St Michael's Church
Bray shown within Berkshire
|OS grid reference|
|Unitary authority||Windsor and Maidenhead|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
It is known as the village mentioned in the song The Vicar of Bray. The village contains two of the four three-Michelin-starred restaurants in the United Kingdom, and is the home of Bray Studios of "Hammer Horror" fame.
Bray was a large parish, although its area has shrunk considerably since Maidenhead was detached in 1894. As well as the village, the parish contains a large number of villages and hamlets, often greens, which were originally scattered amongst the remains of dense woodland of Windsor Forest that once covered the area. These include: Bray Wick, Holyport, Water Oakley, Oakley Green, Moneyrow Green, Stud Green, Foxley Green, Touchen End, Braywoodside, Hawthorn Hill and Fifield.
Expensive houses on the river upstream of Bray Lock have been referred to as 'Millionaires' Row' in the national press . The flooding risk of these houses has been decreased by the Jubilee River, in effect a large river water drain between Maidenhead and Eton.
Monkey Island, in the Thames, is associated with the 3rd Duke of Marlborough, and houses two amusing structures that he built and furnished with paintings of monkeys, and the architecturally Grade I (listed) Monkey Island Hotel.
The Church of England parish church of St Michael was built in 1293, supposedly to replace a Saxon church at Water Oakley. It has a number of sculptures which may have come from the earlier church, including a damaged Sheela na Gig. It is best known to brass rubbers for housing the superb memorial brass of 1378 to Sir John Foxley, the Constable of Southampton Castle, and his two wives. One of the local cottages has a tunnel which it is believed leads to the church and served as an escape route for clergymen. The current Vicar of Bray is the Reverend Richard Cowles.
The Jesus Hospital is a red-brick group of almhouses, founded in 1609 by William Goddard, whose full-size effigy stands over the entrance, to house thirty-four of the aged poor of Bray and six of the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers to which he belonged. Jesus Hospital is now run by The Donnington Hospital Trust having been transferred from the Fishmongers Company in 2010.
The Fat Duck is a restaurant run by chef Heston Blumenthal in the centre of Bray. The restaurant was opened in 1995 and is one of only four in the United Kingdom that hold a three-star Michelin Guide rating; this has been the case since 2004. In 2005, it was named as the best restaurant in the world by Restaurant magazine and Best Restaurant in the UK in 2008, 2009 and 2010 scoring a maximum 10 out of 10 in the Good Food Guide.
The other is The Waterside Inn. Founded in 1972 by the brothers Michel and Albert Roux after the success of Le Gavroche, it is currently run by Michel's son, Alain. The restaurant has three Michelin stars and in 2010 it became the first restaurant outside of France to retain all three stars for twenty five years.
- Rolf Harris – Artist, musician, TV presenter
- Sir Michael Parkinson – journalist and TV presenter
- Heston Blumenthal – the TV chef runs The Fat Duck and The Hinds Head Hotel restaurants in Bray
- Office for National Statistics : Census 2001 : Parish Headcounts : Windsor and Maidenhead" Retrieved 3 November 2010
- Monkey Island Hotel English Heritage. "Details from listed building database (1319431)". National Heritage List for England.
- England (1849). The ecclesiastical and architectural topography of England. Bedfordshire (Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire, Oxfordshire, Suffolk).. p. 59. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
- The Church of England "A Church Near You".
- Ben-Amos, Ilana Krausman (17 March 2008). The Culture of Giving: Informal Support and Gift-Exchange in Early Modern England. Cambridge University Press. p. 185. ISBN 978-0-521-86723-8. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
- Full list of Michelin stars in Britain and Ireland The Daily Telegraph. Published 24 January 2008. Retrieved 20 August 2009.
- "The Fat Duck (Awards section)". Fatduck.co.uk. Retrieved 26 August 2012.
- Kates, Joanne, The Globe and Mail (11 February 2006). The mad, magic chemistry of England's Fat Duck
- BBC News "BBC News". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 26 August 2012.
- Kapur, Sonia (20 May 2010). "Waterside Inn celebrates 25yrs of three-star quality". Maidenhead Advertiser.
- "Rolf Harris and Val Doonican: Old pals reunite (From Bucks Free Press)". Bucksfreepress.co.uk. 31 October 2008. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
- "Fat Duck website". Fatduck.co.uk. Retrieved 14 December 2008.
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