infobox UK place
country = England
latitude= 51.458
longitude= -0.552
official_name= Wraysbury
unitary_england= Windsor and Maidenhead
region= South East England
post_town= STAINES
postcode_district= TW19
dial_code= 01784
os_grid_reference= TQ005745

Wraysbury (archaic spelling Wyrardisbury) is a village in Berkshire, England. It is located in the very east of the county, in the part that was in Buckinghamshire until 1974. It sits on the northern bank of the River Thames, situated some 22 miles (35 km) west of London.


The village name is Anglo Saxon in origin and means 'Waerheard's town'. In the Domesday Book of 1086 the village is recorded as "Wirecesberie" [ [http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ The National Archives documents online website] , Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) ] . There is a pub across the river in Old Windsor, called the Bells of Ouseley and it has been suggested that this is another archaic spelling of Wraysbury.Fact|date=September 2007 However a more likely explanation is that it is named after the bells of Osney Abbey which were brought downstream at the dissolution and disappeared into the mud at this point.

The village was a portion of hunting grounds when the Saxons resided at Old Windsor. New Windsor was built in 1110 by King Henry I and he moved in, in 1163. The lands around Wraysbury were held by a number of noblemen.

Magna Carta Island and Ankerwyke

Magna Carta Island, in the parish of Wraysbury, was the location of the sealing of the Magna Carta in 1215.

On the Ankerwycke estate in the village are the ruins of a Benedictine nunnery, founded in the reign of King Henry II. One of the 50 oldest trees in the United Kingdom can be found in Wraysbury. At around 2000 years old ["The Heritage Trees of Britain and Northern Ireland" by Jon Stokes and Donald Roger: The Tree Council [ISBN 1-84119-959-1] ] , the Ankerwyke yew dates from the Iron Age, and is so wide that you can fit a Mini Cooper behind its trunk and not see it from the other side. Local legend says that Anne Boleyn once sat under the tree, while residing at the Ankerwyke Estate, but this still has to be verified.Citation | title = Ankerwycke Burned Down | newspaper = The New York Times | pages = Picture Section Rotogravure: Part 1, Page 15 | year = 1915 | date = September 19, 1915, Sunday | url = http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9E00E4DF1431E733A0575AC1A96F9C946496D6CF ]

St Andrew's Church

The parish church of St Andrew is a Gothic structure, between Norman and Early English, supposed to have been built by King John."History of the Parish of Wraysbury, Ankerwycke Priory, and Magna Charta Island; with the History of Horton, and the town of Colnbrook, Bucks.", G.W.J. Gyll, 1862, London: H. G. Bohn. [http://books.google.com/books?id=qMcHAAAAQAAJ Online Version at Google Books] [http://worldcat.org/oclc/5001532 OCLC: 5001532] ] The parish registers date from the year 1734. [http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=42567 "Parishes: Wyrardisbury or Wraysbury", A History of the County of Buckingham: Volume 3] , W. Page (Editor), 1925, pp. 320-325.]

Changing face of Wraysbury in the 19th Century

The population of Wraysbury remained relatively static during the 19th century, with a slight increase between the 1801 return of 616 and the final census of the century giving a population figure of 660. This compares to the early part of the 21st century with population figures for Wraysbury, standing at 3,641 in the 2001 census.

For centuries, agricultural and mill work had been the principal areas of employment for the villagers and as late as 1831, census returns show that of the 135 families in the village, 62 were employed in agriculture while 68 made their living in the Mills.

This compares to the most recent census where around 12% of the population work from home and the average distance travelled to work is now 14.24km. [ [http://www.statistics.gov.uk/ National Statistics website] : Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI)]

The Wraysbury Enclosure

The Enclosure of the Parish of Wraysbury was ordered by a private Enclosure Act of 1799 and was signed by the commissioners in 1803. The map of the village was redrawn by Thomas Bainbridge and shows the distribution of the lands in the following the enclosure.

Prior to this, the Common Lands of the village were owned by the Lord of the Manor of Wraysbury, at that time John Simon Harcourt, the Church, and the Trustees of William Gyll esq., although, as common land, they were subject to legal rights of pasture and grazing for copyholders and other tenants. In addition to those with legal rights over the land, the poor of the district would have had ‘real’ or ‘customary rights’, for example to feed their livestock or gather wood for fuel.

The only ones benefiting from enclosure were those who could show legal rights over the common land, such as copyholders and tenants of the manor. The enclosure enshrined their rights, converting ‘rights of common’ and allocating an area of land commensurate to their rights, as close to their farmhouse as was convenient. The poor were overlooked in this process, and were no longer able to forage for fuel or graze their animals.

The smaller landowners of Wraysbury to benefit from Enclosure were people such as Nathanial Wilmot, Nathanial Matthews, Shadrach Trotman and Thomas Buckland, all of whose names had previously appeared on the Wraysbury Court rolls as copyhold owners.

Coming of the Railway

The village saw another major change in 1848 with the arrival of the railway which opened up employment opportunities and afforded the chance to travel easily and quickly to and from the village. In the "History of Wraysbury" published in 1862, G.W.J. Gyll extolled the benefits to the village:

::cquote|"Railways have much improved the locality and the condition of the people also, and it is a powerful solvent to diminish provincial rusticity, local and self-importance; class prejudice and all the elements of isolation melt away in its presence. The railway through our parish has been of great use to it; has enhanced the value of property, as is the case wherever such a project has been executed, despite the fears of those who repressed the enterprise."

William Thomas Buckland was the local surveyor and valuer employed to handle the compensation claims resulting from the purchases of land for the new railway. ["The History of Buckland & Sons" by Edward Barry Bowyer FRICS (1973) ©STEAM 2005] This business of "Buckland & Sons" grew into an estate agency, which had an office in Windsor High Street for the following 150 years. ["History of the Auction" by Brian Learmount, Iver: Barnard & Learmont, 1985 [ISBN 0951024000] ]

New Road and Suspension Bridge

"Where is Wraysbury, I can scarce find it on the map?" asked an associate of G.W.J. Gyll. Once the railway had put the village on the map, the next step was to improve road access, and more importantly, to alleviate the adverse effects of the annual floods which frequently resulted in the village being cut off from the rest of the county. Lord of the Manor, George Harcourt suggested that a new road should be built on higher ground from Bowry’s Barn to the Colne Bridge, to replace the old road which ran along ditches susceptible to flooding. The 1848 Tithe Map, drawn by surveyor WT Buckland showing the proposed route of the new road can be seen at the [http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/bcc/content/index.jsp?contentid=-746638797 Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies] in Aylesbury. Harcourt also suggested a replacement for the old "Long Bridge" over the River Colne should be built, and a new suspension bridge, designed and paid for by Harcourt, was built by civil engineer Mr Dredge.

Non-Conformists in Wraysbury

The only place of worship in Wraysbury until 1827 was the Anglican Church of St Andrew. Local farmer, surveyor and auctioneer, William Thomas Buckland, wishing to provide an alternative place of worship for non-conformists, built the Wraysbury Baptist Chapel to his own design. The original Baptist meeting place was opened in 1827 and WT Buckland was the principal minister until his death some 40 years later. Gyll, in his "History of Wraysbury", described the establishment of the chapel:

::cquote|"Much praise is to be given to the officiating, minister of the Baptists in Wraysbury, Mr. William Thomas Buckland, who exercises his vocation at the chapel here to a well disposed and confiding auditory, while to his wife and family are entrusted the religious education of the Baptist flock."

The new chapel, with its elegant slender tower was opened on 16 October 1862; the building works had cost around £800. ["The Baptist Magazine", J. Burditt and W. Button: Baptist Missionary Society, 1862 p.779 [http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=POQRAAAAIAAJ&pg=RA2-PA779 Online version at Google Books] ] The striking terracotta relief panel, "The City of Refuge", on the front elevation of the chapel, was created by the renowned Doulton & Co artist George Tinworth and is signed with his monogram. ["The Doulton Lambeth Wares", Desmond Eyles and Louise Irvine: Richard Dennis, Shepton Beauchamp, 2002, p49.]

After the death of WT Buckland, James Doulton, his son-in-law and a cousin of Sir Henry Doulton, took over the preaching duties. Later James' son-in-law the Reverend Arthur Gostick Shorrock took over the duties. Arthur had been a student preacher in Wraysbury in the 1880s, after which he spent 35 years as a missionary work in Shaanxi, China.

Wraysbury Today

Due to the various gravel pits, the River Thames, lakes and reservoirs, Wraysbury has plenty of wildlife and wonderful walks.

The village has two railway stations, Wraysbury railway station and Sunnymeads railway station on the line from Windsor to London Waterloo.

In June, Wraysbury holds its annual fete, where stands such as the local vintage and classic car clubs show off their member's vehicles. There are also activities for children and the Tug Of War held by the scouts, beavers and cubs. There are also the stands of local charities, the local school, usually giving out ice creams, and of course the church's stands.

The Wraysbury Cricket Club plays on the village Green and will play the MCC in 2008.

Famous Residents

* David Gilmour - Member of the British Rock band Pink Floyd
* Gordon Cullen - British Architect (d.1994)
* Christine Keeler - A young girl who was involved with the Profumo Affair.
* Nicolas Anelka - A Chelsea F.C. and France national football team footballer

Images of Wraysbury


External links

* [http://wraysbury.net/standrews.htm Wraysbury.Net - Village Community Website]
* [http://met.open.ac.uk/genuki/big/eng/BKM/Wraysbury/Index.html Wraysbury - UK & Ireland Genealogy] #
* [http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/bcc/content/index.jsp?contentid=-746638797 Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies]
* [http://neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/dissemination/LeadTableView.do?a=3&b=791790&c=Wraysbury&d=16&e=15&g=408934&i=1001x1003x1004&m=0&r=1&s=1198967742757&enc=1&dsFamilyId=779 ONS Neighbourhood Statistics Wraysbury]
* [http://payments.reading.gov.uk/find_via_parish_details.asp?parish=Wraysbury Wraysbury Enclosure Award]
* [http://books.google.com/books?id=qMcHAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA28&lpg=PA28&dq=ankerwyk&source=web&ots=gvPajcUWSp&sig=rs0M0_SRUoedh5z3rhRv0Y9HN-Q#PPA1,M1 Google Books GWJ Gyll selected chapters]
* [http://www.thamespilot.org.uk/ixbin/hixclient.exe?a=query&p=slough&f=generic_theme%2ehtm&_IXFIRST_=1&_IXMAXHITS_=1&%3dtheme_record_id=sl%2dsl%2dcattlemarket&s=k3su7zHfSqD Thames Pilot - Slough History Online]
* [http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/details-result.asp?Edoc_Id=7576604&queryType=1&resultcount=1 The National Archives - Documents Online Domesday Book, Wraysbury]
* [http://www.epicure.demon.co.uk/wraysburynames.html Variations in the spelling of Wraysbury]

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