Wraysbury

(also known as Wyrardisbury)

"The parish of Wyrardisbury covers an area of 1678 acres, and of these 640 are arable and 666 permanent grass. The soil is loam and the subsoil gravel. The chief crops are wheat, barley, and oats and potatoes. Wyrardisbury lies on the north bank of the Thames, which encircles it on the west and south, and the River Colne and its tributaries water it on the east. The land is low, rising nowhere higher than 59 ft. above the ordnance datum. The periodical overflow of the rivers formerly caused great inconvenience to the inhabitants. This was to a great extent counteracted by the erection of a suspension bridge in 1842 by George Simon Harcourt, and by raising the roads where necessary above high-water mark. This bridge was replaced about 1874 by one on iron girders supported by brick pilllars. The village lies in the centre of the parish. The houses, amongst which are a few 17th-century buildings much altered, are scattered on either side of a small tributary of the Thames, which is crossed by the bridge above mentioned. The church stands to the west of the bridge, the school, Baptist chapel and vicarage to the east. The George Inn, to the north of the church, is mentioned in 1731 as the place of meeting for 'staking day'; there was 1s. forfeit for non-attendance. It is a two-storied brick house coated with cement, built early in the 17th century and subsequently enlarged. Wyrardisbury station, on the Windsor branch of the London and South Western railway, is situated at the east end of the village." [© copyright of the editors of The Victoria Histories of the Counties of England]

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Bibliography

The following reference sources have been used in the construction of this page, and may be referred to for further detail. Most if not all of these volumes are available in the Reference section of the County Library in Aylesbury.

"Buckinghamshire Returns of the Census of Religious Worship 1851", Legg E. ed., 1991, ISBN 0 901198 27 7.
"History of the Parish of Wraysbury, Ankerwycke Priory, and Magna Charta Island; with the History of Horton, and the town of Colnbrook, Bucks", Gyll G.W.J., 1862.
"Magna Britannia: Buckinghamshire", Lysons S. and Lysons D., 1806.
"The Place-Names of Buckinghamshire", Mawer A. and Stenton F.M., 1925.
"The Victoria History of the Counties of England: Buckinghamshire", Page W. ed., 1905-1928

 

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Census

In 1798 the Posse Comitatus listed 141 men between the ages of 16 and 60 in Wraysbury.

In the earliest government census of 1801, there were 616 inhabitants in 103 families living in 96 houses recorded in Wraysbury.

Census Year Population of Wraysbury
1801* 616
1811* 560
1821* 520
1831* 682
1841 672
1851 701
1861 735
1871 731
1881 658
1891 660
1901 779

* = No names were recorded in census documents from 1801 to 1831.
** = Census documents from 1911 to 2001 are only available in summary form. Names are witheld under the 100 year rule.

Microfilm copies of all census enumerators' notebooks for 1841 to 1891 are held at the Local Studies Libraries at Aylesbury and Milton Keynes, as well as centrally at the PRO. A table of 19th century census headcount by parish is printed in the VCH of Bucks, Vol.2, pp 96-101.

Availability of census transcripts and indexes.

  • 1851 - Full transcripts and indexes for Buckinghamshire are available on CD-ROM, hard copy and microfiche from the Buckinghamshire Family History Society.
  • 1861 - Available on CD-ROM with advanced search and mapping capabilities etc. from the Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society.
  • 1881
    • Available on CD-ROM from the Church of the Latter Day Saints, as part of the National 1881 Census Index.
    • Available on CD-ROM for Buckinghamshire, with advanced search and mapping capabilities etc. from Drake Software.
  • 1891 - Available on CD-ROM with advanced search and mapping capabilities etc. from the Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society.

 

Churches

You can also perform a more selective search for churches in the Wraysbury area or see them printed on a map.

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Church Records

The original copies of the parish registers for St Andrew, Wraysbury have been deposited in the Buckinghamshire Record Office in Aylesbury, and they hold the following years:

Event Dates covered
Christenings 1734 - 1943
Marriages 1746 - 1945
Banns 1928 - 1962
Burials 1734 - 1940

Copies or indexes to the parish registers are available from societies as follows:

Event
Society Library*
Dates covered
Society
Christenings
1575 - 1766
Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society
Marriages
1575 - 1766
Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society
Burials
1575 - 1766
Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society

* = material held in a Society library is generally available for loan to all members either via post, or by collection at a meeting

An ecclesiastical census was carried out throughout England on 30 March 1851 to record the attendance at all places of worship. These returns are in the Buckinghamshire Record Office and have been published by the Buckinghamshire Record Society (vol 27). The returns for Wraysbury showed the following numbers:

Church Attendance
Wraysbury,
St Andrew
119 - Morning General Congregation
53 - Morning Sunday Scholars
172 - Morning Total

99 - Afternoon General Congregation
41 - Afternoon Sunday Scholars
140 - Afternoon Total

Wraysbury,
Baptist Providence Chapel
24 - Morning Sunday Scholars
24 - Morning Total

30 - Afternoon General Congregation
20 - Afternoon Sunday Scholars
50 - Afternoon Total

90 - Evening General Congregation
90 - Evening Total

 

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Description and Travel

You can see pictures of Wraysbury which are provided by:

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Gazetteers

Ask for a calculation of the distance from Wraysbury to another place.

Click here for a list of nearby places.

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Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Wraysbury has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.

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History

Wraysbury was described in 1806 in "Magna Britannia" as follows:

WYRARDISBURY, in the hundred of Stoke and deanery of Burnham, is situated near the banks of the Thames, about three miles to the south of Colnbrook.

The manor belonged to the priory of Ankerwyke, in this parish, which was founded in the reign of Henry II. for Benidictine nuns, by Gilbert de Montfichet, and his son Richard, in honour of St. Mary Magdalen. In 1538, this priory, with the estates belonging to it, being then valued at 132 l. 0s. 2d. per annum, was given to Bisham Abbey, and after the dissolution of that monastery in 1540, was granted to Lord Windsor. Having soon afterwards reverted to the crown by an exchange, the priory was given by King Edward VI. in 1550, to Sir Thomas Smith, the celebrated statesman, who resided at Ankerwyke. John Taylor, the deprived bishop of Lincoln, died under his roof at this place in 1553. Ankerwyke priory was afterwards for many years the seat of the Salter family, of whom it was purchased by the Lees. Elizabeth, daughter and heir of John Lee esq. of Ankerwyke, was the second wife of Sir Philip Harcourt, ancestor of the present proprietor, John Simon Harcourt esq. of whom Ankerwyke-house is rented by Mr. Cricket of the Commons: it was sometime ago in the occupation of Lord Shuldham. There are no remains of the conventual buildings which are described as wholly ruinous in the report of the commissioners in the reign of Henry VIII. Soon after the dissolution, a mansion was built on the site, either by Lord Windsor or Sir Thomas Smith: a hall of the mansion still remains. Near the house is a remarkably large yew-tree, which, at six feet from the ground, measures 30 feet five inches in girth. [Footnote: The girth at the bottom of the butt is 23 feet3 inches, in the middle 28 feet 4 inches. From the information of the Rev. Mr. Brown, rector of Horton.]

The manor of Wyrardisbury was demised in 1555, to Sir Walter Stonor, and in 1574, to Sir Thomas Smith: in 1628 it was granted in fee to John Sharow. It is now the property of Mr. Harcourt, by inheritance from the Lees, who purchased the site of Ankerwyke Priory, and it is probable the manor Wyrardisbury also of the Salters.

In the parish church are some monuments of the Harcourt family, and of Thomas Wright esq. and Thomas Gill esq. aldermen of London, partners in a very extensive business as stationers, who died, within a fortnight of each other, in the year 1798.

The rectorial manor, impropriate tithes, and advowson of the vicarage, were given by King Edward III. to the dean and chapter of Windsor.

The parish has been inclosed by an act of parliament, passed in the year 1799. No mention is made in the act of any allotment for tithes. There are allotments for cottage rights, to the lord of the manor for right of soil; and willow plantations for the copyholders, to be held in severalty by copy of court-roll. A parcel of the waste was allotted for the purpose of holding a fair on the Friday in Whitsun-week, pursuant to ancient custom.

A manor in this parish, which had been seized by the crown during the minority of Ralph de Plaiz, was granted for life to John Fray, who was appointed chief baron of the exchequer in 1436: it appears to have been afterwards given to Eton College.

 

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Names, Geographical

The name of Wyrardisbury (now referred to as Wraysbury) derives from old english, being a persons name + burh, and means 'stronghold of a man called Wigæd'.