A History of the County of Berkshire: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1923.
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The parish of Englefield contains 1,436 acres of land, of which 636 acres are arable and 756 acres laid down in permanent grass, and there are large woods and plantations in or adjoining Englefield Park. (fn. 1) The soil consists of Woolwich and Reading Beds, Chalk and Alluvium. The boundaries of the parish are formed largely by rivers and streams; the Bourne on the west; the Pang on the north-west and north, which is spanned by the Hogmoor Bridge in the extreme north-east; the Kennet and Avon Canal, the Kennet River and a smaller branch of the Kennet on the south. Cranmere, a large lake, is in Englefield Park, and other ponds lie to the north of Englefield House near Wimbletons. In the valleys of the Kennet and Pang the land lies between 150 ft. and 200 ft. above the ordnance datum, but in the south-west it rises to a height of just over 300 ft.
Englefield House, the residence of Mr. J. H. Benyon, is a handsome Elizabethan structure, completely modernized inside and out. It is symmetrically planned with a central entrance hall on the south, now converted into the library, out of which the principal stairs originally opened, flanked by two large rooms, the drawing room on the west and the dining room on the east. On the first floor of the projecting wing at the north-east is the long gallery, under which the road formerly passed. The house was burned out in the last century, and has since been rebuilt. A modern entrance hall was added on the east side of the house, and the principal elevations have been refaced and new bay windows constructed, the whole exterior now presenting a not unpleasing example of the midVictorian Elizabethan style.
The Great Western railway (Berks. and Hants section) crosses the southern part of the parish, but the nearest station is at Theale, 1 mile to the southeast of the village. The inhabitants are mainly occupied with agriculture.
Inclosure Acts for Englefield were obtained in 1809 and 1828. (fn. 4)
ENGLEFIELD was held under King Edward the Confessor by a certain Alwin, and after the Norman Conquest it was apparently granted to William Fitz Ansculf. (fn. 5) At the time of the Domesday Survey the overlordship of the manor was vested in William Fitz Ansculf, (fn. 6) who also held the neighbouring manor of Bradfield. (fn. 7) Englefield was one of a small group of manors which were dependent on Bradfield and were held by military service from its lords, the families of Paynell, Somery, de la Beche and Langford (fn. 8); the last reference to the overlordship is in the reign of Henry VIII, when it is stated that Sir Thomas Englefield held Englefield of Anne Langford as of her manor of Bradfield. (fn. 9) Englefield Manor owed suit every three weeks to the court of Bradfield. (fn. 10)
The Englefield family, which for many years held this manor under the lords of Bradfield, claims great antiquity. The tenant of the manor under Edward the Confessor was Alwin (see above), (fn. 11) who was apparently dispossessed, since the manor was acquired by William Fitz Ansculf. The immediate tenant in 1086 was Gilbert, (fn. 12) but there is no proof that he was the founder of the Englefield family, and his name does not appear in the Englefield pedigrees. (fn. 13) A possible supposition seems to be that William Fitz Ansculf (de Picquigny) had enfeoffed a member of his own family, and that this Gilbert was the ancestor of the Pinkneys, who had a considerable holding in Englefield in the 12th century and may have been sub-tenants of the manor. The first record of the Englefield family seems to be in the 12th-century charters in which Ansculf de Pinkney granted a hide of land in Englefield to Guy and the meadow of Middleham to Ellis, sons of Ansculf Englefield. (fn. 14) By 1166 the manor was probably in the hands of the Englefields, for in that year Ellis Englefield was one of the military tenants of Gervase Paynell. (fn. 15) The next lord of the manor may have been William Englefield, probably the son of Ellis, who was the donor of Englefield church to Reading Abbey. (fn. 16) The gift took place before 1184. Another William Englefield was in seisin of the manor at the close of the 12th century; he seems to have come into his inheritance shortly before 1195–6, (fn. 17) in which year he received a quitclaim of half the vill of Englefield and lands there from his mother Maud and her husband Giles Pinkney. (fn. 18) He died childless and was succeeded before 1219 by Sir Alan Englefield, said in the family pedigrees to be his brother and heir. (fn. 19) This seems, however, to be unlikely from the evidence of a law-suit of the date of 1242–3. (fn. 20) In this Emma de Dunsterville was said to have been the mother of Sir Alan, but as William presumably was the elder, and his mother Maud was alive at the date of his succession, (fn. 21) it seems impossible that Alan could have been his younger brother; he may perhaps have been a nephew. Sir Alan was a justice for Berkshire in 1226, (fn. 22) but he seems to have died shortly after that date. (fn. 23) His son William held Englefield for many years, (fn. 24) the last mention of him being in 1258. (fn. 25) William was succeeded by John Englefield and William Englefield, his son and grandson respectively, (fn. 26) but his widow Margery, who probably married a member of the family of Wiliton, (fn. 27) seems to have held the whole manor for her life. (fn. 28) John Englefield died about 1276, (fn. 29) and in 1277 William granted the manor of Englefield to Roger de Meyland, or Longespee, Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, for life for the rent of 1d. yearly. (fn. 30) The bishop died in 1295. (fn. 31) The Englefields, however, answered for the feudal services due from the manor to their chief lords. (fn. 32) William died before 1280–1 (fn. 33) and was succeeded by Roger Englefield, (fn. 34) who was a knight of the shire for Berkshire in the Parliaments of 1307 and 1312. (fn. 35) He was in seisin of the manor in 1316, (fn. 36) but died shortly afterwards, (fn. 37) and his son Philip Englefield inherited his lands. (fn. 38) In 1334 Philip obtained exemption for life from being put on assizes and juries, and from the compulsory duty of serving as an officer of the king. (fn. 39) Some years later, however, he served on a commission of oyer and terminer and was a collector of a tenth and fifteenth in Oxfordshire. (fn. 40) He is said to have died in 1362 and to have been succeeded by his son Sir John Englefield, (fn. 41) who died in 1368. (fn. 42) Isabel, Sir John's widow, survived him and afterwards married Thomas Prior (fn. 43); she released all her right in Englefield to three trustees in 1398. (fn. 44) Sir John's son and heir, another John Englefield, made a settlement of his right in the manor in April 1386, (fn. 45) presumably on his wife Nichole and their heirs. He died before 1404, when his widow had married John Golafre, (fn. 46) and he is said to have left no sons but a daughter named Nichole. (fn. 47) In 1404, however, William Englefield, son of John Englefield, is mentioned, (fn. 48) but it seems uncertain whether this is the same John. The manor, in any case, apparently passed to a younger branch of the family, (fn. 49) and was held in 1428 by Philip Englefield, (fn. 50) who, according to the pedigrees, was John's uncle. He was Sheriff of Oxfordshire and Berkshire in 1430, (fn. 51) and died at Englefield in 1439. (fn. 52) Robert Englefield, one of the esquires of Henry VI, succeeded him. Various settlements of the manor of Englefield appear to have been made at this time, (fn. 53) but on the death of Robert (fn. 54) it descended to his grandson Sir Thomas Englefield, his son John having predeceased him in 1464. (fn. 55) Sir Thomas sat as a knight of the shire for Berkshire in several of the Parliaments in the reign of Henry VII and was Speaker of the Commons in 1496. (fn. 56) He died in 1514 and was succeeded by his son, another Thomas, (fn. 57) who was a justice of the Common Pleas. (fn. 58) The latter settled the manor of Englefield on his wife Elizabeth, who survived him. (fn. 59) Their son and heir Francis (fn. 60) attained to greater personal distinction than any previous member of the family. He served as sheriff of the county in 1547, (fn. 61) and was made a knight of the carpet at the coronation of Edward VI. (fn. 62) He became one of the chief officers of the household of Princess Mary, and was involved in the religious difficulties of the time, being forbidden to allow the celebration of mass in the princess's household. The order of the council was not obeyed, and he with two of his fellow officers were sent to the Tower in 1551, but their imprisonment was only of short duration. Sir Francis, however, remained all his life a firm supporter of the old religion. On the accession of Queen Mary he was rewarded for his services, being made a privy councillor and master of the Court of Wards and Liveries. (fn. 63) Throughout the reign he sat in Parliament as one of the knights of the shire for Berkshire. His career came abruptly to a close on the accession of Elizabeth. Foreseeing the downfall of the old religion he fled from England in 1559 (fn. 64) and lived in exile for the remainder of his life. (fn. 65)
His lands were seized and held to the use of the queen, and in spite of his protests to the privy council he could obtain no redress. (fn. 66) In 1564 he was indicted for high treason, said to have been committed at Namur, and outlawed. (fn. 67) Strype asserts that Queen Elizabeth allowed Sir Francis the revenues of his estates, reserving a small part for the maintenance of his wife, who remained in England. (fn. 68) This does not seem probable, as in 1567 the King of Spain urged this course on Elizabeth without success, she having already turned a deaf ear to the lengthy representations of Sir Francis himself. In 1575–6, however, as a last effort to preserve his lands, he settled the bulk of his property, including the manor of Englefield, upon his nephew Francis Englefield, with the stipulation that on his tender of a ring it should be restored to him. (fn. 69) During these years of exile, however, Sir Francis had occupied an important position among the English Roman Catholics abroad and was consulted on all matters of moment, corresponding in the years 1585 and 1586 with the pope and the King of Spain on behalf of Mary Queen of Scots. (fn. 70) In consequence of these activities further action was taken against him in England, and he was attainted in 1585, all his manors being at length formally forfeited to the Crown. (fn. 71) After the attainder emissaries of the queen offered a ring to the younger Francis, but he refused to surrender the estate declaring that no one but his uncle was empowered to fulfil the condition. A famous law-suit arose out of the matter; judgement was given for the queen, but Sir Francis's counsel were not satisfied, and the case was finally settled by a special Act of Parliament confirming the manor and estates to the Crown. (fn. 72) From this time the manor was finally lost to the Englefield family, although they had a small property in the parish for many years afterwards. (fn. 73) No permanent grant of the manor or lands of Englefield was made by Queen Elizabeth till after the attainder of Sir Francis Englefield, but in 1585 she leased the manor-house and certain lands there to Humphrey Foster and George Fytton for forty years. (fn. 74) During the law-suit this lease was declared void and in 1589 the same premises were granted in fee to Thomas Crompton, Robert Wright and Gelly Meyrick, acting as trustees for the Earl of Essex, (fn. 75) and a little later the manor of Englefield, with other possessions of Sir Francis in Berkshire, was granted to the same three men, acting again for the Earl of Essex. (fn. 76) The manor, after the earl's fall and execution in 1600–1, (fn. 77) again came into the queen's hands, but does not appear to have been alienated until the reign of James I. In 1611 the king granted it to John Eldred and William Whitmore, (fn. 78) who appear to have conveyed to Thomas Viscount Fenton. The latter, then Earl of Kelly, sold it in 1622 to his creditors Sir Peter Vanlore and William Rolfe. (fn. 79) The latter sold it in 1622–3 to Sir John Davis, kt., (fn. 80) who died seised of the manor in 1626. (fn. 81) Sir John had been distinguished in politics and letters. He was attorney-general for Ireland and the author of the poem 'Nosce Teipsum,' of a treatise on Ireland and of other works (fn. 82); he was, moreover, the husband of an eccentric lady who, after his death, which took place in 1626, was severely punished by the Court of High Commission for the use she made of her prophetical gifts. (fn. 83)
The manor of Englefield was settled on Sir John's daughter Lucy, (fn. 84) the wife of Ferdinand Lord Hastings, afterwards Earl of Huntingdon, (fn. 85) and in 1635 she and her husband together with Matthew Davis gave warranty for it against the heirs of Lucy to John Paulet fifth Marquess of Winchester, (fn. 86) to whom they seem to have alienated it. According to Lysons' account Englefield Manor was granted by Queen Elizabeth to Sir Francis Walsingham, (fn. 87) whose granddaughter Honora de Burgh (fn. 88) was the second wife of the Marquess of Winchester, (fn. 89) who thus obtained it in her right. This account cannot be accepted, for the descent from the crown grantees Eldred and Whitmore is fairly clear and no Crown grant to Walsingham has been found.
There is no doubt, however, that from 1635 the manor was in the hands of John Paulet Marquess of Winchester, known as the 'great loyalist' in consequence of his heroic defence of Basing House. (fn. 90) After the fail of his garrison he was imprisoned in the Tower and his lands sequestered for delinquency; part was ordered by the Parliament to be sold. (fn. 91) Englefield was bought in 1649 by Sir Thomas Jervoise. (fn. 92) After the Restoration the lands and other possessions of the marquess were restored to him, (fn. 93) and he lived at Englefield House, of which Sir Balthazar Gerbier in 1663 gives a pleasing account under the name of Henfield, adding that the marquess's present satisfaction with that seat diminished no doubt his grief for the loss of Basing. (fn. 94) The Marquess of Winchester died at Englefield in March 1674–5. (fn. 95) Englefield passed to his younger son Lord Francis Paulet or Powler, (fn. 96) who was succeeded on his death in 1696 (fn. 97) by his son another Francis. (fn. 98) The latter died unmarried in 1712, (fn. 99) and Englefield passed to his only sister Anne, the wife of Rev. Nathan Wrighte, (fn. 100) son of Sir Nathan Wrighte, Keeper of the Great Seal. Her son Powlet Wrighte inherited the property in 1729, which passed on his death to his son of the same name. (fn. 101) Mary, the widow of the elder Powlet, married as her second husband Richard Benyon, (fn. 102) governor of Fort St. George, and by him she had a son named Richard. (fn. 103) The younger Powlet Wrighte, who died in 1779, had no children, and under his will Englefield passed to his uncle Nathan Wrighte for life with remainder to his half-brother Richard Benyon of Gidea Hall, Romford, Essex. (fn. 104) The latter succeeded to Englefield in 1789, and after his death it passed to his son Richard Benyon, (fn. 105) who took the name of Powlet Wrighte in 1814 and that of De Beauvoir in 1822. (fn. 106) On his death in 1854 Englefield passed under his will to his sister's son Richard Fellowes with the condition that he assumed the name of Benyon; he was Sheriff of Berkshire in 1857. On his death in 1897 Englefield passed to his nephew, the present owner, Mr. James Herbert Fellowes, who also took the name of Benyon.
At the close of the 13th century Margery de Wiliton held the assize of bread and ale at Englefield, (fn. 107) and Philip Englefield, son of Roger Englefield, held certain unspecified regalities there in the 14th century. (fn. 108) The lords of the manor do not seem to have held the view of frankpledge until several centuries later. Presumably as long as the manor was held under the lords of Bradfield the latter held the view for Englefield, but after the lapse of the overlordship and the forfeiture of Englefield to the Crown in the 16th century Sir John Davis and his successors held the view of frankpledge in their manor of Englefield. (fn. 109)
John Englefield obtained licence from his lord, Roger de Somery, to 'sport' (licenciam riperiandi riperiam) on the water of Pangbourne. (fn. 110) A free fishery in the waters within the manor of Englefield is first mentioned in the 16th century, when Sir Thomas Englefield died seised of a free fishery in Englefield. (fn. 111) Fishing rights in the Rivers Kennet and Farley in Englefield and Tidmarsh are mentioned in Queen Elizabeth's grant of 1588. (fn. 112) Another free fishery, however, originally belonged to the manor; apparently it had been granted to John Englefield, brother of Sir Francis Englefield, and when the manor was forfeited this pond and fishery called Cranmere and the pond, waters and fishery in some inclosed land called Garrett were excepted from the grants made by Queen Elizabeth in 1589. (fn. 113) These fishing rights were held by Margaret, the widow of John Englefield, (fn. 114) but in 1593 they were leased to Robert Earl of Essex for twenty-one years. (fn. 115) They descended to Sir Francis Englefield, bart., the son and heir of John Englefield. (fn. 116) He died seised in 1631 (fn. 117) of the Cranmere and Garrett fisheries and also of similar rights in the Kennet and Farley streams. Cranmere is still the name of the large lake in Englefield Park and land known as Garrett lies in Theale.
In 1269 John Englefield obtained a grant of free warren in his demesne lands at Englefield, (fn. 118) and a few years later Margery de Wiliton, probably his mother, exercised the same privilege there, presumably in right of her dower lands. (fn. 119) No park is mentioned, however, till late in the 16th century, although it had probably been inclosed many years before. In 1588–9 both the 'Roo Parke' and the 'Hye Parke' were granted with the manor-house to Thomas Crompton and two others. (fn. 120) The distinction between the two parks disappeared, and Sir John Davis only held a park called Englefield Park alias Highe Park, (fn. 121) while later in the 17th and in the 18th century the park belonging to the manor is called Englefield Park. (fn. 122)
One mill is mentioned at Englefield in the Domesday Survey. (fn. 123) In the 16th century two water-mills are once mentioned as held with the manor, (fn. 124) but when the latter was bought by the Marquess of Winchester in 1635 only one mill is mentioned, (fn. 125) and at the present day there is only one mill in the parish.
A second estate at Englefield is mentioned in Domesday Book. Ulmer held it of Edward the Confessor, but it seems to have passed with the rest of Englefield after the Conquest to William Fitz Ansculf. The latter, however, had already enfeoffed a sub-tenant named Stephen in 1086. (fn. 126)
After the Englefields had lost the manor of Englefield they still retained a house and lands in the parish until the 18th century. Sir Thomas Englefield, the justice of the Common Pleas, appears to have settled this property, which had been formerly annexed to the manor, on his second son John, (fn. 127) and thus it escaped the forfeiture of Sir Francis's lands. John died in 1567, (fn. 128) and his widow Margaret (fn. 129) held his property in 1593. (fn. 130) She died in 1612, (fn. 131) and it passed to her son Sir Francis Englefield of Wootton Bassett, (fn. 132) who was created a baronet in the same year. (fn. 133) He died in 1631 and was buried at Englefield. (fn. 134) His Englefield property was settled in tailmale on his seventh son Henry, (fn. 135) two-thirds of whose possessions were sequestered during the Civil War. (fn. 136) In 1650 Henry Englefield protested against so large a proportion of his property being sequestered, on the grounds that 'though a papist, he was not a papist delinquent,' and had never acted against the Parliament. (fn. 137) The sequestered farm at Englefield was granted to Thomas Aldridge of Beenham, but after the manor had been sold to Sir Thomas Jervoise Aldridge seems to have been turned out by the new lord of the manor, and he made many complaints to the committee for compounding in consequence. (fn. 138) After the Restoration, Henry Englefield seems to have recovered possession of the farm, and on his death it probably passed to his son Henry. (fn. 139) The latter may have died before his father, but he was not married, (fn. 140) and the estate finally reverted to Charles Englefield, the fifth baronet. (fn. 141) It was sold in 1792 by Sir Henry Charles Englefield, the last baronet, to Richard Benyon, (fn. 142) who had become lord of the main manor of Englefield in 1789, (fn. 143) and it was subsequently absorbed in that manor.
A house and small property in Englefield were held in the 16th century by the Norreys family. In 1597 the first Lord Norreys, together with his wife Margaret, bought a messuage, toft, dovecot, two gardens, two orchards, 44 acres of pasture and 4 acres of wood from Sir Thomas Sherley and his wife Anne. (fn. 144) This estate was given to their third son, Sir Edward Norreys, in 1599, (fn. 145) on his return from the Low Countries, where he had held the post of Governor of Ostend. (fn. 146) He seems to have spent his leisure time in enlarging the house and improving the estate, and 'confirmed himself in his opinion of a happy country life.' (fn. 147) He inclosed a park round the house and was an enthusiastic gardener. (fn. 148) He wrote from Englefield to Dudley Carleton, who was then in France, 'If you help towards Englefield garden, either in flowers or invention, you shall be welcome thither.' (fn. 149) In 1601 he entertained Queen Elizabeth at dinner in his house when she came into Berkshire. (fn. 150) He died in 1603, leaving no children, (fn. 151) his nephew Francis Lord Norreys being the heir to his lands. (fn. 152) His Englefield house and estate were held for life by his widow Elizabeth, who afterwards married Thomas Erskine first Earl of Kelly. (fn. 153) In 1608 Lord Norreys sold the property to the earl, (fn. 154) who also obtained the main manor (q.v.), with which this estate probably became amalgamated.
The church of ST. MARK consists of a chancel 29 ft. 8 in. by 13 ft. 6 in., with a north chapel 20 ft. 7 in. by 13 ft. 7 in. (now used as an organ chamber), a nave 50 ft. 8 in. by 17 ft. 3 in., a south aisle 50 ft. 4 in. by 17 ft. 8 in., a north-west tower, the ground stage of which is used as a priest's vestry, a modern choir vestry to the east of it, and a modern south porch. These measurements are all internal.
The building has been considerably restored and from the exterior has the appearance of an entirely modern structure, but, although no detail of that date remains in situ, the nave is probably that of a 12th-century church. During the rebuilding of the chancel a Norman piscina was found in the south wall, and it is now preserved in the Englefield chapel. Early in the 13th century the south aisle was added, while early in the 16th century the Englefield chapel was built on the north side of the chancel. (fn. 155) In comparatively recent years much has been done to the structure. The building was considerably restored in 1857, under the superintendence of Sir Gilbert Scott, when the chancel (with the exception of the arcade opening into the Englefield chapel) was rebuilt; in 1868 the tower and spire were added, while further restorations took place in 1874 and in 1891.
The east window is of three lights under a traceried head. In the east end of the north wall, opening into the north chapel, is an early 16th-century arcade of two four-centred arches, moulded on either side with a double ogee moulding. To the west of the arcade is a two-light window under a traceried head and in the opposite wall are two similar windows, the sill of the eastern one being carried down to form sedilia. The pointed chancel arch is modern and is carried by shafted responds. The north chapel is lighted from the east by a modern oak-mullioned three-light window and from the north by two similar windows, while in the west wall is a modern four-centred doorway.
In the north wall of the nave are two modern lancets, to the west of which is a modern pointed doorway with a moulded two-centred segmental rear arch (apparently of early 13th-century date) opening into the quire vestry. At the west end of the wall another modern pointed doorway opens into the priest's vestry. On the south is an arcade of four bays with pointed arches, the three eastern arches being of early 13th-century date and of two moulded orders with labels carried by circular piers and semicircular responds with moulded abaci and bases and carved capitals. The western arch is modern; it is pointed and carried by modern half-round responds. On the capital of the east respond is carved stiff-leaf foliage. The bell of the capital of the first pier is carved with vertical trefoiled leaf ornament, while the leaves on the bell of the second pier curve over, and the abacus is enriched with the dog-tooth ornament. The abacus of the west respond is similar, but the leaf carving on the bell is far more conventional than the carving on the piers. The labels are mitred over the piers on both faces, except over the east pier on the south side, where they are stopped on a carved head. On the north face they are stopped on the east by a priest's head, and on the west by a trefoil leaf. In the west wall are three modern lancets with a circular window over.
Lighting the south aisle from the east is a beautiful triple lancet window with moulded rear arches enriched with dog-tooth ornament and carried on detached shafts of Purbeck marble having central annulets and moulded bases; the capitals to the two middle shafts are moulded, while those to the side shafts are carved with stiff-leaf ornament. Behind the capitals to the shafts are large moulded corbels. The lights have both internal and external hood moulds, stopping on carved heads, four on the inside, but only two on the outside. At the north end of this wall against the end pier of the nave arcade is a blocked up pointed squint, and between it and the window is a moulded image bracket carved with dogtooth and six-petal flower ornament. The easternmost window in the south wall is of two lancets having moulded rear arches and shafted inner jambs with carved capitals and moulded bases. The outer jambs of the lights are quite modern, as are also the rear arches and the central shaft at the meeting of the inner jambs. In the west end of this wall is a similar window, which has also been completely restored, only a few stones in the west jamb and the shaft with a capital carved with trefoil leaves in the east jamb being original. Between these windows is an original, though much restored, pointed doorway of two moulded orders with a moulded two-centred segmental rear arch. The jambs are shafted and of two orders, the outer one having moulded capitals, while the inner one is decorated with a curious wedge-shaped ornament. In the west wall is a 13th-century pointed doorway of a single moulded order. Under the sill of the east window is the half-round string-course considerably restored.
The tower, which is designed in the 13th-century style, is faced with flint with stone dressings and surmounted by a stone broach spire. The rest of the building is also faced with the same materials, and almost the whole of the stone dressings are modern. Built into the western buttress at the south-west angle of the south aisle is a square stone on which is carved a Maltese cross. All the roofs have been reconstructed, though apparently on the same lines as the original roofs, many of the old timbers having been re-used.
The font now in use is modern, as is also the pulpit. The old font (which was found in the churchyard in 1908 and is now preserved in the vestry) is of the same date as the nave arcade or possibly a little earlier. It is a circular tub font and round it is carved a small arcade of eight trefoiled arches, in the spandrels of which are carved small flowers. Preserved in the south-east corner of the Englefield chapel is the 12th-century shaft piscina already referred to. The bowl is square with its front face plain, but having the north and south faces carved. It rests on the capital of a small shaft carved with the cheveron, guilloche and other characteristic enrichments, while the faces of the base of the shaft are carved with trefoils.
Under the western arch of the arcade between the chancel and the Englefield chapel is a portion of the old rood screen, a fine piece of mid-15th-century woodwork; above it are arranged the pipes of the modern organ. It is in eight bays divided horizontally into two by a moulded rail. The lower part is solid with cusped and feathered ogee-headed panels, above which are cusped circles, while the openings in the upper part have cusped and feathered four-centred heads with vertical tracery over, the whole being surmounted by a carved frieze and moulded cornice. A door between the chancel and the chapel occupies the two western bays, and at the east end of the screen are small projecting buttresses, each of four stages.
In a modern recess in the south wall of the south aisle is the effigy of a 13th-century knight clad in mail armour and coif and a loose surcoat. His head rests on a pillow, his feet on the back of a small beast (probably a lion), the head of which has been broken off. Round his waist is a belt, from which is suspended a long sword; this he grips round the hilt with his left hand, while his right arm is bent across his breast with the hand resting on the top of the sword. His left leg is crossed over the right and he wears prick spurs. To the west of this in a similar recess is the effigy in oak of an early 14th-century lady wearing a wimple and cloak; her head rests on a pillow. Both probably represent members of the Englefield family.
Under the east arch of the arcade between the chancel and the Englefield chapel is an elaborate early 16th-century canopied tomb of unpolished Purbeck marble, which Ashmole, (fn. 156) in whose time part of the inscription still remained, describes as that of Sir Thomas Englefield, the founder of the chapel, who died in 1514. The east end is built against the easternmost respond of the arcade, but the west is open. The tomb stands on a moulded base and has the three exposed sides elaborately panelled, while the covering slab has a moulded edge with a sunk rebate for the insertion of a brass inscription. The canopy over is supported at the west end by two small panelled shafts and at the east end by a slab in which remain the matrices for the figures of a man and his wife kneeling, with their children, on either side of a shield of arms, an inscription plate below, scrolls issuing from the mouths of the chief figures, and a plate, which may have borne a representation of the Trinity, above. The head of the canopy is divided on either side into three ogee-headed, cusped, crocketed, and finialled arches, separated from each other by small pinnacles with pendants below. Above the arches is a moulded cornice, the lower member of which is enriched by a band of four-petalled flowers, while the whole is surmounted by a cresting of Tudor flowers. The west end, which has only one arch, supported on the end shafts, is treated in a similar manner, while the underside of the canopy is panelled in imitation of fan vaulting. Part of the north side of the monument is of oak with mullions carried down between the earches on to the top of the tomb.
On the north wall is an elaborate coloured monument to John Englefield, who died in 1567. In the upper part of the monument are small recumbent effigies of him and his wife Margaret, and in the lower part, kneeling on either side of a desk, are the figures of his son Francis with his wife Jane and their children, the girl behind her mother, the four boys behind their father. On either side of these figures are obelisks supported on brackets, while at the head of the monument is a projecting entablature surmounted by ornamental shields. In the lower part of the monument is a panel inscribed in Roman capitals: 'Here lyeth buried John Englefilde Esquire second sonne to Sir Thomas Englefilde Knight whoe had to wife Margaret Fitton daughter to Sir Edward Fitton of Gauseworth by whome he had one only Childe named Francis yet livinge whoe maried Jane eldest Sister to Anthonye nowe Viscount Mountagewe and had issue by hir fower sones and one Daughter. The saide Margaret after shee had lyved Widdow thirtie 8: yeers caused this Monument to be made in the Yeere 1605 in remembrance of hir saide Husband whoe dyed the: 1: daye of Aprill in the yeer 1567.' The centre shield above the cornice is that of Englefield. The small shield on the dexter side is Englefield impaling Fitton: Argent a bend azure with three sheaves or thereon and a quarter gules, while the small shield on the sinister side is Fitton. On the desk separating the two groups of kneeling figures is the shield of Englefield impaling Browne, but the colours are very indistinct and the lions have entirely disappeared.
In the floor of the south aisle is the sepulchral slab of John Paulet fifth Marquess of Winchester. The inscription states that he was Marquess of Winchester, Earl of Wiltshire, Baron St. John of Basing. He was called' the loyal Marquess' and was thrice married. His first wife was Jane daughter of Thomas Viscount Savage and Elizabeth his wife, daughter and heir of Thomas Darcy Earl Rivers, by whom he had issue Charles Marquess of Winchester; his second wife was Honora daughter of Richard de Burgh Earl of St. Albans and Clanricarde and Francisca his wife, daughter and heir of Sir Francis Walsingham, kt., principal secretary of State to Queen Elizabeth, by whom he had issue four sons and three daughters; his last wife (who survived him) was Isabella daughter of William Viscount Stafford, second son of Thomas Howard Earl of Arundel and Surrey, Earl Marshal of England, and Mary his wife, sister and sole heir of Henry last Lord Stafford, last Duke of Buckingham, by whom he had no issue. He died in the seventy-seventh year of his age on 5 March 1674. He is further commemorated by a monument on the north wall of the nave in the form of a black marble tablet set within an architrave of white marble and bearing the following inscription by the poet Dryden:
He who in impious times untainted stood,
And 'midst Rebellion durst be just and good;
Whose Armes asserted, and whose sufferings more
Confirm'd the cause for which he fought before,
Rests here, rewarded by an Heavenly Prince
For what his earthly could not recompence.
Pray (Reader) that such times no more appeare,
Or, if they happen, learn true Honour here.
Ark of thy Age's faith and Loyalty,
Which (to preserve them) Heav'n confined in thee.
Few subjects could a King like them deserve,
And fewer such a King so well could serve.
Blest King, blest Subject, whose exalted state
By suff rings rose, and gave the law to fate.
Such Soules are rare, but mighty patterns given
To Earth, were meant for ornaments to Heaven.
By John Dryden, Poet Laureat.
Over the inscription set within a pediment are the arms of the marquess—Paulet quartering St. John—impaling those of his third wife—Howard quartered with Stafford. The shield is surmounted by a marquess's coronet and supported by a unicorn and a swan both collared and chained. On a scroll below the shield is the motto 'Donec pax reddit terris.' Other slabs in the south aisle are to Honora de Burgh, second wife of John Paulet fifth Marquess of Winchester, who died in 1660, aged fifty-one; John, first son of the fifth Marquess and his second wife Honora, who died in 1660, aged twenty-two years; and Honora, youngest daughter of the fifth Marquess and his second wife. (fn. 157)
In the floor of the Englefield chapel are set several sepulchral slabs, many of which are now covered by the organ. At the east end are three dating from the latter part of the 17th century. The centre one is in memory of Sir William Englefield, who died in 1662. The slab on the south is to Mary, only daughter and heir of William Englefield. She married Bartholomew Fettiplace of Swyncombe, by whom she had three sons and four daughters, and died 25 May 1674, aged thirty-two. The northernmost slab is to the memory of Mary Englefield, relict of William Englefield, son of Sir Francis Englefield, bart. She was the daughter of Bartholomew Fromonds of Cheam in Surrey; she died 6 June 1682.
The plate consists of a silver cup and cover paten of 1577; a silver paten and a foot paten, both inscribed 'Englefield Parish, Berkshire 1821,' bearing the mark of that year; a silver chalice, paten and flagon, all of 1885, inscribed 'St Mark's Englefield'; a silver paten of 1891; a modern beaten silver paten and almsdish, the latter inscribed 'St Mark's Englefield 1892,' and a small private silver chalice and paten of 1872. There is also a pewter tankard inscribed '1679 R. H & WK Churchwardens of Englefield'; two silver-mounted glass cruets and a silver stand of 1893, a silver pix of 1893 and one of 1895.
The registers previous to 1812 are as follows: (i) baptisms 1561 to 1744, burials and marriages 1561 to 1743; (ii) births and burials 1745 to 1812, marriages 1745 to 1753; (iii) marriages 1754 to 1812.
The church of Englefield is not mentioned in the Domesday Survey, but there was a church of which the advowson was held by the lords of the manor in the second half of the 12th century. William Englefield, the patron of the church, granted it to Reading Abbey, (fn. 158) but very quickly repented of his gift, which took place in the time of Abbot Joseph (1173–80). (fn. 159) The gift was confirmed by Richard I and by Jocelyn Bishop of Salisbury (1141–84), (fn. 160) who received Walter, the clerk of Englefield, as the vicar of the church there. (fn. 161) Whether a vicarage was fully instituted so early seems doubtful, and some years later, but still during the episcopate of Jocelyn, William Englefield was quarrelling with the abbey over the right of presentation to the church. (fn. 162) The bishop arbitrated between them, and it was agreed that William should present his clerk, when the vicarage was vacant, to the monks of Reading, and they should present him to the bishop for institution, while the vicar paid a pension of 1 mark a year to the abbey. (fn. 163) The separation between the endowment of the rectory and of the vicarage is not found later, and the incumbent of the church was called the rector in a lawsuit which arose in 1239 (fn. 164) out of a dispute between him and the abbey. Sir William Englefield, the patron of the church, interfered in the matter, and finally a settlement was arrived at, under which the abbey gave up all right of presentation, which was afterwards held by the Englefields. (fn. 165) William Englefield and the rector agreed for 1 mark to be paid annually to the abbey from the church. (fn. 166) The abbey was in receipt of this pension, then assigned to the office of sacrist, at its dissolution. (fn. 167) From that time the advowson of the church and rectory appears to have passed with the manor of Englefield, except for a short period in the 16th and 17th centuries. Elizabeth granted it with the manor to Thomas Crompton, Robert Wright and Gelly Meyrick in 1588, (fn. 168) but it was held by Sir Thomas Sherley in 1597, when he sold it, with the property already mentioned, to Lord Norreys. (fn. 169) It passed to Sir Edward Norreys, (fn. 170) and was conveyed by Lord Norreys to his widow Elizabeth and her husband, the Earl of Kelly, in 1608 (fn. 171); it was mentioned in the grant of the manor by the earl to Sir Peter Vanlore. (fn. 172) It has remained in the hands of the lord of the manor since that time, and at the present time Mr. James Herbert Benyon is patron of the living. (fn. 173)
The chantry of St. Mary (fn. 174) in Englefield Church was founded by one of the Englefields some time prior to 1386. (fn. 175) The right of presentation belonged to the Englefield family, (fn. 176) and the chantry was dissolved by Sir Francis Englefield about the year 1535. (fn. 177) At the time of the general dissolution of the chantries it was said to be worth 60s. 5d. a year. (fn. 178) Sir Robert de Fayreford, chaplain of the chapel of Englefield, is mentioned in 1280–1. (fn. 179)
Lady Englefield, the wife of Sir Thomas Englefield, left by her will £6 13s. 4d. for a priest to sing masses for her soul for twenty years, of which there were sixteen more to run after the dissolution of the chantries. (fn. 180) The incumbent at that time was Nicholas Hyonson. (fn. 181) Both the chantry of St. Mary and the money given for the stipendiary priest were granted by Queen Elizabeth to Theophilus and Robert Adams and the heirs of Theophilus in 1583. (fn. 182)
Unknown donor's gift for apprenticing.
—In 1667–8 certain parcels of ground, part of the Chantry House lands, were purchased with £48, part of a sum of £100 belonging to the poor of the parish, which said lands were by deed dated 20 February 1678 settled for the use of the poor. By the award under the Acts for inclosing this parish a parcel of land in Theale Meadow, containing 5 a. 1 r. 14 p., was allotted in respect of the said lands. The land is let at £7 10s. a year, the official trustees hold £650 consols, and the trustees have placed £150 on deposit in the Reading Savings Bank, arising from accumulations of income. The income has always been applied in apprenticing when opportunity required.
In 1866 Miss Frances Benyon, by will proved at London on 16 March, bequeathed £200 in trust to the rector, to distribute the same among poor aged persons, in sums not exceeding £20 a year, until the whole sum, with interest, should be exhausted. A sum of £70 still remains to be expended.