Datchet village centre
Datchet shown within Berkshire
|OS grid reference|
|Unitary authority||Windsor and Maidenhead|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
The village developed particularly because of its close proximity to Windsor and the ferry service which connected the main London road to Windsor across the River Thames. The service was eventually replaced with bridges (currently three road bridges and two rail bridges) across the river, taking into account the neighbouring village of Eton.
The name "Datchet" is thought to be Celtic in origin, and the last part may be related to cet (meaning wood). In the Domesday Book it was called "Daceta".
The story of Datchet starts shortly after the end of the height of the ice age. Between 10000 and 6500 years ago there is evidence of people living in the area which was to become Datchet, who did not settle but travelled through the area. First evidence of a settlement dates to 440–2700 years ago (the Bronze Age).
Datchet is first mentioned between 990 and 994, when King Ethelred made small grants of land here. Datchet Manor is in the Domesday Book (1085–86) when it was held by Giles de Pinkney. In 1150 the church already existed in Datchet and the Pinkney family sold it to the abbey of St Albans, Hertfordshire. As such the Abbot became rector as improprietor of the parish and had the right to appoint vicars (hence the word vicarious).
There was a ferry at Datchet Ferry which provided a short route from London to Windsor Castle, and was frequently used by royalty. In 1249 King Henry III gave a great oak from his Windsor forest to make a barge for passage from Windsor to Datchet.
In 1350 Edward III gave Datchet Church as part of endowment to his new church and college of St George at Windsor Castle. On the Dissolution of the monasteries, The Crown confiscated the rectory, which was sold by Parliament in 1659 to William Stanbridge and Thomas Roberts.
In the 17th century, traffic went to London via Horton. Horton Road began to be built up and extended by the wealthy next to the hovels of the poor. The great plague came to Datchet before and after the great plague of London. An unsubstantiated story is that King Charles II kept his mistress Nell Gwynne at Old Bridge House in Datchet.
The ferry was replaced by Datchet Bridge at the end of the High Street in 1706. The bridge was replaced three times but finally demolished in 1851 - the only Thames bridge site that has been lost.
In 1742 John Montagu, 2nd Duke of Montagu bought Datchet manor and his family owned it until at least 1925, at one point owned by the man at the head of the influential Montagu-Douglas-Scott family, Henry Scott, 3rd Duke of Buccleuch.
In 1790, a workhouse was built in Holmlea Road, and in 1820, an Almshouse belonging to the workhouse was turned into a shop. In 1848, the first train went through Datchet to Windsor and in 1860, Datchet Common's oldest beer house The Plough (now Tesco Express) was in existence. In 1886, Datchet was known as Black Datchet because of a large number of bad characters living there. This was borne out by Aylesbury County Jail having one building known as the 'Datchet Wing' filled mostly with poachers. However in 1889, Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat describes Datchet as a minor riverside resort. This has descriptions of the Manor Hotel and the Royal Stag at the time.
From 1911 to 1914, cars were made at workshops at the end of Holmlea Road, Lord Montagu was the landlord. In 1911, Sir Thomas Sopwith landed his light aircraft in Datchet eight years after the first flight in the USA by Orville Wright. His company built Sopwith biplanes.
Windsor Guards polo grounds in Horton were where the Queen Mother Reservoir now stands. The houses opposite were built in the late 19th century to house the workers on the grounds. 140 Horton Road was an old school house.
Datchet Village Football Club was formed in 1987. Datchet still has its own River Frontage from where a Small Boat may be Launched. Also Datchet has a church parish built in 1899- fact of the day
- 18th Century
- William Herschel (astronomer to George III and discoverer of the planet Uranus) lived with his sister in a house on Horton Road in 1782 and from 1783 to 1785, he occupied "The Lawn" on Horton Road and built a 20 ft telescope in the garden.
- 19th century;
- Hon. Evelyn Ellis drove the first ever motor car to be driven or owned in Britain to his home in Southleigh Road in 1895 - the car is in the Science Museum, London. Ellis was closely associated with The Prince of Wales (the later King Edward VII) and gave him his first ever ride in a car.
- Hon. John Scott Montagu - Lord of the Manor of Datchet and Ditton was another early motoring pioneer whose families continued interest resulted in the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu in the New Forest National Park.
- 20th Century
- Valentine Dyall
- Billy Cotton
- Billie Whitelaw
- Sir Donald Pleasence.
- Joan Collins still retains the Datchet house of her late father (a theatrical agent).
- Barry Davies, sports commentator
- 21st Century
- Other Associations with Datchet
Commerce and services
Datchet railway station is in roughly the centre of the village, on the Windsor & Eton Riverside to London Waterloo line, the terminus being one station away, with a journey time of 3 minutes. Waterloo has a journey time of between 52 and 55 minutes.
One of the landmarks of this village is the Datchet Manor. The manor is currently used as a hotel and conference centre. The history of the manor begins in 1335 when King Edward III gave the manor of Datchet to William de Montacute, who then passed it on to Sir John Molins, who held it until 1631. Tesco Express was originally The Plough (public house) and following a major fire changed its name to The Sportsmans due to the bare knuckle fighting which took place on the green opposite before the houses were built, bets being wagered in the pub.
Two pubs are in Datchet, The Royal Stag and The Morning Star.
Datchet is home to two schools — Churchmead School, a secondary school, and Datchet St. Mary's Primary School.
Datchet has several sporting options including Datchet Village Football Club (Sundays), Datchet Golf Club and the Datchet Health Centre, a general sports centre with gym and pool.
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