Local History Society


Street names in Arborfield and their origins

Slater Directory, 1850

Kelly's Directory, 1854



Arborfield has been shaped by influential families down the centuries. Indeed, in 1900, the main country houses in the parish directly employed half of the inhabitants of Arborfield and Newland.

Families from more humble backgrounds have left their mark on Arborfield since then, and their surnames live on in the roads of the Penrose Park and Badgers Mount estates as well as at Arborfield Cross.  The following list is in alphabetical order:

The Allright or Allwright family owned some land in Arborfield between 1700 and the early 1900's, including Targett's Farm. They also owned the Dissenters' Chapel opposite the Bull.

Guthrie Allsebrook, a well-known local water engineer, bought Arborfield Hall in 1926 and was instrumental in installing a new water pumping station at Arborfield Mill in 1933.

The Anderson surname runs like a thread through the first part of the 20th Century, when the Rev. Joshua Anderson (later Canon Anderson) was Rector of Arborfield He took a strong interest in the spiritual welfare of the soldiers serving at the Remount Depot during the Great War, as can be seen by the many articles referring to him in the 'Reading Mercury' and 'Reading Standard'. He was instrumental in getting the Village Hall built, even though strictly speaking, it wasn't in his 'parish' (at the time, it was in the parish of St. Catherine's, Bearwood!). It's not surprising that Anderson Crescent was named after him.

The Barker family lost two young daughters, Joan and Ruby Barker, in 1938 and 1941, as reported in the local press.

Frank Baston's short life was brought to an end during the Great War, and a memorial service was held in his honour.

The Rev. Bill Bayley was rector of St. Catherine's in Bearwood from 1917 for several decades. However, he was also chaplain from 1917 to 1919 at the Bearwood Canadian Convalescent Hospital, which was within Newland Parish. When Bearwood Mansion became the Royal Merchant Navy School, he continued as part-time Chaplain until 1938, when a full-time Chaplain took over.

The Bentley family owned Magnolia Cottage for two centuries, and were Wheelwrights and later ran the Garage next door to Magnolia Cottage.

Ernest Bowyer lived in the parish for nearly 40 years, the last 20 at Newland Farm., before he retired to Hurst in 1940.

The Bullock family name is still celebrated in both Arborfield and Barkham by 'Bull' public houses.

Joseph 'Jugger' Bushell ran the Bull from 1914 to his death in 1950, though sadly his wife Edith Bushell died in 1921. His daughter May Bushell was married during the Great War, and the wedding festivities were reported in detail in the 'Reading Mercury'.

Geoffrey Carr was Rector from 1963 to 1976. He noted his memories on his retirement.

William Clark was landlord of the Swan in the first quarter of the 20th Century.

The Conroy family moved to Arborfield at the beginning of Victoria's reign.  Click here for more about the Conroys and Sir John Conroy's creation of the Victorian mock-Tudor mansion Arborfield Hall and of its innovative Model Farm.

The Cope family owned Bramshill House in Hampshire, but Sir John Cope's Bramshill Hunt covered Arborfield and Newland. It was replaced by the Garth Hunt in 1852. J. Hautenville Cope described the events surrounding the change from the Bramshill Hunt to the Garth Hunt in his 30-article series 'Hunting in Berkshire', published in the 'Reading Mercury' between February and December 1921. 

The Rev. Peter Ditchfield was Rector of Barkham, but the location of the Remount Depot, his close involvement with the Arborfield, Newland and Barkham C.E. School, and his prodigious knowledge of history and archaeology meant that he was well-known in and around Arborfield. He wrote some notes on the old Arborfield Church which were used for a guided tour of the ruins. He died in 1930.

Miss A.M. Edwards grew up in Arborfield in the 1910's at Grange Cottages, on the corner of Greensward Lane and Reading Road.   

Captain Goater served at the Remount Depot in the Great War.

The Hargreaves family lived at Arborfield Hall by the River Loddon from 1855.  Now only a memory, the original medieval Hall was first replaced by a Victorian mansion by the Conroy family, and in the 1960's the new owners, Reading University, demolished it and built a modern house called 'Aberleigh' for the Vice-Chancellor. It has been let out to private tenants in recent years. Thomas Hargreaves from Accrington in Lancashire married Sarah Jackson, of the Washington Jackson family of Philadelphia, in Toxteth in 1855, and Arborfield Hall was their wedding present. They had eight children before Thomas left Arborfield in 1870 for something of a playboy existence in Hampshire and around the fashionable resorts of the Mediterranean.

The Rev. Sir John Warren Hayes, Baronet, was Rector of Arborfield from 1839 to 1879, seeing both the Rectory and the church building replaced during his incumbency. His daughter Ellen Anne married John Simonds, and they cared for him at 'Newlands' after he retired.

James Hayward was headmaster at the school from 1902 to 1921.

William Hayward of 'Ailsa Craig' in School Road was held as a Prisoner of War camp in the far east for three and a half years. His return in late 1945 was described in the 'Reading Mercury. 

The Hiscock family came to Arborfield via the Arborfield Hall camp just after World War II. Sadly, their daughter Esme Hiscock died in a traffic accident in 1950.

Herbert Lee farmed at Newland Farm from 1940 to the late 20th Century, first keeping a dairy herd before switching in the 1960s to rearing sheep.

Richard Maynard was the landlord of the 'Swan' in the early 1840s, before moving to Shinfield. He died young, and his widow Harriett Maynard became landlady of the 'Black Boy' at Shinfield Green.

The Muir family were living in Walden Avenue when they were struck by a tragic accident in 1944. Two army lorries passed too close on Eversley Road, tearing off the wooden canopy of one, which hit 22-year-old Mrs. Muir and her baby daughter. The baby was unhurt, but Mrs. Muir's concussion, apparently only a slight injury, later proved fatal.

Charles New of The Lodge, Arborfield Hall, came to a grisly end in an accident at the Water Mill at Arborfield Hall Farm in 1921. His widow Harriett continued to live in the village for many years afterwards.

"Dolly" Powell, the youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. Powell, was married in 1917, and there was a detailed report of the occasion in the 'Reading Standard'. At the time, the Powell family lived at The Lodge, Arborfield Hall - were they the previous occupiers before Charles and Harriett New moved in? Her brother William Powell had married in 1913 in Australia, and a report of his wedding was printed in the 'Reading Mecury'.

Kenneth Loder Cromwell Prescott, a direct descendant of Oliver Cromwell, moved to Arborfield Court in 1916. He died young in 1921 aged only 47, just two months after hosting a Fete in the grounds of his residence, Arborfield Court. His widow Mrs. Prescott remained at the Court for many years afterwards.

Harold Ravenscroft farmed at Bartlett's between 1931 and 1939, and after his death, his family moved to the centre of the village.

Captain Stuart Rickman and his wife Caroline lived for over 20 years at Arborfield Grange. Other members of the Rickman family lived nearby in Barkham Manor.

James Hellier Rowe, originally from Devon, moved to Great Lea Farm at Three Mile Cross before ending his days at Targett's Farm in 1922.

Until the 1960's the 'Bull' and 'Swan' pubs at Arborfield Cross were tied to the Simonds brewery in Reading, but the local branch of the Simonds family were actually connected with banking, not brewing. They lived at Newlands, a country mansion half a mile north of the Cross, but all trace of the house itself has now disappeared.  Another branch of the family owned Sindlesham Mill, just to the north of the parish of Newland, and John Simonds' brother lived at Woodbury, Farley Hill.

The Standens claimed to have been descended from the Attrebates, who lived in central Berkshire before the Romans came.

Although Edward Sturges (for many years the chairman of Wokingham R.D.C.) lived at Barkham Square, he had a lot of involvement in Arborfield life, particularly as his daughter Aline Rhoda Sturges married John Hayes Simonds

Jack Tilley farmed at Bartlett's for over half a century.

W. J. Verrall was headmaster at Arborfield, Newland and Barkham C.E. School from 1921 to 1947.

Although they had moved to Reading in the early 1900s, coachbuilder William Vincent was buried in Arborfield in 1904, followed long after by his son Harry Vincent in 1941. 

John Walter III, the proprietor of 'The Times' newspaper, gradually built-up the Bearwood Estate to encompass not just Newland and part of Arborfield, but also much of Barkham, Wokingham Without around Nine Nile Ride, and Sandhurst. His eldest son John Walter IV died in tragic circumstances on Christmas Eve 1870, while trying to rescue his brother and cousin who had fallen through the ice on the lake. His second son Arthur Fraser Walter succeeded him in 1894, and lived until 1910; the following year the Estate was put up for Auction. The Sale Document from 1911 gives detailed  information on the Estate.  John Walter III's widow Flora shared the Mansion with the Canadian Convalescent Hospital in World War I, but died in 1917. The Bearwood College school site relates the subsequent history of the Mansion.

A local journalist, Anthony Walton,  lived in Walden Avenue, and wrote on farming and country life under the names 'Agricola' and 'Rustic'.

Many tenant farmers came from the far corners of Britain to farm in Berkshire, few more so than James McMillan Wood from Scotland or his wife Annie from the MacDonald clan, who was born on the Isle of Lewis.

The History document compiled by the Women's Institute in 1922 goes into tremendous detail about several of these families.

Commercial Directories listed the key families in each area; click here to see what was in the Slater Directory for 1850, and here to see the contents of Kelly's Directory for 1854. 


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