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0967 First mention of Englefield
FIRST MENTION OF ENGLEFIELD
The first mention of the name Englefield relating to a place in Surrey comes from a charter of 967 which lists 20 hides at Egham with Englefield (Egeham cum Hingefelda) among the lands of Chertsey Abbey. However as part of the manor of Egham it did not have a separate mention in the Doomsday Book a century later.
The charter, whose authenticity has been challenged, claims to be a confirmation by King Edgar of privileges and land previously given to Chertsey Abbey.
From the 18th Century the name Englefield Green gradually replaced its older form Ingfield Heath.
The name Runnymede is suggested to be a compound of the Old English word 'runinge' meaning 'taking counsel' and 'maed' 'mead or meadow.'This implies that the mead had been the scene of earlier unrecorded assemblies even before Magna Carta.
Such meetings could have included the Witan, Witenagemot or Council of the Anglo-Saxon Kings of the 7th to 11th centuries, usually held in the open air.
Different versions of the Magna Carta record Runnymede as Runingmed (1215), Ronymedd(e) (1314), Ronneymede (1514) and Ronney me(a)de (1548).
15th June 1215 Signing of the Magna Carta
It was at Runnymede in June 1215 that King John and the rebel barons met to settle their differences. Here John put his seal to Magna Carta, which can safely be described as the first major milestone upon the long road to a democratic state.
Runnymede was chosen because it was a muddy bog that prevented a battle between the king and the barons erupting.
1734-1884 Horse Racing
The first horse races in the area seem to have taken place in Englefield Green in 1729. However by 1734 they had moved to Egham at Runnymede and were held sporadically over the next 30 years or so. In 1774 they were launched as an annual event with a three-day meeting from Monday 5th to Wednesday 7th September.
The meetings were extremely popular as a social and gambling event, even attracting royalty until Queen Victoria came to the throne. Her uncle William IV had in 1836 given one hundred guineas for a King's Plate to be run there annually. He observed that he "considered horse-racing to be a national sport, becoming to a free and noble people."
However the races also attracted pickpockets and confidence tricksters. After the 1884 meeting the police refused to attend any future meetings so the racing was transferred to the enclosed Park course at nearby Kempton.
1798-1800 Perdita or the 'English Sappho'
Mary Robinson or 'Perdita,' an 18th Century actress and mistress of the Prince of Wales (later George IV) among others, spent the last years of her life, 1798-1800, in a cottage in Englefield Green.
Born in Bristol in 1758, Mary Robinson (nee Darby) is mostly remembered for her amorous adventures and as an actress, but she was also a writer, an early feminist and a political activist.
She spent much of her adulthood living in London but 'retired' to Englefield Green with her daughter Maria Robinson in 1798. After her death on 26 December 1800 she was buried in Old Windsor.
August 1815 Percy Bysshe Shelley comes to Englefield Green
Shelley's Cottage in Wick Lane is named after Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, who lived at the cottage with his wife Mary Shelley (née Godwin) from August 1815 to May 1816.The Shelleys were able to rent the Bishopsgate cottage after a revival in Percy's finances due to the death of his grandfather, Sir Bysshe Shelley.
It was here that Percy wrote the poem Alastor; and on 24 January 1816, Mary gave birth to their second child, William named after her father and soon nicknamed "Willmouse". In her novel The Last Man, she later imagined Windsor as a Garden of Eden.
18 October 1852 The Last Duel
The last fatal duel in England took place on a field by Priest Hill, Englefield Green on 18 October 1852 between two Frenchmen, Frederic Cournet and Emanuel Barthélemy.
Both men had been involved in the 1851 rising in Paris against Louis Napoleon, the first President of France. After this failed they went into exile in England. Barthélemy had previously challenged Cournet in Paris and resumed the challenge when they were both in London. Duelling was illegal in England so they selected a quiet venue where the duel was unlikely to be witnessed.
Cournet was shot and carried to the Barley Mow Inn where he died at 5pm. A few days later he was buried in the cemetery by Egham Parish.Church. Barthélemy and the seconds were subsequently remanded in custody for 5 months and tried for murder. They were found guilty of manslaughter and jailed for a further two months.
Victor Hugo included a brief account of Barthélemy's life in his 1862 novel, Les Misérables.
1878 Englefield Green Cricket Club
Cricket has been played at Englefield Green since the eighteenth century and possibly earlier. Grounds like the Green were the birthplace and cradle of cricket - common land, well drained, with locals given grazing rights that ensured the grass was kept short. The picture those early cricketers would have seen is little different from today - Englefield Green remains one of the most picturesque cricket venues in the country.
There is a story that the Green staged a royal cricket match in the late 1740s - a match probably promoted by Frederick Prince of Wales (who incidentally was killed when a cricket ball hit his stomach causing an abscess to burst) and including King George II and his son the Duke of Cumberland. It is impossible to substantiate the story!
According to local newspaper reports in the early years of the nineteenth century the Green was mainly used by Egham or, as the team was then more commonly known 'Eleven Gentlemen of Egham' - a description impossible to use these days. By the 1820s teams with Englefield Green in the title were beginning to appear: Egham and Englefield Green Cricket Club, Englefield Green United Club, Englefield Green Star Club and the Englefield Green Temperance CC - another title that would not be used today! However, it wasn't until July 1879 that the first reference to Englefield Green Cricket Club is to be found - in the Windsor and Eton Express - so 1879 is the club's founding date.
For many years the players changed in the Barley Mow and held their post-match celebrations there. They then progressed to using a wooden hut until finally in 1956 the pavilion was built. This was the result of a joint project with the Rovers football club and was financed by many money-making schemes including door-to-door collections, resident contributions of a shilling (5p) a week for four years and a number of individual contributions including famously Mrs Arthur Miller - Marilyn Monroe who was living in the area while filming 'The Prince and the Showgirl'.
1886 Royal Holloway College
Royal Holloway College was opened on 30 June 1886 by Queen Victoria. The gift of Thomas Holloway, in memory of his late wife Jane, it was designed by W.H. Crossland in the style of the Château de Chambord in France.
Thomas Holloway intended the college for the education of women. In a letter of 1875 he wrote "Most of us who do well, are indebted in early youth to the teaching and training of our mothers - and how much better it might be to the human family if mothers of the next generation should possess a high-class education - and if anyone took a degree would not her boys and girls be formed of such a habit?"
The College became part of the University of London in 1900.Male undergraduates were first admitted in 1965.
The College merged with Bedford College London in 1986 and is now known as Royal Holloway University of London (RHUL).
Its striking architecture means that it is a popular location for films and TV dramas.
1939 Eros comes to Englefield Green
During the outbreak of World War II in 1939, the statue of Eros was removed from Piccadilly Circus to keep it safe from bombings and taken to the Cooper's Hill estate which had been bought by the London County Council as emergency headquarters . It was re-erected in Piccadilly Circus on June 28th, 1947.
1943 Flying Fortress Lands at Runnymede
On New Year's Eve 1943 an American Flying Fortress plane crash- landed on Runnymede, near the Thames, opposite Magna Carta Island.
The Boeing B-17G had been damaged during a daylight raid on a German airfield in France and got into difficulties while returning to Bassingbourn Airfield in Cambridgeshire.
Using the Thames as a navigational guide, the pilot saw the expanse of green at Long Mead and managed to put down safely with no injuries to his crew of 10.
The airmen, who initially believed they had landed in France, were welcomed by locals celebrating the New Year at the Bells of Ouzeley pub in Old Windsor.
The plane was beyond repair and attracted visitors for several days. Photography was not allowed because of wartime restrictions.
July 1956 Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller resident in the village
In the summer of 1956, Marilyn Monroe came to Englefield Green when she was was filming The Prince and the Showgirl at Pinewood Studios. Between July and November of 1956, the iconic Hollywood actress lived with her husband playwright Arthur Miller at Parkside House on a large country estate in Englefield Green which backs on to Windsor Great Park.