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 because of its close proximity to Windsor and the ferry service which connected it to the main London road across the River Thames. The ferry was later replaced by a road bridge at the foot of High Street, rebuilt three times, a rail bridge approaching Windsor across the river, and two road bridges above and below the village.
The name "Datchet" is thought to be Celtic in origin, and the last part may be related to cet ("wood"). In Domesday Book it is called "Daceta".
There is evidence of people living in the area which become Datchet shortly after the end of the last ice age, between 10,000 and 6,500 years ago, and of a multi-period settlement at Southlea from the Neolithic to late Roman periods (Datchet Village Society report: plus Vol II)
Datchet is first mentioned between 990 and 994, when King Ethelred made small grants of land here. Datchet Manor is in 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.
There was a ferry at Datchet Ferry which provided a shorter route from London to Windsor Castle and was frequently used by royalty. In 1249, 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 the endowment of 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. There were isolated cases of plague in Datchet before and after the great plague of London. An unsubstantiated story is that Charles II kept his mistress Nell Gwynne at Old Bridge House in Datchet. (There is absolutely no evidence for this story.)
In 1706, the ferry that carried traffic across the Thames through Datchet was replaced by Datchet Bridge. The crossing was replaced three times until it was finally demolished in 1851 as part of re-routing roads and bridges when the LSWR Company's line was built from Richmond to Windsor. Traffic between Old Windsor and Datchet now uses a southerly route along Southlea Road and crossing Albert Bridge, while a new Windsor Road was built from Datchet riverside and crossing the new Victoria Bridge.
In 1742, John Montagu, 2nd Duke of Montagu bought Datchet manor, and his family owned it until at least 1925; at one point it was owned by 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 by 1860 Datchet Common's beer house, The Plough, was in existence. In 1886,(Samuel Osborne, History of Datchet) Datchet was described as having been known as Black Datchet in the early 1800s because of a large number of bad characters living there, and that Aylesbury County Jail had one building known as the 'Datchet Wing' filled mostly with poachers,for which there is good evidence.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.
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.
Windsor Guards polo grounds in Horton were where the Queen Mother Reservoir now stands.
- 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 (later the 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 motoring pioneer whose family's 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
The Manor is a hotel and conference centre,originally part of the Manor House range of houses, owned but never occupied by any lord of the manor 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 Molyns, who held it until 1631, when it passed to the Winwood family and eventually to the Buccleuch and MOntagu families. Lord Momtagu of Beaulieu is still the titular Lord of Datchet Manor but owns no property here.
There is one pub in Datchet, The Royal Stag. The Morning Star is now a Costa coffee shop and the Plough is a branch of Tesco.
Datchet has three schools — Churchmead School, a secondary school, Datchet St. Mary's Primary School, and Eton End, a private preparatory school.
Datchet has several sports clubs including Datchet Village Football Club, the cricket club and Datchet Golf Club.
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