History of the Hamlets of Warfield Parish
in the Royal County of Berkshire
by David Nash Ford
W A R F I E L D
H A M L E T S
Hawthorn Hill (Warfield).
The area around Hawthorn Hill has changed its
name numerous times. It is the site of a village
called Bras in the Domesday Book (1086).
The name is related to "Bray". The
residents deserted the place in medieval times.
Later, the area became Cruchfield, still
retained in Cruchfield Manor. It has been
suggested that the Cruch stems from a
roadside boundary cross, showing where Bray
became Warfield. Most scholars agree, however,
that it comes from Celtic Crug meaning
"Hill". The word may have been more
specific, a "burial mound", for such a
barrow stands not far from the manor. Legend says
a Crock of Gold was dug up here, and this
was what really gave the settlement its name. A
Hawthorn Tree also grew on the spot, hence Hawthorn
Hayley Green (Warfield).
The old Manor House of Warfield, known as
Hearthley Hall, was at Hayley Green. The original
house was pulled down in the 17th century, but
the Moat House there today is still
surrounded, as its name suggests, by the original
moat. The old manor barn stands nearby. This was
the residence of the Staverton family whose
memorials are in parish church, though it may, in
origin, have been the Royal Hunting Lodge of
Warfield Walke, one of the Windsor Forest
sub-divisions. The Cricketers is the
best-known spot in the area. This ancient
watering hole was always locally known as the Orchard
House because of the fruit trees which
surrounded it. The gamekeepers from Warfield Park
are said to have frequented the inn, so poachers
could always tell when it was a good time to take
to the woods. The pub has an unusual cut-out inn
Jealott's Hill (Warfield). (See also Hawthorn Hill & Moss End)
Jealott's Hill, originally Jealous Hill or
Common, is the home of Zeneca (formerly ICI).
People say it glows in the dark! The Leathern
Bottle here was the scene of a gruesome
murder in the mid nineteenth century. Hannah
Carey, the publican's wife, had been carrying on
with a local man. Though her husband, John, put
up with the situation for some time, he
eventually snapped and took to beating Hannah,
both in private and in public. One particularly
bad day, she had taken herself to her room with
her bruises. John arrived home and, in a fit of
rage, threw their marital bed ontop of his wife
and jumped up and down on her. Hannah survived,
but for only a month.
Moss End (Warfield). (See also Jealott's Hill)
This was originally Mosslands, an area of
Warfield belonging to Easthampstead Manor. It is
now a very small settlement, though still rather
busy, for here we have the large Moss End Garden
& Antiques Centres. Opposite is the Shepherd's
House, a very popular pub and restaurant. It
was originally a simple Beer House. It was here
that the inquisitive curate of Cranbourne was
found wandering in a daze after he had tried to
investigate a coven of local witches. No-one ever
discovered what had happened to him and an
apparent conspiracy forced him to leave the area.
Below Moss End, the hamlet of Cotton Green, near
Warfield Hall, has now completely disappeared.
Warfield Hall is best known as
the home of Sir Charles Brownlow, a great
benefactor to the parish of Warfield. He repaired
the church tower and built the Brownlow Hall for
the whole community. It used to house his
library. Sir Charles had been a Field Marshall in
the British Army, fighting in the Punjab Wars,
various Indian campaigns and the 1860 China War.
He inherited Warfield Hall through his wife, just
after it had been totally rebuilt a little nearer
the road following a disastrous fire.
Newell Green (Warfield).
Newell Green, or Common, has two pubs: The Plough
and Harrow and The Yorkshire Rose. The latter is
also a very fine restaurant. It was by these
houses that a crowd of locals passed in 1874,
banging their pots and pans, on their way to give
Lord Ormathwaite of Warfield Park a taste of Rough
Music (See Warfield Park). Their ghosts are sometimes
seen on cold autumn nights. The Queen Anne style
Newell Hall was built around 1700 by an old
Warfield family, the Horsnails. There is a road
in Bracknell named after them.
Priestwood Common was originally an area of
common grazing land adjoining Ascot Heath. In
times past, it was frequented by many a
highwayman. The area appears to have been named
after the monks of Hurley Priory who, as Lords of
the Manor of Warfield, made the parish church
their home in the 1320s when floods drove them
from Hurley (See Warfield Village). Since the housing estate was
built, there have been various reports of ghostly
monks in the area.
The Admiral Cunningham Pub, off
Stoney Road, is one of Priestwood's only historic
houses. It was built at the turn of the century
as Priestwood Court, still remembered in
Priestwood Court Road, and became the home of the
Gilder family. It was opened as a hotel by the
Admiral himself in 1954. The Garths were another
well-known local family who have left their mark
on the area, this time in the form of Garth Hill
School. Mr.T.C.Garth was the master of
Bracknell's local fox hunt from 1855 to 1902. The
hunt, which dates from the late 18th
century, eventually became named after the man.
Today the Garth Hunt has merged with the South
Berkshire at Mortimer.
Quelm Park (Warfield).
Quelm Park is the newest of Bracknell's housing
estates. It is named after the ancient Quelm
Lane, a name that implies a gibbet, perhaps where
local highwaymen where hung, once stood in the
vicinity. Quelm Lane is haunted by the ghost of a
man on a white horse who, children are told, will
steal them away if they are out late at night.
Dogs will, apparently, not walk down it.
Warfield Park (Warfield).
The major house of the parish, Warfield Park, no
longer stands but the area is a rather classy
estate of park homes. The old house was built,
along with numerous grottoes, lakes and terraces,
by Colonel John Walsh in 1766. He had made a
fortune for himself in India with his friend,
Lord Clive, and now wished for a quiet life in an
English country retreat. His many mistresses are
said to have lived at the house (not all at once)
while John partied in London. The current
lady-of-the-moment must have been a great comfort
to the Colonel after he shot a highwayman on
Ascot Heath one day. Another of his lady-friends,
however, was not so dependable. She was a chronic
depressive who drowned herself in the defunct
pool known as Rachel's Lake. Her ghost is said to
haunt the bridge on the north side of the park,
but she also runs screaming down Jigs Lane with
John hot on her heals!
The Colonel's monument (1797)
is in the parish church: a life-size young maiden
with an extinguished torch. His descendants
became Lords Ormathwaite. The second Lord was
thought, by the villagers, to be mistreating his
wife, so they arranged for him to receive a
concert of Rough Music. This was a common
rural way of showing disapproval: some four
hundred locals gathered outside Warfield Park and
banged about with pots and pans for several
Whitegrove is a new housing estate that has
spilled over into the modern parish of Warfield
from neighbouring Bracknell. Its original name of Warfield Green is said to
have been chosen as an ironic play on a slogan
popular with anti-development protestors who
wanted to keep Warfield green! An old name
for the area was Edmunds Green.
Wick Hill, which is unlikely to
have been named after a Roman Vicus,
probably has its origins in an ancient Saxon
dairy farm. Bracknell was once well known for its
hand-made brick production, and the longest lived
of the old brick firms, Thomas Lawrence of
Bracknell (or TLB for short) started off at the
foot of Wick Hill. The brown clay to be found in
this area was ideal for making rich warm
red-fired bricks, some of which were used in the
construction of Westminster Cathedral!
Wick Hill has always been the
residential area of Bracknell's gentry, and it
still retains many beautiful old houses. Wick
Hill House was the residence of a famous 19th
century explorer, Mr.St.George-Littledale. He
travelled the World in search of unusual animals
to hunt. His taxidermic trophies were used to
decorate his Bracknell home and upon his death in
1921 were presented to the British Museum. George
V was given his prized Asiatic Ibex! He was best
known, however, for his mapping expeditions and
became the first European to travel many of the
uninviting mountain passes of Tibet.
See also Warfield Village and Bracknell.