Hurley, Berkshire Family History Guide

Hurley is an Ancient Parish in the county of Berkshire.

Alternative names:

Parish church:

Parish registers begin:

  • Parish registers: 1560
  • Bishop’s Transcripts: 1605

Nonconformists include: Independent/Congregational

Adjacent Parishes

Parish History

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

HURLEY, a village and a parish in Cookham district, Berks. The village stands in a valley on the river Thames, amid an amphitheatre of green and wooded hills, adjacent to Bucks, 2½ miles SW of Great Marlow, and 4 NW by W of Maidenhead r. station; is a picturesque place, with some old timber houses; and has a post pillar box under Marlow. The parish includes part of Knowle-Hill chapelry, and comprises 4,097 acres. Real property, £6,795; of which £47 are in fisheries. Pop., 1,184. Houses, 234. The property is divided among a few. The manor was given, at the Conquest, to Geoffrey de Mandeville; went soon to Westminster abbey; passed, at the Reformation, to the Lovelaces; and went afterwards to the Wilcocks’ and others. A Benedictine priory, a cell to Westminster abbey, was founded on it in 1086; and had vaults, which still exist, and in which, not many years ago, three monks’ bodies were discovered in their Benedictine habits. A mansion was built over the priory’s site about 1600, by Sir Richard Lovelace; made a great figure at the Revolution, in connexion with Richard Lord Lovelace; bore the name of Lady Place; was “a perplexing labyrinth of panelled rooms;” contained some paintings ascribed to Salvator Rosa; was last inhabited by the brother of Admiral Kempenfelt; and underwent demolition in 1837. Its chief materials were sold for £700; and a staircase in it, of great splendour, was removed to a mansion in one of the northern counties. The vaults of the priory continned to exist beneath the mansion; were the meetingplace of the planners of the Revolution; and were visited by William III., George III., and Paoli; and these vaults, covered by a mound of green turf, are now all that remain of the mansion. The rocks of the parish belong to the tertiary formation, and are remarkable for fine fossil specimens of the elephant, the hippopotamus, the tiger, and other animals. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Oxford. Value, £263. Patron, the Rev. F. J. Wethered. The church is Norman; belonged to Westminster abbey; was the burial place of Edith, sister of Edward the Confessor; underwent restoration in 1852; retains some interesting Norman details; and contains an ancient monument to the Lovelaces, and some other monuments. The vicarage of Knowle-Hill is a separate benefice. There are national schools, and charities £49.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].

The Parliamentary Gazetteer of England and Wales 1851

Hurley, a parish and village in Beynhurst hund., union of Cookham, Berkshire; 4¾ miles west-north west of Maidenhead, on the bank of the Thames. Acres 4,530. Houses 225. A.P. £8,842. Pop., in 1801, 915; in 1831. 1,150. The scenery in this vicinity is very fine. The vale of Hurley containing the town of Great Marlow, and Bisham, Hurley, and Medmenham, celebrated for their ancient monastic establishments, interspersed as it is with gentlemen’s seats, farms, mid all the variety of cultivation, and bounded by sylvan hills, between which the river winds in picturesque meanders, is one of the most charming scenes in England, though of limited extent. The living of the parish is a discharged vicarage, formerly in the archd. of Berks and dio. of Salisbury, now in the dio. of Oxford; rated at £6 13s. 6½d., and returned at £138 17s. 10d.; gross income £163. Patron, in 1835, the Hon. H. Walker. This parish possesses 7 daily and 2 day and Sunday schools. Charities, in 1837, £60 0s. 4d. per annum, of which £19 were applied to parochial purposes. The poor are also entitled annually to 10 quarters of rye, — the gift of Sir Richard Lovelace. Poor rates, in 1838, £439 9s. The village of Hurley has an antiquated and secluded aspect. Its old and partly wooden houses have deep-seated porches entwined with vines, and covered with moss. At the entrance, however, a neat inn, and one or two other modern buildings, have been erected. The manor-house of Lady-place, which formerly stood here, was the residence of the Lovelace family. It occupied the site of a Benedictine monastery, founded in the reign of William the Conqueror, “to which the monks of Westminster resorted, as to their Tusculanum.” The house was erected about the year 1600, by Sir Richard Lovelace, who is reputed to have acquired a large sum of money in an expedition against the Spaniards with Sir Francis Drake. The apartments of Lady-place were spacious, and fitted up with great splendour and magnificence. In the reign of James II. private meetings of some of the leuding nobles of the kingdom were held in the subterraneous vault, formerly the burial cavern of the monastery, under the great hall, for calling in the prince of Orange; and it is said that the principal papers, which brought about the Revolution of 1688, were signed in the dark recess, at the extremity of the vault. On this account Lady-place was visited by William III., and by George III. and his queen, whose curiosity led them to descend the dark stairs and examine the vault. The following inscription records the chief facts connected with the history of the vault : —

Dust and ashes. Mortality and vicissitude to all.

Be it remembered that the monastery of Lady-place (of which this vuitlt was the burial cavern) was founded at the time of the great Norman Revolution; by which revolution the whole state of Englaud was changed.

Be it also remembered, that in this place, 600 years afterwards, the Revolution of 1688 was begun. This house was then in the possession of the family of Lord Lovelace, by whom private meetings of the nobility were assembled in the vault, and it is said that several consultations for calling in the prince of Orange were held in this recess. On which account this vault was visited by that powerful prince after he had ascended the throne.

The visits of George the Third and others are also recorded. In this vault were found the bodies of several monks, in the habits of their order. The family of Lovelace was ennobled in the reign of Charles the First, under the title of Lord Lovelace, baron of Hurley. The manor-house was pulled down in 1837. “We have often heard of a melancholy state of repose,” remarks a writer in ‘The Gentleman’s Magazine,’ for September, 1838, “and when, previous to the destruction of Lady-place, the visiter entered on the lawn with its long rank grass, and beheld a large mansion, which at the first glance appeared as if never touched since the days of Elizabeth, while around it some magnificent spreading cedars still pointed to where the pleasure-grounds had been; and then passing along its vast marble hall, equalled by few for its grandeur and proportions, and through innumerable apartments, their walls attesting much of their original splendour, but in none the slightest token of habitation, or the smallest mark of furniture, all alike silent and desolate, — this feeling was experienced in a very extraordinary degree. It is a little curious to mark the chances and changes of this place and its inhabitants. Of the piety of the fair Lecelius, the foundress of the priory, and of its peaceful and sluggish inhabitants for near 500 years, the destruction of the establishment and a noble mansion arising on its foundations from the legalized piracy of a successful and noble buccaneer, while his gallant descendant by his secret counsel, held in a vault perhaps over the very spot where lay the mouldering remains of the fair foundress of the priory, successfully urges the complete overthrow of that form of worship of which she appears to have been so zealous and pious a supporter. With the extinction of the family of Lovelace, the glory of Lady-place appears to have departed, and one tomb in the little village-church, though crumbling in decay, attests something of the former magnificence of the Lovelaces, lords of Hurley.”

Source: The Parliamentary Gazetteer of England and Wales; A Fullarton & Co. Glasgow; 1851.

Parish Records

FamilySearch Catalog

Census

Census returns for Hurley, 1841-1891

Church Records

Bishop’s transcripts for Hurley, 1605-1835 Author: Church of England. Parish Church of Hurley (Berkshire)

Parish registers, 1560-1969, and church and civil records, 1844-1963 Author: Church of England. Parish Church of Hurley (Berkshire)

St. Mary’s Hurley, in the middle ages : based on Hurley charters and deeds Author: Wethered, Florence Thomas

Computer printout of Hurley, Berkshire, England

History

The five villages of Hurley parish : a pictorial record Author: Burfitt, David

Poorhouses & Poor Law

Parish registers, 1560-1969, and church and civil records, 1844-1963 Author: Church of England. Parish Church of Hurley (Berkshire)

Public Records

Endowed charities, county of Berkshire : parish of Hurley

Schools

Admission registers, 1857-1908 Author: Knowl Hill Church of England School (Hurley, Berkshire)

Berkshire Archives & Family History Groups

Berkshire Record Office

Berkshire Family History Society

GENUKI Berkshire

Berkshire

England, Berkshire, Reading, Cemetery Records, 1843-1959

Newtown Road Cemetery

Berkshire BMD

Berkshire Gravestones

Find A Grave Berkshire

West Berkshire War Memorials

Calendar of Berkshire Wills

Wellington College Register 1859-1905

Abingdon Union Workhouse Census 1881

Bradfield Union Workhouse 1881

Cookham Union Workhouse 1881

Easthampstead Union Workhouse 1881

Great Faringdon Union Workhouse 1881

Hungerford Union Workhouse 1881

Newbury Union Workhouse 1881

Reading Union Workhouse 1881

Wallingford Union Workhouse 1881

Wantage Union Workhouse 1881

Windsor Union Workhouse 1881

Wokingham Union Workhouse

Berkshire Enclosure Maps

Berkshire History

Records for England

Births and Baptism Records

England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975

Great Britain, Births and Baptisms, 1571-1977

England and Wales Birth Registration Index, 1837-2008

United Kingdom, Maritime Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1787-1933

Marriage Records

England Marriages, 1538–1973

Great Britain Marriages, 1797-1988

England and Wales Marriage Registration Index, 1837-2005

United Kingdom, Maritime Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1787-1933

Death Records

England Death Records, 1998-2015

England Deaths and Burials, 1538-1991

Great Britain Deaths and Burials, 1778-1988

England and Wales Death Registration Index 1837-2007

United Kingdom, Maritime Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1787-1933

England and Wales, National Index of Wills and Administrations, 1858-1957

England and Wales, Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills, 1640-1660

Non-Conformist Records

England and Wales Non-Conformist Record Indexes (RG4-8), 1588-1977

Census

England and Wales Census, 1841

England and Wales Census, 1851

England and Wales Census, 1861

England and Wales Census, 1871

England and Wales Census, 1881

England and Wales Census, 1891

England and Wales Census, 1901

England and Wales Census, 1911

Occupations

United Kingdom, Merchant Navy Seamen Records, 1835-1941

War and Conflict

Great Britain, War Office Registers, 1772-1935

United Kingdom, Chelsea Pensioners’ Service Records, 1760-1913

United Kingdom, Royal Hospital Chelsea: Discharge Documents of Pensioners 1760-1887 (WO 122)

United Kingdom, Maritime Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1787-1933

United Kingdom, Militia Service Records, 1806-1915

United Kingdom, World War I Service Records, 1914-1920

United Kingdom, World War I Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps Records, 1917-1920

Newspaper Archives

British Newspaper Archive, Family Notices

British Newspaper Archives, Obituaries

Maps

Vision of Britain historical maps

Administration

  • County: Berkshire
  • Civil Registration District: Cookham
  • Probate Court: Court of the Archdeaconry of Berkshire
  • Diocese: Pre-1836 - Salisbury, Post-1835 - Oxford
  • Rural Deanery: Reading
  • Poor Law Union: Cookham
  • Hundred: Beynhurst
  • Province: Canterbury