the roots was a hard winter task, an occupation often assigned to the women, who also with the children, had hoed and thinned the crop during the Spring.

 The improvements in animal husbandry together with new agricultural tools, like Jethro Tull's development of his seed drill, were publicized in books such as the Annals of Agriculture by one Arthur Young in 1784 to be read by the progressive farmer and landowner. It also led to the birth of the agricultural engineering industry .which also spawned the industry's catalogues for seeds, plants and machinery. Similar books were published by Eton Printer and Bookseller, Joseph Pope, one title being 'Gentleman's Farriery', (Horse Doctoring) which could have been a rewrite version of the 'English Farrier printed and published in London in 1636 by John Beale and Robert Bird. It is doubtful if any of the horse drawn mechanical aids appeared in the village before the end of the 18th century and manual labour as illustrated fulfilled most of the task

This is an extract from research undertaken by John Denham for at lecture to the WEA at Windsor entitled "18th Century Eton Wick within the environs of Eton."

Wednesday 25 March 2015

MR CYRIL TARRANT - Farming and other memories

James Tarrant became the tenant of Saddocks Farm in 1894, the year of the big flood, and Manor Farm in 1906. In those days Manor Farm was owned by William Dugdale Stuart, the Lord of the Manor. His affairs were managed by his agents, Watney & Sons, a London firm and Saddocks was owned by the Crown.

A flock of sheep were kept up to about the early 1920's - hurdle sheep, that are kept in pens by wooden hurdles and given a fresh pen every day over roots grown especially for them. The ground would be ploughed up as soon as one strip had been fed off by the sheep and pressed by a three-wheeled press, then sown by hand.

During the First War the Army would purchase hayricks compulsorily. They appeared to have some sort of a baler as they had a rick at Manor Farm which they baled or pressed into trusses. Bob Blake, whose parents lived in Hope Cottage, lived in a caravan at Manor Farm later on in the War and for a while afterwards. George Prior, known as 'Tichy', lived in the cottage with his family up to the time when the South View houses were built, he was the first tenant in one of those.

In those days the Common was not fenced, the roads leading off the Common had to be gated and there was a large number of horses besides cattle on it then, and often the horses decided to change from one Common to the other. When they came along the road and into the lane to the Little Common at the gallop on a dark evening, one had to get out of the way a bit sharp. It was dark as there was no street lighting anywhere around then.

Long Close, where the Motor Museum is now at the bottom of Little Common, was occupied by Edward Quarterman and his wife as a pig farm, up to sometime before the Second World War They were quite old, and it was very isolated, no road, no 'phone, no electricity or gas, in fact there is no gas even now.

Also on Little Common in the old days, there were three cottages; the tenants were the Hester's, Pither's and Wilcox families. They must have been very old cottages when they were pulled down and the tiles removed, they had been thatched previously.

All the ponds have been filled in now; they provided excellent Winter sport in the old days. There was also a large one outside Manor Farm which spread into Saddocks Meadow, and one in Saddocks Yard.

These ponds attracted quite a few youngsters, and older ones from the village, when frozen over and a lot of fun was enjoyed in the way of slides, skating and ice hockey with a tin can for a ball, which was not very pleasant when someone got hit on the side of the ear with a can.

There was the game of 'dicky-night - show your light' in one of the meadows on dark evenings.
On the Common there was usually football going on, with coats for goal posts; lots of players had hobnail boots which were very harsh on the shins. No vandalism in those days to speak of - a bit of mischief "yes". Then there was Major Morrel and his team who spent their Sunday mornings ratting with their ferrets which went a long way to keeping the rat population down. Pigeon shoots on Boxing Day were held for some time after the First War (with live birds not clay) but died out, rabbiting taking its place for a while.

Eton Wick Cricket Club started up again just after the First War, having been played on the Common before the War. This time they played in Saddocks meadow, their secretary being Mr Percy, senior.

A familiar sight between the Wars on the Slough & Windsor Railway was the Chalvey Matchbox driven by Bill Percy for quite a time until he was driving in and out of Paddington. The line was quite busy in those days, having through trains from Paddington to Windsor and Special Day trips from further afield; the line runs through North Field on its eastern side.

Another article  about Cyril Tarrant can be see here....

Tuesday 24 March 2015

Getting to Eton Wick in 1929

In 1993 retired village Sub-postmaster, Dick Harding wrote an account of gas distribution in Eton Wick from 1929. It mainly concerns my Father, my family and the people that worked in it. This is the first extract from the account.

My Father was born in 1897 in Winkfield, the youngest of eight. He was christened Alfred Noel, his parents and all the family called him Jo. My Mother called him Jim because she didn't like the name Jo. Jim he remained, all the time he lived in Eton Wick.

He started Work in 1910 as an apprentice gas fitter and lamp lighter with the UXBRIDGE MAIDENHEAD WYCOMBE & DISTRICT GAS CO LTD. where he remained until nationalization in 1947. In the 1920's after World War 1, he married, lived and worked in Beaconsfield as a gas fitter. They had a two bedroomed flat with all the modern conveniences that 1929 could offer.

I first came to Eton Wick with my parents. I was three years old. They had come to look at a house, because my Father was to take charge of gas distribution in Eton and Eton Wick. They were in fact to live on the job. The house was Perseverance Place in Alma Rd. It was built in 1884 by Mr Howells who was a builder. It contained some sheds and outbuildings which housed all the superfluous gas equipment of years gone by. On the first floor was a large workshop with a pair of double doors leading out to Alma Road at high level. At some stage it was used to make Stage scenery. The house itself was spacious with four bedrooms, sitting room, dining room, kitchen and scullery.

My parents were not impressed. There was no electricity, no mains water, no main drainage. The kitchen and scullery floor was stone and the plumbing consisted of a pump over a stone sink. A far cry from Beaconsfield. Something made them take the job, it certainly wasn't money. They gave it five years to move on. In fact they stayed for over thirty years, and retired in the village, my Father lived for a further ten years, he died in 1972. My Mother lived for another ten years.

On this visit I met Dougal Martin for the first time. He was a lad of fourteen and this was his first job. Apart from war service in the Navy he remained in the gas industry all his working life. He retired from Windsor about 1980. It is not known if he is still alive, he must be nearly eighty at the time of writing.

For better or worse, we moved in in September 1929.

Monday 23 March 2015

Eton Wick: The Norman's and the Domesday Book

By Norman times the manor of Eton was firmly established and Eton Wick, together with the villages of Hedgerley and Wexham, was part of it. The great census of 1086 which resulted in the making of the Domesday Book gives the first hint of how small the Milage still was, for in the whole of the manor only twenty-three families and four serfs (slaves) were recorded. The Lord of the Manor was Walter Fitz Other, the Constable of the newly built castle at New Windsor. Eton was only one of the manors awarded to him by William the Conqueror and his fees or honour straddled across the Thames as far north as Beaconsfield.
William the Conqueror had instigated this survey of his kingdom because, even after nineteen years, he knew very little of its resources; and, though far from complete and with many obvious omissions, the Domesday Book is a rich source of information.  The home farm or demesne of Walter Fitz Other comprised a quarter of the whole manor and was tilled by three plough teams. The rest was in the hands of the peasants (villeins and cottagers) and between them they owned another six plough teams of bullocks.  There was a shortage of meadow, no more than sufficient to feed two of the teams, which suggests that much of the land nearest the river and brooks was still too marshy even for growing hay. There was enough woodland to feed 200 swine and, though much of this may have been in Hedgerley and Wexham, later records show that the north-east corner of the parish towards Wood Lane and Little Common was still wooded. There were two watermills: one was almost certainly by Cuckoo Weir, and here too would have been caught many of the 1,000 eels that were required as rent and would have helped to feed the soldiers and courtiers at Windsor Castle. 
Eton entry in the Domesday book of 1086
There are few other documents from the Norman period which make mention of Eton. Those that do are mainly concerned with the lords of the manor, father, son, grandson and great grandson. Each was made Constable of the Castle, still a fort and prison as well as royal residence, invoking a picture of an English village ruled by Norman conquerors.

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

Sunday 22 March 2015

Recall 60: 10 years on

10 years ago the Eton Wick History Group collected the life stories of the men and women who saw service during World War 2 and were living in the village in 2005. There are the recollections of 53 people in Recall 60 years on and many other stories. In the run up to the 70th anniversary of the end WW2 we will be publishing many of these other stories on this website. Here is the first article.

Following the outbreak of World War II, a National Service Act decreed that all fit men aged between 18 and 41 years of age were liable for service. In 1941, a further Act extended the service liability to include women and those aged between 18 and 51 years. In effect, few over 41 years were called and none over 45. All those falling within the eligible ages were obliged to register, usually at their local employment exchange.

In the last four months of 1939, 727,000 registered. In 1940, 4,100,000 registered and in 1941, 2,222,000 registered. From then on the majority of those eligible had registered for service and numbers fell off except for those reaching the age of 18 during the past year. Many were exempt from service on account of doing essential work in industry, commerce, agriculture, transport or other such occupations. Others of course, failed the fitness examination. The classification of reserved occupation was constantly reviewed and few felt completely secure in their civilian status.

The founding treasurer of the EWHG, John Denham was in a reserved occupation as an apprentice with an engineering company in Taunton. During this time he was a member of the local Home Guard. When he finished his apprenticeship in 1944 he was conscripted at the age of 19 and saw service in Burma and Singapore.

Please note Recall 60 is now out of print.

Saturday 21 March 2015

The Jacobs' cottage

The Jacobs' cottage

This photo, c. 1900, shows the Jacobs outside their cottage, which faced on to Dorney Common. The Jacobs worked on the nearby farms. Mr Joseph and Mrs Annie Jacobs both born in Wargrave in the 1840's and were married in 1868. The census records show that they were living in Bray in 1871, White Waltham in 1881. The 1891 and 1901 census records show them to be living in the Parish of Dorney and 1911 Boveney & Dorney. They had 6 children 5 boys and a girl.

Note the parrot in a cage, a popular addition to many households in those days. As there is no washing on the line can we assume that this photograph was taken on a Sunday?

Thursday 19 March 2015

18th century Eton Wick

18th century Eton Wick should have been a hamlet of little interest with its small farming community inhabiting the ten or so houses, but research by Dr. Judith Hunter and other local authors reveals an Eton and Eton Wick community that stood up for their rights to farm the common land as was their ancient custom. During the 300 years there have been many changes to the village landscape, the two most obvious being the railway viaduct and the Eton relief road. Before the coming of the Windsor Railway line it would have been possible to have an uninterrupted view of Windsor Castle from Dorney Common. 

These open fields and commons and other waste land  provided the small tenant farmers, and cottagers with rented strips of land from the Crown or Lord of the Manor and use of the common land to graze their pig, geese or a cow. During the late 17th and through the  18th century  improvements in animal husbandry and yields from arable crops together with the introduction of horse drawn mechanical machinery gave an impetus to thoughts of land management and enclosure by landlords and  Government. The wish by powerful landlords and others to enclose the land for better farming and greater profit could have led to developments that would have urbanized Eton Wick in the 20th century, but for the opposition at the time of the villagers and the influence of Eton College in the Houses of Parliament.

At the beginning of the century farming provided only a subsidence life for most in the village community but as the century progressed the growing demand from the towns folk of Eton and Windsor, whose craft trades and commercial interest were flourishing, created a market for increased food  supplies. Helping to supply this market through better husbandry, our village farmer and cottager were thus able to improved their own living standard, especially for the more substantial farmer who may have also supplied produce to the London market similar to those Eton craftsmen who were sending footwear, tailoring and other products to the city.

The decision by Henry VI to build Eton College, has over the last six centuries, influenced the lives of those living in Eton and Eton Wick, whether through the purchase of land and property or by the employment of village services and  labour.      

Another influence on life in the village towards the end of the 18th century was the increased number of shops and small craft manufacturers in Eton. These businesses brought new wealth to Eton town over the 18th and 19th centuries which in turn attracted the young from the village to leave the land for reason of family economics and perhaps less arduous toil.

This is an extract from research undertaken by John Denham for at lecture to the WEA at Windsor entitled "18th Century Eton Wick within the environs of Eton."

Monday 16 March 2015

Eton Wick: Anglo-Saxons and Vikings

It is unlikely that we shall ever learn much more about these first few centuries in the existence of the village beyond what can be inferred from its location, a Thames-side village in south Buckinghamshire, part of the kingdom of Wessex until the expansion of Mercia in the seventh century.
Whether any villager fought in these battles or merely suffered the usual devastations that accompany war we will never know.  However, it is a compelling idea that the villagers would have been caught up with some at least of the events so vividly described in the 'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle',  simply because of its location. 

In 879 the defeated Danish Army fled from the victorious Saxons, on this occasion led by King Alfred's son Edward, to find refuge on the island of Thorney near lver. Here they were besieged by the Saxons until a treaty could be arranged. Would not the villagers of Eton Wick have helped to   provide food for the army and its horses? 

In 1009 another defeated Danish army made its way down both sides of the Thames from Oxford to where their boats lay at Sandwich in Kent. There would have been no escape for the villagers of Eton Wick from paying the taxes that had to be collected in an effort to combat and pay off the marauding Danish armies, for the Wick lay too close to at least one of the residences of the Saxon Kings.  This was at Old Windsor and archaeological evidence suggests a royal palace from at least the ninth century. 

There is a tradition too that the moat in Wood Lane, less than half a mile north of Eton Wick, was the site of one of the palaces of the Mercian kings.  No documentary evidence supports this belief but aerial photographs reveal the presence of an older ditch underneath and extending beyond the medieval moat.

Another tradition which derives from a time when Buckinghamshire was part of Wessex tells of a happier occasion. The 'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle' records the essential fact that Saint Birin converted the West Saxons to Christianity and baptised their king, but tradition tells that it took place at Bapsey Pool in Taplow.  If Eton Wick was already in existence in that year of 636, then its villagers would surely have followed the example of their king.

Four centuries later at the end of the Saxon period even if there were not yet a church .in the parish we can be reasonably certain that because Queen Edith, the good and pious wife of Edward the Confessor, owned the land of Eton, the spiritual needs of the villagers would not have been forgotten.

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

Thursday 12 March 2015

The Hayward

The Hayward, Eton Wick South Field

Mr 'Hammer' Stannett was for many years the Lammas hayward. He is pictured here minding cows and horses on South Field. Windsor Castle is in the left background, and the 'Chinese Bridge' and river just out of the picture on the right. The hayward grazed the cattle over Lammas lands from the commons, the Slads, Eton Wick Recreation Ground, South Field and back home.

The milking herds have virtually all gone, and with them the hayward, but residents still benefit from the rural legacy of open fields all around them, as Eton and Eton Wick are virtually surrounded by Lammas or common land, preventing urban sprawl. A similar photograph of 'Hammer', has featured in a number of county and national publications. Haywards Mead housing development was named after the hayward.

Wednesday 11 March 2015

The Colours of Eton Wick

What are the colours of Eton Wick?

Amber and black are the colours of Eton Wick Football Club and have been for well over 100 years. It has also been the sports colours of the village primary school.  When a junior football team was started in 1947 they played in white and black. This was a result of clothing and many other  everyday items being on ration.

The years immediate after the end of the Second World War were a period of harsh austerity both financially and materially.  Frank Bond recalls cycling around West London with a friend in a vain search for army surplus football kit. It was decided that a white, or very pale shirt was the most commonly available among the boys and black out material which was off ration was used to make the shorts.

In the early years of the 20th century the Eton Wick Football team was known as the wasps because of the black and amber strip they played in.

The Boy Scout Troop also chose black and white for the colours of the scarfs in the early 1930’s.
The design of the masthead at the top of our website were chosen specifically to reflect the colours that have represented the Village for so long. 

If you know of the colours that any of the other village organizations or groups used that were unique/specific to them please do let us know by using the comment box below.
The photograph of Eton Wick Primary School football team was provided by Martin Deebank.

Tuesday 10 March 2015

Local history websites - Slough

Slough History online 

Slough originally developed as a stopping-off point for coaches travelling between London and Bath. It remained as a small village until the mid-1800s and the coming of the railway - Slough quickly became a thriving town and a popular place to live, within easy reach of London and Windsor. The growth of the Trading Estate in the 20th Century means that Slough continues to be a busy, successful town.

History of Slough on Wikipedia

Most of the area was traditionally part of Buckinghamshire and formed over many years by the amalgamation of villages along the Great West Road from London in the east to Bath and Bristol in the west. The first recorded uses of the name occur as Slo in 1196, Sloo in 1336, and Le Slowe, Slowe or Slow in 1437. The name may have derived from the various sloughs in the area, although some people think it may refer instead to Sloe bushes growing in the vicinity. The name first seems to have applied to a hamlet between Upton to the west and Chalvey to the east, roughly around the 'Crown Crossroads' where the road to Windsor (now the A332) met the Great West Road.[1] Along with Salt Hill, these settlements formed the parish of Upton-cum-Chalvey.

History on Slough Borough Council website

What's the oldest building in Slough? St Laurence's Church in Upton is around 900 years old. Parts of Upton Court (home to the Slough Observer newspaper now) were built in 1325, while St Mary's Church in Langley was probably built in the late 11th or early 12th century, though it has been re-built and enlarged several times.

Slough Info website


Slough on BBC local history


Postcards from Slough

Postcards from Slough is a website covering many aspects of the history of Slough. It is published by Gary Flint.

TownTalk - Slough

Slough has a place in history before 1920s, with it’s close proximity to Windsor. Indeed the town has received much Royal patronage, and many notable squires have enjoyed residence in or close to Slough.


Monday 9 March 2015

What evidence is there of Eton Wick from before written records.

Besides the name, what else has survived from those early times of ten, eleven or even twelve centuries ago?  Unfortunately there have been no archaeological finds* as at Old Windsor and Taplow to suggest where the Wick may have been, though probably it lay to the north of the brook in the area of Bell and Saddocks farm, for here the land is slightly higher and in times of flood has often remained dry. It was almost certainly near to one of the small streams that crossed the area and although most have dried up now, their courses can still be traced, at least in parts.

The parish Lammas lands, however, are a legacy from the Saxons which in this century are a rare survival.   Lammas, itself, was their thanksgiving festival for the first fruits of the harvest and was Lammas Day to lay claim to the lammas rights.

Towards the end of the 1970’s there were many men living in Eton Wick who could remember as boys going lammasing' in the summer holidays, assisting the hayward when the cattle were taken each day to the fields, returning to be milked each evening. 

Today there is no longer a hayward; each farmer looks after his own cattle, but the lammas lands and the two commons were registered under the Commons Registration Act of 1965.  This should mean that only by another Act of Parliament can this land be released for building.

*In the early 1990’s there was an investigation into the crop patterns visible in aerial photographs of the Eton Wick causewayed enclosure. The PastScape website article can be read here.

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

Sunday 8 March 2015

The Pubs of Eton Wick

The Pubs of Eton Wick

The earliest mention of an ale house in the village is a very tentative one: local historian Judith Hunter found an isolated parish reference to the Small Fox in Eton Wick in the early 1700 's or late 1600’s.

The next mention is quite positive and is the recorded fact in the Vituallers Recognizances of 1753 of the Bulls Head and of the Three Horse Shoes (recognizances were pledges made before a court or magistrates). 

The Shoes was built sometime before 1705 and, like the beer houses later, was probably a

private dwelling. Certainly it became an Ale House before 1753 Vituallers Recognizances and could have possibly have been the first in the village, apart of course from the vague reference to the Small Fox.

The other contender for being the first, the Bulls Head, was the end cottage - then the only one - of Hope Cottages, now No 37 Common Road. It was built about 1725 and became an Ale House about 1732. It was run by Elizabeth Griffiths and later her son William. By the mid 1750s it had reverted to being a private dwelling, and then presumably only The Three Horse Shoes survived. After about 90 years it was again used as a Beer House by William Woolhouse.

We must remember that the village was very small in the 18th Century.

There was no Boveney New Town, no houses South of the main road, very few along the main road and nothing built along The Walk or Sheepcote. Apart from the outlying farms the village had less than 100 inhabitants of all ages, living mainly along Common Road.

Back in history we often read of alcoholic drink used to poison. Home made drink and wine in particular varied so much that it was comparatively easy for a host to add poison to his guest's drink. The old practice of drinking one's health and touching glasses was allegedly derived from the good faith habit of each tipping a little of one's drink into the other's glass or tankard. Then when the Host drank the guest was assured Good Health was intended. It is reasonable to believe that Beer sold along Common Road was really a provision for locals, whereas establishments along the thinly populated main road would have served through travellers.

In 1830 it is thought that the village only had the Shoes providing beer. That however was the year of the Beer Act permitting any one to sell beer providing they paid a small excise fee. By 1833 the Greyhound was licensed, followed a year later by the Shepherds Hut just outside the village boundary. Eight years later in 1842 we had the Grapes, now known as the Pickwick. It was about this time that William Woolhouse again opened the Bulls Head in Common Road.

The Three Horse Shoes was the only fully licenced inn until after World War 2; the others were limited to being Beer Houses. Judith Hunter reminds us that in the mid 19th Century there was about one pub for every fourteen families. Today with a population about thirty times greater we still have the same number of pubs, except of course the Bulls Head.

It is certain that the Grapes was built on the garden of Common Road Thatch Cottage in 1840 - 42 and squeezed between the terraced row of Prospect Place (one up and one down) ten terraced homes and the row of Hardings Cottages, now the site of Clifton Lodge. A village map of 1839 shows the gap between the two terraced rows. This suggest that the Grapes became a Beer house when it was built unlike the other pubs in Eton Wick.

Only in the last sixty years have pubs changed from being "men only", apart from a few clay pipe smoking women, and the spittoon with the sawdust on the floor for people who missed.
Of the village pubs only the Grapes was ill suited for the horse and carts or carriages. The Greyhound had stables that were in regular use, certainly from the 1920's to the 40's by Bill Parrot who was one of the two village coal merchants. The row of stables are now the skittles alley.

The Three Horseshoes also had several stables and in the 20's and 30's these were used by Roll Bond and his contracting firm. By the mid thirties his sons had replaced the horses with lorries.

The Shepherds Hut that for so long stood almost alone just outside the village had a field stretching from Bell Lane to Moore Lane. By the 1880's or thereabout this was reduced to the Brewers field of perhaps half the area and the pub was situated in the N.W. corner.
In the late 1940's most of this field was sold to the council for the parade of seven shops and all the houses in Princess Close. Until this time certain local characters always expected to have their own seat or chair and it is well remembered some folk saying, "I will sit here until old Jack comes in".

Just before World War II the pubs became more of a social place and regular annual outings took place to the sea and Goodwood Races. This was resumed in the post-war years but of course as we approached the 1960's more and more cars replaced the excitement of a coach trip and involved the whole family.

Before this, most Pub outings seemed to be male only perhaps because joining in did not seem ladylike. Probably the Greyhound was the only exception to this practice in the village.
Television at this time was also providing in-house entertainment and the social role of the pubs changed for all times.

At the Greyhound they probably had the longest serving Publican ever in the village. Bill and Lil Newall took the pub in about 1930 and although Bill died in 1947, aged 62, Lil carried on as landlord to complete 35 years of service. A second opinion claims it to have been 40 years. More startling is the fact that throughout all those years she herself remained teetotal. Mrs Newall was 96 years old when she died in 1984.

At the Shepherds Hut there were publicans who nearly equalled the Newall’s long tenancy. Mr and Mrs William Stacey took the Hut in 1899 and like Bill Newall, Bill Stacey died leaving his widow to carry on as Landlord. Mr Stacey died a day or two before Armistice day 1918 and his widow remained at the pub for another 14 years, a total of 33 years.

Bill Cobourne followed Mrs Stacey at the Hut and was another long serving Landlord. Unfortunately I am not sure how long he served but probably nearly 30 years.

The first Stacey in the village to be Landlord was a William Stacey at the Grapes and the father of William at the Shepherds Hut. Another son, John, became Landlord of the Grapes, but by the 1920's father William and his two Landlord sons had died leaving their widows to carry on as Landladies.

Vic Short of the Three Horseshoes was also a reasonably long serving Landlord but without more research we cannot be sure how long he served.

There is a newspaper cutting from the time of the First World War stating that he had unsuccessfully applied for military exemption. It is thought he left the village in 1937.
He was followed by that great London character Amy Buck who, it was said, kept two lots of opening hours. One for normal trade and one in the back room for special customers wanting an out of hours drink, particularly American Servicemen.

A change of name for ‘The Grapes’ to ‘The Pickwick’ did not bring longterm gain, as competition from off-licence outlets and supermarkets together with the changing social scene brought the closure of the Pickwick in 2004.

Saturday 7 March 2015

Wartime memories - an evacuees story

During the war many children were sent away from cities like London to live in "safer" areas. Sixty years on, one of those children now looks back at her memories of being an evacuee and the bombing of Eton College.

Eva Bond (right of picture) with the 10 year old Evacuee writer of the letter at Eton College.
Unfortunately, no other information is available as the correspondent’s name and address have been mislaid ... If anyone can help with this, please get in touch.

September 1st. 1939
Arriving at Windsor station, about thirty from the party of girls from Clapham County School were sent off to Eton College. We were then allocated to different Master’s houses.

My sister aged 15 and myself, 10, were taken to Savile House, the home of Dr and Mrs Ley.
As I was too young to attend the Clapham County School (who were sharing with the Windsor Boys School) I was sent to Eton Porney School in the High Street. I remember it being very much a village school – one class room with roaring fire and large fire guard, round which we dried our wet clothes!

It was at the house of Dr and Mrs Ley that we were made welcome by Eva Bond, one of the two housemaids. She was very kind to two very lost and bewildered girls. By the next July my sister had finished her education and returned to London. I had passed the Buckinghamshire 11+ and was accepted to start at Clapham County School in September. Two new girls joined me at Savile House.

On the night of December 4th (1940) we were sitting in the kitchen having our supper when the bomb fell. I suppose the air raid warning had gone, we were so used to gun fire we just carried on, the planes were always making for Slough. After the initial shock we tried to make our way to the back door over heavy beams and debris. Savile House being a long low house, it seemed miles away. We finally made our way to the brick shelter at the bottom of the garden which we shared with other houses in Westons Yard.

We had been separated from Eva – guess she had gone in search of Dr and Mrs Ley. One of the evacuees and Mrs Ley were injured and taken to hospital, thankfully for only minor injuries. Much later that evening we were transferred to Bekynton (on the corner by Barnes Pool) where about twenty other girls from the school were housed. On the way, passing through the school yard, we just missed a large hole in the ground by the school office – little did we know it was a time bomb, it went off the next night. Eventually we managed to salvage most of our possessions but were never able to return to Savile House.

I lost touch with Eva and Dr and Mrs Ley, I returned to London in July 1943 having spent my last year living at the Provost Lodge (below stairs of course)!

I was put in touch with Eva again quite by chance many years later. Sitting chatting with a lady at a National Trust house, I believe in Cornwall. She told me she came from a little village near Windsor - Eton Wick. Of course I told her my connection with the village and yes, she did know Eva. I was thrilled when she offered to put us in touch with one another. My only regret is that we never met again.

Although all this happened 60 years ago the events of December 4th 1940 remain very clear today. Evacuated and bombed out when my home in London remained safe!

Note: in 1939 the school was evacuated from its central London location and the pupils were relocated to Windsor County Boys’ School, where they remained for the next four years, sharing classrooms and resources with the Boys’ School. In 1944 they returned to Clapham.

This memory was recorded as part of  the Eton Wick History Group's Recall 60 years on project to celebrate the 60th anniversary  of the ending of World War 2.