Monday 26 September 2022

Tough Assignment - John Moore and the Moore Family

John Moore, father of Annie Tough, lived most of his married life in Rotherhithe in Kent. He is not thought to have been a Methodist until after his daughter embraced the faith, and he may not have become a member of a chapel until he moved to Eton Wick sometime after 1877. By this time he had retired from his trade of mast and oar maker, with sufficient money to become involved in the development of Boveney New Town. He bought at least two plots of land and on these built Primrose and Snowdrop Villas. What prompted his decision to follow his daughter to her new home we shall never know, but it had far reaching results. Annie was his eldest child, daughter of his first wife, who had died long before 1877. He was married three times and although there were twelve children, the family was a close-knit one, and he brought his third wife and at least three unmarried daughters and a son with him to Eton Wick. Friends and family came from Rotherhithe for the opening of the chapel and all of the names on the chapel's foundation stones are those of members of the Moore family. 

Mr and Mrs J W Moore, Miss A M Moore, Mrs L B Bailey, Mrs E S Eddy, Mrs E M Groves, Mrs A M Marks and Mrs R E Symonds

For many years seat rents were paid for Mr and Mrs Moore and the two daughters still living at home, and also for Miss Ada Moore who was an active member of the chapel in her own right. John Moore was one of the eight original trustees and a considerable benefactor to the chapel. He never became a local preacher, but he was a helper, a term which implied that he assisted with the services. Amongst other things he presented the Chapel with its first harmonium in 1893.

Outside the chapel he carved himself a position of considerable local importance. His success in this field was recorded in the Rotherhithe Advertiser:

'He was the first highway surveyor elected in Boveney Parish; the first School Board member elected in that parish; the first Parish Council chairman elected by the parishioners; also the first District councillor, and the first Guardian of the poor elected by ballot in the parish. He was also the first promoter of allotment schemes in Boveney, posted the first letter in the first post office provided there; obtained the licence for the chapel by which the fourth marriage in 600 years was performed in Boveney Parish, and that was the wedding of his youngest daughter; and built the first six villa residences in Boveney Parish'.

He was more than a little proud of his achievements (quoting from the newspaper in his Christmas cards), but such a recital hardly does justice to his energy and drive. Boveney was a divided parish. The old village was very small lying close to the river and on the other side of Dorney Common to the new (and rapidly growing) community of Boveney New Town. The impact of John Moore on the civic affairs of this quiet parish cannot have been anything but shattering and within a very few years the centre of local government had moved from the village to the new settlement over the border from Eton Wick. When parish councils were first instituted in 1894, the first chairman of Boveney's was indeed J W Moore and council meetings were held at the chapel for an annual rent of 10s. Moore's Lane is named after him.

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 20 September 2022


In 1695 Dr. Godolphin became Provost and Rector. He was noted for his liberality. The College owes to him the statue of the Founder which stands in the Schoolyard, and the parish is indebted to him, as the Table of Benefactors in the Church porch informs us, for having " built alms-houses at his sole expense, on ground held by lease under the Dean and Canons of Windsor, for the reception of ten poor women, to be appointed by the Provost of Eton." This has proved of great value to many a hard-working woman and secures a comfortable home and freedom from care in old age.

Part also of the property held by the Eton Poor Estate, viz, the close at Eton Wick called Wheat Butts, was purchased by the help of his gift of £50, added to a legacy left by Dr. Heaver, and other money.

It appears also that he subscribed £I,000 towards a fund for altering and re-arranging the Church, " so that the children of the Schole (the Eton boys we now call them) may appear under one view, and likewise that all the people of the parish may be so conveniently seated as to hear with ease all the public offices of the Church, which at present by reason of their number, and the ill disposition of the place, they cannot possibly do." The said alterations seem to have been effected with miserably bad taste, and most signs of them have long disappeared, but at any rate the intentions were good.

A few more particulars about the Eton Poor Estate may be of interest. This Trust seems to have been originated early in the seventeenth century with certain legacies, left for the benefit of the poor, by Fellows of the College. John Chambers left £40, Adam Robyns £20, Matthew Page £40, with which sums two houses were bought in Thames Street, Windsor, and are still the property of the Trust. In 1685 land was purchased at Langley Marish with £20 bequeathed by Robert Allestree, £20 by John Rosewell, and £50 by Mr. Searles.

Further additions were made to the Trust under the will of Dr. Heaver, who left £50 specially for the purpose of apprenticing boys, and Provost Godolphin added to this another £50. Out of this Trust, besides apprenticeships to boys, and clothes for girls entering service, a substantial sum is now contributed annually towards the maintenance of the District Nurse, and towards a few old-age pensions.

The generosity of the above benefactors encouraged others to follow in their steps, and these, although belonging to a somewhat later date, may be conveniently chronicled in this chapter. In 1729 a certain John Bateman left £100, to be spent in the purchase of lands or tenements for the benefit of the poor of Eton. This was carried out in 1733, and the rent is annually received by the overseers, and expended in March. By the will of Joseph Benwell, who died in 1773, £150 was left to the poor, to be disposed of at the discretion of the Baldwin Bridge Trustees. A little later, 1787, an old parishioner, Joseph Pote, who had taken great interest in the Trust and its records, left to the same trustees £50 to be put out to interest, and the proceeds distributed by equal portions in bread twice a year, on the first Sundays after the 29th of March and the 7th of November, " to each poor parishioner who shall attend divine service, if not disabled therefrom by distress, age or other incident." The will further directs " that on each of those days the tooth Psalm with the Gloria Patri be then sung by the congregation and poor attending this, as a thankful acknowledgment of peculiar instances of divine protection at those periods and other parts of my life."

For a long time the terms of the will were literally complied with, and the bread was brought to the Chapel for distribution. Since 1855 the Bridge Master has had the distribution carried out at the houses of the poor. 

At a later date still, in 1810, Provost Davies left £700 in 3 per cent reduced, for apprenticing two boys annually at £10 guineas each, and he also bequeathed £1000, the interest to be divided into four portions of £7 10s. and to be given yearly as pensions to two men and two women of sixty years of age. He further left £500, of which the interest was to be devoted to the almswomen.

All these gifts however were eclipsed by a bequest of greater importance still.

It is to Antoine Pyron du Martre, best known by his adopted name of Mark Anthony Porny, that the parish has most reason to be grateful. He was born at Caen in Normandy, and came from France in 1754 when a young man of twenty-three. After a severe struggle to maintain himself, he settled down as French Master in Eton in 1773, and occupied this position for thirty-three years.

It seems that, about 1790, steps were taken by Provost Roberts to establish a Charity and Sunday School for the children of the parish. A committee of twenty-two was appointed and subscriptions were collected, which enabled the good work to be carried on in a small way from year to year. This was the first attempt, since the College was founded, to give the children of the poor a religious and elementary education, and Mark Anthony Porny was much interested in it; but few knew how great his interest was, or anticipated his noble intentions.

It is, however, pleasant to learn that his worth of character was otherwise recognized, and that, towards the end of his life, he was appointed by George III. one of the Poor Knights of Windsor, and on his death in 1802 was buried on the south side of St. George's Chapel, where his grave is still to be seen with its Latin inscription.

By the hard work of teaching and writing school books, he managed to put by about £4000, and on his death it was found that " in gratitude for the little property he had acquired in this free and generous kingdom he had bequeathed the bulk of it upon trust unto the Treasurer of the Charity and Sunday School established in Eton in the County of Bucks, to be applied by the Trustees or Committee or by whatsoever name they may be designated for the time being, towards carrying out the laudable and useful designs of its institution." Mr. Charles Knight, Printer and Bookseller of New Windsor, was appointed his executor. There was some delay in carrying out this bequest, in consequence of a lawsuit instituted by some distant French relatives, and meantime the money was out at interest and had become worth £8,250. But at last the plaintiffs were defeated in their attempt to upset the will, and in 1813 steps were taken to build a Master and Mistress's house, now known as 129A and B High Street, with two schoolrooms behind which now serve as the Parish Room.1

The ideas of suitable school accommodation were much more limited than in these times, but, in the local press of the day, they are described as "neat and convenient buildings, in conformity with plans submitted to the Court of Chancery." They were built by contract for £1723 by Mr. Tebbott of Windsor.

The school was opened on April 26, 1813, the management of it being vested in the Provost and Fellows and eight other inhabitants of the parish, who were called Porny Trustees. After paying the cost of building, there still remained an endowment of £5200, the interest of which enabled the Porny Trustees to give a free education to ninety children. According to the old rules these scholars were elected from the Sunday schools, being the children of parishioners of Eton, born in wedlock, having been not less than one year in the Sunday school, and regular and punctual in their attendance.2

The Porny Trustees used to meet on the first Tuesday in each month except during the holidays. Every Porny scholar who reached the age of 14, and left school with a good character, received a Bible and Prayer Book.

The latter custom still survives, but in a later page some serious changes forced on the Trustees by altered circumstances will have to be recorded. 


1 A board bearing an inscription is still over the archway leading to the Parish Room.

2 The school hours in those days were in summer 8 to 12 and 2 to 5, in winter 9 to 12 and 1.30 to 4. On Sundays 8.30 a.m. and in the afternoon 2 to 5, or 6 in summer. 

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.

Wednesday 14 September 2022

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II


Courtesy of Rev La Stacey

The members of the Eton Wick History Group are deeply saddened by the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

As a mark of respect during this time of national mourning the September meeting has been postponed.

Monday 12 September 2022

From the Parish Magazine - Eton Wick History Group Meeting - The Canadian Red Cross Memorial Hospital

The Canadian Red Cross Memorial Hospital

Members of the Eton Wick History Group learnt that the person to go to for information on the Canadian Red Cross Memorial Hospital at Taplow is, without a doubt, Mrs. Jean Tyler (formerly Jean Ireland of Eton Wick).  She entertained the Group at their Meeting on the 17th of April, with fascinating facts and anecdotes relating to Cliveden and the history of the hospital: information which she had gleaned during the many years she had worked in its Photographic Department. Mrs. Tyler had been given the task of sorting out all the photographs held at the hospital, and she had brought to the meeting some display boards into which she had incorporated many of those interesting photographs, together with extracts from the 'Chronicles of Cliveden', and other memorabilia.

The History Group learned that the Cliveden House we know today was constructed in 1871, but that the Cliveden estate was in the Manor of Taplow before 1066, held by Earl Godwin, and that in 1660 the second Duke of Buckingham built the first house on that site - it burnt down and a new one was constructed in 1824 for Sir George Warrender only to be burnt down again just

twenty-four years later; and the next re-building was the Classic style house which stands today. The Astors, who were the last family to own Cliveden (they gave it to the National Trust in 1942), gave their tennis court and bowling alley for conversion into the hospital for Canadian soldiers during World War I; it catered for 100 patients at a time, and subsequently more space was made available when the Astors offered their Polo ground which meant they could accommodate 600 patients 24,000 patients were treated there throughout the First World War. At the end of the War most of the buildings were removed. However, under the same arrangement the hospital was rebuilt and re-equipped in 1940 and by the end of World War II it had cared for a further 25,068 patients. The Canadian people gave the hospital to Britain at the end of the War, and it became a national research centre for Rheumatism, particularly among children.

The hospital had its own school for the children, and they were also taught how to carry out certain tasks themselves, such as cooking and typing; a particular highlight for the children was the visit of the Canadian Mounties when in Windsor for the Horse Show. Many local ladies will remember the hospital as a maternity hospital - Mrs. Tyler quotes a figure of over 60,000 babies born there.

When the hospital finally closed in March 1985, the Maternity and research units were moved to Wexham; and a stained-glass window and alter rail from the Chapel went too. The site of the old hospital remains vacant planning applications for the construction of retirement homes were refused. Much of the foregoing information was also illustrated by photographic slides and Mrs. Tyler, ably assisted by her audience, identified many Eton Wick folk amongst the faces in the group photographs. 

The History Group very much enjoyed Mrs. Tyler's talk and the Group looked forward to its next meeting, on the 22nd of May 1996, when the Lock Keeper from Old Windsor talked about The History of The River Thames Middle Reaches. 

Monday 5 September 2022

Photographic History - Village Characters - The Hammertons

The Hammertons 

The Hammerton family at a village cricket match around 1909. Mr Hammerton stands behind his three daughters, and seated at the right-hand end are believed to be his sons George, Fred and Charles. The Cricket Club was founded in 1889 and played for many years on Eton Wick Great Common. This photograph was taken at the west end of the common near Sheepcote Road. 

Village Youths c1913/14 

This picture was probably taken in Inkerman Road and is one of the few photographs in the History Group's records with no definitive information. Most, if not all the youngsters would have served in the Great War. Tentative identifications suggest that the second from left, back row is Fred Hammerton (see family photo above) awarded the MM; third from the left is Ern Brown (killed at Passchendaele in 1917); the single lad in the cloth cap, standing is Norman Lane (R.F.C.); the sailor on the left is Roll Bond. and the one on the right Bill Wicks, both of whom saw service at sea with the Royal Navy. 

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