Tuesday, 10 May 2022


Two laws, passed in the interests of the College before Henry VI.'s death, concerned the inhabitants of the town. In the twenty-second year of his reign (1444), it was enacted that no persons should take lodgings in the town or parish, without the consent of the Provost or his deputy, and two years later an Act was passed prohibiting soldiers or officers from being quartered in the town.

The parishioners must have naturally taken great interest in the foundation of the Royal College, and especially in the building of the splendid Church, which was to take the place of that in which they had worshipped for many years ; and so no doubt they shared the consternation caused by the news that King Henry's successor, Edward IV., had determined to upset the late King's plans, and to put an end to the College, and hand over the revenues to St. George's Chapel, Windsor.

No great progress had hitherto been made with the college buildings, and the Collegiate Church was still hardly above the ground. This the King represented to the Pope and asked him to issue a bull to enable him to carry out his purpose. The bull was issued in 1463, condition that the site of the College was not to be profane uses. King Edward had already seized of the College estates, and things went so far that the bells, the vestments, the altar furniture, and plate were in Windsor.

Meantime, from lack of funds, the School had sunk to a low ebb. All salaries had to be cut down, and the thirteen almsmen or bedesmen, who had formed part of King Henry's Foundation, were disbanded. The cloud however proved a passing one, and there must have been a general feeling of relief in Eton, when in 1469 the King changed his mind, and the Church property which had been removed to Windsor was restored, and the bells were rehung in the belfry of the old Church.

In 1470, the building of the new Church was resumed, under the vigorous supervision of Bishop Waynflete, but on a smaller scale than that planned by Henry VI. Instead of a grand nave, stretching across the road, and measuring 168 feet long and 8o feet wide, this part of the Church was cut down to the dimensions of what is now known as the Ante-Chapel. This was considered sufficient for the accommodation of the townspeople and parishioners, without any thought for the future growth of the place.

This nave was far more open than at present to the choir of the Church, being only separated by an open wooden screen or rood-loft, the materials for which were taken from the rood-loft and stalls in the old Church.

The rood-loft was approached by a stair behind the Provost's stall, which stood six feet away from it, and was much lower than the present one. The rood-loft was used for the reading of the Gospel and for choral singing, the latter being supported by a small kind of organ.

In this nave stood four altars. In the north-east corner behind the present font, the Altar of the Blessed Virgin—in the south-east corner, an altar, known as the Altar of Thomas Jourdelay,1 an inhabitant of Eton who died about this time and was buried near it. His name survives in the house known as Jordley Place.

The old Church was probably pulled down about 1487, as soon as the new Church was finished, but no particulars about this have been preserved. The vestry however remained in use as late as 1516, the roof being repaired in 1501.

The Provost and Rector of Eton at this time was Dr. Henry Bost, who on his death in 1504 left a legacy of 13s. 4d. a year for the benefit of the poor.

Two other benefactions to the parish may be here mentioned, as coming from men of the same generation.

One which amounts to 10s. a year was left by a certain Robert Brede of Burnham, who died in 1515 and was buried in the Church at Eton at the expense of the College. The anniversary of his death, which took place at the end of July, was in accordance with his will observed for some time after with solemn services, which were attended by the Provost and Posers of King's College, Cambridge.

Dating from the same time, and apparently connected with the same bequest, is a sum of £1 8s. known as Breakfast Money. This was originally spent in bread and beer given to the poor of Eton at Election time. To this has since been added 5s., which was assigned to the Provost and Posers of King's for the same occasion. Another legacy producing 10s. a year was the bequest of Dr. Roger Lupton who succeeded Dr. Bost as Provost and Rector. The small chapel on the north side of the College Chapel bears his name, as also the clock tower in the School yard. 

The above benefactions amounting in all to 13 6s. 4d. are paid by the College yearly to the Vicar and Church-wardens and are used towards the weekly pension of some aged parishioner. 


1 Among other items in Thomas Jourdelay's will, proved before William Westbury, Provost of Eton, October 22, 1468, is a bequest of " xx shillings for the repair of the footpath in Eton between Baldwynes Brygge and Bowyer's Elm." 

OLD DAYS OF ETON PARISH by The Rev. John Shephard, M.A. was published in 1908 by Spottiswoode and Co Ltd. The text is has been copied from the original book that is now out of copyright.

Tuesday, 3 May 2022

Photographic History - Village Characters - Harry Chantler

Harry Chantler and his wife Hilda being presented with a cheque and a bound book containing the signatures of many local residents marking their respect and affection, on the occasion of Harry's retirement in March 1973. Harry's father took on the village store at Clifton House in 1929. Following his father's death in 1932, Harry carried on the grocery business and sub-post office for over 40 years. He was active in many local organisations, being a member of Eton Poor Estate, the Parochial Church Council and serving as a School Governor. The presentation took place at the Women's Institute meeting and was made by the president, Mrs Joan Ballhatchet (right). 

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

Monday, 25 April 2022

Tough Assignment - Changing Attitudes 1966-1986

The changes did not begin in 1966 - they had already started several years back when the first discussions took place over the question of Anglican and Methodist Union. In the village there was even talk of a new, shared church, but only one joint event actually occurred that first year, a carol service in the church of St John the Baptist, to which members of the chapel were invited. In subsequent years there were to be several occasions when members of both churches shared services especially at Christmas, Covenant and Patronal Festival.

On the 6th of December 1969 a united youth club was launched. Their first meeting was held in the Memorial Hall with Dennis Nelson as the Methodist leader, but like the other youth clubs started in earlier years, this was also destined to last only a short time and the number of Methodist youngsters who joined was disappointingly small. The chapel's commitment to youth work, however, remained strong and throughout the 1970s a few young people from the chapel attended the annual youth weekends arranged by the Circuit. The good relationship between the chapel and the Church of England has grown and encompassed also the Roman Catholic Church of St. Gilbert. On a very practical level, the three village churches have accepted joint responsibility for the churchyard and contribute to the fund set up for its maintenance.

Meanwhile the chapel Sunday School was not doing very well. The numbers were still falling, as they were nationally. From 42 children in 1967 they had dropped to a mere 33 by 1975. The following year brought a small influx when the Church of England Sunday School closed. History had turned full circle. Who could have envisaged this a hundred years ago when the Rev. Keating tried to shut Mrs Tough's first small Sunday School held in the Iron Room? The pattern of Sunday School 'life, however, had changed. Numbers fluctuated and in some years, there was a very pleasing number of younger ones, but few stayed beyond the junior stage despite more attempts at mid-week youth club activities. Scripture examinations ceased to be taken in the 1970s and the Sunday School anniversaries which were great Sunday and weekday events in the 1960s (as the scholars proudly recited or sang to the congregation the poems and hymns they had learnt) were gradually phased out. More encouraging were the family services, held once a month, which brought the parents of many of the younger scholars to the chapel.

The introduction of the Mums and Tots Group in 1985 was a new venture, and though Mrs Tough would probably not have used these words, undoubtedly, she would have approved. The 5.50 club was founded in 1982 and is aptly named as its teenage members meet at 10 minutes to 6 each Sunday evening for half an hour of discussion with Mr and Mrs Wigmore. 

1976 brought an unprecedented change in the organisation of chapel affairs when an Act of Parliament extinguished the Methodist Church trusts and replaced them with Church Councils. No longer was the fabric of the chapel to be the responsibility of the old-style trustees and their last meeting was held on the 10th November of that year. The change-over became known as restructuring with Eton Wick subject to the rules laid down for churches with less than sixty members. The change took place gradually, and in fact the Church Council had already come into being two years earlier, replacing the Leaders' Meetings. From 1976 the Council took on the responsibility of chapel maintenance and from this date concern for the chapel building became the duty of the Eton Wick Church Council, rather than that of trustees, who had always included people from other churches and chapels in the Circuit. It was quite a heavy burden to take on, for the chapel was now ninety years old and showing its age in spite of all the loving care that had been expended upon it. Membership had now risen to 39, but even if growth was still slow, at least the ability to raise money was still one of the notable features of the chapel.

Year by year the minute books tell of the Council's attention to the needs of the chapel - new service books, windows, tables, chairs, repairs to the roof, to the floor, guttering, rewiring - the list is endless and so is the need to raise more money. Coffee mornings, jumble sales, weekly subscriptions, saving boxes, bring and buy sales - these are the usual methods of collecting money and there is nothing very special about any of them, only the amounts collected. The chapel really has a very remarkable record in this direction.

Although a considerable proportion of the money has been used for the chapel, the greater part in most years has been destined for the work of the Methodist Church at home and abroad. The Overseas and Home Missions, JMA and Women's Work remain important, but there is now also a greater awareness of other needs, such as international disasters, poverty in inner city areas and the changing role of the missionary. Since the 1970s money has been regularly sent to the Methodist Relief Fund as well as to individual disaster funds, and the Christian Aid envelopes have been distributed and collected every year. In 1978 and '79 money was given to help modernise International House in London which is used by overseas missionary students who come to study in this country. In 1983 the Methodist Conference initiated the Mission Alongside the Poor Fund whereby it was hoped that the Methodist Church would raise £l million within five years to help the most needy areas in this country. This is another fund to which the chapel now regularly contributes. A hundred years ago Mr Lodge, who chaired the first meeting at the chapel, remarked that Methodists were expected to give in both time and money. Clearly this has not changed. Several times Eton Wick has been the third largest collector for Overseas Missions in the Circuit and top of the list when the amount raised was calculated per capita. Not for nothing did one Minister call Eton Wick 'the most generous chapel in the Circuit'. 

In 1985 the Circuit, in common with most other Circuits in the country, recommended the adoption of a new hymn book, 'Hymns and Psalms', but in this matter the members communion stewards, and the poor or benevolent fund ceased to be kept separate from the general chapel fund. Social responsibility and community care, however, are still regular items on the agenda and reflect the chapel's concern-for the community outside the chapel as well as within. Outreach is the new word describing the churches efforts to reach out and influence those who are not yet committed Christians. The word gives a different idea of what is being attempted, and indeed the means and ways are different, but sometimes it is difficult not to reflect on Mrs Tough and her efforts to bring people to Salvation.

The restructured Methodist Society now functions on a well documented and all too familiar set of plans and reports which reveal a variety of programmes and activities covering talks, demonstrations, visits, outings, Fundays, special services, anniversaries, Christmas and Easter festivals and Harvest thanksgiving. The calendar-of events both locally and within the circuit is full and extensive and the corporate sprit is high.

The Eton Wick History Group is most grateful for the kind permission given by the Eton Wick Methodist Chapel to republish this history, Tough Assignment on this website.

Tuesday, 19 April 2022

From the Parish Magazine - Eton Wick History Group Meeting - The Pubs in Eton and Eton Wick

About 80 people attended the first meeting of 1995 on Wednesday, 1lth January. The Pubs in Eton and Eton Wick were the subject of the talks illustrated with slides and presented by Tony Cullum and John Denham. At the turn of the century there were twenty-four pubs, taverns, and inns in Eton. The number in Eton Wick varied as time went by but for many years now the four, we know have been in existence, the oldest being the Three Horseshoes.

On display during the evening was a scrapbook showing the history of The Three Horseshoes. This was compiled by members of the Eton Wick & Boveney Women's Institute in 1975 and was entered in a county competition shortly after our move into the Berkshire Federation following the county boundary changes of 1974. The talks and slides were followed by a social time with a variety of refreshments including John Denham's famous punch. Our thanks to Mary Gyngell who made all the eats, (little cakes, sausage rolls and mince pies). We had a raffle to which helped to defray the extra expense.

In his opening address, chairman Frank Bond spoke of the progress made with the plans for re-storing the Pound. Mr. Geoff Hayes, a local man who has specialist knowledge regarding the restoration of old buildings is preparing specifications for builders' estimates. This is pro-ably going to be a bigger job than had at first been anticipated. 

The next meeting will be on Wednesdays 22nd February in the Village Hall at 730 p.m. Full details will be given on posters and in the local papers, nearer the date. 

During the 1990's the Parish Magazine of Eton, Eton Wick and Boveney reported on the meetings of the Eton Wick History Group. A member of the audience took shorthand notes in the darkened hall. This article was published in the January edition of 1996.

Wednesday, 13 April 2022

Old Days of Eton Parish - CHAPTER V - THE FOUNDING OF THE COLLEGE. 1422 TO 1448.

IN 1422 Henry VI. came to the throne and was soon full of a plan for founding a school. At last, he selected the site at Eton, near his own birthplace and residence. His original plan is thus described in the first charter: 

" For the praise honour and glory of God, and of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and for the increase of divine worship and the increase of the Holy Church, to found make and ordain and duly establish a college in the Parochial Church of Etone, near New Wyndesor, in the Diocese of Lincoln, to consist of a Provost and other Fellows, Priests, Clerks, and Choristers, as also of poor and indigent scholars, and also of other poor and infirm men. Also of one master in Grammar who should gratuitously instruct the poor and indigent scholars, and others coming there from any part of the kingdom, in the knowledge of letters and especially in the art of Grammar." 

The first step taken by the King was to procure the advowson or patronage of the Church. There was a long delay in carrying out this, as there were now three joint patrons]. to be satisfied, but on August 29, 1440, all was arranged, and with the consent of William Alnwick, Bishop of Lincoln¹, the advowson was conveyed to the King, together with the tithes of Eton and the lands belonging to the Church. 

The Bishop at the same time consented to the making of the Parochial Church of Eton a Collegiate Church as well and committed it to the care of the Provost and Fellows. 

The Bishop then received the resignation of the Rector, John Kette, who was made a Fellow, and he instituted the first Provost of Eton as Rector of the Parish. By the statutes subsequently drawn up, it was provided that the Provost, as Rector, should receive £25 in lieu of the tithes, fruits, and oblations made in the Church, and that the College should have the advantage of the rest. 

From the first, the King intended to build a Church worthy of his purpose ; but as some time must elapse before the plans could be decided on, or the building completed, the existing Church, which then stood, according to Professor Willis, in the middle of the Churchyard, and south of the present College Chapel, was re-roofed and the chancel pulled down and rebuilt on a larger scale and fitted with a rood-loft and stalls and other appurtenances for the daily choral service.

Two elm-trees were also purchased for constructing a wooden belfry, in which were hung two bells, brought from London, the wheels and clappers being procured in Eton. 

The next year, one of the windows of the old Church was ornamented with the royal arms, and others were " emended with iren for the haire to cum in to the Chirche." 

Twelve of the chancel windows were also filled in with powdred ' glass with figures of twelve prophets, and a closet was screened off, for the use of the King and Queen.

A treasury was also built to the east of the chancel to hold the Church plate and vestments.

The King appears to have bought up properties along Baldwin's Shore, close beside the stream, consising of several tenements, shops and houses; most of these were cleared away to make room or the College kitchen and other proposed buildings. 

About the same time he acquired for the College Hundercombe Garden, the ground now covered by the College Chapel and School-yard, and ten acres between the King's highway to the hamlet called 'le Slowe' and the River Thames, and to this was given the name of the King's warde or King's worth.² Later on, a further part of the Playing Fields was conveyed to the College by the Prior and Convent of Merton, together with a weir' called Bullokslok, and four eyots and the right of fishing attached. They also acquired possession of the Fellows' Eyot, then an island, known as Heverdewere, and the burgesses of Windsor granted them some fisheries they held in the river, and also right of free passage over and under the bridge.

It has been mentioned that a stream ran under Baldwin Bridge, reaching the river by what is now the Fellows' Garden. This was to be " turned overthwarte into the river of Thamise with a ditch of 40 foote in breadth, and the ground between the said ditch and the College arised of a great height, so that it may at all times be plain and dry ground." Other preparations were also made. Stone for building material was brought by water from various parts of England, large quantities coming from the same quarry in Yorkshire as had been used for King's College Chapel, Cambridge. 

The timber required was stored in what is now known as the Field or Sixpenny, but which then acquired the name of Timberhaw,' corrupted into Timbralls.'

A special brick kiln was opened at 'le Slowe.

Workmen, masons, ' breke layeers,' and carpenters were brought together from all parts. The skilled men received three shillings a week, the common labourers were paid at the rate of 4d. a day.

 All these preparations and changes must have created no little stir in the quiet town of Eton, and such an influx of workmen into the place must have sorely strained its resources. 

It led a little later to a petition to the King, from the Royal College and the inhabitants within the town, in which they complain that " the scholers artificers and labourers thether resortyng have had many times here-afore and yette have grete scarstee of brede, ale and other vitailles." In consequence of this petition the King granted the privilege of a weekly market. Whether this was a renewal of the ancient charter granted in King John's time or an extra market does not appear. 

The King also granted the privilege of two annual fairs to be held at Eton. One of these was fixed for the three common working days next following Ash Wednesday, and the other for six working days following the Feast of the Assumption in August. The place where these fairs were held was known as Michelmyldshey, apparently the property of Merton Priory, but the exact position of this is uncertain.³

The pig fair, which used to be held on Ash Wednesday in the road through College, was probably a survival of the first of these fairs. Stories have been told of the pigs being penned in the road, and suffering the loss of their tails at the hands of Eton boys, in spite of the care taken by the authorities to keep them in School and Chapel till the fair was over. 

As a further precaution against the dearth of food, all the inhabitants were exempted from the jurisdiction of the King's purveyors and from having any of his officers or servants quartered on them. 

The building of the new Church, which was to serve as the Collegiate and Parochial Church, was begun in 1441, but from one cause and another progressed very slowly for some years.

Meantime the old Parish Church was the scene of the consecration of no less than three Bishops, two of them men of considerable renown. The first was Thomas Bekynton, who as King Henry's Secretary and Arch-deacon of Bucks had taken a lively interest in the foundation of the College and School. He was consecrated Bishop of Bath and Wells on November 13, 1443, Alnwick, Bishop of Lincoln, and the Bishops of Salisbury and Llandaff officiating. 

After the consecration service in the Church, "Bekynton on wearing his new episcopal robes proceeded across the Churchyard to the site of the new Church. An altar protected from the weather by an awning had been erected for the occasion over the spot where the King had laid the foundation stone," and there Bekynton celebrated the Holy Eucharist for the first time as Bishop. 

John Carpenter, Bishop of Worcester, was also consecrated in this Church in 1444, and in 1447 William Waynflete, first Head Master and second Provost of Eton, was here made Bishop of Winchester. 

The Pope having granted special indulgences to those who visited the new shrine at Eton, many people from all parts made pilgrimages there, especially on the festivals of the Blessed Virgin, and in 1448 license was granted to the Provost to depute a Fellow to hear the confessions of the pilgrims, and two years later, as the numbers increased, he was licensed to appoint three priests for the like purpose. 


1 William Waplade, Nicholas Clopton, and John Faryngdon, descendants of the Lovel family. 

'Worth ' means ' girded with a wattled fence.

3' It may have been the meadow near the Brocas now occupied by Emlyn's Buildings. 

OLD DAYS OF ETON PARISH by The Rev. John Shephard, M.A. was published in 1908 by Spottiswoode and Co Ltd. The text is has been copied from the original book that is now out of copyright.

Monday, 4 April 2022

Photographic History - Village Characters - Bravery Medal for Wolf Cub William Hodge

Chief Scout Robert Baden Powell awarded the Gilt Cross and Certificate to nine-year-old William Hodge of the 1st Eton Group on April 17th 1929. While playing on an ice-covered stream in South Meadow, Eton, on the 1st March 1929 Alan Kingston (6) fell through the ice. William and another eight-year-old boy tried to pull him out, but the ice broke under their weight, and they went under also. William continued his efforts alone after his eight-year-old colleague left the scene, and he finally managed to pull Alan out, averting a probable fatality. 

The upper photograph shows the Certificate with Baden Powell's signature, a lower photograph is of William (on the right), with Alan. 

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

Monday, 28 March 2022

Tough Assignment - The 1960's and the 80th Anniversary of the Chapel

By the sixties the pace of life was recognisably changing once again. Membership of the chapel continued to rise, reaching forty-three in the summer of 1962, when eight new members joined - all ladies. A Ladies Club had been formed the year before, though the two events were not directly connected. The club met, as it still does, fortnightly in the Tough Memorial Hall. Mrs Hilda Paice became its first president. Meanwhile the Sisterhood consisting of the older generation of ladies, remained the backbone of chapel life. The 60s though, will be remembered mostly for the great rummage sales for missions which were organised by Harry Cook when many hundreds of pounds were raised for this worthy cause.

Chapel Membership

The Sunday School was still well attended, though not as well as in previous years. Numbers had dropped to about seventy again. There was now considerable competition for the children's interests. Homework, family outings and even a rival Sunday School run by the Gospel Tabernacle were all offered as reasons for the falling numbers, but these were merely the echo of the reports being given in churches and chapels all over the country. Sundays were changing and fewer parents were willing to send their children regularly to Sunday School. There had been a time when a significant proportion of the parents, consciously or unconsciously, used the chapel to gain an hour or two of quiet at home, but now many of the new generation of parents with more leisure time were using Sundays as a day for family outings. The Sunday School had for some years been held only on Sunday afternoons, and now in an attempt to meet the changing circumstances the time was changed to Sunday mornings. Scripture exams, however, were still being taken and it was with pride that Miss Morris reported to the leaders meeting in May 1965 that 13 scholars and one teacher had sat examinations and that all had passed - three with honours and eight with first class results. The Cradle Roll listed seventeen names and there was an expectation that five or six more would soon be added. It was suggested at the leaders meeting that mothers of new babies should be approached and asked if they would consider having their baby christened at the chapel, and even if the child was christened at the Church of England his or her name could be added to the Cradle Roll if the parents were willing. Some reservations -for this were expressed and it was hoped that in the future a kind of 'caring arrangement' might be initiated and the Cradle Roll kept for babies baptized into the Methodist Church. 

There were problems with the junior youth club, attendance was erratic and in 1963 it was reported that the club had not met during the last session. Meantime Mr Thorman had tried to form a club for the older children. Unfortunately, of the twelve youngsters who came to the first meeting, only two were Sunday School scholars, and the rest failed to respond to any encouragement to attend chapel. After some 6 to 9 months, it was felt that, since the main purpose of youth work was to bring young people in touch with Christ through the fellowship of the Church, the club was reluctantly discontinued. Two years later Mr Thorman tried once again to start a chapel youth club. He was determined that the club should be firmly attached to the chapel and aimed at creating a sense of Christian responsibility. The number of youngsters who joined was disappointingly small, but the club did meet for about two years and during that time made two cine films and several models. The club started its own car washing and gardening scheme to raise funds for the wooden annex extension which was built to accommodate the Beginners Sunday School Class.

The life of the chapel by its adult members shows an equally mixed picture. Dennis Nelson became a local preacher. Class meetings continued to be held on mid-week evenings in members' homes until in 1964 when alternate meetings were held in the chapel conducted by the Rev Kenneth Bate. Leaders' meetings began to be held quarterly instead of only once a year and the minutes revealed a little more about some of the activities, in particular those that concerned money raising. In 1964 the Overseas Missions raised £67, JMA over £93, Womens Work £43 and by weekly subscriptions the Ladies Club collected £62 for the Freedom from Hunger Campaign and nearly £5 for the Ivory Coast Hospital Scheme. Ever since the introduction of Poor Stewards in 1932 money had been collected for the sick members of the society and in October 1965 the minutes record that the income was £9 2s 8d that year and £3 2s 7d had been spent on gifts and flowers during sick visits. There is a reference to a bazaar being held one year and a coffee evening at the home of Mr & Mrs Peter Morris. This soon became a common way of raising money. There were mentions too of missionary meetings which included showing films and a Circuit Youth weekend at Henley to which four young people from Eton Wick were invited. Harvest Festivals, Chapel and Sunday School Anniversary services had always been part of the chapel programme, but sometime in the 1960s monthly Family services were introduced. At Christmas the annual Toy Service became a tradition and Sunday School children were encouraged to bring good quality toys of their own to give to children in need. The toys brought to these services were given to children in care at Fraton's Nursery, Maidenhead and later to Yewtrees Childrens Nursery in Slough.

With so much money raising perhaps it is not surprising to find the leaders meeting discussing the state of the general chapel finances and deciding to send letters to each member asking them to join the Envelope System if they had not already done so. At least £5 was needed each and every week for the normal running expenses. Meanwhile the trustees had committed the society to renovating the chapel itself. They had even considered the idea of re-building as part of the Eton Wick redevelopment scheme of the early 1960s. Instead, efforts were concentrated on raising money for a Sunday School Anniversary Service, 1960s new organ and a new wooden annex to replace the shed at the rear of the premises which had been used as a store for about ten years. Over £200 was raised for the organ when it was learnt that Mr Iona Smith, a considerable benefactor to the people of Slough and neighbourhood, was offering the chapel an organ as a gift. 

The gift was most gratefully received and the money put towards redecorating and re-equipping the chapel. The wooden annex built by Harry Cook and used mainly for the beginners Sunday School class has long been affectionately known as the 'Cook house'. A new pulpit was also built by Harry Cook from one brought from North Street Chapel at Winkfield which was closed in 1965. The moulding round the windows was showing its age and this was covered with panelling. Some walls in the schoolroom were replastered and the whole area repainted. Pews also taken from the North Street chapel replaced the original forms which had been used since the time that the chapel had opened. Thus, renovated and refurbished the chapel was re-opened with a rededication service held on 22nd June. At the thanksgiving meeting held in the evening the Dean of Windsor gave the address.

The chapel was now 80 years old, the same age as its leader, Mrs Annie Chew. She had been a society steward for thirty-six years and an active worker for much longer. Indeed, except for a few years just after her wedding, she had been part of the chapel life since she was two years old. But at last the connection was broken when she died on 26th September 1966. At her memorial service she was remembered as a homemaker and churchmaker and the width of her vision and her love for other people. Only a few months before, her generosity had meant that the plans for a renovation of the chapel could go ahead without waiting until more money could be raised. To many people she was the chapel and with her death another ear had ended.

The Eton Wick History Group is most grateful for the kind permission given by the Eton Wick Methodist Chapel to republish this history, Tough Assignment on this website.

Wednesday, 23 March 2022

World War 2 Eighty Years On - March 1942 - DEMS at Dedworth Manor

The Eton Wick and Boveney Womens Institute Group had over the autumn and winter months of 1941 pursued a vigorous campaign of National Savings to bring their grand total to £3000 with 18 shillings to spare.  In the last six months of 1941, £607 had been raised this compared with the £240 raised for the same period in 1940.  Four street collectors had made big efforts which were shown on the indicator board outside the Village Institute. Mrs Weller collected £112 to show 28 artillery shells on the board. Miss Hessey and her group raising £75 for 19 shells whilst Mrs Laverty with £59 buying 15 shells. Mrs Brown collecting £52 to show 13 shells on the indicator. For the same period, the Methodist Church collected £1413. 

March 14th to 21st.                           “Warship Week”

For this special National Savings week, Windsor and Eton it was decided that both would get together in a joint effort to reach their goal. A target of £15,000 was set for Eton and Eton Wick.

The week was officially opened at New School Yard, Eton College by Rear Admiral Bellairs and a guard of honour was mounted by W.R.N.S., Home Guard and the Civil Defence Services. 

The Foc'sle Follies concert party of HMS President III opened the weeks entertainment with a show at Eton College School Hall. Eton Wick raised £50 from the proceeds of a Dance, Bring and Buy sale and a Whist Drive. The combined total raised was £17,000 thus exceeding the target figure by £2,000.                    

H.M.S. President III was the Administrative Unit for the D.E.M.S. Service (Defensively Equipped Merchant Ships) and dealt with all aspects of administration for naval D.E.M.S. gunners all over the world. The headquarters located at Dedworth Manor, Windsor, also accommodated some of the Wrens.   WRENS were also billeted at Hodgson House, Eton College, with male Naval Staff billeted with householders in Windsor.

The task of President III as recounted by Wren Iris Barton,

“I joined the Wrens in October 1940 from my hometown of Cardiff and was posted to Bristol, where HMS President III were operating their main DEMS Division.  I was a Writing (the Navy equivalent to a clerk). Soon after my arrival in Bristol the city was heavily bombed which was frequent in the ensuing months and for this reason we were evacuated to Windsor and Eton. I was in Hodgson House, Eton College and others were in Clewer House (since demolished).   Each day we were bussed to Dedworth Manor to work.  Most Wrens worked as Naval Pay Clerks, but my particular job was to pay the shipping companies for the victualling etc. of naval ratings on merchant ships and later I calculated the pay of Merchant Navy gun layers.  It was interesting work, and I loved the beautiful area, in spite of the cold winters with no heating in our workplace, Hodgson house reeked of age and ink!. I believe only the fa├žade remains."

The Wrens took an active interest in the town– there were regular dances at ‘The White Hart’, we marched down Peascod Street, rowed on the River Thames, and we were a great source of curiosity to the Eton College boys when we first arrived.  We put on an entertainment in one of the College halls and even sang the ‘Eton Boating’ song.

On free days we searched out the tea shops and visited many of the lovely surrounding villages.  Some of the girls from Clewer learnt Bell Ringing.  Other members of President III formed A Girl Guide Sea Rangers group which met at Eton. 

A call from the Castle to the Petty Officer in charge of the group made the request for the then Princess Elizabeth to join the Sea Rangers.  The unit was delighted but as the Princess could not leave the royal grounds the meetings would have to take place at the Castle and on the banks of the lake at Frogmore.

Some of us were invited to the Castle to see our present Queen made a member of the Sea Scouts. 

In 1942 a ‘Warship Week” was held in Windsor to raise money and the Corn Exchange was the venue for a display of torpedoes, depth charges etc. It was there that I met my future husband, who was a torpedo man and was visiting many towns in the area (a week in one town and then moving on to another) to demonstrate the weapons. We married a year later and at the end of 1943 I left the Navy as I was expecting my first child. We emigrated to Australia in 1949”. 

Edna Skinner recalls that Wrens were stationed in the area from 1941 when "the ship" moved from Whiteladies Road. Bristol until 1945 when ‘the ship’ moved to Chelsea. HMS President III was located at Dedworth Manor with its WRNS staff accommodated at Hodgson House Eton College. We understood that this building had been condemned as living accommodation for the College but was considered suitable for the WRNS (perhaps this story was apocryphal).  As the staff grew, Clewer Park owned by Mrs  Mosscockle, and situated   near   Clewer Church, was   taken over as another and took me to Uxbridge(Blue Bus service. Windsor to Dorney) Three days later I was back at Dorney with a fatigue party on the clean-up operation for the 608-advance party. A posting later to the Datchet site was also a remembered experience. First Wrennery.  Male Naval staff, many of whom were survivors of losses at sea, were accommodated in private houses.

D.E.M.S. service dealt with pay, supply, and other aspects of DEMS gunners all over the world - even dealing with the effects of those lost in action.

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

Wednesday, 16 March 2022

From the Parish Magazine - Eton Wick History Group Meeting - Inns, Taverns and Alehouses

At their 13th December meeting, Eton Wick's history enthusiasts were treated to a fascinating talk on the topic of "Inns, Taverns and Alehouses". The well-known local historian and Archivist for the Royal Borough's Collection, Dr. Judith Hunter introduced her subject by quoting "What history you cannot find in the manor house and the church; you find in the inn". She then took her audience, with the help of many photographic slides, on a 'pub crawl' commencing with the very basic ale houses of medieval times right through to this area's public houses and hotels of today. To think that it all began with a humble folk indicating that they had home-made ale to sell, by erecting a sort of 'witch's broom-stick', like a flagpole on the front of their hovel; and that in the 1550's a condition of an Inn's licence was that it should not. offer meat on Wednesday, Friday, or Saturday - thus forcing folk to buy and eat fish on those days, increasing the requirement for fisherman and boats which could then be called up, in case of emergency, for naval use.

Three House Shoes

We heard that the deeds of Eton Wick's 'Three Horse Shoes' date the building back to 1700 and it may well have been a 'pub' then; and that Windsor had a tavern as early as 1300; and would you have known that part of Windsor's 'Castle Hotel' was once an inn called the 'Mermaid'; or that, if you were being chased by police and you nipped into the front and out of the back of one of those houses which used to stand on the Castle side of the road at the bottom of the Hundred Steps, you were then in the Castle Ditch and safely out of police jurisdiction?

Dr. Hunter's imparting of historical facts was delightfully interspersed with such interesting and humorous snippet of information; and she is bound to be asked to talk to the group again before long.

Earlier in the evening Frank Bond had reported on the Group's financial status and commented that £100 had been earmarked towards a plaque for The Pound, for when the work there had been completed, he urged members to help swell the funds by purchasing, for a mini-mum donation of 50p per copy, the Environmental Fund booklet. He is considering publishing a book of old photographs and interesting facts about Eton Wick, and profits from sales would be invested in the Group.

The Committee is keen to have someone volunteer to record, a history in the making, present day events and changes in village, for example, the archaeological finds at Dorney, the traffic calming measures both in Eton and Eton Wick, the fire which destroyed a barn and all Mr. Palmer's winter fodder for his livestock, and even the removal (after so many years) of the air raid siren.

The following meeting was held on Wednesday, 6th March 1996, and the topic was the History of Dorney Church, Village and Court. 

During the 1990's the Parish Magazine of Eton, Eton Wick and Boveney reported on the meetings of the Eton Wick History Group. A member of the audience took shorthand notes in the darkened hall. This article was published in the January edition of 1996.

Monday, 7 March 2022

Photographic History - Village Characters - The Hoods


Brothers Albert and Dick Hood delivering coal to the Three Horseshoes public house. Also, in this c1935 photo are younger brother Don Hood (on the running board) and the landlord's son Peter Short. Within a few years, Dick was to become a WW2 fatality in Italy. The brothers had taken over the business from their father, Scottie Hood. The business converted to mechanical transport around 1932, when a fire at the Sheepcote Road stables killed the horse and destroyed the cart.

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

Monday, 28 February 2022

Old Days of Eton Parish - CHAPTER IV - The 200 years Before The College was founded


IT appears that in the reigns of Henry III. and Edward I. (1216-1307) the Abbey of Reading held property in both Windsor and Eton, but there is no evidence of the monks being employed in Eton.

 A solitary relic of their presence is the Abbot's pile,' a wooden pile at the head of an eyot near Tangier Mill. This still forms the boundary-mark of the right of fishery belonging to the borough of Windsor.

Sometime before 1239, the close connection with the Priory of Merton came to an end; and the patronage passed into private hands. In that year Thomas de Lacel resigned the living and Hugo de Hoddeg, a sub-deacon, was presented for the vacant post by Hugo de Hoddeg, a soldier. After some delay owing to the defect in his qualifications, he was instituted1 and is designated Rector as holding all the tithes.

The next recorded Rector was Thomas Holte, presented to the living by the family of Huntercombe in 1299 and holding it till his death.

 A list of the Rectors who succeeded him, until the foundation of the College, will be found in Appendix I.

There were no less than seventeen during this period. From the frequent mention of exchange or resignation, it was evidently not considered a very eligible piece of preferment.2

In 1288, the tenth of all ecclesiastical Benefices in England was granted to King Edward I. towards his expensive wars and expeditions. In order to carry out this taxation, a general assessment was made. The living of Eton, then, and until 1847, in the Diocese of Lincoln,3 is mentioned as taxed at £10 13s. 4d. in the money of the time. In the same return Clifware or Clewer was assessed at £10, Upton at £13 6s. 8d., Stoke at £10, and Dorney at £6 13s. 4d.

Probably in the same reign, stables for the King's horses were built in Eton. Hence the name King's Stable Street, where, as a map in the Woods and Forests Office shows, the Crown had house property, till the middle of the eighteenth century, known as the King's Stables. In 1319 King Edward II. granted to Oliver de Bourdeaux, the keeper of the castle and forest, his lands in Eton. Soon after he also gave him all hereditaments in Windsor and Eton which had belonged to John of London and Roger de Mowbray, on condition of his finding a man with a lance and a dart to attend the King's army.

In the fifteenth year of King Edward IIl. (1341) (just I00 years before the College was founded), a ninth part of the corn, wood, lambs' fleeces, and other profits was granted by Parliament to the King to meet the expenses of a war with France. In the assessment then made, the duties for Eton Parish were set down at fourteen marks; those for Old and New Windsor together amounted to twenty marks. The return for Eton is supposed to have been less than the full amount, as thirty acres of arable land and six acres of pasture were exempted from the tax as being Church property. In 1360, William of Wykeham, afterwards founder of Winchester College, was engaged on works at Windsor Castle, and his name appears in a commission appointed by the King to dispose of certain tenements and lands Belonging to the Crown, including unnecessary houses in Windsor, Eton and Upton.

Among the private owners of lands, mention is made of one Thomas atte Wyk de Etone (Thomas of Eton Wick) who held one virgate4 of land at Ditton, on behalf of the Abbess and Convent of Burnham.

The Brocas family was well known in the reigns of Edward II. and III. They fought on the Lancastrian side in the War of the Roses. For centuries they were hereditary masters of the Royal Buckhounds. Sir John de Brocas was chief forester of Windsor Forest and Warden of Windsor Hospital in 1351 and was entrusted with the work of enlarging the Castle. He acquired land in Windsor, Clewer and Eton.

A descendant of his, son of Sir Bernard Brocas who was beheaded in the beginning of Henry IV.'s reign, served the two following Kings, and received, among other rewards, what is known as Brocas Meadow. According to a local tradition this meadow was given to the town of Eton by a Lady Brocas, but for more than a century past the College has claimed the right of grazing cattle there.

In 1391 an incident occurred which brings Eton into notice, and doubtless caused some little stir in the town.

The citizens of London had caused the displeasure of the King by refusing to lend him a thousand pounds and also by ill-treating and nearly killing a Lombard who was willing to advance it. In consequence of this, the Mayor of London, the Sheriffs, and the best citizens were arrested and imprisoned. After a time, the Chronicler tells us, "the King was somewhat pacified and by little and little abated the rigour of his purpose, and determined to deal more mildly with them," and so sent orders that they should come to Windsor, " there to shew their privileges, liberties, and laws."

Whether it was that the town of Windsor was still so small, or that it was ill provided with a suitable place of meeting, must remain uncertain; but the inquiry took place at Eton, on the feast of St. Mary Magdalen, before Edmund Duke of York, Thomas Duke of Gloucester, and others. The commission decided that the City of London should be governed in future by a Warden, two Sheriffs and twenty-four Aldermen.

This decision was communicated to the offending parties by the King at a Council held in the Castle, and new officers were appointed.

This is the last incident recorded before the foundation of the College, which, so far as it affected the town and the parishioners generally, must now engage our attention.

For further particulars about the College, our readers must consult the many interesting books already published on the subject.5

1 Lincoln Episcopal Register—Bishop Grey.

2 It is possible that the Priory of Merton in parting with the advowson had kept its grip on most of the Church property.

3 The Diocese of Dorchester was now known as the Diocese of Lincoln, the Bishop having again settled in the latter city; as many ten counties were at this date under his care.

4 A virgate is a measure of land varying from 15 to 40 acres.

5 Especially Sir H. Maxwell-Lyte's Eton College and Willis and Clark's Architectural History of Cambridge, from which the present writer has drawn most of the information about the Chapel.

OLD DAYS OF ETON PARISH by The Rev. John Shephard, M.A. was published in 1908 by Spottiswoode and Co Ltd. The text is has been copied from the original book that is now out of copyright.

Monday, 21 February 2022

Tough Assignment - The 1950's - A Good Decade

The 1950s were good years for the chapel. The number of children attending the Sunday School grew, and within a few years numbers had returned to pre-war strength. Unfortunately, the youth club closed in 1952, partly at least because of its own success which had kept the club a rather closed entity. As the teenagers grew up boyfriends and other new interests and activities brought this part of their lives to an end. The club had failed to attract new younger members. A few years later, however, a junior club was started by Margaret Drake and Edna Harris. The first report suggests it was very a successful venture with a membership of nearly thirty -though an insistence on 'too much' time for prayers and devotional activities was suggested as the reason why membership dropped a little in 1957! The club did not close however, and with a slight adjustment of programme struggled on into the 1960s.

Meanwhile other ideas were being tried. Caravan missions to children in the village met with mixed reactions. Sunday morning breakfasts in the garden at Bryanston, however, were a great success for a few years. A creche was begun in 1954 enabling several mothers of young children to join the sisterhood meetings on Thursday afternoons. A toy service was held in December 1955 -the first of many such services - and the gifts received were taken to Fraton's Nursery at Maidenhead. The following year every child in the nursery received a birthday card and a chocolate egg at Easter.

A party was held for boys from one of Dr Barnado's home and the money collected by chapel members carol singing round the village was given to the National Children's Home Organisation. Cradle Roll services were begun and in 1953 the Sunday School children were taken to London to attend the JMA Golden Medal Meeting. It was a proud day for the chapel and Jean Drake when she received a medal for collecting for ten years. The chapel became the proud possessor of a slide projector bought from the funds of the defunct youth club and this was put to good use by all sections of the chapel. The new Circuit magazine, 'The Link' was an innovation reflecting the regular activity of church business. But perhaps the most important fresh activity of the 1950s for Eton Wick was the revival of class meetings under the name fellowship meetings. Four class leaders were elected -Mrs Chew, Harry Cook, Marjorie Morris and Sylvia Chew -to 'act as "shepherds" to a proportion of the members'. The fortnightly meetings, held in leaders' homes, were chaired by the Minister. They took the form of discussion groups and these meeting became an integral part of chapel life in the 1950s. A few people, of course, did not find them to their liking and later in the decade, when the Rev. Leslie Hall was Minister, the fellowship meetings alternated with mid-week services.

In 1952 the debt incurred by the redecoration of the chapel was at last paid off, a donation from Mr Russell Smith of Cricklewood, London, clearing the final outstanding amount. It was then resolved that the redecoration of the Tough Memorial Hall should go ahead. Two years later thoughts of the trustees turned to the possibility of connecting the chapel to main drainage and at the same time enlarging the schoolroom once again. Work began the next year. The wall between the toilets at the rear of the Hall was demolished and the kitchen extended. New toilets were built. It was a far more modest extension than that of 1935 and much of the necessary money was raised through grants and donations. St Mark's Womens Fellowship of Maidenhead presented a pageant, raising £11 which was donated to the extension fund. Queen Street Church, Maidenhead gave some £30 and amongst those that generously gave grants were the Joseph Rank Trust, the General Chapel Fund and Her Majesty the Queen.

At the end of the decade optimism stood high. Membership had now jumped to thirty-five and the Sunday School to an unprecedented 92 (except when the evacuees children swelled the numbers). The chapel now had three of its own local preachers - Daphne Hogg, who had moved to Eton Wick from Windsor, Tom Dally, who also became the organist, and Helen Banham. The chapel was especially proud of Helen for she had first found her faith in the Sunday School. She recalled her days as a toddler in the infant class to the fascination of the children in the present Sunday School when she preached at the opening of our centenary year.

The Eton Wick History Group is most grateful for the kind permission given by the Eton Wick Methodist Chapel to republish this history, Tough Assignment on this website.

Monday, 14 February 2022

Photographic History - Village Characters - George Paget and Chris Rigden


George used his horse and cart to trade in greengroceries, removals and other odd jobs. He also ran pony and trap trips for tourists, operating from the Windsor Castle taxi rank. George and his horse-drawn trans-port appeared in several films, which included the 'Carry on' series. George served in the Western Desert Army during the Second World War. 

Chris owned the Cockpit Restaurant in Eton High Street before taking over the Barksfield Bakery in Dorney. In the 1960s Chris regularly waited each night at the Burning Bush bus stop for the last Green Line coach of the evening, bringing his step-daughter Penny home from her leading role in the 'Black and White Minstrels' show at London's Victoria Palace Theatre. The photograph, taken in the late 1940s shows the now removed Eton Parish Church spire, the Roman Catholic Church and the 'Well's' timber built shed, now replaced with an office block. 

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

Wednesday, 9 February 2022

World War 2 Eighty Years On - February 1942 - New Ration Books

9th February

Ration Book
courtesy of the Imperial War Museum.

The issue of new ration books this month required a trip from the village to the Food Office at 39 Eton High Street. Ration books were issued in alphabetical order for collection on specified days as advertised on posters and in newspapers by the Ministry of Food. Generally, the system worked if people could get to the Food Office at the specified times, but this was not always convenient for the housewife engaged in war work in a factory, public service or managing her family with additional billeted evacuees as was shown by the later reminders to people to collect their new books. Shipping losses and military requirements put the supply of many goods in very short supply. A monthly ration of soap for each person was a 4oz block of household and 2oz tablet of toilet soap. Washday was difficult as the soap often failed to produce a lather in the local hard water and housewives were advised to add a little soda to the water.   Soap flakes and powders of the time such as Persil, Rinso and Oxydol were also rationed, and some laundry companies now refused to accept new customers.  A standard tablet of Lifebuoy soap was 2d. per tablet whilst scented toilet soap cost 4d. Including tax and 1 coupon.

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

For an insight to how corner shops managed wartime rationing The View from the Corner Shop, a diary of a Yorkshire shop assistant in wartime is a very good place to start. It is based on the Mass Observation Diary written by Kathleen Hey edited by Patricia & Robert Malcolmson. The book covers the period between July 1941 and July 1946.