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Full text of "Thames valley villages"


TH/IMES 
WLflGES 







* 

arces 





THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 
OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 



THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 



WORKS BY CHARLES G. HARPER 

The Portsmouth Road, and its Tributaries : To-day and in Days 

of Old. 

The Dover Road : Annals of an Ancient Turnpike. 
The Bath Road : History, Fashion, and Frivolity on an Old 

Highway. 

The Exeter Road : The Story of the West of England Highway. 
The Great North Road : The Old Mail Road to Scotland. Two 

Vols. 

The Norwich Road : An East Anglian Highway. 
The Holvhead Road: The Mail-Coach Road to Dublin. Two 
Vols. 

The Cambridge, Ely, and King's Lynn Road: The Great 

Fenland Highway. 

The Newmarket, Bur/, Thetfprd, and Cromer Road: Sport 

and History on an Kast Anglian Turnpike. 

The Oxford. Gloucester, and Milford Haven Road : The 

Ready Way to South Wales. Two Vols. 
The Brighton Road : Speed, Sport, and History on the Classic 

Highway. 
The Hastings Road and the " Happy Springs of Tunbridge." 

Cycle Rides Round London. 

A Practical Handbook of Drawing for Modern Methods of 

Reproduction. 
Stage Coach and Mail in Days of Yore. Two Vols. 

The IngOldsby Country : Literary Landmarks of " The Ingoldsby 
Legends." 

The Hardy Country : Literary Landmarks of the Wessex Novels. 

The Dorset Coast. 

The South Devon Coast. 

The Old Inns of Old England. Two Vols. 

Love in the Harbour : a Longshore Comedy. 

Rural Nooks Round London (Middlesex and Surrey). 

Haunted Houses ; Tales of the Supernatural. 

The Manchester and Glasgow Road. This way to Gretna 

Green. Two Vols. 

The North Devon Coast. 

Half-Hours with the Highwaymen. Two Vols. 

The Autocar Road Book. Four Vols. 

The Tower Of London: Fortress, Palace, and Prison. 

The Somerset Coast. 

The Smugglers : Picturesque Chapters in the Story of an Ancient 
Craft. 

The Cornish Coast. North. 
The Cornish Coast. South. 

The Kentish Coast. [In the Press. 

The Sussex Coast. (In Hit Press. 



THAMES VALLEY 
VILLAGES 



BY 



CHARLES G. HARPER 



VOL, II 



ILLUSTRATED FROM PHOTOGRAPHS "BY W. S. CAMPBELL 
AND FROM DRAWINGS "BY THE AUTHOR 




LONDON: CHAPMAN fc? HALL, LTD. 
1910 



PRINTED AND BOUND BY 

HAZELL, WATSON AND VINEY, LD., 

LONDON AND AYLESBURY. 




v, 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER I 

SONNING HURST, " IN THE COUNTY OF WILTS 
SHOTTESBROOKE WARGRAVE 



CHAPTER II 

HENLEY THE BRIDGE AND ITS KEYSTONE-MASKS 
REMENHAM HAMBLEDEN MEDMENHAM 
ABBEY AND THE " HELL FIRE CLUB " 
HURLEY BISHAM 25 

CHAPTER III 

GREAT MARLOW COOKHAM CLIVEDEN AND ITS 

OWNERS MAIDENHEAD 51 

CHAPTER IV 

BRAY AND ITS FAMOUS VICAR JESUS HOSPITAL . 69 

CHAPTER V 

t 

OCKWELLS MANOR-HOUSE DORNEY COURT Bov- 

ENEY BURNHAM ABBEY . 82 



872647 



viii CONTENTS 

CHAPTER VI 

PAGE 

CLEWER WINDSOR ETON AND ITS COLLEGIANS 
DATCHET LANGLEY AND THE KEDER- 
MINSTERS . .';.., 109 

CHAPTER VII 

DATCHET RUNNYMEDE WRAYSBURY HORTON 
AND ITS MILTON ASSOCIATIONS STAINES Moo.... 
STANWELL LALEHAM AND MATTHEW AR- 
NOLD LITTLETON CHERTSEY WEYBRIDGE 
SHEPPERTON 131 

CHAPTER VIII 

COWAY STAKES - - WALTON-ON-THAMES - - THE 
RIVER AND THE WATER COMPANIES SUNBURY 
TEDDINGTON TWICKENHAM . . .157 

CHAPTER IX 

PETERSHAM 185 

CHAPTER X 
ISLEWORTH BRENTFORD AND CAESAR'S CROSSING 

OF THE THAMES 211 

CHAPTER XI 

STRAND-ON-THE-GREEN - - KEW CHISWICK 

MORTLAKE BARNES 236 

CHAPTER XII 
PUTNEY FULHAM BRIDGE FULHAM . . . 258 

INDEX 293 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

JJP' 

SEPARATE PLATES 
BISHAM CHURCH Frontispiece 

PAGE 

SONNINO BRIDGE 5 

SHOTTESBBOOKE CHTTBCH 13 

WABQBAVE CHURCH 19 

UNDER THE WILLOWS : A BACKWATER NEAR WARGRAVE 23 
ARCH CARRYING THE ROAD, PARK PLACE . . .27 

REMENHAM CHURCH 27 

HENLEY-ON-THAMES 31 

REGATTA ISLAND 35 

MEDMENHAM ABBEY 39 

THE BELL INN, HURLEY . . . . .43 

BISHAM ABBEY ......... 47 

" TOP o' THE TOWN," GBEAT MABLOW .... 47 

A THAMES REGATTA 53 

COOKHAM LOCK 57 

COOKHAM CHURCH . . . . . . . .61 

BRAY CHURCH 61 

COOKHAM WEIR ......... 65 

LYCHGATE, BRAY .71 

JESUS HOSPITAL, BRAY 79 



x LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

PAGE 

THE HALL, OCKWELLS 83 

DORNEY CHURCH : THE MINSTREL-GALLERY ... 87 
THE PALMER SAMPLER, WORKED ABOUT 1620 . . .91 
DORNEY COURT ......... 95 

DORNEY COURT : THE GREAT HALL, SHOWING THE MODEL 

PINE-APPLE ......... 99 

PRESENTATION TO CHARLES THE SECOND OF THE FIRST PINE- 
APPLE GROWN IN ENGLAND 103 

BURNHAM ABBEY 107 

AN ENGLISH FARMYARD : BURNHAM ABBEY FARM . .111 
BOVENEY . . . . . . . . . .113 

THE KEDERMINSTER PEW: INTERIOR . . . .117 

THE KEDERMINSTER PEW : EXTERIOR . . . .121 

THE KEDERMINSTER LIBRARY . . . . . .125 

THE ALMSHOUSES, LANGLEY 129 

BACKWATER NEAR WRAYSBURY 133 

HORTON CHURCH 139 

LALEHAM CHURCH ........ 147 

MATTHEW ARNOLD'S GRAVE, LALEHAM .... 147 

LITTLETON CHURCH 151 

INTERIOR, LITTLETON CHURCH 155 

SHEPPERTON ......... 159 

GRAVE or THOMAS LOVE PEACOCK'S DAUGHTER, 

SHEPPERTON 163 

HALLIFORD 171 

WATERSPLASH NEAR HALLIFORD . . . . .171 

SUNBURY 175 

A BUSY DAY, MOLESEY LOCK 179 

TEDDINGTON WEIR 183 

TWICKENHAM CHURCH . . . . . . .187 

PETERSHAM POST-OFFICE . 187 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS xi 



PETERSHAM POST-OFFICE ....... 191 

PETERSHAM : THE " Fox AND DUCK," OLD LOCK-UP AND 

VILLAGE POUND . .195 

PETERSHAM, FROM THE MIDDLESEX SHORE . .199 

THE OLD LODGES OF PETERSHAM PARK . . . 203 

RIVER LANE, PETERSHAM .... . 207 

ISLEWORTH ...... 213 

THE DOCK AT ISLEWORTH ... ; 217 

THE " LONDON APPRENTICE," ISLEWORTH . . . 217 

" OLD ENGLAND " ........ 223 

" OLD ENGLAND " : MOUTH OF THE BRENT, AND BRENTFORD 

FERRY .......... 227 

STRAND-ON-THE-GREEN ....... 239 

STRAND-ON-THE-GREEN : VIEW UP-RIVER . . . 243 

CHISWICK CHURCH ........ 249 

MONUMENT TO VISCOUNT MORDAUNT, FULHAM CHURCH . 271 

THE TOWER, FULHAM CHURCH ....... 277 

THE FITZ JAMES COURTYARD, FULHAM PALACE . . .281 

THE GREAT HALL, FULHAM PALACE ..... 287 

ILLUSTRATIONS IN THE TEXT. 

Hour-Glass and Wrought-Iron Stand, Hurst ... 8 
St. Lawrence Waltham . . . . . . .11 

East Window, Shottesbrooke ...... 16 

Medmenham ......... 37 

From the Monument to Sir Myles Hobart, Great Marlow . 52 
Brass to an Eton Scholar, Wraysbury . . . .136 

Bradshaw's House, Walton-on-Thames . . . .165 

Brass to John Selwyn ........ 167 

Walton-on-Thames Church ....... 169 

Ferry Lane, Brentford ....... 233 

Tomb of Edward Rose, Barnes ...... 255 

The Old Toll-House, Barnes Common ..... 261 

VOL. II b 



THAMES VALLEY 
VILLAGES 

CHAPTER I 

SONNING HURST, " IN THE COUNTY OF WILTS " 
SHOTTESBROOKE WARGRAVE 

As Reading can by no means be styled a village, 
seeing that its population numbers over 72,000, 
the fact of its not being treated of in these pages 
will perhaps be excused. You cannot rusticate at 
Reading : the electric tramways, the great com- 
mercial premises, and the crowded state of its streets 
forbid ; but Reading, taken frankly as a town 
and a manufacturing town at that, is not at all a 
place for censure. The Kennet, however, that 
flows through it, has here become a very different 
Kennet from that which sparkles in the Berkshire 
meads between Hungerford and Kintbury, and has 
a very dubious and deterrent look where it is received 
into the Thames. 

The flat, open shores at Reading presently give 
place to the wooded banks approaching Sonning, 
where the fine trees of Holme Park are reflected in 
the waters of the lock the lock that was tended 
for many years, until his death, about 1889, by a 
lock-keeper who also kept bees, made beehives, 

VOL. II I 



2 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

and wrote poetry. Sonning, and its Thames-side 
" Parade," certainly invite to poetry. 

To say there is no Thames-side village prettier, 
or in any way more delightful, than Sonning is 
vague praise and also in some ways understates its 
peculiar attractiveness, which, strange to say, seems 
to increase, rather than decrease, with the years. 
It might have been expected that a village but three 
miles from the great and increasing town of Reading 
would suffer many indignities from that proximity, 
and would be infested with such flagrant nuisances 
as wayside advertisement-hoardings and street- 
loafers, but these manifestations of the Zeitgeist 
are, happily, entirely absent. 

Let us, however, halt for a moment to give a 
testimonial of character to Reading itself, which is 
far above the average of great towns in these and 
many other matters. Loafers and street-hoardings 
are found there, without doubt and can we find 
the modern town of its size where they are not ? 
but they do not obtrude ; and, in short, Reading 
is, with all its bustle of business, a likeable place. 

There are reasons for Sonning remaining un- 
spoiled. They are not altogether sufficient reasons, 
for they obtain in other once delightful villages 
similarly situated, which have unhappily been ravaged 
by modern progress ; but here they have by chance 
sufficed. They are found chiefly in the happy 
circumstances that Sonning lies three-quarters of a 
mile off the main-road off that Bath road, oh ! 
my brethren, that was once so delightful, with its 
memories of a bypast coaching-age ; and is now 



SONNING 3 

little better than a race-track for motor-cars, and, 
by reason of their steel-studded tyres, cursed with 
a bumpy surface full of pot-holes. Time was when 
the surface of the Bath road was perfection. Now- 
adays, no ingenuity of mortal road-surveyors can 
keep it in repair, for the suction of air caused by 
pneumatic tyres travelling at great speed tears out 
the binding material and leaves only loose grit and 
stones. The Bath road on a fine summer's day has 
become unendurable by reason of the dust raised 
in this manner. If you stand a distance away, in 
the fields, out of sight of the actual road, its course 
can yet be distinctly traced for a long way by the 
billows of dust, rising like smoke from it. 

Happily, motor-cars do but rarely come into 
Sonning, although at the turning out of the high 
road a prominent advertisement of the Bull, the 
White Hart, or the French Horn the three hostelries 
that Sonning can boast invites them hither. 

The other prominent reason for this village being 
allowed to remain quiet is found in the fact of Twy- 
ford, the nearest railway station, being two miles 
distant. 

There are many branching streams of the Thames 
here, and the hamlet of Sonning Eye, on the Ox- 
fordshire side, takes its name either from this abun- 
dance of water, or from the eyots, or islands, formed 
by these several channels, crossed by various bridges. 

Sonning Bridge par excellence is a severely un- 
ornamented structure of red brick, obviously built 
by the very least imaginative of architects, in the 
eighteenth century. If it were new it would be 



4 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

an offence, but there is now a mellowness of colour 
in that old red brick, embroidered richly as it is in 
green and gold by the lichens of nearly two cen- 
turies, that gives the old bridge a charm by no means 
inherent in its originator's design. 

Trees, great, noble, upstanding woodland trees, 
lovingly enclasp Sonning village and form a back- 
ground for its ancient cottages and fine old mansions, 
and against the dark green background of them you 
see on summer afternoons the blue smoke curling 
up lazily from rustic chimneys. In midst of this 
the embattled church-tower rises unobtrusively ; 
and indeed the church is so hidden, although it is a 
large church, that strangers are generally directed 
to find it by way of the Bull Inn : a rambling 
old hostelry occupying two sides of a square, and 
covered in summer with a mantle of roses and creepers. 
And it must, by the way, not be forgotten that 
Sonning in general displays a very wealth of flowers 
for the delight of the stranger. 

I would it were possible to be enthusiastic upon 
the church, but thorough " restoration," and a 
marvellously hideous monument to Thomas Rich, 
Alderman of Gloucester, 1613, and his son, Sir 
Thomas Rich, Bart., 1667, forbid. There are brasses 
on the floor of the nave, to Laurence Fyton, 1434, 
steward of the manor of Sonning, and to William 
Barber, 1549, bailiff of the same manor ; with others. 

Here, too, is a monument of Canon Pearson, 
vicar for over forty years, and reverently spoken of 
or is it the monument that is reverenced ? by the 
caretaker, I have sought greatly to discover some- 



SONNING 7 

thing by which the Canon's career may be illustrated 
in these pages, but, upon my soul, the most notable 
things available are precisely that he held this ex- 
cellent living for that long period, and that he some- 
times preached before Queen Victoria. These things 
do not in themselves form a title to reverence. 

Something of the distinct stateliness of Sonning 
is due to the fact that anciently the Bishops of 
Salisbury were owners of the manor, and before 
them the Bishops of the Saxon diocese of Dorchester. 
Their manor-house was in the time of Leland " a 
fair old house of stone by the Tamise ripe " ; but of 
this desirable residence nothing remains. The Dean- 
ery, too, has disappeared, but the fine old stone 
and brick enclosing -walls of its grounds remain, and 
there a picturesque modern residence has been built. 
Those walls, of an immense thickness and solidity, 
are indeed a sight to see, for the saxifrage and many 
beautiful flowering plants growing in and upon them. 

Sonning itself, being a place so delightful, invites 
those to whom locality has interest to explore into 
the country that lies in the rear of it. In a work 
styled Thames Valley Villages we may go very 
much where we please, and here the valley broadens 
out considerably, for it includes, and insensibly 
merges with, that of the river Loddon, which flows 
down quite a long way, even from the heights of 
northern Hampshire. The Loddon, the loveliest 
tributary of the Thames, flows into it by three 
mouths, from one mile to two miles and a half below 
Sonning, and its various loops and channels make 
the four-mile stretch of country in the rear a particu- 



8 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

larly moist and water-logged district. Here, cross- 
ing the dusty Bath road at Twyford, which takes its 
name from the ancient double ford of the Loddon at 
this point, the secluded village of Hurst may be found. 
Its name of " Hurst," i.e. a woodland, indicates its 
situation in what was once the widespreading Windsor 

Forest. The village lies 
along gravelly roads, scat- 
tered about fragments of 
village green^and a large 




C X_/N 



pond ; its church, hidden 
three-quarters of a mile 
away, forming, with a 
country inn and some old 
almshouses, a curiously 
isolated group. To see 
the interesting Norman 
and Early English church, 
with red-brick tower, dated 



HOUB-OLASS AND WBOUGHT-IKON -^o CrOWne d with 
STAND, HTJRST. 

cupola, is worth some 

effort ; for it contains a very handsome chancel- 
screen, probably placed here circa, 1500. The re- 
painting of it in 1876, under the direction of 
J. D. Sedding, the architect who then restored 
the church, is, if indeed in accordance with the 



HURST 9 

traces of the original decoration then found, cer- 
tainly more curious than beautiful ; but it should 
be seen, if only to show that our ancestors were, 
after all, not a little barbaric in their schemes of 
decoration. The hour-glass, with beautiful wrought- 
iron bracket dated 1636, should be noticed. Behind 
it, on the wall, is painted " As this Glasse runneth, 
so Man's Life passeth." A queer memorial brass 
to Alse Harison, representing the lady in a four- 
poster bed, is on the north wall. A large grey-and- 
white marble monument to others of the Harison 
family includes an epitaph on Philip Harison, who 
died in 1683. The sorrowing author of it ends 
ingeniously : 

" A double dissolution there appears, 
He into dust dissolves ; she into tears." 

Surely a mind capable of such ingenious imagery 
on such a subject cannot have been wholly downcast. 
The old almshouses by the church were founded, 
as appears on a tablet over the entrance, by one 
William Barker : 

This Hospitall for the 
Maintenance of eight poor persons, 
Each at 6d. pr diem for euer, was 
Erected and Founded in ye year 1664 
At the Sole Charge of 
WILLIAM BARKER 
of Hurst, in the County of 

Wilts, Esq. 

Who dyed ye 25th of March, 1685 
And lies buried in the South 

Chancell of this Parish. 



io THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

Note you that, gentle reader, " the county of 
Wilts," we being in the midst of Berkshire ? A 
considerable tract of surrounding country is in fact 
(or was until comparatively recent years) a detached 
portion of Wiltshire, and was invariably shown so 
on old maps. Examples of such isolated portions 
of counties, and even of detached fragments of 
parishes, are by no means rare : Worcestershire in 
England and Cromartyshire in Scotland, forming 
the most notable examples ; but the reasons for 
these things are obscure, and all attempts at ex- 
plaining tjiem amount to little more than the un- 
satisfying conclusion that they are thus because 
well, because they are, you know ! That is the net 
result of repeated discussions upon the subject in 
Notes and Queries, in which publication of wholly 
honorary and unpaid contributions the majority of 
noters, querists, and writers of replies have during 
the space of some sixty years past been engaged in 
chasing their own tails, like so many puppies. The 
process is amusing enough, but as you end where 
you began, the net result is no great catch. 

Apart from legends and traditions, it would 
seem that the explanation of the Berkshire districts 
of Hurst, Twyford, Ruscombe, Whistley Green, and 
a portion of Wokingham having been accounted in 
Wiltshire, may be found in the fact, akeady re- 
marked, that Sonning was a manor of the Bishops 
of Salisbury. The question appears to have been 
largely an ecclesiastical affair. The anomaly of a 
portion of Wiltshire being islanded in Berkshire 
was, however, ended by Acts of Parliament during 



ST. LAWRENCE WALTHAM n 

the reigns of William the Fourth and Queen Victoria, 
by which the area concerned was annexed to Berk- 
shire. 

Returning from Hurst to Twyford, expeditions 
to Ruscombe, St. Lawrence Waltham, and Shottes- 
brooke will amply repay the explorer in these wilds 
for wilds they are in the matter of perplexing roads. 
They are good roads, in so far that they are level, 




ST. LAWKENCE WALTHAM. 



but they would seem to have come into existence 
on no plan ; or, if plan there ever were, a malicious 
plan, intended to utterly confound and mislead 
the stranger. But this is no unpleasant district 
in which to wander awhile. 

Ruscombe is notable as the place where William 
Penn, founder of Pennsylvania, died, in 1718. Its 
church stands solitary in the meadows a red-brick, 
eighteenth-century building, as ruddy as a typical 
beef-eating and port-drinking farmer of Georgian 

VOL. II 2 



12 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

days. The neighbouring St. Lawrence Waltham is 
entirely delightful. The fine church tower of St. 
Lawrence, the ancient brick and plaster and timbered 
Bell Inn, and the old village pound, with an aged 
elm at each corner of it, composing a rarely-beautiful 
picture. 

The stone spire of Shottesbrooke church is seen, 
not far off, peering up from among the trees of 
Shottesbrooke Park, in which it is situated. When 
we see a stone church spire in Berkshire, where we 
do not commonly find ancient spires, we are apt to 
suspect at once a modern church, and our suspicions 
are generally well-founded ; but here is a remarkably 
fine Decorated building of the mid-fourteenth century 
(it was built 1337). It stands finely in a noble 
park for many years belonging to the Vansittart 
family, and has been well described as " a cathedral 
in miniature/' Its origin appears by tradition to 
have been due to the unexpected recovery of Sir 
William Trussell, the then owner of the estate, who 
had been brought to the verge of death by a long- 
continued course of drunkenness. He built it by 
way of thankoffering, and as he would seem to have 
been intemperate in all he did, he not only built this 
very large and noble church, but founded a college 
for five priests. This establishment went the way 
of all such things, hundreds of years ago, and the 
great building, standing solitary in the park, except 
for the vicarage and the manor-house, now astonishes 
the stranger at its loneliness. He wonders where 
the village is, and may well continue to wonder, 
for village there is none. 



SHOTTESBROOKE 15 

A versifier in the Ingoldsby manner narrates 
the building of it by Trussell : 

" An oath he sware 
To his lady fair, 
' By the cross on my shield, 
A church I'll build, 
And therefore the deuce a form 
Is so fit as a cruciform ; 
And the patron saint that I find the aptest 
Is that holiest water-saint John the Baptist.' ' 

A legend of the building of the spire tells how the 
architect, completing it by fixing the weathercock, 
called for wine to drink a health to the King, and, 
drinking, fell to the ground and was dashed to pieces. 
The only sound he uttered, says the legend, was 
" ! ! " and that exclamation was the sole in- 
scription carved upon his tomb, erected upon the 
spot where he fell. Many have been those pilgrims 
drawn to Shottesbrooke by this picturesque story, 
seeking that tomb. Tombstones of any kind are 
few in Shottesbrooke churchyard, and the only 
one that can possibly mark the architect's grave is 
a coped stone on which an expectant and confiding 
person may indeed faintly trace " 0, " ; but as 
the stone is probably not so old as the fourteenth 
century, and as it is extremely likely that an expectant 
person will, if in any way possible, find that which 
he expects, it would not be well to declare for the 
genuineness of it. But it is at any rate a very old 
and cracked and moss-grown stone. 

Of a bygone Vansittart, who filled this family 
living for forty-four years, we read some highly 



i6 



THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 



eulogistic things upon a monument near by. Born 
1779, he died 1847, " the faithful pastor of an attached 
flock. Meek, mild, benevolent. In domestic life 
tender, kind, considerate. In all relations revered, 
respected, beloved/' One is tempted to repeat the 
unfortunate architect's exclamation, " ! ! '' 

The church, serving no village, and standing in 
a park close by the noble country seat of the Van- 
sittarts, is for all practical pur- 
poses a manorial chapel. That 
it has long been used as such is 
very evident from the many 
tablets to Vansittarts which line 
its walls. The remains of the 
founder's tomb are seen in the 
north transept, in a long stretch 
of delicate arcading along the 
north wall, beautifully wrought 
in chalk. 

A singular effigy to William Throckmorton, 
Doctor of Laws, " warden of this church," who died 
in 1535, is on the north side of the chancel. It is 
of diminutive size, and is what archaeologists call 
an " interrupted effigy," showing only head and 
breast and feet, the middle being occupied by a 
brass with Latin inscription. 

There are several brasses in the church : the 
finest of them, a fourteenth-century example in the 
chancel, very deeply and beautifully cut, representing 
two men ; one with forked beard, a long gown 
and a sword ; the other an ecclesiastic. They stand 
side by side, and are reputed to represent the founder 




EAST WINDOW, 
SHOTTESBROOKE. 



THE PATRICK STREAM 17 

and his brother, but the inscription has been torn 
away, together with most of the canopy. 

A brass in the north transept to Richard Gill, 
Sergeant of the " Backhouse "i.e. the Bakehouse 
to Henry the Seventh and Henry the Eighth, de- 
scribes him as " Bailey of the Seaven Hundreds of 
Cookeham and Bray in the Forest Division." Near 
by is a brass to " Thomas Noke, who for his great 
Age and vertuous Lyfe was reverenced of all Men, 
and was commonly called Father Noke, created 
Esquire by King Henry the Eight. He was of 
Stature high and comly ; and for his excellency in 
Artilery made Yeoman of the Crowne of England 
which had in his Lyfe three Wives, and by every 
of them some Fruit and Off-spring, and deceased 
the 21 of August 1567 in the Yeare of his Age 87, 
leaving behind him Julyan his last Wife, two of 
his Brethren, one Sister, one only Son, and two 
Daughters living." 

Thomas Noke is represented with his three wives, 
while six daughters and four sons are grouped beneath. 

Returning through Twyford to Sonning, the 
outlet of the Loddon, 

" The Loddon slow, with verdant alders crowned," 

is found in that exquisite backwater, the Patrick 
Stream, where a picture of surpassing beauty is 
seen at every turn. By a long, winding course, 
fringed richly with rushes, and overhung with lovely 
trees, the Patrick Stream wanders through meadow 
lands and finally emerges into the Thames again, 
just below Shiplake Lock. By dint of making this 



i8 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

long but delightful detour, and thus avoiding Ship- 
lake Lock, it is possible to do the Thames Conservancy 
out of one of those many threepences for which it 
has so insatiable an appetite. 

Shiplake, on the Oxfordshire bank, is the place 
where Tennyson was married,^ but the church has 
been largely rebuilt since then. The windows are 
mostly filled with ancient glass brought from the 
abbey of St. Bertin, at St. Omer. Shiplake Mill, 
once a picturesque feature, is now, at this time of 
writing, a squalid heap of ruins. 

Wargrave, on the Berkshire side, is said to have 
once been a market-town, and it is now growing 
again so rapidly that a town it will soon be once 
more. Its houses crowd together on the banks, 
where the George and Dragon Inn stands, giving 
upon the slipway to the water : all looking out 
upon the spacious Oxfordshire meadows. The sign 
of the George and Dragon Inn a double-sided 
one painted by G. D. Leslie, K.A., and J. E. Hodg- 
son, K.A., in 1874, shows St. George on one side, 
as we are accustomed to see him on the reverse of 
coins, engaged in slaying the dragon ; and on the 
other, the monster duly slain, the saint is refreshing 
himself with a noble tankard of ale. 

Wargrave church has been restored extensively, 
and its tower is of red brick, and not ancient ; but 
it forms, for all that, a very charming picture. Here 
we may see a tablet to the memory of that remarkable 
prig, Thomas Day, the author of that egregious 
work for the manufacture of other prigs, Sandford 
and Merton. He was born about 1748, and died 



THOMAS DAY 21 

1789. Of his good and highly moral life there 
can be no doubt ; but moral philosophers are rarely 
personce gratce in a naughty and frivolous world. 
We fight shy of them, and of all instructive and 
improving persons, and make light of their works ; 
and if nowadays we read Sandford and Merton at 
all, it is for the purpose of extracting some satirical 
amusement from the pompous verbiage of the 
Reverend Mr. Barlow, and from the respective 
" wickedness " and goodness of Tommy and the 
exemplary Harry. 

Among Thomas Day's peculiar views was that 
by a proper method of education (i.e. a method 
invented by himself) there was scarcely anything 
that could not be accomplished. He certainly began 
courageously, about the age of twenty-one, by 
choosing two girls, each about twelve years of age, 
whom he proposed to educate after his formula, and 
then to marry the most suitable of them. He, 
however, did not carry this plan so far as the marrying 
of either. It is not clear whom we should congratu- 
late : the girls or their eccentric guardian, who at 
last met his death from the kick of a horse which 
resented the entirely novel philosophical principles 
on which he was training it. 

In the churchyard is the grave of Madame Tussaud, 
of the famous waxworks, and here lies Sir Morell 
Mackenzie, the surgeon who attended the Emperor 
Frederick. He died in 1892. Near by is a quite 
new columbarium for containing the ashes of 
cremated persons. 

A singular bequest left to Wargrave by one 



22 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

Mrs. Sarah Hill is that by which, every year at 
Easter, the sum of 1 is to be equally divided, in 
new crown pieces, between two boys and two girls, 
who qualify for this reward by conduct that must 
needs meet with the approval of all. The five- 
shilling pieces are not forthcoming unless the candi- 
dates are known never to have been undutiful to 
their parents, never to swear, never to tell untruths, 
or steal, break windows, or do " any kind of mis- 
chief." The good lady would appear either to have 
been bent upon finding the Perfectly Good Child, 
or to have been a saturnine humorist, with a cynical 
disbelief in these annual distributions ever being 
made. But they are made ; and we can only suppose 
that the vicar and churchwardens allow themselves 
just a little charitable latitude in the annual judging. 
And, you know, after all, is it worth while being 
so monumentally good for the poor reward of five 
shillings a year ? Consider how much delightful 
mischief you forgo. 

Hennerton backwater, below Wargrave, is another 
of the delightful side-streams that are plentiful here, 
and is now, after a good deal of litigation, pronounced 
free. The wooded road between Wargrave and 
Henley skirts it, and is carried over a lovely valley 
in the grounds of Park Place by a very fine arch of 
forty-three feet span, built of gigantic rough stones. 



Mmm 




UNDER THE WILLOWS : A BACKWATER NEAR WARGRAVE. 



CHAPTER II 

HENLEY THE BRIDGE AND ITS KEYSTONE-MASKS 
REMENHAM HAMBLEDEN MEDMENHAM ABBEY 
AND THE " HELL FIRE CLUB " HURLEY BISHAM 

PASSING Marsh Lock, the town of Henley comes 
into view, heralded by its tall church tower, with 
four equal-sized battlemented turrets ; a quite un- 
mistakable church tower. The noble five-arched 
stone bridge here crossing the Thames, built in 1789, 
at a cost of 10,000, is one of the most completely 
satisfactory along the whole course of the river. 
The keystone-masks of the central arch show sculp- 
tured faces representing Isis and Thames. Isis 
appropriately faces up-river, and Thames looks 
down-stream. These conventionalised heads of a 
river-god and goddess are really admirable examples 
of the sculptor's art. They adorn the title-pages 
of the present volumes, which display Isis with a 
woman's head, and Father Thames, bearded, with 
little fishes peeping out of the matted hair, and bul- 
rushes decoratively disposed about his temples. 
These masks were the work of that very accomplished 
lady, the Honourable Mrs. Anne Seymour Darner, 
who at the time when Henley bridge was a-building 
resided at Park Place. She was cousin to Horace 
Walpole, for whom she carved an eagle so exquisitely 

VOL. II 25 



26 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

that he wrote under it enthusiastic cousin as he 
was Non Praxiteles sed Anna Darner me fecit. One 
terrible thing, however, stamps the lady irrevocably 
as a gifted amateur : she gave' her work to the bridge 
authorities. Most reprehensible ! The recipients 
were duly grateful, as witness the Bridge Minutes. 
True, they do but acknowledge one mask : " May 6, 
1785. Ordered that the thanks of the Commissioners 
be given to the Honourable Mrs. Darner for the 
very elegant head of the River Thames which she 
has cut and presented to them for the Keystone of 
the centre arch of the bridge." 

This conventional head of Father Thames is 
that made familiar by the eighteenth-century poets, 
who personified everything possible. It is that 
Father Thames who 

" From his oozy bed 
. . . advanced his rev'rend head ; 
His tresses dropped with dews, and o'er the stream 
His shining horns diffused a golden gleam." 

Only, as we see, bulrushes here take the place of 
his " shining horns." The head of Isis was a portrait 
of Miss Freeman of Fawley Court. 

Henley is, of course, famed, above all else, for 
its Regatta, established as an annual event since 
1839, following upon an Oxford and Cambridge 
boat-race here in 1837. It is now pre-eminently 
the function of the river season, whether we consider 
it from the point of view of sport or fashion. Here 
every June the best oarsmanship in the world is 
displayed over this course of one-and-a-quarter 




ARCH CARRYING THE ROAD, PARK PLACE. 




REMENHAM CHURCH. 



HENLEY 29 

miles : indisputably the best for anything up to that 
distance, for the regatta is now attended by the 
best oarsmen of the New World as well as of the Old. 
The regatta is, from a social and hospitable point 
of view, very much what the Derby is among horse- 
races ; and the house-boat parties and riverside 
house-parties for the Henley Week dispense much 
hospitality and champagne. There is yet another 
side to the regatta : it is, almost equally with 
Ascot and Goodwood, recognised as an opportunity 
for the display of fine dresses. The Oxfordshire 
bank is at such times the most exclusive, and to 
the Berkshire shores are principally relegated the 
pushing, struggling crowds of humbler sportsmen 
and sightseers. But here, where every point is 
legally open to all, except where private lawns 
reach down to the river, the real exclusiveness of 
Goodwood or Ascot is, of course, impossible. Henley 
town is at such times anything but exclusive, and 
is thronged to excess. In these later times of motor- 
cars it is also apt to be a great deal more dusty 
than ever it used to be. To see Henley in Eegatta 
Week, and again Henley in any other week, affords 
an astonishing contrast ; for at all other times it 
is, as a town, among the dullest of the dull, and 
its broad High Street a synonym for emptiness. 

I do not propose in this place to enlarge further 
upon Henley, but to mention Henley at all and 
not its famous old coaching-inn by the bridge, the 
Ked Lion, has never yet been done ; and shall I 
be the first to make the omission ? No ! It is a 
famous old inn, and of enormous size. Every one 



30 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

knows it as the hostelry where Shenstone the poet, 
about 1750, scratched with a diamond upon a window 
the celebrated stanza about " the warmest welcome 
at an inn/' but that window-pane has long been 
lost ; and it is really doubtful if the inscription 
was not rather at another Henley : i.e. Henley-in- 
Arden. I have fully discussed that question else- 
where, 1 and so will not repeat it in this place. 

Mr. Ashby-Sterry is quite right in his description 
of the Bed Lion, standing red-brickily by the 
bridge : 

" 'Tis a finely-toned, picturesque, sunshiny place, 

Kecalling a dozen old stories ; 
With a rare British, good-natured, ruddy-hued face, 
Suggesting old wines and old Tories." 

Bemenham, a mile or so along the Berkshire 
shore, is typically Berkshire, but with a church still 
looking starkly new, as the result of !f thorough 
restoration " in 1870. Its semicircular apse, really 
ancient, does not look it. The tower is of the Henley 
type, though smaller. Henley church tower, in 
fact, seems to have set a local fashion in such, for 
that of Hambleden conforms to the same design. 
Begatta Island, with its effective temple, marks the 
old starting-point of the races. 

Hambleden is on the Buckinghamshire side ; a 
pretty village situated about one mile distant from 
the river along the lovely and retired valley of 
the Hamble. From it the widow of W. H. Smith, 
of the newspaper and library and bookstall business 

1 The Old Inns of Old England, vol. ii., pp. 299-303. 



W. H. SMITH 33 

of W. H. Smith & Son, and of Greenlands, near 
Henley, takes her title of Viscountess Hambleden. 
Liberal, Radical, and Separatist journals were never 
tired of satirically referring to W. H. Smith, when 
a member of a Unionist Government, as " Old 
Morality/' deriving that term from the stand he 
took in the House of Commons upon his " duty to 
Queen and country/' His idea of his duty in those 
respects was exactly that of an average responsible 
business man. He had no axe to grind, no job to 
perpetrate ; and that being so, the nickname of 
" Old Morality " was in effect a great deal more 
honourable than those satirists ever suspected. They, 
indeed, conferred upon him a brevet of which any one 
might well be proud, and incidentally covered them- 
selves with shame, as men to whom a sense of right- 
ness and of duty towards one's sovereign and one's 
native land was a subject for mirth. But of course 
these quips and cranks derived from the party 
notoriously friends of every country save their own. 
In the very much restored church of Hambleden, 
among various tombs, is one in the chancel to Henry, 
son of the second Lord Sandys, with a quaint in- 
scription, owning some nobility of thought : 



" Nature cryeth on me so sore, 

I cannot, Christ, be too fervent, 
Sith he is gone, I have no more, 

And yt, God, I am content. 
I believe in the Resurection of Life 

To see you again at the last day, 
And now, farewell, Elizabeth my wife, 

Teach mye children God to obey 



34 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

But now let us rejoyce in heart 

To trymphe never cease 
Sith in this life wee only part 

To Joyce agen in heavenly peace. 
Parted to God's mercy, 1540." 

The elaborate oak screen under the tower, carved 
with Kenascence designs, is said to have once been 
part of Cardinal Wolsey's bedstead. It bears the 
arms of Christ Church and of Corpus Christi, Oxford ; 
and those of Castile, with the rose badge of York. 

At some little distance downstream is Med- 
menham Abbey. The building, that looks so entirely 
reverend and worshipful from the opposite shore, 
is really, in the existing buildings, little enough 
of the original Abbey that was founded towards 
the close of the twelfth century by one Hugh de 
Bolebec. It was never very much of a place, and 
seems to have been something of a dependency of 
Bisham Abbey. Just prior to its suppression, Henry 
the Eighth's commissioners reported that it had 
merely two monks, with no servants, and little 
property, but no debts ; but, on the other hand, no 
goods worth more than 1 3s. 8d., " and the house 
wholly ruinous/' 

Nothing remains of whatever church there may 
have been, and the only ancient portions are some 
fragments of the Abbot's lodgings. The " ruined " 
tower, the cloisters, and much else are the work of 
those blasphemous " Franciscans " of the Hell Fire 
Club who, under the presidency of Francis Dashwood, 
Lord le Despencer, established themselves here 
about 1758. There were twelve of these reckless 



THE HELL-FIRE CLUB 



37 



" monks," who, having built the " cloisters/' reared 
the now ivy-mantled tower, and painted their li- 
centious motto, " Fay ce que voudras," over one of 
the doors, sat down to a series of orgies and 
debaucheries whose excesses have been perhaps ex- 
aggerated by the mystery with which these " monks 




MEDMENHAM. 



of Medmenham " chose to veil their doings. Among 
them were Bubb Dodington, Lord Melcombe, Sir 
John Dashwood King, John Wilkes,the poet Churchill, 
and Sir William Stanhope. Paul Whitehead was 
" secretary " to this precious gang of debauchees. 

Devil-worship was said to have been among the 
impious rites celebrated here ; and one of the party 
seems to have played a particularly horrifying 
practical joke upon his fellows during the progress 



38 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

of these celebrations. He procured an exceptionally 
large and hideous monkey and, dressing it in char- 
acter, let it down the chimney into the room among 
his friends, who fled in terror, and were for long 
afterwards convinced that their patron had really 
come for them. This incident is said to have broken 
up the fraternity. 

The explorer by Thames-side could, until quite 
recent years, do very much as he liked at Medmen- 
ham, and the more or less authentic ruins were 
open to him ; but now they are enclosed within the 
grounds of a private residence, and a hotel stands 
beside the ferry. The very small village at the 
back is to be noted for the highly picturesque group- 
ing of some ancient gabled houses (restored of late) 
with the little church and a remarkable hill crested 
by an old red-brick and flint house that looks as 
though it owned, or ought to own, some romantic 
story. The hilltop is said to be encircled with the 
remains of a prehistoric encampment. It is with 
sorrow that here also one notes the builder's pre- 
judicial activities. Directly in front of the church, 
and entirely blocking out the view of it, there has 
been built a recent red-brick villa, with the result 
that the effective composition illustrated here is 
almost wholly destroyed. 

The lovely grass-lands over against Medmenham 
are glorious in June, before the hay-harvest. One 
may walk by them, beside the river, all the way to 
Hurley. On the left, or Buckinghamshire, bank, 
the ground rises into chalk-cliffs, surmounted by 
the great unoccupied house of Danesfield, staringly 



HURLEY 41 

white, popularly said to contain as many windows 
as there are days in the year. This is the handiwork 
of Mr. R. W. Hudson, of " Hudson's Soap." 

Hurley, to which we now come, is a historic spot. 
Here, by the waterside, was founded in 1087, by 
Geoffrey de Mandeville, the Benedictine Priory of 
Our Lady of Hurley, which remained until 1535, 
when, in common with other religious houses, it 
was suppressed by Henry the Eighth. To the Love- 
lace family came the lands and buildings of this 
establishment, and here, on the site of it, Sir Richard 
Lovelace built, with " money gotten with Francis 
Drake/' a splendid mansion which he called Lady 
Place. His descendant, Richard, Lord Lovelace, 
was in 1688 one of the somewhat timorous nobles 
who met secretly to plot the deposition of James 
the Second. They had not the courage, these pusil- 
lanimous wretches, to take the field in arms, as Mon- 
mouth and his brave peasants had done, three years 
earlier, and must needs find cellars to grope in, and 
then invite over that cold, disliked Dutchman, 
William of Orange, to do for them what they dared 
not do for themselves. Macaulay, in his richly- 
picturesque language, refers to these meetings, but 
it will be observed that he calls those who met 
here " daring." They were anything but that. 

' This mansion," he says, " built by his ancestors 
out of the spoils of Spanish galleons from the Indies, 
rose on the ruins of a house of our Lady in this 
beautiful valley, through which the Thames, not 
yet defiled by the precincts of a great capital, rolls 
under woods of beech, and round the gentle hills 

VOL. II 4 



42 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

of Berks. Beneath the stately saloon, adorned by 
Italian pencils, was a subterranean vault, in which 
the bones of ancient monks had sometimes been 
found. In this dark chamber some zealous and 
daring opponents of the Government held many 
midnight conferences during that anxious time when 
England was impatiently expecting the Protestant 
wind." 

This Lady Place no longer exists, for the great 
house was demolished in 1836, and the house so- 
called is of modern build. But the old-time gardens 
remain, and the refectory ; and here is the old circu- 
lar pigeon-house, with the initials on it, " C.R.," 
and the date, 1642. 

A curious story tells how one of the last occupants 
of Lady Place was a brother of Admiral Kempenfelt, 
and that he and the Admiral planted two thorn- 
trees in the garden, in which he took great pride. 
One day, returning home, he found that the tree 
planted by the Admiral had withered away, and he 
exclaimed : "I feel sure this is an omen that my 
brother is dead." That evening, August 29, 1782, 
he received news of the loss of the Royal George. 

Hurley church is a long, low building, of nave 
without aisles, of Norman, or some say earlier, origin. 
" It was probably ravaged by the Danes towards 
the close of the ninth century," say the guide-books. 
This may have been so, but it could hardly have 
been worse ravaged by them than it was by those 
who " restored " it in 1852 " at a cost of 1,500," 
and incidentally also at the cost of all its real interest. 

The village of Hurley straggles a long way back 



BIS HAM 45 

from the river, in one scattered, disjointed line of 
cottages, past the picturesque old Bell Inn, 
apparently of fifteenth-century date, heavily framed 
with stout oaken timbers. 

Below Hurley, leaving behind the ancient red- 
brick piers of the old-world gardens of Lady Place, 
the river opens out to Mario w reach, with Bisham 
on the right hand, and the tall crocketed spire of 
Marlow church closing the distant view. 

" Bisham " is said to have been originally " Bustle- 
ham," but the present form will be preferred by 
every one. Strangers call it " Bish-am," but for 
the natives and the people of Marlow the only way 
is by the elision of the letter h " Bis-am " ; and 
thus shall you, being duly informed of this shibboleth, 
infallibly detect the stranger in these parts. 

Bisham village is quite invisible from the river, 
nor need we trouble to seek it, unless it be for climbing 
up into the lovely and precipitous Quarry Woods, 
in the rear. To those who knew Bisham when 
Fred Walker painted his delightful pictures, and 
among them, some studies of this village street, 
there comes, when they think of the Bisham that 
was and the Bisham that is, a fierce but impotent 
anger. The humble old red- brick cottages remain, 
it is true, and their gardens bloom as of yore, but 
what was once the sweet-smelling gravelly street 
is now a tarred abomination, smelling evilly, and 
wearing a squalid and disreputable look. This is 
the result of the coming of the motor-car, for Bisham 
is on the well-travelled road between High Wy- 
combe, Great Marlow, Twyford, and Eeading, and 



46 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

the village has now the unwelcome choice of two 
evils : to be half-choked with billows of dust, or 
to coat its roads with tar compositions. 

Of what was originally a Preceptory of the Knights 
Templars, and then an Augustine Priory, and finally 
a Benedictine Abbey, nothing is left but the Prior's 
lodgings, now the mansion of the Vansittart-Neales, 
called " the Abbey." The parish church stands 
finely by the waterside, encircled by the trees of 
the park, and there remains a monastic barn. Such 
are the few relics of the proud home of monks and 
priors, enriched during hundreds of years by the 
benefactions of the wicked, endeavouring by means 
of such gifts to atone sufficiently for their evil lives, 
and so escape the damnation that surely awaited 
them. 

Such complete destruction is melancholy indeed, 
when we consider the great historic personages who 
were buried here : among them the great Nevill, 
' Warwick the Kingmaker," slain at last in the 
course of his tortuous ambitions, in the Battle of 
Barnet, fought on Easter Day, 1471, and laid at 
Bisham, hard by his own manor of Marlow. 

When the Abbey was finally dissolved, it was 
granted by Henry the Eighth to Anne of Cleves, 
his divorced fourth wife, who exchanged it with 
the Hoby family for a property of theirs in Kent. 
Here the Princess Elizabeth was resident for three 
years, during the reign of her half-sister, Mary, 
really under surveillance ; and to that period the 
greater part of the " Abbey/' as we see it now, is 
to be referred. 




BISHAM ABBEY. 




" TOP O' THE TOWN," GREAT MARLOW. 



LADY HOBY 49 

Bisham Abbey is, of course, famed above all 
other things for the story of the wicked Lady Hoby, 
who so thrashed her son for spoiling his copy-books 
with blots that he died. A portrait of her, in the 
dress of a widow, is still in the house, and her ghost 
is yet said to haunt the place. 1 She was wife of 
Sir Thomas Hoby, Ambassador to France, who 
died in 1566, aged 36. The elaborate altar-tomb 
in Bisham church to him, and to his half-brother, 
Sir Philip, with effigies of the two knights, is worth 
seeing ; and the rhymed epitaph written by her 
worth reading. The early death of the Ambassador, 
in Paris, was not without suspicion of poison. The 
sculptured figures of hawks at the feet of the brothers 
are " hobby "-hawks, a punning allusion to the 
family name. 

Lady Hoby was a grief-stricken widow, and 
supplicated Heaven, rather quaintly, to " give me 
back my husband, Thomas," or that being beyond 
possibility, to " give me another like Thomas." 
She captured another, eight years later, when 
she married John, Lord Kussell ; but whether 
Heaven had thus given her one up to sample we 
are only left idly to conjecture. At any rate she 
outlived him too, by many years, and elected to be 
buried beside her Thomas. An elaborate monument 
to this fearsome lady discloses her in a wonderful 
coif, surmounted by a coronet. Before and behind 
her kneeling figure are the praying effigies of her 
children. It is recorded that she was particularly 
interested in mortuary observances, and that she 
1 More fully discussed in Haunted Houses, pp. 36-42. 



50 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

even found it possible to be absorbed, as she lay 
dying, at the age of 81, in her own funeral rites ; 
corresponding with Sir William Dethick as to pre- 
cisely the number of mourners and heralds that 
were her due. 

A little monument to two childern in Bisham 
church is the subject of a very old legend to the 
effect that Queen Elizabeth was their mother ! 
More scandal about Queen Elizabeth ! 

Bisham passed from the Hobys in 1768 to a family 
of Mills, who assumed the name ; but in 1780 it 
again changed hands and was sold to the Vansittarts, 
of whom Sir H. J. Vansittart-Neale is the present 
representative. The old belief in disaster befalling 
families who hold property taken from the Church 
has been curiously warranted here from time to 
time, in the untimely death of eldest sons or direct 
heirs, and here indeed, upon entering Bisham church, 
the stranger is startled by the white marble life-size 
effigy confronting him of a kneeling boy, in a Norfolk 
jacket-suit ; an inscription declaring it to represent 
George Kenneth Vansittart-Neale, who died in 1904, 
aged fourteen. 



CHAPTER III 

GREAT MARLOW COOKHAM CLIVEDEN AND ITS 
OWNERS MAIDENHEAD 

MARLOW town is well within sight from Bisham. It 
is very much more picturesque at a distance than 
it is found to be when arrived near at hand ; and 
the graceful stone spire of its church is found to be 
really a portion of a very clumsy would-be Gothic 
building erected in the Batty-Langley style, about 
1835. A fine old Norman and later building was 
destroyed to make way for this ; and now the present 
church is in course of being replaced, in sections, 
by another, as the funds to that end come in. An 
interesting monument in the draughty lobby of the 
present building commemorates Sir Myles Hobart, 
of Harleyford, who, when Member of Parliament 
for Marlow, in 1628, distinguished himself by his 
sturdy opposition to the King's illegal demands ; 
and with his own hands, on a memorable occasion, 
locked the door of the House of Commons, to secure 
the debate on tonnage and poundage from interrup- 
tion. For this he suffered three years' imprison- 
ment. 

The monument, shamefully " skied " on the 
wall of this lobby, was removed from the old church. 
Hobart met his death in 1652 by accident, the four 

51 



52 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

horses in his carriage running away down Holborn 
Hill, and upsetting it. A curious little sculpture 
on the lower part of the monument represents this 
happening, and shows one of the wheels broken. 
The monument is further interesting as having been 
erected by Parliament ; the first to be voted of 
any of a now lengthy series. 

In the vestry, leading out of this lobby, among 




FROM THE MONUMENT TO SIR MYLES HOBART, 
GREAT MARLOW. 

a number of old prints hung round the walls, is 
an old painting of a naked boy, with bow and arrow, 
his skin spotted all over, leopard-like, with brown 
spots. This represents the once-famous " Spotted 
Negro Boy," a supposed native of the Caribbean 
Islands, who formed a very attractive feature of 
Richardson's Show in the first decade of the nine- 
teenth century. We shall probably not be far wrong 







' 




SHELLEY AT MARLOW 55 

in suspecting Mr. William Richardson of a Barnum- 
like piece of showman humbug in putting this child 
forward as a " Negro Boy." The boy, one cannot 
help thinking, was sufficiently English, but was a 
freak, suffering from that dreadful skin disease, 
ichthyosis serpentina. He lies buried in the church- 
yard. 

There are a few literary associations in Marlow 
town, and by journeying from the riverside and 
along the lengthy High Street, to where that curious 
building, the old Crown Hotel, stands, facing 
down the long thoroughfare, you may come presently 
to the houses that enshrine them. Turning here 
to the left you are in West Street, otherwise the 
Henley road, and passing the oddly named " Quoiting 
Square," there in the quaintly pretty old Albion 
House next door to the old Grammar School, lived 
Shelley in 1817. A tablet on the coping, like a 
tombstone, records the fact. He divided his time 
between writing the Revolt of Islam, and in 
visiting the then degraded, poverty-stricken lower 
orders of the town and talking nonsense to them. 
As no report of his conversations survives, we can 
only wonder if they were as bad as the turgid non- 
sense of that poem. Does any one nowadays ever 
read the Revolt of Islam, or know why Islam 
did it, or if, in so doing, it succeeded ? In short, 
it will take a great deal of argument to convince 
the world that Shelley was not the Complete Prig 
of his age, and in truth the house is much 
more delightful and interesting for itself than for 
this association. In Shelley's time it was very 
VOL. ii 5 



56 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

much larger than now, and comprised the two or 
three other small houses which have been divided 
from it. 

At " Beechwood " lived Smedley, author of 
Frank Fairleigh and Valentine Vox, and on the 
Oxford road resided G. P. R. James, romantic 
novelist, whose romances were said, by the satirists 
of his methods, generally to commence with some 
such formula as 

" As the shades of evening were falling upon 
Deadman's Heath, three horsemen might have been 
observed," etc. 

Marlow Weir is, to oarsmen not intimately 
acquainted with this stretch of the river, the most 
dangerous on the Thames, so it behoves all to give 
the weir-stream a wide berth in setting out again 
from Marlow Bridge ; that suspension-bridge, built 
in 1831, which, like the neighbouring church, looks 
its best at a considerable distance. River-gossipers 
will never let die that old satirical query, " Who ate 
puppy-pie under Marlow Bridge ? " the taunt being 
directed, according to tradition, against the bargees 
of long ago, who, accustomed to raid the larder of 
a waterside hotel at Marlow, were punished ad- 
mirably by the landlord, who, having drowned a 
Utter of puppies, caused them to be baked in a 
large pie, and the pie to be placed where it could not 
fail to attract the attention of the raiders, who 
stole it, and consumed it with much satisfaction, 
under the bridge. 

Two miles below Marlow, past Spade Oak ferry, 
is Bourne End, on the Buckinghamshire side ; a 



FRED WALKER 59 

modern collection of villas clustered around a de- 
lightful backwater known as Abbotsbrook, and 
by the outlet of the river Wye the " bourne " 
which ends here and gives rise to the place-name. 
It comes down from Wycombe, to which also it 
gives a name, and Loudwater. 

Cookham now comes into view, on the Berkshire 
shore. Here the village is grouped around a village 
green ; rather a sophisticated green in these days, 
and combed down and brushed up smartly since 
those times when Fred Walker began his career. 
Then the geese and ducks roamed about that open 
space, and in the unspoiled village ; and old gaffers 
in smock-frocks and wonderful beaver-hats with 
naps on them as thick as Turkey carpets sat about 
on benches in front of old inns, and smoked extra- 
vagantly long churchwarden-pipes. The old gaffers 
have long since gone, and the Bel and the Dragon 
Inn has become a hotel, and Walker is dead and 
already an Old Master. You may see his grave in 
the churchyard, and read there how he died, aged 
thirty-five, in 1875. There is, in addition, a portrait- 
medallion within the church itself, which gives him 
a half-drunken, half-idiotic expression that one hopes 
did not really belong to him. 

Behind the organ a curious mural monument to 
Sir Isaac Pocock, Bart., dated 1810, represents 
the baronet " suddenly called from this world to a 
better state, whilst on the Thames near his own 
house." He is seen in a punt, being caught while 
falling by a personage intended to represent an 
angel, in tempestuous petticoats, while a puntsman 



60 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

engaged in poling the craft looks on, in very natural 
surprise. 

From Cookham, where the lock is set amid 
wooded scenery, the transition to Cliveden is easy. 

Clieveden, Cliefden, Cliveden you may suit in- 
dividual taste and fancy in the manner of spelling 
looks grandly from the Buckinghamshire heights 
down on to the Berkshire levels of Cookham and 
Ray Mead. Perhaps the most beautiful view of all 
is from Cookham Lock. Ray Mead, that was until 
twenty years ago just a mead a beautiful stretch 
of grass-meadows is now the name of a long line 
of villas with pretty frontages and gardens, but 
deplorable names" Frou-Frou," " Sans Souci," and 
the like and inhabited, often enough, as one might 
suppose by the Frou-frous of musical comedy and 
their admirers. 

Cliveden, sometime " bower of wanton Shrews- 
bury and of love," and now residence of the highly 
respectable and remarkably wealthy Mr. William 
Waldorf Astor, looks in lordly fashion upon such. 
With the proceeds of his New York rent-roll that 
Europeanised American in 1890 purchased the his- 
toric place from the first Duke of Westminster, and 
has resided here and at other of his English seats 
ever since. Those who are conversant with American 
newspapers are familiar with the scream every now 
and again raised against this and other examples 
of American money being taken and spent abroad. 
The spectacle of that bird of prey raging because 
of the dollars riven from it is amusing, but the 
situation may become internationally serious yet, 




COOKHAM CHUKOH. 




BRAY CHURCH. 



CLIVEDEN 63 

for when some great financial crisis arises in the 
United States and money is scarce, it is quite to 
be expected that the question of the absentee land- 
lords will become acute, and talk of super-taxing 
and expropriation be heard. I believe this parti- 
cular Astor is now a naturalised Englishman, and 
I don't suppose him to be the only one. Suppose, 
then, that the Government of the United States 
at some future time seized the property of such, 
how would the international situation shape ? 

Cliveden, when it was thus sold, had not been 
long in the hands of the Grosvenor family ; having 
been, a generation earlier, the property of the Duke 
of Sutherland, for whom the present Italianate man- 
sion was built by Sir Charles Barry in 1851, following 
upon a fire which had destroyed the older house, 
for the second time in the history of the place. The 
original fire was in 1795. In the mansion then 
destroyed the air of " Rule, Britannia," had first been 
played in 1740, as an incidental song in Thomson's 
masque of Alfred, the music composed by Dr. Arne. 

Boulter's Lock, the water-approach to Maiden- 
head, is the busiest lock on the Thames, and now 
busier on" Sundays than on any other day. How 
astonishingly times have changed on the river may 
be judged from an experience of the late Mr. Albert 
Ricardo, who died at the close of 1908, aged eighty- 
eight. He lived at Ray Mead all his long life, and 
was ever keen on boating. When he was a com- 
paratively young man, he brought his skiff round 
to the lock one Sunday. His was the only boat 
there, and he was addressed in no measured terms 



64 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

by a man who indignantly asked him if he knew 
what day it was, and telling him, in very plain 
language, his opinion of a person who used the 
river on Sunday. Since then a wave of High Church- 
ism and irreligion (the two things are really the 
same) has submerged the observance of the Sabbath, 
and aforetime respectable persons play golf on the 
Lord's Day. 

A quaint incident, one, doubtless, of many, 
comes to me here, in considering Boulter's Lock, 
out of the dim recesses of bygone reading. 

Says Mr. G. D. Leslie, R.A., in his entertaining 
book, Our River : "I came through the lock 
once simultaneously with H.R.H. the Duke of Cam- 
bridge. He was steering the boat he was in, and 
I am sorry to say I incurred his displeasure by 
accidentally touching his rudder with my punt's 
nose." 

Oh dear ! 

He does not tell us what H.R.H. said on this 
historic occasion ; but a knowledge of the Royal 
Duke's fiery temper and of his ready and picturesque 
way of expressing it leads the present writer to 
imagine that his remarks were of a nature likely to 
have been hurtful to the self-respect of the Royal 
Academician. But it is something is it not ? to 
be able to record, thus delicately, by implication, 
that one has been vigorously cursed by a Royal 
Duke. Not to all of us has come such an honour ! 

And now we come to Maidenhead town, a town 
of 12,980 persons, and yet a place that was, not 
so very long ago, merely in the parishes of Cookham 



MAIDENHEAD 67 

and Bray. (It was created a separate civil parish 
only in 1894.) Its growth, originally due to its 
situation on that old coaching highway, the Bath 
road (which is here carried across the river by that 
fine stone structure, Maidenhead Bridge, built in 
1772, to replace an ancient building of timber), has 
been further brought about by the modern vogue 
of the river, and by the convenience of a railway 
station close at hand. 

" Maidenhead " is, according to some views, 
the " mydden hythe," the " middle wharf " between 
Windsor and Marlow. Camden assures us that 
the name derived from " St. Ursula/' one of the 
eleven thousand virgins murdered at Cologne. But 
St. Ursula and the eleven thousand maiden martyrs, 
who are said to have been shot to death with arrows, 
A.D. 451, are as entirely mythical as Sarah Gamp's 
" Mrs. Harris." 

But there is plenty choice in the origin of this 
place-name. There are those who plump for " magh- 
dun-hythe," the wharf under the great hill (of Clive- 
den). The place is found under quite another 
name in Domesday Book. There it is " Elenstone," 
or "Ellington." It is first styled " Maydehuth " 
in 1248 ; and it has been thought that the name 
is equivalent to " new wharf " ; the wharf, or its 
successor, mentioned by Leland in 1538 as the 
" grete warfeage of tymbre and fierwood." 

We need not, perhaps, expend further space 
upon the town of Maidenhead, for it is almost entirely 
modern. Its fine stone bridge has already been 
mentioned, and another, and a very different, type 



68 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

of bridge, a quarter of a mile below it, now demands 
attention. 

Maidenhead Kailway Bridge, completed in 1839, 
one of those greatly daring works for which the 
Great Western Railway's original engineer, Isambard 
Kingdom Brunei, was famous, is the astonishment 
of all who behold it. Crossing the river in two 
spans, each of 128 feet, the great elliptical brick 
arches are the largest brickwork arches in the world, 
and of such flatness that it seems scarcely possible 
they can sustain their own weight, even without 
the heavy burden of trains running across. Maiden- 
head Railway Bridge astonishes me infinitely more 
than the great bridge across the Forth, or any other 
engineering feats. Yet sixty years have passed, 
and the bridge not only stands as firmly as ever, 
but nowadays sustains the weight of trains and 
engines more than twice as heavy as those originally 
in vogue. Moreover, in the doubling of the line, 
found necessary in 1892, the confidence of the Com- 
pany was shown by their building an exact replica 
of Brunei's existing bridge, side by side with it. 
Yet the original contractor had been so alarmed that 
he earnestly begged Brunei to allow him to relinquish 
the contract, and although the engineer proved to 
him, scientifically, that it must stand, he went in 
fear that when the wooden centreing was removed 
the arches would collapse. A great storm actually 
blew down the centreing before it was proposed to 
remove it, but the bridge stood, and has stood ever 
since, quite safely. It cost, in 1839, 37,000 to build. 



CHAPTER IV 

BRAY AND ITS FAMOUS VICAR JESUS HOSPITAL 

BEYOND this astonishing achievement comes the 
delightful village of Bray, whose name is thought 
to be a corruption of Bibracte, an obscure Roman 
station. Bray is scenically associated with the 
eight or are they ten ? tall poplars that stand in 
a formal row, all of one size, and each equidistant 
from the other, and form a prominent feature in the 
view as you approach, upstream or down ; and 
with the weird shapes of the eel-bucks that occupy 
a position by the Berkshire bank. Composing a 
pretty view with them comes the square, embattled 
church-tower, together with some feathery water- 
side trees and always those stark sentinel poplars 
in the background. You see them from almost 
every quarter, a long way off ; and even from the 
railway, as the Great Western trains sweep on- 
wards, towards Maidenhead Bridge, they come 
rushing into sight, and you say and you observe 
that the glances of other passengers say also 
" There's Bray ! " 

Bray is, of course traditionally, the home of 
that famous accommodating vicar who, reproached 
with his readiness to change his principles, replied : 

VOL. II 69 6 



70 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

" Not so ; my principle is unaltered : to live and 
die Vicar of Bray." 

Every one knows the rollicking song that sets 
forth, with a musical economy of some five notes, 
the determination of that notorious person, despite 
all changes and chances, to keep his comfortable 
living, but not every one knows the facts about him 
and that familiar ballad. 

Fuller says : " He had seen some martyrs burnt 
(two miles off) at Windsor, and found this fire too 
hot for his tender temper " ; and further says, 
respecting his guiding principle in life to remain 
Vicar of Bray " Such are many nowadays, who, 
though they cannot turn the wind, will turn their 
mills and set them so that wheresoever it bloweth, 
their grist shall certainly be grinded." 

The reputation of being that vicar has been 
flung upon Simon Alleyn, or Aleyn, which were, 
no doubt, the contemporary ways of trying to spell 
" Allen," who appears to have derived from a family 
settled at Stevenage, Hertfordshire, and, graduating 
at Oxford in 1539, to have been instituted to the 
living of Bray in 1551, upon the death of William 
Staverton, vicar before him. Two years later he 
became also vicar of Cookham. In 1559 he was 
made Canon of Windsor, and held all three offices 
until his death in June 1565. 

If we inquire into the history of Church and 
State between 1551 and 1565, we shall not find 
that the period covered by those fifteen years was 
remarkable for so many great religious changes. 
The changes were great, indeed, but not numerous. 




LYCHGATE, BRAY. 



THE VICAR OF BRAY 73 

Edward the Sixth was living, and the Keformed 
Church established, when Aleyn first became vicar, 
who, when the young King died and the reactionary 
reign of Mary began, doubtless " became a Koman " ; 
but there is no doubt that many others did the like 
at that time. 

When Queen Mary died, in 1558, Aleyn naturally 
conformed to the Protestant religion, then re-estab- 
lished : and, as we see, died comparatively early 
in the reign of Elizabeth, while that religion was 
yet undisputed. There was thus, supposing him 
to have been originally instituted as a Protestant, 
only one violation of conscience necessary to his 
retaining his post : a small matter ! As he could 
scarcely have been more than about twenty years of 
age when he graduated, it is seen at once that when 
he died, in 1565, he was comparatively young 
some forty-six years of age. By his will, he directed 
that he should be buried in St. George's Chapel, 
Windsor ; and as there is no reason to suppose 
that his wishes in that respect were wantonly dis- 
regarded, it follows that the small monumental 
brass, now without an inscription, here, in the church 
of Bray, cannot mark his resting-place. It has, 
indeed, been identified as to the memory of Thomas 
Little, his successor, who died so soon afterwards as 
1567. 

The injustice, therefore, done to Simon Aleyn 
by identifying him with the song, the " Vicar of 
Bray/' is obvious ; for there were very many men, 
born at an earlier date than he, and living to a much 
greater age, who certainly did change their official 



74 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

beliefs, for professional purposes, several times, 
between 1534, when the Reformation was accom- 
plished, and the reign of Elizabeth. There would 
have been more scope for such a tergiversating 
person in the reigns of Charles the Second, James 
the Second, William the Third, Queen Anne, and 
George the First in all of which it would have been 
easily possible for a not very long-lived clergyman 
to flourish than in Aleyn's time ; and the ballad 
in its present form distinctly specifies that period, 
long after Aleyn was dead. But the ascription to 
Bray at all can clearly be proved a late one, for 
the original words, traced back to 1712, when one 
Edward Ward published a collection of miscellaneous 
works in prose and verse, make no mention of any 
particular place. The verses, eighteen in number, 
are there entitled, " The Religious Turncoat ; or, 
the Trimming Parson." Among them we find a 
reference to the troubles under Charles the First, 
by which it appears that the trimmer's constitutional, 
as well as religious, opinions were moderated according 
to circumstances : 

" I lov'd no King in Forty-one, 
When Prelacy went down, 
A cloak and band I then put on 
And preached against the Crown. 

When Charles returned into the land, 

The English Crown's supporter, 
I shifted off my cloak and band, 

And then became a courtier. 
When Royal James began his reign, 

And Mass was used in common, 



THE VICAR OF BRAY 75 

I shifted off my Faith again, 
And then became a Roman. 

To teach my flock I never missed, 

Kings were by God appointed ; 
And they are damned who dare resist 

Or touch the Lord's anointed." 

The familiar refrain was, of course, added later : 

" And this is law, I will maintain, 

Until my dying day, sir, 
That, whatsoever King shall reign, 
I'll be the Vicar of Bray, sir." 

The air to which the song is set is equally old, 
but originally belonged to quite another set of 
verses, called ' The Country Garden." It was, 
later, used with the words of a ballad known as 
' The Neglected Tar " ; but it certainly appeared 
set to the words of " The Vicar of Bray " in 1778, 
when it was published in The Vocal Magazine. 

Who, then, was he who first associated Bray 
with the song, and with what warrant ? and by 
what evidence did Fuller advance his statement 
that Aleyn was the man ? The question may well 
be asked, but no reply need be expected. 

It may be worth while in this place to give 
another, and perhaps an even better, version of the 
famous ballad, which gives the Vicar a run from 
the time of Charles the Second to that of George 
the First ; thirty years, at least : 

" In good King Charles's golden days, 

When loyalty had no harm in't, 
A zealous High Churchman I was, 
And so I got preferment. 



76 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

To teach my flock I never miss'd, 
Kings were by God appointed, 

And they are damned who dare resist, 
Or touch the Lord's anointed. 

When Koyal James obtained the throne, 

And Popery grew in fashion, 
The penal laws I hooted down, 

And read the Declaration. 
The Church of Home I found would fit 

Full well my constitution, 
And I had been a Jesuit. 

But for the Kevolution. 

When William, our deliverer, came 

To heal the nation's grievance, 
Then I turned cat-in-pan again, 

And swore to him allegiance. 
Old principles I did revoke, 

Set conscience at a distance ; 
Passive resistance was a joke, 

A jest was non-resistance. 

When glorious Anne became our Queen, 

The Church of England's glory, 
Another face of things was seen, 

And I became a Tory ; 
Occasional conformists' case 

I damned such moderation, 
And thought the Church in danger was 

By such prevarication. 

When George in pudding-time came o'er, 

And moderate men looked big, sir, 
My principles I changed once more, 

And so became a Whig, sir, 
And thus preferment I procured 

From our Faith's great Defender, 
And almost every day abjured 

The Pope and the Pretender. 



ANOTHER VICAR 77 

The illustrious House of Hanover, 

And Protestant Succession, 
By these I lustily will swear, 

While they can keep possession, 
For in my faith and loyalty 

I never once will falter, 
But George my King shall ever be 

Until the times do alter." 



Another vicar of Bray distinguished himself 
in rather a sorry fashion, according to legend, in 
the time of James the First. He was dining with 
his curate at the Greyhound, or, by another 
account, the Bear, at Maidenhead, when there 
burst in upon them a hungry sportsman, who ex- 
pressed a wish to join them at table. The vicar 
agreed, but with a bad grace, but the curate made 
him welcome, and entertained him well in conversa- 
tion. When the time came to pay, the vicar let it 
be seen that, so far as he was concerned, the stranger 
should settle for his share, but the curate declared 
he could permit no such thing, and paid the sports- 
man's score out of his own scanty pocket. Presently, 
as they stood taking the air at the window, other 
sportsmen came cantering along the street, and 
seeing the first, halted, and one, dismounting, dropped 
upon one knee, and uncovered. It was the King. 

The vicar, too late, apologised, but the King, 
turning to him, said : " Have no fear. You shall 
always be vicar of Bray, but your curate I will 
set over you, and make him Canon of Windsor." 

One of the queerest and quaintest of entrances 
conducts to the church, beneath a picturesque old 



78 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

timbered house : charming on both fronts, each 
greatly differing from the other. There are as 
many as eight brasses in the church, a fine Early 
English and Decorated building, somewhat over- 
scraped and renewed in restoration. An early 
seventeenth-century brass has some delightful lines : 

" When Oxford gave thee two degrees in Art, 
And Love possessed thee, Master of my Heart, 
Thy Colledge Fellowshipp thow leftst for mine, 
And novght but death covld seprate me fro thine." 

This is without a name, but has been identified 
as to the memory of Little, Aleyn's successor. 

Not so delightful are the self-sufficing lines upon 
William Goddard, founder of the neighbouring alms- 
houses. Let us hope that, although couched in the 
first person, he did not write them himself : 

" If what I was, thov seekst to knowe 
Theis lynes my character shal showe, 
These benifitts that God me lent 
With thanks I tooke and freely spent. 
I scorned what playnesse covld not gett, 
And next to treason hated debt. 
I lovd not those that stird vp strife 
Trve to my freinde, and to my wife. 1 
The latter here by me I have. 
We had one Bed and have one grave. 
My honesty was such that 1 
When death came, feared not to dye." 

In the churchyard lies John Payne Collier, the 
Shakespearean critic, who died in 1883. His funeral 
was the occasion of a curious mistake in The Standard, 

1 But that's of course, surely. 




JESUS HOSPITAL, BRAY. 



JESUS HOSPITAL 81 

of September 21. The newspaper correspondent 
had written : 

' The remains of the late Mr. John Payne Collier 
were interred yesterday in Bray churchyard, near 
Maidenhead, in the presence of a large number of 
spectators." 

This became, at the hands of the sub-editor, who 
had never heard of Collier, ''' The Bray Colliery 
Disaster. The remains of the late John Payne, 
collier," etc. 

Jesus Hospital, founded in the seventeenth century 
by William Goddard, of the City of London, fish- 
monger, and Joyce, his wife, for the housing and 
maintenance of forty poor persons, faces the road 
outside the village, on the way to Windsor. Fred 
Walker, in his most famous picture, The Harbour of 
Refuge, exhibited at the Royal Academy, 1872, took 
the beautiful courtyard of the Hospital for his 
subject, but those who are familiar with that lovely 
painting, now in the National Gallery, will feel a 
keen disappointment when they find here the original, 
for the artist added a noble group of statuary to 
the courtyard which does not, in fact, exist here, 
and has generally added details which make an 
already beautiful place still more lovely than it is. 

The courtyard is, indeed, in summer a mass of 
beautiful homely flowers, and all the year round 
the noble frontage that looks upon the dusty high- 
road is inspiring. From an alcove over the entrance 
the statue of William Goddard, in cloak and ruff, 
looks down gravely upon wayfarers. 



VOL. 



CHAPTER V 

OCK WELLS MANOR-HOUSE DORNEY COURT BOVENY 
BURNHAM ABBEY 

IN a remote situation, two miles from Bray Wick, 
and not to be found marked on many maps, is 
situated the ancient manor-house of Ockwells. The 
hills and dales on the way to it are of a Devonshire 
richness of wooded beauty. The manor was, in 
fact, originally that of " Ockholt/' that is to say, 
" Oak Wood/' and oaks are still plenteously repre- 
sented. Ockholt, as it was then, was granted in 
1267 to one Richard de Norreys, styled in the grant 
" cook " in the household of Eleanor of Provence, 
Queen of Henry the Third. In respect of his manor, 
Richard de Norreys paid forty shillings per annum, 
quit rent ; but there is nothing to show what his 
house was like, the existing range of buildings dating 
from the time of John Norreys, first Usher of the 
Chamber to Henry the Sixth, Squire of the Body, 
Master of the Wardrobe, and otherwise a man of 
many important offices, eventually knighted for his 
services. He died in 1467. His grandson was that 
Sir Henry Norreys who was, with others, executed 
in 1536, on what appears to have been a false charge 
of unduly familiar relations with Anne Boleyn. 
His body rests in the Tower of London, where he 

82 




THE HALL, OCKWELLS. 



OCKWELLS 85 

met his untimely end, but his head was claimed by 
his relatives, and buried in the private chapel of 
Ockwells. The chapel has long since disappeared. 
The son of this unfortunate man became Baron 
Norreys of Kycote, and the family thence rose to 
further honours and riches and left Ockwells for 
even finer seats. It then came into the hands of 
the Fettiplaces, and thence changed ownership many 
times, exactly as old Fuller says of other lands in 
this county : " The lands of Berkshire are skittish, 
and apt to cast their owners." The old mansion 
finally came down to the condition of a farmhouse, 
and so remained until some fifty years ago, when it 
was restored and made once more a residence. Since 
then it has again been carefully overhauled, and is 
now a wonderfully well-preserved example of a brick- 
and timber-framed manor-house of the fifteenth 
century. Oak framing enters largely into the con- 
struction, for this was pre-eminently a timber dis- 
trict ; and massive doors, much panelling, and 
even window mullions in oak testify alike to the 
abundance of that building-material, and to its lasting 
qualities, far superior, strange though it may seem 
to say so, to stone. Even such exceptionally ex- 
posed woodwork as the highly enriched barge- 
boards to the gables is still in excellent preservation. 
With age they have taken on a lovely silver-grey 
tone, not unlike that of weathered stone itself. 
In the Great Hall the heraldic glass yet remains, 
almost perfect, its colours rich and jewel-like, with 
the oft-repeated Norreys motto, " Faythfully serve." 
It is somewhat singular that another exception- 



86 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

ally interesting old manor-house of like type with 
that of Ockwells should be found within three miles, 
This is the beautiful residence of Dorney Court, on 
the opposite side of the river, in Buckinghamshire. 
The village of Dorney lies in a very out-of-the-way 
situation, and in fact, although the distance from 
Ockwells is so inconsiderable, the route by which 
you get to it makes it appear more than twice that 
length. The readiest way is through Maidenhead, 
and over the bridge to Taplow railway station, and 
thence along the Bath road in the direction of Lon- 
don for over a mile, when a sign-post will be noticed 
directing to Dorney on the right hand. 

The village is small and scattered, consisting of 
the Palmer Arms, some cottages and farmsteads ; 
and the little parish church stands in an obscure 
byway, divided from Dorney Court only by a narrow 
lane leading nowhither. The church has ever been, 
and may still be considered, a mere appendage of 
the Court, as a manorial chapel. Its red-brick 
tower, apparently of early seventeenth-century date, 
is added to the west end of a quite humble building, 
the greatly altered survival of an early Norman 
structure, whose former existence may easily be de- 
duced from the remains of a small, very plain window 
built up in the south wall of the chancel with later 
work in chalk. Entering by a brick archway in 
the south porch, you find yourself in one of those 
little rural churches of small pretensions which in 
their humble way capture the affections much more 
surely than do many buildings of more aspiring kind, 
It is a church merely of aisleless nave and chancel, 



DORNEY 80 

with a chapel the Garrard Chapel thrown out 
on the north side. A great deal of remodelling appears 
to have taken place in the early part of the seven- 
teenth century, for not only is there the western 
tower of that period, and the south porch, but the 
interior was evidently plastered and refitted with 
pews at the same time. A very quaint and charming 
western gallery in oak would seem to fix the exact 
date of these works, for it bears the inscription in fine, 
boldly cut letters and figures, " Henry Felo, 1634." 
That date marked a new era at Dorney, for the 
Garrards, who had for some time past owned the 
Manor, ended with the death of Sir William Garrard 
in 1607. His monument and that of his wife and 
their fifteen children is in the north chapel, and is 
a strikingly good example of the taste of that period 
in monumental art, with kneeling effigies of Sir 
William and his wife facing one another, and the 
fifteen children beneath, in two rows the boys on 
one side, the girls on the other. The mortality among 
this family would seem to have been very great, for 
about 1620 Sir James Palmer, afterwards Chancellor 
of the Garter, married Martha, the sole survivor and 
heiress, and thus brought Dorney into the Palmer 
family, in whose hands it still remains. The Pal- 
mers themselves were of Wingham, in Kent, and of 
Angmering and Parham, Sussex, and have numbered 
many distinguished and remarkable men. Tradition 
declares them to be of Danish or Viking origin, 
while a very curious and interesting old illuminated 
genealogy preserved at Dorney declares that the 
family name originated in the ancient days of pil- 



90 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

grimage, when the original Palmer " went a-palmer- 
ing." If that were indeed the case, the old heraldic 
coat of the house might be expected to exhibit an 
allusive scallop-shell. But we find no badge of the 
pilgrim/s way-wending on their heraldic shield, 
which bears instead two fesses charged with three 
trefoils ; a greyhound courant in chief. The crest 
is a demi-panther argent, generally represented " re- 
gardant " spotted azure, with fire issuant from mouth 
and ears. This terrific beast is shown holding a holly- 
branch. An odd, but scarcely convincing attempt 
to account for the greyhound declares it to be " in 
remembrance, perchance, of their pilgrimage, a dog, 
that faithful and familiar creature, being a pilgrim/s 
usual companion." 

A remarkably large and interesting sampler, 
worked probably about 1625, has recently come to 
Dorney under rather curious circumstances. It 
appears to have been sold so long ago that its very 
existence was unknown, and it only came to the 
knowledge of the present representative of the 
Palmers through a photographic reproduction pub- 
lished in an illustrated paper, illustrating the stock 
of a dealer in antiques. It was readily identified as 
an old family possession by reason of the many 
Palmer shields of arms worked into it. On inquiry 
being made, a disappointment was experienced. 
It was found that the sampler had been sold ; but 
in the end the purchaser, seeing that its proper 
place was in its old home, with much good feeling 
resold it to Major Palmer. 

This beautiful piece of needlework, done in col- 



AN INTERESTING SAMPLER 93 

oured silks, has the unusual feature of presenting, 
as it were, a kind of Palmer portrait-gallery of that 
period. In the midst is a shield of the Palmer arms 
impaling those of Shurley of Isfield, Sussex. This 
identifies that particular Palmer as Sir Thomas, of 
Wingham, the second Baronet, who married Elizabeth, 
daughter and heiress of Sir John Shurley, and suc- 
ceeded his grandfather in the title 1625. That 
baronetcy became extinct in 1838. 

There are eight needlework portraits of men in 
this sampler, obviously Palmers, since each holds a 
shield of the family arms ; and evidently portraits, 
because each one is clearly distinguished from the 
others in age, costume, and features, and the first 
is easily to be identified by the wounded right arm 
he bears in a sling. Among those other quaintly 
attired men, who yet are made to seem so very real to 
us, one notices a figure with a tilting-lance, another, 
in the lower range, holding a weapon probably in- 
tended to represent the axe carried by the honour- 
able corps of gentlemen pensioners in attendance 
upon the Sovereign ; while the last carries a bunch 
of keys, in allusion to some official position. The 
sampler appears to have been carried out of the Palmer 
family by the marriages in the eighteenth century 
of the two daughters and heiresses of a Sir Thomas 
Palmer with an Earl of Winchilsea and his brother. 

But to revert to the figure with the wounded 
arm. This personage was Sir Henry Palmer, Knight, 
second of the famous triplet sons of Sir Edward 
Palmer, of the Angmering family, who were born in 
1487, according to tradition, on three successive 



94 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

Sundays. This remarkable parturition is still 
famous at Angmering, where the rustics readily point 
out the identical house, now divided into cottages, 
near the Decoy. It was this Henry who established 
the Wingham line that ascended from knighthood 
to a baronetcy and became extinct in 1838, having 
in the meanwhile thrown off a branch now represented 
at Dorney. Let us take the triplet brothers in their 
proper sequence. John, the eldest, who inherited 
Angmering, came to a bad end. He was much at 
the dangerous Court of Henry the Eighth, and was 
particularly intimate with that monarch, not only 
playing cards continually with him, but always 
winning. A careful courtier in those times did well 
to lose occasionally. It was not well to be always 
winning from the Eighth Henry, and that fierce 
Tudor did in fact hang him on some pretext. 

Henry Palmer, the second brother, was a dis- 
tinguished soldier, and Master of the Ordnance. 
He received a shot-wound in the arm at Guisnes, 
of which he eventually died, at Wingham, in 1559. 
The sampler clearly shows this wounded soldier, 
with his arm bound up, and supporting himself 
with a stick. The third brother, Thomas, died on 
Tower Hill, by the headsman's axe, as an adherent 
of the Lady Jane Grey. He suffered with the Duke 
of Northumberland and Sir John Gates, and chroni- 
clers tell how the unhappy trio quarrelled to the 
last as to whose was the responsibility for the 
failure of that rising. But Palmer made the boldest 
exit of all, declaring with his last breath on the scaffold 
that he died a Protestant. 



DORNEY COURT 97 

Sir James Palmer, Chancellor of the Garter, who 
married the heiress of Sir William Garrard, and thus 
founded the Palmer family of Dorney, was a younger 
son of the Wingham Palmers. He died in 1657, and 
was succeeded by his son, Sir Roger, created Earl 
of Castlemaine, who died 1705, without acknow- 
ledged children, and left the property to his nephew, 
Charles, from whom the present family are descended. 

Dorney Court is a picturesque mansion, chiefly 
of the period of Henry the Seventh. It was once 
much larger, as appears from old drawings preserved 
in the house, in which it is shown as groups of build- 
ings surrounding two large courts and one smaller. 
The construction is largely of oak framing filled with 
brick nogging, disposed sometimes in herring-bone 
fashion, and in other places in ordinary courses. 
There are no elaborate and beautiful verge-boards 
to the gables, such as those extremely fine examples 
seen at Ockwells, but, if a distinction may be drawn 
between the two houses, Dorney Court is especially 
attractive in the fine pictures it gives from almost 
every point of view. It forms a strikingly pictur- 
esque composition seen from the north-east, a group- 
ing in which the great gable of the entrance-front 
and its two remarkable flaunting chimneys come 
well with the three equal-sized gables of the north 
front, the church-tower rising in its proper associa- 
tion in the background, emphasising the ancient 
manorial connection. 

A good deal of work has recently been under- 
taken, in the direction of correcting the tasteless 
alterations made at some time in the eighteenth 

VOL. II 8 



98 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

century, when sashed windows here and there re- 
placed the original leaded lights. The plan adopted 
has been that of acquiring such old oak timbering 
as could be picked up from houses demolished in 
neighbourhoods near and far, and of setting it up in 
the reconstructed doors and windows. If it may be 
permitted to speak of the interior, it can at any rate 
be well said that it does by no means belie the ex- 
terior view. The panelled and raftered rooms are in 
thorough keeping, and the hall, neglected for genera- 
tions, has been brought back to something of its 
ancient appearance. From those walls the panelling 
had disappeared, but it has now been replaced with 
some genuine old work of the same period, acquired 
by fortunate chance at Faversham in Kent, from 
an old mansion in course of demolition. The hall 
greatly resembles that of Ockwells ; but whatever 
heraldic glass may have been here has long vanished, 
leaving no trace. Here, among the many family 
portraits, hangs a fine example of a helmet brought 
from the church, an unusually good piece of funeral 
armour, removed from the church to prevent its rust- 
ing away. The family portraits include some Lelys, 
Knellers, and Jamesons, and a number of early- 
eighteenth-century pastel portraits, many of them 
displaying a facial characteristic of the Palmers, 
constant through the successive generations : that 
of a somewhat unusually long nose. 

It is one of the greatest charms of our long- 
settled English social order, that we have in this 
England of ours a not inconsiderable number of 
ancient homes that have been " home " to one 




H 

B 

S 

< 

w . 

M 



B I 
I 

M g 



J I 

a 



w e 

B? 

o V 

"* 
a s 



THE DORNEY PINEAPPLE 101 

family throughout the changes and chances of cen- 
turies, and in Dorney Court we see such a house. 
Here, on the old woodwork, are painted the heraldic 
shields of the Palmers, with their greyhound courant 
conspicuous, and the devices of the families with 
whom they have intermarried. 

An interesting incident in fruit-growing history 
belonging to Dorney Court is alluded to in the model 
on a gigantic scale of a pineapple, shown in the hall. 
It recalls the fact that the first pineapple grown in 
England was produced here in the reign of Charles 
the Second by the Dorney Court gardener. A panel- 
picture at Ham House, the seat of the Earl of Dysart, 
near Richmond, illustrates this first English-grown 
pineapple being presented to the King in the gardens 
of either Ham or Hampton Court, by Rose, the royal 
gardener. The rendering of the architecture in the 
picture makes it uncertain which of the two places is 
intended. It will be observed by the illustration 
that there has been a great improvement in the art 
of growing hot-house pineapples since that time, for 
it is a very small specimen that is being offered to 
the King. 

Foremost among the thirty or more portraits at 
Dorney are the two large Lelys hanging in the hall, 
representing Roger Palmer, Baron Limerick, and 
Earl of Castlemaine, and his wife Barbara, the beau- 
tiful and notorious Barbara Villiers. They are half- 
lengths. She is curiously shown, holding what looks 
like the model of a church-steeple in her left hand. 
Lely intended it for a castle, and thus is seen to be 
guilty of painting an Anglo-French pun ; " Castle- 



102 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

main." The beautiful Barbara is better known in 
history as " Barbara Villiers," her maiden name, 
and by the title of Duchess of Cleveland. Born in 
1641, she married Palmer in 1659. He was shortly 
afterwards raised to the peerage. There were no 
children of this marriage, for it was very shortly after- 
wards that Lady Castlemaine began that extra- 
ordinary career of vice which has made her name 
eminent among even the notorious beauties of 
Charles the Second's scandalous Court. The first 
of her seven children was a daughter, Anne, born in 
May 1661, and at first acknowledged by Palmer, 
although Lady Castlemaine had undoubtedly been 
mistress of Charles the Second since May 1660. There 
are three portraits of Anne Palmer, or Anne Palmer 
Fitzroy, as she was afterwards known, at Dorney, 
the earliest of them exhibiting a romantic hilly 
landscape for background, with a beacon or fire- 
cresset along the winding road, such as were placed 
on the more obscure ways in those times for the 
guidance of travellers. She married in 1675 Thomas 
Lennard, Lord Dacre and Earl of Sussex. 

Castlemaine, shortly after the birth of this putative 
daughter, became a pervert to the Roman Catholic 
religion, and his wife, seizing upon this as a pretext, 
finally left him and lived openly as the King's mistress. 
Several of her children were acknowledged by Charles, 
and two of them were created dukes, her second 
son, Henry Fitzroy, becoming Duke of Grafton, her 
third, George, Duke of Northumberland. She was, 
with an astounding display of cynical humour, in 
1670 created Baroness Nonsuch, " in consideration 




PRESENTATION TO CHARLES THE SECOND OF THE FIRST 
PINE-APPLE GROWN IN ENGLAND. 

From the painting at Ham House. 



BURNHA?' ABBEY 105 

of her own personal virtues," and Duchess of Cleve- 
land ; and as Duke of Cleveland her eldest son suc- 
ceeded her. Thus, with Barbara, with Nell Gwynne, 
and others, Charles the Second abundantly recruited 
the ducal order and other ranks of the peerage ; thus 
giving point to the Duke of Buckingham's joke. The 
King had been addressed at Court as the " father of 
his people." 

"Of a good many of them," observed Bucking- 
ham behind his hand. 

The Earl of Castlemaine lived to see a good many 
changes. It was not necessary in those times to 
live to a great age to witness many revolutions and 
counter-revolutions. He was committed to the 
Tower shortly after the accession of William the 
Third, and remained a prisoner there from February 
1689 until February 10, 1690. He died in 1705. 

A little to the north of Dorney, between it and 
the Bath road, are the remains of Burnham Abbey, 
a house for Benedictine nuns founded in 1265 by 
Richard, Earl of Cornwall, and titular King of the 
Romans, brother of Edward the Third. There were 
an abbess and nine nuns when the establishment 
was surrendered to Henry the Eighth's Commis- 
sioners. The ruins are now amid the rickyards and 
agricultural setting of the Abbey Farm, and although 
the church has wholly disappeared, the remains of 
the chapter-house and the domestic buildings form 
an exquisite picture, untouched by any busybodying 
" tidying-up " activities. The seeker after the pic- 
turesque, who finds historical evidences destroyed by 
well-meaning " restorers " ; the artist, who generally 



io6 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

discovers the artistic negligence of his foregrounds 
abolished in favour of neatly kept flower-beds and 
gravel paths and the feeling of ruin and decay thus 
utterly disregarded, will be rejoiced here, and will 
find the ruins still put to farming uses, just as Girtin 
and Turner and the other roaming artists of a hundred 
years ago were accustomed to find the castles and 
abbeys of their day. There is more pure aesthetic 
delight in such scenes as this, left in their natural 
decay and put to the uses to which they in the logical 
order of things descended, than in the same place 
swept and garnished to be made a show. The Lady 
Chapel and the refectory are stables, where the cart- 
horses shelter and form a picture so exactly like 
Morland's stable interiors that the place might well 
have been a model for him. Every detail is complete 
in the Morland way, even to the old stable-lantern 
hanging on a post. Much of the ruined buildings 
is of the Early English period, and the horses 
come and go through pointed doorways. Gracious 
trees richly surround and overhang the scene. 



CHAPTER VI 

CLEWER WINDSOR ETON AND ITS COLLEGIANS 
DATCHET LANGLEY AND THE KEDERMINSTERS 

BETWEEN Dorney and Eton stretches an out-of-the- 
way corner of land devoted chiefly to potato-fields 
and allotments bordering the river. Here stands 
Boveney church, or " Buvveney," as it is locally 
styled, a small building so altered at different periods 
as to be quite without interest. The river glides 
past, between the alders, that dark, strong current 
the subject of allusion by Praed in his " School and 
Schoolfellows " : 

" Kind Mater smiles again to me, 
As bright as when we parted ; 
I seem again the frank, the free, 

Stout-limbed and simple-hearted : 
Pursuing every idle dream, 

And shunning every warning ; 
With no hard work but Boveney stream, 
No chill except Long Morning." 

A circle of tall elms closely surrounding the church 
casts a perpetual shade upon the building ; Windsor 
Castle looking down from the opposite shore in feudal 
majesty upon it and the humble activities of these 
level fields. 

That majestic pile indeed overlooks some remark- 
log 



no THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

ably mean surroundings which on close acquaintance 
derogate strangely from its dignity. Thus, resuming 
the road on the Berkshire side, from Bray to Windsor, 
the long, straight, uninteresting miles lead directly 
to Clewer, a village of disreputable appearance, now, 
to all intents, a Windsor slum ; and what was a rustic 
churchyard has become something more in the like- 
ness of a cemetery. In the roads, strewn with rub- 
bish and broken glass, dirty children play. 

Besides an inscription to ' ye vertuous Mrs. 
Lucie Hobson, 1657," who was, we learn, " a treu 
lover of a Godly and a Powerful ministry " i.e. pro- 
bably of a preacher who could bang the pulpit and 
punish the cushions there is little of interest in 
Clewer church, with the one exception of a curious 
little brass plate, inscribed, 

" He that liethe vnder this stone 
Shott with a hvndred men him selfe alone. 
This is trew that I doe saye 
The matche was shott in ovld felde at Bray. 
I will tell yov before yov go hence 
That his name was Martine Expence." 

Local history tells us nothing of this hero, who ap- 
parently did not really shoot himself, as the inscrip- 
tion states, but seems at some period to have won a 
particularly hard archery contest, which was ever 
after his title to fame in this locality. 

From Glewer the pilgrim of the roads mounts 
into Windsor by way of grim and grimy slums, and 
therefore those who would come to Windsor had by 
far the better do so by water, from which the slums 



"THE COBBLER" 115 

look picturesque. The view of Windsor, indeed, 
from the windings of the Thames (Windsor is the 
Saxon " Windlesora," the winding shore) is one of 
the half-dozen most supremely grand and beautiful 
views in England. 

Of Windsor, in Berkshire, and Eton, in Bucks, 
joined by a bridge that here spans the Thames, I 
here propose to say little or nothing. To treat of them 
at all would, within the scope of this book, be inade- 
quate, and to deal with them according to their 
importance would demand a separate volume. More- 
over, to write of them with an airy assurance requires 
not a little expert local knowledge of the kind to 
be expected only of those who have made them 
places of long residence or study. 

There was once a man who falsely claimed to have 
been educated at Eton, and was stumped first ball. 
They asked him if he knew the Cobbler. ' Yes/' 
he said, " I know the old fellow very well/' Is it 
an unconscious invention of my very own, or did 
he further proceed to say that he had often helped 
the old fellow when he was in low water ? At any 
rate, 'twill serve ; and will doubtless divert those 
who know the " old fellow " in question, whom no one 
could aid under those circumstances, except perhaps 
the Clerk of the Weather and the lock-keepers 
above and below, who, between them, might serve him 
sufficiently well. Not to further mystify readers 
overseas, who know not Eton, let it at once be said 
that the " Cobbler " is an island; and that the 
famous person who claimed to have known him 
must be placed in association with the pretended 

VOL. II 9 



u6 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

traveller who knew the Dardanelles intimately, had 
dined with them often, and had found them jolly 
good fellows. 

Eton has for centuries been the public school of 
all others, where the sons of landed and of moneyed 
men have been educated into the belief that they 
and theirs stand for England, whereas, if it were not 
for the great optimistic, cheerfully hard-working 
middle-class folk, who found businesses, and employ 
the lower orders on the one hand, while on the other 
they pay rents to the landowing and governing classes, 
there would not be any England for them to misgovern, 
you know. 

Eton is now so crowded with the sons of wealthy 
foreigners and German and other Jews, learning 
to be Englishmen (if that be in any way possible) , that 
it is now something of a distinction not to have 
been educated there, nor to have learned the " Eton 
slouch," nor the charming Eton belief that the 
alumni brought up under " her Henry's holy shade " 
are thus fitted by Heaven and opportunity, working 
in unison, to rule the nation. It is a belief somewhat 
rudely treated in this, our day, when the world is 
no longer necessarily the oyster of the eldest sons 
of peers and landowners. And in these times, 
when it is said that Eton boys funk one another and 
fights under the wall are more or less " low," it is no 
longer possible that Etonians shall have the leader- 
ship in future stricken fields leadership in finance, 
possibly, seeing how Semitic this once purely English 
foundation is becoming ; but in leadership when the 
giving and receiving of hard knocks is toward ; no ! 




THE KEDERMINSTER PEW : INTERIOR. 



LANGLEY MARISH 119 

I would, however, this were the worst that is said 
of Eton College in these degenerate times. That 
it is not, The Eton College Chronicle itself bears 
witness. Attention is there called to a custom of 
" ragging " shops, now become prevalent among 
the young gentlemen. This, we learn, is carried to 
such an extent that they will pocket articles found 
lying about and walk off with them, " for fun." 
One of the most " humorous " of these incidents 
was the disappearance of cricket balls to the value 
of nearly 1. The assistants at the shop where this 
mysterious disappearance occurred had to make 
good the loss ; so it will readily be perceived how 
completely humorous the incident must have been 
from the point of view of those who had to replace 
the goods. Were these practices prevalent in such 
low-class educational establishments as Board 
Schools, a worse term than " ragging," it may be 
suspected, would be given them. 

Two miles in the rear of Datchet is Langley, a 
small and very scattered village which, although 
unimportant in itself, has a station on the Great 
Western Railway. The full name of it, rarely used, 
is Langley Marish, which is variously said to mean 
" Marshy Langley," ' Langley Mary's," from the 
dedication of the church to the Virgin Mary, or to 
derive from the Manor having been held for a short 
period in the reign of Edward the First by one Chris- 
tiana de Mariscis. 

Few would give a second glance to the humble 
little church, with its red-brick tower of typically 
seventeenth-century type, and with other portions 



120 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

of the exterior quite horribly stuccoed ; but to 
pass it by would be to miss a great deal, for it con- 
tains a most curious family pew and parish library. 
This library, originally containing between 500 and 
600 volumes, was given by Sir John Kedermister, or 
Kederminster, under his will of 1631, to " the town " 
of Langley Marish. The worthy knight was also 
builder of one of the two groups of almshouses for 
four inmates, who were appointed joint custodians 
of the books. An ancient deed, reciting the gift, 
says : " The said Sir John Kedermister prepared a 
convenient place for a library, adjoining to the west 
end of the said chapel, and intended to furnish the 
same with books of divinity, as well for the perpetual 
benefit of the vicar and curate of the parish of Langley 
as for all other ministers and preachers of God's 
Word that would resort thither to make use of the 
books therein." 

The Kederminsters first settled at Langley in 
the middle of the sixteenth century, when one John 
Kederminster, who appears to have been a kinsman 
of Richard Kydermynster, Abbot of Winchcombe, 
became ranger of the then royal park of Langley 
and " master of the games " to Henry the Eighth. 
He died at the comparatively early age of thirty- 
eight, in 1558, leaving two sons and three daughters. 
His son Edmund was father of the John Kederminster 
who founded the library and initiated other works 
here. He also was ranger of Langley Park, and was 
knighted by James the First in 1609, who also con- 
ferred upon him the Manor of Langley. 

This was a short-lived family, and Sir John died 




THE KEDERMINSTER PEW : EXTERIOR. 



THE KEDERMINSTERS 123 

in 1634, a deeply pious but much stricken man, who 
had lived to see his children, except one daughter, 
predecease him, and his hopes thus disappointed of 
the Kederminster name being continued. 

As lord of the manor of Langley, and a knight, 
Sir John Kederminster obviously felt it behoved 
him to establish himself in considerable state, in the 
church as well as at his mansion. He therefore 
secured a faculty granting him the right to construct 
an " He or Chappell " ; otherwise, as we may see to 
this day, a private family pew, in the south aisle, 
and a parish library to the west of it. 

This family pew is perhaps the most curious re- 
maining in England, alike for its construction and 
for the instructive light it throws upon the lofty 
social heights from which a lord of a manor looked 
upon lesser mortals. We have royal pews in St. 
George's Chapel at Windsor and elsewhere ; but 
their exclusiveness is not greater than this of the 
Kederminsters, which is singularly like that of the 
latticed casements familiar to all who have visited 
Cairo and other Oriental towns. Yet it is obvious 
that there was a vein of humility running through 
Sir John Kederminster 's apparent arrogance ; 
though a rather thin vein, perhaps. Thus he wrote, 
for the stone closing the family vault under his 
pew : " A true Man to God, his King, and Friends, 
prayeth all future Ages to suffer these obscure 
Memorials of his Wife, Children and Kindred to 
remain in this Place undisturbed." 

The pew remains in its original condition, looking 
into the church from the south aisle through very 



124 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

closely-latticed wooden screen-work, elaborately 
painted, and crested with an open-work finial bearing 
the arms of the Kederminsters and their connections. 
The worshippers within were quite invisible to the 
congregation, but could themselves see and hear 
everything. Within the pew, the wall-decoration, 
in Kenascence designs, includes many panels painted 
with the all-seeing eye of God, with the words " Deus 
videt " inscribed on the pupil. This scheme of 
decoration is continued over the ceiling. 

A passage leads out of this singular pew to the 
library, on the western side. This is an entirely 
charming square room, constructed in what was 
formerly the west porch. It is lined throughout 
with bookcases with closed cupboard doors, all 
richly painted in characteristic Jacobean Renascence 
cartouche and strapwork designs, with the exception 
of those next the ceiling, which are landscapes of 
Windsor and its neighbourhood. The inner side 
of one of the cupboard doors has a portrait of the 
pious donor : the corresponding door once displayed 
a likeness of his wife, but it has been obliterated. An 
elaborate fireplace has a fine overmantel with large 
central cartouche, semee with the Kederminster arms : 
two chevronels between three bezants, marshalled 
with those of their allied families. The original 
Jacobean table still stands in the centre of the room, 
with the old tall-backed chairs, too decrepit now 
for use. 

Kederminster strictly enjoined the most careful 
precautions for the due care of the books, of which 
an old catalogue dated 1638, engrossed on vellum, 



THE KEDERMINSTER ALMSHOUSES 127 

and framed, still hangs on the wall. One, at least, 
of his four bedesmen (who are now women) was to 
be present when they were in use : 

' The said four poor persons should have a key 
of the said library, which they should for ever keep 
locked up in the iron chest under all their four keys, 
unless when any minister or preacher of God's Word, 
or other known person, should desire to use the said 
library, or to study, or to make use of any books in 
the same, and then the said four poor people, or one 
of them at the least, should from time to time unless 
the heirs of Sir John Kedermister, being then and there 
present, should otherwise direct attend within the 
door of the said library, and not depart from thence 
during all the time that any person should remain 
therein, and should all that while keep the key of 
the said door fastened with a chain unto one of their 
girdles, and should also take special care that no 
books be lent or purloined out of the said library, 
but that every book be duly placed in their room, 
and that the room should be kept clean ; and that 
if at any time any money or reward be given to the 
said poor people for their attendance in the library 
as aforesaid, the same should be to the only use 
of such of those poor people as should at that time 
then and there attend." 

Clearly, this care has not been always exercised, 
for the books are now reduced to some three hundred, 
and those that are left have suffered greatly from damp 
and rough handling. The books are chiefly cumbrous 
tomes, heavy in more than one sense, and mostly 
works on seventeenth-century religious controversies. 



128 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

Although this library has for long past been either 
forgotten or regarded merely as a curiosity, there 
was once a time when the books in it were well used, 
as would appear from the notes made on the end- 
papers of a Hebrew and Latin Bible, printed at the 
office of Christopher Plantin, in Antwerp, 1584. It 
was one J. C. Werndly, vicar of Wraysbury from 
1690 to 1724, who made these notes, and he seems 
to have been indeed a diligent reader. Thus he 
wrote : 



Jan. the 17. I began again the Eeading of this 
Hebrew Bible (w" is the sixth time of reading it) may the Spirit 
of Holiness help me and graciously Enable me to peruse it again 
to the Glory of God, and to the sanctification of my sinful and 
im'ortal soul. Amen, Lord Jesus, Amen. 

The last record of his reading appears thus : 

1701. xxxiii. 8 bre the 3rd. I finished the Bairns again by the 
mercy of my Sav r . 

The numerals for " thirty-three " appear to indicate 
his thirty- third reading. 

The almshouses on the north side of the church- 
yard, their front facing the sun, are pleasant with 
old-fashioned gardens. They were built by Henry 
Seymour, who in 1669 purchased the Kederminster 
estates from the son of Sir John Kederminster's 
daughter and heiress, who had married Sir John 
Parsons, sometime Lord Mayor of London. Thus, 
in less than forty years the Kederminster hopes faded 
away and the property passed into the hands of 
strangers. 




THE ALMSHOCSES, LANGLEY. 



CHAPTER VII 

DATCHET RUNNYMEDE WRAYSBURY HORTON AND 
ITS MILTON ASSOCIATIONS STAINES MOOR - 
STANWELL LALEHAM AND MATTHEW ARNOLD- 
LITTLETON CHERTSEY WEYBRIDGE SHEP- 
PERTON. 

BY Datchet meads and the continuously flat shores 
of Runnymede, the river runs somewhat tamely, 
after the scenic climax of Windsor. The Datchet of 
Shakespearean fame it is, of course, hopeless to find. 
There is nothing Shakespearean in the prettily re- 
built village with suburban villas and railway level- 
crossing ; and the ditch that used to be identified 
with that into which FalstafE was flung, " glowing 
hot, like a horseshoe, hissing hot," has been covered 
over. At Old Windsor, the site of Edward the 
Confessor's original palace, the little churchyard 
contains the tomb of Perdita Robinson, one of 
George the Fourth's fair and foolish friends ; and 
down by the riverside stands the old rustic inn, the 
Bells of Ouseley, whose sign puzzles ninety-nine 
of every hundred who behold it. Writers of books 
upon the Thames either carefully avoid doing more 
than mentioning the, sign, or else frankly add that 
they do not understand what it means, or where 

VOL. II J 3! 10 



132 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

Ouseley is and small blame to them, for there is 
not any place so-called. What is meant is " Oseney," 
the vanished abbey of that name outside Oxford, 
whose bells were of a peculiar fame in that day. 

Runnymede is, of course, an exceptionally inte- 
resting stretch of meadow-land, for it was here, " in 
prato quod vocatur Runnymede inter Windelsorum 
et Btanes," that at last the barons brought King John 
to book, and it was on what is now called " Magna 
Charta Island," on the Bucks side, that the King 
signed the Great Charter, June 15, 1215. 

There are many disputed etymologies of " Runny- 
mede," including " running-mead/' a scene of horse- 
races ; and " rune-mead," the meadow of council ; 
but the name doubtless really derived from " rhine " 
a Saxon word that did duty for anything from a 
great river to a ditch. Compare the river Rhine 
and the dykes or drains of Sedgemoor, still known 
as " rhines." * The meadows on either side of the 
Thames here have always been low-lying, water-logged, 
and full of rills. 

The army of the Barons had encamped, five days 
before the signing of this great palladium of liberty, 
on one side of the river, and the numerically smaller 
supporters of the King on the other, the island being 
selected as neutral ground. 

The island is occupied by a modern picturesque 
cottage in a Gothic convention, standing amid trim 
lawns and weeping willows, near the camp-shedded 
shore, its gracefulness entirely out of key with those 
rude times. A little cottage contains a large stone 

1 The battle of Sedgemoor was fought beside the Sussex Rhine. 



WRAYSBURY 135 

with an inscription bidding it to be remembered 
that here that epoch-making document was executed, 
and further, that George Simon Harcourt, Esq., lord 
of the manor, erected this building in memory of 
the great event. It is an excellent example of a 
small modern person seeking to wring a modicum of 
recognition out of great historic personages and events. 

Adjoining this famous isle is Ankerwyke, where 
are some few remains, in the form of shapeless walls, 
of a Benedictine nunnery, founded late in the twelfth 
century ; and behind that is a village with the very 
Saxon name of Wyrardisbury : long centuries ago 
pronounced " Wraysbury," and now spelled so. We 
hear nothing of the Saxon landowner, Wyrard, who 
gave his name to the place, but Domesday Book 
tells us that one Robert Gernon held the manor after 
the Conquest. " Gernon," in the Norman-French 
of that age, meant " Whisker," a name which would 
seem to have displeased Robert's eldest son, for he 
assumed that of Montfitchet, from an Essex manor 
of which he became possessed. 

The river Colne flows in many channels here, 
crossed by substantial and not unpicturesque white- 
painted timber bridges, with here and there a se- 
cluded mill. Wraysbury church, restored out of all 
interest, stands in a situation where few strangers 
would find it, unless they were very determined in 
the quest, through a farmyard ; and having found 
it, you wonder why you took the trouble incidental 
to the doing so. But that is just the inquisitive 
explorer's fortune, and he must by no means allow 
himself, by drawing blank here and there, to be dis- 



136 



THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 



suaded from seeking out other byways. But stay ! 
there is some interest at Wraysbury. Outside the 
church is the many-tableted vault of a branch of 

the Harcourt family, and 
among the names here you 
shall read that of Philip, 
" youngest brother of 
Simon, Viscount Harcourt, 
sometime Lord High Chan- 
cellor of Great Britian " 
(sic). Thus, you perceive, 
that although not the rose, 
Philip found some satis- 
faction in kinship with it, 
and doubtless lived and 
died happily in the glow of 
glory radiating from that 
ennobled elder brother. 

There are brasses lurk- 
ing unsuspected under the 
carpeting of this unpro- 
mising church ; notably a 
very small and curious 
example on the south side 
of the chancel, protected 
beneath a square of carpet 
about the size of a pocket-handkerchief. It repre- 
sents a boy in the costume worn by Eton scholars 
in the sixteenth century. The inscription runs : 

Here lyeth John Stonor, the sone of Water Stonor 
squyer, that departed this worlde ye 29 day of August 
in ye yeare of our Lorde 1512. 




BRASS TO AN ETON SCHOLAR, 
WRAYSBURY. 



MILTON 137 

This Walter Stonor or "Water" as the in- 
scription has it squire of Wraysbury, was afterwards 
Lieutenant of the Tower of London, and was knighted 
in 1545. He died in 1550. 

Horton, beyond Wraysbury, and even more 
secluded, is at once a charming and an interesting 
place : a village made up of old mansions and old 
cottages, all scattered widely amid large grounds 
and pretty gardens. The church, too, is fine, chiefly 
of Norman and Early English work, with a tower 
built in chequers of flint and stone ; a fine timber 
fifteenth-century north porch, and an exceptionally 
good and lavishly-enriched Norman doorway. 

Horton has a literary as well as a picturesque 
and an architectural interest, for it is closely associ- 
ated with Milton, who resided here as a young man. 
Milton's father had retired in his seventieth year, 
with a not inconsiderable fortune, derived from his 
business as a scrivener ; that is to say, the profession 
of a public notary, to which was added the making 
of contracts and the negotiation of loans. He had 
left the cares and the money-making at Bread Street 
for the quiet joys of a country life, and had settled 
at Horton, a place perhaps even then not more 
remote from the world than now. 

Hither, on leaving Christ's College, Cambridge, 
came his son, John, rather a disappointing son at 
this period, a son who had disregarded the dearest 
wish of his parents' hearts, that he should enter the 
Church ; and proposed, instead, to lead the intellec- 
tual life of study and meditation. We may quite 
easily suspect that this would seem, to the hard- 



138 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

headed man of business, used to placing money out 
to usury, and to naturally look in every direction 
for an increase, for some tangible result of pains 
taken and capital expended, a singularly barren pros- 
pect. It might even have appeared to him the ideal 
of a lazy, feckless disposition. But the ex-scrivener 
and his wife hid their disappointment as best they 
could, and suffered their son to take his own course. 
They were, after all, wealthy enough for him to do 
without a lucrative profession. 

Therefore, for a period of nearly six years 
from July 1632 to April 1638, to be exact the 
poet lived with his parents and his books at Horton, 
occupying the time from his twenty-fourth to his 
thirtieth year with study and music. 

Here he composed the companion-poems, U Allegro 
and II Penseroso, a portion of a masque entitled 
Arcades, the complete masque of Comus, and 
Lycidas, a long, sweetly-sorrowing poem to the 
memory of a friend and fellow-colleger at Cambridge, 
one Edward King, who had lost his life by ship- 
wreck in August 1637, on crossing to Ireland. In 
April 1637 his mother died. We may still see on 
the floor of the chancel in Horton church the plain 
blue stone slab simply inscribed : " Here lyeth the 
body of Sara Milton, the wife of John Milton, who 
died the 3rd of April 1637." 

In 1638 Milton left Horton, accompanied by a 
man-servant, for a long term of continental travel, 
and Horton ceased to be further associated with 
him. It would be vain to seek, nowadays, for the 
Milton home here, for the house at Horton, where 




HORTON CHURCH. 



STAINES MOOR . 141 

his parents and himself and his younger brother 
Christopher lived, was demolished in 1798. 

The town of Staines, supposed to be the site of the 
Roman station of Ad Pontes, and to derive its present 
name from its position on the Roman road to the 
west that is to say on the stones, or the stone-paved 
road stands at the meeting of Middlesex and Bucks. 
It is also the western limit of the Metropolitan Police 
District, and a stone standing in a riverside meadow 
above the bridge, known as " London Stone," properly 
and officially " the City Stone," until modern times 
marked the limits of the City of London's river juris- 
diction. Staines was also a place of importance in 
the coaching age, for it stood upon the greatly travelled 
Exeter road. To-day it is, in spite of those varied 
claims to notice, an uninteresting place. 

The neighbourhood of Staines is one of many 
waters. They divide Middlesex and Bucks in the 
many branches and confluent channels of the Colne, 
and they permeate those widespreading levels west- 
ward of what was once Hounslow Heath known 
broadly as Staines Moor. This watery landscape, 
now so beautiful, was once, doubtless, a very dreary 
waste. All moors and heaths carry with them, in 
their very name, the stigma of dreariness, just as 
when Goldsmith wrote. The name of a heath could 
only be associated with footpads and highwaymen, 
and to style a scene in a play " Crackskull Common " 
seemed a natural and appropriate touch. This ill 
association of commons long ago became a thing of 
the past, but we still couple the title of a " moor " 
with undesirable places, generally of an extreme 



142 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

sterility and associated in the mind's eye with in- 
clement weather of the worst type. The sun never 
shines on moors, except perhaps so fiercely as to 
shrivel you up. On moors no winds blow but tem- 
pests, probably from the north or east, and the only 
rams known there are cold deluges. A moor is, in 
short, by force of a time-honoured tradition not yet 
quite outworn, a place good to keep away from ; or, 
being by ill-luck upon it, to be left behind at the 
earliest possible moment. 

Whatever Staines Moor may once have been, it 
no longer resembles those inimical wilds. It is, in 
fact, a corner of Middlesex endued with much beauty 
of a quiet, pastoral kind. In midst of it and its 
pleasant grasslands and fine trees with brooks and 
glancing waters everywhere, and here and there a 
water-mill, is Stanwell. At Stanwell the many noble 
elms of these parts are more closely grouped together 
and grow to a greater nobility, and at the very out- 
skirts of the village is a finely-wooded park that 
of Stanwell Place. The especially fine water-bearing 
quality of those surroundings is notable in the scenery 
of that park, and has led of late years to the building 
of an immense reservoir, now controlled by the 
Water Board. It is unfortunate that it should have 
been thought necessary to form this reservoir on a 
higher level than that of the surrounding country, 
and thus to hide it behind a huge embankment 
like that of a railway, for the artificial lake so con- 
structed is rather much of an eyesore. It might, if 
built upon the level, have proved an additional beauty 
in the landscape. 



STAN WELL 143 

Stairwell is situated in the Hundred of Spelthorne, 
an ancient Anglo-Saxon division of Middlesex. It 
is still a Petty Sessional division, but no man knows 
where the ancient thorn-tree stood that marked 
the meeting-place of our remote forefathers that 
" Spele-Thorn," or Speech Thorn, where the open-air 
folk-moot was held. 

It is a pleasant village, with a very large church, 
whose tall, shingled spire rises amid luxuriant elms. 
Near by is a seventeenth-century schoolhouse with a 
tablet inscribed : 

This House and this Free Schoole were founded at 
the charge of the Right Honourable Thomas, Lord 
Kynvett, Baron of Escricke, and the Lady Elizabeth 
his wife. Endowed with a perpetuall revennew of 
Twenty Pound Land. By the yeare. 1624. 

A stately monument in the singular taste of that 
time to Knyvett and his lady is found in the. church. 
Against black marble columns are drawn back stony 
curtains, disclosing the worthy couple kneeling and 
facing one another across a prayer-desk, with the 
steadfast glare of two strange cats on a debatable 
roof-top. At the same time, although the taste is not 
that in favour to-day, the workmanship is very fine. 
It is the work of the famous sculptor, Nicholas Stone, 
who, it is recorded, received 215 for it. 

In the churchyard is a very elaborate tomb, 
all scroll, boldly-flung volutes, and cherubs gazing 
stolidly into infinity, recording the extraordinarily 
many virtues of a person whose name one promptly 
forgets. It is melancholy to reflect that only in the 

VOL. II II 



THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

centuries that are past was it possible to write such 
epitaphs, and that such supermen in goodness no 
longer exist. Or is it not rather that we have in our 
times a better sense of proportion in these mortuary 
praises ? 

The manor of Stanwell was granted to the then 
Sir Thomas Kynvett by James the First, in 1608. 
It had been a Crown property since 1543, when 
Henry the Eighth took it, in his autocratic way, from 
the owner, Lord Windsor. The story is told by 
Dugdale, who relates how the King sent a message to 
Lord Windsor that he would dine with him at Stan- 
well. A magnificent entertainment was accordingly 
prepared, and the King was fully honoured. We 
may therefore perhaps imagine the disgust and alarm 
with which His Majesty's host heard him declare 
that he liked the place so well that he was deter- 
mined to have it ; though not, he graciously added, 
without a beneficial exchange. 

Lord Windsor made answer that he hoped His 
Highness was not in earnest, since Stanwell had 
been the seat of his ancestors for many generations. 
The King, with a stern countenance, replied that it 
must be ; commanding him, on his allegiance, to 
repair to the Attorney-General and settle the business 
without delay. When he presently did so, the 
Attorney-General showed him a conveyance already 
prepared, of Bordesley Abbey in Worcestershire, 
in exchange for Stanwell, with all its lands and 
appurtenances. 

' Being constrained," concludes Dugdale, 
" through dread of the King's displeasure, to accept 



LALEHAM 145 

of the exchange, he conveyed this manor to His 
Majesty, being commanded to quit Stanwell immedi- 
ately, though he had laid in his Christmas provision 
for keeping his wonted hospitality there, saying 
that they should not find it bare Stanwell." But the 
deed of exchange, still in existence in the Record 
Office, is dated nearly three months later, March 14, 
1543. 

Two and three-quarter miles below the now 
commonplace town of Staines, and past Penton Hook 
lock, the village of Laleham stands beside the river, 
on the Middlesex side, in a secluded district, avoided 
alike by railways and by main roads. Laleham in 
Domesday Book " Leleham " has altered little for 
centuries past, and although quite recently the park 
of Osmanthorpe, by the riverside, has been cut up 
and built upon, the building speculation does not 
appear to have been very successful. 

The old church, barbarously interfered with, as 
most Thames Valley churches within some twenty 
miles of London were, in the eighteenth century, 
has suffered only in respect of its tower, rebuilt in 
monumentally heavy style, in red brick ; and a dense 
growth of ivy now kindly mantles it, from ground to 
coping. It is a picturesque church, with queer little 
dormer windows in the roof, and the interior shows 
it to be much more ancient than the casual passer-by 
would suppose ; heavy Norman pillars and capitals 
with billet mouldings proving it to date from some 
period in the twelfth century. It was, in fact, the 
mother-church of the district, and Staines and 
Ashford were mere chapelries to it, and so they 



146 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

remained, in ecclesiastical government, until the 
middle of the nineteenth century. 

There is little in the way of interesting monu- 
ments in the church, except that of George Perrott, 
which is perhaps mildly amusing. He died 1780, 
" Honourable Baron of H.M. Court of Exchequer." 
By his decease, we learn, " the Revenue lost a most 
able Assessor of its legal rights." The coat-of-arms 
of this able personage shows three pears, in the old 
heraldic punning way, for " Perrott," but the joke 
was not pressed to its conclusion, for they are shown 
as quite sound pears. 

Laleham is notable for its literary associations, 
for here lived Dr. Arnold for some years, before he 
became headmaster of Rugby ; and here was born, 
in 1822, Matthew Arnold, who, dying in 1888, lies 
buried in the churchyard. Here, too, is the tomb of 
Field-Marshal George Charles Bingham, third Earl 
of Lucan, who also died in 1888. He was in command 
of the Heavy Brigade in the Crimea. It was entirely 
due to the personal animosities of the Earls of Lucan 
and Cardigan, and of Captain Nolan, that the mis- 
take leading to the sacrifice of the Light Brigade at 
Balaclava was made. 

The quiet of Laleham was sadly disturbed some 
years ago, when there descended upon the village that 
extraordinary person a curious compound of mystic 
and humbug, who called himself " Father Ignatius." 
With some seven or eight of his " monks," he es- 
tablished himself at Priory Cottage. Here they so 
outraged the feelings of the neighbourhood with their 
fantastic proceedings in the back-garden, in which 




LALEHAM CHURCH. 




MATTHEW ARNOLD'S GRAVE, LALEHAM. 



LITTLETON 149 

they had established a " Mount of Olives," and other 
blasphemous mockeries, that the place was on the 
verge of riot, and the aid of a strong force of police 
had to be secured to restore order. 

Another charming village, more charming and 
even much more secluded than Laleham, is Littleton, 
not quite two miles distant, across these flat fields 
of Middlesex. It is well named " little," for it con- 
sists of only a little church, a fine park and manor- 
house beside a pretty stream, and some scattered 
rustic houses. Nothing in the way of a village street, 
or shop, or inn, is to be discovered, and the place is 
delightfully retired amid well-wooded byways, all 
roads to anywhere avoiding it by some two miles. 
The Early English church has been provided with 
an Early Georgian red-brick tower, of a peculiarly 
monstrous type, and in skeleton, roofless form. The 
interior of the church is so plentifully hung with old 
regimental colours that it looks almost like a garrison 
chapel. There are twenty-four in all, chiefly old 
colours of the Grenadier Guards, and were placed here 
in 1855 by their commandant, General Wood, who 
had served in the Peninsular War, and afterwards 
resided at the adjoining Littleton Park. 

A tiny window, little, if at all, larger than a 
pocket-handkerchief, is filled with stained glass, re- 
presenting a fallen, or sleeping, shepherd, with a 
lion looking upon a dead sheep and the rest of the 
flock running away. An inscription says : " This 
panel was designed by Sir John Millais, R.A., and 
presented to Littleton church by Effie, Lady Millais, 
1898." 



150 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

Returning from this detour, Chertsey Anglo- 
Saxon " Cearta's ey," or island next claims our 
attention. It is a town, and a dull one, duller now 
that suburban London has influenced it. Of the 
great Abbey one of the greatest in the land that 
once stood here, nothing is left except a few moss- 
grown stones and bases of pillars, situated in the 
garden of a villa that occupies part of the site. Ex- 
cavations of the ground in years gone by disclosed 
the size and disposition of the Abbey church and 
the monastery buildings, and a few relics were then 
found, including some remarkably fine encaustic tiles, 
now to be seen in the Architectural Museum at 
Westminster. That is all Fate and Time have left. 
It is an extraordinarily complete disappearance. 
Stukeley, a diligent antiquary, writing in 1752, was 
himself astonished at it : 

" So total a dissolution I scarcely ever saw. Of 
that noble and splendid pile, which took up four acres 
of ground, and looked like a town, nothing remains. 
Human bones of abbots, monks, and great personages, 
who were buried in great numbers in the church, 
were spread thick all over the garden, so that one 
might pick up handfulls of bits of bone at a time 
everywhere among the garden-stuff." 

A fragment of precinct- wall is left, and the " Abbey 
Mill of to-day is the direct descendant of that which 
occupied the same site in the old times, while the 
cut originally made by the monks to feed it still flows 
from near Penton Hook to the Thames again, near 
by, under the old name of the " Abbey River." 

Weybridge, two miles below Chertsey, is a place 



WEYBRIDGE 153 

of which it is difficult to write with enthusiasm in 
pages devoted to villages. It is no longer a village, 
and yet not a town ; and is, indeed, like most of the 
places to which we shall henceforward come, a 
suburban district. 

What constitutes such ? The answer is that it 
largely depends upon the distance from London. 
Here we are some twenty miles from town, and by 
reason of that fact, and all it means, the suburban 
residences are expensive and imposing, and stand, 
many of them, in their own somewhat extensive 
grounds. Thus, the original village and village 
green, to which these developments of modern times 
have been added, remain not altogether spoiled, and 
come as a pleasant surprise to that explorer who 
first makes acquaintance with Weybridge from the 
direction of the railway station, from which a typically 
conventional straight suburban road leads, lengthily 
and formally. On the village green stands a memorial 
column to a former Duchess of York, who died in 1820, 
at Oatlands Park, near by, and has another monu- 
ment in the church. The column is intrinsically 
much more interesting for itself than as a monument 
to a duchess whom every one has long since forgotten, 
for it is nothing less than the original pillar set up 
at Seven Dials in London, about 1694, and thrown 
down in 1773. It remained, neglected and in frag- 
ments, in a builder's yard, until it was purchased for 
its present use, and removed hither in 1822. An- 
other memorial of that forgotten duchess is found 
in Weybridge church, a great modern building, built 
in 1848, and enlarged in 1864, with an additional 



154 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

south aisle. It stands on the site of an older church, 
is remarkable rather for size than excellence, and 
contains some really terrible stained glass. The 
sculptured memorial to the Duchess is by Chantery, 
but it is not a very good example of his work. She is 
represented kneeling, with her coronet flung behind. 
This, and other memorials removed from the older 
building, are all huddled together in the tower. 
Among them is a truly dreadful brass, representing 
three skeletons among the very worst products of 
a diseased imagination to be found in the length 
and breadth of the land. It ought to be destroyed ; 
and it really seems as though some one had enter- 
tained the idea, for the head of one of the figures 
has disappeared. 

The river winds extravagantly at Weybridge, 
where it receives the waters of the river Wey and 
the Bourne, and is full of islands and backwaters. 
Some way downstream, and on the Middlesex shore, 
is little Shepperton, one of the most secluded places 
imaginable, consisting of a church, a neighbouring 
inn the King's Head and some old-fashioned 
country residences. It forms a pretty scene. In the 
churchyard there will be found a stone with some 
verses, to 

Margaret Love Peacock, Born 1823, Died 1826, one of the 
children of Thomas Love Peacock who lived many years at 
Lower Halliford, and died there, 1866. 




INTERIOR, LITTLETON CHURCH. 



CHAPTER VIII 

COWAY STAKES WALTON-ON-THAMES THE RIVER 
AND THE WATER COMPANIES SUNBURY TED- 
DINGTON TWICKENHAM. 

THERE are some very pleasant places on this Middle- 
sex side of the river : Shepperton Green and Lower 
Halliford notable among them ; Lower Halliford 
fringing the river bank most picturesquely and 
rustically. Between this and Walton is the place 
known as " Cowey, or Co way, Stakes/' traditionally 
the spot where Julius Caesar in 54 B.C. crossed the 
Thames, in his second invasion of Britain. Caesar 
himself, in his Commentaries, writing, as was his 
manner, in the first person, says : " Caesar being 
aware of their plans, led his army to the Thames, 
to the boundary of the Catuvellauni. The river was 
passable on foot only at one place, and that with 
difficulty. When he arrived there he observed a 
large force of the enemy drawn up on the opposite 
bank. The bank also was defended with sharpened 
stakes fixed outwards, and similar stakes were placed 
under water and concealed by the river. Having 
learnt these particulars from the captives and de- 
serters, Caesar sent forward the cavalry, and immedi- 
ately ordered the legions to follow. But the soldiers 
went at such a pace and in such a rush, though only 

VOL. II 157 12 



158 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

their heads were above water, that the enemy could 
not withstand the charge of the legions and cavalry, 
and they left the bank and took to flight." 

Many of these ancient stakes have been found, 
during the centuries that have passed the last of 
them about 1838 and they have been for many years 
the theme of long antiquarian discussions. Formed 
of young oak trees, " as large as a man's thigh," 
each about six feet in length, and shod with iron, 
their long existence under water had made them 
almost as hard as that iron, and as black as ebony. 

It was Camden, writing early in the seventeenth 
century, who first identified Coway Stakes as the 
scene of Caesar's crossing, for Bede, writing in the 
eighth century and describing the stakes in the river, 
mentions no place. They were said by Bede to be 
shod with lead and to be " fixed immovably in the 
bed of the river." Camden was quite certain that 
here he had found the famous passage by Caesar's 
legionaries, and expressed himself positively : 'It 
is impossible I should be mistaken in the place." 

But later investigators are found to be more than 
a little inclined to dispute Camden's conclusions ; 
and it is certain that whatever may now be the 
possibilities of fording the Thames hereabouts, be- 
tween Walton and Halliford or Shepperton, and 
however deep the river may now be elsewhere, this 
could not, as Camden supposes, have been the only 
possible ford. In Caesar's time it is a truism, of 
course, to say it there were no locks or weirs, and 
the Thames, instead of being what it is now, really 
to a great degree canalised, flowed in a broader, 



COW AY STAKES 161 

shallower flood along most of its course, spreading out 
here and there into wide-stretching marshes, through 
which, however difficult the crossing, the actual 
depth of water would tend to be small. But in any 
case, arguments for or against Co way Stakes must 
needs be urged with diffidence, for the windings of the 
Thames must necessarily have changed much in two 
thousand years. 

There are not now any of the stakes remaining 
here, but the disposition of them in the bed of the 
river has been fully put upon record. They were 
situated where the stream makes a very pronounced 
bend to the south, a quarter of a mile above Walton 
Bridge, and were placed in a diagonal position across 
it, not lining the banks, as might have been ex- 
pected. But whether this disposition of them was 
original, or due to one of the many changes of direction 
the river has undergone, it would be impossible to say. 
It seems certain that in the level lands between 
Chertsey, Weybridge, and Walton the present course 
of the Thames is not identical with that anciently 
traced, and that the river has cut out for itself between 
Shepperton and Walton a way considerably to the 
north. There still exists a lake, very long and very 
narrow, in the grounds of Oatlands Park, between 
Weybridge and Walton, which is reputed to be a part 
of the olden course of the Thames. It has been 
pointed out, as a proof of these changes, that there 
are in this neighbourhood several instances of detached 
portions of parishes, situated, contrary from ex- 
pectation, on opposite sides of the river. Thus 
Chertsey and Walton, both in Surrey, own respectively 



162 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

fourteen and eight acres in Middlesex. Laleham, 
in Middlesex, possesses twenty-two acres in Surrey, 
and Shepperton twenty-one acres. Eighteen of these 
more particularly concern this discussion, since they 
are part of the ancient grazing-ground of Coway 
Sale. The name " Coway " has been assumed by 
some, having reference to the ford, or supposed ford, 
at Coway Stakes, to be a corruption of " causeway," 
while others find in it, according to the spelling they 
adopt, Cowey = Cow Island, or Coway = Cow Way. 
The supporters of the last-named form are those 
who refuse to recognise this place as the true site of 
Caesar's crossing. They point out ignoring the 
diagonal course of a ford at this point, heading down 
river, instead of straight across that the placing 
of the stakes more resembled the remains of an ancient 
weir or wooden bridge than the defences described by 
Caesar, and say, further, that their being shod with 
lead or iron is a proof that they formed part of some 
deliberately constructed work and not a hastily 
thrown up defence. The position of the stakes, 
four feet apart and in a double row, with a passage of 
nine feet between, has given rise to an ingenious 
speculation that they formed an aid to fording the 
river, both for passengers and cattle, instead of being 
designed as an obstruction. This, then, according to 
that view, was the Cow Way, principally devoted to 
the convenience of the cattle belonging to Shepperton, 
to go and return between that place and the detached 
grazing-grounds of Coway Sale on the Surrey side of 
the river. 

But that there has been fighting hereabouts is 




GRAVE OF THOMAS LOVE PEACOCK'S DAUGHTER, SHEPPERTON 



WALTON-ON-THAMES 



165 



evident enough in the name of a portion of the 
grounds of Shepperton Manor House, known from 
time immemorial as " War Close." At the time 
when Coway Stakes were driven into the bed of the 
river, to form a safe passage for the cows, or in the 
futile hope of withstanding the advance of the master- 
ful Romans, the river must have spread like some 
broad lagoon over the surrounding meadows, and 




BRADSHAW'S HOUSE, WALTON-ON-THAMES. 

would have been much more shallow than now. 
Walton Bridge, in its great length, much of it devoted 
to crossing those low-lying meadows, gives point to 
this contention. 

The village of Walton-on-Thames is at the end 
of its tether as a village, and the only interesting 
things in it are its church, and what is known as the 
" Old Manor House." Dark yews form a fine setting 
to the old church, whose tower of flint and rubble, 
with repairs effected in brick, survives untouched by 



166 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

the restorer of recent years. The interior, although 
greatly suburbanised, discloses some as yet unspoiled 
Transitional-Norman portions. Here, in the stone- 
work near the pulpit, is cut the famous non-committal 
verse ascribed to Queen Elizabeth, on the sacramental 
bread-and-wine : 

Christ was the worde and spake it ; 
He took the bread and brake it ; 
And what the Worde doth make it, 
That I believe and take it. 

Here is preserved a scold's, or gossip's, bridle, other- 
wise " the branks," an old English instrument of 
punishment and repression for a scolding or gossiping 
woman. On it is, or was, the inscription, 

Chester presents Walton with a bridle 

To curb women's tongues that talk too idle. 

The instrument is now so rusted that it is difficult, 
if not impossible, to trace the words. The date of 
it, and who this Chester was, are not known ; but 
legend has long told that he was a gentleman who 
lost a valuable estate in the neighbourhood through 
the malevolence and irresponsibility of a lying 
woman. 

The bridle, originally of bright steel, was made 
to pass over the head, and round it, and is provided 
with a flat piece of metal, two inches in length and one 
in breadth, for insertion in the mouth, the effect 
being to press the tongue down and to prevent 
speech. It is duly provided with hinges and a 
padlock. 



THE SELWYN BRASSES 



167 



For many years it hung by a chain in the vestry, 
and thus became injured and rusted ; but in 1884 it 
was enclosed in an oaken, glass-fronted cabinet ; so 
its further preservation is assured. 




BRASS TO JOHN SELWYN. 



On a board suspended against the chancel wall are 
four small brasses of the Selwyn family, showing John 
Selwyn and his wife Susan, and their eleven children. 
He was keeper of the royal park of Oatlands, and 
died in 1587. On one of them, Selwyn himself, is 



168 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

represented mounted on a stag and in the act of 
plunging a hunting-knife through the animal's neck. 
This traditionally represents an actual occurrence. 
It seems that when Queen Elizabeth was once hunting 
at Oat lands, a stag stood at bay and made as if to 
attack her ; whereupon Selwyn jumped from his 
horse on to the stag's back, and killed it in the manner 
shown. 

Several elaborate monuments are to be seen here, 
including that of Richard Boyle, Viscount Shannon, 
who died in 1740. The life-size statues of himself 
and his wife are by Roubiliac. 

The " Old Manor House " has of late years been 

rescued from its former condition of slum tenements. 

It stands off some bylanes, where there is a good 

deal of poor cottage property, and was long subdivided 

into small dwellings. A long, low building of timber, 

lath, and plaster, it dates back to the time of Henry 

the Eighth, and was then probably the residence 

of the keeper, or ranger, of Oatlands Park ; and 

perhaps the residence one time of that John Selwyn 

of whose notable deed mention has just been made. 

In after-years it was associated with Ashley Park, 

and in Cromwell's time was occupied by Bradshaw, 

President of the Council, and one of the signatories of 

Charles the First's death-warrant. If one were to 

credit the old rustic legends and tales of wonder, this 

would be a historic spot indeed ; for the old Surrey 

peasantry firmly believed that Bradshaw not only 

lived here, and was a party to the King's execution, 

but that he executed him with his own hands, on the 

premises, and buried him under the flooring. English 




WALTON-ON-THAMES CHURCH. 



VOL. II 



169 




HALLIFORD. 




WATERSPLASH NEAR HALLIFORD. 



WATER COMPANIES 173 

history, it will be perceived, written from the rustic 
point of view, should be entertaining 

Leaving Walton behind, the Thames Valley is 
seen to have become the prey of those many water 
companies which some few years since were all 
merged into the Metropolitan Water Board. Between 
them and the spread of London, the once beautiful 
scenery of the reaches of the Thames has in long 
stretches been completely spoiled. Not sheer neces- 
sity, only bestial stupidity, has caused this truly 
lamentable condition of affairs. With the immense 
modern growth of the metropolis, it is specially desir- 
able that the beauty of the river at its gates should 
have been jealously safeguarded, but it has been 
given over to those true spoilers, the waterworks 
engineer and the speculative builder ; and the 
interesting and beautiful old-world villages and for- 
gotten corners that survive do but increase the 
regret felt for those others that have been wantonly 
extinguished. The Surrey side of the river between 
Walton and Molesey has been made monotonously 
formal with the embankments of great reservoirs ; 
and it is only when Molesey Lock is reached that their 
depressing society is shaken off. On the Middlesex 
side, that part of Sunbury where the bizarre semi- 
Byzantine modern church of the place stands is the 
only unspoiled spot until Hampton Court comes in 
sight, and between the two we have perhaps the 
very worst exhibition of those outrages of which the 
water companies have been guilty. There, on either 
side of the road, a long, unlovely line of engine-houses 
and pumping-stations stretches ; but hideous though 



174 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

it may be from the road, it is worse when seen from 
the river. There is always an entirely gratuitous 
ugliness in a water company's engine-houses, and 
these examples are not by any means exceptions ; 
being built in a kind of yellow- white brick, with a long 
series of chimneys and water-towers that have already 
been proved insufficiently tall and have each in 
consequence been lengthened with what look like 
exaggerated twin stove-pipes. It is a distressing 
and unlovely paradox that the buildings and pre- 
cincts of waterworks are invariably dry and husky, 
gritty and coaly places, and these bring no variation 
to that rule. The roads are blackened with coal- 
dust, the chimneys belch black smoke, and the poor 
little strips of grounds that run beside the river, 
with lawns, and some few anaemic trees, seem parched 
up. The Thames Ditton and Surbiton front of the 
river is in the same manner denied with engine-houses 
and intakes, with coal-wharves and filter-beds, and 
with nearly half a mile of ugly retaining- wall. The 
especial pity of all these things is that they were not 
at all necessary where they are. They would have 
been just as efficient if placed in some position out of 
sight, away from the river bank, and could so have 
been placed, with a small expenditure for additional 
piping, instead of being the eyesore they are. 

The village of Thames Ditton still keeps its rustic 
church, with curious old font, and the Swan by 
the waterside stands very much as it did when Theo- 
dore Hook wrote enthusiastic verses about it ; but 
Surbiton, and Kingston, Hampton Court, Teddington, 
and Twickenham what shall we make of these. 



TEDDINGTON 177 

now that electric tramways have girded them about 
with steel ? Only by the actual riverside is Nature 
left very much to herself, and there, where the 
water roars over the weir of Teddington, you do find 
the river unspoiled. But it is only necessary to walk 
a few steps back from the river, into Teddington 
village that was, and is, alas ! no longer for a sad- 
ness to take possession of you. There you see not 
only a surburbanised village, but even perceive the 
original suburbanisation (an ugly word for an ugly 
process) of about 1870 to be now down upon its luck, 
in the spectacle of the villas of that date offered 
numerously to be let, with few takers. What is the 
reason of this ? you ask. Electric tramways. They 
are the reason. Also, if you do but explore farther 
inland, you shall find more reasons, in the discovery 
that Teddington is now quite a busy town, and there- 
fore offers no longer that charm of comparative 
seclusion it possessed when those villas of the 
seventies were built. 

But there are yet other reasons, chief among 
them the very bulky and imposing one of the modern 
parish church of St. Alban, which rises like some 
great braggart bully, and utterly dwarfs the poor 
old parish church opposite, now degraded to the 
condition of a mortuary chapel, or the like, and 
doubtless to be demolished so soon as ever public 
opinion is found to be in an indifferent mood. It 
is not a beautiful old church, being indeed an Early 
Georgian affair of red brick, but it is representative 
of a period, and, with the Peg Woffmgton almshouses 
near by, is all that remains of old Teddington. 



178 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

The neighbourhood of the great new church, 
built handsomely in stone, in a Frenchified variant of 
that First Pointed style we are accustomed to name 
" Early English/' is sufficient to frighten away any 
would-be resident, for it is as large as many a cathe- 
dral, and will be larger yet, when foolish people 
are found to subscribe toward the completion of its 
tower. If all this stood for religion instead of merely 
for religiosity a very different thing there would 
be nothing to say ; but when we perceive the clergy, 
all over the country, striving for funds towards 
heaping up of stone and brick and mortar, all in- 
tended towards the end of aggrandising their own 
discredited order, and of again bringing about the 
imprisonment of men's consciences, we can only 
imagine that the devil laughs and the Saviour 
grieves. Meanwhile, the great unfinished building 
dominates the place, and its long unbroken roof helps 
to spoil the view up-river, nearly two miles away. 

If we may call Teddington a town, then, by 
comparison, Twickenham, adjoining it, is a metro- 
polis. All this Middlesex side of the river is, in fact, 
spoiled, but the river itself, and the lawns and parks 
fringing it, are, happily, little affected, and none, 
wandering along the towing-paths, would suspect 
the existence of those great populations on the other 
side of quite a narrow belt of trees. The only 
inkling of them is when the wind sets from the 
streets and brings the strains of a piano-organ, the 
cries of the hawkers, or the squeaking of tramcar- 
wheels against curves, yelling like damned souls in 
torment. 



TWICKENHAM 181 

The older part of Twickenham centres about the 
church, one of those pagan eighteenth-century boxes 
of red and yellow and grey brick that are so familiar 
along these outer fringes of London. The old church 
sank into ruin in 1713, but the tower of it remains. 

In the churchwardens' accounts of some two 
hundred years ago we gain some diverting glimpses 
of an older Twickenham. Thus, in 1698, we find, 
" Item : Paid old Tomlins for fetching home the 
church-gates, being thrown into ye Thames in ye 
night by drunkards, 2s. 6d. " ; and " Item : To Mr. 
Guisbey, for curing Doll Bannister's nose, 3s." 

The old and shimmy lanes that here lead down 
to the waterside are bordered with houses that date 
back to the time of those entries. 

In the church is a monument to Pope, with an 
epitaph written by himself, " For one who would 
not be buried in Westminster Abbey " : the last 
scornful effort of his bitter spirit. The stone in the 
floor that marks his actual resting-place is covered 
over, and many therefore seek his grave in vain. I 
have, in fact, myself thus vainly sought it ; questing 
in the first instance among the tombs in the church- 
yard, to the puzzlement of a group of working-men 
engaged upon a job there. 

' What you looking for, guv'nor ? " asked one. 

" I want to find Pope's grave." 

" Don't know the name," said he. " 'Ere, Bill " 
raising his voice to one of his mates a little way 
ofi " d'ye know where a bloke named Pope is 
berried ? " 

! horror. 



182 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

An epitaph upon Kitty Olive, the actress, who 
died in 1758, may be seen here, among those to 
other notabilities. 

From the crowded streets of Twickenham let us 
escape by means of Twickenham Ferry. Crossing 
the river at this point, Twickenham is seen at its 
best ; for here the gardens of the three or four great 
mansions that yet remain entirely mask the ravages 
of late years. But even so, those who have known 
the scene from of old cannot look upon it altogether 
without regrets for the noble cedars of the estate 
known as " Mount Lebanon/' among the very 
finest perhaps the very finest in the land, wantonly 
cut down some few years since. 



CHAPTER IX 

PETERSHAM 

THE most complete oasis in all these developments 
is Petersham, on the Surrey side : Petersham, and 
Ham, and Ham Common. There railways come 
not, nor tramways. At Petersham are few but old 
houses and the time-honoured mansions of the great 
of bygone centuries, inhabited nowadays by the 
small and futile. So, at any rate, I gather them 
to be from the sweeping remark made to me some 
years ago by an man whom I discovered leaning 
meditatively over a fence, contemplating the view 
across Petersham meadows. 

" Purty place, ain't it ? " said he. 

" It is indeed," said I. 

" Ah ! " he resumed, " boy and man, I've lived 
here forty year. I remember the time when the 
people as lived here was people. Now there's nobody 
here worth a damn." 

The Duke of Buccleuch lived near by in those 
halcyon times. 

Pleasant hearing, this, for a new-comer who had 
just taken over a long lease in this region of souls 
so worthless. This shocking old cynic was But 

VOL. II 185 ! 



186 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

no matter ; suffice it that he was one who ought to 
have put it differently. 

Yet there are some of the elect, the salt of the 
earth, who pleasantly savour the lump. Indeed, I 
live at Petersham myself. 

But even here there are woeful changes, Instead 
of the three inns that formerly graced the village, 
there are now but two : the Petersham Arms 
went about fifteen years ago, and now there are 
but the Dysart Arms and the Fox and Duck. If 
you want further variety, you must resort t"o the 
Fox and Goose, at Ham, or the New Inn, Ham 
Common. Besides this grievous thing, the landscape 
is seared by an undesirable novelty, in the shape of 
a new, very red, red-brick church, which partakes 
in equal parts of the likeness of a pumping-station 
and a crematorium. Woodman, spare those trees 
that grow around it, and Nature, kindly mother, 
do thou add yet more to their height and size, that 
we may not, in our going forth and our return, have 
it, and all it means, constantly before eyes and mind. 
It has, in addition, lately been furnished with bells, 
of sorts, that commence early in the morning and 
wake one untimeously from sleep, often with an air 
associated with the words of that pagan hymn, " A 
few more years shall roll." Pagan, I say, because 
it tells us that when those few years shall have 
rolled 

... we shall be with those that rest 
Asleep within the tomb. 

It is a godless teaching. We shall not be asleep 




TWICKENHAM CHURCH. 




PETERSHAM POST-OFFICE. 



PETERSHAM. 189 

within the tomb. Our poor bodies, yes, but they are 
not us. In any case, it is not a pleasant reminder, 
several times a day, that we shall soon be dead. 
Church-bells, whatever the legal aspect of the case, 
are in fact licensed nuisances, established without 
consulting those who have to hear them, and con- 
tinually rung without any necessity, in spite of 
indignant protests. 

In this rustic spot we have two churches, two 
inns, one general shop, a decreasing population, and 
a general post-office which will hold, all at once, if 
they are not very big people, and if they stand close 
together, quite six persons. Exactly what it is 
like, let this illustration show. It will be seen at 
once, and without any difficulty whatever, that it 
is a very humble relation indeed of the General Post- 
Office in St. Martin Vle-Grand. 

There are some curious survivals at Petersham, 
the more curious because they survive at these late 
times in such comparatively close proximity to 
London. Adjoining the Fox and Duck Inn one 
of the two aforesaid is a little wooden building 
that looks like nothing else than an outhouse for 
gardening tools. It is really an old village lock-up 
for petty misdemeanants, such as may often be seen 
in remote rural places. Behind it is another old 
institution, equally disused, although it is not so 
very long since a strayed donkey was placed there. 
It is the village pound for lost and wandering cattle 
found upon the road and placed in the pound 
impounded until a claimant appears and pays a 
shilling to the beadle for release. The present 



190 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

condition of the pound is such that no animal placed 
in it could well be kept there, for the fence is decayed, 
and all attempts at maintaining the old institution 
appear to have been given up. A magnificent crop 
of nettles and thistles now grows within, and would 
make it an ideal place for any donkey that might 
chance to be impounded : donkeys being reputedly 
fonder of them than of any other kind of food. 

" Why does a donkey prefer thistles to corn or grass ? 
Because he's an ass." 

Close by this quaint corner the two old curiously 
gabled Dutch-looking cottages pictured here are 
seen. The space between them is now merely a 
yard occupied by the Richmond Corporation for 
storing carts and road-making materials, but these 
were once the lodge-gates to the entrance of Peter- 
sham Park, in the old times when it was a private 
estate containing old Petersham Lodge, the mansion 
of my Lord Harrington, that peer to whom the poet 
Thomson, of " The Seasons," alluded in his lines on 
the view from Richmond Hill : 

" There let the feasted eye unwearied stray ; 
Luxurious, there, rove through the pendant woods 
That nodding hang o'er Harrington's retreat." 

The view in these pages shows a glimpse of those 
pendant woods, still flourishing up along the ridge 
of Richmond Park, but it is now the better part of 
a hundred years since the Commissioners of Woods 
and Forests .purchased that peer's old estate, de- 
molished the mansion, and added the land as a 



BALMY PETERSHAM 193 

very beautiful annexe to Richmond Park. The 
cottages, with their little gardens, are charming, 
and would be even more so were they red bricks 
of which they are built, instead of common yellow 
stock brick. 

I have just now remarked that there are at 
Petersham those who are numbered of the elect. 
But it must sadly be admitted that not all in the 
borough of Richmond, in which we have the doubtful 
honour of being included, are of the opinion . that 
Petersham is inhabited by the children of light and 
grace. Indeed, the following remarks of a deleterious 
and poisonous character, lately brought to my notice, 
convince me that there exists among some misguided 
folk up yonder an idea that this most delightful of 
surviving villages within a short distance of London 
is inhabited wholly, or at least largely, by the men- 
tally afflicted. This desolating and alarming belief 
was brought home to me by a friend, who hired a 
conveyance at Richmond station, to be brought down 
to our idyllic village. 

' Where to, sir ? '"' asked the flyman. 
' Petersham." 

" Ah ! ''' exclaimed the driver this was entirely 
uncalled-for, you know " you mean balmy Peter- 
sham." 

* Yes," rejoined the unsuspecting stranger, " the 
air there is good, I suppose." 

' I don't mean the hair," he was astonished to 
be told, " but the people what lives there. Don't 
you know that they're all balmy on the crumpet 
what you call 'off it ' ? " 



194 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

My poor friend looked a little astonished at this. 
I am afraid he is not intimately acquainted with 
the language of the streets. 

" Oh ! you know ! " continued the man, noticing 
this air of bewilderment : " they're dotty, that's 
what they are." 

' You mean non compos mentis," rejoined my 
friend at last, comprehending what was meant, and 
heroically and waggishly endeavouring to get a bit 
of his own back, and in turn to mystify this 
derogatory licensed hackney-driver. 

The man, convinced that he had happened upon 
a " sanguinary German," said : ' Yus, I suppose 
that's what you call it in your country," and mounted 
his box, and in silence drove down to this asylum 
for the " balmy." 

It should be said that we in Petersham, who live 
quietly and engage in delightful pursuits such as 
writing books, flower-growing, and criticising our 
neighbours do by no means endorse this opinion 
of our surroundings. As we are of the elect, so 
also are we exceptionally sane, even among the 
level-headed. But there is a reason to be found in 
most things, even in the remarks above quoted. 
That reason is sought and discovered in the fact 
that our village is unique : the only place within 
its easy radius from London in which the surround- 
ings are unspoiled, the air pure, and the means of 
communication with the great neighbouring roaring 
world primitive and not readily at command. The 
nearest railway station is a mile and a quarter away, 
and such services of omnibuses as have run between 



RAIN 197 

Kingston and Richmond, through Petersham, have 
ever been fugitive and evanescent, and have generally 
run at intervals of not less than twenty minutes. 
The peculiar humour or the peculiar tragedy- 
according to point of view of these omnibus services 
is that in fine weather every one wants to walk, 
and in rain all want to ride ; so that in the first case 
the omnibuses are empty, and in the second cannot 
cope with the sudden and unlooked-for demand, and 
one has perforce to walk home and get wet through, 
or alternatively to wait until the rain ceases. 

And during the last remarkable summers there 
have been occasions when it has rained in torrents, 
without ceasing, for four days ! 

My pen, entered upon the woes of the would-be 
passenger by omnibus, has run away with me, and 
I must at once disclaim the dawning conclusion that 
the alleged " balminess " of Petersham is due to 
rain and the lack of conveyances other than the 
comparatively expensive flys. Those are not the 
reasons. Petersham, being entirely rural, even 
though surrounded by great populations, and yet 
being near London, it is found by the medical pro- 
fession to be a convenient district for recommending 
to patients to whom, for a variety of reasons, it 
would be inconvenient to go remotely into the 
provinces. Here, then, qualified somewhat of late 
years by fleeting irruptions of motor-cars, and by 
brake-loads of mischievous and bell-ringing children 
who are brought down from London in summer for 
school-treats in Petersham Park, invalids may hope 
to obtain a happy recovery, even though the air, 



198 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

instead of being sharp and bracing, is steamy and 
languorous. Thus the expression " balmy Peter- 
sham," whether used in the literate sense, or in the 
regular way of slang, if duly analysed, is found to be 
essentially a proud title to consideration, instead of 
a term of reproach. The neighbouring village of 
Ham is a co-partner in these things, perhaps even in 
a greater degree, for it is equally distant from a 
railway station, and fringes a wide common whose 
remotest corners are at all times extremely secluded. 

I spoke just now of mischievous and bell-ringing 
children, but there are others not intentionally mis- 
chievous, who are yet, perhaps, apt to be a little 
wearing to the nerves of quiet folk who live within 
gardens behind tall wooden fences overhung by 
flowering shrubs, such as lilac and syringa. These 
are a great temptation in their flowering season to all 
kinds of persons who ought to be able to enjoy the 
sight of them without tearing off branches ; but 
the Goth and the Vandal we have always with us 
on Bank Holidays and fine Sundays and Saturday 
afternoons. We expect them, and our expectations 
are commonly realised. But sorrow's crown of 
sorrow is reached when, hearing a crash of boards, 
you rush out and find a dismayed child standing 
among the ruins of a part of your fence, and ex- 
plaining that she " didn't mean it, and was only 
reaching up to pick a bit of syringa for nyture study." 
And to this the modern attempt to inculcate the study 
and the love of Nature brings us ! 

Before reluctantly I leave Petersham, let some- 
thing be said as to its name. And, firstly, let it be 



"PATRICEHAM" 201 

duly borne in mind that we who reside here are 
perhaps a little concerned that the place-name shall 
be properly pronounced. Petersham, we like to 
think, is the real thing, with no sham about it at all. 
Hence the particularity with which " Peters-ham " 
is enunciated by the nice in these things ; even as 
the villagers of Bisham, near Marlow, say " Bis- 
ham," or (the tongue being ever at odds with the 
letter H) " Bis-sam." 

Petersham obtained its name as long ago as 
those dim Saxon times when the great mitred Abbey 
of Chertsey was founded and dedicated to St. Peter. 
In charters of those times the land here is noted as 
the property of that Abbey, and the place is called 
' Patriceham " and " Patricesham." In the Car- 
tulary of Merton Abbey, in 1266, it becomes " Pet- 
richesham." It thus would appear fairly conclusive 
that the name originated with the land becoming 
the property of St. Peter's Abbey at Chertsey, and 
in no other way. But none of those who delve deeply 
into the origins of place-names is ever satisfied with 
things as they are ; and it would now appear that 
an effort has been made to derive " Petersham " 
from a supposititious early Saxon landowner, a 
certain or as we find no real documentary or other 
evidence of his existence here, it would be better to 
say an uncertain " Beadric," whose " ham " it is 
thus assumed to have been. This is a heroic attempt 
to argue from the old original name of the town 
we now call " Bury St. Edmunds," which was in its 
beginning " Beadric's-worth." Although the Saxon 
name of " Beadric " was not uncommon, it is surely 
VOL. ii 15 



202 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

something of an effort to drag this East Anglian 
example out of Suffolk arbitrarily to fit a place in 
Surrey ; even though, in the course of the same 
argument, in citing the well-known parallel derivation 
of " Battersea " from the land there having anciently 
been the property of the Abbey of St. Peter at West- 
minster, it is found that in the original charter of 
A.D. 693 the place-name is spelled " Batricesege." 
This becomes, in a charter of 1067, " Batriceseie " 
or " Patriceseia." 

One somewhat speculative blocked-up lancet 
window of the Early English period is the remotest 
thing that remains to Petersham old church ; which 
is, for the rest, chiefly of George the First's time. 
It is, of course, dedicated to St. Peter. Nowhere 
do we find the slightest real trace of the ancient 
cell of Chertsey Abbey which is supposed to have 
existed here, on the Abbey lands. The curious mass 
of brickwork along the footpath leading out of 
River Lane and between the gardens of Church 
Nursery and the filter-beds of the Richmond water- 
works, is commonly said to have been a portion of 
those ancient ecclesiastical buildings, but no one has 
ever discovered the slightest hint of church or mon- 
astic architecture about that problematical fragment, 
nor has its purpose been hinted at. The footpath 
rises sharply between somewhat high walls, and is 
indeed carried over an arch. The old village folk 
long knew the spot as " Cockcrow Hill " ; but 
during the last two years, in course of the works 
undertaken for the neighbouring filter-beds, the 
brickwork has been patched and the pitch of the 



A GAZEBO 205 

lane leading over the arch lowered ; so, doubtless, 
the name of " Cockcrow Hill " will become among 
the things forgot. If a theory may be entertained 
where no facts are available, this building was pro- 
bably a bridge across some long- vanished or diverted 
stream which at one time flowed from the high 
ground of what is now Richmond Park, across these 
level meadows, and so into the Thames. 

But if there be indeed no architectural features 
in this brickwork, there is an almost monastic air 
of seclusion about the rather grim and very pictur- 
esque old seventeenth-century gazebo that stands 
beside this self -same lane. There is some speculative 
interest in it, for no one can certainly declare to 
what this old four-square two-storeyed building of 
red brick, with the queer peaked roof, belonged. 
The presumption is that it was at one time a gazebo, 
or garden-pavilion, attached to the walled garden 
of Rutland Lodge, adjoining, an early seventeenth- 
century mansion, the oldest house in Petersham. 
Presumably, when it was built, its upper windows, 
some of them long since blocked, had a clear look-out 
across the unenclosed meadows to the river. The 
meadows are still there, but a fenced-in garden and 
an orchard now intervene, and by some unexplainable 
changes, the building, although at the angle of the 
walled garden of Rutland Lodge, has no communica- 
tion with it, and is in fact included within the grounds 
of Church Nursery and the garden of the modern 
house called since 1907 " Rosebank," presumably 
for the usual contradictory reasons that roses have 
ever been conspicuously absent from that garden, 



206 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

and that the site is a dead level. Much patching and 
altering has been done at times to the old gazebo, 
and attempts have been made to convert it into a 
cottage. Hence the added fireplaces and the chimney, 
not requisite in a garden summer-house, but indis- 
pensable for living in. Otherwise, the lot of the 
old building has been the common and almost in- 
variable fate of such neglect, and a surrender to 
spiders. The cult of the gazebo came in originally 
with the Renascence from Italy, and as it was not 
an indigenous, so it was neither a hardy growth in 
this land of ours, where the sunshine is never op- 
pressively hot for the house, and chills all too often 
are the portion of the garden-dweller. Thus the 
numerous, and often highly picturesque, gazebos and 
pavilions to be found attached to old English gardens 
are most often seen to be deserted and in the 
last stages of disrepair. The gallant fight against 
climatic conditions has had to be abandoned. 

Another hopeless fight against overpoweringly ad- 
verse conditions ended here in 1907, when the famous 
Star and Garter Hotel on Richmond Hill was 
closed. We who make Petersham our home know 
well that the " Star and Garter " is closed, if only 
for the reason that, it being situated in the parish, 
the loss to the local rates incidental to the closing 
meant a sudden rise of ninepence in the pound. 
We are thus hoping, without in the least expecting 
it, that some greatly daring person or corporation 
will be good enough to take and open it again. This 
increased demand, added to the hungry re-assess- 
ments recently made, and to the other increase^ 



THE "STAR AND GARTER" 209 

caused by the extravagant proceedings of the Rich- 
mond Corporation, which would appear to carry on 
the business of the town on behalf of the tradesmen 
instead of the residents, is rendering the neighbour- 
hood an increasingly costly one to live in. Every one 
would now seem to share the fallacious belief that 
to live in Richmond one must necessarily be rich. 
True, one will presently need to be if things continue 
on the lines of recent developments. 

Meanwhile, will no one take the poor old " Star 
and Garter " ? It really seems as if no one would, 
for at least two unsuccessful attempts have been 
made to dispose of it at auction. The property 
was stated by the auctioneer to have cost 140,000. 
He described it in a phrase which sounds like a 
quotation, as "a far-famed hostelry, a palace of 
pleasure on a hill of delight/' He also declared the 
view from it to be " the finest prospect in England, 
perhaps in the world." But he was not prepared, 
it seems, to assure the purchaser of a much finer 
prospect still : that of a dividend from the purchase, 
and so the result was a bid of only 20,000. The 
second attempted sale resulted in no bid being made 
at all. 

The " Star and Garter " was ever noted for its 
high charges, framed to match its lofty situation 
and the exalted station of many of the guests who 
of old patronised it. Louis Philippe, King of the 
French, and Queen Amelie resided there for months 
at a time, and were frequently visited by Queen 
Victoria and the Prince Consort. The unhappy 
Napoleon the Third, the ill-starred Emperor Maxi- 



210 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

milian of Mexico, the equally ill-fated Prince Im- 
perial, and other crowned, or prospectively crowned, 
heads were the merest every-day frequenters ; but 
the " Star and Garter " long since discovered that 
there were not enough crowned heads to go round. 
Nor did the enterprising Christopher Crean, sometime 
cook to the old Duke of York, who took it and re- 
opened it after an old-time disastrous interval of 
five years, in 1809, find that he could secure constant 
relays of visitors to pay him, as some were stated to 
have done, half a guinea for the mere privilege of 
looking out from the windows upon the beauties of 
the Thames Valley. 

It would seem, in conclusion, that the coming of 
motor-cars has finally rendered the huge " Star and 
Garter " impossible. Time was when the drive to 
Richmond was a delightful and leisurely affair, 
occupying in the coming and the going a considerable 
part of the day. Motor-cars and taxicabs have 
rendered it a matter of minutes only, and those 
who used to lunch or dine at Richmond now do the 
like, just as luxuriously, and almost as quickly by 
modern methods of travel, at Brighton, Hastings, 
or Eastbourne. 

I have written much elsewhere of Petersham, 
in a little book called Rural Nooks round London, 
and so will now leave the subject for the last Thames- 
side nooks that can by any means claim to preserve 
to this day any relics of their old village life. The, 
first of these is Isleworth, in Middlesex. 



CHAPTER X 

ISLEWORTH BRENTFORD AND (LESAR*S 
CROSSING OF THE THAMES 

TSLEWORTH, an ancient and almost forgotten village 
overlooking the Thames, is not by any manner of 
means to be confounded with the station of that 
name, or with the better-known outlying portion of 
the parish known as Old Isleworth. The reason of 
this popular ignorance of Isleworth is easily to be 
found in the pronounced bend of the river by which 
it stands, the great roads in the neighbourhood going 
approximately direct, and leaving Isleworth in a 
very rarely travelled nook, not often penetrated, 
except by those who have some especial reason for 
calling at Isleworth itself. It is thus a singularly 
old-world place, and, strangely enough, it is more 
often seen from afar, from the towing-path on the 
Surrey side, than at hand. 

The village, however little known it may be to-day, 
was sufficiently well known to the compilers of 
Domesday Book, in whose pages it appears in the 
grotesque spelling, " Ghistelworde." Afterwards it 
is found written Yhistleworth, Istelworth, Yssels- 
worth, and at last, before the present formula was 
found for it, " Thistleworth." A vast deal of con- 



212 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

tention has raged around the meaning of the place- 
name, and with such an orthographic choice you 
could give it almost any meaning you chose ; but 
there can be little question but that it comes from 
two words, the Celtic uisc for water, and the Saxon 
worth for village. It is, indeed,, distinctly a water- 
village, for not only does the Thames flow by it, but 
here the Crane, rising near Northolt, and coming 
down through Cranford, falls into the Thames, near 
by a little nameless brook that rises on Norwood 
Green. It is indeed the confluence of the Crane and 
the Thames that contributes so largely to the 
picturesqueness, the somewhat squalid waterside 
picturesqueness, of Isleworth ; for the outlet of the 
smaller into the larger river is closed by little dock- 
gates, and the space thus shut in is presided over by 
the huge, and in themselves unbeautiful, flour mills 
of Messrs. Samuel Kidd & Sons. There is, however, 
always a something attractive about flour-mills, let 
the builders of them build never so prosaically ; and 
here, where the little stream comes sliding out beneath 
the massive buildings, and where the road passes 
over the little dock, the sight of the barges coming 
up, each laden with their thousand or so quarters of 
wheat for the mills, is found generally interesting, 
especially to boys sent about some urgent business ; 
the more immediate and pressing the errand, the more 
attractive the mills ; which have their historical 
interest to the well-read in local story, for they are 
the successors; on this same spot, of the ancient 
water-mills of the Abbey of Sion. 

Most of the houses at Isleworth are old brick 



ISLEWORTHj 215 

structures, with heavily sashed windows, and the 
humbler houses and cottages are very much out of 
repair. There is a look of the passive mood and of 
the past tense about the place, and you expect (and 
probably would find if you inquired) holes in the 
stockings of every other inhabitant, patches on their 
posteriors, and mere apologies for soles on their 
footgear ; while shocking bad hats are the only wear. . 
The artist who knows what's what will already have 
perceived that Isleworth is a place likely to have 
pictorial qualities, and in his supposition he will be 
quite correct. It would certainly have captivated 
Whistler. Imagine the parish church on the river- 
bank, at the end of this rather feckless street of 
houses ; imagine a very large old inn, the London 
Apprentice, almost dabbling in the water, and then 
conceive two large islands, or eyots, or aits, as they 
may with equal correctitude be called, off-shore, 
dividing the stream of Thames in two. They are 
extremely interesting eyots, for they grow to this 
day abundance of osiers, whose periodical harvesting, 
for the making of baskets, is a by no means negligible 
local industry. Lately I walked through Isleworth 
on the day before Christmas, and there, stepping 
down between two rows of little tenements forming 
Tolson's Almhouses, and looking down upon the 
river from the railed wall at the farther end, could 
be seen lying six or eight great barges that had come, 
not from foreign climes, but from the creeks and 
ports of the Essex and the Kentish coasts, from the 
Swale, the Medway, the Blackwater, or the Crouch. 
Each and all of them had at their mastheads a 
VOL. ii 16 



216 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

bundle of holly fastened to a spar, in honour of the 
coming Day. Beyond them rose the ivy-clad tower 
of the church, and an occasional pallid gleam of 
sunshine broke upon the river. It was a pretty and 
a touching scene. 

A great deal of very unreliable and really un- 
veracious " history " has been written about the 
inn, the London Apprentice, said to have been a 
favourite haunt of highwaymen, among whom our 
ubiquitous old friend, Dick Turpin, of course figures ; 
but we may disregard such tales. It was once, how- 
ever, a favourite resort for water-parties from 
London. 

The tower of the church is a really beautiful and 
sturdy pinnacled stone Gothic building, but the body 
of the church was rebuilt in 1705, from designs left, 
so it is said, by Sir Christopher Wren ; and it is, 
within and without, typical of the style then pre- 
valent : that well-known type of exterior of red brick, 
pierced with tall, factory-like windows, and an interior 
modelled after a " classic " type, with galleries, and 
painted and gilded more like a place of amusement 
than a place of worship. 

A few much-worn brasses remain from an older 
building, notably one to Margaret Dely, a Sister of 
Sion during the brief revival of the Abbey under 
Queen Mary. 

But the most interesting monument is one of ornate 
design, in marble, placed in the west entrance lobby, 
under the tower. This is partly to the memory of 
Mrs. Ann Tolson, and partly to Dr. Caleb Cotesworth, 
and narrates, in the course of a very long epitaph, a 




THK DOCK AT ISLEWORTH. 




THE ' LONDON APPRENTICE," ISLEWORTH. 



ISLE WORTH 219 

romantic story. Ann Tolson was the donor of the 
group of almshouses already mentioned, for six poor 
men and an equal number of poor women. She 
married, as the epitaph very minutely tells us, firstly 
Henry Sisson and then one John Tolson. When he 
died "she was reduced to Narrow and Confined 
Circumftances, and fupported herfelf by keeping 
School for the Education of Young Ladies, for which 
She was well Qualified by a Natural Ingenuity. A 
ftrict and Regular Education, and mild and gentle 
Difposition. By the lofs of Sight She became unfit 
for her Employment, and a proper object to receive 
that Charity, She was Sollicitous to Dif tribute." 
In the midst of these misfortunes, Dr. Caleb Cotes- 
worth, a connection of hers by marriage, died. As 
the epitaph, with meticulous particularity goes on 
to report, he " had By a long and Succefsful practice 
at London " amassed a fortune of " One Hundred 
and Fifty Thousand Pounds and upwards." A part 
he distributed by his will among relatives, " and the 
residue, One Hundred and Twenty Thousand Pounds 
and upwards he gave to his Wife. 

They both died on the 2nd May, 1741 

BUT SHE SURVIVED, 

and Dying Inteftate, her Perfonal Eftate became 
Diftributable among her three next Of Kin, one of 
whom was the above Ann Tolson. With a sense 
of this Signal Deliverance and unexpected Change 
from a State of Want, to Riches and Affluence, She 
forthwith appointed the Sum of Five Thousand 
Pounds to the eftablishment of Almfhoufes for Six 



220 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

men and six women," and then the giddy old thing 
went and married a third time, although over eighty 
years of age, one Joseph Dash, merchant, of London. 
She died, aged 89, in 1750 ; and this monument, for 
which she had left 500, for the narration of her 
interesting story, was soon afterwards duly placed 
here. 

Opposite the monument of this lady is that of Sir 
Orlando Gee, a factotum of Algernon, Duke of North- 
umberland and Registrar of the Admiralty, who died 
in 1705. It is a very fine marble monument, with a 
half-length portrait effigy of Sir Orlando himself, in 
the costume and the elaborate wig of his period. 
He is represented in the act of reading some document 
unspecified. 

The Middlesex shore, when once past Sion Park, 
now grows thickly cumbered with buildings, and the 
view of the Surrey side from Middlesex is distinctly 
preferable to that of Middlesex from Surrey. For 
on the opposite shore stretch the long reaches of 
Kew Gardens, whose beauties no one, I suppose, 
has ever yet exhausted ; the grounds are so extensive 
and their contents so varied, so rich and rare. 

But, after all, I see, the extent of Kew Gardens 
is not so great, measured by acreage instead of 
their riches. I detest mere facts, and love impres- 
sions ; but here is a fact, for once in a way books of 
reference give the size of Kew Gardens as some 350 
acres only. 

The Director and his colleagues in botany and 
arboriculture look across to the factory chimneys 
of Brentford with dismay, and write alarming things 



KEW GARDENS 221 

in annual reports about the effects of the noxious 
fumes from those chimneys upon the trees and plants 
of the gardens, so Brentford, we may take it, is a 
menace, and since the Brentford Gas Company is a 
highly prosperous and expanding business, and is 
certainly in the front rank as a fume-producer, the 
menace we may further suppose to be increasing. 
The end of these things no man can foresee, but the 
passing away of Kew Gardens would be a thing too 
grievous to contemplate. 

Brentford, it is true, cannot by any means be styled 
a village, and it owns indeed the dignity of the 
county town of Middlesex. Thus it would find no 
place in these pages, were it not that Brentford sets 
up as the rival of Coway Stakes near Walton, for 
the honour of being that historic spot where Julius 
Caesar crossed the Thames. It is only of recent years 
that this claim has been put forward, and until 
then Coway Stakes scarcely knew a competitor. But 
at different times during dredging operations in the 
bed of the river, and in the course of building new 
wharves and other waterside structures, great num- 
bers of ancient oak stakes have been discovered, 
extending with intervals, from about four hundred 
yards below Isleworth ferry down to the upper 
extremity of Brentford eyot. Near Isleworth 
ferry they were found in 1881, in a threefold line, 
interlaced with wattles and boughs, and continue, 
generally in a single line, at intervals, under the 
river banks, with advanced rows in the bed of the 
river, past the places where the river Brent falls 
into the Thames in two branches. The stakes, that 



222 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

have been numerously extracted in these last thirty 
years, are in fairly good preservation, and measure 
in general fifteen inches in circumference. 

The criticism, of course, arises here, How could 
the Britons at such necessarily short notice have 
executed so extensive a work to impede the passage 
of the Romans, who came swiftly up from Kent and 
who could not have been confidently expected at 
any one point ? The stakes extend for about two 
miles and appear to have been thoroughly and metho- 
dically arranged. The wattling, too, is evidence of 
care and deliberation. Doubts must arise. They 
may have been already long in existence before 
Caesar came, and have been intended for defence 
against rival tribes ; or again, they may not really 
be so ancient as supposed ; and their object merely 
for the protection of the banks from being eroded by 
the current. 

The name, Brentford, refers of course to a ford 
across the Brent near its confluence with the Thames, 
which is broad and deep here ; but there was also, 
doubtless, a ford across the Thames, at this place, 
for the present depth of the river has been produced 
in modern times by the industrious dredging works 
of the 'Thames Conservancy. But still at low tide 
between Brentford ferry and Kew bridge the river 
has normally only three feet depth of water, and in 
summer sometimes much less. Children can at such 
times often be seen wading far out into the bed of 
the stream. There must evidently have been a ford 
across the Thames here in ancient days, as well as 
across the Brent, and we know from later historic 



CESAR'S CROSSING 2$ 

events that undoubtedly took place here that this 
junction of rivers was always an important point. 

Thus much may be said in support of the modern 
contention that it was here Caesar crossed on his way 
to Verulam, and it may be conceded to those who 
hold this view that the delta formed by the two 
outlets of the Brent is curiously named " Old 
England/' It will be found so called on large Ord- 
nance maps, and by that name it has been known 
from time immemorial. Much significance may be 
found in that title in such a place as this. Nothing 
is known as to the origin of it. It has just come 
down to us from the old, dim ages of oral tradition, 
and is now fixed by printed maps. The significance 
of the name is, however, strangely supported by that 
of a spot far indeed removed from it, but (if we 
accept the theory that Brentford is really the scene 
of Caesar's crossing) most intimately correlated in 
history. This second name has also been handed 
down in like manner out of the misty past. We 
need not wonder at it. Tradition was everywhere 
strong in times before the people could read, but 
their memory has become gradually atrophied since 
they have become literate, and the wisdom and the 
legends of our forefathers are fading away. Fortu- 
nately, the art of printing, which, in conjunction with 
the widespread ability to read, has destroyed much 
oral tradition, has at the same time fixed and per- 
petuated many floating legends and memories. 

This fellow traditional name is " Old England's 
Hsle," the title given by many generations of rustics 
to a hillock on the summit of Bridge Hill, beside 



226 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

the Dover road between Canterbury and Dover, 
and adjoining Barham Downs, where Caesar fought 
with and defeated the Britons, July 23, 54 B.C. It 
is a hillock with a crater-like hollow in the crest, 
and was one of the forts in which the Britons long 
held out. Caesar himself, in his Commentaries, de- 
scribes these forts and the storming of them by his 
soldiers ; and the rustics of the neighbourhood have 
fixed upon this particular spot, and say in effect 
" This is Old England's Hole, and here a last stand for 
freedom was made by your British forefathers." 

" Old England," on the banks of Brent and 
Thames, is partly included within Syon Park and in 
part extends over the squalid canal outlet and the 
sidings, docks, and warehouses the Great Western 
Railway has established here ; but the name more 
particularly attaches to the meadow just within the 
park. It forms from the Surrey shore a charming 
picture not at all injured by those commercial 
activities of docks and railways adjoining : perhaps 
even gaining by contrast. There the earthy banks 
of the Thames, in general hereabouts steep and some 
ten or twelve feet high, are lower and shelve gradu- 
ally ; and in the meadows a noble group of bushy 
poplars stands behind a few willows that look upon 
the stream. There are trees, too, in the background, 
and the spire of the modern church of St Paul, Brent- 
ford, forms a not unpleasing feature on the right. 

Brentford Ferry, down below " Old England/' 
commands an extensive view down river, towards 
Kew Bridge and along the northern channel of the 
Thames, divided here into two channels by the long 



BRENTFORD FERRY 229 

and narrow Brentford Eyot, thickly grown with 
grass and underwood, and planted with noble trees. 
It is acutely pointed out by Mr. Montagu Sharpe that 
the boundary-Line dividing the counties of Middlesex 
and Surrey is not at this point made to follow the 
stream midway, as customary elsewhere, but is 
traced along the northern channel ; and he sees in this 
fact a hint that the original course of the river was 
along that branch, and assumes that the main stream 
is of later origin ; that the river at some time later than 
the era of the Eomans made this new way for itself. 
On the steep bank above Brentford Ferry there 
was placed in May 1909 a sturdy granite pillar 
with inscriptions setting forth the historical char- 
acter of the spot. The events known to have taken 
place at Brentford, and the crossing here by Caesar, 
now boldly assumed, form a very remarkable list, as 
this copy of those inscriptions will sufficiently show : 

54 B.C. 

At this ancient fortified ford the British tribesmen under 
Cassivellaunus bravely opposed Julius Caesar on his 
march to Verulamium. 

A.D. 780-1 

Near by, Offa, King of Mercia, with his Queen, the 
bishops, and principal officers, held a Council of the 
Church. 

A.D. 1016 

Here Edmund Ironside, King of England, drove Cnut 
and his defeated Danes across the Thames. 

A.D. 1642 

Close by was fought the Battle of Brentford, between 
the forces of King Charles I. and the Parliament. 
VOL. II 17 



230 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

A.D. 1909 

To commemorate these historical events this stone 
was erected by the Brentford Council. 

This memorial has certainly been placed in a 
most prominent position, and challenges the atten- 
tion of the passer-by along the footpath past Kew 
Gardens, on the opposite shore. As you approach by 
the ferry-boat, the crazy old stone and brick stairs 
leading steeply up, beside the broad and easy in- 
cline of the shingly ferry-slip, look most imposing, 
and group well with their surroundings. 

Where the old original ford across the Brent 
was situated no man knows, but perhaps near to 
its junction with the Thames, at a spot where the 
waters from the greater tidal river rendered the ford 
impassable except at the ebb. That was the awkward 
situation of Old Brentford, and one not for very 
long to be endured by travellers along the great 
West of England road that runs through this place. 
Thus it gave way at a very early period to a new 
ford, somewhat higher up the Brent ; and around it 
in the course of time rose the town of New Brentford, 
whose being and name in this manner derived 
directly from the needs of travellers for a ford passable 
at all hours. The ford was replaced by a bridge 
in 1280, and that by later stone bridges, or patchings 
and enlargements of the original. The present 
representative of them is a quite recent and com- 
modious iron affair, built over the stone arch : very 
much more convenient for the traffic, but not at all 
romantic. New Brentford church stands near by ; 



OLD BRENTFORD 231 

that of Old Brentford is a good quarter of a mile 
along the road, back towards London, but there is 
nothing old or interesting about it, seeing that it 
was entirely rebuilt a few years ago. 

The Brent, as it flows through the town, is not 
easily to be distinguished amid the several canal 
cuts, where the close-packed barges lie, but it may 
with some patience be traced at the western end 
of the broad and retired road called " The Butts/' 
an ancient name significant of a bygone Brentford, 
very different from the present aspect of the place. 
" The Butts " is a broad open space, rather than a 
road, and the houses, old and new, in it are of a 
superior residential character that would astonish 
those and they are far the greater number who 
know Brentford only by passing through its narrow 
and squalid and tramway-infested main street. " The 
Butts " would appear to have been an ancient practice- 
ground in archery. 

The Brent appears at the extremity, down below 
a very steep bank, and barges lie in it, on the hither 
side of a sluice. It goes thenceforward in a pro- 
nounced curve, to fall into the docks, and passes by 
the backs of old houses and some still surviving 
gardens, with the church-tower of St. Leonard's, 
New Brentford, peering over old red roofs and 
clustered gables. 

In an old-world town such as this there are many 
charming village-like corners and strange survivals, 
when once you have left the main arteries of traffic. 
Brentford is, of course, a byword for its narrow, 
congested, squalid High Street, down which the 



232 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

gasworks send a quarter-of-a-mile of stink to greet 
the inquiring stranger ; but it is a very long High 
Street, and the gasmaking is in Old Brentford ; and 
at the westward end, New Brentford, you are far 
removed from those noisome activities and among 
the barges instead. It is largely a bargee population 
at this end ; and the bargee himself, the cut of his 
beard (when he has one it is generally of the chin- 
tuft fashion affected by the Pharaohs, as seen by the 
ancient statues in the British Museum), the style 
of his clothes, and his manner of living his semi- 
amphibious life are all interesting. It would need a 
volume to do justice to the history, the quaintnesses, 
and the anomalies of Brentford, which, although 
the " county town " of Middlesex, and thus invested 
with a greater if more nebulous dignity than London 
merely the capital of the Empire is not even a 
corporate town. If I wanted to justify myself for 
including it in a book on villages, I should feel in- 
clined to advance this fact, and to add that, although 
the traditional " two Kings of Brentford," with only 
one throne between them, are famous in legend, 
no one ever heard of a Mayor of Brentford, either 
in legend or in fact. When it is added that Old 
Brentford owns all the new things, such as the gas- 
works, the brewery, and the waterworks, and that 
the old houses are mostly in New Brentford, the 
thing is resolved into an engaging and piquant 
absurdity. It is to be explained, of course, in the 
fact of Old Brentford being so old that it has had 
to be renewed. 

The very names of Brentford's streets tell a tale of 



OLD STREET-NAMES 



233 



eld. It is only in these immemorially ancient places 
that such names as " Town Meadow," ' The Butts," 
"The Hollows" "Old Spring Gardens," "New 
Spring Gardens," " The Ham," " Ferry Lane," or 
" Half Acre " are met with. They are names that 
tell of a dead and gone Brentford little suspected 
by the most of those who pass by. No unpleasing 
place this waterside town when the " Town Meadow," 
that is now a shimmy close, was really a piece of 




FERRY LANE, BRENTFORD. 



common land green with grass and doubtless giving 
pleasantly upon the river. And when Old and New 
Spring Gardens first acquired their name, perhaps 
about the age when Herrick wrote his charming 
poems, or that era when Pepys gossiped, they were 
no doubt idyllic spots where the springs gushed 
forth amid shady bowers. To-day they are old- 
world alleys, with houses declining upon a decrepit 
age that invites the attention of improving hands. 
There was an ancient congeries of crooked alleys and 



234 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

small cottage property near the corner of Half Acre 
known as " Troy Town." It stood hard by where 
the District Council offices are now placed, but tall 
hoardings facing the road now disclose the fact 
that Troy Town is in process of being abolished. 
The name is curious, but not unique. It is found 
frequently in England, and seems generally to occur 
as the name of an old suburb of a much older town ; 
some place of picnicking and merry-making, where 
there were arbours, and above all, a maze, either 
cut in the turf or planted in the form of a hedge, 
like that most glorious of mazes at Hampton Court. 
Such were the original " Troy Towns " ; and whatever 
once were the clustered alleys in Brentford that 
were called by that name, certainly they have carried 
out to the full, and to the last, the mazy, uncharted 
idea. 

But this old suburb of Old Brentford must at 
an early date have been swallowed up in the growth 
of New Brentford and at a remote time have lost 
everything of its original character except its old 
traditional name. Names, we know, survive when 
all else has vanished or been utterly changed. 

Ferry Lane is one of Brentford's many quaint 
corners. There is an old inn there, the " Waterman's 
Arms," and a stately old mansion, " Ferry House." 
And there is a curious old malthouse, too, which, 
in the artistic way, simply makes the fortune of Ferry 
Lane, so piquant are the outlines of its roofs and its 
two ventilating shafts, like young lighthouses. Build- 
ings of such simple, yet such picturesque lines do not 
come into existence nowadays. 



FAREWELL, BRENTFORD 235 

And so to leave Brentford, with much, of its 
story untold. To tell it were a long business that 
would lose the sense of proportion which to some 
degree, let us hope, distinguishes these volumes. 
So nothing shall be said of those two mysterious 
" Kings of Brentford " who shared, according to 
tradition, the throne ; nothing, that is, but to note 
that a brilliant idea has of late occurred to antiquaries, 
puzzled beyond measure by these indefinite kings. 
It is now conceived that the legend originally was of 
the two kings at Brentford, and that so far from 
sharing one throne happily together, they were 
Edmund Ironside, the Saxon king, and Canute the 
invading Dane (or Cnut, as it seems we are expected 
to style him now), who was severely defeated here 
by Edmund, and driven out of Brentford across the 
river. 



CHAPTER XI 

STRAND-ON-THE- GREEN KEW CHISWICK 
MORTLAKE BARNES 

THERE is a waterside walk from Brentford to Kew 
Bridge, commanding a full view of that new and 
solid, perhaps also stolid, structure of stone, opened 
May 20, 1903. The old bridge was a more satis- 
factory affair to the eye, although its roadway was 
steep, rising sharply as it did from either end to 
an apex over the middle arch. The arches, boldly 
and beautifully semicircular, were delightful to look 
upon, not like the flattened-out segmental spans of 
the new bridge, which have a heavy and ungraceful 
appearance, looking for all the world as though they 
had settled heavily in the making upon their haunches 
and would presently fall, flop, into the river. 

Things change, after all, but slowly here. Much 
has gone of late years, but much is still left. Here, 
for example, stands a riverside inn the " Oxford and 
Cambridge," with a delightful little lawn, exquisitely 
green, behind a low wall that gives upon the towing- 
path. It has a very rural look, amid urban sur- 
roundings, and at the rear you may yet see a range 
of old malthouses, with cowled ventilators upon 
their old richly-red tiled roofs, in every way re- 
sembling their fellows far down in Kent. But they 

236 



KEW GARDENS 237 

are to be let or sold, and for long past the side of 
them giving upon the road has served the purpose of 
an advertising station ; so the end of these things 
is at hand. 

Kew called on some old maps "Cue" across 
the bridge into Surrey, stands grouped around its 
green, as of old ; the curious church, which is half 
Byzantine and half of the Queen Anne method, 
presenting an outline so remarkably suggestive of 
an early type of locomotive engine that one would 
scarce be surprised to find some day that it had 
steamed off. 

Kew Green is charming, but there is a dirty 
little slum down by the riverside, with labyrinthine 
alleys and corners where children make dust- and 
mud-pies and women in aprons stand at doorways 
with arms akimbo and gossip. Here is a street of 
modern cottages with an odd old name : " Westerly 
Ware." 

I do not think Kew can be condemned as being 
go-ahead and ultra-modern. Time was, somewhere 
about 1880, when a tramway was laid along the Kew 
Gardens road from the foot of Kew Bridge into 
Richmond. It was regarded when new as a very 
rash and deplorable and innovating thing, and the 
tinkle of its horse-bells was anything but pleasing 
to the ears of the wealthy residents of the mostly 
peculiarly ostentatious villas on the way. But 
" circumstances alter cases," as the old adage tritely 
tells us, and now that few provincial towns of any size 
are without their electric tramways, this little single- 
line horsed tramway is come to be regarded almost 
VOL. ii 18 



238 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

in the nature of a genuine antique. You take your 
seat upon one of the little cars and wait and wait, 
and still wait. It is very pleasant and drowsy in 
summer to wait until the next tram down has left 
the way clear at one of the occasional sidings, but 
if you are in a hurry, it is quicker to walk. I do not 
think any one really wants electric tramways into 
Richmond, though, no doubt, they will come. 

When they do, there will be introduced an alto- 
gether undesirable element of hurry into a road that 
at present veritably exhales leisure. There is a 
certain aesthetic pleasure in lingering along this road, 
for although the architecture of those villas is per- 
haps not the last word in art, their gardens are 
beautiful and are easily to be seen. Would that Kew 
Gardens were so readily visible. But the churlish 
Government department that formerly had the 
management of the gardens built a high and ugly 
brick wall the whole length of the road, so only the 
tree-tops are visible over it, even to travellers on 
tramcar roofs ; and no one has yet had the public 
spirit to demolish the useless thing and to substitute 
an iron railing in place of it. One opening, indeed, 
was made, about 1874, when a charming red-brick 
building by Eden Nesfield was erected, just inside 
the grounds, and the peep it gives into Paradise, so 
to speak, only makes one the more inclined to ask 
why any of the wall should be allowed to remain. 

Strand-on- the-Green is the name of the picturesque 
waterside row of houses of many shapes and sizes 
that extends along the Middlesex foreshore from Kew 
Bridge towards Chiswick. It is a kind of home- 



STRAND ON-THE-GREEN 241 

grown Venice, and sometimes, when the Thames is 
in flood, its feet are dabbled in the water, and in- 
genious ways with planks and clay are resorted to 
for the keeping of the river out of ground floors. 
But since the Thames has become more and more 
curbed and regulated, these occasions have grown 
and are still growing fewer. I do not know where 
is the " Green " of Strand-on- the-Green, and the 
" strand " itself that stretches down to the river at 
low tide from the brick-and-asphalted walk in front 
of the village, or hamlet by whichever name we are 
rightly to entitle the place is mostly mud, where 
the rankly-growing grass ceases. Old boats and 
barges that long since grew beyond any more patch- 
ing and mending, and were not worth even breaking 
up, have been left here to lie about, half in mud and 
half in water, grass growing in them. 

And an island lies in mid-stream ; an island on 
which, for many years past, men may have been 
observed wheeling barrows to and fro and engaged 
in other apparently aimless activities that certainly 
during the last thirty years have had no beginning 
and no end. It is a picturesque island, with flourish- 
ing trees, and it looks a most desirable Kobinson 
Crusoe kind of a place, especially when viewed from 
the trains, that just here cross the river on an ugly 
lattice-girder bridge. A timber gantry projects from 
one side, and things are done with old boilers and 
launches. Repairs are occasionally made to the 
banks of this island, and they have at last resulted 
in making it a very solid and substantial place, faced 
upstream and down and round about with bags of 



242 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

concrete ; so that no conceivable Thames flood that 
ever was, or can be, could possibly wash it away. 
There is half a mile of Strand-on-the-Green. It is 
a fairly complete and representative community, 
comprising in its one row of houses those of an almost 
stately residential class, including Zoffany House, 
where the painter of that name lived and died at last 
in 1810 ; some lesser houses, a number of cottages 
housing a waterside population, three inns, the 
" Bull's Head," the " City Barge," and the " Bell 
and -Crown " ; and some shops of an obscure kind, 
such as one might expect to see only in remote 
villages. A highly-sketchable old malthouse or two 
and a row of almshouses complete the picture. As 
to the almshouses, they are going on for the comple- 
tion of their second century, as a tablet on them 
declares : 

Two of thefe Houfes built by R. Thomas Child, one 
by M. Soloman Williams, and one by William Abbott, 
Carpinter, at his own Charge for ye ufe of ye Poor of 
Chiswick for Ever, A.D. 1724. 

Also the Port of London Authority has an office 
overlooking the river, and a firm of motor-boat 
builders has established works here, amid the ancient 
barges a curious modern touch. 

Strand-on-the-Green is a hamlet of Chiswick, long 
a delightful retreat of the Dukes of Devonshire, 
whose stately mansion of Chiswick House in its 
surrounding park dignified the old village. But when 
a suburban population grew up around the neighbour- 
hood of that lordly dwelling-house the owners left 



STRAND-ON-THE-GREEN 245 

it. There is an antipathy between dukes and 
democracy comparable only to oil and water. Even 
the neighbourhood of a highly-respectable (and 
highly-rented) suburb renders the air enervating to 
ducal lungs, even though the ducal purse be inordin- 
ately enriched by the ground-rents of it. It seems 
that when a man becomes a duke the sight of 
other men's chimney-pots grows unendurable ; unless 
indeed they be the chimney-pots of another duke ; 
and so he is fain to seclude himself in the middle of 
his biggest park, in the most solitary part of the 
country he can find. The higher his rank in the 
peerage, the more cubic feet of air he requires. 

What I should like to see but what no one ever 
will see would be a duke graciously continuing to 
reside in the midst of the suburb that has grown up 
around him, and to which he owes a good part of his 
living, and being quite nice to his neighbours. Not 
only patronising and charitable to the poor, but 
just as human and accessible as middle-class snobbery 
would allow him to be. 

It cannot be said that the local developments 
have been at all swift, or more than very moderately 
successful. For example, as you proceed from 
Strand-on-the-Green to Chiswick, you come first of 
all to Grove Park, where there is a railway station of 
that name which, together with an ornate public - 
house and a few shops and houses, wears a look as 
though left in the long ago to be called for, and 
apparently not wanted. I have known Grove Park 
for forty years, and it is just the same now as then. 
' The last place made " was the description of it 



246 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

long ago given me by a railway official there, pleased 
to see a human being ; and although many places have 
come into existence since then, it still wears that 
ultimate look. 

In the long ago, when I went to school in the 
Chiswick high road at Turnham Green, at a boarding- 
school that occupied an old mansion called " Belmont 
House," we fronted almost directly opposite Duke's 
Avenue, which still remained at that date just an 
avenue of trees, with never a house along the whole 
length of it, until you came to the noble wrought- 
iron gates leading into the awful ducal sanctities 
themselves. One might freely roam along the 
delightful avenue, but the great iron gates were, it 
seemed, always jealously shut ; and even had they 
not been, one's vague ideas of a something terrible 
in unknown ducal shape would have prevented 
trespass. I have seen not a few dukes since then, 
and haven't been in the least frightened, strange to 
say. 

Nowadays the needs or the greed, I know not 
which, of their successive Graces have caused the 
land along either side of Duke's Avenue to be let 
for building upon ; and although, as already 
remarked, the trees remain, and are indeed finer 
than of yore, numerous very nice villas may be 
found there ; a little dank perhaps in autumn and 
in wet weather generally, when those trees hold 
much moisture in suspense, but still, quite desirable 
villas. 

The wonderfully fine old wrought-iron gates 
were really much finer in the artistic way than one 



CHISWICK HOUSE 247 

ever suspected, as a schoolboy, and they were flanked 
by rusticated stone piers surmounted by sphinxes. 
Exactly what they were like you may see any day 
in London, for they were removed in recent years 
to Piccadilly, there to ornament the entrance to 
the Duke's town house, and to render the exterior 
of that hideous building, if it might be, a thought 
less hideous. They have had their adventures, 
having originally formed the chief entrance to 
Heathfield House, Turnham Green, inhabited about 
the middle of the eighteenth century by Viscount 
Dunkerron. A Duke of Devonshire acquired them 
in 1837. 

There were very frequent grand spreads and 
entertainments of various gorgeous kinds at Chiswick 
House in the distant days when one went to school 
at Turnham Green. His late Majesty Edward the 
Seventh, of blessed memory, occasionally, as Prince 
of Wales, had Chiswick House in summer-time 
between 1866 and 1879. He was not perhaps so 
universally popular then ; for those were the days 
when Sir Charles Dilke was posing as a red-hot 
Radical, and furious persons of that kidney talked 
of republics and all that kind of nonsense. But at 
anyrate, rank and fashion were to be observed 
flocking to the princely garden-parties here ; and 
very stunning the carriages and the horses, the 
harness and the liveries looked ; and very beautiful, 
it seemed, the ladies with their sunshades and dainty 
toilettes. Those were days long before any one 
could have predicted the present motor-car era, 
and no one could ever have imagined that the 



248 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

daughters of those daintily attired ones would be 
content to drive along amid dust and stinks, and to 
tie up their countenances with wrappings that 
sometimes look like fly-papers, and at others like 
dishclouts. And those, too, were the days not 
only before electric tramways, but also before even 
horsed trams, along the Chiswick high road ; 
and Turnham Green (the worthy proprietor of our 
school called it " Chiswick," because it looked 
better) was a quite rustic place, and the distance 
of five miles to home in London seemed to one 
person at least a very far cry. 

These be tales of eld, and now Turnham Green 
is, to all intents and purposes, London, and shops 
have long been built where the school stood, and 
that dark high road upon whose infrequent pedes- 
trians, certain schoolboys, packed off to bed all too 
early, and not in the least tired, were used to expend 
all the available soap and other handy missiles, 
from lofty windows has become a highway even 
more than a thought too brilliantly lit at night. 

What remains of the park and gardens around 
Chiswick House now looks sorry enough. The 
place came into the hands of the Dukes of Devonshire 
in 1753, when William Cavendish, the fourth duke, 
who had married the daughter and heiress of the 
third and last Earl of Burlington, succeeded on 
that nobleman's death. It was this Earl of Bur- 
lington who had created the glories of Chiswick. 
A princely patron of the arts, especially those of 
architecture and sculpture, he had brought home 
with him from his travels in Italy a taste for the 



" BURLINGTON " 251 

grand exotic manner in the building of mansions 
and the planning of gardens ; and built the house 
here in 1729, after the Palladian model. It has 
been somewhat altered since, but the general idea 
remains, and sufficiently proves that the grand 
manner, learned abroad under summer skies, is 
not the comfortable manner as evolved by the 
necessities of a less ardent clime. English architects 
have been slow to unlearn the classic fallacy, but 
the home-grown architecture wins in the end, not 
from any appreciation of the artistic merits or 
demerits of the many methods, but on the score 
of sheer comfort or discomfort in living. 

The gardens of Chiswick House abounded in 
formal walks and long vistas, with conventional 
" ruins " and groups of antique statuary, but most 
of these are now gone 

Chiswick House, deserted by its owners, became 
a lunatic asylum, and stands at last more than a 
little forlorn, with new streets and roads everywhere 
around its grounds, and a newer suburb with the 
projected name of " Burlington " arising by piece- 
meal, instead of being created ad hoc, as the intention 
originally was. Burlington is an excellent name ; 
substantial people, with good bank balances should 
surely reside at such. It radiates respectability ; no 
one could be ashamed of it. I can easily imagine 
confiding tradesfolk giving unlimited credit to resi- 
dents at Burlington ; but it has not yet come into 
being, and the vast wilderness-like expanse of 
Duke's Meadows, projecting far southward, like a 
great cape between two bends of the river, remains 

VOL. II 19 



252 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

a tussocky place of desolation, looking over to 
Mortlake. 

In Burlington Lane, which is an old name, is a 
new length of villas, " The Cresent," its name so 
misspelled, and kept so with the valiance of ignorance, 
unconnected, for at least five years past. 

What remains of the old village of Chiswick lies 
considerably to the east of all these developments, 
and beside the river. There, past Hogarth House, 
where that famous painter lived and worked now 
a museum and showplace at sixpence a head, in 
memory of him stands old Chiswick church. Re- 
storations and additions have left really very little 
of the original building, but it wears a very plausible 
appearance of age. The weather-vane exhibits a 
figure of St. Nicholas, to whom the church is dedicated, 
standing in a boat and holding a staff surmounted 
by a cross. 

A strange inscription may be seen on the church- 
yard wall, at the east end. It seems to tell of a 
time when Chiswick was a village in every rustic 
circumstance : 

This wall was made at ye charges of 

Ye right honourable and Truly pious 

Lorde Francis Russell, Earle of Bedford, 

out of true zeale and care for ye keeping of this church yarde and 

ye wardrobe of godds saints whose 

bodies lay theirin buryed from violating by swine and other 

prophanation so witnesseth 

William Walker V. A.D. 1623. 

Rebuilt 1831. Refaced 1884. 

No one appears to know who was William Walker 



MORTLAKE 253 

the Fifth, and history is equally silent on the subject 
of the others of that dynasty. 

The neighbourhood is now one of remarkably 
striking contrasts. By the church stands the " Bur- 
lington Arms," an old inn claiming a remote origin, 
early in the fifteenth century, and with obvious 
honesty, for the ancient oaken timbers remain to 
bear witness to the fact. It is a quite humble, but 
cosy, little inn, astonishingly dwarfed by a great 
towering fortress-like brewery at the back ; as 
though Beer had withdrawn itself into a final strong- 
hold, there to defend itself to the last vat. Opposite 
the inn and this Bung Castle stands a stately red-brick 
mansion of early in the eighteenth century, with 
fine wrought-iron garden-gates. Up the street are 
other fine old mansions, mingled with squalid streets ; 
and round by the riverside is Chiswick Mall, with 
other noble houses of the olden times. Osiers are 
cut even to this day on Chiswick Eyot, the reedy 
island opposite. 

Such are the contrasts of Chiswick, one of the 
last outposts of rural things in these parts. To find 
the last we must travel on through the Mall and on 
to the more sophisticated Mall of Hammersmith ; 
thence proceeding across the bridge and along the 
Hammersmith Bridge Road to Barnes. That is the 
very last village. Near by is Mortlake. No one 
has ever satisfactorily explained that place-name, 
nor attempted to define the mortuus lacus the dead, 
or stagnant lake that would seem to have originated 
it. Nowadays it is rather to a dead level of common- 
place that Mortlake is descending, in the surrounding 



254 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

jerry-building activities. All that is left of the old 
church is the tower, apparently restored in the time 
of Henry the Eighth, for a tablet on the western 
face is inscribed " Vivat K.H. 8, 1543." 

To speak of Barnes in these days of suburban 
expansion as a " village " may at the first mention 
appear to be unduly stretching a point, but although 
Suburbia spreads for miles in every direction, and 
although Barnes is completely enfolded by modern 
developments, the ancient village is still where it 
used to be. It is true that a frequent service of 
motor-omnibuses does by no means tend to the pre- 
servation of the old-time rural amenities of Barnes, nor 
do those who remember the Barnes of thirty or forty 
years ago welcome the sudden irruption of modern 
shops and flats opposite the old parish church ; but 
very much of old Barnes is left embedded within 
these twentieth-century innovations ; and while 
Barnes Common remains, it is not likely that the 
place will decline to the common characterless con- 
dition of an ordinary suburb. Of the original Barnes 
the " Berne " of Domesday Book the place 
owned by the canons of St. Paul's, before the 
Eeformation, nothing, of course, is left ; and we may 
but dimly picture that rural riverside manor, then 
considered remote from London, with its great 
spicaria, or barns (the barns that were so much 
larger, or more numerous, than the usual type that 
they gave the place its name) ;' but there is a half 
squalid, half quaint appearance in the narrow, winding 
streets and lanes that hints, not obscurely, of the 
eighteenth or even of the seventeenth century. The, 



BARNES 



255 



church, too, although an examination of the interior 
proves it to have been, in common with most other 
once rural churches round London, swept almost 




TOMB OF EDWARD ROSE, BARNES. 



entirely bare of ancient features, is picturesquely 
placed, and its sixteenth- century red-brick tower, 
partly clothed with ivy, looks venerable. There is 
little of interest within the church, beyond the some- 



256 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

what curiously- worded epitaph to a former parson, 
which deserves the tribute of quotation : 

Merentissimo Conjugi 
Coniux Moerentissima. 

To the best of hvsbands lohn Sqvier the 
Late Faithfvll Rector of This Parish ; the only 
Son to That most strenvovs Propvgnator of Pietie 
and loyaltie (both by Preaching and Svffering) John 
Sqvier, sometime Vicar of St. Leonards, Shoreditch near 
London : Grace Lynch (who bare vnto him one only 
Davghter) Consecrated This (such as it is) small 
Monvment of Theyr mvtvall Affection. 
He was invested in This Care An : 1660 Sept : 2, 
He was devested of all Care An : 1662, Jan. 9, 
Aged 42 yeares. 

The really most sentimentally interesting thing here 
is something that might well be overlooked by ninety- 
nine of every hundred whose curiosity prompts them 
to enter the churchyard ; and it is probably so over- 
looked. This is the not at all striking tomb of one 
Edward Rose, citizen of London, who died in 1653, 
and lies buried in the churchyard, against the south 
wall of the church, by the great yew tree. He left 
20 for the purchase of an acre of land, from the rent 
of which he ordained that his grave should be main- 
tained in decent order, and bequeathed " 5 for 
making a frame or partition of wood " where he 
had appointed his burying-place ; and further ordered 
three rose-trees, or more, to be planted there. The 
bequests were to the minister, churchwardens, and 
overseers for the time being, so long as they should 
cause the wooden partition to be kept in repair and 



BARNES 

the rose-trees preserved or others planted in their 
places from time to time, as they should decay. 

Thus it is that, duly honouring his sentimental 
fancy, rose-trees are to this day to be seen here, 
enclosed within a low wooden railing. 



CHAPTER XII 

PUTNEY FULHAM BRIDGE FULHAM 

THE way from Barnes into Putney is now, when 
once you have passed the Common, wholly cut up 
into a suburb of streets originally mean, and at last, 
by contact with the stern squalors of life in a striving 
quarter of London town, become little removed above 
the level of slums. But Barnes Common remains 
something considerable in the way of an asset, and 
through it still runs the Beverley Brook along the 
last mile or two of its nine-miles course from Cheam 
to its outlet into the Thames at Barnes Elms. I 
should say it would be a sorry business attempting 
to fish nowadays in the Beverley Brook ; but regrets 
on that score are the sheerest futilities, and it should 
rather be a matter for congratulation that the 
brook has not been piped, and so altogether hidden 
from the eye of day. One, to be sure, regrets many 
things within this sphere of change ; notably the 
very considerable slices the London and South- 
Western Railway has been allowed to appropriate 
from the very middle of the Common, not only for 
the purpose of running the line through it, which, 
it might possibly be argued, was a geographical 

necessity, but also for the building of its Barnes 

258 



PUTNEY 259 

station there, which was nothing less than a. sublime 
piece of impudence. What is left of Barnes Common 
is particularly beautiful in the way of towsled gorse 
and some pretty clumps of silver-birches. On a 
byroad leading off it into Putney a route called 
Mill Hill road is something very much in the 
nature of a surprise in these parts, nothing less than 
an old toll-house ; a queer little building picturesquely 
overhung by bushy poplars. Its unexpected presence 
here (it must be now the nearest survival of its kind 
to London) hints that the days when Putney was 
really a village are not, after all, so long gone by. 

Presently we come into Putney, and to the tram- 
way terminus hard by the bridge and under the 
shadow of the church-tower, whose great sundial 
warns all and sundry that " Time and Tide Wait for 
no Man." Is it a result of laying to heart this maxim, 
truism, self-evident proposition, or whatever else 
you choose to call it, that the tramway-cars and the 
motor-omnibuses hustle so impatiently round the 
corners of the bridge ? 

Those two church-towers, that stand so pro- 
minently here on either side of the river and seem to 
bear one another close company, although divided, 
as a matter of fact by a quarter of a mile, with the 
broad river running between, belong to the churches 
of Putney and Fulham, both now to be regarded as 
parts of London. 

Putney Church, standing with its churchyard 
actually on the river bank, was almost wholly rebuilt 
about 1856, the exterior disclosing walls built of what 
was once white brick, reduced now to a subdued 

VOL. II 20 



260 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

neutral tint. The old tower is left, and some few 
small and late and much-battered brasses, now 
preserved on the walls of a little north-eastern 
chancel chapel, which is a survival from an earlier 
building, and has a fine, though small, vaulted ceiling. 

The usual absurd legends that seek to explain 
place-names to the ignorant and the credulous are, 
of course, not lacking here. The names of Putney 
and Fulham, and their situation directly opposite 
one another, on the Surrey and the Middlesex sides 
of the river, both so prominently marked by their 
church-towers, seem to the popular mind to need 
some story. The writer on places becomes tired in 
course of time at meeting those familiar rival " sisters" 
of legend, who are always found, in these strictly 
unveracious tales, to have been the competitive 
builders of the two churches occasionally found in 
one churchyard, of the twin towers possessed by some 
few parish churches, and indeed of most buildings 
which, for no very immediately apparent reason, 
have been duplicated within sight of one another. 

Here, therefore, we learn of two strange sisters 
of gigantic stature who, in the conveniently vague 
period of " once upon a time," lived on these oppo- 
site banks of the Thames. One is almost ashamed 
to repeat the stupid tale of their having agreed to 
build the towers of the respective churches, and 
having only one hammer between them, being 
accustomed to throw it across from one to the other 
when required. When the sister on the Fulham side 
needed the hammer, she asked the other to throw it 
over " full home." When it was returned, it was 



PUTNEY BRIDGE 263 

flung with a will, in response to the request " put 
nigh ! '' The flinging back and forth with every 
stone bedded must have been very wearing, and the 
shouting terrific. At last the hammer got broken, 
and had it not been for the help of a blacksmith up- 
river, who promptly mended it, the building must 
have ceased. Of course you guess where this kindly 
craftsman lived. Where else than at the place ever 
after called, in memory of him, " Hammersmith " ? 
The expansion of Putney from the likeness to a 
country village which it wore until quite recent times 
well within the memory of many who do not yet call 
themselves old, dates from the completion of the new 
and commonplace bridge that spans the river here in 
five flattened arches, and is seven hundred feet in 
length, and cost over 240,000. Handbooks and 
guides of various sorts will tell those who know 
nothing about it that the old wooden bridge which 
this replaced in 1886 was " ugly and inconvenient." 
The inconvenience we may readily enough grant, but 
no artist who ever knew old Putney Bridge will agree 
to its having been ugly. Indeed, so picturesque was 
it, in its maze of timbering, that every one who knew 
it, and at the same time owned the artistic sense, 
bitterly regretted its clearing away to give place to 
the present commonplace, though convenient, stone 
structure. Old Putney Bridge was the first to span 
the river between Fulham and Putney, and was 
originally projected in 1671. The proposal to build 
a bridge here was in the first stage discussed in 
Parliament, and there met with such opposition and 
ridicule that the scheme failed and was not revived 



264 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

until 1722, finally meeting with the approval of the 
House and receiving the Royal sanction in the early 
part of 1726. It is well worth while, after that space 
of time, to recover some of the discussion in 1671 
respecting the providing of a bridge in place of the 
immemorially old ferry. It was not only honest 
ridicule, but also a good deal of the fear and jealousy 
felt by "vested interests," that at first prevented 
a bridge being built here. And what person, or 
what corporate body, think you, was threatened so 
seriously by a bridge between Putney and Fulham ? 
The owner of the ferry ? the local watermen ? my 
Lord Bishop of London, whose palace was and still 
is, on yonder bank ? None of these were in such near 
prospect of being overwhelmed ; but it would appear 
that the great, ancient, and prosperous City of London, 
more than five miles downstream, was in that perilous 
state, on the mere threatening of a bridge at Putney. 
It was a Mr. Jones, representative of the City of 
London in that honourable House, who caught the 
Speaker's eye and thus held forth, in mingled appeal, 
warning, and denunciation : 

' It is impossible to contemplate without feelings 
of the most afflictive nature the probable success of 
the Bill now before the House. I am sensible that 
I can hardly do justice by any words of mine to the 
apprehensions which not only I myself personally 
feel upon the vital question, but to those which are 
felt by every individual in the kingdom who has 
given this very important subject the smallest share 
of his consideration. I am free to say, Sir, and I 
say it with the greater freedom, because I know that 



LONDON IN DANCER 265 

the erection of a bridge over the river Thames at 
Putney will not only injure the great and important 
city which I have the honour to represent, not only 
jeopardise it, not only destroy its correspondence 
and commerce, but actually annihilate it altogether/* 

It might be thought that this ludicrous extrava- 
gance of language would have aroused derisive 
laughter ; but no, the House appears to have taken 
him seriously, for, " Hear, hears " are reported at 
this stage. Apparently fortified by them, he con- 
tinued in the same strain : 

" I repeat, in all possible seriousness, that it will 
question the very existence of the metropolis ; and 
I have no hesitation in declaring that, next to pulling 
down the whole borough of Southwark, nothing can 
destroy more certainly than building this proposed 
bridge at Putney. (Hear, hear.) Allow me, Sir, to 
ask, and I do so with the more confidence because 
the answer is evident and clear, How will London be 
supplied with fuel, with grain, or with hay if this 
bridge is built ? All the correspondences westward 
will be at one blow destroyed. I repeat this fact 
boldly, because, as I said before, it is incontrovertible. 
As a member of this honourable House, I should not 
venture to speak thus authoritatively unless I had 
the best possible ground to go upon, and I state, 
without the least fear of contradiction, that the water 
at Putney is shallow at ebb, and assuming, as I do, 
that the correspondences of London require free pas- 
sage at all times, and knowing, as I do, that if a 
bridge be built there not even the common wherries 
will be able to pass the river at low water, I do say 



266 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

that I think the Bill one which only tends to promote 
a wild and silly scheme, likely to advantage a few 
speculators, but highly unreasonable and unjust in 
its character and provisions ; because independently 
of the ruin of the City of London, which I consider 
inevitable in the event of its success, it will effect an 
entire change in the position and affairs of the water- 
men a change which I have no hesitation in saying 
will most seriously affect the interests of His Majesty's 
Government, and not only the interests of the* Govern- 
ment, but those of the nation at large." 

Mr. Jones was followed by a member arguing 
with almost equal extravagance and vehemence in 
favour of the proposed bridge. It appeared to him 
that, if built, it " could not fail to be of the greatest 
utility and convenience to the whole British nation." 

Then presently arose Sir William Thompson, 
who considered this project " romantic and vision- 
ary." He added, " If a bridge be built at Putney, 
London Bridge may as well be pulled down. (Hear, 
hear !) Yes, Sir, I repeat it because this bridge, 
which seems to be a favourite scheme of some honour- 
able gentleman whom I have in my eye if this 
bridge be permitted, the rents necessary to the 
maintenance of London Bridge will be annihilated ; 
and therefore, as I said before, the bridge itself must 
eventually be annihilated also. But, Sir, this is not 
all. I speak affectionately of the City of London, 
and I hope I shall never be forgetful of its interests 
(' Hear, hear/ from Mr. Jones) ; but I take up the 
question on much more liberal principles, and assume 
a higher ground, and I will maintain it. Sir, Lon- 



LONDON IN DANGER 267 

don is circumscribed I mean the City of London. 
There are walls, gates, and boundaries, the which no 
man can increase or extend ; those limits were set 
by the wisdom of our ancestors, and God forbid they 
should be altered. But, Sir, though these landmarks 
can never be removed I say, never, for I have no 
hesitation in stating that when the walls of London 
shall no longer be visible and Ludgate is de- 
molished, England itself shall be as nothing ; yet it is 
in the power of speculative theorists to delude the 
minds of the people with visionary projects of in- 
creasing the skirts of the City so that it may even 
join Westminster. When that is the case, Sir, the 
skirts will be too big for our habits ; the head will 
grow too big for the body, and the members will get 
too weak to support the constitution. But what of 
this ? say honourable gentlemen ; what have we to 
do to consider the policy of increasing the town while 
we are only debating a question about Putney 
Bridge ? To which I answer, Look at the effects 
generally of the important step you are about to 
sanction : ask me to define those effects particularly, 
and I will descend to the minutiae of the mischief 
you appear prone to commit. Sir, I, like my honour- 
able friend the Member for the City of London, have 
taken opinions of scientific men, and I declare it to 
be their positive conviction, and mine, that if the 
fatal bridge (I can find no other suitable word) be 
built, not only will quicksands and shelves be created 
throughout the whole course of the river, but the 
western barges will be laid up high and dry at Ted- 
dington, while not a ship belonging to us will ever 
VOL. n 21 



268 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

get nearer London than Woolwich. Thus, not only 
your own markets, but your Custom House, will be 
nullified ; and not only the whole mercantile navy of 
the country be absolutely destroyed, but several 
west-country bargemen actually thrown out of 
employ. I declare to God, Sir, that I have no feeling 
on the subject but that of devotion to my country, 
and I shall most decidedly oppose the Bill in all its 
stages/' 

All this reads sufficiently absurdly nowadays, but 
it is surpassed in curious interest by the remarks 
added by a Mr. Boscawen, who, after declaring that, 
before he had come down to the House he could not 
understand what possible reason there could be for 
building a bridge at Putney, went on to say that 
" now he had heard the reasons of honourable gentle- 
men, he was equally at a loss to account for them." 

And then, with concentrated satire, he proceeded : 

' If there were any advantage derivable from a 

bridge at Putney, perhaps some gentleman would 

find that a bridge at Westminster would be a 

convenience/' 

It should be remembered here that the first bridge 
at Westminster was not opened until 1750. Until 
that date there was not any bridge between London 
Bridge and Putney. Hence the true inwardness of 
the sarcasm in Mr. Boscawen's remarks already 
quoted, and of those now about to be set forth. 

Thus he continued : " Other honourable gentle- 
men might dream that a bridge from the end of 
Fleet Market into the fields on the opposite side of 
the water would be a fine speculation ; or who knew 



OLD PUTNEY BRIDGE 269 

but at last it might be proposed to arch over the 
river altogether and build a couple more bridges ; 
one from the Palace at Somerset House into the 
Surrey marshes, and another from the front of 
Guildhall into South wark (great laughter). Perhaps 
some honourable gentlemen who are interested in 
such matters would get up in their places and propose 
that one or two of these bridges should be built of 
iron. (Shouts of laughter.) For his part, if this Bill 
passed, he would move for leave to bring in half a 
dozen more Bills for building bridges at Chelsea, 
and at Hammersmith, and at Marble Hall Stairs, and 
at Brentford, and at fifty other places besides." 

Bridges at all those places have long since been 
built, and, of course, many of them in iron ; so the 
foolishness of one generation becomes the sober 
commonplace fact of the next. 

The bridge thus hotly debated and rejected and 
at last permitted to be built, was eventually begun 
in 1729. It was wholly a commercial speculation. 
The Company interested in it had at the beginning 
to satisfy the claims of the Duchess Dowager of 
Marlborough, Lady of the Manor of Wimbledon, and 
of the Bishop of London, Lord of the Manor of 
Fulham, for the extinction of their respective rights 
in the ancient ferry. The Duchess received 364 10s., 
and the Bishop the meagre amount of 23. The 
three tenants of the ferry, however, received alto- 
gether as much as 8,000 ; and at the same time the 
Bridge Act provided for 62 per annum to be paid by 
the Company, in perpetuity, to the churchwardens 
of Putney and Fulham ; to be divided between the 



270 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

watermen, their widows and children, for the loss of 
the Sunday ferry. 

On November 27, 1729, the bridge was fully 
opened. The cost was remarkably small. Including 
Parliamentary expenses and the amounts paid to 
persons interested in the ferry, it totalled only 
23,084 14s. Id. The old building, narrow, and 
patched, and crazy-looking, but strong enough to 
have stood for many more long years, remained to 
the last in all essentials the bridge of 1729. It had 
twenty-nine openings, and at the top of the cut- 
waters of every pier a sanctuary for foot-passengers 
to step into when wheeled traffic occupied the narrow 
road. The modest sum of one halfpenny freed the 
pedestrian, except on Sunday, when the discourage- 
ment to gadding about on the Sabbath was a doubled 
toll. In 1880 the Metropolitan Board of Works 
purchased the bridge for 58,000, and on June 26 
of the same year it was declared free of toll. The 
last chapter of its long story was concluded on May 
29, 1886, when, upon the opening of the new 
bridge, it was closed. 

Putney Bridge is found sometimes referred to 
as " Fulham " Bridge, but those references are few, 
and there has never been any general disposition 
to style it other than the name it bears by common 
usage. Yet it is as much Fulham Bridge as Putney. 
The present costly structure, built at such great 
expense in 1886, is already of insufficient width for 
.conveniently carrying the great press of traffic that 
now uses it, especially since electric tramways 
have been laid across. The cynical indifference 






- 




MONUMENT TO VISCOUNT MOKDAUNT, FULHAM CHURCH. 



FULHAM CHURCH 273 

to the comfort and even the safety of other users 
of the road often displayed by public bodies and by 
the engineers who lay tram-rails, is shown markedly 
here, where the London County Council's lines run 
for a considerable distance within two feet of the 
kerb. It is already so evident that the width of 
the bridge is insufficient that the ordinary observer 
would not be surprised to find the necessary widening 
works soon begun. 

Fulham Church was rebuilt in 1881, and only 
the ancient tower of the former building remains. 
It is in the Perpendicular style of architecture, of a 
quite common type, and greatly resembles in general 
style that of Putney Church, at the other end of the 
bridge ; but is on a much larger scale. It contains 
a peal of ten bells, of which the Fulham people 
used to be very proud, but an inordinate fondness 
for ringing them in crashing peals has destroyed 
any liking ; and, in any case, Fulham of to-day, 
as a part of London, has lost that sense of individu- 
ality which used to take a proud interest in local 
possessions. 

The interior of the church, which has weathered 
so greatly in the few years of its existence that it 
resembles an ancient building, is rich in momiments, 
but at one time possessed many more. The oldest 
is a lozenge-shaped Flemish brass dated 1529 to 
one Margaret Svanders, with a curious head-and- 
shoulders representation of the lady herself ; but 
the oddest of all the memorials here is that to John, 
Viscount Mordaunt, including a statue of that 
nobleman, rather larger than life-size, in white 



274 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

marble. It has now been banished to the tower, 
from the prominent position it formerly occupied 
in the south aisle, and is not a little startling, seen 
suddenly and unexpectedly in a half light. The 
weird-looking figure is like that of a lunatic police- 
man standing on a dining-room table in his socks, 
and pretending to direct the traffic, with a sheet 
wound partly round his nakedness, and something 
like a rolling-pin in his hand. 

It stands on a raised slab of polished black 
marble, with a black background throwing it into 
further relief. This extraordinary effigy was sculp- 
tured by Bird, author of the original statue of Queen 
Anne in front of St. Paul's Cathedral, of which 
an exact replica by Richard Belt now occupies the 
same spot. 

The mad-policeman idea is due, of course, to 
the sculptor having chosen to represent that dis- 
tinguished nobleman as a Roman, with a truncheon, 
which he is seen to be wielding with a mock-heroic 
gesture. The truncheon typifies the official position 
he held as Constable of Windsor Castle. 

Lord Mordaunt was a younger son of the first 
Earl of Peterborough. Born in 1627, he was active 
among the younger Royalists, and figured at last 
in the restoration of Charles the Second, who created 
him Viscount Aviland, a title which seems to have 
been somewhat thrust into the background. He 
died of a fever in 1675, and appears to have led 
an active and an honourable life, which ought to 
have excused him from this posthumous grotesquery. 
The whole monument is indeed a prominent example 



LORD RANELAGH 275 

of the fantastic taste of its period, and is set about 
with marble pedestals bearing epitaph and family 
genealogy, and sculptured gauntlets and coronets. 

A number of very distinguished personages lie 
in the great churchyard. Prominent among the 
later monuments, as you enter along Church Row 
and past the Powell almshouses, is that of the fifth 
and last Viscount Ranelagh and Baron Jones, who 
died November 13, 1885, in his seventy-third year. 
There are still very many who well recollect the 
distinguished-looking figure of Lord Ranelagh : a 
tall, slim, bearded man, with his hair brushed in 
front of his ears in an old-world style, a silk hat 
rakishly poised at an angle, a tightly buttoned frock- 
coat, in which always appeared a scarlet geranium, 
throughout the year, and light-tinted trousers. He 
gave the general impression of one who had seen 
life in circles where it is lived rapidly ; and to this 
his broken nose, which he had acquired in thrashing 
a coal-heaver who had been rude to him in the 
street, picturesquely contributed. He looked in 
some degree like a survival from the fast-living age 
of the Regency, although, as a matter of fact, he 
was born only when that riotous period was nearly 
over. The very title " Ranelagh " has something of 
a reckless, derring-do sound. He was one of the early 
Volunteers, and raised the Second (South) Middle- 
sex corps, of which he remained colonel until his 
death. The military funeral given him by his men 
would have been of a much more imposing, and 
even national, character, befitting the important 
part he took in the Volunteer movement, had it 



276 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

not been that a general election was in progress 
at the time. At such times the military and 
auxiliary forces are by old statutes not allowed 
to assemble. The theory is the old one of possible 
armed interference with the free choice of electors. 

Numerous monuments to long-dead and for- 
gotten Bishops of London are found here. A group 
of them, eight in number, chiefly of the eighteenth 
century, is found to the east of the church. They 
are a grim and forbidding company. Amid them 
is found the meagre headstone and concise inscrip- 
tion to a humorist of considerable renown : '" Theo- 
dore Edward Hook, died 24th August, 1841, in the 
53rd year of his age." Efforts to provide a better 
monument have failed to secure support. Perhaps 
it is thought by those who withhold their subscrip- 
tions that the reading his books is the best memorial 
an author can be given. 

Immediately to the west of the church extend 
the grounds of Fulham Palace, which run for some 
distance alongside the river, where a strip has been 
modernised and provided with an embankment 
wall, and opened to the public as the " Bishop's 
Park " ; Fulham Palace and its wide-spreading lands 
forming the " country seat " of the Bishops of 
London, whose " town house " is in St. James's 
Square. The Bishops of London have held their 
manor of Fulham continuously for about nine cen- 
turies, and are said in this respect to be the oldest 
landed proprietors in England. Here they have 
generally maintained a considerable degree of state 
and secluded dignity, hidden among the luxuriant 




THE TOWER, FULHAM CHURCH. 



FULHAM PALACE 279 

trees and enclosed within the dark embrace of a 
sullen moat, which to this day encircles their demesne, 
as it probably has done since the time when a body 
of invading Danes wintered here in A.D. 880-1. 
This much-overgrown moat is a mile round, and, 
together with the surrounding ancient muddy con- 
ditions which were remarkable enough to have given 
Fulham its original name of the " foul home," or 
miry settlement, must have proved a very thorough 
discouragement to visitors, both welcome and un- 
welcome. 

Fulham Palace does not look palatial, and its 
parts are very dissimilar. The two principal fronts 
of the roughly quadrangular mass of buildings face 
east and west. That to the east was built by Bishop 
Howley in 1815, and has the appearance of the 
usual modest country mansion of that period ; 
while the west front, which is the oldest part of 
the Palace, and dates from 1502-1522, when the 
then dilapidated older buildings were cleared away, 
is equally typical of the less pretentious country- 
houses of tne age. It was Bishop Fitzjames who 
rebuilt this side, and his approach gateway and the 
tower by which the Palace is generally entered, 
remain very much the same as he left them. A 
modest, reverend dignity of old red brick, patterned, 
after the olden way, with lozenges of black, pervades 
this courtyard, upon which the simply framed win- 
dows still look, unaltered. The sculptured stone 
arms under the clock upon the tower are those of 
Bishop Juxon, more than a century later than the 
date of these buildings, and have no connection 

VOL. II 22 



280 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

with the position given them here in modern 
times. 

The Great Hall is immediately to the left of 
this entrance. It is in many ways the most im- 
portant apartment in Fulham Palace. Here, while 
it was yet a new building, the ferocious Roman 
Catholic Bishop Bonner sometimes sat to examine 
heretics, while on other occasions they would appear 
to have been questioned in the old chapel, a structure 
that seems to have been situated in the eastern, 
rebuilt, portion of the groups of offices. The bold- 
ness of those sturdy men, many of whom became 
martyrs and confessors for righteousness" sake, reads 
amazingly. They were brought here in custody to 
the enemy's own precincts, and questioned for their 
lives, with preliminary tastes, in the shape of burning 
on the hands, of greater torments to come if their 
answers were deemed unsatisfactory. Yet we do 
not find that they often faltered. On September 10, 
1557, there were brought before Bonner, in his private 
chapel here, Ralph Allerton and three other religious 
suspects. To one of these Bonner propounded the 
singular question, " Did he know where he was ? '' 
The answer came swiftly, " In an idol's temple." 
This was bold indeed, but awfully injudicious, 
according to modern ideas. But expediency and 
time-serving were cast aside then, and men were 
earnest though they died for it. I do not know 
what happened to the person who made that bitter 
repartee, but I suspect he suffered for it. 

In the Great Hall occasionally used by Bonner 
in his examination of those who were not of his way 



THE WHETSTONE 283 

of thinking in religious matters, Thomas Tomkins 
had his hand burned over the flame of a candle. 
He perished at Smith field in February 1555. 

This hall, after various changes, was converted 
into a domestic chapel by Bishop Howley, who had 
demolished the old chapel in the course of his re- 
building works. And so it remained until Bishop 
Tait had completed his modern chapel, in 1867 ; 
when it became again the Hall, and the marble 
flooring in black and white squares, with which it 
was paved, was replaced by oak. 

Among the several changes that followed upon 
Bishop Howley 's rebuilding of a portion of the 
Palace was that by which the old dining-parlour 
was converted into a kitchen. In the time when 
Beilby Porteous was Bishop of London, 1787- 
1809, there hung over the mantelpiece an object 
that aroused the curiosity of all the Bishop's visitors ; 
not because they did not know what it was for it 
was nothing more than a whetstone, a sufficiently 
common object outside the dining-room of a Bishop 
but because they could not understand its being 
here. And when the Bishop further mystified his 
guests by telling them it had been given to him on 
one of his journeys as a prize for being an accom- 
plished liar, they gave up wondering, and waited 
for the story obviously belonging to it. 

The particular journey on which he accomplished 
these supposed prodigious feats of lying and prize- 
winning took him to Coggeshall, in Essex, which 
appears at that time to have rejoiced in the possession 
of a "Liars' Club." The tale is well told in the 



284 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

old New Quarterly Magazine : " There is a story 
that Bishop Porteous once stopped in this town 
to change horses, and, observing a great crowd in 
the streets, put his head out of the window to inquire 
the cause. A townsman standing near by replied 
that it was the day upon which they gave the whet- 
stone to the biggest liar. Shocked at such depravity, 
the good Bishop proceeded to the scene of the com- 
petition, and lectured the crowd upon the enormity 
of the sin, concluding his discourse with the em- 
phatic words : ' I never told a lie in my life/ where- 
upon the chief umpire exchanged a few words with 
his fellows, and, approaching the carriage, said : 
' My Lord, we unanimously adjudge you the prize," 
and forthwith the highly objectionable whetstone 
was thrust in at the carriage window." 

This inimical article in course of time disappeared 
from these walls, later Bishops being less appreciative 
of the peculiar humour of the situation, or perhaps 
feeling themselves to be unworthy of the exceptional 
honour ; for, after all, if Bishop Porteous " never 
told a lie in his life," surely he must have ranked 
with the only other personage reputed to have 
been naturally truthful, George Washington. But 
it is to be remarked that we have these statements 
from suspect sources from the personages them- 
selves. The Bishop said he had never done such a 
thing, and Washington as a boy declared he " could 
not." Now, it has been declared on eminent author- 
ity which no one will care to dispute that " all 
men are liars," and it would seem, therefore, that 
these two were superhuman. They were not, on 



PAGEANTS 285 

account of that alleged natural truthfulness, one 
whit the better than their fellow-men, for there is 
more joy in one sinner that sees the error of his 
ways and repents than in a hundred just men. 

On the north side of the old courtyard are the 
rooms especially associated, according to tradition, 
with Bonner, whose ghost is said to haunt the corridors 
and the apartment still known as his bedroom. 
This part of the Palace is appropriately dark, and 
the passages narrow. These rooms are now occupied 
by the servants, as also are those on two other sides 
of the quadrangle, generally known as Bishop Laud's 
rooms. Until a few years ago and perhaps even 
yet the servants were wakened in the morning 
by a man known as the " knocker-up/' who went 
round the courtyard with a long wand, and tapped 
sharply with it at the upper windows. 

In these days of pageants, the picturesque 
wooded grounds of Fulham Palace have witnessed 
some striking reconstructions of the brave and the 
terrible days of old. There was, for example, the 
Church Pageant, in which numbers of participants 
enjoyed themselves immensely as in a long bout of 
private theatricals, all in aid of some deserving 
charity. The charity did not, it would appear, 
benefit after all, for those doings resulted in a deficit, 
and a Military Pageant was held the following year 
to make up the loss. What was done to abolish the 
loss that probably resulted from this is not within 
my knowledge. 

The Bishops of London, or the Ecclesiastical 
Commissioners, are now making some profit by 



286 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

letting or selling land for building upon, around the 
outskirts of the park. If any kind friend can help 
an overburdened Bishop who cannot without diffi- 
culty make two ends meet, let him remember the 
occupant of Fulham Palace. His bitter cry has 
appeared in the newspapers, so that there can be 
no breach of delicacy in mentioning the subject 
here. 

Not the least of his burdens is the large sum it 
is necessary to disburse before he can finally style 
himself " London." Thus, the Reverend Winnington 
Ingram, when installed Bishop of London, found his 
accession to the Episcopal Bench and his coming 
to Fulham Palace a little expensive. Other newly 
made Bishops had ever found the like, but they 
had never before taken the public into their con- 
fidence, nor raised a howl of despair at the fees 
customarily payable by new-made Right Reverend 
Father in God. But this is an age of publicity, 
in which very few unexplored or secret corners 
survive ; and Dr. Ingram is essentially at one with 
an epoch which has produced General Booth and 
the Reverend Wilson Carlile. We should, however, 
be grateful for this, for by favour of it we learn 
some curious ecclesiastical details that beset those 
unhappy enough to have obtained high preferment 
in the Church. 

Thus, on filling up a vacancy on the Bench of 
Bishops, the first step, it seems, is that taken by 
the Crown Office, which confers upon Dean and 
Chapter the Sovereign's conge d'elire, or leave to 
elect ; not, be it said, the leave to elect whom they 



COSTS AND CHARGES 289 

please, but permission to elect whomsoever it shall 
please the Sovereign (or the Prime Minister at the 
head of the Government at the time in power) to 
select, in place of the right reverend prelate recently 
gathered to Abraham's bosom. The warrant for 
this humorous " leave " to elect is paid for by the 
Bishop who is presently elected. It costs 10, and 
is but the first of a series of complicated costs 
that come out of his pocket, and in the end total 
423 195. 2d. 

The initial warrant is followed by a certificate, 
costing 16 10s., and that by letters patent, 
costing another 30, with 2s. for the " docquet." 

So far, your Bishop is only partly made. He is 
" elected by Dean and Chapter." Thereupon, 
through the Crown Office, the assent of the Sovereign 
to the choice himself has made through his Prime 
Minister, is graciously signified, and the original 
costs are reimposed, plus 10s. The chapter-clerk 
of the Bishop's own cathedral then requests fees 
totalling 21 6s. Sd. 

A technical form of procedure, known as " resti- 
tution of temporalities," has then to be enacted, 
not without its attendant fees, which include 10 
for a warrant, 31 10s. Qd. for a certificate, 30 for 
letters patent, and 2s. for another " docquet." 

Next comes the Home Office, clamouring for 
Exchequer fees : 7 13s. 6d. for the original conge 
d'elire, and the like for letters recommendatory, 
Royal assent, and restitution of temporalities. 
The oath of homage costs 6 6s. 6d. 

The new Bishop has then to reckon with the 



290 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

Board of Green Cloth, with its homage fees to the 
Earl Marshal and the heralds, totalling 15 Os. 2d. 

Your Bishop is not yet, however, out of the 
wood of expenditure. When he takes his seat in 
the House of Lords the Lord Great Chamberlain's 
Office wants 5 and gets it. When he is enthroned 
the precentor pockets 10 10s., and the chapter- 
clerk 9 14s. Sd., the bell-ringers of the Cathedral 
ring a merry peal fee 10 10s. The choir then 
chorify at a further expense of 6 17s. 4d. 

Have we now done ? Not at all. The clerk 
of the Crown Office is tipped half a guinea, plus 
two guineas for " petty expenses " ; and takes 14 
when the Bishop takes his place among his brethren 
in the House of Lords. 

When all these various officers of Church and 
State are busily picking the new Bishop's pockets, 
in advance of their being filled, as an Irishman 
might say, the Archbishop himself is not behind- 
hand. His turn comes when the archiepiscopal fees 
for confirmation are demanded ; and they are heavy, 
costing in all 68 4s. lOcL These imposts are made 
up of the following items : Secretary, with Arch- 
bishop's fiat for confirmation, 17 10s., Vicar-General, 
31 Os. 10^., fees at church where confirmation is 
made, 10 5s., and to Deputy Registrar, for mandate 
of induction, 9 9s. To the Bishop's own secre- 
taries a sum of 36 5s. is then payable. The 
Bishop may then, surveying these devastations, at 
last consider himself elected, and in every way 
complete. 

Let us hope that although the spreading tentacles 



THE MOAT 

of London town have enfolded Fulham and abolished 
its old market-gardens and numerous stately man- 
sions in favour of commonplace streets, the evident 
episcopal wish to be rid of Fulham Palace will not 
lead to it being alienated. It remains one of the 
very few things that connect this now populous 
suburb with the village that many still remember ; 
and the romantic-looking moat, often threatened 
to be filled up, is a relic of remote antiquity it would 
be vandalism to destroy. " No one," as Sir Arthur 
Blomfield remarked in 1856, " could say that the 
Bishops of London had constructed that defence. 
We may well hesitate to believe that any prelate, 
however rich and powerful, would have in any age 
undertaken to dig round his house a moat of such 
extent that, if intended as a means of defence, it 
would require a very large force to render it effective ; 
still less can we believe that it was ever dug with 
any other object than that of defence." The Danes 
constructed it, and the bishops found it here when 
they came. It is fed by a sluice communicating 
with the river, and was until recent times a stagnant, 
malodorous place, owing to the sluice being rarely 
raised, the ditch cleansed, or the water changed. 
On the rare occasions when the mud was cleared 
away, the cost varied from 100 to 150, owing to 
the great accumulation of it. Those were the times 
when lilies grew in the moat. The Fulham people 
called them " Bishops' wigs." In 1886 the then 
Bishop of London received a communication from 
the Fulham Vestry, requiring him to fill up the evil- 
smelling moat, or to cleanse it. He had it cleaned 
VOL. ii 23 



292 THAMES VALLEY VILLAGES 

out, and it looks no less a place of romance than 
before. It is too greatly overgrown with trees and 
brushwood to make a picture for illustration, but 
while it lasts, with the woodland park it encloses, 
Fulham will still keep some vestige of its olden 
condition of a Thames-side village. 



INDEX 



ABINGDON, i. 159, 216-33 
Ashton Keynes, i. 22-30 
Augustine, St., i. 47 

BABLOCKHYTHE, i. 161 
Bampton, i. 121-4 
Barnes, ii. 253-8 
Basildon, i. 295 
Benson, i. 268 
Besselsleigh, i. 157-60 
Beverley Brook, ii. 258 
Binsey, i. 190-92 
Bisham, ii. 45-50, 201 
Bourne End, ii. 56 
Boveney, ii. 109 
Bray, ii. 69-81 
Brentford, ii. 220-36 
Brightwell, i. 268 

Salome, i. 268 
Buckland, i. 118-21 
Burford, i. 105-7 
" Burlington," ii. 251 
Burnham Abbey, ii. 105 
Buscot, i. 89-92 

C.ESAR, JULIUS, ii. 157, 221-9 
Cambridge, H.R.H. Duke of, ii. 
Carfax Conduit, i. 215 
Castle Eaton, i. 50-58 
Caversham, i. 304-7 
Charney Brook, i. 124 



Chertsey, ii. 150, 161, 201 

Chiswick, ii. 245-53 

Cholsey, i. 293 

Churn, River, i. 17-19, 45, 94 

Cirencester, i. 9-13, 18 

Clanfield, i. 107-9 

Clewer, ii. 110 

Clifton Hampden, i. 247, 252-6 

Cliveden, ii. 60-64 

Coin, River, i. 66, 73, 74 

Colne, River, ii. 141 

Cookham, ii. 59 

Cote, i. 124-7 

Coway Stakes, ii. 157-65, 221 

Cricklade, i. 30-46, 69 

Crowmarsh Gifford, i. 283 

Cumnor, i. 161-85 

DAMEB, AXNE SEYMOUR, ii. 25 
Datchet, ii. 131 
Day's Lock, i. 256, 259 
Dorchester, i. 259-68 
Dorney, ii. 86-105 / 

Down Ampney, i. 47 
Dudley, Robert, Earl of Leicester, 
i. 171-85 

EATON WEIR, i. 92 
Eisey Chapel, i. 50 
Eton, ii. 115-19 
Ewen, i. 21 



293 



294 INDEX 

Eynsham, i. 186-9 

FAIRFORD, i. 66, 73-85 
" Fair Rosamond," i. 193-6 
Faringdon, i. 102, 110-17 
Folly Bridge, i. 197-9 
Fulham, ii. 259, 273-92 

- Palace, ii. 276-92 

GATHAMPTON, i. 290 

Gaunt's House, i. 141-5 

Godstow, i. 193-6 

Goring, i. 284-90 

Great Faringdon, i. 102, 110-17 

Mario w, ii. 51-6 
Grove Park, ii. 245 

HALLIFORD, ii. 158 

Ham, ii. 185 

Hamble, River, ii. 30 

Hambleden, ii. 30-4 

Harcourt family, The, i. 146-9, 

155, 186 ; ii. 136 
Harcourt, Sir William, i. 207, 212 
Hart's Weir, i. 92 
Hell-Fire Club, The, ii. 34-8 
Henley, ii. 22-30 
Hennerton Backwater, ii. 22 
Hoby, Lady, ii. 49 
Horton, ii. 137-41 
Hurley, ii. 41-5 
Hurst, ii. 8-10 

IFFLEY, i. 200-7 

- Mill, i. 22, 203 
Inglesham, i. 64-6 

Round House, i. 64-6 

Isis, River, i. 16, 69 ; ii. 5 
Isleworth, ii. 210-20 

JESUS HOSPITAL, ii. 81 



KEDERMINSTER family, The, ii. 

120-8 

Kelmscott, i. 66, 93 
Kemble' i. 19-21 
Kempsford, i. 58-64, 91-8 
Kew, ii. 237 

Kew Gardens, ii. 220, 230, 237 
Kit's Quarries, i. 106 

LALEHAM, ii. 145-9, 162 

Langley Marish, ii. 119-28 
Latton, i. 47 
Leach, River, i. 66, 94 
Lechlade, i. 66-73, 85 
" Lertoll Well," i. 47-9 
Leslie, G. D., R.A., ii. 64 
Little Wittenham, i. 247, 251 
Littleton, ii. 149 
Loddon, River, ii. 7, 17 
Long Wittenham, i. 241, 251 

MAIDENHEAD, ii. 64-8 
Mapledurham, i. 300-4 
Marlow, ii. 51-6 
Marsh Lock, ii. 25 
Medley, i. 190, 196 
Medmenham, ii. 34-8 
Milton, John, ii. 137-41 
Mongewell, i. 268, 283 
Morris, William, i. 94-8 
Mortlake, ii. 253 
Moulsford, i. 293 

NEW BRIDGE, i. 138-41 
Newnham Murren, i. 283 
Norreys family, The, ii. 82-5 
North Stoke, i. 283 
Northmoor, i. 124, 145 
Nuneham Courtney, i. 207-15 

OAKLADE BRIDGE, i. 29, 94 



INDEX 



295 



Oatlands, ii. 161,167 
Ockwells, ii. 82-6 
" Old England," ii. 225 
" Old Man's Bridge," 1. 117 
Old Windsor, ii. 131 
Osiers, i. 132-6 

PALMEB FAMILY, THE, ii. 89-105 
Pangbourne, i. 5 ; ii. 296-9 
Patrick Stream, The, ii. 17 
Pen ton Hook, ii. 150 
Petersham, ii. 185-211 
Pope, Alexander, i. 151, 304 
Purley, i. 307-11 
Putney, ii. 259-63 

- Bridge, ii. 263-73 
Pye, Henry James, Poet Laureate, 

i. 113-15 

RADCOT BRIDGE, i. 101-7, 117 
Ray, River, i. 50 
Reading, i. 304, 307 ; ii. 1 
Richmond, ii. 193, 209, 210, 237 
Robsart, Amy, i. 172-85 
Runnymede, ii. 132 
Ruscombe, ii. 11 
Rushes, i. 137 
Rushey Lock, i. 118 

ST. AUGUSTINE, i. 47 
St. Frideswide, i. 190, 192 
St. John's Lock, i. 89 
St. Lawrence Waltham, ii. 11 
Seacourt, i. 190 
Seven Springs, i. 17 
Shelley, Percy Bysshe, ii. 55 
Shepperton, ii. 154, 158, 162 
Shifford, i. 127 
Shillingford, i. 268 
Shiplake, ii. 17 
Mill. i. 25 



Shottesbrooke, ii. 11-17 
Sinodun, i. 247-251, 256 
Smith, Rt. Hon. W. H., ii. 30 
Somerford Keynes, i. 21 
Sonning, ii. 1-7, 10 
Sotwell, i. 268 
South Stoke, i. 283 
Staines, ii. 141, 145 
Standlake, i. 141 
Stanton Harcourt, i. 146-56 
Stanwell, ii. 142-5 
Steventon, i. 234 
Strand-on-the-Green, ii. 238-45 
Streatley, i. 290-5 
Sutton Courtney, i. 234-41 
Swillbrook, The, i. 29, 94 
Swinford Bridge, i. 186 

TADPOLE BRIDGE, i. 118, 121 

Thame, River, i. 16 

Thames and Severn Canal, i. 14, 

45, 59, 64 

Thames Head, i. 8, 14-18 
Thames, River, i. 16-18 ; ii. 25 
" Torpids," i. 199 ' 
Trewsbury Mead, i. 15 
Turnham Green, ii. 246-8 
Twickenham, ii. 178 
Twyford, ii. 8 

UPPER SOMEHFORD MILL, i. 21 

VICAK OF BRAY, ii. 69-77 
Villiers, Barbara, Duchess of 
Cleveland, ii. 101-5 

WALKER, FREDERICK, ii. 45, 59 
Wallingford, i. 272 
Walton, ii. 158, 161, 165 
War borough, i. 268-83 



296 

Wargrave, ii. 18-22 
Water Eaton, i. 50-3 
Water Hay, i. 29 
Wey, River, ii. 154 
Weybridge, ii. 150-4, 161 
Whitchurch, i. 5 ; ii. 290 
Willows, i. 128-32 



INDEX 



Windrush, River, i. 141 
Windsor, ii. 110-15 
Wittenham, Little, i. 247, 251 

- Long, i. 241, 251 
Wraysbury, ii. 135-7 
Wye, River, ii. 59 
Wytham, i. 166, 186-90 



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