Parishes: Stratfield Mortimer

Pages 422-428

A History of the County of Berkshire: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1923.

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Stradfeld (xi cent.); Straffeld, Stretfield, Stratfeld Mortymer (xiii cent.).

The parish of Stratfield Mortimer lies on the Hampshire border. Mortimer West End in that county was once a tithing of this parish, but was constituted a separate ecclesiastical district in 1870. The area of the Berkshire parish, including Wokefield tithing, a mile to the north, is about 3,697 acres, of which 1,665 are arable land, 1,686 under permanent grass and 261 covered by woods and plantations. (fn. 1) The soil is gravel and the subsoil clay.

The large and scattered village, which has a station called Mortimer on the Reading and Basingstoke branch of the Great Western railway, stands in the middle of the parish and contains several large houses and many cottages of red brick. Wokefield Park is the seat of Mr. Alfred Palmer, J.P., and stands in a large park. Warennes Wood is the residence of Sir Robert G. Cornish Mowbray, bart., Mortimer Hill, formerly called Violet Hill, of Capt. Sir Charles Roderick Hunter, bart., Mortimer House of Major W. Peel Nash. The two last-named houses are the property of Mr. Benyon. Abbey Croft, formerly the rectory, is now the property of Canon Lovett Cameron.

A large open space known as the Fair Ground divides the old village from the newer buildings on the borders of Mortimer Common. A cattle fair is held annually on 6 November. Another, held on 27 April, has been discontinued.

The church of St. Mary the Virgin stands a little south of the main street near Foudry Brook. Ladyfield Copse and the Forehead, named in a court roll of the 15th century, (fn. 2) are about half a mile southeast of the village, and further in the same direction is Little Park Farm, which commemorates the 'Little Park' first mentioned in 1304. (fn. 3) The Great Park lay further north; its name survives in Great Park Farm and in Great Park Copse, on the borders of Wokefield and Sulhamstead Bannister, now one of the least wooded parts of the parish. On the western border the country is still thickly wooded; a fir plantation retains the name of Brocas, the 14th-century owner of Wokefield. Further to the south, about half a mile from St. John's Church, is a little wood known as Stephen's Firs, divided by an entrenchment. At a short distance from this earthwork two tumuli may be seen across the road to the north-west.

Among place-names mentioned in local records are the following: Pittefelde (fn. 4) (xv cent.), which still survives in Pitfield Lane; Broakehill, Fishwere, Edingham and Estcote (fn. 5) (xvii cent.); Redmead (xiii cent.); Butler's lands (xv cent.); Le Wheat Close, Nightingale lane, Goodboys lane, Five Oaken, Court mead (fn. 6) (xvi cent.).

Mortimer Common and other lands were inclosed in December 1804 under an Act of 1802. (fn. 7)


The manor of STRATFIELD was held in parage by Cheping and Edwin in the time of Edward the Confessor, (fn. 8) and belonged in 1086 to Ralf Mortimer, (fn. 9) whose descendants held it in chief of the Crown until the accession of Edward IV. (fn. 10) Ralf was still living in 1104, in which year he was in Normandy, acting as a zealous partisan of Henry I. (fn. 11) He was succeeded by his son Hugh, who probably died about 1180, (fn. 12) as his debts to the Crown were charged against his son Roger in 1181. (fn. 13) Roger died in 1214 (fn. 14) and was succeeded by his son and heir Hugh, who held the manor in 1225 (fn. 15) and died in 1227, leaving as his heir his brother Ralf. (fn. 16) Ralf died about 1246 and was succeeded by his son Roger. (fn. 17) Roger was still living in 1280, in which year he successfully claimed rights of hunting and free warren in Stratfield by a grant of Henry III. (fn. 18) Roger died about 1283 and was succeeded by his son Edmund, (fn. 19) who in 1297 obtained licence to settle the manor of Stratfield Mortimer as dower on his wife Margaret. (fn. 20) In 1300, however, he demised land at Stratfield and elsewhere to the value of £120 yearly to Geoffrey de Geynvill and Maud, Geoffrey's wife, in payment of his debts. (fn. 21) Edmund's son Roger, created Earl of March in 1328, (fn. 22) was the well-known opponent of the Despensers; he was executed in 1330, when his manor of Stratfield Mortimer was granted as dower to Queen Philippa. (fn. 23) Afterwards it was restored to his son Roger, (fn. 24) who granted it (inter alia) to William Bishop of Winchester and others to hold for eight years by payment of a rose and of a yearly rent at the expiration of that term. (fn. 25) They, however, quitclaimed all right in it to Edmund son and heir of Roger in 1360, and restored it to the hands of the king to hold during his ward's minority. (fn. 26) In 1366 Edward III granted it with Wokefield and other manors to Edmund to hold, until his coming of age, by the annual payment of £33 6s. 8d. (fn. 27) In 1373 Edmund demised the manors of Stratfield and Wokefield to the Bishops of London, Winchester and Hereford, Sir Roger de Beauchamp and John de Bridwode for their lives, with reversion to himself and his heirs. (fn. 28) He died in December 1381, leaving as his heir Roger, his son by Philippa daughter of Lionel Duke of Clarence. (fn. 29) This Roger was proclaimed by Richard II heir-presumptive to the throne in the Parliament of October 1385. (fn. 30) He accompanied Richard to Ireland in 1394 (fn. 31) and was killed in battle at Kells in 1398. (fn. 32) His son and heir Edmund was imprisoned on account of his claim to the throne at the accession of Henry IV, (fn. 33) who in June 1403 granted the manor of Stratfield Mortimer during pleasure to his son John of Lancaster, created Duke of Bedford in 1414. (fn. 34) It was afterwards restored to Edmund, who dealt with it by fine in 1415. (fn. 35) He had been released on the accession of Henry V, two years earlier, (fn. 36) when he was still under age. He was sent to Ireland as Lord-Lieutenant in 1424, (fn. 37) and died there early in the year following. (fn. 38) His heir was his nephew Richard Duke of York, the son of his sister Anne wife of Richard Earl of Cambridge, (fn. 39) who held it in 1428 (fn. 40) and in 1440, in which year he obtained a grant of freedom from purveyance. (fn. 41)

Mortimer. Barry or and azure a chief or with two pales between two gyrons azure therein and a scutcheon argent over all.

On the accession of Richard's son and heir Edward to the throne the manor of Stratfield Mortimer passed to the Crown, and was granted to the king's mother, Cecily Duchess of York, in 1461, as part of her jointure. (fn. 42) This grant was confirmed by Richard III in 1484. (fn. 43) Henry VIII, as son and heir of Elizabeth of York, succeeded to one-third of the property, and in 1511 he obtained from the other two daughters and co-heirs of Edward IV, Katherine Countess of Devon and Anne wife of Sir Thomas Howard, afterwards Duke of Norfolk, a grant of the remainder. (fn. 44) The manor formed part of the dower of Jane Seymour (fn. 45) and Catherine Parr, (fn. 46) and remained with the Crown until 1559, when Queen Elizabeth granted it to Henry Carey Lord Hunsdon. (fn. 47) In 1564 Carey obtained leave to alienate Stratfield Mortimer to William Marquess of Winchester. (fn. 48) His descendant John Marquess of Winchester acquired Englefield and the manor has since that date followed the descent of Englefield (q.v.).

In 1086 a manor of WOKEFIELD assessed at 1½ hides, which was held of King Edward the Confessor by Wicstric, belonged to Walter the son of Other, (fn. 49) whose descendants the Windsors (fn. 50) kept the overlordship as parcel of their manor of Stanwell until 1542, (fn. 51) when it was given by Andrew Lord Windsor to King Henry VIII in exchange for monastic lands. (fn. 52) Under the Windsors Wokefield was held by the Danvers family at the beginning of the 13th century. This family are elsewhere found holding under the same overlordship. The manor seems to have been held by Ralf Danvers who died in 1213, (fn. 53) leaving as his heir in Wokefield his son Roland Danvers, for whose wardship and marriage, together with the marriage of Ralf's widow, William Archdeacon of Huntingdon gave £100. (fn. 54) Probably Roland Danvers came of age in 1214, for in that year he was sued for land in Wokefield by Nicholas de Bolney, who seems to have claimed half the manor. (fn. 55) Roland stated in answer that Wokefield had been given to his ancestors in marriage, and had descended to him from Torold the son of Geoffrey. (fn. 56) Possibly the mother of Nicholas de Bolney was a co-heir with the wife of Ralf Danvers (see Winterbourne), (fn. 57) for, though Roland retained the manor, his successor, Robert Danvers, in 1241 obtained a quitclaim of half a knight's fee in Wokefield from Alan de Farnham and Reynold de Whitchurch and their wives Margaret and Alice, daughters and co-heirs of Nicholas. (fn. 58) This land was to be held of Alice and Margaret and their heirs, and Robert gave them lands in Aston in exchange for the quitclaim. (fn. 59)

Danvers. Argent a bend gules with three martlets or thereon.

Robert died about 1246, and was succeeded by his son of the same name, (fn. 60) whose heir Sir Thomas Danvers was Sheriff of Berks. and Oxon. from 1286 to 1289. (fn. 61) Sir Thomas Danvers was still living in 1308, (fn. 62) but seems to have died before 1321, in which year his son and namesake granted the manor to Roger Mortimer, (fn. 63) apparently on the condition that Roger should provide for his two younger sons, Richard and William. (fn. 64)

The manor of Wokefield remained in Mortimer's possession until his fall in 1330. (fn. 65) In 1331 Edmund Danvers, the eldest son of Thomas, tried to recover it on the plea that his father had been of unsound mind at the time of the grant. (fn. 66) He was, however, unsuccessful in his suit, possibly owing to the fact that he had been an adherent of Mortimer, (fn. 67) and the king granted the manor for life first to William Trussel (fn. 68) and afterwards to Amy de Gaveston. (fn. 69) But even then Edmund did not give up hope of getting Wokefield back, for in 1338 he was still trying to recover it against Amy and her husband John de Driby in the court of the Abbot of Reading, (fn. 70) within whose liberty the manor lay. (fn. 71) Probably the suit had then been going on for some time, and John and Amy found the maintenance of their right expensive, for a few days later the king granted them 'licence to fell trees in the woods of the manor at their will and to apply the money arising from the sale to their own use and in defending the right of the King and Amy in pleas moved against them touching the said manor.' (fn. 72)

In 1340 the king granted to John Brocas (fn. 73) certain lands in Wokefield which Amy de Gaveston held for life by the king's grant. John was succeeded by Sir Bernard Brocas, who married Mary the daughter and heir of John des Roches, (fn. 74) and obtained in right of his wife the mastership of the Royal Buckhounds, an office which remained in his family for three centuries. (fn. 75) Sir Bernard represented Hampshire in most of the Parliaments of the reign of Richard II. (fn. 76) He died in 1395, and was succeeded by his son, a second Bernard, who was beheaded in 1400 for his opposition to Henry IV. (fn. 77) His widow was, however, granted dower in all his forfeited lands shortly after his execution, and her son William obtained restitution of his father's estates in the same year. (fn. 78) William died in 1456, (fn. 79) holding two crofts and a meadow in Wokefield. He left a son, also called William, to succeed him. (fn. 80) Meanwhile the manor had evidently been restored to Roger Mortimer the son, who granted it with Stratfield Mortimer to the Bishop of Winchester and other trustees. (fn. 81)

Brocas. Sable a leopard rampant or.

After this date the manor of Wokefield followed the descent of Stratfield Mortimer (q.v. supra) until 1553, (fn. 82) when it was granted by Edward VI to John Wright and Thomas Holmes, (fn. 83) who alienated it the same year to Sir Richard Rede. (fn. 84) Sir Richard granted it before 1564 to Sylvester Cowper, (fn. 85) who sold it in 1564–9 to Edmund Plowden, treasurer of the Middle Temple. (fn. 86)

Plowden. Azure a fesse dancetty or with two fleurs de lis on the points.

Plowden's reputation was at this time very high (fn. 87); it is said that among men of his profession he was not only easily first in knowledge of the law, but second to none for righteousness of life. (fn. 88) He was, however, regarded with increasing suspicion by the Privy Council on account of his steady loyalty to the Roman Catholic faith, (fn. 89) though his opinions seem to have been held with a moderation equal to their firmness. (fn. 90) On his refusal in 1569 to declare his willingness to observe the Act of Uniformity he was required to give a bond to be of good behaviour and to appear before the Privy Council when summoned, (fn. 91) but it was apparently not until 1580 that articles were exhibited against him on the matter of religion. (fn. 92) He died in February 1585, (fn. 93) leaving as his heir his son Edmund, (fn. 94) who died in 1587, and was succeeded by his brother Francis. (fn. 95) Francis Plowden was still living in 1620, in which year he settled the manor of Wokefield upon his son and namesake, (fn. 96) who sold it in 1627 to Peter Weaver. (fn. 97)

Elizabeth, the daughter and heir of Peter Weaver, succeeded her father before 1653. (fn. 98) She married Charles Pearce of Eton, who died before 1685, leaving her with two children, Katherine and Dorothy. (fn. 99) The manor of Wokefield was settled upon Katherine and her husband Francis Parry and his heirs (fn. 100); her son Charles Parry had succeeded to it before 1706. (fn. 101) His son Charles was holding in 1734, (fn. 102) but died in 1740, and in 1742 the manor of Wokefield was held by his eldest sister and co-heir Katherine and her husband James Morgan and his other sisters. (fn. 103) In 1742 three-fourths of this land with manorial rights were sold to the Earl of Uxbridge. The second earl, his grandson, sold this portion, now Wokefield Park, to Bernard Brocas of Beaurepaire, who died in 1777 and left the property for life to his widow Harriet Brocas, daughter of Henry Lannoy Hunter of Beech Hill, who lived till 1819. The estate then passed to her husband's grandson, Bernard Brocas, whose father, Captain Austin, had, in 1774, taken the name of Brocas and had died in 1809. On the death of Mr. Brocas in 1839 the manor was sold to Robert Allfrey, from whose grandson, Herbert C. Allfrey, it was purchased in 1900 by Mr. Alfred Palmer. (fn. 104)

The remaining fourth, now called Oakfield, remained to Katherine and James Morgan. It is partly in the parish of Sulhamstead Bannister. Their son, the Rev. James Morgan, Prebendary of Gloucester and vicar of Mortimer from 1768 to 1811, was succeeded by his nephew Francis Morgan. At his death it passed to Colonel Morgan, who sold it in 1893 to Mr. George Tyser. (fn. 105)

In the inquisitions on the Windsors, overlords of Wokefield, the manor of Wokefield is regularly returned as parcel of Stanwell. (fn. 106) In the return on Brian de Windsor in 1399 the tenant of the manor was said to be unknown, (fn. 107) and the tenant's name is illegible in the inquisition on Miles, son of Brian, who died in 1401. (fn. 108) The inquisition on Richard Windsor, however, taken in 1428, gives William Danvers, tenant of Chilton, as holding this manor. (fn. 109) According to subsequent inquisitions the estate followed the descent of Chilton (q.v.) (fn. 110) as late as the time of Joan Danvers, who died in 1458. (fn. 111) As there seems to be no mention of Wokefield in any documents relating to the Danvers family it seems probable that the jurors were ill-informed and that they were returned as tenants after they had ceased to have any interest in the manor.

Another estate in Wokefield in the 11th century formed part of the manor of Aldermaston, which was held in the time of Edward the Confessor by Bricstuard by a grant from Harold and in 1086 by the king in demesne. (fn. 112) Wokefield was presumably separated from the royal demesne at the same time as Aldermaston, but seems to be mentioned as a separate manor only from 1405 to 1503, when it was held of the lords of Aldermaston. (fn. 113) In 1405 William Darell and Elizabeth his wife settled the manor on themselves and their heirs male, with remainder to the heirs of William, (fn. 114) and in 1422 they obtained a lease of other lands in Wokefield and Sulhamstead Bannister from Richard Wulwey the Chaplain. (fn. 115) In 1429, however, they agreed to enfeoff Margaret and Robert Dyneley of the manor in exchange for other lands. (fn. 116)

Darell. Azure a lion or with a crown gules.

Dyneley. Argent a fesse sable with a molet between two roundels sable in the chief.

Robert Dyneley, the son of Robert and Margaret, died in 1455, and was succeeded by his son William, (fn. 117) upon whose wife Anne the Hampshire lands were settled for life, with reversion to Edward Dyneley, William's grandson, and Sanchea his wife. (fn. 118) Anne survived not only Edward and Sanchea but their son Thomas, (fn. 119) who died in 1503, leaving an infant daughter Elizabeth and a widow Philippa, to whom he left the reversion of the manor of Wokefield for her life. (fn. 120) There seems, however, to be no further mention of the manor after this date.

Certain lands in Stratfield Mortimer had apparently been granted by Hugh Mortimer the elder to the Abbot and convent of Reading before 1207. (fn. 121) In 1225 the younger Hugh Mortimer recovered 5½ virgates of land and a meadow called Redemede in Stratfield against Simon, then Abbot of Reading, granting him in exchange 3½ virgates of land and 'le Thorne wood,' apparently assessed at half a virgate, in the same parish. (fn. 122) Shortly before his death. however, Hugh restored to the abbey in free alms 'all that land with its appurtenances which he had recovered against Simon—namely, 3 virgates and a meadow.' (fn. 123)

This holding belonged to Reading Abbey until the Dissolution, (fn. 124) though the Mortimers had assize of bread and ale in the manor of Stratfield within the liberty of the abbey. (fn. 125) The manor, according to a later Patent, was granted in the time of Edward VI to the Protector Somerset. (fn. 126) There is, however, no enrolment of such a grant, and in 1550 the king gave the estate in exchange for other property to John Earl of Warwick, afterwards Duke of Northumberland. (fn. 127) This grant was, however, superseded in 1553 by another to John Lucas. (fn. 128) John Lucas was succeeded in 1556 by his son Sir Thomas Lucas, (fn. 129) who died in 1611. (fn. 130) His son Thomas died in 1625, leaving as his heir his son John. (fn. 131) This John became an ardent Royalist and was imprisoned in 1642, but escaped and fought at Newbury. He was created Lord Lucas of Shenfield in January 1645, and lived to see the Restoration, dying in 1671. (fn. 132) He left as his heir his only child Mary, (fn. 133) for whom he had procured the barony of Lucas of Crudwell in 1663 (fn. 134); she married Anthony Earl of Kent. (fn. 135) It would seem that part of the property was soon after acquired by the Bever family, whose name appears in 15th-century documents as tenants of the main manor. Robert Bever had bought other lands here in 1650, 1665 and 1675, which he left to his son Robert. In 1724 the Duke of Kent sold the rest of the manor piecemeal, and the Bevers obtained more of it. Robert the younger sold Bever House, which probably occupied the site of the grange of the abbey lands, to his brother Thomas. Later the name was changed to Mortimer House. On the death of Mrs. Ann Bever it was sold by auction, in 1808, together with Mann's and Kent's farms, when it was bought by Mr. Richard Benyon, with whose estates it has since been held. (fn. 136)

Court Rolls of the abbey manor from 1562 to 1673 were formerly in the possession of Major Thoyts and now of Canon Lovett Cameron. (fn. 137)

In 1086 a mill was attached to the manor of Stratfield Mortimer, (fn. 138) and a water-mill is mentioned among the appurtenances in 1304 (fn. 139) and in 1449–50, (fn. 140) but no mention of it occurs after this date. There is now no water-mill in the parish, and the site of the old one is unknown, but there is a piece of uncultivated land called Windmill Common at the north-west end of the village, which presumably commemorates another vanished mill.

The Mortimers had hunting rights attached to the manor before 1280, (fn. 141) but the first mention of the two parks by name occurs in 1304, (fn. 142) at which time the later Great Park was apparently called Chalesgrove. (fn. 143) Both parks remained a part of the manor, (fn. 144) though their area was much reduced about 1609, when 520 acres were disparked. (fn. 145) The last mention of a park occurs in 1661. (fn. 146)

A free fishery is first mentioned in connexion with the manor in 1609. (fn. 147)


The church of ST. MARY THE VIRGIN was built in 1869 on an old site. It is a large building designed in the early 14th-century style, and consists of a chancel, north chapel, and south organ chamber, over which is a tower. The nave is of five bays with north and south aisles, each having a porch, and at the west end is a vestry added in 1896. The walls are of squared rubble with external dressings and an internal facing of ashlar and the roofs are tiled. The tower is of three stages and has an octagonal stone spire. All the internal fittings are modern.

Against the south wall of the chancel fixed in an upright position is a large Saxon tombstone which was found in two pieces under the tower of the old church when it was pulled down in 1866. It is 6 ft. 6 in. in length by 20 in. wide at the top and 14 in. at the bottom. The top of the stone is quite plain with the exception of a marginal inscription which begins at the left hand top corner. The letters are mostly Roman capitals, but there are a few Anglo-Saxon letters. The inscription reads (fn. 148) : '✠ VIII . KL' . OCTB | FVIT . POSITVS . ÆGEL[w]ARDVS FILVS . KYPPINGVS IN ISTO LOC | O BEATV | S SIT OMO QVI ORAT PRO ANIMA EIVS + TOKI ME. SCRIPSIT |.' Near this stone are two brasses fixed to the wall. The first of these has the following inscription in black letter: 'Hic jacet Ričus Trevet alias dčus Hasylwode valectus qui obiit XIX die January Ao dñi Mo CCCCXLI cuiq aīe [pro]picietr deq.' Above is the figure of a man in plate armour. The other brass bears the inscription: 'Hic jacet Johanna qond[am] ux' Ri[card]i Trevet alias dicti Hasylwode que obiit XVIIIo die Februari Ao dñi MoCCCCXLI cuiq aīe p[ro]picietur deq.'

In the churchyard is a slab bearing a recut inscription to William Dring, of Queen's College, Oxford, a former vicar of this parish, who died in 1647. This is described by Ashmole (fn. 149) as having been 'at the entrance of the chancel' of the former church.

In the south window of the organ chamber, entirely hidden from view by the organ, is a collection of fragments of glass of different dates. The largest panels are apparently of 17th-century date, and the centre one of these is a portrait of William of Wykeham with his arms and motto 'Maners maketh man.' The other panels represent (1) possibly a portrait; (2) the head of our Lord with a nimbus, and in his right hand a pastoral staff; (3) a scene inscribed November, representing men felling trees; (4) a man (?), an Old Testament saint, sitting by a wall with one arm outstretched; (5) the Prodigal Son; (6) the head of our Lord with one hand raised in blessing and the other resting on a globe. Below are the words 'Salvator mundi.' Above William of Wykeham's portrait is a shield of Beaufort with three leopards rampant on a scutcheon of pretence. Most of the background of the glass is taken up with lily blossoms, Tudor roses with I.H.C. in the centre, and the badge three feathers in a crown. There are also three crowned I.H.C. and crowned Mary monograms. These appear to be amongst the oldest of the fragments. Another small piece represents the 'Sybilla Tiburtina.'

The tower contains a ring of eight bells; the six old bells were by Samuel Knight, 1702–10, but they were recast and two new added by Mears & Stainbank in 1896.

All the plate is modern and consists of a chalice and cover of 1809, a paten of 1868, one flagon of 1868, and a chalice, paten and credence paten, all of 1895. The whole is in silver gilt. The chalices were given by Sir Paul and Lady Hunter, but the old plate, comprising a chalice, paten and flagon of 1714, was sold for £39 14s. 6d.

All the registers prior to 1681 were burnt. The first book now contains baptisms, marriages and burials from 1681 to 1752, the second book baptisms and burials from 1752 to 1812, and the third book contains marriages only from 1754 to 1812.

The church of ST. JOHN is a building of medium size which was built in 1881 by the late Mr. Richard Benyon and enlarged in 1896. It is of red brick with stone dressings and consists of a chancel with a south vestry, a nave having an arcade of four bays, and a south aisle which serves as a chapel and has a small west baptistery. There are also a north-west tower and a west porch.

There are six bells cast by Mears & Stainbank in 1896.

There is a Primitive Methodist chapel and another small Nonconformist chapel here. St. Mary's and also St. John's parochial schools were erected by the late Mr. Richard Benyon. The former are the property of the trustees of Clarke's charity, the latter of trustees who hold them together with St. John's Church for the benefit of the Church of England. There is a Men's Club, the property of Mr. J. H. Benyon, also a church hall erected in 1908 and held as an ecclesiastical charity by trustees. (fn. 150)


At the time of the Domesday Survey there was a church in Stratfield Mortimer on the half-hide of land which was held of Ralf Mortimer by an unnamed knight. (fn. 151) It was assessed at £8 13s. 4d. in 1291. (fn. 152) The advowson belonged at that date to the priory of Clatford, a cell of the abbey of St. Victor in Caux, (fn. 153) and was taken into the king's hands in 1348 as the property of an alien priory. (fn. 154) It remained in the possession of the Crown until 1444, (fn. 155) when it was granted with other lands to Eton College by Henry VI. (fn. 156) The Provost and Fellows of the college are the patrons at the present time. (fn. 157)

A chapel, probably near the manor-house of Wokefield, was attached to the manor of Wokefield in 1255, (fn. 158) in which year the advowson, together with a yearly rent of 8s., was granted by Robert Danvers the younger to William, then Abbot of St. Victor in Caux, (fn. 159) who undertook to find one chaplain to celebrate in the chapel three days a week. (fn. 160) The chapel was apparently served later by the incumbent of the church of Stratfield Mortimer. A document, dated 1505, preserved in the Audley Register, is the answer of the bishop to a complaint made by the inhabitants of Wokefield of the discontinuance of divine service in their chapel of All Saints. The bishop directed the vicar to perform such services. (fn. 161) The chantry returns in 1548 state that there was 'one chapel … whereunto they say appertaineth neither lands nor rent nor any divine service is done or ministered there and so it is worth nothing.' (fn. 162) The site of the chapel is unknown. There is a tradition that it stood on the green between Wokefield and Oakfield Lodges. The chancel aisle of the church belongs to the owner of Wokefield Park.


Charity of Alice Clarke, founded prior to the Parliamentary Returns of 1786. The Returns of 1909 mention an inquisition of 1609 of 28 acres of land in Strathfieldsaye, given by one Alice Clarke alias Jeferie, widow, as appeared by an ancient deed under her hand and seal, of which the rents and profits had time out of mind been paid for the repair of the church and the relief of the poor. The Chantry Certificates of 1548 mention the gift of land by Alice Clarke as bringing in 10s. annually, apportioned equally between alms for the poor, repair of the church and obits. It seems to have escaped confiscation and was administered by feoffees. After 1813 it was managed chiefly by Mr. Richard Benyon de Beauvoir, who continually supplied deficits at his own expense. In 1872 the land was sold to the Duke of Wellington (fn. 163) and the proceeds invested in £4,648 15s. 8d. consols, with the official trustees, subsequently augmented to £7,588 14s. 7d. stock by the transfer to the official trustees of further sums of stock representing sales of timber and accumulations of income.

The charity is regulated by schemes of the Charity Commissioners of 5 April 1879 and 15 January 1904, whereby a fixed payment of £65 a year was made payable to the church fund and £84 a year to the school fund, leaving about £38 a year for the poor fund.

The scheme of 1904 further directed that a sum of £3,360 consols (part of the last-mentioned sum of stock) should be carried to a separate account to provide the £84 a year, under the title of the Clarke Educational Foundation, which is applied in aid of St. Mary's National Schools.

The church fund had in 1907 also a reserve fund of £286 12s. 10d. consols in the names of trustees. In 1907 the poor fund was applied in aid of the coal and clothing clubs. The poor of Mortimer West End (Hampshire) also benefit.

Charity of Cooper and others—It was stated in the table of benefactions that certain donors left small sums of money amounting together to £109, with which a rent-charge of £5 9s. was purchased, issuing out of Warennes Wood, now the property of Sir Robert Gray Cornish Mowbray, bart., by whom the annuity is paid, and is distributed in bread on St. Thomas's Day, together with an annuity of 6s. 8d. issuing out of land known as Brook's Land in Burghfield, given for the poor by a Mr. Butler.

The table of benefactions mentioned that Mr. Bushnell gave to the poor of the part of the parish in Berkshire 20s. payable out of an estate called Brocas land. This rent-charge and the annuity of 6s. 8d. are paid by Mr. J. Herbert Benyon. The 20s. is divided in half-crowns among eight widows.

The charity of Mrs. Harriet Brocas, or the old almshouse charity, founded about 1820, formerly consisted of three cottages for almswomen and a rentcharge of £2 for repairs. The rent-charge was redeemed in 1867 by the transfer to the official trustees of £66 13s. 4d. consols, and the cottages were sold and the proceeds invested in £137 7s. 8d. consols, making together £204 1s. consols, producing £5 2s. a year, which in 1906 was divided equally between three widows.

The fair ground is let at about £5 a year, which is applied in aid of the coal club.

Fuel Allotment—There are also about 100 acres called Burnt Common awarded under the Inclosure Act, but they are unproductive of income.


  • 1. Statistics from Bd. of Agric. (1905).
  • 2. Ct. R. (Gen. Ser.), portf. 154, no. 71, m. 5. The Forehead is here called 'le Forewode.' In another document of 1520 it is called Foremede (Mr. J. H. Benyon).
  • 3. Chan. Inq. p.m. 32 Edw. I, no. 63a.
  • 4. Ct. R. (Gen. Ser.), portf. 154, no. 71, m. 5.
  • 5. Pat. 8 Jas. I, pt. vii, no. 1.
  • 6. a Inform. from Mr. J. H. Benyon.
  • 7. Priv. Act, 42 Geo. III, cap. 22 (not printed).
  • 8. V.C.H. Berks. i, 361.
  • 9. Ibid.
  • 10. Testa de Nevill (Rec. Com.), 124; Pat. 25 Edw. I, pt. ii, m. 9; Chan. Inq. p.m. 28 Edw. III (1st nos.), no. 53; 3 Hen. VI, no. 32; Pat. 14 Hen. VI, pt. i, m. 4.
  • 11. V.C.H. Hants, iv, 426.
  • 12. Ibid.
  • 13. Ibid.
  • 14. Ibid.
  • 15. Feet of F. Berks. 9 Hen. III, no. 2.
  • 16. V.C.H. Hants, loc. cit.
  • 17. Ibid.
  • 18. Chan. Inq. Misc. bdle. 11, file 3, no. 2 (the boundaries of the manor are given in this inquisition); Close, 14 Hen. III, pt. ii, m. 1; Chart. R. 14 Hen. III, pt. ii, m. 1; Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 771.
  • 19. Chan. Inq. p.m. 25 Edw. I, no. 56; G.E.C. Peerage, v, 369.
  • 20. Chan. Inq. p.m. 25 Edw. I, no. 56; Pat. 25 Edw. I, pt. ii, m. 9; Inq. a.q.d. file 26, no. 1.
  • 21. Pat. 28 Edw. I, pt. i, m. 18.
  • 22. Chan. Inq. p.m. 32 Edw. I, no. 63a.
  • 23. Pat. 4 Edw. III, pt. ii, m. 1; 9 Edw. III, pt. ii, m. 27 d.; Close, 12 Edw. III, pt. ii, m. 6.
  • 24. Chan. Inq. p.m. 28 Edw. III (1st nos.), no. 53.
  • 25. Ibid. 34 Edw. III, no. 86; Abbrev. Rot. Orig. (Rec. Com.), ii, 260.
  • 26. Abbrev. Rot. Orig. (Rec. Com.), ii, 260.
  • 27. Ibid. 292.
  • 28. Feet of F. Div. Co. 48 Edw. III, case 288, file 50, no. 763; Chan. Inq. p.m. 5 Ric. II, no. 43; Pat. 6 Ric. II, pt. iii, m. 10.
  • 29. Chan. Inq. p.m. 5 Ric. II, no. 43; Dict. Nat. Biog.
  • 30. Dict. Nat. Biog.
  • 31. Ibid.
  • 32. Ibid.
  • 33. Ibid.
  • 34. Pat. 4 Hen. IV, pt. ii, m. 6.
  • 35. Feet of F. Div. Co. 3 Hen. V, no. 31.
  • 36. Dict. Nat. Biog.
  • 37. Ibid.
  • 38. Ibid.
  • 39. Chan. Inq. p.m. 3 Hen. VI, no. 32.
  • 40. Feud. Aids, i, 61; Pat. 19 Hen. VI, pt. i, m. 8.
  • 41. a Pat. 19 Hen. VI, pt. i, m. 8.
  • 42. Ibid. 1 Edw. IV, pt. iv, m. 1; 20 Edw. IV, pt. ii, m. 27.
  • 43. Ibid. 1 Ric. III, pt. v.
  • 44. Feet of F. Mixed Co. Mich. 3 Hen. VIII.
  • 45. Pat. 32 Hen. VIII, pt. vi, m. 19–17.
  • 46. Ibid. 35 Hen. VIII, pt. xvii, m. 9.
  • 47. Pat. 1 Eliz. pt. ix, m. 30*.
  • 48. Ibid. 7 Eliz. pt. vii, m. 25.
  • 49. V.C.H. Berks. i, 354.
  • 50. His son William was warden of Windsor Castle and took the name of Windsor.
  • 51. Testa de Nevill (Rec. Com.), 123a; see Chilton.
  • 52. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xvii, g. 285 (18).
  • 53. Rot. de Oblatis et Fin. (Rec. Com.), 467, 534.
  • 54. Ibid. 467.
  • 55. Ibid. 534; Abbrev. Plac. (Rec. Com.), 75.
  • 56. Abbrev. Plac. loc. cit.; see Aston Tirrold.
  • 57. The manor of Aston Tirrold was divided between the Danvers family and the representatives of Nicholas de Bolney. This manor was held in 1166 by Nicholas son of Torold son of Geoffrey. Nicholas apparently had no son.
  • 58. Feet of F. Div. Co. 21 Hen. III, no. 14; Berks. 25 Hen. III, no. 2.
  • 59. Ibid. Berks. 25 Hen. III, no. 2.
  • 60. See V.C.H. Berks. iv, 64.
  • 61. Cherry, 'Prosapiae Bercherienses,' 'Sheriffs'; P.R.O. List of Sheriffs, 107b.
  • 62. Chan. Inq. p.m. 5 Edw. III, no. 47.
  • 63. Add. MS. 6041, fol. 14. It has been stated (Macnamara, The Danvers Family, 503) that this grant was made by Sir Thomas Danvers, but Richard and William Danvers in their numerous petitions to the Crown (see below) say that it was given to Mortimer by their father, and they were certainly brothers of Edmund (Chan. Inq. p.m. 36 Edw. III, no. 56), who called himself the grandson of Sir Thomas (De Banco R. 287, m. 485 d.).
  • 64. Richard and William subsequently petitioned the king to compensate them for the promotion they ought to have received from Mortimer, and Edward III granted them rents from lands in Newbury until he could give them such promotion, viz., to Richard a benefice or prebend of the value of £20 yearly at least, and to William a marriage or other promotion of like value. Afterwards on their complaint of difficulty in getting the rents he granted the custody of the same lands in Newbury to William (Close, 18 Edw. II, m. 15; 2 Edw. III, m. 3; 8 Edw. III, m. 31, 29; 9 Edw. III, m. 13, 14; 11 Edw. III, pt. i, m. 16; Pat. 6 Edw. III, pt. i, m. 29, 17; pt. ii, m. 31; 11 Edw. III, pt. iii, m. 19, 3.
  • 65. It was taken into the king's hands in 1322 (Close, 18 Edw. II, m. 15), but was subsequently recovered by Mortimer (ibid. 2 Edw. III, m. 3; Pat. 6 Edw. III, pt. i, m. 29).
  • 66. De Banco R. 287, m. 485 d.
  • 67. Parl. R. ii, 420.
  • 68. Pat. 6 Edw. III, pt. i, m. 29, 17.
  • 69. Ibid. pt. ii, m. 31; 12 Edw. III, pt. ii, m. 25; Close, 12 Edw. III, pt. ii, m. 9; Pat. 14 Edw. III, pt. ii, m. 27.
  • 70. Close, 12 Edw. III, pt. ii, m. 9.
  • 71. De Banco R. 287, m. 485d. The liberty had been allowed to the abbot, Easter 1327.
  • 72. Pat. 12 Edw. III, pt. ii, m. 25.
  • 73. Ibid. 14 Edw. III, pt. ii, m. 27. These were then held by John de Driby with Amy his wife (ibid. m. 22).
  • 74. Chan. Inq. p.m. 35 Edw. III, pt. ii, no. 49; ibid. (2nd nos.), no. 19.
  • 75. Ibid. 40 Edw. III (2nd nos.), no. 40b.
  • 76. Ret. of Memb. of Parl. i, 205 et seq.
  • 77. Dict. Nat. Biog.
  • 78. Cal. Pat. 1399–1401, p. 386.
  • 79. Chan. Inq. p.m. 34 Hen. VI, no. 9.
  • 80. Ibid.
  • 81. Chan. Inq. p.m. 34 Edw. III, no. 86.
  • 82. Parl. R. vi, 462; Anct. D. (P.R.O.), A 7551; L. and P. Hen. VIII, xvii, g. 220 (17), 443 (77), 881 (21); Pat. 7 Edw. VI, pt. xii, m. 20.
  • 83. Pat. 7 Edw. VI, pt. xii, m. 20.
  • 84. Ibid. pt. vi, m. 4.
  • 85. Memo. R. (Exch. L.T.R.), Trin. 18 Eliz. rot. 65.
  • 86. Ibid.; Feet of F. Berks. East. 11 Eliz.
  • 87. Cal. S. P. Dom. 1547–81, pp. 307, 696; Acts of P.C. 1575–7, pp. 311–12, 368; 1577–88, p. 249.
  • 88. Camden, Annales (ed. Hearne), ii, 424. Coke calls him 'that great lawyer and sage of the law' (Institutes, pt. iv, Epilogue).
  • 89. Cal. S. P. Dom. 1547–81, pp. 355, 689.
  • 90. He asked for a week in which to consider the Act of Uniformity before he sent in his refusal to observe it (Climenson, Hist. of Shiplake, 204–15), and is said to have sometimes attended the services of the English church until 1570 (S. P. Dom. Eliz. clxiv, 45, 46). The unusual breadth of his religious views had been earlier shown by his strong disapproval of the proceedings of the government in 1555, and his consequent withdrawal from the House of Commons, to which he had been returned as member both for Reading and for Wootton Bassett (Foley, Records of the Engl. Province, iv, 539; Willis, Notit. Parl. iii [2], 25, 40, 45, 52).
  • 91. Cal. S. P. Dom. 1547–81, p. 355.
  • 92. S. P. Dom. Eliz. clxiv, 45, 46.
  • 93. Camden, loc. cit.; Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), ccvi, 13.
  • 94. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), ccvi, 13.
  • 95. Ibid. ccxxi, 123.
  • 96. Feet of F. Berks. East. 18 Jas. I.
  • 97. Ibid. Hil. 2 Chas. I.
  • 98. Ibid. East. 1653; Cherry, op. cit. ii, 373*.
  • 99. Feet of F. Berks. Trin. 36 Chas. II.
  • 100. Ibid.
  • 101. Recov. R. Trin. 5 Anne, rot. 80.
  • 102. Ibid. Hil. 8 Geo. II, rot. 10; Cherry, loc. cit.
  • 103. Feet of F. Berks. Mich. 16 Geo. II; Cherry, loc. cit.
  • 104. a Inform. from Mr. Alfred Palmer and Canon Lovett Cameron.
  • 105. b Ibid.
  • 106. Chan. Inq. p.m. 22 Ric. II, no. 52; 9 Hen. V, no. 45; 6 Hen. VI, no. 46; 17 Hen. VI, no. 36; 30 Hen. VI, no. 11; L. and P. Hen. VIII, xvii, g. 285 (18).
  • 107. Chan. Inq. p.m. 22 Ric. II, no. 52.
  • 108. Ibid. 9 Hen. V, no. 45.
  • 109. Ibid. 6 Hen. VI, no. 46.
  • 110. Chan. Inq. p.m. 17 Hen. VI, no. 36; 30 Hen. VI, no. 11.
  • 111. Chan. Inq. p.m. 37 Hen. VI, no. 46. The inquisition on Joan makes no mention of Wokefield.
  • 112. V.C.H. Berks. i, 334.
  • 113. The small holding in Wokefield and Burghfield which belonged to Walter Alard in the 13th century (Feet of F. Berks. 43 Hen. III, no. 6, 9) cannot be traced with sufficient certainty to identify it with this manor.
  • 114. Feet of F. Div. Co. 6 Hen. IV, no. 80.
  • 115. Anct. D. (P.R.O.), C 2516.
  • 116. Ibid. C 2625.
  • 117. V.C.H. Hants, iv, 271.
  • 118. Ibid.; Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), ix, 5, 94; xvi, 27.
  • 119. V.C.H. Hants, iv, 271.
  • 120. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), xvi, 27.
  • 121. Cal. of Papal Letters, i, 28.
  • 122. Feet of F. Berks. 9 Hen. III, no. 2; Harl. MS. 1708, fol. 56 d.
  • 123. Add. Chart. 19628. He died in 1227, bequeathing his heart to the abbey (Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. iii, 216). His charter concerning the restoration of the land in Stratfield mentions 'Simon, late Abbot of Reading,' and must therefore have been made after Simon's death, which occured in 1226 (V.C.H. Berks. ii, 72).
  • 124. Pat. 4 Edw. VI, pt. vii, m. 39.
  • 125. Chan. Inq. p.m. 20 Edw. III (2nd nos.), no. 70.
  • 126. Pat. 7 Edw. VI, pt. xi, m. 2.
  • 127. Ibid. 4 Edw. VI, pt. vii, m. 39.
  • 128. Ibid. 7 Edw. VI, pt. xi, m. 2.
  • 129. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), cvii, 40; Feet of F. Div. Co. Hil. 40 Eliz.
  • 130. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), cccxxii, 156.
  • 131. W. and L. Inq. p.m. lxxiv, 73.
  • 132. G.E.C. Complete Peerage.
  • 133. Ibid.
  • 134. Ibid.
  • 135. a Ibid.
  • 136. b Inform. supplied by Mr. J. H. Benyon.
  • 137. c Inform. from Canon Lovett Cameron.
  • 138. V.C.H. Berks. i, 361.
  • 139. Chan. Inq. p.m. 32 Edw. I, no. 63a.
  • 140. a Mins. Accts. (Gen. Ser.), bdle. 1115, no. 1.
  • 141. Chan. Inq. Misc. bdle. 11, file 3, no. 2.
  • 142. Chan. Inq. p.m. 32 Edw. I, no. 63a.
  • 143. Chan. Inq. p.m. 32 Edw. I, no. 63a.
  • 144. Pat. 29 Edw. I, m. 16 d.; 9 Edw. II, pt. i, m. 25 d.; 9 Edw. III, pt. ii, m. 27 d.; 4 Hen. IV, pt. ii, m. 6; 20 Edw. IV, pt. ii, m. 27; 1 Eliz. pt. ix; 7 Eliz. pt. vii, m. 25; Feet of F. Div. Co. Hil. 1 Jas. I; Hil. 12 & 13 Chas. II.
  • 145. Pat. 8 Jas. I, pt. vii, no. 1.
  • 146. Feet of F. Div. Co. Hil. 12 & 13 Chas. II.
  • 147. Ibid. 7 Jas. I.
  • 148. Canon C. Lovett Cameron in a pamphlet reprinted from the Mortimer Monthly Magazine identifies this Ægelward with Ædelward, alderman of Hampshire, mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle under 994, to whom Ælfric, Archbishop of Canterbury, dedicated his Homilies and translation of Genesis. Ædelward died about 1017. Toki was 'a very mighty and wealthy courtier' of King Canute (C. F. Rafn in Mém. de la Soc. des Antiq. du Nord, 1845–52, pp. 286–319; see also Proc. Soc. Antiq. [Ser. 2], xi, 224–5).
  • 149. a Antiq. of Berks. i, 33.
  • 150. b Inform. supplied by Mr. J. H. Benyon.
  • 151. V.C.H. Berks. i, 361.
  • 152. Pope Nich. Tax. (Rec. Com.), 188.
  • 153. Dugdale, Mon. vi, 1054. About 1080 William I granted to the abbey of Préaux the tithes of 'Straphelh' (Cal. Doc. of France, 108), identified (ibid.) as Stratfield; but this is uncertain.
  • 154. Pat. 22 Edw. III, pt. i, m. 39, 16.
  • 155. Pat. 22 Edw. III, pt. ii, m. 23; 23 Edw. III, pt. i, m. 30; pt. ii, m. 21; pt. iii, m. 29; 2 Ric. II, pt. iii, m. 7; 7 Ric. II, pt. ii. m. 17; 10 Ric. II, pt. i, m. 3; 12 Ric. II, pt. i, m. 13; 16 Ric. II, pt. ii, m. 27; 5 Hen. IV, pt. i, m. 35.
  • 156. Parl. R. v, 81.
  • 157. Clergy List, 1914.
  • 158. Feet of F. Berks. 39 Hen. III, no. 1b.
  • 159. Ibid.
  • 160. Ibid.
  • 161. Inform. supplied by Mr. J. H. Benyon.
  • 162. Ibid.; Chant. Cert. 3, no. 19.
  • 163. Inform. supplied by Mr. J. H. Benyon.