Parishes: Hatford

A History of the County of Berkshire: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1924.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.


'Parishes: Hatford', in A History of the County of Berkshire: Volume 4, ed. William Page, P H Ditchfield( London, 1924), British History Online [accessed 18 July 2024].

'Parishes: Hatford', in A History of the County of Berkshire: Volume 4. Edited by William Page, P H Ditchfield( London, 1924), British History Online, accessed July 18, 2024,

"Parishes: Hatford". A History of the County of Berkshire: Volume 4. Ed. William Page, P H Ditchfield(London, 1924), , British History Online. Web. 18 July 2024.

In this section


Hevaford (xi cent.); Haufordia, Hafford (xiii cent.); Hatteford, Hautford (xiv cent.); Hawtford (xvi cent.).

Hatford is a small parish containing only 999 acres, two-thirds of which are arable land and the rest permanent grass and woodland. (fn. 1) The average height of the parish above the ordnance datum is 300 ft., the greatest altitude—352 ft.—being attained at Hatforddown Cottages in the north. The village with its two churches—the ancient one of St. George and the modern one built in 1873–4 by the patron of the living, the Rev. Samuel Paynter—is situated in the south of the parish.

The village consists of a few houses only, near the modern church. The Manor House, close to the old church, is an old building much altered in the 18th century. It contains a handsome early 18th-century well staircase.

The soil is principally a coral rag, the subsoil being Corallian Beds. The chief crops are wheat, barley and turnips.


The manor of HATFORD was assessed at 10 hides, and held by Payn of Gilbert de Breteville at the time of the Domesday Survey. (fn. 2) The holders in the reign of Edward the Confessor were two brothers, each of whom had a hall and could go to whatsoever lord he wished. (fn. 3) Robert de Breteville was the overlord of Hatford at the beginning of the 12th century. (fn. 4) A great part of the estates owned by the Bretevilles had passed into the possession of the Columbars family by the beginning of the 13th century. (fn. 5) Hatford was amongst their number, and at the beginning of the 13th century was stated to be held of the fee of Matthew de Columbars. (fn. 6)

The actual holder of the manor in the reign of Henry III was Robert de Hatford. (fn. 7) By 1303 Robert de Hatford had been succeeded by John de Hatford, who in that year, in consideration of his services in Scotland, received a pardon from the king for the death of Henry le Lechour of Hatford. (fn. 8) John was still holding in 1316, (fn. 9) and in 1318–19 the manor was settled upon him and his wife Isabel and their children. (fn. 10) At the beginning of the reign of Richard.II Hatford was in the possession of three co-heirs—Constance the wife of John Russell, Edith the wife of John Stone, and Alice the wife of Thomas Rothewell, and was vested in trustees for purposes of sale by Constance and Edith in 1380 (fn. 11) and by Alice in 1382. (fn. 12)

The purchasers were Sir Gilbert Talbot, the second son of Sir John Talbot of Richard's Castle (fn. 13) (co. Heref.), and Joan his wife, upon whom it was settled in 1384–5. (fn. 14) Sir Gilbert married, after the death of Joan, Margaret the daughter of Sir John Howard, (fn. 15) and left the manor to her on his death in 1397. (fn. 16) Margaret remained in possession until 1415, when she sold the estate to Sir John Phelipp and Alice his wife. (fn. 17) Sir John died in 1416, his heir being his brother Sir William, (fn. 18) but Hatford passed to Alice, upon whom it had been settled, and in 1428 was in possession of her second husband, Thomas de Montagu Earl of Salisbury. (fn. 19) In 1431 Alice settled Hatford upon her father, Thomas Chaucer, and his wife Maud for life. (fn. 20) Thomas died seised of it in 1434, (fn. 21) and on the death of Maud two years later (fn. 22) it reverted to Alice, who married as her third husband William de la Pole Earl of Suffolk, and had by him a son John, created Duke of Suffolk in 1463. (fn. 23) From the latter, who died in 1491, the manor passed to his son Edmund Duke of Suffolk, on whose execution in 1513 (fn. 24) Hatford, together with his other possessions, was forfeited to the king (fn. 25) and remained Crown property until 1539–40, when Henry VIII granted it to Cecily Unton, the wife of Alexander Unton. (fn. 26) In 1544 Alexander Unton obtained a grant of the reversion of the manor after the death of Cecily. (fn. 27) He died in 1547, leaving as his heir his son Edward, then aged thirteen. (fn. 28) The latter was knighted at Queen Elizabeth's coronation in January 1558–9, and was sheriff of the county in 1567 and M.P. in 1572. He died seised of the manor in 1582, having by will left it to his son Edward. (fn. 29) This Edward was M.P. for Berkshire in 1555 and 1586, and was one of the colonels of the county forces raised in 1588. He was 'slaine in the Portugall voyage,'which was undertaken in 1589 for the restoration of Don Antonio to the throne. (fn. 30) Hatford then passed to his brother Sir Henry Unton, (fn. 31) who was knighted for his valour at the battle of Zutphen, and was twice ambassador to Henry IV of France. During his second embassy he died of a 'purple fever' at the French camp before La Fere on 23 March 1596. (fn. 32) His heirs were his sister Cecily Wentworth and his nieces Elizabeth, Anne and Mary Knightley, the daughters of his sister Anne, (fn. 33) but, as he left debts amounting to £20,000, the manor was vested in trustees for the purposes of sale by Act of Parliament in 1597. (fn. 34) Francis Pigott, the son of Robert Pigott of Marcham, purchased the estate the same year, (fn. 35) and died seised of the manor in 1614, his heir being his son Alban. (fn. 36) Alban had two sons, Francis and Alban, (fn. 37) who apparently held the manor in succession, the latter presenting to the living in 1671. (fn. 38) His heirs were his daughters, Jane the wife of Thomas Baynard and Mary the wife of Balthazar Bere, (fn. 39) but whether they succeeded to the manor is uncertain. In 1690 William Hyde, jun., and Judith his wife, and John Hyde, William's brother, sold the manor and advowson for £8,000 to Edward Jennings of Harwell, Berkshire. (fn. 40) The family of Jennings remained in possession until 1720, (fn. 41) when John Jennings sold the estate to William Tyrrell. (fn. 42) John and Walter Tyrrell were dealing with the manor by recovery in 1761, (fn. 43) probably for purposes of settlement. Hatford apparently next passed into the possession of Joseph Nutt, a director of the Bank of England, (fn. 44) who died unmarried in 1805. (fn. 45) His heir was his sister Sarah, who married first Thomas Booth of St. Anne's Well, near Barnsley, and secondly Samuel Walker of Masborough. (fn. 46) Lysons gives Mrs. Walker as the lady of the manor in 1813. (fn. 47) Hatford next passed by sale to Philip Pusey, lord of Pusey, and passed with that estate to his son the late Mr. Sidney Edward Bouverie Bouverie-Pusey, who sold it before 1912 to Mr. Henry Baylis, now the principal landowner in the parish.

Unton. Azure a fesse engrailed or between three spear heads argent with a greyhound sable running on the fesse.

Pigott. Argent three pickaxes sable.


The church of ST. GEORGE consists of a chancel 24 ft. 6 in. by 15 ft. and a nave 40 ft. 6 in. by 14 ft. These measurements are internal.

The building is probably substantially of 12thcentury date, but the nave was apparently lengthened in the 13th century, and late in the same century the east wall of the chancel was rebuilt. The nave is now roofless and the building is disused.

The chancel has a late 13th or early 14th-century east window of three trefoiled lights under a pointed head. In the north wall is a round-headed 12thcentury light, and further west a plain square-headed window of late date. In the south wall is a late 13thcentury window of two lights and a pointed head, and below it is a trefoil-headed piscina. Further west are a small round-headed priest's doorway and a singlelight window. The mid-12th-century chancel arch is of two plain semicircular orders, of which the inner rests on small circular shafts with fluted capitals and moulded bases; the north side has been restored.

The nave has on the north side a square-headed four-light window; the two eastern lights are original and had a quatrefoil over, which has now been destroyed. Further west is a single trefoiled light and a blocked door with a pointed head of the 13th century. In the south wall are two windows similar to those opposite, and the 12th-century south doorway is of two half-round orders, the inner plain and the outer with cheveron ornament, and resting on side shafts with fluted capitals and square abaci; the arch has a chamfered label, and some old ironwork remains on the door. In the west wall is an unusually tall twolight window of late 13th-century date with a quatrefoil in a pointed head. The west end of the nave is blocked by the Doric portico of a modern monument to the Rev. Samuel Paynter (1893). The exterior is much overgrown with ivy, and at the south-west angle is a square stone sundial.

In the north wall of the chancel under a moulded segmental-pointed arch with a moulded label, all of the 14th century, is a freestone effigy of a man in a long loose cloak holding a heart in the hands and with the feet upon a dog; the figure is carved in very high relief. On the floor is a brass inscription to Francis Pigott (1614) with three coats of arms: the first, three picks, for Pigott, impaling a cheveron between three cups, for Butler of Aston, referring to himself and his wife Margaret Butler; the second, Pigott impaling a cheveron engrailed and a chief with two molets thereon, for his grandfather, Thomas Pigott of Whaddon, who married Elizabeth Ewarby of Great Missenden; the third, Pigott impaling Yate of Lyford, for his father and mother. There are also brass inscriptions to Margaret wife of Francis Pigott (1637) and Martha wife of Alban Pigott (1629). A floor slab commemorates Judith wife of Alban Pigott and daughter of William (Paul) Bishop of Oxford, with a shield of Pigott impaling a cross engrailed with five stars thereon. There is also a slab to Alban Pigott (1679). Against the east wall is some Jacobean oak panelling. On the plaster to the west of the south door of the nave are remains of tempera painting in red, probably of the 13th century; two heads of saints are still visible, with arches, diapering, &c.

A mediaeval bell formerly belonging to this church is now at St. Paul's, Finchley.

The plate includes a cup and cover paten (both London, 1581), the former with chased ornament round the bowl and the latter inscribed 'Hatforde in the county of Berc, 'a paten, without mark, inscribed 'The gifte of Isabell the wife of William Eales Rector of this church 1640,' and a modern set.

The registers previous to 1812 are as follows: (i) baptisms 1540 to 1812; (ii) marriages 1803 to 1812. burials 1539 to 1812; (ii) marriages 1803 to 1812.

The church of HOLY TRINITY, in the village, was consecrated in 1874, and consists of a chancel with a three-sided apse, nave of four bays, and tower forming a south porch at the base. The style is Gothic of the 13th century. The old font has a massive circular bowl chamfered on the edges, and perhaps of the 12th century; the stem is modern. In the tower are four bells cast by Warner & Sons, 1873.


There was a church here at the time of the Domesday Survey. (fn. 48) It was valued at £ 5 in 1291 (fn. 49) and at £12 17s. 5d. in 1535. (fn. 50) The advowson went with the manor until 1720, (fn. 51) when it was apparently reserved by John Jennings on the occastion of the sale of the estate to William Tyrrell. (fn. 52) The Rev. Nicholas Tindal, the translator and continuer of Rapin's History of England, who became rector of Hatford in 1716, (fn. 53) presented to the living in 1721, (fn. 54) and dealt with the advowson by fine and recovery in 1739. (fn. 55) The advowson has from this date onwards remained in private hands, (fn. 56) the present patrons being Simeon's Trustees.

There do not appear to be any endowed charities subsisting in this parish.


  • 1. Statistics from Bd. of Agric. (1905).
  • 2. V.C.H. Berks. i, 357.
  • 3. Ibid.
  • 4. Chron. Mon. de Abingdon (Rolls Ser.), ii, 159.
  • 5. V.C.H. Hants, iv, 339, 515.
  • 6. Testa de Nevill (Rec. Com.), 110.
  • 7. Ibid. 126; Maitland, Bracton's Note Bk. ii, 6; Cal. Pat. 1258–66, p. 236.
  • 8. Cal. Pat. 1301–7, p. 164.
  • 9. Feud. Aids, i, 52.
  • 10. Feet of F. Berks. 12 Edw. II, no. 4. Isabel apparently held the estate for some time after her husband's death (Feud. Aids, i, 61).
  • 11. Feet of F. Berks. 4 Ric. II, no. I, 10.
  • 12. Ibid. 6 Ric. II, no. 14.
  • 13. Cherry, 'Prosapiae Bercherienses,' iii, 154.
  • 14. Close, 8 Ric. II, m. 33 d.; Feet of F. Berks. 8 Ric. II, no. 3.
  • 15. Cherry, loc. cit.
  • 16. Ibid.
  • 17. Cal. Pat. 1413–16, p. 281.
  • 18. Chan. Inq. p.m. 3 Hen. V, no. 42.
  • 19. Feud. Aids, i, 61.
  • 20. Chan. Inq. p.m. 13 Hen. VI. no. 35.
  • 21. Ibid.
  • 22. Ibid. 15 Hen. VI, no. 53.
  • 23. G.E.C. Complete Peerage, vii, 306.
  • 24. Ibid. 307.
  • 25. L. and P. Hen. VIII, i, 174.
  • 26. Ibid. xv, p. 541.
  • 27. Pat. 36 Hen. VIII, pt. xiv, m. 18.
  • 28. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), lxxxvi, 3.
  • 29. Ibid. cciii, 61.
  • 30. John Gough Nichols, The Unton Inventories, xlix.
  • 31. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), ccxxvii, 222.
  • 32. Dict. Nat. Biog.
  • 33. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), ccliii, 100.
  • 34. Ibid.; Cal. S. P. Dom. 1580–1625, pp. 378, 379; Chan. Proc. (Ser. 2), bdle. 273, no. 30.
  • 35. Close, 40 Eliz. pt. xvii.
  • 36. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), cccxlviii, 143.
  • 37. Cherry, op. cit. ii, 503.
  • 38. Inst. Bks. (P.R.O.).
  • 39. Cherry, loc. cit.
  • 40. Close, I Will. and Mary, pt. ix, no. 32. William Hyde was apparently holding the manor in right of his wife (Feet of F. Berks. Trin. 4 Jas. II). It is possible that this Judith was Alban Pigott's widow. He certainly married a Judith, the eldest daughter of William Paul, Bishop of Oxford (Cherry, loc. cit.).
  • 41. Inst. Bks. (P.R.O.).
  • 42. Feet of F. Berks. Hil. 6 Geo. I.
  • 43. Recov. R. Trin. I Geo. III, m. 288.
  • 44. Lysons, Mag. Brit. i (2), 290–1.
  • 45. Hunter, Familiae Minorum Gentium (Harl. Soc.), 745.
  • 46. Ibid.
  • 47. Lysons, loc. cit.
  • 48. V.C.H. Berks. i, 357.
  • 49. Pope Nich. Tax. (Rec. Com.), 186.
  • 50. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), ii, 156.
  • 51. Feet of F. Berks. 4 Ric. II, no. I, 10; 8 Ric. II, no. 3; Cal. Pat. 1413–16, p. 281; Chan. Inq. p.m. 3 Hen. V, no. 42; L. and P. Hen VIII, xv, 541; Pat. 36 Hen. VIII, pt. xiv, m. 18; 6 Jas. I, pt. vi, no. 12; Inst. Bks. (P.R.O.); Ashmole, Antiq. of Berks. ii, 175; Feet of F. Berks. Trin. 4 Jas. II; Close, I Will. and Mary, pt. ix, no. 32.
  • 52. Feet. F. Berks. Hil. 6 Geo. I.
  • 53. Dict. Nat. Biog.
  • 54. Inst. Bks. (P.R.O.).
  • 55. Feet of F. Berks. Trin. 13 Geo. II; Recov. R. Trin. 13 Geo. II, m. 229.
  • 56. Edward Cooke, clerk, presented to the living in 1756, Francis Cooke, clerk, in 1761 and Washbourne Cooke, clerk, in 1795 (Inst. Bks. [P.R.O.]). Samuel Uvedale and Margaret his wife presented in 1804 (ibid.) and dealt with the advowson by fine the following year (Feet of F. Berks. Trin. 45 Geo. III). Lysons gives 'Mrs. Uvedale, the sister of the late incumbent, 'as parton of the rectory (Mag. Brit. i [2], 290-1). John Paynter and the Rev. Samuel Paynter were the patrons during the 19th century.