History of Datchet

 

There is evidence of people living in the area which become Datchet shortly after the end of the last ice age, between 10,000 and 6,500 years ago, and of a multi-period settlement at Southlea from the Neolithic to late Roman periods (Datchet Village Society report: plus Vol II)

Datchet is first mentioned between 990 and 994, when King Ethelred made small grants of land here. Datchet Manor is in Domesday Book (1085–86) when it was held by Giles de Pinkney.[2] In 1150, the church already existed in Datchet and the Pinkney family sold it to the abbey of St Albans, Hertfordshire. As such the Abbot became rector as impropriator of the parish and had the right to appoint vicars.

Spices Datchet-ferry
Datchet Mead and Datchet Ferry in 1686 with Windsor Castle in the background

 

Spices Datchet - One Street Map
Datchet from J5 of the M4 and the Queen Mother Reservoir to Datchet Golf Course

 

There was a ferry at Datchet Ferry which provided a shorter route from London to Windsor Castle and was frequently used by royalty. In 1249, Henry III gave a great oak from his Windsor forest to make a barge for passage from Windsor to Datchet. In 1350, Edward III gave Datchet Church as part of the endowment of his new church and college of St George at Windsor Castle. On the Dissolution of the monasteriesthe Crown confiscated the rectory, which was sold by Parliament in 1659 to William Stanbridge and Thomas Roberts.[2]

In the 17th century, traffic went to London via Horton. Horton Road began to be built up and extended by the wealthy next to the hovels of the poor. There were isolated cases of plague in Datchet before and after the great plague of London. An unsubstantiated story is that Charles II kept his mistress Nell Gwynne at Old Bridge House in Datchet. (There is absolutely no evidence for this story.)

Spices Datchet - London Road
St Mary the Virgin, Datchet

 

In 1706, the ferry that carried traffic across the Thames through Datchet was replaced by Datchet Bridge. The crossing was replaced three times until it was finally demolished in 1851 as part of re-routing roads and bridges when the LSWR Company’s line was built from Richmond to Windsor. Traffic between Old Windsor and Datchet now uses a southerly route along Southlea Road and crossing Albert Bridge, while a new Windsor Road was built from Datchet riverside and crossing the new Victoria Bridge.

In 1742, John Montagu, 2nd Duke of Montagu bought Datchet manor, and his family owned it until at least 1925; at one point it was owned by the head of the influential Montagu-Douglas-Scott family, Henry Scott, 3rd Duke of Buccleuch.[2]

In 1790, a workhouse was built in Holmlea Road and in 1820 an almshouse belonging to the workhouse was turned into a shop. In 1848, the first train went through Datchet to Windsor and by 1860 Datchet Common’s beer house, The Plough, was in existence. In 1886,(Samuel Osborne, History of Datchet) Datchet was described as having been known as Black Datchet in the early 1800s because of a large number of bad characters living there, and that Aylesbury County Jail had one building known as the ‘Datchet Wing’ filled mostly with poachers, for which there is good evidence. Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat describes Datchet as a minor riverside resort. This has descriptions of the Manor Hotel and the Royal Stag.

From 1911 to 1914, cars were made at workshops at the end of Holmlea Road; Lord Montagu was the landlord. In 1911, Sir Thomas Sopwith landed his light aircraft in Datchet eight years after the first flight in the USA by Orville Wright.

Windsor Guards polo grounds in Horton were where the Queen Mother Reservoir now stands.

In 1931, the Pavilion club was built on Datchet riverside. Dame Vera Lynn sang here and the ‘London Set’ socialised here. Edward VIII and Mrs Simpson had secret meetings here.

 

Courtesy of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datchet

 

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