Place:Clewer, Berkshire, England

TypeParish (ancient), Parish
Coordinates51.485°N 0.627°W
Located inBerkshire, England
See alsoRipplesmere Hundred, Berkshire, Englandhundred in which it was located
Windsor Rural, Berkshire, Englandrural district of which the parish was a part 1894-1974
Windsor and Maidenhead District, Berkshire, Englanddistrict municipality which the parish joined in 1974
Windsor and Maidenhead, Berkshire, Englanddistrict municipality and unitary authority which the district became in 1998
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Clewer (also known as Clewer Village) is an ecclesiastical parish and region of Windsor making up three wards of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead in the English county of Berkshire.

Clewer was part of the Ripplesmere Hundred and the Windsor Poor Law Union. The parish was located in the Windsor Rural District 1894-1974, and since that date in the Royal Burgh of Windsor and Maidenhead (both the administrative district and the unitary authority).

Dedworth is a village in the northwest corner of the parish of Clewer.


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

The name Clewer comes from the word 'Clifwara' meaning 'Cliff-Dwellers' and is named after those who lived below the hill on which Windsor Castle was built. Historically, Clewer pre-dates New Windsor and still exists as a separate ecclesiastical parish. A Saxon settlement existed there, and it is thought that the settlement of Clewer may have grown up at a place where the river Thames could be forded. A wood-and-thatch Saxon church is believed to have existed on the site of the present church. The surviving font is thought to be Saxon, and is presumed to have belonged to the earlier church. Until the 1850s this font was in an improbable position at the west end of the north aisle and it is likely that it had never been moved from its position in the earlier Saxon church.

By the time of the Norman Conquest, there was a Manor of Clewer, mentioned in the Domesday Book as Clivore and recorded as having a church and mill. It was from here that William I took the lands on which he built his fort, which became Windsor Castle. The Manor of Clewer continued to receive a rent of 12 shillings per annum from the Crown, for this land, until the sixteenth century. The present St Andrew's Church is of Norman construction and it is traditionally believed that William I habitually attended mass there, as there was no chapel within the original castle. It has a 14th-century chantry chapel to the memory of the second wife of the hero of the Hundred Years' War, Sir Bernard Brocas. The family lived in the sub-manor of Clewer Brocas until rebellious activities obliged then to retreat to obscurity at Beaurepaire in Sherborne St John.

The Clewer Park area of Clewer Village is where the former home of Sir Daniel Gooch once stood.

It was at Clewer that Charles Thomas Wooldridge murdered his wife Laura Ellen; the execution of Wooldridge in 1896 was immortalised in Oscar Wilde's The Ballad of Reading Gaol.

Research Tips


  • GENUKI's collection of maps for Berkshire. For basic reference are the two online maps Berkshire Parishes (highly recommended) and Berkshire Poor Law Union areas. These locate the individual parishes and indicate the urban and rural districts to which each belonged. There are many other maps listed, some covering specific parts of the county.
  • Wikipedia's outline map of the unitary authorities, shown on many of their Berkshire pages, shows how the new divisions of government relate to the former districts. It has to be remembered that the county was reshaped in 1974 with the urban and rural districts of Abingdon and Faringdon and part of Wantage going to Oxfordshire, and the Borough of Slough (with Eton) coming in from Buckinghamshire. Every attempt is being made to indicate here in WeRelate the civil parishes, towns and villages for which these transfers occurred. Currently there are maps to be found on place pages that deal with civil parishes that transferred from Buckinghamshire into Berkshire. It is planned to provide maps within WeRelate for places that transferred from Berkshire to Oxfordshire--a much wider geographical area.
  • The extensive collection provided by Genmaps is provided free of charge online (currently offline, March 2016).
  • The Ordnance Survey has produced an up-to-date map of the boundaries of all the post-1974 districts throughout the country. This also shows the electoral constituency boundaries which are destined to change before 2020.

Online Historical References

  • Berkshire Record Office. The Berkshire Record Office [BRO] was established in 1948 to locate and preserve records relating to the county of Berkshire and its people, and anyone who is interested in the county's past. As well as original documents, catalogues and indexes, there is a library at the Record Office.
  • Berkshire Family History Society Research Centre. "The Berks FHS Centre can help you - wherever your ancestors came from. There is a Research Centre Library open to all."
  • West Berkshire Museum, Newbury, is housed in a building with an interesting past, but is currently closed for redevelopment. No information on their collections.
  • The GENUKI provision for Berkshire has been updated more recently than that for some of the other counties. A member of the Berkshire Family History Society is credited with this revision.
  • The FamilySearch Wiki on Berkshire explains the jurisdictions relating to civil affairs, parishes and probate (wills and testaments) for each parish in the county and also outlines when these jurisdictions were in existence. Alterations required to cover the post-1974 period have not been carried out for every parish concerned.
  • Brett Langston's list of Registration Districts in Berkshire will lead to specific parishes with dates.
  • Local History Online is a compilation of websites from Berkshire local history clubs, societies and associations.
  • The Berkshire section of The Victoria History of the Counties of England, in four volumes, is provided by British History Online. Volumes 3 and 4 provide an extensive history of the county, parish by parish, up to the end of the 19th century. There are local maps illustrating the text. Manors and their owners are discussed. Parishes are arranged in their original "hundreds"; the hundred for each placename in the Berkshire section of WeRelate will eventually be available.

Nineteenth Century Local Administration

English Jurisdictions is a webpage provided by FamilySearch which analyses every ecclesiastical parish in England at the year 1851. It provides, with the aid of outline maps, the date at which parish records and bishops transcripts begin, non-conformist denominations with a chapel within the parish, the names of the jurisdictions in charge: county, civil registration district, probate court, diocese, rural deanery, poor law union, hundred, church province; and links to FamilySearch historical records, FamilySearch Catalog and the FamilySearch Wiki. Two limitations: only England, and at the year 1851.

During the 19th century two bodies, the Poor Law Union and the Sanitary District, had responsibility for governmental functions at a level immediately above that covered by the civil parish. In 1894 these were replace by Rural and Urban Districts. These were elected bodies, responsible for setting local property assessments and taxes as well as for carrying out their specified duties. Thses districts continued in operation until 1974. Urban districts for larger municipalities were called "Municipal Boroughs" and had additional powers and obligations.

Poor Law Unions, established nationally in 1834, combined parishes together for the purpose of providing relief for the needy who had no family support. This led to the building of '"union poorhouses" or "workhouses" funded by all the parishes in the union. The geographical boundaries established for the individual Poor Law Unions were employed again when Registration Districts were formed three years later. In 1875 Sanitary Districts were formed to provide services such as clean water supply, sewage systems, street cleaning, and the clearance of slum housing. These also tended to follow the same geographical boundaries, although there were local alterations caused by changes in population distribution.

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Clewer. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.