Englefield History

The Rectory

 

The present Rectory (St Mark’s House, 6 on the plan at the right), built in 1963, is known to be the sixth in the village. It stands in what was the walled kitchen garden of its immediate predecessor (4), now a private house. This predecessor (picture below), which Pevsner says is by P C Hardwick, was built in 1870, a year after Arthur Clutterbuck came to the parish, and in June that year during the construction one of the workmen, Mr Scott, was seriously injured when a block of stone fell from the top of the building onto his head. The Rector took him to Dr Cox at Theale and then to the Royal Berkshire hospital. It was reported that “Under good treatment he should be fit to resume work in a few months time”.

 

An annual rent of 13/4d was apparently payable by the Rector to a Mrs Charlotte Starky of Battle House, Bromham, Wiltshire, though it is not clear why. This presumably related to the Victorian Rectory for whatever right existed was inherited in 1896 by Charlotte Starkey’s daughter, Constance Willmott, who gifted it to the benefice in 1908.

 

Under the enclosure award of 1829 Richard Benyon de Beauvoir exchanged a piece of his land for the piece of land opposite the east front of Englefield House and immediately behind the church “being the site of the Rectory house” (2 on the plan) then in the ownership of Edward Berens, the Rector. The Tomkins engraving of about 1790 shows a building sited immediately behind the church so this must have been that Rectory, and probably the one said to have been let during the 1700s at a rent of £35 a year. The map of 1829 shows no building on the site so the exchange was probably made some years earlier. A house already stood on the new land acquired by Berens, about where Rectory Cottage now is (3), so this must have become the rectory occupied by the Rev Francis Eyre in 1844 and the one said to have been given to the parish by Richard Benyon - though perhaps “given” is not strictly accurate in the circumstances. The land between this house and the Englefield Street was known as Loring's Meadow so this was perhaps also the house where Joshua Loring lived during his short stay in Englefield.

 

Sir Edward Norreys (Norris) is known to have lived at Englefield between 1599 and his death in 1603 in a house which the 1891 edition of the National Dictionary of Biography is at pains to point out was not Englefield House as is sometimes supposed but another property in the ownership of his mother. The Victoria County History says it was bought by his father the first Lord Norreys from Sir Thomas Sherley in 1597. The historian David Nash Ford says that this house was on the site of an old Rectory, which must therefore have been there well before 1597. Where this property was is not certain, but the Berkshire Archeological Journal of 1889-91 says it was a “farmhouse or manor house on the borders of the lake”. There was no lake in 1599 but in 1762 Cranemoor House (1) stood where the lake now is in front of Englefield House and was the farmhouse for Chantry Farm in 1779.

 

A new Parsonage was built in the 1880s (now 8 and 9 in The Street, 5 on the plan) and the Rector at that time, the Reverend Arthur Heigham, a batchelor, moved into it in late 1889 or early 1890. The Victorian Rectory then was rented-out as a family home to Mr LE Bligh in 1891.

 

In 1896 Mr Heigham’s successor, the Reverend H Savill-Young, moved into the Parsonage for the first few weeks but then settled back into the Rectory. The last Rector to live in the Victorian Rectory was the Reverend George Ashburner, the incumbent from 1947, and on his death in 1960 the house and land was bought (back) by the Englefield estate. A new, smaller modern building was constructed in the walled kitchen garden and Godfrey Bower was the first occupant of this new Rectory (St Marks’ House) from his appointment in 1963. The Victorian Rectory was then let to Major Black and his family (by coincidence having the same name as the inhabitants of the next door Rectory Cottage) and remains a private dwelling to this day.

© 2019 Richard J Smith

Englefield History

Englefield History
Englefield History
Englefield History