A History of the County of Berkshire: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1923.
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Clewer was divided in 1894 into Clewer Without and Clewer Within, the latter comprising the eastern part of the parish, which is within the borough of Windsor. Clewer Without has an area of 1,900 acres, of which about three-quarters are permanent grass, while the amount of arable land is about twice that of the woods and plantations. (fn. 1) The soil is clay and gravel with a subsoil of London Clay, and the principal crops are wheat, barley and peas. The highest point in the parish is St. Leonard's Hill in the south-west (294 ft.), and from there the land slopes to the north-east, falling to a level of 67 ft. on the bank of the Thames. The main roads from Reading and from Maidenhead to Windsor run in a north-easterly direction across the parish.
Clewer Within, which has an area of 135 acres, lies very low, the highest point, at the cavalry barracks, being only 93 ft., while at the river which forms its northern boundary the level falls to 67 ft. St. Leonard's Road, in which are the hospital and church of St. Agnes, runs through Clewer Within and Clewer Without.
The village of Clewer lies on the south bank of the river and along a road running north from the Windsor and Maidenhead road. With one or two exceptions the houses composing the village are mostly modern. The Limes, which stands close to the churchyard, was till lately the residence of Mr. H. Wigram, but is now vacant. It is a plastered half-timber house dating in part from the 15th century, but much altered about the middle of the 17th century, when the majority of the existing window frames seem to have been inserted. Internally some 17th-century panelling remains, and there is a moulded beam in the entrance hall. (fn. 4) Standing back on the east side of the main street is a good 18th-century two-storied stuccoed house. The entrance gates are of ornamental wrought-iron work of a good design into which is introduced a small shield charged with three wheat sheaves within an engrailed border.
The Willows is a two-story red brick building, standing on the north side of the Maidenhead and Windsor road about 1 mile west of the latter town. Sutherland Grange, close to it, was erected in 1902 in the Elizabethan style.
St. Leonard's Hill, (fn. 5) formerly called Gloucester Lodge, was built by Thomas Sandby (1721–98) for the Countess of Waldegrave. It was purchased in 1781 by General Harcourt, and was for many years the residence of the Harcourt family. The house stands on rising ground, and from the top of the water tower there is a view over several counties. It is now the property of Dame Sarah Barry, widow of Sir Francis Tress Barry, first baronet, who bought it in 1872 and almost rebuilt the house.
Other residences in Clewer are St. Leonards, the seat of Col. Sir Theodore Francis Brinckman, bart., C.B.; Clewer Manor, occupied by Mr. Edmund B. Foster, D.L., J.P.; St. Leonard's Lodge, by Lady Dalton-Fitzgerald; Forest Park, by Mr. Arthur Lawford Wigan, and the Lawn, by Mr. John Edward Vidler.
Dedworth, a hamlet of Clewer, with an area of 347 acres, has a church of All Saints erected in memory of Mrs. Tudor by her family in 1863. The chapel of St. John Baptist in connexion with the House of Mercy, a Church of England Penitentiary, was opened in 1881. The water tower at St. Leonard's Hill is said to stand upon the site of a Roman encampment, and a Roman lamp found here was presented to the Society of Antiquaries and adopted as the crest of the society. (fn. 6) South of Dedworth, near the Green, there is a small quadrangular moat. (fn. 7)
Before the Norman Conquest the manor of CLEWER was held by Earl Harold. The Conqueror appropriated half a hide for the site of his castle of Windsor, and the remainder of the manor was held in 1086 by Ralph son of Seifrid. (fn. 8) The manor was said in 1330 to be held by the service of half a knight's fee, payment of 20s. to the castle of Windsor and service at the king's court of the Seven Hundreds every three weeks. (fn. 9) Richard de Sifrewast was dealing with land in Clewer in 1197, (fn. 10) and appears as lord of the manor a few years later. (fn. 11) He or his successor of the same name died about 1240 and his widow Maud about 1245 (fn. 12); their grandson Richard held the manor in 1247. (fn. 13) The death of this Richard occurred before 1274, (fn. 14) when his two sons Richard and John were minors. (fn. 15) Thomas de Pampesworth, who had married Elizabeth de Sifrewast, widow of Richard, before 1284, (fn. 16) was returned as holding the 'vill of Clewar' in 1316, (fn. 17) but he evidently died soon afterwards, as Richard de Sifrewast in 1321 obtained a licence to enfeoff his son Richard, (fn. 18) who did homage for Clewer in 1323. (fn. 19) He died in 1330, leaving a son Roger, then aged eighteen, (fn. 20) who died in 1361, leaving a son and heir John. (fn. 21) On his death in 1394 he was succeeded by a son of the same name, (fn. 22) who died in 1441, leaving three daughters, Margaret wife of David Brekenocke, Agnes wife of Miles Scull, and Sibyl wife of John Thorley. (fn. 23) Margaret's share was settled in 1486 on her son John with remainder to his brother Richard. (fn. 24) Both John and Richard seem to have died without issue before 1490. (fn. 25) Sibyl Thorley appears to have married Thomas Rekys as her second husband, Sir William Laken as her third, Sir Thomas Berkeley as her fourth, (fn. 26) and possibly Thomas Danvers as her fifth. (fn. 27) William Rekys, her son, (fn. 28) died in 1491 seised of a moiety of the manor. (fn. 29) In 1498 his son John Rekys and Joan his wife, (fn. 30) Elizabeth, John's mother, and Charles Rippon, then her husband, granted the manor to Sir Reynold Bray. (fn. 31) Sir Reynold Bray also acquired the Sculls' share a year later. (fn. 32) His niece Margery wife of Sir William Sandys succeeded, (fn. 33) and their son Thomas Lord Sandys sold the manor to the Crown in 1546. (fn. 34)
The manor was granted to George Duke of Albemarle in 1661. (fn. 35) The duke upon his death in 1669–70 (fn. 36) was followed by his son and heir Christopher, who, dying without issue, was succeeded in 1688 by his cousin the Hon. Bernard Granville. (fn. 37) The latter held the manor until his death in 1701. (fn. 38) He left a son Bevil, (fn. 39) who died in 1706, (fn. 40) and was succeeded by his younger brother George, (fn. 41) created Lord Lansdowne in 1712. (fn. 42) In 1719 Lord Lans- downe suffered a recovery, (fn. 43) and in the following year conveyed the manor to Arthur Vansittart. (fn. 44) The latter died in 1760, (fn. 45) and was succeeded by his son of the same name, who held the estate until his death in 1805. (fn. 46) He was succeeded by his son Arthur, (fn. 47) who died in 1859, leaving this property to Mr. Arthur Stovell, the present lord of the manor. The manor-house was sold in 1812 to Richard Foster, whose grandson Mr. Edmund Foster now holds it. (fn. 48)
The manor of CLEWER BROCAS consisted of lands held by Sir John Brocas and Margery his wife during the first half of the 14th century. (fn. 51) The estate, which is first referred to as a manor in 1338, (fn. 52) was held of the manor of Clewer. (fn. 53)
Sir John Brocas died in 1365, his heir being his grandson John son of his son Oliver, then a minor. (fn. 54) John Brocas died unmarried in 1377. (fn. 55) His uncle Bernard, the second son of Sir John, obtained a grant of his father's property. (fn. 56) He died in 1395, leaving a son Bernard. (fn. 57) The latter forfeited in 1400 for his adherence to the cause of Richard II. His son William, however, obtained his lands (fn. 58) and died seised in 1456, leaving a son William. (fn. 59) The latter was followed in 1484 by his son John. (fn. 60) In 1499 William Brocas and Mary his wife and William Langford and Margaret his wife quitclaimed the manor to Sir Reynold Bray. (fn. 61) Thomas Lord Sandys conveyed it in 1546 to Henry VIII, (fn. 62) and it remained with the Crown until the 18th century. (fn. 63)
In 1730 it appears in the possession of Richard Topham, who bequeathed it in that year to his sister Arabella Reeve and her children with remainder to Thomas Reeve for life and to Lord Sidney Beauclerk, whose son Topham had succeeded to it before 1761. (fn. 64) He sold it to Sir Edward Walpole, who bequeathed it to his daughter the Hon. Mrs. Keppel, (fn. 65) whose son Frederick Walpole Keppel was holding in 1818. (fn. 66) In 1845 the estate was repurchased by the Crown. (fn. 67)
In 1086 the manor of DEDWORTH (Dideorde, xi cent.) was held by Albert of Lotharingia, who had succeeded Hugh the chamberlain. (fn. 68) The estate was divided later into Dedworth Maunsell and Dedworth Loring. At the beginning of the 13th century Peter de Loring held a fifth part of a fee in Dedworth of William Beauchamp (fn. 69); John de Loring held in Dedworth in 1316, and his successor in 1332 was Roger de Loring. (fn. 70) The subsequent history of this fee is uncertain, but the existence of a grant by Sir Peter Loring among the Brocas deeds suggests that his property may have been bought by that family, and part of the land at least was apparently in the possession of Sir John Brocas as early as 1351. (fn. 71)
Dedworth Maunsell is probably the hide of land of which the reversion after the death of Alina wife of Philip de Windsor was settled on William de Hastings in 1204–5. (fn. 72) His descendant John de Hastings died in 1313 seised of one-sixth of a knight's fee held by John Maunsell. (fn. 73) John Maunsell was apparently followed by Ellis de Reude, who owned the property in 1334, (fn. 74) and whose successor Thomas de Reod (sic) conveyed it in 1348 to Sir John Brocas. (fn. 75) It afterwards followed the descent of Clewer Brocas. (fn. 76)
The estate known as Buntingbury, (fn. 77) which extends into Winkfield, also formed part of the estate of Sir John Brocas and is still annexed to the manors of Clewer Brocas and Dedworth.
The church of ST. ANDREW consists of a chancel 34 ft. 10 in. by 15 ft. 10 in., south chapel about 18 ft. 10 in. by 14 ft. 9 in., nave about 38 ft. 10 in. by 15 ft. 8 in., north aisle with a continuous chapel (now used as an organ chamber) about 65 ft. 4 in. by 17 ft. 6 in., south aisle about 36 ft. 4 in. by 14 ft. 9 in., west tower about 12 ft. 10 in. by 11 ft. 9 in., modern north-east vestries and a modern south porch. These measurements are all internal.
The south chapel and aisle appear to be the chancel and nave of an early 12th-century church enlarged later in the same century by the addition of a north aisle, which was in turn enlarged to form a new nave, and a second north aisle added, c. 1180. To this period also belongs the west tower, but the chancel, which must have been erected at the same time, has been practically rebuilt in modern times. In the 14th century the north aisle was widened and clearstory windows were inserted in the nave, but no further structural alterations are apparent until 1858, when the chancel was rigorously restored. In 1884 the restoration of the spire and south chapel was undertaken and the north vestry was enlarged.
The chancel is lighted by modern three-light windows in the east and south walls, designed in the style of the 15th century, and modern arcades open into the organ chamber and south chapel. There is no chancel arch, a modern screen separating the chancel from the nave.
The windows of the south chapel appear to be insertions of the 14th century, but all have been considerably restored, the south-west window alone retaining its original tracery. The inner jambs and rear arch of the pointed two-light east window are original, and the same portions survive of the square-headed south-east window, below the sill of which is a 14th-century piscina with a projecting foliated basin and credence shelf in an ogee-headed niche. To the west of the window is an ogee-arched tomb recess of the same date and detail as the piscina, but having a moulded label, the apex of which has been cut off by an 18th-century mural tablet above. The south-west window is of two cinquefoiled lights with quatrefoil tracery under a pointed head, the outer jambs and mullion alone being modern, and between it and the tomb recess is a contemporary pointed doorway. The opening into the south aisle is no doubt the original chancel arch, though much scraped; it is semicircular and of a single square order springing from hollow-chamfered abaci cut off flush with the wall faces.
The north arcade of the nave is of three bays with semicircular arches of a single square order, circular piers, and a semicircular west respond, all with moulded capitals and bases, the base of the respond being modern. Springing from the easternmost pier is a small semicircular arch of a single square order with a continuous east respond. All the arches of the arcade have chamfered hood moulds on the nave side and the capitals of the first two piers have an incised leaf ornament at their north-west angle; the same ornament is repeated at the north-east angle of the capital of the west respond. The south arcade is of three bays with semicircular arches of a single square order with chamfered and cheveron moulded hoods on the nave side. The piers are circular and have capitals carved with a crude form of water leaf and much worn attic bases with square plinths and leaf spurs. The capital of the west respond has the leaves set closer together and surmounted by a small zigzag. The clearstory windows are each of three modern trefoiled lights, but the curious semi-hexagonal rear arches with their supporting jamb shafts are original 14th-century work.
The windows and doorways of the organ chamber are all modern. In the north wall of the north aisle, which is continuous with it, are three windows, the easternmost a modern lancet in old inner jambs, the second a three-light, and the westernmost a two-light window, both modern, but probably copied from 14th-century originals, as the inner jambs and rear arches appear to be original. In the west wall is a modern four-light window, to the north of which is a small pointed recess in the outside wall.
In the south wall of the south aisle are two modern windows, each of two lights, and to the west of them is a late 13th-century pointed doorway of three orders, the two inner plain, and the outer moulded with a sunk chamfer. At the springing level is a moulded impost, and the head is inclosed by a moulded label. In the west wall are two round-headed lights with original inner jambs, much scraped; the outer jambs are modern.
The tower, which has no external divisions, is crowned by a shingled broach spire and at the western angles are modern diagonal buttresses. The tower arch is pointed and of a single square order, carried on semicircular responds, with moulded capitals and bases like those of the north arcade. On the bell of the capitals under the angles of the abaci are rudely incised leaves. The square member of the base of the north respond is modern. There is an original round-headed light with widely splayed inner jambs in each wall of the ground stage. The outer sill in each case and the jambs of the south light are modern, while the inner jambs have all been scraped; the outer jambs of the west light are rebated for shutters. The bell-chamber has a single pointed light in each wall.
Both the chancel and nave roofs have modern pointed barrel ceilings, though the latter retains two old tie-beams. The roof of the north aisle is in five bays, the three westernmost being original. The trusses are of the braced collar type and the wallplates are moulded. The roofs of the south aisle and chapel are modern.
The pulpit is modern, but the font, though restored, is of 12th-century date. It is circular with an arcade of eight arches on pilasters, with carved spandrels, an interlaced moulding above, and a cable moulding round the base. In the south chapel are two benches, one of the 15th century with foliated poppy-heads, and one of later date with one old carved end post, the other being modern.
On the south wall of the chancel is a brass to Lucy daughter of Sir William Wray, kt. and bart., and wife of John Hobson, gentleman, who died in 1657. On the south wall of the south chapel is a brass inscribed as follows:
'He that lieth under this stone
Shott with a hundred men himself alone
This is trew that I doe saye
The matche was shott in ould filde at Bray
I will tell you before you go hence
That his name was Martine Expence.'
The registers previous to 1812 are as follows: (i) baptisms 1653 to 1707, marriages 1681 to 1707, burials 1663 to 1707; (ii) baptisms 1708 to 1804, marriages 1708 to 1754, burials 1707 to 1805; (iii) marriages 1754 to 1784; (iv) marriages 1754 to 1784; (v) marriages 1784 to 1803; (vi) marriages 1803 to 1812; (vii) baptisms 1804 to 1812, burials 1805 to 1812.
The parish of HOLY TRINITY, Clewer, was formed in 1842. The church is a cruciform building of brick in 13th-century style, consisting of apsidal chancel, nave, aisles, transepts and west tower with spire. There are galleries round three sides, on which are inscribed the names of the officers and men of the Guards who fell in the Crimean War. The pulpit was presented by the Scots Guards and the font by the non-commissioned officers and privates of the first battalion Grenadier Guards. A chapel adjoining the chancel was built by the officers of the 1st Life Guards to commemorate their comrades who fell in the Egyptian campaign of 1883. The living is a rectory in the gift of the Lord Chancellor.
The church of ST. STEPHEN consists of a chancel, north vestry, north chapel, an organ chamber on the south side of the chancel, nave, north and south aisles, a north-west porch and a bellcote of brick and stone. It was completed in the year 1873, and is constructed of brick with stone dressings in the style of the 13th century. The living is a vicarage in the gift of trustees.
The church of ST. SAVIOUR, River Street, is a small building consisting of a chancel having on the north a porch and on the south a vestry, over which is a small circular bell-turret, a nave, a narrow north aisle and a south porch at the west end of the nave. The church was built in 1875–6 from the designs of Stephen Wyborn, the foundation-stone having been laid on 25 November of the former year by H.R.H. Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein. It serves as a chapel of ease to Holy Trinity.
The church of ALL SAINTS, Dedworth Green, consists of a chancel with organ chamber on the north and vestry on the south, nave, south aisle, west porch and a bellcote of brick and timber surmounting the west gable of the nave. It is a modern building of red brick with stone dressings in the style of the early 14th century. The architect was the late Mr. Bodley. The windows are filled with glass designed by Burne-Jones and William Morris. In the churchyard, immediately to the north of the west door, is the bowl of an arcaded Norman font.
The advowson of Clewer followed the descent of the manor until 1661, when it was excepted from the grant of the manor. Before 1720 it had been acquired by Eton College, in whose possession it has since remained. (fn. 78)
In 1384 Sir Bernard Brocas obtained a licence to found and endow a chantry of our Lady in the parish church. (fn. 79) In 1608 the lands belonging to it were granted to Francis Philips and Richard More. (fn. 80)
The first mention of the chapel of St. Leonard, Losfield, occurs in 1215, when Geoffrey de Meysi was presented to the chapel on the resignation of Robert Maunsell, the presentation being made by the king as holding the lands of William de Braose. (fn. 81) In 1275 the hermit of Losfield is mentioned as holding 2 acres in Clewer in free alms by grant of King Henry. (fn. 82) The advowson of the chapel seems to have passed to the lord of the manor, for presentation was made by the king in 1275 on account of the minority of Richard de Sifrewast. (fn. 83) In 1321 a licence was granted to 'John, hermit of the chapel of St. Leonard of Losfield,' to inclose land in Windsor Forest, (fn. 84) and in 1355 Pope Innocent VI granted an indulgence to penitents visiting the chapel on the feasts of Pentecost, the Assumption and St. Leonard and giving alms, it having been represented to him that the hermit 'lived a solitary life, serving God alone, and that multitudes flocked to the place.' (fn. 85) The hermitage is mentioned in conveyances of the manor as late as 1512. (fn. 86) Grants of the 'enclosure called the Hermitage' were made in the 17th century. (fn. 87) Apparently the site was occupied by the seat of the Duchess of Somerset, whose letters when she was Countess of Hertford were addressed from the Hermitage on St. Leonard's Hill. (fn. 88)
— The Harcourt Charity School, Clewer Green, was established in 1806 by William Earl Harcourt, and further by deed, dated 21 September 1815 (enrolled). The following funds are held by the official trustees by way of endowment, namely, £619 19s. consols, Sir James Pulteney's legacy; £611 2s. 2d. like stock, William Earl Harcourt's bequest; £480 2s. 1d. like stock, Mary Countess Harcourt's gift, and £850 16s. 10d. like stock, arising from sale in 1879 of land. The annual income from endowment amounts to £64.
The parochial charities, which by the operation of the Local Government Act of 1894 are administered by trustees, including representatives nominated by the parish council, are as follows: The charity of Francis Kirkman, founded by will dated 21 August 1661, being a rent-charge of £6 (13s. 6d. being deducted for land tax) issuing out of land known as Bearfield Croft at White Waltham, lately belonging to Mr. George Dunne, subject to the payment of 10s. for a sermon on Christmas Day.
Elizabeth Jennyngs, by deed 1774, whereby a sum of Old South Sea Annuities sufficient to provide 20s. apiece for six poor and indigent widows, or failing that object for fatherless children of the parish, was settled upon trust. The trust fund is represented by £235 12s. 3d. consols with the official trustees. In 1907 the dividend, amounting to £5 17s. 8d., was equally divided among six poor widows.
'Bread Money,' being £1, part of a sum of £31 paid annually on St. Thomas's Day under an Act of 1776–7 by the proprietors of certain inclosed lands at St. Leonard's Hill, the £30 being applicable in aid of the poor's rate.
The fuel allotment, acquired by an award dated 6 June 1817, under the Act for inclosing Windsor Forest, (fn. 89) consisting of 6 a. 1 r. 10 p., let to numerous tenants in allotments, producing £27 a year. In 1907, 337 cwt. of coal were distributed among the poor.
Mary Countess Harcourt, by will 1832, trust fund, £567 7s. 6d. consols with the official trustees, the annual dividends, amounting to £14 3s. 8d., being applicable in clothing and blankets among eight widows.
Thomas Reding, by his will 1664, left £100 to the rector and churchwardens, income to be applied in apprenticing poor boys. The trust fund was augmented by accumulations, and now amounts to £451 2s. 7d. consols with the official trustees; the annual dividends, amounting to £11 5s. 4d., are applied as occasion offers in paying premiums on apprenticeship. In 1906 the sum of £15 was paid as premium on apprenticing one boy.
Ann Weall, by her will 1827, bequeathed three several sums of £100 stock, the dividends to be applied respectively in apprenticing, in the distribution of bread, and in clothing Sunday school children. The legacies are now represented by £380 consols with the official trustees, of which the dividends upon £100 consols are applied by the rector for the last-mentioned purpose and the income of £280 consols by the churchwardens in apprenticing when required.
The Clewer community of St. John Baptist, known as the 'Clewer House of Mercy,' originally founded in 1849 and enlarged in 1875, is endowed with 26 acres of land. Several institutions are under the care and management of the Clewer Sisters, including a house of rest for ladies of limited means and almshouses for twelve poor ladies.
In 1881 Charles Randell, by his will proved in the principal Probate Registry 28 May, bequeathed £4,000 to the warden and sub-warden in trust to invest the same and apply the income towards carrying on the charitable work under their auspices in Rose Street, Soho, or in carrying on any other charitable work which in their absolute discretion they might think fit. The legacy of £4,000 was lost by the failure of the firm of solicitors who held the same.
By a deed dated 14 April 1888 a sum of £3,800 was, by arrangement with the executors, settled upon the like trusts (subject as therein mentioned) and invested in £1,919 3s. 10d. New Zealand 4 per cent. stock and in £1,777 15s. 7d. Cape of Good Hope stock.
In 1886 the Rev. William James Early Bennett, vicar of Frome Selwood, Somerset, by will bequeathed to the Clewer House of Mercy £1,500, to be invested and the income applied towards the maintenance and education of one or more poor girls, and, failing that object, for the general use and purposes of the said institution. The legacy was invested in £1,459 17s. 1d. Metropolitan 3 per cent. stock, forming part of a larger sum of like stock in the names of four of the trustees. The primary object failing, the income is applied for the general purposes of the institution.