Bray, Berkshire


Bray, Berkshire

Bray (sometimes Bray-on-Thames) is a village and civil parish in the English county of Berkshire. It stands on the banks of the River Thames, just south-west of Maidenhead. It is famous as the village mentioned in the song "The Vicar of Bray".

Geography

Bray has always been a very large parish, although it has shrunk considerably since Maidenhead became independent in 1894. As well as the main village, the parish contains a large number of villages and hamlets, often greens, which were originally scattered amongst the dense woodland of Windsor Forest that once covered the area. These include: Bray Wick, Holyport, Water Oakley, Oakley Green, Moneyrow Green, Stud Green, Foxley Green, Touchen End, Braywoodside, Hawthorn Hill and Fifield.

Village character

Despite being located on the very edge of Maidenhead, Bray is still very much an idyllic English village. It won best 'Small Village' in the 2005 Britain in Bloom awards, while its cricket club is the oldest in the county, having been first established in 1798. Bray is a very affluent residential area, as well as being a place popular with tourists exploring the Thames. There are many delightful walks and a number of well-known eating establishments. Two of its restaurants have three Michelin stars: The Fat Duck, which was adjudged the best restaurant in the world by "Restaurant" magazine in 2005, and the Waterside Inn, which ranked 19 in "Restaurant"'s list. This is particularly significant as there are only three triple-starred restaurants in Great Britain. There are also many television and film studios in the Bray area.

There are several very expensive houses on the river upstream of Bray Lock and they have been referred to as 'Millionaires row' in the national press. The flooding risk of these houses has recently been decreased by the Jubilee River a large drainage ditch between Maidenhead and Eton.

Notable buildings and structures

Parish church

The Church of England parish church of St Michael was built in 1293, supposedly to replace a Saxon church at Water Oakley. It has a number of sculptures which may have come from th earlier church, including a damaged Sheela na Gig. It is best known to brass rubbers for housing the superb memorial brass of 1378 to Sir John Foxley, the Constable of Southampton Castle, and his two wives. One of the local cottages has a tunnel which it is believed leads to the church and served as an escape route for clergymen.

Almshouse

The Jesus Hospital is a red-brick group of almhouses, founded in 1609 by William Goddard, whose full-size effigy stands over the entrance, to house thirty-four of the aged poor of Bray and six of the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers to which he belonged.

Monkey Island Lodge

:"Main article: Monkey Island, Bray".
Monkey Island, in the Thames, is associated with the 3rd Duke of Marlborough, and still houses two amusing structures that he built and furnished with paintings of monkeys.

Notable residents

* Gerry Anderson - TV Producer
* Rolf Harris - Artist, Musician, TV Presenter
* Sir Michael Parkinson - TV Presenter
* Michael Winner - Film director/producer
* Sir Terry Wogan - Radio Presenter

Popular culture

*In the BBC faux cooking show "Posh Nosh", Simon and Minty Marchmont ran a restaurant near Bray.

ee also

* Bray Lock
* Bray Studios

External links

* [http://www.windsor.gov.uk/maps/bray.htm The Official Windsor Site: Bray]
* [http://www.berkshirehistory.com/villages/bray.html Royal Berkshire History: Bray]
* [http://www.braybank-estates.co.uk Official Website of the Braybank Estate]


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