Monday 31 August 2020

The Baldwin Bridge Trust

The other early parish charity was the Baldwin Bridge Trust. The original bridge must have been built by the early Middle Ages, but the Trust to ensure its maintenance was not founded until the year 1592. Thirteen parishioners made up the original trustees and among them were three members of the Bell family, Henry, John and Matthew, all possibly from the Wick. In the centuries since other members of the village have served, both as trustees and bridgemaster (Chairman of the Trust); William Woolhouse in the eighteenth century, Edward Pote Williams in the nineteenth and Mrs Florence Wilson in this century.

The income of the Trust comes from the rent of houses built on land owned by the Trust just south of the bridge in Eton High Street. The trustees are empowered to spend the money on repairing the bridge and its surface or erecting a new one when necessary, and to spend any excess money 'in such ways as seem to be best and to the most advantage of the inhabitants and parishioners of Eton'. For many decades there was apparently no balance to spend, in fact not until 1668 when the apprenticeship fees of four boys were paid. There followed another long period of inactivity until the middle of the eighteenth century, when for a short period bundles of flax were bought and given to needy parishioners for spinning. This was not a very common method of giving help, but had been tried for many years with varying degrees of success in Windsor. In 1714 and 1764 twenty six families were given gifts of food and later in the century £20 was expended on the poor. At the turn of the century flour and faggots were given to the workhouse and a few years later clothing and blankets were sent to cottagers suffering from the floods. As the century progressed the number and variety of causes helped by the Trust increased considerably. Many of the old causes are now irrelevant to the modern way of life, but numerous clubs and societies have benefited from financial help from the Trust, and in 1947 many people were grateful for contributions from it to alleviate the damage caused by the floods of that year.

Since 1773 the trustees have also been responsible for disposing of the interest from the £150 left in the will of Joseph Benwell, and since 1787 for the interest from Joseph Pote's legacy. The way in which Benwell's money is spent is at the discretion of the trustees and was usually expended in providing coals for elderly people. On the other hand Joseph Pote directed that the income from his legacy should be spent twice yearly on bread to be given to poor parishioners attending particular church services. For well over sixty years the terms of the will were complied with literally, but during the last century this became unpractical and instead the bread was distributed to the houses of the poor. Today, with the change in the value of money, the combine income from the two legacies is too small to do even that. In recent years further donations have been received and they, together with money from the Baldwin Bridge Trust itself, is used so that over a hundred senior citizens each year at Christmas receive a voucher which can be spent at one of three shops in the parish selling not only bread but also other groceries.

This is the final part of the serialisation of The Story of a Village - Eton Wick - 1217 - 1977. The Eton Wick History Group is most grateful for the kind permission of Judith Hunter's husband to publish her book on its website.

Monday 24 August 2020

Photographic History - Village Characters - Florence Ivy Wilson

Photograph of Florence Wilson from around 1970.
Florence was the daughter of Harry Briddes, a smallholder and greengrocer in the village. As an author of plays she adapted her maiden name and penned as Ivory Brides (from a nick-name given her by a boyfriend). She was a stalwart of the village WI, a Councillor on Eton Urban District Council, Treasurer of the Youth Club and served on many other committees. She was also a member of the Baldwins Bridge Trust, and wrote a book on the subject. She was always reliable and honest in her decisions which won her many friends. She had a daughter, who became leader of the Youth Club girls section, and a son Don. 

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

Mrs Wilson's article, THE CHANGING FACE OF ETON WICK: Housing and the Village Club that was written in the 1950's and published in The Eton Wick Newsletter of the time can be found here.

Sunday 16 August 2020

World War 2 Eighty Years On - August 1940

Friday August 16th.  

Daylight raids on airfields from Kent to Hampshire brought two daylight warnings for the Slough / Windsor district.  Patrolling formations of R.A.F. fighter planes were seen towards London but no enemy aircraft appeared. A raid warning during the night was without incident but enemy bombers with their distinctive engine rhythm were heard. 

Saturday August 24th.

During the night the anti-aircraft guns located in South Bucks and East Berks went into action for the first time.  High explosive and Incendiary bombs were dropped in Windsor forest near St. Leonards Hill.  

Dorier 17 sillhouette courtesy of Military History Matters

Dornier 17 silhouette courtesy of Military History Matters.

Lt. Col.P.J.Barkham, Commanding Officer of 262 Battery relates the battery`s first action. 

"By the end of July I had left Lent Rise and moved to Dorney Common to take charge of that site. I had not been there very long when on a beautiful clear warm summer evening, with  no wind, as darkness fell there was much enemy activity over the London Docks. Around 11.30 pm. out of the melee, clearly illuminated by searchlights and flying at about 10,000 feet, there was an enemy bomber, a Dornier. It was obviously going to be our first ever, searchlight aided, night, visual engagement. We were not successful, perhaps because our powder burning fuses had been ‘at readiness’ and exposed to the atmosphere for too long to be reliable.-- perhaps not, who knows.-- There were many more anxious nights to follow, but no more hostile aircraft came within our range before the end of August when I left to take charge of a site defending Stanmore Fighter command".

Monday 26th August. 

A local report stated that the gun battery on Dorney Common drew blood. The Hun aircraft was caught in the searchlights over Slough, and a shell fired from Dorney was seen to burst under the port wing. The machine fell away out of the searchlights and crashed in Surrey.  A Heinkel bomber crashed at Caterham, Surrey in the early hours of August 27th, having been hit by ack-ack. fire. The kill was claimed by 148 Battery stationed on Chobham Common.

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


Monday 10 August 2020

Extracts from the Court Rolls for the Three Manors

The extracts quoted below were taken from Court Rolls of all three manors and show the great variety of concerns of the courts.

Eton Manor, Moleyn's Fee
View of Frankpledge with Court held there on 29th April 1432

'The tithingmen there, viz., JohnChalone and John Fremie, being sworn came and present that . . . John Hunte had a dungheap placed on the king's way opposite his tenement which is a nuisance to passers-by, so he is in mercy (and fined) 3d. And he is ordered to remove it before the next court upon pain of 40d. '

Here follows the Court Baron.

'The homage being sworn came and presents that... Richard Smyth still permits his gutter to be in ruin to the injury of all his neighbours, so he is in mercy (and fined). And he so ordered to have it well and sufficiently repaired before Michaelmas next upon pain of 40d. '

Eton Manor, Church Fee
(formerly held by Oliver Bordeux)

'Thomas Jourdeley, Hugh Dyere, William Heyward, John Dyere and Thomas Peet being sworn present that Richard Lane who is constable of the town there and at ie Wyke makes default   because he has not come to do his office as he used at the Sheriff's hundred before the gracious gift of this demesne to the College by the King, he is In mercy (and fined) 6d.'

7th January 1452.

Item they present that ... John Wight is a common player of dice and at cards, continually staying up at night, to the injury of his neighbours and  contrary to the statutes (of the Realm), so he Is in mercy (and fined) 6d. '

15th April 1542

‘Item they present that ... Margaret Wyngham is a common scold and disturber of the king's peace, so she is in mercy (and fined) 2d. And furthermore, the same is ordered hence forth not to be a scold on pain of castigation (probably whipping) as ordered in the published statutes

Eton Manor, Church Fee View of Frankpledge with Court, 19th May 1461

'John Clerc constable and beer taster there being sworn presents that... Thomas Jourdeley sold meat at excessive price so he Is in mercy (and fined)'.

Eton, subsidary of Cippenham Manor,
View of Frankpledge with Court Baron of Lord Huntingdon, 4th July 1562

'(The Jury) upon their oath say that the Dean and Canons of the free chapel of the Queen beneath the Castle of Windsor, the Provost and College of the Blessed Mary of Eton, Edmund Windsor  Esquire, John Woodwerde, gentleman hold of the same manor and owe suit of court to this court and with hold suit of court, therefore everyone of them (is In amercement (and fined) 4d.

Manor of Colenorton
A terrier of the lands of John Crawford, Lord of the Manor delivered at the Court Baron, 25th October 1668.

'Eight acres upon Sandells butting upon Broken Furlong on the north and Mill Piece on the south.

Three acres lying by Stonebridge Field butting upon Chalvey Mead on the north and eight acres belonging to Stockdales on the south.

.. . (and also a manor house and thirty two other pieces of land) . . .
  Half acre where the house stands at Eton Wick.

Manor of Eton cum Stockdales
At the Court Leet and Court Baron of Leonard Wessel Esquire, 8th April 1700

'The orders following were taken and established as well by the said Lord as also by the consent, agreement and determination of the Freeholders and Tenants of the said Manor with the advice of the Steward declaring the certain stint and   number of sheep and other cattle that may be kept on the Lammas and Commons within the said Lordship of Manor aforesaid as followeth:

It is ordered that no farmer Freeholder or Tenant shall keep but after the rate of one beast for every five acres of land . . . that no townsman or cottager for and in respect of his house shall have faring or common for more than one beast . . .

... that Henry Moody or those who shall occupy his farm (Dairy Farm) shall maintain the Gate against his house leading into South Field.

Manor of Eton cum Stockdales and Colenorton 
View of Frankpledge with the General Court Baron of William Stuart, 6th March, 1871

'The Jurors present Mr George Lillywhite (of Manor Farm) to be Bailiff of the said Manor . . . they present William Groves (of Eton) to be continued in the office of Hayward.

It is presented and ordered also - that no hogs or pigs be turned into the corn fields until all the harvest shall be got in, under penalty of two  shillings per head to the ord of the manor . ..'

Manor of Eton cum Stockdales with Colenorton View of Frankpledge with General Court Baron, 1893

'Jurors present and order that Thomas Barnes of the 'College Arms' had deposited a large quantity of rubbish upon a meadow near Rail Pond, and the same is an encroachment on the lammas lands within this Manor and that the same   Thomas Barnes be ordered to remove the same within two months . ..'

Occasionally the records reveal the basic facts of incidents which must have provided excitement in the lives of the villagers. Perhaps one of the most colourful concerned Prince Richard of Cornwall, crusader, statesman, and the only Englishman to become King of Germany. He had been granted the manor of Cippenham and part of that of Eton by Duncan Lascelles; his manor house and park were just north of the parish. The moat, which lay within the park, can still be seen by Wood Lane. Here he spent a very happy honeymoon with his first wife, Isabella. However, there were troubled times ahead.

Even though Magna Carta had been signed by King John, there was still dissent between the barons and the king and, during the Barons' War, Prince Richard was captured. During his imprisonment he vowed that if he regained his freedom he would found an abbey. Two years later he fulfilled his promise: in April 1266 a   colourful procession made its way from the Cippenham Manor house to newly built Burnham Abbey for the signing of the charter. Land and privileges were given to the Abbey including part of South Field and possibly also the mill at Cuckoo Weir. In spite of its splendid beginnings it was not a rich house and as landlord it almost certainly exacted all and any dues and rents owing. A rental drawn up in Edward Ill's reign shows clearly that the Abbey held land at Eton Wick. One can only wonder if its school and hospital ever benefited the people of the village.

This is the final part of the serialisation of The Story of a Village - Eton Wick - 1217 - 1977. The Eton Wick History Group is most grateful for the kind permission of Judith Hunter's husband to publish her book on its website.

Monday 3 August 2020

The Eton Wick Newsletter - December 2017 - `Our Village' Magazine

Ten Years Old - or maybe sixty eight

Yes, this issue of 'Our Village is number 30 and marks the tenth anniversary; but It was born of an Idea In 1949 that this rural, post WWII village should produce a 'one off magazine of Eton Wick news. It was named 'Our Village' and was in fact produced again In 1950. Those two earlier Issues were produced by duplicator and sold at six pence (21/2p today's currency). Articles covered The Village Hall; post war village development; sports; youth club; poems etc., All of course much influenced by the gradual return to normality after the long six years of war and shortages. 

To mark our anniversary we have selected one of those earlier items: 

'Our Heritage' by Florence Ivy Wilson' (1950) 

When I first came to Eton Wick I was told by a man from Windsor that the people of this village were originally those who had flitted from Windsor because they could not pay their bills. I am sure this Is a libel, but if it Is true, then it happened a long time ago, for there was undoubtedly a settlement here in Saxon times, and some Saxon customs are still in use today. Early records are few, but as Canon Shephard tells us in his book 'Old Days of Eton Parish' many of the local names are from Saxon origin. Shot, butt, ward, croft, weir, all these are Saxon terms. 'Wick' is a hamlet, 'ton' a village surrounded by a palisade, (in this case no doubt the river) and leyof is an island. Eton (Ey-ton) therefore means the island town. Bufan means 'above' from which the name Boveney is derived, and Domey comes from 'Donna' which means bumble bees, and Is the bumble bee island (Has anyone been stung lately). 

What was the place like in those early days? We can form some idea, in spite of the scarcity of written evidence. It was certainly much more thickly wooded, for later, when the Domesday Book was written In 1086 it is said that there were woods and copses to feed 200 swine. The river must have been very different then, for there is evidence that the main stream has considerably shifted its course, and in those days it was probably several intersecting streams flowing round a number of islands, on the largest of which Eton itself was founded. Salmon and Lampreys were among the fish caught and trapped, and eels were plentiful. Domesday Book mentions 1,000 eels (in Mill Pool at Deadman's Hole). 

We know that the Manor of Eton belonged to Queen Edith who was the wife of Edward the Confessor and sister to Harold who was killed in 1066 at the Battle of Hastings. She would probably have had a Steward or Reeve to safeguard her interests. Doubtless many a basket of eels, many a fine pig, horse or sheep, together with honey from his wife's bees, and butter and cheese from their dairy would have had to find their way to the old Saxon Palace at Old Windsor. A Hayward would have been appointed to safeguard the hay crop and care for the cattle, and disputes would have been settled at a Court Leete before an open Jury. 

This Court Leete was revived by Eton College in January 1947, they, having acquired the Manor Farm at Eton Wick and with the rights of the Manor of Eton. The temporary bailiff, Mr Bob Bond, swore in the jury who then confirmed him in his office and Mr John Pass was then appointed Hayward. Various matters of dispute were settled regarding the upkeep of hedges and ditches abutting on the Commons, and the number of cattle to be grazed. Long Common and Little Common and the Common rights which entitle households to graze an agreed number of cattle are still jealously guarded from these early days. 

Lammas rights come down to us from the 7th Century and have undoubtedly saved us from a lot of indiscriminate building. Lammas Day was the first day of the grazing season after the hay crop, and the name is derived from Loaf Mass or Bread Feast. In Saxon times the day was kept as a day of thanksgiving for the first fruits of the harvest. It is interesting to see Mr Tom Bond and his family working their land by the Eton Wick Road and to think that the organisation of the fields retains a link with the past which has been unbroken for the last thirteen hundred years. 

The above article is printed exactly as it first appeared sixty seven years ago, and perhaps reflects the old rural interests of that time, and the more active relevance of Lammas. Probably John Pass was the last of so many Haywards, and although Bob Bond may have been succeeded by other Bailiffs It is not considered necessary for us to know, and we for our part do not consider it necessary to enquire. 

Long Common is variously known as The 'Great' or Eton Common and reaches from Eton's Common Lane, through the village to the two bollards approaching Bell Lane. Little Common is quite separate and approximately 300 plus metres north of Sheepcote Road, (by the Motor Museum). The land worked by Tom Bond was the large South Field opposite the Church of St. John the Baptist. He only had the land In the early post WWII years and used it to grow currant bushes and fruit trees. Neither of course acceptable had it been Lammas designated land. The land was later sold to Eton College and is now mainly mono cropped. 

*Deadman's Hole is perhaps last shown on local maps of the pre 19th Century. It was situated close to the water course we know as Cuckoo Weir and Just north of 'Chinese' or 'Long Bray Bridge'. Often In river terms a 'hole' indicates the area Immediately down stream of Eyots (Islands) or promontories. I.e. Boveney Hole is just upstream of Boveney Church and Andrews Boathouse. 

Florence Wilson was a very good Councillor of Eton Urban in those post war years and helped influence the present day larger 'Eton Wick'. She was on several village committees from Village Hall, Women's Institute and Treasurer of the Youth Club. She also wrote plays using the pen name of Ivy Brides, an adaptation of her maiden name Florence Ivy Briddes. Lammas lands and Lammas law must still be relevant today, but with a much changed residency in old Eton Wick, together with the loss of most active farming, apathy has replaced the diligent adherence to all things Lammas or Commons. 

Frank Bond 

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