Wednesday 28 February 2018

Boveney Census 1891

The Census of the population of the United Kingdom was undertaken on 5th April.  The population of the UK that included England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland (all the 32 counties of Northern Ireland and what is now the Irish Republic) was 37,732,922.

Details collected include:

Place: street name, house number or house name.

Houses: inhabited, uninhabited or a building and the number of rooms.

Names of each person who was resident in the house on the night preceding the census.

Age and sex of each person: The actual age in years or months for babies under one year are recorded in the 1891 census.

Rank, Profession or Occupation.

Birthplace, county and country.

Whether Blind, Deaf or Dumb.

The Superintend Registrar's District was Eton, Bucks and the Registrar's district was Burnham. Enumeration District No. 1. The enumerator is unknown.

The area for the 1891 census included was the entire parishes of Dorney and Boveney.

The 1891 Census reveals that there were 86 households, ten houses that were unoccupied and one was under construction. 402 people in residence in the parish of Boveney at midnight on the 5th April. The oldest person, Fredrick Pollett at the age of 87, he was born in 1804. There was one other resident in their 80’s. There was one child recorded at age 3 month, Jack Crabb was the fourth child of Issac and Alice. Jack was the only baby born in the first three months of 1901.

Click on this link to see our transcription of the 1891 census records for Boveney.. We will be looking deeper into what the census reveals about the growing village and publish our findings in future articles.

Wednesday 21 February 2018

Changes - And All Stay The Same

The eighteenth century brought a new look to the village in other ways. The earliest change resulted from a decision of the Court Baron of 1st April 1700 that 'no geese or gander be kept at any time hereafter upon the Commons'. A small event perhaps, yet not a trifling one, meaning far more than the removal of the birds from the rural scene though they may still have been kept in cottage gardens. Living as we do in an age when most of our food and possessions are bought in shops, it is difficult to imagine that three hundred years ago the. People of Eton Wick, and every other village lived in a  subsistence economy. Most food was grown, gathered or gleaned; bread was baked and beer brewed by the housewife, and a goose that fed itself mainly on the common pasture was a cheap and very welcome source of meat and eggs.

Sheep, hogs, oxen, cattle and horses could still be pastured on the commons and Lammas lands during the proper seasons. The livestock was put in the charge of the parish hayward, each farmer paying 2d per head of cattle and the townsfolk and villagers 4d. This was not discrimination in favour of the farmers but merely because the stint (or restriction) allowed the pasturing of only one beast for each house and then more according to the number of acres owned or rented: for example an extra head of cattle for every five acres farmed and a sheep for each acre. Sheep must have been' a familiar sight, for the regulations confirmed at the Court Baron concerned themselves with the time and place for washing the wool. Spinning and weaving were still household tasks a spinning wheel or loom was a valuable possession, as the will of Elizabeth Fennel showed when she left her weaving apparel to her niece.

The eighteenth century saw many changes in agriculture - new crops, new breeds of livestock and new ways of husbandry; but, country people being notoriously conservative, the new ideas were slow to spread. So it is surprising to discover the same Court Baron of 1700 recording that every farmer was allowed to grow two acres of turnips for every twenty he farmed. Turnips were still revolutionary farming. In earlier centuries and still for many more decades to come, in many parishes, a great proportion of the cattle were killed each November because there simply was not sufficient hay to keep them alive during the winter. With the introduction of root crops such as turnips, such slaughter was no longer necessary. Whenever the Manor Court first allowed this innovation it must have been accompanied by much head-shaking and speculation until the idea had proved successful.

Crown Farm, 1797 Land farmed by Robert Mills, tenant farmer
Hedged boundaries  ---- Boundaries without hedges or fences

However attractive these new ideas in agriculture appeared, it was difficult for an individual farmer to take advantage of them until his cattle could be kept separate from all the others in the village, and until he could plant what he liked on his own land and not comply with the farming practices of others with strips in the common fields. Neither could he make use of the new farm machinery until his land was in large enough plots to make it practicable; it was often advocated that the only way in which this could be achieved was to enclose the open fields and the commons too. Such enclosure could be accomplished by private Acts of Parliament,  private agreement, or later under one of the Acts. Usually, an Inclosure Commissioner was appointed to survey the parish and rearrange the land holdings so that as far as possible each owner's land formed compact blocks; rights of pasturage were usually extinguished and the commons divided up. Only rarely were the cottagers compensated for their loss of rights. This Is perhaps too simplified a summing up of a very complicated story, but the important fact about Eton Wick Is that none of this happened.

The exchange of strips so that two or more lay side by side had occurred from early times, as surviving records from the fourteenth to eighteenth centuries clearly show. One of the earliest and most detailed concerns eighteen scattered acres owned by Sir William Stratton exchanged for sixteen acres of John Jourdelay, almost all of which lay next to each other's land. From the sixteenth century onwards there are mentions of closes, small hedged fields in the modern sense, such as Bushy Close, Shipcote Close, Ferny Close and Cony Close which were part of Saddocks Farm in 1650. It Is clear that in general most of the closes remained subject to Lammas rights and the amount of 'in-land' around the Farmsteads and homesteads was small. Encroachment on to the waste or commons and the theft of part of the common fields did, however, sometimes occur and people were not always slow to complain. In 1459 a court roll records that both Eton College and Thomas Jourdelay 'had done grievous injury to the community by enclosing land for themselves'. The matter was to be brought up again at the next court but there is no further reference to It in the court rolls; so one must assume that the manor tenants did not obtain redress for their grievances. In 1605 complaints were made against Henry Bell because he had enclosed several pieces of the king's waste and also a piece of Lammas ground and added these to his own freehold land. It was also stated that the eight cottages built by Henry Bell and others were very prejudicial to the parishioners and inhabitants in respect that their privileges and benefits of the Common (were) much hindered by those cottages'. Once again, however, the outcome is not clear. 

In the same report of 1605, a detailed description is given of the trees and wooded areas on the Crown lands and in particular those of Saddocks Farm, providing us with a glimpse of the landscape and the changes being wrought upon it. While much of the parish was open and hedgeless, there were abundant fully grown trees and areas of coppice at Broadmoor, Sheepcote, Gudgeons Pool, around the Hide Field and in the vicinity of the farmhouse. Many of the trees were pollarded - eighty in one coppice adjoining the farmyard - and it is interesting to reflect on the many uses of the wood. The report lists the value of the trees and coppice by the potential loads of firewood and timber. Henry Bell does not appear to have had a right to use the timber, but a lease of 1640 to a later tenant specifies his right to take timber for the repair of buildings, carts, the plough and gates belonging to Saddocks. By 1650 much of the woods, if not the individual trees in the hedgerows, seem to have been cut down, and part of North Field had been named Oak Stubbs.

As late as 1778 the cottage which was later to become Manor Farmhouse was without either garden or farmyard. It lay beside the road and the land immediately to the east was divided into very narrow strips. Yet before the end of that century there was a farmyard and early in the nineteenth the necessary exchanges had been made so that part of the North Field had become the in-land of Manor Farm. All this resulted almost certainly from the enterprise of John Penn, who bought the manor in 1793. The house too was enlarged and an insurance plaque still bears witness to the value that John Penn placed upon his improved property. John Mason, farmer, became the new occupant. Land on other farms was being consolidated, in particular near Bell Farm. Sometime between 1754 and 1797 the last of the dispersed strips in the Great Hide Field disappeared, though in this instance they remained subject to pasturage rights.

Thursday 15 February 2018

Joseph Springford (Private No. 940171) - 17th Battalion Sherwood Foresters

Joseph Springford (Private No. 94017) - 17th Battalion Sherwood Foresters - 117th Brigade - 39th Division. (Formerly No. 8671 The Cambridgeshire Regiment)

Joseph was one of a large local family. He first registered for school at Eton Porny on the 21st October, 1895 and left school in December 1902. In all probability he attended the infants' school in Eton Wick for two years before going to Eton. The family home in 1895 was recorded as 6, Bell Cottages, Alma Road, Boveney Newtown. Later the family moved to No. 4, Hope Cottages, Common Road, and some years later to 3, Victoria Place, a terraced house about eight doors along the same road from Hope Cottages. By the beginning of 1918 there were six Springford brothers serving in the armed forces. Two were destined to die before the November armistice, although Albert and Harry who enlisted early in the war, returned safely.

It is not known when Joseph enlisted in the army at Oxford, or what work he pursued before joining the 17th Battalion Sherwood Foresters, also known as the Welbeck Rangers. It was June 1st, 1915 when the Battalion was raised by the Mayor and recruiting committee of Nottingham. It was not unusual, at this early stage of the Great War, for Battalions to be raised by local dignitaries, towns, cities and even sporting associations. In October 1915 the 17th went to Aldershot as part of 117th Brigade, 39th Division. The following month they moved to Witley, and on December 10th were taken over by the War Office.

On March 6th, 1916 the Battalion arrived in France. The Battle of the Somme started at 7.30 a.m. on July 1st, 1916, but not until the end of August would the 17th Sherwood Foresters become involved. From the 24th August until the 28th they were being moved towards the front, and on September 2nd went into trenches near Beaumont Hamel. At 5.10 a.m. on the 3rd, 650 men and 20 officers of the Battalion advanced through No Man's Land and by 6 a.m. had taken the German front line. In attempting to advance further they met strong machine gun fire. At 1.50 p.m. they withdrew, having suffered many casualties.

That evening they fell back to Mailly Maillet Wood having sustained 454 killed and wounded of the original 670. The Battalion's first day of action was a bitter experience. Further Somme action followed at the Serre sector front line on September 20th, at Bertrancourt on September 30th and at the Thiepval sector of the front line on October 5th. It was here that the enemy attacked using flamethrowers before being driven back. The 17th Battalion were again in on the front line at Thiepval River sector on the 16th October. Subsequent action involved more hard combat near Senlis and Martinsart Wood.

On November 14th, with Somme battles drawing to an inconclusive end, the Battalion was relieved and sent to Warloy, Three days later they entrained at Candas for St Omer. In July 1917 the Battalion, still part of the 117th Brigade, 39th Division, were in the XVIII Corps of the Fifth Army and involved in the battles of Pilkem Ridge (July 31st) and at Langemarck; the Merlin Road Ridge; Polygon Wood and Passchendaele (in the Third Ypres) between August and November of that year. At this time they were with X Corps, Second Army.
St. Sever Cemetery Extention
The atrocious conditions of the Passchendaele offensive effectively ended in November when the German defence of the ridge was overcome. Three months later The Windsor & Eton Express reported:

Springford, Joseph, Private 17th Sherwood Foresters died 15.2.18 at No. 3 Stationary Hospital, Rouen aged 30.

And again on March 9th, 1918 the same paper reported:

Springford, Joseph, Private Sherwood Foresters son of Mr. T Springford of 3, Victoria Place, Eton Wick, died of kidney disease on February 15th, 1918 while in No. 3 Stationary Hospital, Rouen, France.

Joseph was the first of two Springford fatalities. His younger brother Isaac died 4 ½ months later as the result of severe gassing and was buried in Eton Wick. Joseph is buried in the St. Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen and his grave is No 73, Row K, Plot 6, Block P. The cemetery extension is two miles south of Rouen Cathedral and records 8,356 burials with a further 3,083 in the main St. Sever Cemetery to which the Extension is part. All these burials are of the 1914-18 war. The Extension contains 6,600 U.K. soldiers, 783 Australian, 311 Canadian, 271 Indian, 134 New Zealand, 88 British West Indian, 84 South African, 11 Newfoundlanders, three from Guernsey, one Bermudan, six unknown, one Egyptian, 44 Chinese labour force, 18 Italian and one Portuguese. The large number of different nationalities is due to the fact that the cemetery was for men dying of wounds or sickness in the No. 3 Stationery Hospital.

Joseph is commemorated on the Eton Wick Memorial and on the Eton Church Gates.

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

Joseph Springford: The For King & Country page.

The Eton Wick War Memorial page on Buckinghamshire Remembers website. 

Grave registration documents courtesy of the CWGC 

Wednesday 7 February 2018

Eton Wick Newsletter - Our Village August 2008

In the first newsletter we looked at the old village of Eton Wick which until 1934 had its west boundary at Bell Lane and the east at the Folly Bridge (the slads).  In the early 1920’s this boundary was moved west, enabling Eton Town to develop Somerville Road and that part of South View.  We will leave the late 19th Century extensions of the village west, into what came to be known as Boveney Newtown, until a further issue and will now take a closer look at the old Eton Wick and its development. 

It is believed that the thorough-fare to Eton and Windsor during the middle ages may well have been the old Kings Highway that passes  from our present day Village Hall, along Haywards Mead, continues past Cuckoo Weir (now the Swan Sanctuary) along Meadow Lane to Brocas Street.  This may, or may not be so, but looking closely and accepting the importance of the early farms, it makes sense that the said highway starts from Bell Lane (south) which itself would have been a muddy cart track from Bell Farm, and is joined by the old Sheepcote track that crosses our present road by the church.  This track, now Sheepcote Road, was almost certainly made by the traffic of Saddocks and Manor Farms several hundred years ago. The rutted highway gives us a fair indication of what roads were like all those years ago.  Many of us can remember Sheepcote Road just that, a muddy, gated track in the 1920 – 1930s.  

Thinly populated, Eton Wick had no school; hall; gentry homes or church until 1840, when a school room 29’ x 21’ was built along the Eton Wick Road, on the end of the Greyhound Pub (established 1833) garden.  Remember at this time dwellings along either Common Road or Eton Wick Road often had a small holding/garden stretching as far as the other parallel road.  The Greyhound’s ground being about 100 metres long.  Dr. Judith Hunters’ excellent book tells us ‘The Walk’ derived its name from ‘Deverill’s Walk’, Deverill being the pub landlord and ‘Walk’ on account of the well trod track from the main road to the public house.  It was 1902 before the track, so named, was developed and built along.   It was thought the houses along ‘The Walk’ were the first Eton Wick newly built homes to have piped water installed. 

In 1866 the Village got its first church in St. John the Baptist C of E.  Queen Victoria gave ½ acre of the Crown land of Sheepcote and a £100 donation.  It would be 26 years later before the churchyard was consecrated and the first village burial took place. 

With the sudden influx of children in the newly developed Boveney Newtown (west of Bell Lane) during the 1880’s, it was becoming increasingly difficult for the small school to accommodate them all.  Strictly speaking the children of Boveney were expected to attend a school in the Burnham area but it was not acceptable for them to all trek to Dorney, so it was decided to build a larger school in Sheepcote.  Again, Queen Victoria gave ½ acre and £100 towards the £1,000 the new school would cost.  It opened in 1888.  The girls were expected to complete their education in the village but the boys only attended until 7 years old and then were obliged to attend the Eton Porny School.  Many walked along the unlit; unpathed road four times a day - there was no such thing as school meals, buses, cars and very few cycles.   At that time there were no buildings between the church and Willow Place, apart from the sanatorium.  The first four pairs of houses in South View were not built until after the 1914 – 1918 war when Eton Wick Council had them built as rented homes for returning ex-servicemen.  Perhaps this bold move prompted the Eton Council to ask the village to agree to the boundary move that gave them the area to complete South View beyond the sanatorium and to develop Somerville Road. The name Somerville is derived from the Eton Council’s Chairman’s name, as he had negotiated the land swap with Eton Wick.   

Meanwhile the first school building was used by young men and boys as an institute.  In 1902 this came to an end when shopkeeper, Mr. Pratt of Eton & Windsor, purchased the site and Eton Wick’s first purpose built shop was erected and opened in 1904.  With the Institute closed the village benefactor Mr Vaughan (a Classics Master at Eton College) again came to the rescue and made Wheatbutts Cottage temporarily available.  Meanwhile, he set about freeing a plot of his land from restrictive lammas rights and then donated the plot and paid for The Institute of Eton Wick and Boveney, which is now known as The Village Hall. It was opened in 1907 and has been extended and improved over the years to meet the changing requirements.  Originally the entrance to the hall was on the east side, now used as the library entrance.  It had an equipped gymnasium upstairs and in fact the old climbing ropes will still be in that east facing room on the upper floor, but are concealed by the modern ceiling slats.   

Boys continued to attend Eton Porny School until 1940 when Ragstone Road School took the lads from ‘Porny’ at the age of 11 years. 

Apart from the Boveney Newtown and post World War 2 developments it just leaves the Recreation Grounds that first appeared circa 1904.  We can perhaps look at those in a later issue covering sports and clubs. 
Frank Bond 

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