Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Riverside south bank west of the Tower. Old Windsor. Saxon town

Riverside south bank west of the Tower. Old Windsor. Saxon town

This posting covers sites on the south of the river only. North of the river is Remenham Park

Post to the south Old Windsor Beaumont and Wraysbury riverside
Post to the north Ham Island and Nickcroft Ait

Church Road
An old highway once followed the line of Church Road from its junction with Ham Lane, the old road then turned sharply across the churchyard. In 1225 it was diverted round the north of the church. The rector was then required to build the current road which remains as a footpath to the river bank
St Peter and St Andrew. This church was probably built on the site of a chapel attached to Edward the Confessor’s hunting lodge. Its joint dedication to St. Peter and St. Andrew is unique and it is thought that a new St. Peter's might have had been built on the site of an earlier St. Andrew's under the Confessor. Several synods took place here.  In 1184 it became a possession of Waltham Abbey who held it until the dissolution.  After Magna Carta in 1215, French soldiers destroyed the church during a siege of Windsor Castle. It was rebuilt in 1218. In the 18th an avenue of larches - some stumps remain - led to the north door. It also had a stone porch and a cupola on the tower which was removed by Giles Gilbert Scott in 1865. He installed new pews and a choir vestry. A spire replaced the cupola and extra bells were added to make the ring up to eight.
The Priory.  This was a small house around 1700 which is said to have been an inn. In 1730 it was leased by Richard Bateman, who made improvements and the house became a showplace. It has had a number of owners since. There was no priory here and the name is purely fanciful.
The Hermitage. This house, which is next to the churchyard, sits on top of what may have been the Norman palace. It was built in 1740 by Richard Bateman
The Manor Cottage. This now a Care home in an 18th house which is on the site of the original manor house. Following Domesday it became the Rectorial Manor of Old Windsor and the Rector's official residence became Manor Cottage. There was a moat, part of which still exists as a backwater used for mooring boats. In the 1950's Middlesex County Council took it over as an old people's home, the administration of which was later transferred to Surrey County Council
Windsor Great Park Water Works. This dated from the early 1870s and was built specifically to deal with sewage from the Castle.  It followed a notice from the City of London Conservators to cease putting raw sewage into the Thames. The system was built by Easton and Anderson and was south of the cut and a quarter of a mile about the lock.   This long closed although rectangular outlines can be seen from the air.


Friday Island
Friday Island is an island in the Thames just short of Old Windsor Lock. The shape is said to resemble the footprint of Man Friday in Robinson Crusoe,


Ham Lane
St. George’s Farm.  Recently rebuilt.


New Cut
The New Cut was made in 1821-22 and is now the navigation channel.
Ham Island. This is what was Ham Fields turned into an island by the New Cut


Old Windsor
Old Windsor was a Saxon settlement at least as early as the 7th. It is thought that it was used as a royal residence from the 9th and  Edward the Confessor is known to have spent time here as did William the Conqueror and his sons William Rufus and Henry I.  But the Normans built their fortress two miles away and thus the court deserted the old town. Eventually all traces of its palace, and the surrounding settlement, disappeared. It was suggested that the area around the church was the site of the old town centre in the 1950s and this has since been confirmed by archaeologists. It is thought that it began as a farm on a site here near the current church. In Domesday the settlement was owned by the Crown with a population of 100 families – making it the third largest town in Berkshire,
Mill. There was a large watermill made of wood, dated to 800. The mill wheels were driven by the water from a leat which was nearly three quarters of a mile long and 20 feet wide. It was dug across the loop of the Thames and was thus a predecessor of the New Cut. It had however completely disappeared.
Palace. A possible palace building – or hunting lodge - lay east of the mill leat and apparently had glass windows

Old Windsor Ferry
A ferry was operated from Wraysbury to a point between Old Windsor Church and the Priory. This dated from at least the middle ages.


Old Windsor Lock
Old Windsor Lock. The old name for the site of the lock was "Top of Caps" and it was suggested there should be a lock here in 1770. The lock was built along with the New Cut in 1822.  A weir was built in 1838, replacing an earlier one which may have dated from the 13th.  There is a small weir beside the lock, but the main weir is considerably upstream. In 1868 the lock was extended and a tumbling bay added. It was rebuilt in 1957.
Newmans Bucks. This was an eel fishery sited at the head of the present weir.


The Friary
The Friary. This is a 19th house built on the site of an earlier house called Princess Elizabeth's Cottage, or the Garden House.  Elizabeth was the daughter of George III and the Garden House had been built by Bateman who had converted it from a cowshed. The later Friary was built in 1873 by Francis Ricardo.   There was no religious organisation here and the name is purely fanciful.

Sources
Archaeology. On line. Web site
British History Online. Web site
Engineering 1874
St.Peter’s Church. Web site
O3have.uwclub. Web site
Sweet Thames Run Softly. Web site
Wikipedia. As appropriate

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