History of Arborfield
in the Royal County of Berkshire
by David Nash Ford
A R B O R F I E L D
of the Manor in Literature
The Bull Inn at Arborfield - once
a stop-over for Queen
Victoria - is named after the Bullock family who were Lords of the Manor for several centuries. They lived in the manor house that once stood within the old quadrangular moat in Moor Copse near Kenny's Farm. This is near the old church and site of the later Arborfield Hall of the Standen family. The church was originally a chapel-of-ease to the mother-church at
Sonning. It stands ruinous today, the roof timbers having been deemed unsafe and a new building built nearer the village in 1863. For many years,
the north aisle remained to house the church's many monuments, including the fine renaissance figures of William Standen and his family. Thankfully they were moved to the new church before to much damage was incurred.
The hall or Old House of Aberleigh was described by Mary Russell Mitford in her classic work,
Our Village. A once fine winged Jacobean mansion, it was by then (1824) in a much ruined state, open to the elements on one side. It is said to have had an entrance hall big enough to drive a carriage through, but all has now disappeared completely. The Standens had owned Arborfield since the Bullocks sold up in 1589, but the last of their line, Edward, the man who fell for Molly (or Sally) Mogg the barmaid of the Rose in
Wokingham, died without children in 1730. George Dawson eventually took on the hall, but having estates in both Berkshire and Yorkshire was swamped with debts. Though he loved Arborfield, in a rash moment, declared "Pull it down" and his steward eagerly obliged. Dawson's son built a replacement, and lived in a cottage on the estate while the work was in progress. The new building has also now gone, but the cottage has grown into the delightful Arborfield Grange. Arborfield Court is a late addition to the village, built on the hill towards Farley in 1906.