Local History Society

 Properties - Arborfield Grange

Mrs. Stuart Rickman had a London address as well as Arborfield Grange.
By 1917, she was spending so much time in London that the Grange was put on the market, and was bought by the Churchers.
In mid-summer 1917, there was a Furniture Auction, as described here.

Captain and Mrs. Stuart Rickman

Advert for Arborfield Cottage, 1842

Occupants of Arborfield Grange

Photos from 1920's Sale Document

Auction Sale documents: 1887;   1914;   1921   

In 1849, there was a note about 'Arborfield Cottage', which eventually became known as 'Arborfield Grange' - it begins with an advertisement to let, dated 1842, then continues with some slightly illegible notes:


( Arborfield Grange ), TO BE LET IN 1842.


The house is situated in the Parish of Arborfield, on the border of Windsor Forest, 5 miles from the Railway Station at Reading, about 7 miles from the Twyford Station, on the Great Western Line, and about 9 from the Hartley Row Station, on the Southampton Line of Railway.

The soil is gravel, and the situation is, in every respect, remarkably dry and healthy.

The Cottage consists of an Entrance room, Dining-room, Breakfast room or Study, Butlers’ Pantry, Kitchen and Servants’ Hall, Dairy, Cellars and Offices, on the Ground Floor;- Drawing Room, six best Bedrooms, Store-room, Linen Closet and Water-closet on the First Floor;- and there are four Bedrooms in the Attics.- Adjoining are Laundry and Washhouse, duly fitted up.- 5-stall Stable, Double Coach-house, with Loft and Coachman’s rooms above. Loose Box for Horses, Barn, Cowhouse, etc., - in short all the conveniences of a complete Farm Yard, - Ornamental Garden round the Cottage, - Walled Kitchen Garden;- Orchard in full and abundant bearing;- Productive Grass Field;- in all about 7 acres.

Privilege of Boating and Fishing in the River Loddon close at hand.

The Rent for the above, with the Furniture £150 - Unfurnished, £100 pr Annum.

The Premises are in complete repair and are most abundantly supplied with excellent hard and soft water.

About 50 Acres of Ornamental and Productive Land surrounding the Cottage, may be added if required.

The place may be seen at any time, but, before going to look at it, it would be convenient to address a line, stating such intentions, as under:-

Geo. P. Dawson, Esq., Arborfield, near Reading, Berks.

That is The then Cottage of Arborfield - very nice and picturesque But quite unlike in Compare and accommodation, and in convenience and size what it has now become in 1849, when I make this note.

A good House could have been built on the Site for nearly
4000 pound 1st to last, had been expended on it.

This (the House) ------ and ------ and a very nice Little House, with very Good Stabling

I took it for a year in July 1839 for a year: Left it in 1840: took it again in 1841. I have lived in it --- -----
M---- the poor place hope to ---- in it -- -----. --. 



The following were occupants of Arborfield Grange according to Snares, Billings, Kellys, Dutton Allens or Harrods Post Office Directories, 1842 - 1939.

1842-3 Edward Conroy Esq.
c1847 Edward Conroy Esq.
1863 Sir Edward Conroy, bart.
1869 Sir Edward Conroy, baronet, D.L.
1876 Sir John Conroy, bart., J.P. (also 1883)
1887 Surg. Gen. Henry M. Cannon
1891 Commander Stuart H. Rickman R.N. (also 1895, 1899, 1903, 1907,1911)
1915 Mrs. Rickman
1920 Col. D.W. Churcher (also 1924)
1928 Chas. S. Williamson
1931 Mrs. Williamson (also 1935, 1939)


The Grange was sold off to become two properties, the newer buildings we now know as the 'Grange', and the original building we know as 'Arborfield House'. The Sale Document contained the following photographs together with their captions (we would welcome other copies of this document to improve image definition):

The Drive from the House

The Main Entrance

The Western Wing


The South Elevation showing the Modern Wing

A Corner of the Lake

From the late 1920's until at least 1939, the Grange was occupied by Edith Marion Williamson. The 1928 Electoral Register also records the name 'Jerrard Ross Williamson', and the 'Reading Mercury' of 10th October 1931 carried two photographs of his wedding:

'Ten Bridesmaids and Four Young Attendants composed the bridal retinue of Miss Christine Petre, daughter of Captain C B Petre of Poland, Odiham, to Mr J Ross Williamson of Arborfield Grange, at Odiham on Thursday. Left: The bride and bridegroom. Right: The fourteen attendants.' 

During WWII, the Grange was occupied as an Officers' Mess by the U. S. Army Air Force, and was described by Thomas J Carter.

In recent years, the newer building has been split into six apartments; also, the grounds have been cleared of undergrowth and have become more visible from the outside. The lake can be seen from Church Lane near the Old Rectory, while much of the drive can be seen from the Reading Road.

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