Stoke Poges is a semi-rural Buckinghamshire village, located in the south of the county, about three miles north of Slough and one mile east of Farnham Common.
The village name ‘Stoke’ is one of the most common in the United Kingdom and means ‘ hamlet ‘. In the Domesday Book of 1086 the village was recorded as Stoche. The affix ‘Poges’ came later, and refers to the family that owned the manor in the village in the Thirteenth century.
The manor in Stoke Poges was once a very grand place, and Queen Elizabeth I was entertained here in 1601. Later, in the middle of the Seventeenth century the lady of the manor, Lady Purbeck caused great national scandal when she had a love affair outside her own marriage. In 1635 she was imprisoned for adultery but escaped from prison to France, later returning to Stoke Poges where she died in 1645.
In 1647 the manor was the place where King Charles I was imprisoned before his execution.
Later the manor came into the possession of Thomas Penn, grandson of William Penn, who founded Pennsylvania, and remained in his family for at least two generations.
Thomas Gray ‘s Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard is believed to have been written in the churchyard of the St Giles’ Church in Stoke Poges, although there are other local claimants. Certainly, Thomas Gray is buried at St Giles’. Stoke Poges is also mentioned in 20th century literature, in the book Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, where it is the location of a frequently visited golf course.
Further information on the evolution of the built settlement of Stoke Poges is available on the Bucks County Council ‘Unlocking Buckinghamshire’s Past’ pages. (link opens in a new window).
More recently, the James Bond film Goldfinger features a golf match played between the principal characters, James Bond and Auric Goldfinger, at Stoke Poges Golf Club.