Saxon and NormanMagna Carta Barons18th Century20th Century



The Railway

The Railway came to Wraysbury in 1848, now forming part of the One from Waterloo to Windsor. lt enabled many to travel swiftly and economically outside the village for the first time, shortening travelling times by horses and enhancing trade, agriculture and the expansion of property development, the latter necessitating the opening of a second station at Sunnymeads in 1927.

The Long Bridge looking towards the George Inn      © Wraysbury Village Archives

Following the arrival of the Railway it was felt necessary 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 William Buckland shows the proposed route of the new road  (now the Staines Road - this has resulted in some of the older building having their best side facing the River Colne and their back doors now facing the Staines Road – in effect back to front.) 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.


St. Andrews Parish Church

Werhard, a Saxon warrior, built an encampment here, perhaps on or near the present site of the church. It is interesting to note that although the whole surrounding area is very low lying, the church has been built on the highest available ground in the village, presumably against the risk of flooding.
Approach Road

The Approach Road to the Church from Windsor Road passes Church Farm, only comparatively recently known as Manor Farm, on the left. The road is lined with horse chestnut trees planted in the mid-nineteenth century by the Gyll family. It is part of a very old right of way. Beginning at the original Old Windsor Ferry, now no longer running, it crosses Old Ferry Drive, Welley Road and Windsor Road to the Church Approach Road. From the South side of the Churchyard, it passes through an iron swing stile and crosses the fields, touching the former vicarage grounds and thence to the ferry at Magna Carta Island and Ankerwycke Priory. A former Vicarage was on the site of Wraysbury House next the station. The present Vicarage is now in Welley Road having moved from Station Road.



Date Of The Building

It is impossible to say when the first Church was built on this site, but it was almost certainly in Saxon times. In 1112 the gift of the living belonged to the Abbot of St. Peter in Gloucester whence it passed into royal patronage. In the reign of Edward III (1327) it was given to the Dean and Canons of Windsor, in whose hands it remains. The date of the oldest parts of the present building is probably around the time of the sealing of Magna Carta, 1215. The name of the first known incumbent was Robert de Burnell, who was Rector of Wraysbury, and Archdeacon of Buckinghamshire. He resigned the living in 1219. The living continued to be a Rectory until it was appropriated in 1349. Since then it has been a vicarage. Wraysbury Church was also the mother-church of Langley until the death of the Reverend Charles Champnes in 1855 when Langley was separated. It seems highly probable that the Diocesan of that time, the Bishop of Lincoln, dedicated the Church in 1215 when he came DOWN to Magna Carta from the district seat of the BISHOPRIC. This would allow a period of 4 years INCUMBENCY for the first Recorded Rector.


In 1862 the Church was restored by Raphael Brandon, who also restored about the same time the neighbouring Parish Church at Datchet. He gave each Church a "Broach Spire", that is an octagonal spire set on a square tower. The antique south porch was taken down and the present south aisle built.


Exterior Of The Building

The restoration of the church in 1862 radically changed the outward appearance of the building, although much of the original fabric remains. The North and South aisles were largely rebuilt and the present stone broach spire added. The whole cost of this was then about K1,200. The Church tower had hitherto been built of wood but had suffered from a fire at some unknown date. Previously the exterior had been faced with brick and a kind of cement but at the restoration it was re-surfaced. There is a water colour of the church exterior in 1839 to be seen at the back of the church near the font.

Interior Of The Church

Probably the first impression on entering the church is that it is rather dark. This is largely due to  the Victorian practice of filling every available source of light with stained glass.  The Church can seat about 290 persons.


The Font

This is always at the west end of a church as it is held that only Christians should come near an altar. A baby cannot be a Christian until it is baptised. The North door of a church is generally considered unlucky, as it was thought that through it hurried the Devil when driven out of a child at Baptism. The St. Andrew’s font is the oldest piece of masonry in the Church. The lower portion is the inverted top of a 13th century pillar. The centre piece is of a later date, but the rim is the oldest part of all, probably pre-Norman.

The Tower And Bells

An earlier church tower at St. Andrew’s was of wood and very much shorter than the present one. The new stone tower, erected at the 1862 restoration, stands partly over the vault of the Harcourt family. It rehoused the six ancient bells. The oldest of these is by Henry Knight of Reading and dated 1591. The remaining five are by Eldridge and dated 1657 and 1664. In 1880 two more bells were dedicated by the Bishop Suffragan of Reading at a cost of £92, virtually raised by voluntary subscription. There was also a gallery to accommodate a choir of ten with a small organ, given and blessed on a confirmation day in 1839 by the Bishop of Lincoln. The gallery and organ were taken away and a new organ was placed in front of the Lady Chapel in the general restoration of 1862. It is hoped that one day the Lady Chapel will be restored to its former intention.

The Nave

The framework of the nave is formed by original 13th century pillars and arches. The pillars are massive and uncommon in design in that they are square and have keel edge rolls at the angles. A line, a few feet above the top of the arches, indicates the probable existence of a flat ceiling, erected in the early days of the Reformation. At the same time the nave was filled with tall box pews for the use of the wealthier inhabitants. Above the chancel arch were two large tablets containing the Ten Commandments. These are no longer in existence. Interesting also are the typical Early English decorative flower carvings at the head of the tower arch capitals.

The North Aisle

At the east end of this aisle is the Lady Chapel, dating from the early 1500’s. There were niches on either side of the altar wall for statues of Our Lady and St. John. These were blocked up with cement, possibly during the Civil War by Cromwell’s orders. It is unfortunate that this ancient Chapel is obscured by the organ and that it should be necessary to use it as a vestry. In the future, subject to available funds, it is hoped to restore it to the sacred use for which it was built.

The South Aisle

This was restored in 1862 after a previous destructive fire. The present chapel here was restored in 1956 by local labour, the expense being largely borne by Mr. and Mrs. Godfrey, in memory of their son Cyril. The Chapel Sanctuary Lamp was given by the children of the Catechism.

The present pulpit (1680) was originally the top part of a three decker which towered by on the north side of the chancel arch. The Parish Clerk sat in the lower portion. From the centre portion were read the lessons from the Bible, and from the top were given the sermons by the Priest. Over this was a sounding board, which can now be seen at the west end of the church and used as a table. It is hoped that, one day, it will be restored to its original use.

The Chancel

Here, although restored, is the oldest remaining part of the church. The restoration of November, 1928 revealed a doorway and lancet window in the north wall, previously blocked up. These are thought to date from the 15th and 13th centuries respectively. The door communicates with the Lady Chancel (now the Vestry) and is splayed in an easterly direction towards the altar, although the reason for this is not clear. A portion of the original red tiled floor, at the original level of the chancel may be seen on the threshold of this doorway. On the north wall also can be traced portions of early wall painting, reminding us that in Early English churches the walls were richly decorated in many colours. The chancel arch also is about seven hundred years old.
The ceiling was most beautifully painted by a local artist in 1955. The ancient wooden beams around the base of the roof most probably indicate its original height.


On the floor of the chancel are some interesting brasses. The small one (9 in.) by the altar rails is of a youth, John Stonor who died in 1512 aged 16. From the diminutive size of the figure it has been supposed to represent a student of Eton College or a Bluecoat Boat, but the costume, a long gown with a furred border and a close-fitting hood with streamers surmounted by a round cap bound with fur, is probably that of a Doctor at Laws. He was the son of a Tudor Wraysbury squire.  The brass of a Knight (2 ft. 6 ins.) is in Tudor armour of the early sixteenth century and is set under a rich canopy. His lady is missing, for she and other brasses were stolen, probably during Cromwell’s Commonwealth period. In the chancel floor also is set a stone to Edward Gould, a servant of Charles II, who accompanied his King in exile and after his restoration to the throne in 1660.

The Sanctuary

In the South Wall are the 13th century carved Piscina (for washing the sacred vessels) and Sedilia (seating for the clergy during services). There is an ancient beam in the roof from which hangs the Blessed Sacrament Lamp, given in memory of Cyril Cobb, a former parishioner. The modem altar is adorned with six silver lights, given in memory of the Reverend Lewis Hake, for forty years incumbent of the parish. The magnificent white embroidered altar frontal is in memory of Mr. Greatrix, whose grand-daughter, Mrs. Poulter, recently had it renovated. Mention should also be made of the new red carpet in the Sanctuary, given in 1963 by voluntary subscription by members of the congregation in memory of May Bicknell, a faithful church worker over many years and other faithful Parishioners. It is intended to extend the carpeting down the Aisle when funds permit.

The Church Plate

The Silver Chalice and Paten are of 1634. The Chalice is large and only used at Christmas and Easter when large numbers receive Communion. A smaller, more recent, chalice serves for the remainder of the year.


George Lipscomb wrote a four-volume history of Buckinghamshire in 1847 and leaves the impression that Wraysbury Church was a rich treasure house of monuments, but many have apparently not survived successive restorations of the building. The eighteenth century monuments in particular are interesting not so much for those they commemorate as for their workmanship and inscriptions, so typical of the period. A later tablet is in commemoration of Gordon Gyll (1802 – 1878), who wrote a history of Wraysbury containing some 200 pages, and published in 1862. It was he who rescued Lipscomb the historian, from a pauper’s grave.

The monuments and plaques are too numerous to describe individually but a full descriptive list is given in Gyll’s "History of Wraysbury".

The New Porch

This is a comparatively recent porch, built in 1935 and given in memory of William Warwick de Buriatte, 1888 – 1932, by his wife. The family for many years ran the paper mill on the parish boundary beyond the station.






Saxons and Normans

Magna Carta






20th century


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The Baptist Church

The building of the Baptist Chapel in 1827, and its enlargement In 1862, were due to the single minded determination of William Thomas Buckland (1798-1870), a local farmer, surveyor and auctioneer. William Buckland wanted to provide an alternative place of worship for non-conformists to St Andrews Church, so he designed the building himself and was the principal minister until his death . 

The new chapel, with its elegant slender tower was opened on 16 October 1862; the building works had cost around Ł800. 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.






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