St Mary the Virgin parish church
Langley shown within Berkshire
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Langley, also known as Langley Marish, is a large village in the unitary authority of Slough in Berkshire, South East England. It is 2 miles (3 km) east of central Slough, with which it is contiguous, and 20 miles (32 km) west of Charing Cross in Central London. Langley was transferred from Buckinghamshire to Berkshire in 1974. Aside from Colnbrook and Poyle to the south, it is the easternmost settlement in the ceremonial county of Berkshire.
The place-name Langley derives from two Middle English words: lang meaning long and leah, a wood or clearing. Langley was formed of a number of clearings: George Green, Horsemoor Green, Middle Green, Sawyers Green and Shreding Green. They became the sites for housing which merged into one village centred on the parish church in St Mary's Road. The clearings are remembered in the names of streets or smaller green fields.
The Church of St Mary the Virgin is in the Church of England diocese of Oxford. The church is a Grade I listed building and houses the Kedermister Library, given by Sir John Kedermister (or Kederminster), who also endowed the surviving almshouses of 1617 in the village. Other surviving almshouses include the Seymour Almshouses (1679–1688), given by Sir Edward Seymour who was a Speaker of the House of Commons, and those founded in 1839 by William Wild in Horsemoor Green.
Sir John Kedermister's house, Langley Park (bought by Charles Spencer, 3rd Duke of Marlborough) was demolished and rebuilt to designs by Stiff Leadbetter, starting in 1756 and completed in the year of his death, 1758.
Langley Hall was built in the 17th century, but the façade was added in the 18th. In the early part of the 20th century it housed a preparatory school for boys and was known as Langley Place. The Hall then served as the Actor's Orphanage, and was used by RAF Bomber Command during World War II, then by the Road Research Laboratory, Langley College and East Berkshire College.
Langley Hall was purchased by the government in June 2011 to become one of the country's first Free Schools. Langley Hall Primary Academy opened in September 2011 for children aged 4 to 11.
The Hawker Aircraft Company bought Parlaunt Farm at Langley in 1938 and built a major factory and airfield there. Well over 8,000 military aircraft were manufactured at the site especially the Hurricane during World War II and also the Tempest and Sea Fury. The final Hurricane built (a MkIIC serialled PZ865, which still flies today with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight) was completed here on 15 September 1944 and named 'Last of The Many' in a special ceremony. Retiring Chief Test Pilot P W S 'George' Bulman flew the aeroplane on this occasion – having made the first flight of the prototype from Brooklands almost nine years earlier.
The Hawker Tornado (1940), Typhoon (1940), Tempest (1942), Fury (1944), Sea Fury (1945), and the General Aircraft Hamilcar X tank-carrying glider (1945) all made their first flights from Langley. Postwar, the aerodrome was also used by Airwork Ltd and British South American Airways for aircraft maintenance work.
The Hawker factory closed in 1958 having also manufactured Hawker Hunter fighters and earlier jet prototypes. Production and staff were transferred to the flight test airfield at Dunsfold Aerodrome and the parent Hawker factory in Kingston-on-Thames (now Kingston upon Thames), both in Surrey. Little of the factory or airfield remain today although the area's aviation past is remembered in street-names such as Spitfire Close and Hurricane Way.
The Ford Motor Company opened a commercial vehicle component factory at Langley Airfield in 1949, and then bought the entire site from Hawker Siddeley in 1959. The former aircraft factory was re-used for commercial vehicle manufacture and the Ford Transit was built here until production was transferred to Swaythling, Southampton, and later the Ford Cargo. The Langley factory became part of Iveco in 1986 but finally closed in September 1997. Demolished a year later by Gregory Demolition, the site is now redeveloped with new housing, offices and warehousing (including Royal Mail's International Mail Centre, which services nearby Heathrow Airport.
Langley Carnival, a day of fun and entertainment, is held annually on the second Saturday in July at the Langley Park Memorial Recreation Ground.
The Cable Corporation, based at Langley, was the first cable company in the world to offer voice, video and data services to business and residential users.
Langley is reputed to be haunted by a ghost in a yellow coat.
Langley railway station, which includes a Brunel period building, is on the Great Western Main Line to London Paddington. The train operator for this route is First Great Western; there is generally a half-hourly service in each direction.
- Poet John Milton (1608–74) is said to have lived for a time near Kedermister Library in Langley[Questioned – see talk page.]
- World War I war artist Paul Nash (18891946) is buried in the churchyard of St. Mary's Church, Langley
- Writer John Pudney (1909–77) – who wrote one of the best-known poems of the Second World War, For Johnny – was born in Langley
- Nathaniel Vincent (1639?–97), nonconformist minister and writer, lived in Langley after the Restoration (he was ejected in 1662)
- Langley Village history Hornby, James John (1895). Walks Round About Eton. p. 18.
- "The Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Langley Marish. (Grade I Listing)". Slough Museum. Retrieved 26 April 2010.
- A domed temple in the park, c. 1740, attributed to Roger Morris, no longer exists; Colvin, H.M. (1997) . A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600–1840 (3rd ed.). New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-07207-4.: s.v. "Leadbetter, Stiff", "Morris, Roger".
- Langley Village website.
- Fraser 1973, p. 148.
- Ash, Russell (1973). Folklore, Myths and Legends of Britain. Reader's Digest Association Limited. p. 267. ISBN 9780340165973.
- Langley Village history
Sources and further reading
- Fraser, Maxwell (1973). The History of Slough. Slough: Slough Corporation. p. 148.
- Mason, Francis K (1991). Hawker Aircraft Since 1920 (3rd revised ed.). London: Putnam. ISBN 0-85177-839-9.
- Page, W.H., ed. (1925). A History of the County of Buckingham, Volume 3. Victoria County History. pp. 294–301.
- Pevsner, Nikolaus (1960). Buckinghamshire. The Buildings of England. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. pp. 181–183. ISBN 0-14-071019-1.
- Pudney, John (1955). Six Great Aviators – A V Roe; Alcock & Brown; Lindbergh; Kingsford-Smith; Saint-Exupery; Neville Duke. Hamish Hamilton.
- Shaw, Stuart (July 2000). "The History of Langley Aircraft Factory and Airfield". Airfield Review: 17–19.
- Langley Village website
- "History of Langley park". Buckinghamshire County Council. Retrieved March 2014.