Easthampstead, a village and a parish in Berks. The village stands near Bracknell station on the Staines and Reading branch of the S.W.R., 3¼ miles E by S from Wokingham, and is rural and pretty. Part of Bracknell, at which there is a head post office, is in Easthampstead parish. Acreage, 5295, of which over 1000 are heath and the property of the Crown; population, 1538. Easthampstead Park was a hunting seat of Richard II. and some other kings, was the residence of Catherine of Arragon when Henry VIII. proposed to her a divorce, was a residence of James I. in 1622 and 1623, was granted by the king to William Turnbull, and is now the property of the Marquis of Downshire. South Hill Park is a mansion of brick standing in the midst of beautiful gardens and a park of 800 acres. The mansion has been rebuilt and much enlarged by the present owner, Sir A. D. Hayter, Bart. Easthampstead Plains are part of Bagshot Heath. An irregular ancient fortification on an eminence with a double ditch, 1 mile S of Easthampstead Park, is known as Csesar's Camp, and traces of a Roman road, going southward thence across Bagshot Heath, are known as the Devil's Highway. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Oxford; net yearly value, £376 with residence. Patron, Christ Church, Oxford. The church wa& rebuilt in 1867, and is in the First Pointed style, with mixture of Byzantine. A very large yew tree is in the churchyard. There is a Primitive Methodist chapel; the charities amount to about £125 a year.
The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.
|Ecclesiastical parish||Easthampstead St. Mary Magdalene|
|Poor Law union||Easthampstead|
Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.
The parish register dates from the year 1558.9
Church of England
St Andrew, Priestwood
The church of St. Andrew, at Priestwood, was erected in 1888, at a cost of £781, and is an edifice of red brick, with an apse; it will seat 150, and is served by the rector and curate.
St. Michael and St. Mary Magdalene (parish church)
The church of St. Michael and St. Mary Magdalene, built on the site of the old church, and opened in May, 1867, is a building in the Early Continental Gothic style, from designs by Mr. Hugall, architect, and consists of chancel, nave of three bays, aisles, south transept, south porch, baptistery and a square tower with four pinnacles containing 6 bells: the south transept belongs to the Hill family: the windows are stained and include one in the north aisle to Caroline Frances late Dowager Marchioness of Downshire, d. 10 May, 1893, and also one in the north aisle to the memory of the wife and son of Col. Peard: Italian marble has been freely introduced in the decorative work of the interior: the chancel fittings are of oak, and a sedile is formed on the north side by the elongation of the window sill; double sedilia occupy the south window: the communion table is of oak: the pulpit, on a stone base, is composed of portions of that fixed in the old church in 1631: in 1876 a stained east window, designed by the late Sir Edward C. Burne-Jones bart. was inserted as a memorial to Arthur (Hill) Marquess of Downshire, who died 31st March, 1874: the roof was re-tiled in 1898: there are 340 sittings: an ancient yew tree of very remarkable growth, standing near the church, measures 63 feet in circumference.
Primitive Methodist Chapel, Priestwood
The Primitive Methodist chapel at Priestwood has sittings for 60 persons.
Easthampstead was in Windsor Registration District from 1937 to 1967
Directories & Gazetteers
We have transcribed the entry for Easthampstead from the following:
- Samuel Lewis' A Topographical Dictionary of England, 1848 (Easthampstead (St. Mary Magdalene))
- Kelly's Directory of Berkshire, 1915
Land and Property
Easthampstead Park was the seat of the Marquess of Downshire: the mansion is a spacious edifice of brick and stone, in the Elizabethan style, and stands in a park upwards of 650 acres in extent. This park once contained a royal residence, inhabited by Richard II. in 1381, and Queen Catherine of Aragon, in 1531; James I. was also a visitor here in 1622 and 1623. The mansion is now a conference centre.
South Hill Park is a compact residence of brick, standing in a park of 800 acres, with four lakes; the private gardens, laid out in terraces, are very beautiful.
The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Berkshire is available to browse.
Online maps of Easthampstead are available from a number of sites:
- Bing (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- Google Streetview.
- National Library of Scotland. (Old maps)
- old-maps.co.uk (Old Ordnance Survey maps to buy).
- Streetmap.co.uk (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- A Vision of Britain through Time. (Old maps)
Newspapers and Periodicals
The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Berkshire papers online:
The Visitations of Berkshire 1532, 1566, and 1665-6 is available online.
The Poor Law Institution, a red brick building, was originally built by William Watts esq. of South Hill, as almshouses in 1760, and enlarged and converted into a Union Workhouse by the Marquess of Downshire in 1826, and further enlarged in 1889 and again in 1898, to hold about 200.