White Hart Crest of the Royal County of Berkshire David Nash Ford's Royal Berkshire History

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The Monks' Weir near Bracknell

Newell Green at Warfield -  Nash Ford Publishing

Two possible derivations of the name Warfield have been put forward: Woer-Feld meaning 'Weir Field' or Woernawell-Feld meaning 'Wren's Stream Field'.

There was a chapel here in Saxon times: Queen Emma tried to give it to the Bishop of Winchester. It was replaced by a new building in the 12th century but the two may have been very similar in appearance. The later church was small and narrow with an eastern apse just like Saxon models. It has been greatly enlarged in later years (it is mostly 15th century), but the old Norman building still remains as the north aisle. The present decorated chancel is one of the delights of all Berkshire churches. It was attached to it in about 1345, it used to be thought as a private chapel for the Manor lords, the monks of Hurley Priory, who had been driven from their monastery by constant flooding. However, it seems that the real patron was Sir William Trussell, whose coat of arms appears in some of the ancient glass. He lived in adjoining Winkfield. During this period the Great Plague took a great toll on the parish. Two parsons died in succession in 1350 and tradition says local people were buried in two plague pits in Hatch Lane.

The church has many treasures: the chancel has 14th century glass, a superb sedilla, a much damaged Easter Sepulchre and a relic chamber behind the restored screen; the north chapel has the most fantastic late medieval rood screen complete with loft, the only one in the county; it also has a fine 16th century Armada Chest and once had three canopied tomb recesses. This north chapel is usually called St. Katherine's or the Staverton Chapel after the family whose memorials litter its floor and walls. They lived at the Manor House of Warfield at Hayley Green. It was known as Heathley Hall. 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. It may, originally, have been the Royal Hunting Lodge of Warfield Walke, one of the Windsor Forest sub-divisions; and was replaced, in Georgian times, by adjoining Warfield Grove (now Warfield House). The Rectory House, next to the church, was the home of Sir William James Herschel, the man who discovered fingerprinting. He was the grandson of Sir William Herschel the astronomer.

The Cricketers at Hayely Green 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 used to have an unusual cut-out inn sign. Nearby Newell Green, or Common, has two pubs: The Plough and Harrow and The Yorkshire Rose. The latter is also a very fine restaurant. Not far away is the Queen Anne style Newell Hall, built around 1700 by the old Warfield family of Horsnaile. There is a road in Bracknell named after them. 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 Estate). Their ghosts are sometimes seen on cold autumn nights. 

See also Warfield Hamlets


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