the Story of West Hagbourne was published by the West Hagbourne
History Group to coincide with the millennium year 2000. The publication
followed nine years of meticulous research in libraries, archives,
museums and record offices. Many West Hagbourne families shared
their memories and donated family photographs. It has been favourably
reviewed in the journal Oxfordshire Local History.
Click here to read the review.
its introduction, Windsor Hakeborne spends some time dispelling
various myths. The most persistent of these is the apocryphal story
that West and East Hagbourne were once one village, separated by
a disastrous fire in 1659. The fire did destroy a large part of
East Hagbourne but it burned itself out when it reached St Andrew's
church from the east. In fact, there is plenty of documentary evidence
to prove that the two Hagbournes have always been separate villages.
Click here to read the evidence.
The name Hagbourne has evolved over many centuries and its origins
are traced in the introduction to Windsor Hakeborne.
Click here to discover how West Hagbourne
got its name.
The story of West Hagbourne opens with the discovery of both Bronze
and Iron Age artefacts close to the Icknield Way, an ancient trading
route which crosses Hagbourne Hill. These artefacts became known
as The Hagbourne Hoard and are now held by the British Museum.
We are introduced to Walter, the lord of West Hagbourne at the time
of the Domesday Book in 1086. He was made first constable of Windsor
Castle by William the Conqueror and took the name de Windsor. He
founded the Windsor dynasty which held the manorial estates of West
Hagbourne for nearly 600 years. During the medieval period West
Hagbourne became known as Windsor Hakeborne, hence the title of
Click here to see West Hagbourne's
entry in the Domesday Book
Following a vivid description of the Windsor manor at the time of
Clarice de Windsor, lady of the manor in 1367, the story moves on
to provide glimpses of village life between the 16th and 18th centuries.
West Hagbourne's own Protestation Return of 1642; the proceedings
of its manorial courts, including a curious link to Judge Jeffreys
and the wills and inventories made by the new land-owning classes,
all help to build up a picture of life in West Hagbourne during
Whole chapters are devoted to both the village Inclosure Award of
1843 which fundamentally changed the old feudal system of farming
and to the Hagbourne Charities, one of which, the William Tyrrell
Charity, is still functioning to this day.
church of St Andrew is the parish church of West and East Hagbourne.
However, West Hagbourne once had its own chapel, dating back to
at least 1133 when it was mentioned in a royal charter. The book
documents West Hagbourne's close links with St Andrew's, including
the rebuilding of the south aisle and chapel in the 15th century
by John York and his wife Clarice, widow of Richard de Windsor of
West Hagbourne. They were also responsible for the font which bears
their family shields. They are both buried in the south aisle.
The next part of the story is told through the eyes of the census
taker of 1851, Francis Shepherd. His route through the village is
reconstructed from the original census records. At this time the
village boasted a bakery, malt house, two public houses and several
small shops. This chapter includes some wonderful old photographs
of village houses and, in some cases, their inhabitants. The chapter
concludes with a vivid
eyewitness account of the sea voyage of two West Hagbourne families
who emigrated to New Zealand in 1874.
The history of West Hagbourne would not be complete without a detailed
account of its many farms. West Hagbourne has always been a farming
community and several farms still exist, though none of them now
produce the fruit for which the area was once famous. The oldest
building in the village is the house at York Farm which dates from
1264. It is one of the earliest, complete timber-framed houses to
survive in England.
all towns and villages, West Hagbourne sent its share of men to
fight in the two world wars. There is a moving story of one of these
young men, told through letters exchanged between him and his family
during his posting in Tunisia where he died in 1943. The village
bus shelter was built in 1954 as a war memorial to the men from
West Hagbourne who died in both wars.
The final chapter of Windsor Hakeborne takes the story to
the end of the 20th century. It is full of the reminiscences of
some of those whose families have lived in West Hagbourne for generations,
many told in their own words. Whilst some are tinged with sadness,
such as the tale of the motherless little girl sent to live in the
workhouse in Wallingford, others, particularly those centred on
the Horse and Harrow public house, are hilarious.
Windsor Hakeborne: the Story of West Hagbourne is published
in hardback with a sumptuous cover and its 258 pages are illustrated
with photographs, maps and drawings. Also included are a time chart
and an index. A list of sources is included at the end of each chapter.
It is excellent value at £8.50 and copies are still available by
completing the order form.
to find the order form.