Local History Society

 Arborfield W. I. History 1922









of the


and the






Beatrice M. Simonds,


The text of the Women's Institute History document appears below.

It has also appeared, fully edited, as an illustrated book sold locally.


Grateful thanks are due for help in the writing of this account of Arborfield and Newland,

  • to the Revd. J. A. Anderson, Rector of Arborfield, for quotations from the Parish Registers and the loan of the Church Rate Book:

  • to the Revd. P. H. Ditchfield, Rector of Barkham, for his lecture to the Women's Institute in March, on the History of the Village, for the loan of his notes, also of his History of the "Dawson Family",

  • "Memories of the Bullock Family" by Llewellyn Bullock, and

  • "Antiquities of Berkshire" by Elias Ashmole;

  • also to Mr Arthur Garrett for the loan of the Newland Rate Book.

Others referred to are:-

  • Victoria County History of Berkshire

  • Magna Brittania by Daniel Lysens, 1806

  • History of Berkshire - Cooper King

  • An Introduction of English Industrial History - Henry Allsopp

  • and other books of reference.

[Transcription, along with later hand-written notes, by Lynda Codling, 1994.]



The name is derived from the word "Feld", Saxon for clearing or settlement, "The Settlement of Eber or Heber"; the spelling varied considerably: Erburghefelde, Edburgefeld, Heberfeld, Arberfeld. In the reign of James I, Norden, in his map of the Forest, calls the place "Awfield Cross", and the modern form of Arborfield is met with for the first time in the 17th Century.

The Feld came from the clearing in Windsor Forest, as that extended many miles beyond, till the reign of Henry III, when the limit was fixed at the River Loddon, forming one boundary of the Parish. As late as the reign of William IV, part of the Forest still extended up to the edge of Arborfield, as part of Bear Wood in the next Parish of Hurst was Crown lands, till sold to Mr John Walter, the founder of the Times newspaper, in 1819.

The boundary between Arborfield and Swallowfield is still marked by a tree, called the Bound Oak, which must be quite 650 years old, called that for the reason that, when the bounds of a parish were beaten on Rogation Days, and prayers were said by the priest, boys were beaten on the Boundary so as to remember it; in some places the lord of the manor was beaten. This oak stands at the end of a lane which may possibly have been a Roman road, and has that tradition, joining the Devil's High Way, which was an early British road running straight from Staines to Silchester, the latter being a very important Celtic and then Roman town. The Roman roads were made along British tracks. When Mrs Bruce built Arborfield Court in 1906, having bought the land from John Simonds of Newlands, it was discovered that there had been a Celtic burial place there, a tumulus or barrow; these places were always made on high ground. The workmen digging the foundations for the house came across several urns containing bones and pieces of ancient pottery. (These urns were at once taken in charge by the Rev. P. H. Ditchfield of Barkham Rectory).

According to the Victoria County History of Berkshire which is compiled from the Doomsday Book, the inhabitants of these "Settlements or Hamlets" were engaged in pastoral and agricultural pursuits, but the greater part, possibly the whole of this district, was occupied before, and at the time of the Roman invasion A.D. 43 by the Attrebates, who were ancient inhabitants of Gaul and Belgium, in a part afterwards called Artois. A tribe of these people came to Britain, and settled in Berkshire and Oxfordshire, making the Celtic town of Calleva Attrebatum, i.e. Silchester, theirs, and in their turn submitting themselves to Caesar and the Romans.

Arborfield is only mentioned in Doomsday as belonging to the lordship of the Bishop of Sonning. This ancient lordship, included besides Arborfield, Hurst, Hinton, Newland, Ruscombe, Sandhurst, Sonning, Winnersh and Wokingham. It was assessed at 60 hides of land, and had such extensive woodland as held 300 swine. The fisheries on the Loddon at Whistley, part of Hurst, were valued at 3000 eels a year, while further up the river at Shinfield, 5 fisheries are mentioned worth 550 eels. 150 from the Mill Pool, which may possibly have been the pool at Arborfield, as Swallowfield, higher up stream, has its own mention.

Of the villages round, Barkham, Shinfield, Swallowfield, Finchampstead and Earley, were all "King's Demesene" at the time William I caused the Doomsday Book to be written.

In the 10th Century Berkshire, Wiltshire, Dorsetshire, and possibly part of Hampshire, were under the Bishop of Sonning, or Ramsbury or Wilton, as different bishops called themselves after either place, they having a palace and estate in each. These were finally all joined to Sherbourne in Dorsetshire, just before the Norman Conquest. In 1075, Herman, Bishop of Sherbourne, moved the Episcopal Seat to Old Sarum, later called Salisbury, and began to build the Cathedral there. Berkshire remained in that Diocese till 1836, when it was joined to the Oxford one.

The earliest mentioned "lord of the manor" seems to have been a powerful Abbot called "Elsi" of the "Old Minster" (the Cathedral Church) of Winchester. He held four manors and two estates, of which Burghfield and Edburgefeld, dependent on Sonning, were two. These he leased out, but there is no record to whom. Abbot Elsi was at the "Old Minster" in the reign of Edward the Confessor, and was outlawed after the Norman Conquest in 1070. Freeman, the historian, says of this Abbot "that his whole life is wrapped in confusi on and contradictions, and whose real history is well nigh as marvellous as anything that legend could invent". It is unfortunate that there are no legends about him left behind in Arborfield.

This shows that the Manor of Arborfield is a Saxon one. It consisted, as other manors did, of a castle or fortified house, standing in the "lord's Demesne" (the Park lands); a church with the churchyard round it, and quite close, a little house for the Rectory. These all would generally be built close to a river (as in Arborfield) so that there should always be fish on Fridays and fast days. Along the river would be meadow lands.

The peasants' cottages would be all built close together, and near cross roads, with a bit of ground, each surrounded by a fence. On the river would be built a mill belonging to the lord. The miller working it would grind so much flour free for the lord, and would also grind the corn for the people, who would pay him in kind, so many handfuls of wheat or oats, or other food. Then there would be three great fields; Eastfield for growing wheat; Westfield for growing oats, and Southfield lying fallow, and growing weeds and rank grass for the cattle to eat. Each year a different field would lie fallow, as there were no artificial manures in those days. These fields might be anything up to 200 or 500 acres each, and were divided into strips of 1 acre, with a waste strip of about 1 ft of weedy grass between each. Every year these strips were divided out by casting lots, to the freemen, and villeins living on the manor. The freemen had quite a large number of these strips every year, lent him and his heirs, by the lord, for which he had to pay "Feudal Dues" and appear on certain days, every year, in the Lord's Hall; also satisfy the lord with his behaviour and faithfulness.

The villeins had a right to use about 30 strips each, ten in each field. But he was not free to give all his time to them. He would work for his lord perhaps two days a week (week days) and give extra days (boon days) at busy times. These people could not leave the district without the lord's permission.

Then there were the "Serfs" - the lowest people, who had to give all their time to the lord, and only had the merest strip of land round their huts. Casting lots was considered the fairest way of dividing these strips of land.

Every Spring all the men entitled to hold land on the manor, gathered together to meet the lord or his steward, and the reeve (a man chosen by the people to be a sort of overseer or foreman) and cast lots for the strips, till every man had his proper share. In this way one man could not say he had all the bad land, or another all the good.

Round these big fields, there lay waste and forest lands. The waste or common land was where the sheep were kept, and fed, guarded by a shepherd. The pigs wandered in the brushwood and undergrowth, tended by the swineherd. The horses, oxen, ploughs and tools were owned by the lord. The villeins had to co-operate in using them. The freemen, too, unless they owned their own, which they often did.

Sometimes the manors were owned by a bishop, as in the case of Arborfield, or an abbey where the dues had to be paid to them.

A manor was self-supporting. Enough food was grown for the people's use; their clothes were made of the wool, spun and knitted in their own houses, or of leather prepared by themselves. There was very little actual money in those days; a man's wealth consisted of what amount of land he possessed; all trade was done by bartering.

About 1300 A.D. changes began. Wool was exported to Flanders, and paid for in cash. The Crusaders wanted money to take them to the Holy Land - and King Henry II asked his barons for money to pay the soldiers with, instead of bringing their men to fight. These all brought more money about the country. The lords of the manor began to pay the men for their work, instead of making them give it, and as they needed more money they enclosed more of the common lands, so as to grow more sheep for the paying export of wool.

But it was not till 1700 to 1800 that the big open fields began to be enclosed and divided up with hedges and ditches.

More and more corn was wanted, and the little strips between each acre kept too much valuable land waste.

This gives some idea of the manorial system which had so much to do with the making of England.

At the same time as Abbot Elsi owned the Manor of Arborfield, in Edward the Confessor's reign, 1042 to 1066, there lived on the South side of Arborfield a Thegn or Saxon Squire, by name John Siemonds, and this is especially interesting as possible descendants, bearing the same name, still own land in the parish.

This John Siemonds was arraigned for ecclesiastical misdemeanours (probably independence of thought) by the Prior of Sonning on behalf of the Bishop of Ramsbury.

A "Carucate" (a strip of land as much as a plough could manage in a year) was demanded, as a punishment. Siemonds must have refused to give the land, for he was remanded, and called upon again for 5 hides of land scattered on his estate, a tithe of it; this he was forced to give to the Prior.

A hide of land varied according to the locality, it might have been 60, 80, 100 acres or more, and might have included a house, wood, meadow and pasture land, necessary for the maintenance of a family. From this it would appear that this Saxon squire must have owned a good deal of property. He would also have had to supply armed men to fight for the King when called on to do so, as any owner of 5 hides of land had to provide one man.

The Parish is mentioned in the Exchequer Rolls for the year 1342, of which the following is the translation - "Ebourwefel: Thomas Eleyre, John of Newland, Robert the smith, and Adam the fowler, being sworn as to the value of the ninths of sheaves, fleeces and lands of Ebourwefel say upon oath, that the aforesaid ninths are worth at their highest value, five marks, in witness thereof the aforesaid Thomas, John, Robert and Adam have appended their seals to this schedule. Given at Newbury on the Thursday next after the Feast of St. Valentine in the fifteenth year of King Edward the third, from the Conquest".

The mark was worth 13/4, and allowing for the difference in the value of money to the present time (1878) the Parish 536 years ago was worth about £600.

In 1377 Arborfield contained 29 inhabited houses, 2 uninhabited ones, 42 families, and 171 persons, and as a curious coincidence in 1800 there were again 171 persons.

The old "Wooden Chapel of Edburgefeld", dedicated after St. Bartholomew, and dependent on the Church of Sonning, from where it received oil and chrism (consecrated oil), was in existence in 1220, when the first mention of it occurs; it was built of wood and although a good list of books and ornaments was found there, the building is described to be in a disgracefully ruinous state, and shamefully desecrated. "The churchyard was over-run with cattle and uprooted by pigs". The Salisbury Diocesan Record adds that the aged priest of Edburgefeld who lived at the Manor House with Richard Bulloc, was so blind that he could not see to read, and did not know the canon of Mass, nor the Gospels by heart, so was forbidden to officiate any more. [NOTE: in later correspondence to Miss Simonds, Mrs Bullock Webster stated that the translation of the Latin document was probably incorrect. It should have read: "He could not render a single sentence of the Canon or the Gospels correctly" owing to partial blindness].

"Reginald" Chaplain of Arborfield was also another, who at the same visitation by the Dean of Salisbury, was found to be most illiterate and ignorant.

In 1224 the Chapel seems to have been in charge of Priest John of Barkham, who was also remiss in the oversight of his subordinates and the care of the Chapel. His assistant was one Henry, who lived at Barkham, with John, and received a stipend of 20 shillings. It is quite a relief to find that at another Dean's visitation to Sonning in 1300, though deficiencies were found in other dependent Churches, Arborfield is not mentioned.

The Chapel was in the grounds of the manor and close to the river Loddon. In the reign of Henry III in the year 1256 it was rebuilt of chalk and flint, with a wooden tower at the West end, carried on four wooden posts, containing 5 of the bells still in use in the present Church.

The chancel was 9 ft. by 24 ft., the nave 58 ft. by 28 ft. There were 2 windows on the South side, with a door in the centre of the wall. The East End window of 2 compartments, probably of Flemish glass, was painted with the heads of Moses and Aaron, with the Ten Commandments underneath. In moving the window to the new Church in 1863, it was unfortunately broken, the only piece remaining being Aaron's head, which is now in a small window in that Church.

The porch which looks so venerable was erected, together with part of the West end wall in 1863. There is a nave and two chapels, one containing tablets to the memory of the Conroy family, and the other in the possession of the Hargreaves family, and contains the tombs of the Standens. These two chapels were divided by a wall in 1863.

Evidently some addition was made to the Church in 1631 as a beam with that date recorded on it was found and placed over the entrance to the Conroy Chapel.

The door is very old, with its heavy iron-winged hinges extending the entire width of the door. On the South wall are a piscina (a place for washing Holy Vessels) an aumbray (a cupboard to contain them), a credence table and the remains of 3 stone seats or sedilia.

Sir John Conroy found some encaustic tiles of red colour with pattern or circles and a flower shaped ornament in the centre. The old font of wood is preserved at Arborfield Hall by Mr J. R. Hargreaves, together with a curious old chalice and paten and an ancient Bible. There is also an old leaden font bowl engraved:

Arberfield 1726. M.W. c R.S. Churchwardens

An interesting feature of the old Church was the paintings on the walls, only discovered when the roof was taken off in 1863. All the masonry, except the West wall, which had been the tower, bore traces of having been painted in fresco.

On the East wall there were painted 3 figures, 3½ ft. high, each figure under a painted canopy. The one nearest the window was an ecclesiastic, a mitre of a low triangular shape and yellowish stripes representing a Pall. Under the middle canopy were figures of the Blessed Virgin and Child; the third figure another ecclesiastic.

Above the figures the wall had been painted with reddish brown paint to represent stones, with a little ornament in each. There were similar paintings on the North side of the window.

On the North and South walls were remains of painted drapery of the same colour, 2 ft. wide, commencing about 2½ ft. from the ground, and above the same geometrical patterns.

The probability is that these paintings were whitewashed over in the time of the Commonwealth. Some brass tablets remain, and are now fixed in the walls of the new church - the oldest of these being to the memory of Thomas Haward, who was buried in the nave: "Blessed are the dead that dye in the Lord. Here lyeth the body of Thomas Haward, Gent. with Anne his wife and Frances their only child; who was married to William Thorold, Esquire, and had essue by him 7 sons and 7 daughters. This Thomas Haward departed the 4th of Novber An° Dm. 1643."

In the Conroy Chapel are tablets in memory of that family, and also in it the old oak square altar rails are preserved.

In the other chapel on the North side of the chancel (now the Hargreaves Chapel) which must originally have been the "Lady Chapel" and has a stained glass window with the Blessed Virgin and Child on it, is a "fair monument erected against the North wall, whereon lie the statues of a Man and Woman in white marble with the following description in Latin. The English thus:

"William Standen of Arberfield, renowned for this Descent from an Attrebatian, the year wherein James the best of Kings was born, died May 18th. 1639, who in this Age detained Justice upon Earth, gave hospitable Entertainment to the Banish'd, cherish'd frozen Charity in his Bosom, lov'd Mankind in general as his Friends, and his Friends as himself, who supported his Learning with gravity, old Age with Sweetness and Alacrity, and Death with a Strong Faith towards God. All that was mortal of him was deposited here, where too, his dear Wife, dear upon all Accounts, Mary the fourth Daughter of Samuel Backhouse of Swallowfield, Esqr: order'd herself to be interr'd, who was conspicuous for her Chastity, Piety and Charity to the Poor; Hard by the dearest of the Sons of Nicholas Love, Esqr. who was born April 11th, 1637, and died May 3rd 1638 on the day of Christ's Ascension into Heaven is celebrated."

Over the foregoing Monument hangs Mr Standen's coat of armour, crest, mantle, helmet and a penon of his arms. (Sir William Standen and Mary Backhouse were married in 1615. In a conveyance of Edward Standen 10th August 1703, his mother is called "Elizabeth, mother of Edward Standen").

At the feet of the aforesaid statues, is the figure of a child in white marble, lying upon its right side.

This description of the Standen Monument is taken from the Antiquities of Berkshire, by Elias Ashmore, Esq. in 1666. The monument is of alabaster, not marble. Sir John Conroy restored it in 1843.

William Standen's "descent from an Attrebatian" shows that he was descended from the Belgian tribe of the Attrebates, who occupied this country before the Roman invasion.

The armour, etc. hanging over the tomb has long since disappeared, and in its place on the wall is the marble tablet with the coat of arms, erected by his wife in memory of Sir William's grandson, Edward Standen; the inscription is in Latin, the gist of the translation is:

"Near his Father Edward and his Mother Anne, and their little child born to them, Edward Standen Gent., concerning whom many honest and laudable things would be allowed and might be said, nevertheless nothing is said. His most beloved wife has wished an account of the mutual and perpetual affection between themselves; grieving to place this marble monument.

objt 23rd Sepber A.D. 1730 AET 27."

The Bells of the Church were given at different times, the oldest which is the smallest, weighing 3 cwt 2 qrs. 8 lbs. the tenor bell is stamped with a trefoil, lion's head and coin, is one of the oldest known bells made in the Wokingham Foundry during the 14th Century

(The Foundry was an excellent and important one; no name of an owner has been discovered earlier than the middle of the 15th Century, but there is a bell from it cast in 1383. The other known oldest bells from there are the 2nd at Appleford, 2 at Didcot, 3 in Hants. and 2 in Oxon. Later they introduced into the stamp a beautiful set of crowned capitals with an initial Cross of Fleur-de-lis. Roger Landen was the earliest known Wokingham Founder. The Foundry had a branch in Reading, and John White, founder, migrated there, but the Wokingham Foundry was subsequently revived, only Reading seems to have absorbed the business, and was the home of several great bell founders, the Knights, Carters, etc. Bryan Eldridge was making bells in Wokingham in 1624, so that the town took a leading part in the Industry.)

2nd Bell. 1743: weighs 4 cwt. 2 qrs. 5 lbs. Was provided when the Rev. John Waterman was Rector, is inscribed with the name of Robert Grace and Thomas Cowdery: Churchwardens. R. Catlin. Fecit, 1743. The Church accounts of this year are in existence. The bell according to them cost £5.13.0 to cast, 12/- to bring from London, and was erected by a carpenter named Peter Cook at a cost of £30.18.0. A larger part of the cost was defrayed by a rate, which was supplemented by subscriptions of 10 guineas from Mr. Reeves of Arborfield House and 56 guineas from Mr. Waterman.

3rd Bell. 1653: during the Commonwealth. Weighs 5 cwt 3 qrs 2 lbs. names of John Webb, Matthew Milam: Churchwardens.

4th Bell. The 2nd oldest bell in the Church is inscribed:

"Prayse ye the Lord."

Dated 1589, the year after the Defeat of the Spanish Armada, possibly given as a thank offering for that victory. It weighs 6 cwt 12 lbs.

5th Bell is inscribed "Love God" dated 1639 in the reign of Charles I, weighs 8 cwt 2 qrs 23 lbs.


In 1862 when the new Church was being built, a 6th bell was given by John Simonds of Newlands. Weighing 11 cwt. 2 qrs, 24 lbs., it had to be re-cast several times before it toned with the other bells, and was made of old metals.

There used to be great square pews in the Church but most of them were done away with in May 1800.

Between the South door and Altar rails was a Three Decker Pulpit, with the Clerk's seat at the bottom, above the seat from which the Clergymen read the services, and the 3rd tier again above, from which the sermon was preached. At the West end was a gallery in which the choir sat and sang to the strains of a barrel organ, turned by a handle. There were 2 barrels of tunes, about a dozen hymns in each; these barrels were changed the 1st Sunday every month.

Before the barrel organ was introduced, reed instruments were used to lead the singing. Mrs Barker, now living at Barkham, remembers seeing them lying about her grandfather's house; he was Thomas Appleby, clerk at Arborfield Church, and played them.

The Altar table, still in the use, is the date of Queen Anne. The 2 Altar Chairs that of Charles II.

The Registers of the Church begin in 1705, the older ones unfortunately were burnt.

The beautiful old yew in the churchyard is probably a "Consecration Tree" planted when the old Church was consecrated, which would make it over 650 years old.

The date of the old wooden font now (1927) in the Chapel of the Old Church is, Mr Keyser thinks, about A.D. 1260, reign of Henry III. 2 pattens date 1793, inscribed Ricardus Hayes Rector. 1 chalice 1849, silver. 1 silver flagon 1886. In 1939 a small wooden barrel organ was found at the back of the Church organ - perhaps 100 years old. Canon Anderson pushed it around at a Fete in 1939 to help raise money for the Village Hall.

The next lord of the manor mentioned after Abbot Elsi is "Osmond Bullock of Edburgfeld" who seems to have given Priest John of Barkham charge of the Chapel. He also paid tithes to the great monastery at Abingdon for some of his lands here.

This family was a Norman one, came across with William the Conqueror; when they came to Arborfield is not known; they were distinguished people and held high positions in the county. They still held the manor under the Lordship of Sonning as the following declaration made by Gilbert Bullock in 1250 shows:

"That all lands held by him in the Manor of Sunninge was held subject to the Goodwill of the Bishop of Salisbury, and bound himself and his heirs to deliver up to the Bishop or his successors when called upon to do so." This Gilbert Bulloc was made King's Reeve in 1275 i.e. a Trustee or Bailiff of the Crown Lands, which he had charge of, and had to keep order among the people in the district. [NOTE: Later correspondence from a descendant of the Bullock family says: "I do not think you are right in describing my family as of Norman origin. I have no doubt that Lower, in his authoritative work on the subject of names, was right in deriving it from the Saxon 'Bulluca'. Mr. Bullock Webster got an idea that it was a corruption of the French 'Belloc', but there are various reasons against this theory, and, I think, practically none for it!".]

One Sir William Bullock, in the time of Edward III, helped to make peace with the Scots.

Robert Bullock, 1331, in his capacity of King's Reeve, investigated the case for a lady, Agnes Neville, daughter and heiress of Sir William Neville, Lord of the Manor of Barkham.

She claimed that a traitor to the King, Edward III, Lord John Mautravers of Finchampstead, had stolen some of her lands. Robert Bullock found this was so, and got her back her lands, after which he married her to his son Gilbert, so joining the property, and the lords of the two manors, into one, as they remained from 1340 to 1600. A wooden figure lying in the porch of Barkham Church is supposed to be this lady.

The Coat of Arms of the Bullocks is 3 bulls' heads, which would account for the two "Bull Inns", one in each parish, as in those old times inns or alehouses were called after heraldic signs.

In 1388 Robert Bullock of Eberfeld, late Sheriff of Oxford, "received a pardon from the King, for the escape of a prisoner from Oxford Gaol, who escaped by misadventure and because the Castle was ruinous", and in his will dated 1405 he "bequeth's my sowle to God and my body to erthe. To the parisch church of Herberfeld xls. To the parson of Herberfeld to have me in mynde xls; also (2) torches to the church of Herberfeld."

This man's grandson, another Robert, was also an important person, and was appointed, according to the State papers of 1478, Commissioner for the Conservancy of the River Thames, his duties being "to survey the Thames, and its tributaries in the counties of Berks, Bucks, and Oxfordshire, and to hear and determine all offenses against the Statute of Magna Carta and other statutes, concerning the erection of weirs, mills, stanks, piles and kiddles." One of his sons was called "Hugh of ye Brazen Hand" and went to live in Shropshire. his uncle, Richard Bullock of Barkham, bequeathed in 1534, 4d to the highwater in my parische Churche of Barkh'm and 6d to buying a mass book for the same" and various members of the family seem to have constantly left ornaments or vestments to the churches about, and money for the "poore within the Parishes of Erburgefeld, Barkham, Hurste, Shynfelde and Swallowfielde.

They owned much property in these parishes, also at "Wokefelde, Straffilde Mortymer, and Strafelde Say, and Butlers lands in the Counties of Berks and Southampton." These latter seem to have been given to one Thomas Bullock of Arborfield by "King Harrye the VIII."

This man was in 1544 returned among the nobles and gentry of England, who supplied men and horses for the war with France. His contingent consisted of "Archers eight and billmen thirteen with harness". He died in 1558, and bequeathed "To the Churche of Erburgefelde all suche ornaments, vestments and coopes, all of which I bought of Thomas Champyon".

The Barkham Registers are full of the Bullock family and also of the Simonds family. The records at the British Museum state "that in the reign of King John there was an exchange of a piece of land in Arborfield between a Bullock and a Simonds".

At the beginning of the oldest Barkham Register dated 1538 there is a deed dated 1574:

"To the faithful in Christ, and to whomsoever this writing shall come, I, Thomas Bullock of Arborfield in the County of Berks, gentleman, make over land to Thomas Symons and John Ball for charitable purposes." The Bullocks continued to flourish, and have large families till after 1590 when Thomas Bullock who was Sheriff of Berkshire and Commissioner of the peace for the same county, by reason of "an accumulation of debts" found it necessary to sell the family estates. This was much objected to by the family, and particularly by his brother William, who brought the case up before Chancery and the Star Chamber, which case he lost, and was thrown into Fleet Prison for Contempt of Court, where he stayed for some years, but on his release returned to his home in Barkham and died there.

Thomas Bullock sold his principal estates, which are described as "the Manors of Arberfield, Barkham, Hurst, Ockingham, Shingfield and Earley" to one Edward Standen of "Chancery" for £4000, with the Previse that Thomas Bullock should remain in occupation at an annual rent of £150, which he did till his death in 1595.

The memorials of this family remain in the Church, though there is evidence that there once stood in or near the chancel the tomb of Richard the Sheriff, and that Thomas the 2nd was buried beside his first wife in the "chapel adjoining" and Richard his son "in the chancel near his ancestor."

Whatever monuments there were seem to have disappeared before the end of the 17th Century, for Ashmore makes no mention of them in his "Antiquities." It is possible that they were destroyed during the Civil War. It is pleasant to record that a descendant of this family, the Revd. Llewellyn Bullock, came as locum tenens to Arborfield in September 1914 at the time when he was busy compiling his history.

There is no record of what the old manor house of Arborfield was like, but in 1603 Edward Standen built a Jacobean house, which must have been very beautiful. The architect was John Thorpe, a very celebrated one, who among other houses also built Bramshill House in Hampshire, and Holland House in London.

The staircase in Arborfield was so wide that "a coach and 4 horses could have driven up it. The great hall was furnished with 24 immense mahogany chairs with shields and arms of the family carved on them, and rounded seats of crimson velvet. There were two vast ballrooms and a large conservatory reaching to the river". (From a description by Mrs George Pelsant Dawson taken from the History of the Dawson family). The only buildings now remaining are the old Laundry and the stables dated 1654.

The Standens kept their heads and their lands through the civil wars.

Edward was followed by his son Sir William, whose tomb has already been described. His son and grandson were both Edward, and of the latter the following romance is told:

The Rose Inn at Wokingham was kept by a man called Mogg, who had two very pretty daughters, Molly and Sally. Edward Standen fell in love with Molly, who would have nothing to say to him; he was very attentive and one day, kept at the Inn "by the weather", three poets from Binfield, Pope, Gay and Arbuthnot, happened to see him with Molly, and noticed his "melancholy manner". So they composed a poem in her praise, each contributing a verse. About Edward they wrote:

"His brains all lost in a fog
And nothing could give satisfaction
But thinking of sweet Molly Mogg."

Molly lived to be 76 and died unmarried.

Edward consoled himself, and married a lady called "Eleanor". They had no children and at his death, at the age of 27, in 1730, Arborfield House passed to a cousin, one Richard Aldworth, but being a minor, his guardian sold it under an Act of Parliament to Pelsant Reeves of Yorkshire. Richard Alderworth also owned Stanlake Park near Twyford, and Billingbear Park, near Wokingham, and is father to the 1st Lord Braybrokes (who was raised to the peerage in 1797) and in whose gift the living of Arborfield remained, till the advowson was sold by one of them about 1876 to Mrs Hargreaves, owning Arborfield Hall.

There is a monument in Arborfield Church -

"Sacred to the memory of Pelsant Reeves, late of Arborfield House Esqre., who with remarkable serenity of temper and cheerfulness of disposition, attained the age of 84. Beloved by all who knew him and after a gradual decay during the last two years, expiring without a groan 6th Feby. 1764. He married Jane, daughter of John Mason of Kent, Esqre., by whom he had 6 children. Three who survived him, and 3 who died young, who are buried with him in the adjacent vault. In grateful remembrance of best husbands, his widow caused this monument to be erected." That is all recorded of him. His son succeeded him. He was magistrate, Deputy Lieutenant of Berkshire, and one of the Verderers of Windsor Forest. He married Anne, and they had 2 children, Pelsant who was killed fighting the French at Toulon 1793, and a daughter Elmira, heiress of £10,000 and the estates, who married her brother's friend and brother officer, George Dawson of Osgodley Hall, Yorkshire. These Dawsons are descended from King Edward III, through his son Lionel, Duke of Clarence. "Elmira" is described in a letter written by her father-in-law, Dec. 12th. 1794, as "an excellent young woman" !! John and Anne Reeves must have given over Arborfield House to their daughter on her marriage, for they both died at Andover, he on May 20th. 1814, and she May 7th, 1837, aged 90.

In spite of the increase of fortune brought to George Dawson by his marriage and owing to the vast expenditure and the maintenance of Osgodley Hall, as well as Arborfield House, financial troubles fell on the family and "one day" so rumour goes, the Steward came to Mr Dawson just as he was going to London, and said what bad repair the house was, "I wish the house was pulled down" was the reply, which the Steward seems to have taken literally, and pulled down part while his master was away!! How much truth there is in that report is not known, but anyway there was a fire which helped to destroy it, and so the beautiful house perished. This is the "Old House of Aberleigh" as Miss Mitford calls it in "Our Village", a delightful description of the garden, river and place, after its destruction, but her description of the family is not quite accurate.

The George Dawsons had one son, George Pelsant, born 1802, who inherited both estates, was J.P. for Berkshire, and for the East and West Ridings of Yorkshire, also Deputy Lieutenant for that County. He married Jane, daughter of Henry Dod of Burnham, Somersetshire.

When he came into the property at his father's death, he determined to rebuild the house, living in a farm house while doing so. But before the house was finished, about 1840, he sold the whole property to Sir John Conroy, Controller to the household of the Duchess of Kent, Mother of Queen Victoria.

There is still living (1922) in the parish an old woman of 81, Mrs Love, whose grandfather was groom to the Duchess of Kent. Mrs Love remembers hearing through her grandfather how very much the Princess disliked Sir John Conroy, "because he was so unkind to her pony and would let his children ride, the Princess saying it was her pony, and only for her to ride"!! The Duchess of Kent gave a Sheffield plated coffee set to this groom, which his daughter, Mrs Buckland (who also lived in Arborfield with her husband, who was coachman to Sir John Hayes) divided among her children, Mrs Love having the coffee pot, which to her great regret she had to part with.

As soon as the Queen came to the throne in 1837, she parted with Sir John Conroy, who later came to live at the Hall. He also lived in the farm house, till the Hall was finished, which later became the home of his son Sir Edward and his wife, Lady Alicia, daughter of Lord Ross. They enlarged it and called it Arborfield Grange. It was sold by their son, Sir John Conroy, to Capt. and Mrs Stuart Rickman in 1889, and after Capt. Rickman's death was sold again in 1917 to Colonel and Mrs Churcher.

Sir Edward found he could not afford to live at Arborfield Hall, so sold it to Mr and Mrs Thomas Hargreaves in 1855. Shortly after, Mrs Hargreaves discovered that she was related to the Dawson's, who had owned the place, through an American branch of that family. Mrs Hargreaves enlarged the house again, and put in electric light, using the old Paper Mill for making electricity.

The Mill, which must have dated from the old Manor House times, was established as a paper mill by Mr George Dawson. In 1787 it was worked by a Mr Hodgson. In 1837 Thomas Miles, papermaker, is mentioned in the registers. It was burned down or gutted in 1861. The miller lived in an old house called "Sans Souci" in the meadow between the two arms of the river, close to the Mill. After the Mill was burnt, it was let to various tenants, and finally pulled down by Mrs Hargreaves.

The Rectory, from an old engraving, was a charming Jacobean house, but was pulled down, being in a bad state of repair, and the present one built by Sir John Warren Hayes, Bart., soon after he became Rector.

In the village are a few old houses, particularly the present post office where, in 1775, a watch and clockmaker lived named Crutchfield. One of the watches he made is still in the village, owned by Mrs Bentley. Bentley is an old name in the village; in the year 1762, an ancestor of that name was paid 4/- for an account against the Church Expenses.

The Bull Inn is also very old. There is also mention of that in the Church Rate book. "The Bull Alehouse rated at 4d. to Mr May" dated 1750. This Inn is celebrated as being one of the places where Queen Victoria stopped to bait her horses, as she drove from Windsor to Stratfield Saye to pay a visit to the Duke of Wellington. Outside the Inn, and across the road, a triumphal arch was built to welcome her. Mrs Stone told how "Sir John Conroy of Arborfield House threatened instant dismissal to any of his employees if they went to the village to see Her Majesty go through. But old John Stone, he did not mind what Sir John said, but put on his best clothes and went. No notice was taken and he remained in the service of the Conroy's and Hargreaves till he died well over 80.

Old Thomas Appleby, for 33 years clerk and bellringer at the Church, mentions this visit in his register of Christenings and Burials - "Queen Victoria past throw Arborfield Jany 20th 1845 to Duck Wilintons and Returned the 23rd." These registers are in two books, and are duplicates of the Church ones, kept by the old clerk and his son from about 1804 to 1860; they are full of names of old inhabitants, some of whose descendants are still in the parish and neighbourhood. He records on September 30th 1819 "A streang traviling woman found dead, berried", which must have caused a sensation.

In 1862 the Old Church had fallen into such bad repair, that it was thought advisable to build a new one. Mr Hargreaves' grandfather, Sir William Brown, generously offered to build it. The foundation stone was laid in August 1862: Sir J. W. Hayes, Rector. Richard Wells, Henry Englefield, Churchwardens. Alexander Buchanan, Curate. The dedication took place on June 19th 1863 by Samuel Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford.

Rectors of Arborfield

[NOTE: this list was revised after 1946]

1222 An old illiterate Priest, Reginald; could neither read nor write

1224 John of Barkham. Curate: Henry

1331 Ralph

1405 Sir Richard Thomas

1406 John Lambourne (exchanged)

1407 Sir Ralph Waterman

Adams Symonds

1423 George Arthurton

William Pennisthorp

1425 Dominus Henry Listoke

1480 Sir John Sadler

1568 Master John Denton on resignation of William Bowden

1605 William Baldwyn

Rowland Howard, M.A.

1608 Robert Saunders, M.A.

1694 Alexander Stokes

1707-1739 John Sale

1739-1755 John Waterman

1755-1796 Richard Hayes

1797-1839 Henry Hodgkinson

1839-1879 Sir John Warren Hayes, Bt.

1880-1885 G. Lionel Welsh

1885-1898 John Jones

1898-1945 Joshua A. Anderson (Canon) [document updated by hand]

1946- Claude D. T. Sparshott [document updated by hand]

Mr Sale, who was Rector from 1666 to 1694 appears to have been at Eton and Trinity College, Oxford. In 1739 Mr Waterman was Rector; in 1797 Mr Richard Hayes died, who had held the living for 42 years. He was followed by Mr Henry Hodgkinson, who was private chaplain to Lord Braybrooke, and one of his duties then was to see Lord Braybrooke's guests under the table; report says "As a reward for such a steady head" he was given the living of Arborfield! He also held it for 42 years. He married Sarah, daughter of Anne and George Courtup of Reading, who died with her infant son in 1804, two years after their marriage. He died Aug. 20th 1839, 86 years of age, "and the last end of him was Peace"! A story is told of him and old Mr Charles Simonds of Newland Lodge. "One Sunday, Mr Hodgkinson read out some banns during the service. Mr Simonds looked up and called out "Henry, I forbid the banns". "Why Charles?" "Because he can't afford to keep her!"

His successor, the Revd. Sir John Warren Hayes was inducted on the 14th September 1839. From a letter written by Anne Lady Hayes to her daughter, Mrs Robertson in Calcutta, about her son John, dated June 2nd, 1832: "John has just purchased the next presentation to a small living in Berkshire, about 14 miles from Wargrave, the incumbent in his 80th year, but he says that he thinks his life promises fair for a few years longer". (John paid £250 for the next presentation to Arborfield in Berkshire). "Mr Ash, who visited Mr Hodgkinson, says the Parsonage House, tho' small, was comfortable and kept with extreme neatness, and the old Devine, who is hospitality itself, continued to see a great deal of company in it. I wish John could meet with a good wife, who would be satisfied with his small means".

From a letter of John Warren Hayes, July 25th 1834: "I do not make enquiries about Arborfield, but I believe the old gentleman is perfectly stout and likely to live as long as I may. The situation is certainly desirable, only 4 miles from Reading on the Windsor side, but the house is bad and will require to have three parts of it taken down and rebuilt". (The old "Devine" died in 1839)

The Revd. Sir John Warren Hayes retired after 40 years at the age of 80, dying in 1896 at the great age of 97. He married Ellen, daughter of Mr George Beauchamp of the Priory, Beech Hill. Their daughter, Ellen Anne, married John Simonds of Newlands in 1868. Sir John was very much beloved by everyone, and the older people about still remember him, and tell stories of his many kindnesses. When he first came, there was an empty Church and a flourishing Chapel; but in a very short time the Chapel was pulled down, as no-one went to it, and those who did not go to Church regularly every Sunday could be counted on two hands. The men went in the morning and the women afternoon in the winter, evening in the summer.

On Sir John Hayes retiring, the living was presented to the Revd. Lionel Welsh, who had been an Army Chaplain. He exchanged after a few years with the Revd. John Jones, Rector of Henley, Yorkshire. He retired in 1898, when Mrs Hargreaves presented the living to the Revd. J. A. Anderson, curate of St. John's Blackheath, who retired in 1945.

Some of the Church expenses in the oldest Church Rate Book are of interest:

1746 item pd. for Stocks and whipping post. 12/-

item pd. for Clerks Sallary and Washing and Lining £2. 12. 6.

Sept. 1747 item pd for Chickon (catching) of 65 dozen of sparrows 0. 5. 5.

1750 pd for three dussen of Sparros 6d.

In 1754, the price of 'three duzen of Sparros' had gone up to 1/-.

The same year the Churchwardens paid 2/6 to "a Company of Dostrossed Sailors".

1749 £2. 2. 0. was paid for 'Singing Books'.

The bellringers were paid 12/6 a year, the Clerk £2. 10. 0.


The Church expenses varied, being as low as £7. 0. 9½ and never above £35. At Easter 1789, a 2d. rate was made to pay for them, and the Churchwardens were "16/9½ out of Pocket".

Expenses were provided by a 1d. or 2d rate in the £1 until 1874, when at a vestry meeting it was "determined to provide for the expenses of the year" by subscriptions, and "an offertory should be established".

There are constant references in this Church Rate Book to a rate paid by the Rector on the "Piddle", sometimes spelt Pightel or Piddal, a little piece of land belonging to the Parish; also "Masons Piddle" with a rate paid by Mr Hodgson of the Mill; and "Olivers Piddle" rate paid by Thomas Simonds of Newland.

An interesting deed in the same book relates to the alteration of 2 of the parish roads. In 1843 Sir Edward Conroy wished to divert the Drive to Arborfield Hall, which was also the public road to the Church, going from near the entrance to Arborfield Grange, which was then only a farm house, in a direct line to the Church, diagonally across a piece of the Park called Church Close, also another road called the Cross Road, which went from the Newland Road into the Causeway (the road going from Arborfield Cross to the bridge over the river) leaving the Lake now in the Grange grounds on the right.

These two roads Sir Edward wished to block, and make two new ones. The one carrying on the Newland Road, straight past the Rectory, over the Church Close to the Church, substituting that for a certain public footpath, the width of 3 ft. ("to be used by the said parishioners of the said Parish of Arborfield, as a path to Arborfield Church on Sundays, and on those days in which divine service shall be performed at the said Church").

The other road, now known as the New Road, going from the Newland Road across a corner of waste land, the property of John Walter of Bear Wood, then straight across a field of Sir Edward Conroy's known as the "Hop Garden", coming into the Causeway, exactly opposite the village pound (which has ceased to exist).

A vestry was called, and "having maturely considered the proposal", the exchange was agreed to. "Sir John W. Hayes, Bart., Rector and Chairman, James Fuller and John Pither, Churchwardens and Overseers". The others who signed the deed were John Conroy, Charles Simonds, Edward Hewitt, William Cordery.

The Churchwardens, Overseers of the Parishes, had to see to the relief of all the poor, to mend the roads, and do the work within their bounds, which work is now done by the District Council.

Mr John Simonds has a copy of a deed, dated 5th April 1720, which was given to the Churchwardens and Overseers of the Liberty of Newland by "two of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace, of the County of Berks", namely Fran. Wightwick and Charles F. Palmer (Probably the Mr Charles Palmer, M.D., who married Anne Standen, née Aldworth) ordering and requiring them in his Majesty's name "to forthwith remove and convey, a certain Thomas Vinor and his wife to the parish of Stratfield Turgis, and to deliver them together with this Warrant or Order to the Churchwardens and Overseers of the poor of that Parish" because "Thomas Vinor labourer and Sarah his wife had lately intruded themselves into your said Liberty of Newland - there to inhabit as parishioners contrary to the Laws relating to the Settlement of the poor, and are there like to become chargeable if not prevented!"

A great variety of things were paid for by these Overseers, "for stockings and apron 5/5½"; "for breaches and shoes for a boy going to servis at Bagshot"; "for nursing Dame Bumford 9/3, for her coffin 14/- and her shroud 3/6". In 1807, "Gave William Merricks in the smallpox 5/-". "Paid Caleb Edward Yeacocke Oct. 1812 £1. 1. -. for serving of office of Constable one year". The latter was for many years a Newland Overseer. He lived in a farm which stood between the New Church and the Rectory, also at Moat Farm and Bartletts. He had a large family. One of his sons, also Caleb Edward, became Bailiff to the Simonds of Newland and served in that capacity during three generations, from the age of 19 to his death at 95, and continued in his father's steps as Overseer.

The same names occur for generations in these old rate books, still a few carrying on - Allwright, Bentley, Cordery, Love, May, Simonds, Milam or Mileham, etc. Halfaker seems an old Newland name - a Charles Halfacre in 1818. In 1827 money was given to "George Halfaker to bye some leather to make his boy a pare of shoes 7/-." In Nov. 1921, Arthur John Bentley married Beatrice Halfacre of the neighbouring parish of Shinfield, while a month earlier Miss Fouracre married, whose father owns White Farm, Arborfield.

Of Modern History in the Parish, the chief things of interest are the making of the Army Remount Depot in 1906, the Government first renting the land from Mr A. F. Walter of Bear Wood and then buying it. During the war thousands of horses and mules passed through this depot.

The change of owners of Arborfield Court, Mrs Bruce selling it to Mr and Mrs Prescott, Mr Prescott being descended from the family of Oliver Cromwell's son Henry, through Mr Prescott's great grandmother.

The erection on the Green in March 1919 of the Cross in memory of those men of Arborfield and Newland who gave their lives for their King and Country in the Great War. At the same time, a bronze tablet was placed in the Church with the same 22 names.

In May 1927, the three new East End windows in Arborfield Church were dedicated. In memory of Ellen Anne Simonds and Captain Stuart H. Rickman. Given by John Simonds of Newlands and Mrs Stuart H. Rickman. Made by Heaton, Butler and Baynes of London.

In October 1931, the Village Hall was opened; built on ground given by Mr John Simonds of Newlands and his son, Mr J. H. Simonds. Mr Simonds also started the fund for the building four years before; the money was practically all collected before the building started. Architect - Mr W. R. Howell of Reading. Builder - Mr F. J. Milam of Finchampstead.

In 1939, the "Standen" Altar Tomb and Edward Standen's mural monument were moved to the New Church; also the old wooden font, possibly late 1260.

In 1944 the Tudor altar rails were moved from the Old Church for safe-keeping to the Rectory, and in 1946 were restored to be used again in the New Church.



The only old customs remembered are the Mummers and the Whitsuntide Club days.

The Bull Inn Club was held Whitmonday.

The Swan Inn Club the following Wednesday.

The Club men all wore their best clothes with tall hats, and a favour of the Club colours fastened in them; the children all wore white.

The following is a description of these days written by Mrs Barker, living at Barkham who, till her husband's death in November 1928 lived in Arborfield, as her ancestors, Saunders and Applebys did before her:-

I think the Club time at Whitsuntide as the event I remember most, as that was the only time we heard a band: when the sound of the drum coming up the Causeway, as we called it, was heard, the children ran to the Cross by the Bull. There the Club members were gathered, and the names called out before going to the Old Church for Service. Then the bells used to ring and the Band play down the Park. The flag was placed in front of the gallery and people took their seats in Church. On that day the poor folks were allowed to sit in the big pews belonging to the gentry. I remember sitting in a large square pew with green plush lining, and cushions to match, and never was the Old Hundredth Hymn sung with more heartiness than it used to be then. The organ in the gallery was played by turning a handle. After the Service the bells were rung again, and all went back as far as the Rectory; there the Band went to the front of the house and played some tunes. Then all returned to the Bull where dinner was served to the Club members and the Bandsmen. I am forgetting old blind John! He was always a notable figure and marched with his hand on the shoulder of one of the Bandsmen, wherever they went. I ought to mention the flag; it was grand dark blue silk with yellow fringe, and on it the words "Arborfield Benefit Society". After dinner the Club members and Band, and all the villagers that could, used to go to Newland; at the time, it was the old house that stood where there is still a bunch of evergreens and oak trees. There the Family were seated at the front. John used to whistle; he would imitate all the birds exactly. After, the band played again, and all marched to the "Mole Inn" where refreshments were freely taken, then back to the Bull for a time. After, another march to Bramshill Hunt for more refreshments.

I forget what part of the day the running took place. There were things to be won hung on the sign at the Swan, and the runner had to run from the Bull there. I call to mind once there was a chemise, and the winner had to put it on and wear it down the street!! But there were chiefly shirts and red handkerchiefs. Then there was the Greasy Pole, with a leg of mutton on the top to be climbed for. It was a man named Mosdell that used to climb; the boys would throw him sand to help him, and after many slides down, he would reach it and carry it off in triumph. There used to be Merry-go-rounds with horses, and two little carriages for girls that were pushed round by hand; not many times round for a penny. Then lots of stalls with gingerbreads, cakes, sweets and biscuits, and all sorts of funny little toys. I remember Mrs Marks with her twin babies in a box under her stall, and Sally Smith with her nuts and gingerbreads.

I remember there used to come a queer couple that sang songs; the man and woman both had but one eye, and they sang a verse each.

After the band had gone, the dancing took place in the long room to a fiddle and piccolo. This was Monday, and about the same on Wednesday in Whitsun week". The man who played the fiddle was blind Jimmy Cordray from Farley Hill.

The Berkshire word "Deedily" can be used here, for the "great interest" Mrs Barker took in writing this description.


The Mummers

Used to come regularly every Christmas to visit the houses. There were about 6 actors who, according to the description of Mr Frederick Wheeler who acted Boldroomer, "wore dresses of glaze linen, different shades, and coloured pompadore, cut in strips and sewn on shirts and tunics. Zulu hats, trimmed with ribbon and grasses at the sides; glaze linen sashes and wooden swords". Sometimes the dresses were covered entirely with strips of coloured paper, and after the play they always sang one or more songs. The words are as near as can be remembered:


No. 1 Performer (Boldroomer): A room, a room. I do presume for me and my brave garments all. Please give me room to rhyme, room to act. I'll show you activity of all this Merry Christmas time. Such activity as never been seen, or acted on the stage. So please if you don't mind what you have to say, walk in King George and clear thy way!

No. 2 King George: In comes this Royal Russian King, born to defend all English men. I fear no man, no not I, let him be English, Irish, Scotch, Portuguese or Turk, there's not a man here can do me any hurt. My head is made of iron, my body lined with steel. I'll hang to my knuckle-bones, and fight you in the field. So now let all your voices ring. I am that Royal Russian King!

No. 1 Boldroomer: A bold Turkish knight am I. I'm come here, my friend, to try. A long time I've made this country fly, now I'm come to make you die. Battle to Battle on you I call, to see which on this ground shall fail. Guard your kits and guard your blows. Likewise your head and face also.

They fight and King George falls.

No. 1 Boldroomer: Oh! Doctor, Doctor, where are you. King George is wounded. Bitterly Doctor play they part. King George is wounded through the heart. I'd give ten pounds, if that noble Doctor could be found.

No. 3 Noble Doctor: In comes I, this Noble Doctor. I'm here, sir, and there, sir! I'm very much at home, sir! I can cure this man, if he isn't quite dead. Let me give this man a pill! Here's a box of pills will cure all ills, hitch, stitch, palsy and the gout, pains within and pains without; Molly grubs, Sally grubs, and a lot of little intantorium things, which I shall not have time to mention. Any old woman that has got the mumps, I'll pull out her stumps. Has been dead ten years, in the grave eleven, or buried twelve, if she could only rise and crack on of these pills, would maintain her for ever. So it never shall be as it was before. Rise up, King George, and fight once more.

Walk in Noble Giant.

No. 4: In comes this Noble Giant, Baldslasher is my name, with sword and buckle by my side, I hope to win this game.

Oh! Slasher, oh! Slasher, don't come in so hot! For in this room, you don't know who you've got! Yea, you foolish ass! Fed on grass! Come all this way, to drive a stranger. I should like to have a little longer rope to tie your long nose to the manger. You eat little less bread and cheese and drink less ale, will very soon make your face grow pale.

Battle to Battle on you I call, to see which on the ground shall fall, etc.

King George and the Giant fight; Giant falls. Walk in Jack Finney.

No. 5: I should like to know your impudence in calling me Jack! At least you might call m "John", or don't you know my name!

"No, Jack! What is your name?"

Mr Finney, a man of great fame, and do as much as any other man at his game.

"What do you do then, Jack?"

Cure a magpie with the teethache, or a Jennie Wren with the earache!

"How do you do that then, Jack?"

Cut their heads off; and throw their bodies in the ditch!

"Very cruel and barbarous Doctor! Indeed Jack."

Not at all, Sir! I can cure this man if he isn't dead. Let me feel his pulse! His pulse beats well! This man I got a diseased heart! I've got a bottle by my side, when one drop drops of the sichbone of the heart, will rise this champion from the ground. So it never shall be, as it was before. Rise up, Boldslasher, and fight no more.

No. 6. Father Christmas: In comes I old Father Christmas! Be I welcome, or welcome not. I hope old Father Christmas will never be forgot! Roast beef! Plum Pudding! Mince Pies! Who likes that any better than I do!! On my shoulder I carry a log, in my hand a dripping pan! Don't you think I'm a brave old man! In comes I, as ain't been hit, high head and little wit. My head so big, my wits so small, I've brought these men to please you all! Green sleeves! and yellow lace. Now my men please take your place!

Song to finish all together.

Mother, dear, your boy is wounded;And the night is drew with pain

But I hope that I shall see you:In that dear old home again!



Women's Institute

From a Roll Call

White lily leaves in Brandy for a cut!

Broom tea for clearing the blood, also for dropsy!

Spiders web for a cut in the finger!

4d. worth each of wartshorn, sweet oil, opodeldoe and Laudanum; an excellent lotion for rubbing on the chest for chest trouble, or bronchitis. But for a baby to be rubbed very lightly, as it is very strong.

Cinder tea for baby's stomach ache. Drop red hot cinder into hot water.

Rub earth on the spot for a bee or wasp sting!

Cut onion and rub on for the same stings!

To cure warts - rub common soda on the wart every morning!

For earache - roast onion put on the ear!

Toothache on the right side: get a stinging nettle, pick 4th leaf down, roll it in a ball, and put in left ear!

Dropsy or bladder trouble. Roast and eat a mouse!

Cure for Eczema: bathe in sea water for some considerable time!

" " stew leek and celery in milk and drink!

" " drink the juice of all vegetables steamed not boiled!

For clearing the blood: steep agrimony in hot water, strain and drink

" stinging nettles in hot water, strain and drink.


From Messrs J & C Simonds & Co.'s Deeds. Bundle No. 5

The Will of Thomas Fletcher, left to his nephew, John Middleton: "3 Piddles, Tooleys later known as Gills, in the parish of Arborfield, and an orchard sometime since grubbed by Thomas Fletcher", "also property and tenements in Friar St. Reading", "also tenements in the possession of Joseph Logg unto my loving friend Anne Hawkins. These properties on their deaths to the sons of John Middleton" "Doles Green, within the Liberty of Whitley, in occupation of John Duffield to his wife Martha and then to nephew Ralph Fletcher of Basington".

John Middleton made this land over to Andrew Middleton, who again left it by Will to his nephew, John Middleton of Calcot, who mortgaged it in 1801 to Messrs Charles and John Simonds.

The following copy of a Deed of Licence had evidently to do with this land during the first John Middleton's time.

17th April 1730

"Charles Lord Cornwallis, Baron of Eyre in the County of Suffolk, Warden Chief Justice and Justice in Eyre of all his Majesty's fforests Chaces Parks and Warrens on the South of Trent.

To all and singular officers and ministers of his Majesty's fforest of Windsor in the County of Berks".

Whereas John Sawyer Esqre. and of the Verderors of his Majesty's said fforest of Windsor together with Moses Maynard and of the regardors of the same and Augustine Hanington an Under Ceeper - belonging to the same - have certified unto me under their hands That upon view it doth appear to them that John Middleton fforest dressor of Reading hath thirteen Oaks growing upon his freehold in the Parish of Arberfield in Bigshot walk in Ffinchampstead Bailywick and within his Majesty's fforest of Windsor which said thirteen oaks may with my Licence be conveniently felled this Season without any prejudice to the Vert or Venison of the said fforest. Know yee therefore that the said CHARLES LORD CORNWALLIS do hereby give and grant full power Licence and Authority to the said John Middleton or his assignes to fell Cutt Down and Carry away in and from the said Premisses the said thirteen oaks now growing upon the same. Provided no Prejudice do thereby happen to the Vert or Venison of his Majesty's said fforest provided also that this my Licence be brought to the next Court to be held for the said fforest to be there enrolled among the Records of the said Court Given under my hand on the seal of my office of Chiefe Justice in Eyre aforesaid this seventeenth day of April in the third year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord George the second by the grace of God of Great Britain ffrance and Ireland King Defender of the ffaith and in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and thirty - Cornwallis".

8 years later John Middleton received another such permit to cut 8 more oak trees, signed by the Earl of Breadalbane.

17th August 1758

Licence granted by Earl of Breadlebane to Andrew Middleton to cut 8 oaks.



[In the hand-written original, these notes appeared generally on the left-hand pages, opposite the main narrative on the right hand. They are more or less in the same order as the main text].

Harburfield in Barkes. Hereburgefeld. Erburghfeld. Erburfeld. Erburghfeld. Erburghfelds.

In a will of Henry Simonds of Woodley in the Parish of Hurst, he leaves land in "Arborfield otherwise known as Awfield Cross" 1762. Reign of George.

Alfield Cross. 1691. Old deed.

"Assillrow Street otherwise Arborfield Cross" from deed made between James Allwrite and Edward Wise. 7th day of August in the year of our Lord 1772.

No. 48. Bundle of deeds at Newlands. "S. Cordrey's house and lands at Arborfield Cross".

Assillrose Street in one deed.

Assill Row in another deed.

From Arbourfield. Sonnynge Hundred

Vilare Anglicum 1678.

From Fair Oct. 5th for cattle. Population 245.

From William Lyon's "Chronicles of Finchampstead":

"Silchester prehistoric name of Caer Segent, or Segont, the Stronghold of the Saegontian a Native British race, driven West by the Attrebates, who called it Calleron Atrebatum, the Roms retaining the name."

"Messuage" - house - premises.

A villein generally held a virgate of land (30 acres) or ½ a virgate. They held their land at the will of the lord, and could not leave the manor without his consent. They paid him some rent, and were also bound to give so many days labour in the year in ploughing, harvesting and other work. On the death of a villein a heriot was payable to the lord, consisting of an ox or horse, or some such payment, but their holdings were hereditary "passing by the lord's re-grant from father to son by the rule of primogenture". They could make wills, but could not marry without the lord's consent or sell an ox without his licence.

Besides the Villeins there were borders or cottagers, bord being a Saxon word for cottage. These held generally a small holding of land, five acres or less, and had to render service of all sorts to the lord, perhaps a day a week, and give small tributes such as a clock or hen or eggs at stated times.

A hide of land. 120 acres more or less.

A carucate of land was the land of a plough or plough team. It varied according to the lightness or heaviness of the soil, and according to the strength of the team, but a normal carucate may be reckoned at 120 acres.

The Church of St. Bartholomews at Arborfield was a "Peculiar" to the Deans of the Bishoprick of Sonning, later Sherborne, Old Sarum and Salisbury. What is "Peculiar"? - "A 'Peculiar' is a church or parish or group of parishes outside the jurisdiction of the bishop of the dioceses. In the Middle Ages there were very many of these, their privilege arising from various causes, usually through a connection with the Crown or with a monastery to which this exemption had been granted by the Pope. The Archbishop of Canterbury also had many Peculiars, that is parishes over which he and not the Bishop of the diocese had jurisdiction. Among these were Bocking and Stamford, whose incumbents are still called Deans for this reason.

The gradual process of abolishing these privileges and bringing such places under the ordinary jurisdiction of the bishop began in the sixteenth century and was, for all practical purposes, completed in the nineteenth. Only a few now remain, of which the best known is Westminster Abbey and St. George's Chapel, Windsor. These are still completely independent of the bishops in whose dioceses they are situated.

The Thorolds are also an Arborfield family.

Sir William Standen and Mary Backhouse were married in 1615.

Conveyance of Edward Standen 10th August, 1703, his mother is called "Elizabeth: Mother of Edward Stanton".

(See conveiance of Edward Standen and others 10th August 1703 in J. & O. Simonds & Co.'s deeds, bundle No. 5):

Edward Standen married Anne Aldworth daughter of Richard Aldworth of Stanlake Park of the County of Wilts; her brother was Charles Aldworth, who was when she married about 1701, at Mary Magdalen College, Oxford. It must have been his son Richard who inherited Arborfield Hall as a manor, and his guardians sold it. Anne Aldworth married secondly Charles Palmer* of Wokingham. Edward Standen's sister Susannah was buried at Finchampstead Dec. 2nd 1723 (see Chronicles of Finchampstead, W. Lyon, Page 1280), and Martha married Joseph Butter of Reading, Esqre. Sir William left his daughter Susannah, or Susan £1050.

* This Dr Charles Palmer is described in various deeds between 1700 and 1712 as "M.D. of Arborfield", died in 1712; he succeeded his father to Luckly and other estates in 1670, and his brother Richard, on his death, to East Court Manor, Finchampstead.

The Treble Bell. Probable date between 1363 and 1381. 4th Bell. "Prayse ye the Lord", with a coin at the beginning and end of the sentence, in black lettering. Under the sentence are the initials of Joseph Carter, and in between the initials is a shield on which is engraved a bell between the letters R.M.

Joseph Carter was in 1578, perhaps earlier, manager of the ancient Reading Bell factory. He bought the Whitechapel Foundry from Robert Mot, who started one in 1570. Carter had a way of copying Mot's devices and inscriptions on bells, and most likely before he actually bought the business he had access to Mot's patterns, so that probably the 4th bell was cast by Cater under such conditions.

2nd. R. Catlin Fecit. A London Foundry

6th Bell cast by John Warner & Sons.

Inscription under the weather vane on the Dove Cote at Arborfield Grange:

"This Vane on the top of the Dove-Cot swung from the year 1631 on the Steeple of the Old Church at Arborfield to the year 1869, when the Deserted Church having become ruinous was taken down, and the Vane became the property of Sir Edward Conroy Baronet. It was put upon this Dove-Cot at Arborfield Grange in recollection of the old and picturesque Church of Arborfield on the 23rd Feby. 1869."

November 1826.

Old James Taylor in the village said that he had helped to pull down the Church Tower; the men put a rope round the wooden steeple and first pulled it over, it was so rotten. He also said that in pulling down the Church, they came upon an old bowl built in the wall, close to the door "Sir John" Hayes used. "It looked like alabaster" and "very roughly hollowed out with a chisel". Watts had to get rid of the things and rubble, so no doubt threw it away, as is supposed to have happened to the Pewter Chalice. The alabaster bowl was evidently a Holy Water Stoup. The rubble from the Church was used to make up the road across the big field from Arborfield Hall Farm to "Cocklebury mansions", the 2 old Tudor Cottages, standing by the land and the big field, pulled down Oct. 1926, the bricks and tiles were sold to Mrs Slater Booth, living in Hampshire at [there is a space in the handwritten document here]. The rest of the rubble was thrown in the gravel pit by Arborfield Hall Farm. James Taylor also said that (what is now Church Copse) used to be a kiln for making small drain pipes.

Calendar of the Rolls. Henry III, 1247-1258, p.303:

1254. The like (Exemption) at the instance of Robert Falonis of Gilbert Bulloo of Hereburgefeld: from being made forester, agister, regarder and other baileff of the King against his will.

1264. April 14th. "Protection" of Gilbert Bulloo, "a kind of passport at the instance of Robert Falconis.

Oct. 4th 1331, Westminster:

William "by the Wode" of Wokyngham acknowledges that he owes to Robert Bullok, Lord of Erburghfeld, and Ralph, parson of the Church of the town £3501: to be levied, in default of payment, of his lands and chattels in co. Berks.

Calendar of Patent Rolls. Edward III 1343-1345, page 435: Feby. 12th, Westminster.

Whereas Robert Bullok of Erburghfeld, who with others put upon a petty inquest lately made between Henry son of Alice late wife of William of Pynkeneye, kinsman and heir of William Fitz-Sweyn of Cokeham, and of Joan his wife, plaintiff, and William de Babeham, deforciant, of a tenement at Cokeham, was convicted by a jury of twenty four knights afterwards taken at the suit of the said William before William de Sherehull, then one of the Justices of the Bench, by writ of "Nisi prius", of having with others of the said petty inquest forsworn himself, and judgement upon this was rendered against him and the other jurors of the inquest by William Scott and his fellows, justices of the Kings Bench, that they lose the King's free law forever, that they be taken and imprisoned until they make fine with the King for this cause and their goods remain forfeit to him, and their lands to be seized into his hands and extirpated and that their wives and little ones be removed therefrom:L the King for certain causes willing to show special grace to the said Robert herein has pardoned him the trespass, the fine and the stripment and waste, and what ever pertains to him in the premises, and has restored him to his law. The like to the following severally: By P.S.

John of Yvendon
John Bithewode of Hurst
William of Sandlesham

C. of Close Rolls, Richard II, 1389-1392, page 277.

July 3rd, Westminster:-

To the Sheriff of Berkshire. Writ of supersede, by a mainprise of John Kyngesmylle of Erburghfelde of Berkshire. William Hankes of Pyghtsley, Richard Wuryn of Northamptonshire, and Ralf atte Mulle of Surrey, in favour of John Crishull and Richard Martyn at suit of John Lodynge of London "mercer" averring threats.

Petit Rolls 1345:

Robert Bullok of Erburghfeld having been outlawed for having with others, "forsworn himself" at a petty inquest re property at Cokeham receives the King's pardon: a return of his forfeited goods, "the King being willing for certain causes to shew special grace to the said Robert".

Calendar of Close Rolls, Vol. IX 1377-1383, page 230:

"Robert Bullock of Erberfeld and Reynold Chiffeld Berks", and others appointed collectors of assessments for the County of Berks", for the Exchequer.

"So that the assessment may be well and frankly made by their survey, as they will answer therefore at their peril, and order and strict injunction to them: on their faith and allegiance and on pan of forfeiture of all that they can forfeit". From Chronicles of Finchampstead, William Lyon:-

"About 1390 Margaret de Foxley, daughter of Sir John de Foxley, of East Court, Finchampstead, married Robert Bullock".

Close Rolls

1399. Lawrence Drew and Robert Bullock appointed to "make inquisition in Berkshire re profits of Town of Wynkefeld in Wyndsor Forest".

From Add. Chart. 38506 (B.M.) (translated from Latin):

"Grant by Rob. Bullock (tertius) "dominus de Erburghfeld" to Ric Westebrok & Agnes his wife of a messuage, 2 cottages, 3 oustillages, 5 crofts, and a grove in Erburghfeld, formerly the property of Gilbertus Bullock his ancestor, lying between the highway from Alfeldecronch to Reading, and a lane called Reynoldestrete at a rent of 2.s. (2/-). Witnesses: John Elyve Elyne. Rob le Gant. Will le Smyth, Hen Hasulden. Ric Waterugg. Rob. Batenhale and others. Dat at Erburghfeld.

Sunday for All Saints (2 Nov). 39. Edward III

1555 In Acts of Privy Council

A letter to the Privy Council to John Norrys, and Thomas Bullock, warning them "To be present at the Faire at Redyng, on St. James Daye and to see good order kepte there and all vacaboundes banished ....."

Acts of Privy Council. 1574

"This day Richard Warde & Thomas Bullock, being called before the Lords for suspicion of hunting in Mr Threaswer's Parke neare Reading, were both bounde in X lb. apiece for their and their servants that they nor any of them should at any tyme hunte in the said grounde ... without the licens of the said Mr Tresorer or his Deputie. nor that they nor any of them shall any manner of way evill intreat or mysuse the Keper of the said parke, or his sonne ...".

Acts of the Privy Council 1587-1589, page 131.

18th Juny. 1587:

This xviii day of June, 1587, Thomas Bullock of Harburfield in Berkes, esquier, being sent for by a warrent from the Lordes of her Majesties Privie Council to answeare to such thinges as should be objected against him, hath made his appearence accordinglie, and it is entered here for his indemnitie, with command not to departe without special licence from their Lordships.

May, 15th 1438. Westminster:

Thomas Hodeman of Erburfeld, co. Berks.

"Hosebandman" for not appearing before the justices of the Bench to answer Thomas Rokys touching a plea of debt of 16 marks.

These Buildings (the old Laundry) was pulled down April 1927, and sold for their bricks, by Mr Allsebrook, who bought Arborfield Hall from Mrs John Hargreaves Nov. 1926 and came to live there March 1927.

This Ballard was published by Gay in "Mists' Journal" Aug. 27th 1726.

Copy of memorial put up in York Cathedral in memory of Pelsant Reeves "To the memory of Pelsant Reeves of Arborfield in the County of Berks. Esq., Captain in the 1st (or Royal) Regement. He fell in the Battle of Toulon. 30th Vobr. 1793 in the 29th year of his age. His brother George Dawson inscribes this (.e. 1st Regiment, now 1936, Royal Scots.)

George Dawson was a very peppery tempered man, and meeting one day a sweep carrying his bag of soot over his shoulder, along a path running across the big field from behind the present Church to the farm, he stopped him and said he was not to walk across his field, at which the sweep said he would, so Mr Dawson seized the bag of soot, and belaboured the poor man about the head! After which there must have been two sweeps, not one!!

Sir Henry Russell bought land to improve his estate between 1842 and his death 1852, "to which he added considerably by the purchase of the largest part of the Manor of Arborfield", and the land going by the name of Kenny's".

With this went the title of "Lord of the Manor of Arborfield" and was probably sold to him by George Pelsant Reeves at the time of selling the Hall".

(From "Swallowfield and its owners", Lady Russell)

Mrs Love died Dec. 1925.

On the death of Col. Churcher, Mrs Churcher sold the place [Arborfield Grange] to Mr and Mrs Williamson from Chertsey, in 1927, Mr Williamson dying a few months after in August 1928.

1829 Thomas Rogers Paper Mill

Thomas, coachman to William Simonds at Bunce's Shaw, Farley Hill, has a grandfather clock made by Crutchfield, which he bought at the old Miss Girdler's sale at Swallowfield; it has an oak case, strikes, but has only one weight, and a most charming brass face, engraved with a ship in full sail, coming from the sea to a river; a river bank on one side; a pier with a tower at the end on the left side. Thomas says that only 2 Grandfather Clocks were made by Crutchfield, the other having been brought from the George and Dragon Inn, Swallowfield, by Major and Mrs O'Rorke, while he was veterinary surgeon at the Arborfield Remount Depot 1912 to 1914.

Bull Inn there in 1707. Old deed. J.B.

The Revd. Dr. Waterman held 20 acres of Chill Hill (at Farley Hill). (From Swallowfield and its owners, Lady Russell, page 241)

A marriage to Mr John Sale is recorded in Arborfield Register on May 23rd of Mrs Mary Ferrer or Fever of Fingest, Bucks. by licence. Oct. 22nd 1739 her burial. (This could not have been the wife of the rector).

Wooldridge Swallowfield, Arborfield name

Wolryche appears in Swallowfield in 1276

It is one of the many compound names derived from Wolf.

Cowdery and Cordery

Padworth Manor was at an early period in the family of Condray (Exch. Hen. III). There was a curious story in Blounts Tenures, quoted by Lysons, which states that "Peter Corderie, who held it before 1518, did so by the service of finding a sailor to manage the ropes of the Queen's vessel, whenever she should pass over to Normandy. Hence it is said, the name of "Corde de Roy". In the list of Knights of Berks, temp. Ed. I., the name of Sir Thomas Cowdray appears, and his arms are given "Goulis belette d'or".

(Taken from Swallowfield and its Owners, Lady Russell)

Lucas's Charity (taken from The Chronicles of Finchampstead by W. Lyon).

"Henry Lucas, by Will dated June 11th 1663, left £7000 to be expended on building and endowing an almshouse or hospital in the county of Berks or Surrey for the relief of as many poor old men (and a master as chaplain, to read Divine Service every morning and evening and preach once every Lord's Day) as might be conveniently provided for, allowing the master £50 (since raised to £100) a year, and each old man the yearly maintenance of £10; the men to be of the poorest inhabitants of the Forest Division in the County of Berks and of the bailiwick of Surrey, and to be nominated by the Master, Wardens, and the Company of Drapers: they are to be fifty years of age - the number of brethren is now twelve, each receiving a pension of £27 a year. The Parishes which receive the benefit of the institution are as follows:


  1. Wokingham,

  2. Arborfield,

  3. Finchampstead,

  4. New Windsor,

  5. Easthampstead,

  6. Clewer,

  7. Old Windsor,

  8. Barkham,

  9. Binfield,

  10. Hurst,

  11. Ruscombe,

  12. Sandhurst,

  13. Winkfield,

  14. Swallowfield,

  15. Sunninghill,

  16. Bray.


  1. Chobham,

  2. Chertsey,

  3. Bisley,

  4. Purford,

  5. Wainborough,

  6. Egham,

  7. Frimley,

  8. Windlesham,

  9. Stoke,

  10. Thorpe,

  11. Purbright,

  12. Worplesdon,

  13. Byfleet,

  14. Woking,

  15. Horsell.

Vacancies are made known by advertisement in the county papers: but as these advertisements may not always be observed, it would seem desirable that some better means should be devised for informing the several parishes concerned when vacancies occur. Applications for admission should be addressed to the Clerk to the Drapers' Company, Drapers' Hall, Throgmorton St., London."

This is St. Luke's Hospital, Wixenford, Wokingham.

[End of Women's Institute document]

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