Heritage and history
Over 1000 years of village life
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 by Sir Edward Coke. He was the 1st Lord Chief Justice of England and considered by many, even to this day, to be the greatest jurist in the Commonwealth.
In 1647, the Manor House was the place where King Charles I was imprisoned before his execution.
Later, in 1760, the Manor House was bought by Thomas Penn, son of William Penn (who founded Pennsylvania in the uSA) 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, the poet frequently visited close family members in Stoke Poges and 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.
In the late 20th century, scenes for the James Bond film 'Goldfinger' featuring a golf match played between the principal characters, James Bond and Auric Goldfinger, were filmed at Stoke Park. It has also been the setting for scenes from the films Layer Cake, Wimbledon, Bridget Jones' Diary and the Netflix series 'The Crown'.
The Parish of Stoke Poges used to be much larger with land going south to the A4 Bath Road, now in Slough. This land included Baylis House and estate which was the home of the Dukes of Leeds. An island of land forming the Ditton Park estate (between Langley and Datchet) was also in the parish. Ditton Park was the home of the Dukes of Montagu.
With thanks to Harvey Whittam, Chairman of The Stoke Poges Society, for reviewing and updating these pages and providing some of the photos.