Monday 27 November 2023

Photographic History of Eton Wick and Eton - The Eton Wick Methodist Sisterhood

This photograph was taken c1960. Back row (heads only visible): Mrs Slaymaker, Mrs Gardner, Miss Majorie Morris, Mrs Lily Jacobs (probably) Third row: Mrs Sophie Chamberlain, Mrs Jacobs, Miss Mary Ayres, Mrs Brown, unidentified Second row: Mrs Harris, Mrs Woodley, Mrs Paice, unidentified. The child is believed to be A. Higgins, grandson of Mrs Woodley. Front row: Mrs G Kelly, Mrs Dobson. 

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

Monday 20 November 2023

Development of Eton Wick

Map of 1797
copied from The Story of a Village: Eton Wick 1217 - 1977
From its origins as a farming area of the Manor of Eton the earliest dwellings were built on the highest land north of the Great Eton Common. From the 14th century to the 18th century the six farmhouses continued that development. The 1797 map indicates houses on the southern side of Common Lane including the Three Horseshoes.

The first half of the 19th century brought further house building including the Parsonage, Bell Farm Cottages, Harding Cottages and Prospect Place. Most of these were rented to working class tenants. As the century progressed more houses were built some on the gardens of the cottages facing the Great Common. These included Hope Cottages, Palmers Place and others. 

The largest development began in 1880’s on some of the land of Bell Farm where Boveney Newtown grew with Alma, Inkerman and Northfield roads, and Moores Lane. The development was beyond the western edge of the Parish of Eton which at that time was Bell Lane. As recorded in the 1881 census when there were there household it grew and grew. By 1911 there were 125 households, two more than Eton Wick.


Ordnance Survey Map 1899 courtesy of National Library of Scotland

By 1899 there were two distinct communities with the land south of Alma Road and west of the Eton Parish mostly undeveloped. A few houses were on the south side of the Eton Wick Road including the Shepherds Hut and Victoria Road was outlined. The 1925 map shows further development south of Alma Road.


Ordnance Survey Map 1925 courtesy of National Library of Scotland

Ordnance Survey Map 1932 courtesy of National Library of Scotland

The inter war years saw some development south of Alma Road including a few houses in  Tilstone Avenue and Close.

Map showing rights under the Commons Registration Act of 1965 
copied from The Story of a Village: Eton Wick 1217 - 1977

This map indicates that there were six registered Commoners under the 1965 Act. These included Crown Farm, Dairy Farm, Little Common Farm, Manor Farm and Saddocks Farm.

Ordnance Survey Map 1968 courtesy of National Library of Scotland

The 1968 map reveal the limits of the village development with Haywards Mead, Princes Close, Queens Road and Cornwall Close filling the remaining available land on the south side of the Eton Wick Road. The final major development in the village was on the wheatbutts in the 1970's.


Ordnance Survey Map 2023 courtesy of National Library of Scotland

The latest OS map of 2023 show how the village development has been restrained by the Lammas Land and Commons. The number of households was also limited by the single road that restricts potential for evacuation in the case of flooding. The experience of the Thames floods of 2014 showed that the Jubilee River did protect the village. There has been more house building allowed including particularly in Princes Close, Queens Road and Victoria Road.

Enclosure Map courtesy of the Berkshire Records Office.

Both Slough to the north and Windsor to the south have both grown as enclosure acts were passed for the Manor of Upton cum Chalvey, 1819 and the Manor of Windsor Forest, 1817. If the 1826 Bill to enclose the Manor of Eton cum Stockdale and Colenorton had not been rejected Eton Wick would probably have become part of Slough.

Sunday 12 November 2023

Eton Wick Remembers the Fallen

East Face

Henry Ashman  1993  21/08/1915  Gallipoli
Cyril Ashman  746  26/10/1917  Passchendaele
George Baldwin  16671  24/04/1918  Amiens 
George Bolton  7993  24/09/1915  Loos
Alfred Brown  11811  31/07/1917  Ypres
Ernest Brown  T/202287  24/10/1917  Passchendaele
Angus Bruce  19160   27/03/1918  Arras
Thomas Bryant  9813  11/11/1914  Ypres
Fredrick Buckland  G/3615  17/12/1914  illness
Arthur Bunce  39794  17/07/1917  Ypres
Albert Caesar  12472  01/09/1914  Villers

Omar Brown  6912447  21/11/1941  Libya
Clifford Chew  116439  24/3/1945   Luxembourg
William Farmer  1603478  10/4/1944  United Kingdom

North Face

Frank Church  3760  19/07/1916  Somme
John Clark  630936  23/04/1917  Roeux
Fred Colbourn  185017  31/10/1918  illness
Horace Dobson  32908  15/07/1918  illness
Charles Godwin  2556  08/06/1918  Arras
Charles Hammerton  5335  09/10/1916  Somme
Henry Hill  K/18991  03/09/1917  Chatham air raid
Robert Hobrough  40782  30/09/1917  Passchendaele
Arthur Iremonger  7937  25/12/1915  Loos
Ernest Jordan  33180  20/08/1916  Iraq
Charles Miles  K/25314  09/07/1917  HMS Vanguard
Harry Quarterman  7570  30/10/1918  Asfold POW camp

John Flint  T/I27600  19/5/1943  Italy
William George  1529768  14/11/1942  Egypt
Richard Hood  5385945  13/5/1944  Italy
Thomas A McMurray  105151  17/6/1940  France

West Face

Henry Moss  M2/097873  21/10/1918  Roisel
James Newell  1232  11/04/1917  Arras
Joseph Newell  9534  24/05/1917  Turkey POW Camp
Walter Payne  12050  12/03/1916  Ploegsteert Woods
George Percy  34891  15/04/1918  Outtersteene Ridge
Herbert Pithers  24307  28/02/1917  Ancre
Arthur Richardson  10060  02/05/1915  Gallipoli
Joseph Springford  94017  15/02/1918  Passchendaele
Isaac Springford  197731  02/07/1918  Orpington
Albert Stallwood  4176  24/10/1918  Wassigny
Peter Knight  30958  26/10/1915  Aegean Sea

William Prior  5434  22/8/1947  England
William Pates  1152080  15/1/1943  France
Albert Prior  7689948  12/11/1943  Burma
George Prior  14603226  13/12/1947  England

This is an extract from Their Names Shall Be Carved in Stone  

and published here with grateful thanks to the author Frank Bond.

A. E. PRIOR - Corps of Military Police

Albert Edward Prior (Lance Corporal No. 7689948) Corps of Military Police

Albert was born on Boxing Day 1912. He had a younger brother Thomas, and two sisters named Annie and Joan. The family home was at 7, Bell Cottages, Alma Road, Boveney Newtown. As with the majority of Eton Wick lads, he attended the village infants school until he was seven years old, and on April 13th 1920 he registered at Eton Porny School where he continued his elementary education until he was 14. On leaving school he was apprenticed to Goddards of Eton as a carpenter and cabinet maker. Upon completion of his apprenticeship he was employed by Eton College as a qualified tradesman.

Albert liked football and competed in the boys' Easter Monday five-a-side competition for sons of Discharged Sailors and Soldiers of the Great War living in Eton Wick, Boveney or Dorney. There were two other Prior families living in Boveney Newtown and in South View. All were related and all had a strong affiliation with St. John the Baptist Church of Eton Wick. Albert, his brother Tom and their cousins all sang in the church choir, and his uncle served as the church verger for many years. Albert acquired his first motorcycle, an old A.J.S. machine which caused him constant and frustrating trouble with its kick-start. Later he changed the model for a more up to date Sunbeam and his troubles were over.

With the threat of war during the late 1930s he became an A.R.P. (Air Raid Precaution) warden, and was invited to take employment in an aircraft factory at Langley. Had he chosen to accept this change of employment his skills would certainly have ensured exemption from military service. As a result of working in Eton he met and married Dorothy in 1938. They settled into their smart new semi-detached house in Moores Lane and being close to Albert's family home in Alma Road they aptly name the house "Nearome".

The following summer saw the start of W.W.II. and Albert, now 27, was soon to be in uniform. His sister said he was loathe to take up arms with intent to kill, and if in fact this was so, it may explain his decision to join the Corps of Military Police. Previously his motor cycling had been very local, but now came a period when as a military policeman he was required to escort military convoys throughout the British Isles.

In January 1941 Dorothy gave Albert a baby son to think about, and the early days were anxious ones. Fortunately a supportive family was close by. Perhaps now Albert was wishing he had taken the job offered him at Langley. Twice he made very brief visits to his wife and baby son, Christopher, before making the last farewell for overseas service. It has not been satisfactorily established whether he went direct to the Far East, to India as his sister Joan has stated, or to the Middle East as his son thinks probable. The following year he sent a telegram postmarked from Sansorigine and dated January 14th 1942, briefly saying:


This was probably from a transit place in the Far East, for three weeks later Dorothy received another telegram, this time post marked from Singapore and dated February 9th 1942 saying:


There could not have been a worse time to arrive in Singapore, for just six days later General Percival surrendered the island garrison of 85,000 men to the advancing Japanese Army. They had infamously attacked the Americans at Pearl Harbour on December 7th 1941, entered Burma on the 11th December, taken Hong Kong on Christmas Day and Kuala Lumpur on January 10th. In theory at least, the swift Japanese advance had left them with an attacking force inadequate to conquer Singapore and the early surrender was never expected. The 85,000 prisoners of war were terribly misused and ill fed, with many thousands dying of disease, sickness and malnutrition. It was 15 months later that Dorothy received the first official information in a brief letter from the C.M.P. Record Office dated May 26th 1943, reporting Albert to be a P.O.W. in Japanese hands at Malai Camp. More than two years elapsed before she received a further notification dated October 25th 1945, reporting that he had died of colitis on November 12th 1943.

Albert Prior is buried in Thanbyuzayak Military Cemetery in Burma, 116 miles south east of Rangoon. The cemetery contains nearly 4,000 graves, which include 1,700 British, 1,350 Australian, 15 Indian, 80 Malayan and over 600 Dutch. Unlike most C.W.G.C. cemeteries the graves are marked by bronze plaques. Albert's grave is No. 4, Row D, Plot B.6. 

His widow Dorothy did not marry again. She continued to live in the home they had established together for the next 40 years before moving to the West Country to be near her son, Christopher. For many years she was a Sunday School teacher in Eton Wick. Albert is commemorated on the village memorial situated in front of the church, where he had sung as a choir boy and later as a man. His name is also on the memorial plaque attached to the Village Hall.

Albert Prior's page on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website.

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

Thursday 2 November 2023

The 18th Century Village of Eton Wick – Part Two - Life for Cottager's in the Wick

 18th Century Cottager in the Wick 

1797 Village map courtesy of Dr Judith Hunter's Story of a Village

The early years of the Century were hard for families getting their subsidence from the land and for those few families living in the Wick the daily toil brought its woes and ill health. Prey to diseases as smallpox, diphtheria, influenza, and tuberculosis to say nothing of accidents. There was also a high risk to women dying in childbirth. Cottages built in Eton Wick were timbered framed with infilling of brick and cob. The floors of stone slab or compacted earth covered with rush mats with an open wood burning fireplace and lighting by candle or perhaps an oil lamp provided warmth and lighting in the small dim rooms. 

Clothing was mainly home made by wives and daughters of the family and a variety of footwear such as leather boots, canvas shoes, wooden sandals and clog type shoes dependant on the family financial status was worn by those working on the land. 

The more successful farmer or small holder no doubt could afford to buy foot-ware but often for the poorer it would be hand me downs or go barefoot. 

With a water supply from well, pond or river health and cleanliness were two factors that suffered. Fleas and head lice were prevalent. The passing years brought slow improvement.

During the century to those living in Eton and Eton Wick, trade increased in Eton with new premises opening with tailors and dress makers, boot and shoemakers, together with other trades. These were family businesses where young people from Eton Wick found employment, and with the change in their financial fortune left the land to the more successful farmer. 

By the year 1830 there were approximately seventy professional business services and shops in the Eton High Street supplying local needs and hand made goods to the London shops. 

The increasing local trade and wealth gave rise to house building in Eton Wick as the century drew to its close continuing during the 19th and 20th centuries until all available land free of lammas rights or common land within the Wick had been taken for building. 

This was part of the script for a talk given by John Denham at a meet of the Windsor & District University of the Third Age in 2003.