Dedworth – the ‘village’ to the West of Windsor and its growth

Dedworth through the ages

It is thought that Clewer and Dedworth were originally Saxon villages. They are certainly listed as manors in the Domesday Book of 1086, under the Saxon names of Clivore and Dideorde, when the populations are estimated to have been about 60 and 20 respectively. Both manors were in the Berkshire Hundred of Ripplesmere.

Following the Norman Conquest in 1066, the ownership of Clivore had passed from Harold, Earl of Wessex to Ralf, son of Siegfried, whilst Dideorde had passed from Hugh the Chamberlain to Albert of Lotharingia.

About 1070, the high ground of Clivore was taken for the building of Windsor castle. For many centuries the Crown paid rent to the manor of Clewer.

None of the pre – 12th century buildings of Dedworth or Clewer have survived, but at about the year 1100, the nave of St. Andrew’s Church in Clewer was built.

Mill House at the end of Mill Lane in Clewer marks the site where a mill stood for over 800 years. It is thought that there was probably a river landing point and a ferry crossing of the Thames nearby.

Did you know that many of the roads between Ruddlesway and Smiths Lane are named after 16th century Windsor Mayors? One of the best remembered, three times mayor Richard Gallys, was landlord of the Garter Inn, immortalised in ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’. Testwood Road and Pierson Road are named after two of the Windsor Martyrs. In1543, in the reign of of Henry VIII, Anthony Pierson, Robert Testwood and Henry Filmer were found guilty of heresy and burned at the stake below the Castle.

Robert Testwood was a member of St. George’s Chapel choir and Anthony Pierson was a preacher in Windsor. Their associate John Marbeck, organist at St. George’s Chapel, was pardoned and lived to tell their story. His name lives on in Marbeck Close.

Source : The Streets of Windsor and Eton, produced by Windsor Local History Publications Group.

 

By the mid-1800s Dedworth was still a small settlement set 2 miles west of the growing town of Windsor. A map of 1856 shows that the major road pattern we have today was in place with Maidenhead Road and Dedworth Road linked by Roses Lane and Smiths Lane. Clewer Hill Road linked Dedworth Green to Clewer Green. Wolf Lane was a track that ran up the hill to the St Leonard’s Mansion (which is now the site of Legoland). There were a few houses stretched along the Dedworth Road at Dedworth Green plus a few larger properties but essentially Dedworth was an area of fields and farms on the lower land with forest up on St Leonard’s Hill.

When the decision to build All Saints Church was taken in 1861 the site was a field at the junction of Dedworth Road and Clewer Hill Road. The houses in Church Terrace were built in 1888. For a look at an interesting map of Dedworth from 1881 try this website http://www.old-maps.co.uk. Search in the top left box on Dedworth.

Dedworth, as we know it today, developed westwards from Clewer starting in the 1930s and 40s with housing at Dedworth Drive and St Andrews Crescent. In the l950s with the housing at Perrycroft, Priors Road and the ‘prefabs’ at Foster Avenue (replaced in the early 1970s). In the 1960s the ‘Laing’ estate (to the west of Smiths Lane) provided nearly one thousand houses and flats that extend over a large area which had mostly been fields and open countryside. Three roads on this estate were named after Protestant Martyrs, Robert Testwood, Henry Filmer and Anthony Pierson, burned at Windsor Castle in 1544. A development on fields and woodland in the late 1960s and early 1970s provided housing in the White Horse Road and Hemwood Road areas. Also in the 1970s the Broom Farm army estate was developed. Since this time little new housing has been built in Dedworth.

In 1993 the Rogers Garage site in the Dedworth Road was cleared and the Tesco store was opened. This had a dramatic effect on the smaller businesses in the area with the closure of several small supermarkets and shops (eg. Bakers, Greengrocers). The shopping parade at Ruddlesway has not recovered from this and there is doubt over its future.

There are three other church buildings in Dedworth. St Marks, the Catholic Church in Dedworth Road, built on the site of the old Dedworth Community Centre, and the Baptist Church in Smiths Lane were both built in the 1960s. The Gospel Hall at the corner of Ruddlesway and Dedworth Road was opened – in April 1996. The Baptist Church was badly damaged by fire in 2000 and the Church part of the building has been demolished. Currently it is uncertain what the future will bring for the Dedworth Baptists – please remember them in your prayers.