Stoke Poges


Church: St Giles

Hundred: Stoke

Poor Law District: Eton

Size (acres): 3465

Easting & Northing: 498183

Grid Ref SU980830 Click to see map


Names & Places

Stoke Poges PARISH St Giles
Stoches NAMES name for Stoke in Domesday Book in 1086
Stokbogies NAMES name for Stoke Poges in 1526
Stoke Pogys NAMES name for Stoke Poges in 1514
Methodist NON-CONFORMIST First Mentioned: 1845
Berry (Fm) PLACE within the parish
Ditton PLACE within the parish




These population figures are based on the Census results. The boundaries are those used in the particular census which may vary over time..

1801 741
1811 838
1821 1073
1831 1252
1841 1528
1851 1501
1861 1600
1871 1850
1881 2150
1891 2356
1901 3175
1911 1433
1921 1701
1931 2110
1941 N/A
1951 2470
1961 3886
1971 4896
1981 4851
1991 4356

There was no census in 1941.



Parish  Church  Register  Start
Stoke Poges   Ditton Chapel   Baptisms   1763   1812   Not available   Yes,
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Not available
Stoke Poges   St Giles   Baptisms   1837   1891   Not available   Yes,
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Not available
Stoke Poges   St Giles   Baptisms   1564   1763   Not available   Yes,
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Not available
Stoke Poges   St Giles   Marriages   1564   1901   Yes,
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Not available
Stoke Poges   St Giles   Burials   1564   1902   Yes,
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Not available




These were extracted from our own records and presented as a guide.

PositionBefore 1700  18th Century  19th Century  Overall Surnames  



Stoke Poges is situated between Slough and Gerrards Cross. It is an area made up of several scattered hamlets and comprises estates, woodlands and common land.

In 1086 it was known as Stockes and was the meeting place of the Stoke Hundred (one of the Chiltern Hundreds). In 1291 Robert Poges married Amicia de Stoke and the parish became known as Stoke Poges. Until well into the 19th century the southern boundary was the Bath Road and in 1835 Slough was designated in a topographical dictionary as a hamlet in the parish of Stoke Poges.

St Giles church is remote from the village but situated near the Manor House one and a half miles distant. This was probably firstly a Saxon thane's dwelling then an 'embattled' castle of the 14th century and lastly was the Elizabethan Manor house of the 2nd Earl of Huntingdon. Part of the church is Saxon but it is mostly Norman with the Tudor Hastings Chapel as a later addition.

The churchyard is famous for its connection with Thomas Gray the poet who died in 1771 and who there lies buried with his mother. His Elegy written in a Country Churchyard surely one of the best known poems in the English language, is generally supposed to have been written at Stoke Poges as the poet spent much time here with his mother who lived for some years at West End Farm in the village. This, enlarged, became Stoke Court and was the home of the Penn family. It is now the administrative headquarters of an International Pharmaceutical Company and has recently been rebuilt after a disastrous fire in 1979.

Adjoining the churchyard is the National Trust Field where stands the monument to Gray erected in 1799 by John Penn, a grandson of the founder of Pennsylvania. This has been restored after an appeal launched by the late Sir John Betjeman in 1977.

James Wyatt's Gothic vicarage was built in 1802 to replace an earlier building which John Penn had demolished as it spoiled his view from Stolce Park, the house he had built in the late 18th century, the old Manor House having fallen into decay. One wing of this is still standing and is occupied as business premises. Stoke Park House is now the headquarters of the Stoke Poges Golf Club and the surrounding parkland forms the championship Golf Course.

Sefton Park originally known as Stoke Farm was built for Lady Molyneux daughter of the Earl of Sefton. Another well-known person who lived there was Lady de Frece, better known as Vesta Tilley the actress. During the Second World War, the Gordon Highlanders' famous 51st division and American G.I.s were quartered there prior to the invasion of Normandy and were visited by many famous war leaders though it was 'hush hush' at the time. After the war Glaxo Laboratories moved in and there developed the Salk vaccine.

In Rogers Lane is the house known as Uplands, built in 1772 to house a lace factory, later becoming the village workhouse and now a gracious family home.
Not far from the vicarage is the Clock House built in 1765 as almshouses to replace the original Hospital (or Almshouses) founded by Lord Hastings in 1557. The oldest house in the village is an early 16th century timber-framed house also now occupied by a business firm.

As Thomas Gray's poem has it the villagers seem mainly to have kept 'the noiseless tenour of their way', in the past being mostly employed on the land or in service in the large houses. The exception seems to have been at the time of the Enclosures in the early part of the last century when the villagers' rights of grazing their animals on the common were extinguished. Between 1810 and 1814 a great struggle went on in the parish — many of the gentry and villagers joined forces to preserve the right of the poor to gather fuel on 200 of the original 460 acres. This is now designated an 'area of special scientific interest' and is still administered by four elected trustees from the village under the chairmanship of the vicar of Stoke Poges as was agreed at the time of Enclosure.

It is interesting to note that the needy still have help with their fuel bills, paid for from funds derived from charges to Public Authorities for such things as telephone poles, gas pipes laid across the common etc.

In a mysterious Census of the Poor of 1832 in the Bodleian Library at Oxford there are reports of the villagers, one being transported for seven years and another 'taken up on suspicion of being concerned in an intended conspiracy to fire the workhouse'.

Folk of good character are mentioned and also men who were 'shady' and 'bosky' i.e. given to drink. Among the craftsmen mentioned are brickmakers, sawyers, wheelwrights, a cordwainer, a smith and an unusual occupation of 'kindler maker'.
At the time of the First World War the population of the village was under 1500 and 48 fell in battle. Now the population is 5,000, made up of all sections of the socio-economic groups who get their livelihoods in London, Slough, Windsor, Heathrow Airport etc. The village contains all types of dwelling and an up to date shopping precinct and although no longer presents an agricultural outlook possesses a strong community spirit.

Article written by members of the Buckinghamshire Federation of Women's Institutes for the publication "The Buckinghamshire Village Book" (1987) and reproduced here with their permission


Description of Stoke Poges, from J.J. Sheahan, 1861.

This parish includes Ditton, a portion of the town of Slough, and part of the village of Salt Hill. Area, 2,500 acres; population 1,600. The soil is various. Stoke Common consists of about 200 acres of uninclosed land, from which are extensive prospects. The Village is distant 2.75 miles from Slough. The ancient Manor House in Stoke Park has been celebrated as the scene of the poet Gray's “Long Story.” It was built in 1555, by the Earl of Huntington, and was afterwards the seat of Lord Chancellor Hatton; and then of Chief Justice Coke. A wing of the old house still remains near the church, and is occupied by a gamekeeper, the remainder having been pulled down in 1799. The present modern mansion, the seat of Lord Taunton, is in the Italian style, from a design by James Wyatt, and comprises a large square centre with four wings; the north front is ornamented with a colonade of ten Doric columns, and approached by a flight of steps leading to an oval marble hall.

The Stoke Place estate belongs to Colonel Richard Howard Vyse. It became the property and seat of Field-Marshal Sir G. Howard, on whose decease, in 1796, it descended through his only daughter, to his grandson, who was High Sheriff of Bucks in 1830.

The Baylis House estate is the property of the Duke of Leeds, and was formerly the seat of Lord Godolphin. The mansion is large, and was rebuilt in 1695, by Dr. Godolphin, Provost of Eton. The Earl of Rosslyn died here in 1805. Baylis House has been for the last 30 years a Catholic Boarding School for young gentlemen. There is a Chapel in the house in which the services of the Catholic Church are celebrated, and to which the public are admitted.

The Manor of Ditton is the property of the Duke of Buccleuch. Sir John Moylyns had a castellated seat in his park at Ditton; and on its site Sir Ralph Winwood, Secretary of State to James I., built a noble mansion, which was destroyed by fire in 1812. It was rebuilt in 1813 by Elizabeth, Duchess of Buccleuch, to whom the estate had been bequeathed by Lord Beaulieu, her uncle, husband of the daughter and heir of John, Duke of Montagu, to whose family the estate passed by marriage from the Winwoods.

The Benifice is a Vicarage, rated at £7 17s, and now worth £430 a year. Patron and impropriator, the Duke of Leeds, Vicar, Rev. John Straw. Tithes commuted. The Parsonage Farm, a subordinate manor, was purchased by Baron Godolphin, about 1800, of John Penn, Esq., of Stoke Park.

There is a Chapel of Ease at the hamlet of Ditton; and another about 1.5 mile from the parish church. The Vicarage House is a large and good building. The National Schools were built in 1846, and are endowed with £30 per annum, arising from the bequests of Mary Salter, Margaret Todd, Mrs Parker Sedding, and the Rev. Arthur Bold. About 100 children attend. Lady Moyneaux maintains another school in which about 50 children are educated.


Gerrards Cross was a very small village, and consisted mainly of the houses surrounding the common. The village shop, owned by Mr Wood, was adjacent to the French Horn public house and Mr Wood was also the baker. His daughter, Mrs Newman, with her husband opened a baker's shop near Gerrards Cross station after the railway was constructed from London to the Midlands.
The village school still stands, close to the Pack-horse public house, and the Bull on the western end of the common was the stopping place for the four-in-hand coach which ran from London to Oxford.

Jesse Dell, a carrier,' made the journey from Chalfont to London three times a week, summer and winter and was frequently called on to take material from Finsbury Park to Chalfont House.

It was great fun crossing the water splash in Chalfont Village, which remained until the advent of the motor car.

Besides being a builder, Mr Knight of Stoke Common was a wheelwright and undertaker—there was always a coffin being made in the carpenter's shop and a blacksmith regularly employed fitting the iron rims to the wagon wheels and making the various brackets and fittings required for the construction of the farm wagons. There were also two pit-sawyers constantly sawing tree trunks into planks.

Oil lamps were in use until the electricity supply was brought to Stoke Common after the First World War.
Collum Green Road was originally called Parish Lane and then One Pin Lane. Hedgerley Park was owned by Mrs Stevenson, and her farm bailiff lived at Colly Hill Farm (now a house called Tara). We had to go there each morning to get the milk.
I forget the name of the owner of Fulmer Hall but well remember the tea and firework display given by the owner on the occasion when his son was released from prison for his part in the Jameson Raid on the Transvaal. It must have been about 1898.

The only transport at that time was provided by Mr Glenister who lived at Mount Pleasant, Hedgerley Dean. He had a horse and waggonette and made the journey from Hedgerley to Slough morning and afternoon in the summer and mornings in the winter. He was a fine-looking man, resembling Edward VII, and he used to announce his approach with a tune on his horn. He would undertake to deliver or collect parcels in Slough and make purchases if required.
After the First World War, a Mr Potter and a Mr Clark operated small motor buses between Stoke Common and Slough and gave a very efficient service. Eventually they were displaced by Premier Bus Co., then the GWR, and later by London Transport. There was no shop at Stoke Common and the nearest doctor lived at Farnham Common. The Fox and Pheasant public house had been there for half a century and its nearest neighbours were the Sefton Arms (now the Six Bells) and the One Pin.
We frequently walked to Burnham Beeches, which to us meant the Plain, where there was a wooden hut from which sweets and ginger beer could be obtained. Nearby was a donkey stand where one could have a ride for one penny.
The Fair visited Stoke Common every year in the late summer—it was quite an event.

Honor Gamble,   Stoke Poges & Wexham

Extracted from 'A Pattern Hundreds' (1975) and reproduced with the kind permission of the Buckinghamshire Federation of Women's Institutes


The school in School Lane was originally the school for the boys and the girls of Stoke Poges and Wexham. It was a Board School, built in the 1870's, and replaced the old school in Rogers Lane. It was three schools in one, an infants for all up to the age of seven, and for above that age two segregated schools for boys and girls.
Some children went to school when they were only three years old; many left at the age of ten and when they left school the girls usually went into service. There was nothing else for them to do. School was not free. The children each paid one penny a week. Corporal punishment was administered where and when necessary. One little girl was taken into the cloakroom and soundly spanked by teacher because she said she did not want to go to school. That little girl is now eighty-five years old and it is her most vivid recollection of her school days.

Empire Day was always celebrated with songs in. the morning, with the Union Jack flying, and a holiday in the afternoon. May Day meant dancing round the maypole in the playground. Some children carried a maypole to the houses saying 'First of May is Garland Day, Please remember the Maypole' hoping to collect pennies.
On Sundays they went to Sunday School. Before St Andrews Church was built, the Methodists met in a building in Rogers Lane near the present village hall. There are houses there now. The Sunday School outing was usually to Burnham Beeches. The children rode there in farm wagons and sometimes even in coal wagons. Food and drink were supplied.

Every year there was a Christmas party organised by the vicar and curate. It was held in the Parish Hall, formerly the old school in Rogers Lane, and there was the usual Christmas tree and small gifts. Bonfire night was always celebrated with a huge bonfire on the common opposite the Fox and Pheasant.

Village shops supplied most of the everyday requirements—butcher, baker and post office and the general store. There were three postal deliveries a day—and a cottage loaf cost 3Vfcd. Some people fetched their milk direct from a farm. Others had it delivered—the milkmen having churns from which they measured the quantity required with his long-handled measure.

There was no shortage of water in the village. It was drawn from wells or pumps. For those who had no other supply of drinking water, there was a pump opposite the present Junior School in Rogers Lane. One well had frogs in it but some wells were fresh spring water and always pure.

Most of the men in the village worked on the big estates. In winter, when the weather was too severe for outside building work, men collected sheets of ice from the ponds and lakes, using tongs, and stacked the sheets of ice in the ice wells belonging to the big houses, Stoke Court and Stoke Place.

There was a fair amount of poaching of pheasants, partridges and pigeons. The pub would pay fourpence a rabbit. The skins of rabbits were sold to the rag-and-bone man. Those who could catch sparrows, which were a pest, received threepence a dozen and the sparrows were made into pies.

The chimney sweep charged sixpence for an ordinary chimney: he had a boy to climb the large chimneys. There were twenty-one chimneys at Stoke Court.
Some of the old roads which still exist today have new names. Duffield Lane used to be called Back Road, Templewood Lane was Donkey Road, Chapel Lane was Watery Lane, Hockley Lane was Green Lane, Plough Lane was Cock Lane, Farthing Green Lane was Church Road. It is said that Shaggy Calf Road was so named because a headless shaggy calf ran up the road.

To commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria the Jubilee Oak was planted—some say by the Queen herself—at the corner of Church Road where it crosses Park Road. All the school children attended the ceremony and sang songs.

Members of Stoke Poges & Wexham

Extracted from 'A Pattern Hundreds' (1975) and reproduced with the kind permission of the Buckinghamshire Federation of Women's Institutes



Stoke Poges Parish, with part of Slough (Pop. 1,252)

Six Daily Schools, one contains 64 children, endowed with ú30 per annum and a school-house, for which 30 males and 10 females are instructed; 10 others are paid for by the parish, the rest by their parents; two others respectively contain 27 and 18 children, supported by two individuals who have built school-houses, and pay all annual expenses, (the children in these Schools attend also on Sundays); in the other three, 35 children are instructed at the expense of their parents.

Two Boarding Schools, respectively containing 15 and 28 males, whose education is paid for by their parents; the last School appertains to Roman Catholics; five of the daily Schools, with 95 children, have commenced since 1818.