The ancient Parish of Old Windsor extended from the Thames to Winkfield and Windlesham and some maps still show ‘Old Windsor Bog’ south of Sunningdale.
Old Windsor pre-dates the town of ‘New’ Windsor. Evidence of activity from 4100BC through to the present day has been found. The most historically significant being a large ninth century riverside Saxon settlement (built on the site of an earlier roman settlement), with a royal palace providing a seat of government, and hunting forays into the vast Windsor forest, which continued with the early Normans up to Edward the Confessor. William the Conqueror’s Doomsday book of 1087 listed Old Windsor as the second largest settlement in Berkshire. The village almost disappeared after Henry I built Windsor Castle several miles up river.
These origins have prompted several books about Old Windsor’s rich history which also boasts some Roman remains, brick and tile making, grand houses, a listed workhouse sponsored by Prince Albert in 1840, the Pennyroyal Almshouses and the Victorian tapestry and glassworks buildings.
The Village today
The Parish of Old Windsor extends from the River Thames, over most of Windsor Great Park, up to Virginia Water. It includes the famous ‘Copper Horse’ statue of King George III and the top half of the impressive Long Walk from Windsor Castle, ‘The Village’ a second, smaller settlement for the Crown Estate workers in the Great Park and Smiths Lawn, famous for it’s polo.The village of Old Windsor is set on the banks of the Thames and is also bordered by the beautiful Windsor Great Park and the meadows of Runnymede (location of the signing of the Magna Carta). The popular Thames towpath runs from Runnymede, past the former ‘Bells of Ouseley’ public house (now part of the ‘Harvester’ chain) through to Old Windsor Lock and on to Albert Bridge. The village has retained its community identity with a selection of shops, restaurants, pubs & commerce.
Using the statistics from 23rd May 2012 there are 2,070 properties in Old Windsor with a further 141 in the Great Park which is also part of the Old Windsor Parish. There are 3,875 electorate and approximately 5,070 residents in total although estimates for residents do vary greatly. Many residents stay in Old Windsor all of their lives and this has resulted in Old Windsor having the largest percentage of elderly residents in the borough.
Due to our close proximity to Windsor Great Park and the River Thames it will come as no surprise to find that 93% of the Parish is Green Belt and 7% Flood Plain. We are also close to both the M4 and the M25 which has resulted in the Straight Road being classed as the busiest single carriageway of its type in the whole borough.
The Hope-Taylor archaeological dig on the Saxon site of Kingsbury (in the field south of the Parish Church) in the 1950’s yielded many artefacts now currently being catalogued at Reading Museum. The Parish Council adopted one of these items, the ‘Kingsbury Beast’ (a bronze broach of a dogs head), as it’s logo.
Kingsbury Ancient Monument site
Old Windsor Parish Boundary
The Copper Horse
St Lukes Road
Berkshire, SL4 2QL