It is interesting to consider why Wraysbury was chosen as a site for
early settlement. What was it about its situation that singled it out?
A number of factors contributed to manís early appearance here:-
1. Its riverside situation afforded excellent means of communication
both by the river Thames itself and also by its tributary, the river Colne.
These rivers must have provided both a means of communication and a natural
defensive barrier. The Thames afforded a route eastwards to Europe and
westwards, through the Goring Gap, it connected with the Icknield
and Ridge Ways . The Thames Valley with its flat
and easy travelling country channelled the merchandise this way.
2. The flood plain gravel terraces of Wraysbury, being free draining
and above flood level, provided man with an attractive site on which to
settle and build, together with adequate water supplies.
3. The soil in the immediate vicinity was found to be suitable
for cultivation, the scattered deposits of brickearth being especially
good, as well as providing the raw material for one of the earliest of
artefacts, the clay pot.
The Name Wraysbury
The name "Wiresesberie" quoted in the Domesday Survey may be derived
from the words "Weir" meaning a dam and "Bury" a fortified place.
Although it is more likely that a Saxon landowner by the name of "Wyrarad"
gave the name "Wyrardisbury" which, until fairly recently, has continued
to be used in conjunction with the title of the local parish council.
There have been more than 30 different spellings of the name but always
with the same pronunciation as at present and since the War this has come
to be the acceptable form. Christiana de Mariscis made a deed of
gift to the Priory of Ankerwycke (29 E.1 1300) in which the name was variously
written as "Wyresdysbury", "Wiredesbery", "Wyrardesbury", "Wardesbury"
and "Wraisbury" and in a grant to Lord Wyndsore (31 Henry VIII 1540) it
was written as "Wyredysbury".
The following extract occurs in "The Journeys of Celia Fiennes" (b.
1662 d. 1741)..."from London to Rusbery, 18 miles by Stanes, pretty house
and gardens in sight of Windsor in Buckinghamshire". A further extract
records that she rode from Windsor, ferried across the Thames " and
so went a nearer way which is a private road made for the kings coaches
and so to Colebrook three miles more thence to Houndslow Heath and
so to London."
The Icknield Way was used to
bring flints, for tools and weapons, from Grimesí Graves in Norfolk.
The Ridgeway was the route by
which the greenstone axes and tin came from Cornwall, and gold from Wales