- Englefield, Berkshire
Englefield is a
villageand civil parishin Berkshire, England, mostly within the bounds of the private walled estate of Englefield House.
In 870, the village was the site of a battle between the
Anglo-Saxons, under Aethelwulf, Ealdormanof Berkshire, and the Danes, which resulted in a resounding victory for the Saxons. The battle was the first of a series in the winter of 870-1. The village is thought to be named after the battle: Englefield meaning either "English field" or "warning beacon field".
Englefield House was the home of the Englefield family, supposedly from the time of King Edgar. Sir
Thomas Englefieldwas the Speaker of the House of Commons. In 1559, the house was confiscated from his grandson, Sir Francis Englefield, a servant of the Catholic Queen Mary, for "consorting with [the] enemies" of the new Protestantmonarch, Elizabeth I. The family later lived at Whiteknights Parkin Earleyand continued to be buried in Englefield parish church until 1822.
Popular local tradition insists that the Queen granted Englefield to her spymaster,
Sir Francis Walsingham, although there is no evidence of this. After a succession of short-lived residents, the estate was eventually purchased by John Paulet, 5th Marquess of Winchester, famous for his Civil War defence of Basing Housein Hampshire. He retired to Englefield at the Restoration and is buried in the parish church. From his Paulet descendants, the house passed, through marriage, to the Benyon family.
In the late 19th century,
Richard Fellowes Benyonrebuilt the villagers' houses as a model estate village and provided them with such amenities as a swimming pool, soup kitchen and a new school. Many of the Benyons have been Members of Parliament, including the current owners, Sir William, and his son, Richard Benyon.
* [http://www.berkshirehistory.com/villages/englefield.html Royal Berkshire History: Englefield]
* [http://www.berkshirehistory.com/castles/englefield_house.html Royal Berkshire History: Englefield House]
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