Hurley (St. Mary)

HURLEY (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Cookham, hundred of Beynhurst, county of Berks, 4¾ miles (W. N. W.) from Maidenhead; containing 1119 inhabitants. A Benedictine priory was founded here in the reign of William the Conqueror, by Godfrey de Mandeville, and dedicated to the Virgin Mary; it flourished, as a cell to the abbey of Westminster, till the Dissolution, when its revenue was estimated at £134. 10. 8. The site was afterwards occupied by a mansion called Lady Place, in a vault beneath which were held the meetings of the confederate lords for promoting the Revolution of 1688, among whom Lord Lovelace distinguished himself. On a tablet in the vault are recorded the visits of William III., George III. and his consort, and the celebrated General Paoli, to this dark recess. The adjoining stable was the refectory of the priory, the windows of which are still remaining. The parish is situated on the river Thames, and comprises 4096 acres, of which 174 are common or waste; the soil is chiefly clay and sand, with small portions of chalk, and the surface is diversified with hills covered with rich plantations of beech and other timber. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £6. 13. 6½.; patron and impropriator, Sir E. G. C. East, Bart.: the great tithes have been commuted for £289, and the small for £250; the vicar has a glebe of one acre. The church, supposed to have been the chapel belonging to the priory, is an ancient structure, displaying many details of early Norman architecture. At Knowle Hill, a district deriving its name from an eminence near the out portions of the parishes of Hurley and Wargrave, a church has been built by subscription, aided by a grant of £200 from the Incorporated Society; it is a neat edifice in the later English style, and contains 415 sittings, of which 268 are free. The living is in the gift of the Vicar.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.

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