Egham History


The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868

EGHAM, a parish and small town in the second division of the hundred of Godley, county Surrey, 1½ mile W. of Staines, 2 E. of Virginia. Water, and 19 from London, being a station on the London and Reading section of the London and South-Western railway. It is situated on the Great Western Road, on the banks of the river Thames, and comprises the north-western portion of the county, including a considerable portion of the Windsor Great Park. This parish is divided by the Thames from the counties of Bucks and Middlesex. It includes Runnymede, Virginia Water, Englefield Green, Egham Hill, Cooper's Hill, and Shrubb's Hill.

On the 15th of June, 1215, a conference was held by King John with the barons at Runnymede, on the banks of the Thames, both parties encamping like open enemies, but on the fifth day the king, with unexpected willingness, signed and sealed the famous Magna Charta.

Egham comprises five manors, of which the Queen is lady paramount; George Simon Harcourt, Esq., is lord of the manor of Ankerwyke Purnish; the Master, Fellows, and Scholars of St. John's College, Cambridge, are lords of the manor of Broomhall; and the Master, Fellows, and Scholars of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, of the manor of Milton.

From Egham Hill is a road through Windsor Great Park to Reading, which is 19 miles distant. Egham is a very healthy spot, the ground being undulating, and the soil chiefly loam and gravel, with a clayey subsoil. The town, which consists chiefly of one long street, is lighted with gas, well paved and amply supplied with water. It contains a literary and scientific institution, and many respectable houses. A handsome stone bridge here crosses the river to Staines, forming a more direct line with the London road than the old bridge, which has been taken down. Egham is in the County Court district of Chertsey, and Union of Windsor. Place-officers are appointed every Whit-Tuesday at the court-leet of Hardwich, which is held at the Swan Inn, Chertsey.

The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Winchester, value with the curacy of St. Jude's, Englefield Green, annexed, £400, in the patronage of the Gostling family, who are the lay impropriators. This vicarage, was the dowry of Catherine of Braganza, consort of Charles II.; the annual value of the lay impropriation being £1,130. The church, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, is a modern edifice, built of brick, with a clock and five bells. It contains an altar-piece, by Westall, of Elijah raising the Widow's Son; a mural monument to Sir John Denham, the poet's father, and two, by Bailey and Flaxman, to the Gostlings. The old church was endowed by John de Ruthewyke, Abbot of Chertsey. Christ Church is a district church at Virginia Water. It was erected in 1838, by subscription, and was endowed by Miss Irvine.

The living is a perpetual curacy* in the patronage of trustees. The Wesleyans and Independents have each a chapel. There is a National school at Englefield Green, likewise a free-school with 12 almshouses, having together an income of £610 per annum from the Coopers' Company of London, who are the trustees by the will of Henry Strode, Esq. The Independents have schools for the education of 120 children.

There are in addition to the almshouses before named, five others, founded by Sir John Denham, for five widows, besides various charities amounting to £400 per annum. Denham Court was the seat of the poet's father, Sir John Denham. The principal seats are Runnymede Park, Cooper's Hill, Portnall Park, and Milton Place. Sir J. A. Cathcart, Bart., and Colonels Challoner and Salwey are the chief landowners. A fair is held on the 29th May at Englefield Green, and races take place in August at Runnymede.

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003] These pages are intended for personal use only, so please respect the conditions of use.