The roads from Paley Street and Braywoodside run into each other is a rather sharp road junction. This is Touchen End, originally Twychene (1274) deriving from the Two Chains that were stretched across each road to stop travellers and levy a toll. A less romantic translation of the name indicates it simply means Fork in the Road. Iwhurst was an alternative early name for the same area. Tradition says that King George III, as Prince of Wales, made his first ever kill in front of the old Hind’s Head pub at Touchen End while out stag hunting in Windsor Forest: hence the pub’s name. It is now the large private house at the road junction (pictured).
Early 14th century documents show that there was once a ‘Grim’s Ditch’ in the area. These are generally prehistoric bank and ditch features in the landscape which Anglo-Saxons found so dramatic that they thought they must have been built by the chief of their gods, Woden, also known by his nickname, Grim.
The north-eastern part of Touchen End was known as Foxley Green and this is reflected in the names of a number of the houses there. Foxley Green Farm has a superbly preserved moat, but sadly the old house was burnt down in about 1740. This was the manor house of Puckemere, another ancient Anglo-Saxon mythological name meaning Goblin’s Pool. It was renamed Foxley Manor in 1321 by Sir John Foxley, a Baron of the Exchequer. He was granted licence to empark the manor and stock it with deer to hunt. His son, Thomas, was Constable of Windsor Castle; his grandson, Sir John, Constable of Southampton Castle. The latter’s elaborate brass with his two wives, the first of whom he eloped with at the age of fourteen, can be seen in the parish church at Bray. In the 18th century, Foxleys, the old house at the centre of Holyport College, was the English country home of the Governor of Bengal, Henry Vansittart, although he had grown up at Shottesbrooke Park.
Read more history of Touchen End in David Nash Ford's book, 'East Berkshire Town and Village Histories'. Click to Order direct from the Author.
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