A History of the County of Berkshire: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1923.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
The parish of Hurley covers an area of 4,159 acres, of which 1,482 are arable land, 1,600 permanent grass and 362 woods and plantations. (fn. 1) Great changes have taken place in the constitution of the parish during the last three centuries. A survey of 1609 shows the parish divided into fields mostly of from 40 to 98 acres. During the next two centuries the fields were divided into small freeholds, of which the greater number consisted of from 6 to 25 acres. Then these plots were exchanged, the inclosures taken down and the different holdings thrown together, so that the ordnance survey of 1875 shows fields of about the same size as the survey of 1609. In 1609 there were 436 more acres of woodland than in 1792; since this date 93 acres have been replanted. The underwood was formerly used for the manufacture of hoops, and the beech-wood was sold to firms at Wycombe for chair-making; but these industries have been much affected by the importation of foreign goods. Since 1875 about 900 acres of grass have been laid down, mostly in 1884 and 1885, when it was found that corn-growing could no longer be made profitable. (fn. 2) A few of the inhabitants are employed in the brickworks and on the river.
The Bath Road enters the parish at the hamlet of Knowl Hill on the south, (fn. 3) and turning east at Chalk Pit Farm passes Littlewick Green, a hamlet which lies partly in the parish of Hurley. The River Thames forms the northern boundary of the parish, and here the land averages 100 ft. above the ordnance datum. South of Hurley Bottom it rises steeply and at Ashley Hill reaches a height of 475 ft.
The village is situated in the Thames Valley, a little to the north of the main road from Henley to Marlow, with wooded hills to the south-east. It consists of the church and the remains of the priory at the north end near the river, a few cottages of comparatively recent date, and one or two private houses. Hurley House, the residence of Mr. Morris Richardson, stands at the south end of the village. The present vicarage became church property in 1844, when it was bought from the Hon. Henry Walker, lord of the manor. The older half of the house was previously a farm-house. (fn. 4)
On the east side of the roadway leading to the church stands the Bell Inn, a two-storied half-timber building of the late 15th century, considerably modernized and added to in recent years, but still retaining a fair amount of original work. As originally erected the building appears to have been rectangular, the northern end projecting slightly westward, with a porch on the west front in the angle so formed. The upper floor slightly overhangs the ground story. The porch is of timber with the heads of the openings on the two open sides framed in the form of four-centred arches, while the doorway has a head of the same form. One original oriel window remains overlooking the street from the first floor at the south end of the building. It is divided into five pointed lights by moulded oak mullions and has a moulded oak sill. The roof is tiled and runs longitudinally with the structure, but is cut into by the gable of the roof over the porch and that of the projecting portion to the north of it.
To the north of the church is Lady Place, the residence of Mr. Laurence Hancock, a modern red brick building, the successor of an older house built on the site of the priory, which was the seat of the Lovelaces, lords of the manor in the 16th and 17th centuries (see below). In the grounds of Lady Place are the remains of the walls of what was probably the frater of the priory. These have been patched up and added to and now form a large shed running east and west, at the west end of which have been built modern stables. It is doubtful if more than the north wall of this building is mediaeval, though in the upper part of the south wall are four trefoiled single lights with widely splayed inner jambs and two-centred segmental rear arches. Under the second one from the east is a round-headed external recess, and there is a similar opening under the end one. In the north wall, however, are the remains of three large early 14th-century windows. They were pointed and probably of two lights each, but the tracery and mullions have disappeared. High up in the west end of this wall is a blocked mullioned window of 16th-century date. This portion of the building at one time contained two floors, but the upper one, which cuts across the middle of the 14th-century windows, appears to have been inserted after the Dissolution. The roof, which is tiled, is of the queen-post type, and most of the timbers are old. Joining the east end of this building with the east end of the church is another block, now used as a residence, in the walls of which a considerable amount of old masonry has been used, while at the west end of the stables are the schools, a quadrangle being thus formed on the north side of the church.
In the grounds of the present house, to the southeast of the church, are some remains of the house built in the 16th century. They consist of an L-shaped brick chamber having a small closet opening out of it on the south, at the end opposite to the foot of the L. The main chamber is divided into four bays by square brick piers, placed centrally down the compartment, from the abaci of which spring groined brick vaults, received upon responds on the side walls. In the south wall are two three-light square-headed windows with moulded stone mullions and jambs, while in the west wall of the projecting wing and the east wall of the closet are single-light windows of the same character. The floor of the building is some feet below the level of the ground, which has been cut away to form a sunk area round it. It is entered from openings in the side walls, against which the earth has been banked up and overgrown with ivy.
The most surrounding the priory buildings still remains on the north and east, but on the other two sides it has for the most part been filled in. Two fair-sized fish-ponds fed from the most on the north form pleasing features in the garden of the present house.
In a field to the west of the church are a 14th-century barn and a pigeon-house of the same date, both of which no doubt originally belonged to the priory. The former is built of chalk and flint, and is rectangular on plan, with a short projecting block in the centre of the east front. Along the sides are double rows of narrow square-headed openings. The roofs are of a moderately steep pitch, and the main one is divided into eight bays by trusses of an elaborated queen-post type with two purlins on either side strengthened by curved wind-braces. The pigeon-house stands to the south of the barn and is of the same materials but rough-casted externally. It is of a circular plan with four buttresses, each of two offsets, and is crowned by a conical tiled roof. From a central post is swung a ladder which revolves round the house, thus enabling any of the holes to be reached at one ascent.
Besides the village of Hurley proper there are five hamlets, Birchets Green (Byrchurst, xiv cent.; Birchestre, xv cent.), (fn. 5) part of Littlewick, Knowl Hill, Warren Row and Cockpole. Knowl Hill (La Cnolle, xiv cent.), which was formed into a separate ecclesiastical parish from Hurley and Wargrave in 1842, contains a church and also a Baptist chapel. The village is built round the common.
Hall Place, the seat of Sir Gilbert Augustus Clayton East, bart., is situated near Birchets Green, about a mile south-east of the village, and is surrounded by a deer park of about 130 acres. The house dates from the first half of the 18th century, the old mansion having been pulled down by William East after he bought the property in 1728. (fn. 6) Of the earlier building, which was much larger than the present one, nothing remains, but that the present house is built on its site is shown by a site plan which was made for the sale of the property and bears the date 1725. This shows four avenues of limes, three of which exist to-day, but the fourth, which was the entrance to the old house, has disappeared. The present house faces east and is built of red brick. The centre block is three stories high and stands on a basement, while on either side are lower wings projecting to the east. In the 19th century a large Doric portico was erected in the centre of the principal front. The walls of the drawing room, which overlooks the grounds on the west, are ornamented with bold carved plaster reliefs, the dolphin and eagle being largely introduced into the decoration. Over the mantelpiece in bold relief is a portrait of Caroline the Illustrious, and on the side panels are portraits of the Prince and Princess of Orange, her son-in-law and daughter. On a panel on the west side of the ceiling, which is treated in a more delicate manner, are the arms of East, a cheveron between three horses' heads, and on the opposite side the monogram W.E. The oak panelling in the smoking room, which is situated in the southern wing of the house, was taken from the manor-house at Kennington belonging to the family of the present owner when it was pulled down in the last century. Over the fireplace in this room is some Gibbons carving.
Chalk Pit House, the property of Mr. G. S. Elliott, is on the borders of the hamlet of Knowl Hill. Rose Hill, on the west of the parish, is the residence of MajorGeneral Edward Micklem, and Park Wood, south of Warren Row, of Sir Charles Solomon Henry, bart.
Place-names occurring in Hurley are: Saverne, Standun, (fn. 7) Chadenhanger or Chadelhengre (cf. Channers Plantation), La Rudyng, Santgath (fn. 8) (xiii cent.); Le Castel, Hangingegrave (fn. 9) (xiv cent.); Chappell Felde, Compefelde, Monkeden Field, Conyngherthes, Conygre, Bychenden and Lockmede (fn. 10) (xvi cent.).
A messuage called Copyd Hall belonged in 1591 to Thomas Marriott and was then inhabited by Ralph Dallene. (fn. 11) In 1638 it belonged, with 6 acres of land, to William Hayward. (fn. 12) Another messuage called Podgers (now Pudders) was at the end of the 16th century and beginning of the 17th century the property of a family named Hayes. (fn. 13) Lands called Owde House Groundes, containing 20 acres, belonged at the beginning of the 17th century to Robert Cutler, and passed in 1613 to his brother John Cutler. (fn. 14) Golders Farm was leased by John Lord Lovelace to John Saunders of Hurley in 1654, (fn. 15) and Grove's Farm was leased by the same owner to Nathaniel Cannon. (fn. 16) In 1641 Francis Mincklen had licence to build a dwelling-house on his lands called Calvesleaze. (fn. 17) containing 20 acres within the forest, and to move his barn nearer to the intended dwelling-house. (fn. 18) Dick Farm and Frogmill Farm are mentioned as part of the manorial estate in 1664, also lands called Pidgeonhouse Field, Sheephouse Field, Bargeman's Field, 'the two Minnydons,' and pasture called Fating Leaze. (fn. 19)
The manor of HURLEY was held under Edward the Confessor by Asgar (or Esgar). his staller or master of the horse. It was granted by William the Conqueror to Geoffrey de Mandeville, (fn. 20) who at the instance of his second wife Lasceline and for the soul of his first wife Athelaise, the mother of his sons, granted the vill of Hurley and the adjoining wood to the priory which he had founded there as a cell of St. Peter's, Westminster. (fn. 21) The right of the priory to the wood was confirmed by the founder after certain of his tenants at Waltham had committed waste there, (fn. 22) and later William Earl of Essex confirmed the wood belonging to the manor of Hurley and also the wood belonging to the vill of Little Waltham to the priory. (fn. 23) In February 1236 the prior obtained a royal charter confirming the liberties of soc and sac, toll and theam, infangentheof and outfangentheof, and all the other liberties enjoyed by the Abbot of Westminster throughout his lands. (fn. 24) The charter was consequent, apparently, on a demand for 20s. by the sheriff for view of frankpledge and 5s. for hidage, from which a charter of liberties to Westminster and its cells had made the priory free in the previous July. (fn. 25) The new charter was to be read by the sheriff in full court, also by the constable of Windsor, by the bailiff of the Seven Hundreds, and by the justices itinerant for the forest. (fn. 26)
In 1275 it was returned that 1 hide of land in Hurley and Bisham called Chadenhanger, which had been formerly held by Nicholas de Oxehache and his ancestors, and which owed suit at the hundred court of Beynhurst, had been acquired by the prior to the damage of the king, (fn. 27) since the suit done by Nicholas and his ancestors had been withdrawn. (fn. 28) The prior was then said to hold pleas de namio vetito, to have gallows, assize of bread and ale, (fn. 29) and the right of warren. (fn. 30) He was presented for exceeding the limits of his own chase and hunting in the king's forest, also for withholding the payment of 20s. to the view of frankpledge and 5s. for hidage, (fn. 31) and for not permitting his tenants to come before the king's coroners or to any royal inquests held outside his liberty. (fn. 32)
A grant in 1401 from Henry IV gave licence to the prior and convent to cut down and sell their wood within the forest of Windsor to the value of 100 marks for the repair of the church, belfry and houses. The charter mentions the fact that the king's first wife, Mary de Bohun, was a descendant of the Mandevilles, the founders of the priory. (fn. 33)
Hurley was included among the lesser monasteries suppressed in 1536, (fn. 34) and the site and manor with view of frankpledge were granted to the abbey of Westminster in exchange for various lands in London, exception being made of the great wood called Hurley Wood, (fn. 35) which had been already granted to the abbey in exchange for Convent Garden. (fn. 36) In 1540 the abbey surrendered to the king, and in the following year the manor of Hurley, with the fishery in the Thames and the 'game of swannes there,' was granted to Charles Howard. (fn. 37) Howard sold the property in 1543 to Leonard Chamberleyn. (fn. 38) Chamberleyn conveyed the manor in 1545 to John Lovelace, to whom he gave a receipt for the purchase money between 2 and 3 o'clock P.M. at the font of St. Paul's Cathedral. (fn. 39) The grant was to take effect after the expiration of a lease granted for nineteen years in 1544 to one Ralph Nutting. (fn. 40) John Lovelace died in 1558, his will of that year being dated at 'the mansion called Ladye Place,' which he had evidently built on the site of the ruined priory and named from its dedication in honour of the Blessed Virgin. (fn. 41) Richard Lovelace, his son and heir, was involved in 1563 in a suit with his mother Grace and her second husband Richard Stafferton, who claimed one-third of the manor as dower, in addition to Lady Place and other premises settled on her by will. (fn. 42)
Richard Lovelace was succeeded in March 1601–2 by his son Richard, who was then thirty years of age. (fn. 43) He was dealing with the manor by fine in 1616. (fn. 44) Having fought in the Irish Wars he was knighted at Dublin in 1599 and created Lord Lovelace of Hurley in 1627. (fn. 45) He died in 1634, leaving a son and heir John and a second son Francis, who dealt with the manor by fine (fn. 46) and recovery (fn. 47) in 1655 and 1656. John Lord Lovelace made a settlement of the manor in 1657. (fn. 48) In 1663 he levied a fine (fn. 49) preparatory to a settlement on Martha, wife of his son and heir-apparent John Lovelace, daughter and co-heir of Sir Edmund Pye. (fn. 50) John Lovelace the younger came into possession of the estate in 1670, (fn. 51) and in 1678 made a settlement of the manor. (fn. 52) His father had been an ardent Royalist, but he was a Whig, and was arrested in 1683 for alleged complicity in the Rye House plot. It was during his brief tenure of the manor of Hurley that meetings were held in the vault beneath Lady Place by the followers of William of Orange. He was arrested and imprisoned by order of James II in 1688, but regained his liberty upon the accession of William III, who made him captain of the gentlemen pensioners. (fn. 53) After his death in 1693 he was succeeded in the peerage by his cousin John Lovelace, grandson of Francis mentioned above, whose inheritance consisted chiefly of debts. The manor was sold by decree of the Court of Chancery, and is said to have been bought by Vincent Oakley, a solicitor, for himself and his clients. (fn. 54) In 1708 Oakley sold the more valuable part of the property, including the manorial rights and the great tithes, to the trustees of the will of Sir Robert Gayer. (fn. 55) His son Robert Gayer of Stoke Poges, presented to the church in 1723. (fn. 56) James Gayer, D.D., his second (fn. 57) but apparently eldest surviving son, was holding in 1765. (fn. 58) Three years later he parted with the estate to George Duke of Marlborough, who in 1790 sold it to Thomas Walker. (fn. 59) The granddaughter and heir of the latter married Henry Jeffery, fourth Lord Ashbrooke, who held it in her right after her death in 1810. (fn. 60) Their son, the Hon. Henry Flower (afterwards Walker, which name he took on coming of age) (fn. 61) Viscount Ashbrooke, sold the estate together with the other less valuable part, which he had acquired from the relatives of Mr. Richard Troughton, to the trustees of the late Sir Gilbert East, bart., of Hall Place, in 1841. A portion of the manor, including Lady Place, was purchased with their consent by Colonel Thomas Peers Williams of Temple House, Bisham. (fn. 62) Sir Gilbert Augustus Clayton East, bart., of Hall Place, is the present lord of the manor.
Lady Place was tenanted after the death of Lord Lovelace in 1693 by Mrs. Williams, the sister of Dr. Wilcocks, Bishop of Rochester, whose daughter and heir married Dr. Lewin, chancellor of Rochester. (fn. 63) After Mrs. Lewin's death the mansion reverted to her nephew Joseph Wilcocks, who earned from Pope Clement XIII the title of 'the blessed heretic,' by reason of his many charities and other good works. (fn. 64) He died in 1791, and the last tenant of Lady Place was Gustavus Adolphus Kempenfelt, whose brother Admiral Kempenfelt went down in the Royal George, 29 August 1792. The house was pulled down in 1837.
A mill and two fisheries at Hurley are mentioned in the Domesday Survey. (fn. 65) The mill is mentioned in the grant of the manor to Westminster Abbey in 1536, (fn. 66) and the fishery is included in the grant of 1541 to Charles Howard. (fn. 67) In 1685 John Lord Lovelace leased the mills for two years to William Drake, miller, at a rent of £59. (fn. 68)
THE HALL or HALL PLACE
THE HALL or HALL PLACE appears to have been an estate of a family called Hurley. John de Hurley was a landholder in Hurley in the first half of the 13th century. Disputes with the prior about the payment of Peter's pence, about attendance at the prior's view of frankpledge, and about his right to take estovers in the prior's wood were settled by arbitration in 1234. (fn. 69) John appears to have been succeeded by Robert de Hurley, to whom the prior quitclaimed a certain meadow (wyca) in Hurley about 1254. (fn. 70) In 1274 Robert executed a bond to refer to certain arbitrators, of whom one was the Abbot of Medmenham, any fresh disputes which might arise over wood, warren or other matters after the settlement which had then been made by Robert and his son Ralph and the latter's brothers to the prior's satisfaction. (fn. 71) Robert de Hurley was living in 1295, when he granted to the convent 3 acres of land super Staundone and 1 subtus Staundon in exchange for the croft called Clemencehulle and land under Mareysdoune. (fn. 72) Ralph had succeeded before 1301, when the prior sued him for exceeding the right to 'reasonable estovers' for housbote and heybote in the wood of Hurley granted to John de Hurley. (fn. 73) In 1320 Geoffrey, brother and heir of Ralph, quitclaimed the estovers to the prior, (fn. 74) who granted a corrody to him and his wife Isabel and his daughter Amice, and also recognized his claim to a view of frankpledge to be held by the prior's stewards outside the priory gate on the day that the prior's view was held. (fn. 75) Geoffrey made a marriage settlement of his lands on his son William and the latter's wife Christine in 1318. (fn. 76) He also had several daughters on whom he settled lands. (fn. 77) William was dead by 1325, (fn. 78) and Geoffrey himself died in 1326 or 1327. (fn. 79) The lands held by the two widows Isabel and Christine and the greater part of the lands settled on the daughters were acquired by the Prior of Hurley in 1340–3. (fn. 80)
The heir of Geoffrey de Hurley was Ellen wife of John de Amersham, a minor, presumably the daughter of his son William. (fn. 81) In 1331 Thomas de Amersham, her guardian, leased 'the Stonehouse,' which she had inherited from Geoffrey, to Walter le Cook, (fn. 82) and in 1337 Ellen with her husband granted the house to him in perpetuity. (fn. 83) In 1344 Walter le Cook quitclaimed it to the prior. (fn. 84) John de Amersham was probably dead by 1361, when Thomas his son acquired a messuage in Hurley from Margery Howton, daughter of Geoffrey de Hurley. (fn. 85) Ralph son of John de Amersham apparently succeeded before 1372, when Richard atte Boure, citizen of London, assigned the 'manor of Hall' to the priory, (fn. 86) evidently on behalf of Ralph de Amersham, (fn. 87) who quitclaimed to the prior in 1375. (fn. 88)
Hall Place was among the possessions of Hurley Priory at its dissolution, (fn. 89) and in 1536 was farmed by Katherine Burges and William her son. (fn. 90) It is described as a capital messuage in 1573 at the death of Andrew Newberry, who had settled it in 1557 on his son William. (fn. 91) In 1591 information of intrusion was laid against William Newberry for entering upon the queen's property of Hall Place (fn. 92) and in 1609 it was granted, as late of Hurley Priory and afterwards of St. Peter's, Westminster, to Edward Charde and Robert Fawcett in trust for Sir Richard Mompesson, then the occupant. (fn. 93) It appears to have been acquired by Henry Alford, son of John Alford of Fawley, for in 1623 he is returned as of Hall Place. (fn. 94) He then had a son William, aged sixteen. (fn. 95) Nothing further is known of its history until 1725, when it was purchased from Sir Jacob Banks by Richard Pennel, (fn. 96) who sold it three years later to William East of the Manor House, Kennington. (fn. 97) The latter pulled down the old house and built the new one (see above). He died in 1737, and was succeeded by his son William East, (fn. 98) created a baronet in 1766. His son Gilbert, who succeeded him in 1819, died without issue in 1828, when Hall Place devolved on his nephew Sir East George Clayton, second son of his sister (of the half blood) Mary wife of Sir William Clayton, bart., who in 1829 assumed the surname of East and in 1838 was created a baronet. (fn. 99) He died in 1851 and was buried at Hurley. Hall Place descended to his son Sir Gilbert East, second baronet, who died in 1866 and whose son Sir Gilbert Augustus Clayton East, bart., is the present owner.
The church of ST. MARY THE VIRGIN consists of a continuous nave and chancel measuring internally 93 ft. 8 in. by 19 ft. 6 in., the chancel being 25 ft. in length, a vestry to the east of the chancel, and a timber bell-turret rising above a gallery which is built across the west end of the nave.
The present building, with the exception of the 15th-century bell-turret, dates from the latter part of the 12th century. In 1852 an extensive restoration was undertaken, when the windows in the north wall, which were formerly closed, were reopened and those in the south wall repaired. At the same date a pseudo-Norman reredos was inserted to the west of the easternmost window in the side walls of the chancel, the space to the east of it being utilized as a vestry.
In the east wall are two round-headed lights with a smaller circular window above. The glass is set near the outer faces and the inner jambs are splayed. The external stonework is modern, but the inner jambs may be of the 12th century, though they have been scraped in recent years. In the north wall are three round-headed windows with original splayed inner jambs and renewed external chamfers. The easternmost window is blocked by the building which adjoins the church on the north. Of the three windows in the south wall, the two easternmost are similar to those in the north wall, but the third was inserted about 1330 and is much in its original state, though the sill is modern. It is of two trefoiled ogee lights with tracery of a reticulated character under a pointed head. The inner jambs are splayed, the outer ones moulded, and there is a moulded external label with modern head stops. Below this window is a small ogee-headed recess, rather later in date, with sunk spandrels forming a square outline. The jambs are moulded and the head was originally cinquefoiled, but the cusping has been broken away. A little to the east is a modern priest's doorway.
In the north wall of the nave are four round-headed windows placed at the same level as those in the chancel. With the exception of the second from the west, which is larger than the others and entirely modern, all the openings appear to be original, though the outer jambs and heads are modern and the inner splays are restored. Between the second and third windows from the west end, and visible only from the outside, is a blocked round-headed doorway of two square orders with quirked chamfered abaci at the springing of the head, over which was originally a label, now broken off flush with the wall face. The south wall is pierced by six round-headed lights like those in the wall opposite. All these appear to be of the 12th century, but the whole of the outer stonework has been renewed with the exception of that of the two middle windows, which may be the original chalk scraped. Under the third window from the west is a round-headed doorway. But for one or two stones in the south jamb all the external masonry is modern, though the inner jambs are contemporary with the walls and have shafted angles with small scalloped capitals from which springs the semicircular rear arch. The west doorway has also been considerably restored and has had a square opening of modern stonework inserted within the outer order and inner jambs of the round-headed 12th-century work, which is very decayed in parts. The outer order of the external arch is carved on both face and soffit with an elaborate cheveron enrichment, and is carried upon shafted jambs having scalloped capitals with quirked chamfered abaci. The hood mould is modern, but the inner jambs are similar to those to the south doorway. Above the doorway is a large round-headed window of contemporary date. Externally it has attached jamb shafts with scalloped capitals from which springs a square order enriched like the head of the doorway beneath it. The head is mostly modern and the hood mould is entirely new, but the jambs appear to be in the main original. Internally the window is splayed and has shafted angles with scalloped capitals. The walls have a modern facing of flint and chalk with stone quoins, and are plastered internally. At the western angles of the nave are large clasping buttresses of considerable projection. The roofs, which are all tiled, are modern.
In the floor of the nave are three black Purbeck slabs in which were originally set brasses. The easternmost has the matrices for a figure and an inscription under, while above is still preserved a scroll inscribed in black letters 'Jhū m[er]cy lady help.' In the bottom dexter corner of this slab is another scroll, inscribed 'Jhū mercy,' while in the bottom sinister corner is a similar one, inscribed 'lady help.' The next is a larger slab, and has matrices for the heads and shoulders of two figures under canopies, while the third has the matrices for a large floreated cross and an inscription. Set in another Parbeck slab is a brass with a Latin inscription in elegiaces to John Doyly, who died 10 February 1492, the date of the year being in Arabic numerals. Set against the north wall of the chancel is the early 17th-century Lovelace monument; it is in a very dilapidated condition and does not appear to be complete. A large strapwork panel contained the inscription, none of which now remains; this is flanked by detached Ionic columns supporting an entablature, above which is a second stage divided into three panels by small Doric columns, the central panel containing the shield of Lovelace quartering Eynsham differenced with a molet. In the vestry are preserved the upper portions of two male figures dressed in Elizabethan costume, which originally formed part of the Lovelace monument. Above one of them is an inscription commemorating Richard, son of John Lovelace, who died 12 March 1601–2, and over the inscription is a circular panel, with a quartered shield of Lovelace impaling Azure a cross paty or. Over the other figure is an undated inscription commemorating Sir Richard Lovelace, kt., son of Richard Lovelace; above in a circular panel are the Lovelace arms impaling (?) Dodsworth. In the vestry are also preserved what appear to be the moulded jamb and pointed head of a 15th-century rounded piscina recess. Hanging on the east wall of the vestry are two large 18th-century wooden panels, painted with the figures of Moses and Aaron.
The grant of a rent due from Richard de la Strode (cf. Strowdes in Remenham) and others for land in Hurley was made to the Prior of Hurley by John Cocus in the second half of the 13th century, for the upkeep of a candle before the altar of St. Mary and St. Leonard the Confessor during celebration of the mass of St. Mary. (fn. 100) There was a belief current in the 14th century that Edith, sister of Edward the Confessor, was buried at Hurley. (fn. 101)
There is a ring of three bells: the treble is by Thomas Mears, 1829; the second, by John Saunders, of the 'Wokingham-Reading-London' Foundry, is inscribed 'Scte Sebastiāe' in black letters, between which are interspersed a number of 'S' stops; and the tenor, by Joseph Carter, is inscribed, 'This bell was made 1602.'
The plate consists of a silver foot-paten of 1693, a large silver cup of 1655 with a cover of 1635, and a silver flagon of 1695. They are each inscribed, 'The Gift of ye Honoble Sr Henry Johnson Knt to ye Parish Church of Hurley 1695' and the first two places are each engraved with a shield of his arms. There are also a silver spoon and a small metal credence paten.
The registers previous to 1812 are as follows: (i) all entries 1560 to 1686 (the last few entries are rather fragmentary, through parts having been cut away); (ii) baptisms and burials 1683 to 1746, marriages 1685 to 1746 (this volume has the following note at the end of the burials for the year 1685, 'Memorand many Names Cut out of ye old book by Nich: Row.'); (iii) all 1746 to 1754, baptisms and burials continuing on to 1812; (iv) marriages 1754 to 1798; (v) marriages 1798 to 1812.
The church of ST. PETER, Knowl Hill, was built in 1840. It is a red brick building with stone dressings and consists of a chancel in 13th-century style (added in 1871), nave, and western tower with spire. The living is a vicarage in the gift of trustees.
The church at Hurley is mentioned in the Domesday Survey. (fn. 102) It was given by Geoffrey de Mandeville to the priory of Hurley by the charter of foundation. (fn. 103) In 1233 the king made a grant of twenty trees from the forest of Windsor for restoring the church. (fn. 104) The church was assessed at £10 in 1291 and returned as free from taxtion. (fn. 105) In 1385 John Terry granted certain tenements in Hurley to the priory for finding a taper to burn daily in their church before the high altar. (fn. 106) After the dissolution of Hurley Priory in 1536 the rectory and advowson of the vicarage were granted to the Abbot and convent of St. Peter's, Westminster, (fn. 107) and followed the descent of the manor (fn. 108) until 1848, when Sir E. G. Clayton East sold the advowson to the Rev. F. J. Wethered, (fn. 109) who died in 1867, and whose successor, the Rev. F. T. Wethered, is the present incumbent.
In 1633 an agreement was made between Richard Lord Lovelace and Nathaniel Cannon, then vicar, by which certain sums of money were to be in future paid by Lord Lovelace in lieu of all tithes. (fn. 110)
The tithes of the district of Knoll or Knowl Hill, called also the parsonage of Little Waltham, (fn. 111) were separate from those of Hurley and were possibly once the endowment of a chapel there. (fn. 112) At the Dissolution these tithes were reckoned a parcel of the rectory of Hurley (fn. 113) and they subsequently remained in the same hands as the rectory.
In 1625 Sir Richard Lovelace, kt., by deed enrolled in Chancery 29 January 1639–40, granted (a) an annuity of £ 6 13s. 4d. to the vicar for preaching a sermon in the parish church once every other Sunday and asking God's blessing on the founder's family, and (b) another annuity of 10 quarters of rye to the churchwardens and overseers for distribution among ten poor persons, with a preference to those having large families.
Charity (a) is regulated by a scheme of the Charity Commissioners, 1898, the vicar receiving £3 13s. 4d. from the owner of Beeches Farm and £3 from the owner of Pebworth Farm, both in the parish of Aldworth.
Charity (b). In lieu of the 10 quarters of rye, yearly sums of £8 18s. 9d. and £7 6s. 3d., making together £16 5s., have been received from the owners of the same two farms respectively, which is distributed in bread by two trustees appointed by the parish council, in quantities of one gallon per week for eight or nine months of the year, to each of ten poor parishioners.
Joseph Wilcocks, by will proved in the P.C.C. 7 January 1792, gave a sum of £2,500 stock to the treasurer of Westminster Hospital, London, in memory of Joseph Wilcocks, many years Dean of Westminster Abbey, in consideration of which the said hospital should receive yearly at least three in-patients from this parish.
The four charities next mentioned are likewise administered by two trustees appointed by the parish council, namely: Francis Bradley's, mentioned in the table of benefaction as founded by will 1730, now consisting of 3 r. 8 p., known as Bradley's Acre, part of a large field, and let at £1 10s. yearly, which is usually applied in the distribution of blankets and flannel.
Joseph Benwell's, by will 1773; legacy now represented by £64 10s. 5d. Bank of England stock, producing about £6 2s. a year, which is applied in the distribution of five or six coats and the like number of shawls to poor men and women.
Gustavus Adolphus Kempenfelt's, will proved in 1808; legacy now represented by £142 14s. 11d. Bank of England stock, producing about £13 10s. yearly, which is applied in distributing a quilt and a pair of blankets to about twenty-eight recipients.
Henry Micklem's, will proved at London 31 January 1860; legacy represented by £33 6s. 1d. Bank of England stock, producing about £3 3s. a year, which is distributed in flannel to about twenty poor persons.
In 1813 Sir William East, bart., by his will directed his trustees to apply the dividends of twelve shares of the London Assurance Corporation for the support of a poor man and his wife, to be nominated by the future owners of the Hall Place estate. This charity for some years fell into abeyance, but was, through the intervention of the Charity Commissioners, reconstituted in 1879 by the transfer to the official trustees of £200 consols, and by the investment of accumulations of income amounting to £464 15s. 4d., and of £742 12s. 6d., arising from proceeds of sale of the shares in question. The trust fund, after payment of legal costs and expenses incurred in the reconstitution of the charity, now amounts to £1,396 19s. 9d. consols with the official trustees, the annual dividends of which, amounting to £34 18s. 4d., are, under a scheme of the Charity Commissioners, 28 June 1895, made applicable in the payment of pensions of not less than £15 and not more than £25 a year to poor men of good character and married at the date of their appointment and qualified as therein mentioned.
The church estate was the subject of proceedings on an inquisition of charitable uses taken at Workingham, 6 April 1609. (fn. 114) The property now consists of four cottages with gardens, one of which was formerly used as a poor-house and is now let on lease at the yearly rent of £75. There is also a sum of £325 representing surplus income in the Post Office Savings Bank. The income is applied by the vicar and churchwardens, who were appointed trustees by order of the Charity Commissioners, 22 July 1864, towards the maintenance of the parish church.
The Birchets Green Church of England school, erected on land conveyed by Sir Gilbert Augustus Gilbert-East, bart., by deed poll dated 18 August 1868 (enrolled), has no endowment other than the site and buildings.
In 1901 Henry Micklem, by will proved at London 26 February, bequeathed £100 to the vicar and churchwardens to be invested and the income distributed amongst the poor in such manner as they might think fit. The legacy was invested in £105 19s. 2d. consols with the official trustees; the dividends, amounting to £2 13s., are applied from time to time in gifts of 5s. each or in groceries and provisions.
St. Peter's, Knowl Hill— The church endowment funds consist of £1,333 6s. 8d. local loans 3 per cent. stock with the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, producing £40 a year, arising from the redemption in 1882 of a rent-charge of £40 granted by Sir East George Clayton East, bart., by deed 20 August 1841; £105 1s. 5d. consols with the official trustees, producing £3 3s. a year, given by the same donor as a repair fund; a yearly rent-charge of £10 issuing out of the impropriate rectory of Wargrave, the gift in 1841 of Lord Braybrooke; and £34 4s. 11d. Bank of England stock with the official trustees, producing about £3 5s., representing a gift in 1842 of £100 by the Rev. William Vansittart, D.D.
In 1899 Miss Cecilia Emilia Bulkley, by her will proved at London 12 August, bequeathed to the vicar £100, the income to be applied in the purchase, at the village of Knowl Hill, of fuel and other articles in Kind, to be distributed among five old men and five old women at Christmas each year. The legacy was invested in £96 11s. 2d. consols in the names of the Rev. Frederic Campbell Barham and another, and the yearly dividends of £2 8s. are duly applied.
In 1902 Fanny Elizabeth Whitehead, by her will proved at Oxford 4 March, bequeathed to the vicar and churchwardens £100 to be invested for the benefit of the poor. The legacy is represented by £107 5s. consols in the names of the Rev. F. C. Barham and the two churchwardens, producing £2 13s. 4d. yearly, which is applied with the income of the next mentioned charity in the distribution of coals.
In 1905 Miss Thomasina Elizabeth Fawsett, by her will proved at London 31 March, bequeathed to the resident incumbent of Knowl Hill £800 free of duty, upon trust to apply the annual income in the purchase of coal and other useful articles, and to distribute the same on Christmas Eve in every year among such of the poor parishioners as he should deem most deserving. The legacy has been invested in £819 8s. 3d. Metropolitan 3 per cent. stock with the official trustees, producing £24 11s. 8d. yearly, which is applied, with the income of Whitehead's charity, in the distribution of coals to about 130 recipients.