Hurley, Berkshire

Historical Description

Hurley, a village and a parish in Berks. The village-stands in a valley on the river Thames, amid an amphitheatre of green and wooded hills, adjacent to Bucks, 3 ½ miles SW from Great Marlow station on the G.W.R., and 5 NW by W from Maidenhead station; is a picturesque place with some old timber houses, and has a post and money order office under Marlow; telegraph office, Marlow. The parish comprises 4110 acres of land and 49 of water; population of the civil parish, 1080; of the ecclesiastical, 550. The manor was given at the Conquest to Geoffrey de Mandeville, went soon to Westminster Abbey, passed in 1545 to the Lovelaces, who owned it until 1693, when it was sold to Mr. J. Oakley, and now belongs partly to the East family and partly to the Williams family of Temple, Bisham. A Benedictine priory, a cell to Westminster Abbey, was founded on it in 1086 or 1087, and had vaults which still exist, and in which many years ago three monks' bodies were discovered in their Benedictine habits. A mansion was built over the priory's site by the Lovelaces, made a great figure at the Revolution in connection with John Lord Lovelace, bore the name of Lady Place, was " a perplexing labyrinth of panelled rooms," contained some paintings ascribed to Salvator Rosa, and underwent demolition in 1837. Its chief materials were sold for £700y and a staircase in it, of great splendour, was removed to a. mansion in one of the northern counties. The vaults of the priory continued to exist beneath the mansion, were th& meeting-place of the planners of the Revolution, and were visited by William III., George IIL, and Paoli; and these vaults, covered by a mound of green turf, are now all that remain of the mansion. The rocks of the parish belong to the Tertiary formation, and are remarkable for fine fossil specimens of the elephant, the hippopotamus, the tiger, and other animals. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Oxford; vicarial tithe commuted at £250 with residence. The church belonged to Westminster Abbey, was the burial-place of Edith, sister of Edward the Confessor, underwent restoration in 1852, retains some interesting Norman details, and contains an ancient monument to the Lovelaces, and some other monuments.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England and Wales, 1894-5

Church Records

The register dates from the year 1560.


Church of England

St. Mary (parish church)

The church of St. Mary, anciently attached to the priory, is a structure of flint and chalk, partly in the Norman style; it was rededicated about 1086 by Osmund the Good, Bishop of Sarum and Chancellor of England, and consists of chancel, nave, and a turret containing 3 bells; it was restored in 1852 at a cost of £1,493, when the original windows on the north side, formerly closed, were re-opened, those on the south side restored and a vestry added: the chancel retains a Decorated window of the 14th century: there are several monuments in the church and chancel, including one to the Lovelace family, of Hurley; Editha, sister to King Edward the Confessor, was also buried here: two of the Norman windows on the north side of the nave were filled with stained glass in December, 1876, as memorials to the Rev. Florence James Wethered, six years curate and twenty-nine years vicar of Hurley, and to Mrs. Wharton, late of the Malt House, Hurley; on the south side of the nave is another erected as a thank offering for peace on the termination of the war in South Africa in 1902: the church affords 261 sittings: the churchyard is neatly kept and has several handsome marble and granite crosses.


Old maps of Hurley are available on the site, and a current map is available on the site.

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Berkshire papers online:

Visitations Heraldic

The Visitations of Berkshire 1532, 1566, and 1665-6 is available online.