Stoke Row

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Stoke Row
St. John the Evangelist, Stoke Row - - 594896.jpg
St John the Evangelist parish church
Grid reference: SU6884
Location: 51°33’7"N, 1°-0’58"W
Population: 651  (2011 census[1])
Post town: Henley-on-Thames
Postcode: RG9
Dialling code: 01491
Local Government
Council: South Oxfordshire

Stoke Row is a village and parish in Oxfordshire, within the Chiltern Hills about five miles west of Henley-on-Thames and about nine miles north of Reading, Berkshire.


The toponym was first recorded in 1435. It means a "row of houses at Stoke" (Stoke being a common name for a secondary settlement or outlying farmstead).[2]

Stoke Row originates as a hamlet divided between the ancient parishes of Ipsden, Newnham Murren and Mongewell. It became a chapelry in 1849.[3] From 1932 it was divided between the civil parishes of Ipsden and Crowmarsh (into which Newnham Murren and Mongewell were merged)[4] In 1952 Stoke Row was made a new civil parish.[5]

Parish church

The Church of England parish church of Saint John the Evangelist was built in 1846. It was designed in 13th century style by the architect R.C. Hussey.[6] St. John the Evangelist parish is now a member of The Langtree Team Ministry: a Church of England benefice that includes also the parishes of Checkendon, Ipsden, North Stoke, Whitchurch-on-Thames and Woodcote.[7]

Stoke Row Independent Chapel

Stoke Row Independent Chapel


Stoke Row Independent Chapel was built in 1815 and there is a history of Dissenters meeting in the village.[8] Dissenters had been meeting in the village since 1691, when they gathered in the drawing room of a local farmhouse. The Chapel was built in Flemish bond red brick on flint footings. The roof is slate hipped with overhanging eaves.[9]

In the early years services were conducted by visiting ministers or licensed lay preachers, but in 1955 a wealthy local farmer, who had been a lifelong strong supporter, bequeathed a large piece of land opposite the chapel and on this houses were built. The resulting finance enabled a house to be built for the Minister and for chapel modernisation, including modern heating and the provision of a kitchen and toilets. A trust was also established and this still provides for the upkeep of the exterior of both buildings.

In 1978 Padre Bernard Railton Bax took over the ministry. His work was continued, after his death in 1990, by Rev John Harrington and his wife Nina. Mrs Harrington died in 1996 and Rev Harrington retired at the age of 87, after thirteen years of service.

The chapel has always been independent, but it has neighbourly links with the local Church of England parish church of St John the Evangelist. There was once a move to integrate with the Congregational Church, but the plan did not materialise. The chapel has an ecumenical attitude and residential Ministers in recent years have included a Baptist and several from a United Reformed Church background.

In 2016 the chapel has a choir and the meeting room, at the rear of the chapel, is used by many groups, one on a weekly basis. The current ministers are Revd David and Revd Sonia Jackson.[10]

In June 2015 an outdoor service was held, attended by many villagers, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the chapel. The congregation sat in a marquee in the chapel grounds and sang hymns with accompaniment from the Reading Central Salvation Army Band. Rev David and Rev Sonya Jackson gave readings and led prayers, as did Rev Kevin Davies, the minister for Henley deanery. The service was followed by a village picnic. A celebration cake was cut by 95-year-old Ken Jago, the oldest member of the congregation.[11]

Maharajah's Well

The Maharajah's Well

Edward Anderdon Reade, the local squire at Ipsden, had worked with the Maharajah of Benares in India in the mid nineteenth century. He had sunk a well in 1831 to aid the community in Azimgurgh. Reade left the area in 1860.

A couple of years later the Maharajah decided on an endowment in England. Recalling Mr Reade’s generosity in 1831 and also his stories of water deprivation in his home area of Ipsden[12] the Maharajah commissioned the well at Stoke Row and it was sunk in 1863.[6] The originally intended site for the well was Nuffield Common. All work was completed by the Wallingford firm of R. J. and H. Wilder.[13]


The village has two public houses. The Cherry Tree Inn[14] dates from the 17th century and is a Brakspear tied house.

The Cherry Tree Inn

The Crooked Billet,[15] a free house, was built in 1642 and is reputed to have once been the hideout of notorious highwayman Dick Turpin, who was alleged to have been romantically attached to the landlord's daughter, Bess. It was England's first gastropub and was the venue for Kate Winslet's wedding reception. In June 1989, the British progressive rock band Marillion played their first performance with Steve Hogarth as frontman at the Crooked Billet, and a documentary DVD entitled From Stoke Row To Ipanema - A Year In The Life was subsequently produced.[16]

In the 1851 census the head of the household at No 1 Stoke Row was George Hope, who built "The Hope" public house. This was later known as "The Farmer" and today is known as Farmer's Cottage, located on the corner of Main Street with Nottwood Lane.[17]

The village has a Church of England primary school.[18]

Notable residents

  • George Cole (1925 – 2015), actor, resided in Stoke Row for over 70 years.[19]
  • Nick Heyward (born 1961), singer-songwriter and guitarist, currently lives in the village.[20]


  1. "Area selected: South Oxfordshire (Non-Metropolitan District)". Neighbourhood Statistics: Full Dataset View. Office for National Statistics.$ph=60_61&datasetInstanceId=3070&startColumn=1&numberOfColumns=4&containerAreaId=790498. Retrieved 22 December 2010. 
  2. Watts, Victor, ed (2010). "Stoke Row". The Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 510, 577. 
  3. John Marius Wilson (1870-72), Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales in Vision of Britain
  4. Vision of Britain: Crowmarsh CP
  5. Vision of Britain: Stoke Row CP
  6. 6.0 6.1 Sherwood & Pevsner, 1974, page 789
  7. The Langtree Team Ministry
  8. "Journals of the House of Lords". 183. p. 306. 
  9. "Independent Chapel | Oxfordshire Historic Churches Trust". 12 September 2015. Retrieved 11 November 2015. 
  10. [1]
  11. "Celebrating 200 years of worship". 27 June 2015. Retrieved 11 November 2015. 
  12. Stoke Row: History
  13. Williamson, 1983
  14. Cherry Tree Inn
  15. The Crooked Billet
  16. "Steve Hogarth's first Marillion Gig at The Crooked Billet". Archived from the original on 2012-06-05. 
  17. "Stoke Row Census Return 1851" at
  18. Stoke Row Church of England Primary School
  19. Ward, Victoria (31 August 2013). "Actor George Cole in dispute over local sawmill". The Telegraph. 
  20. "Nick Heyward". Henley Life: 7. August 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2015. 


  • Sherwood, Jennifer; Pevsner, Nikolaus (1974). Oxfordshire. The Buildings of England. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. p. 789. ISBN 0-14-071045-0. 
  • Spencer-Harper, Angela (1999). Dipping into the Wells: The Story of the Two Chiltern Villages of Stoke Row and Highmoor Seen Through the Lives of Their Inhabitants. Witney: Robert Boyd Publications. ISBN 1-899536-35-3. 
  • Williamson, L.D. (1983). An Illustrated History of The Maharajah's Well. Stoke Row: The Maharajah's Well Trust. 

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Stoke Row)