The Ostrich Inn
Colnbrook is a large village in the far east of Buckinghamshire adjacent to Poyle in Middlesex. It is situated 3½ miles south-east of central Slough, 5½ miles east of Windsor and 19 miles west of central London. Other nearby villages include Horton, Datchet and Wraysbury.
Mentioned in the Domesday Book, Colnbrook is on the Colne Brook, a tributary to the River Colne, hence Colnbrook. Coaching inns were the village's main industry. In 1106 the first one was founded by Milo Crispin, named the Hospice (now the Ostrich Inn). By 1577 Colnbrook had no fewer than ten coaching inns. Colnbrook's High Street was on the main London to Bath road and turn off point for Windsor and was used as a resting point for travellers.
One 17th-century landlord, Jarman of the Ostrich Inn, installed a large trap door under the bed in the best bedroom located immediately above the inn's kitchen. The bed was fixed to the trap door and the mattress securely attached to the bedstead, so that when two retaining iron pins were removed from below in the small hours of the morning, the sleeping guest was neatly decanted into a boiling cauldron. In this way more than 60 of his richer guests were murdered silently and with no bloodshed. Their bodies were then disposed of in the River Colne. The murder of a wealthy clothier, Olde Cole or Thomas of Reading, proved to be Jarman's undoing in that he failed to get rid of Cole's horse, leading to his confessing. Jarman and his wife were hanged for robbery and murder. The inn is reportedly haunted and has been subject to investigations by the Sussex Paranormal Research Group and Most Haunted. On an episode of "Ghosthunters International" that aired on July 21, 2010, it is mentioned that the Jarman murders at the Ostrich Inn were the inspiration for the story of "Sweeney Todd".
Colnbrook is also the place where Richard Cox (a retired brewer), in 1825, first grafted the Cox's Orange Pippin at his orchard named The Lawns.
Colnbrook was, in earlier times, along the main road to Windsor by way of Slough, and had been a convenient halting-place for travellers before the introduction of railways. Colnbrook has a railway line running into West Drayton, formerly carrying passenger traffic, then for carrying materials for the Heathrow Airport extension Terminal 5 (now completed). This railway line formerly continued to Staines-upon-Thames and there are plans to re-use the southern part of it for the Heathrow Airtrack rail link from Staines to Heathrow Airport.
Local bus services are operated by London United and First Berkshire & The Thames Valley.
- History of the Parish of Wraysbury, Ankerwycke Priory, and Magna Charta Island; with the History of Horton, and the town of Colnbrook, Bucks., G. W. J. Gyll, 1862, London: H. G. Bohn. Online version OCLC: 5001532
- The hundred of Stoke: Colnbrook, A History of the County of Buckingham: Volume 3. William Page (editor), 1925, pp. 246-249.
- Sweet Thames Run Softly - Robert Gibbings
- How Thomas of Reading was Murdered - Thomas Deloney
- Sussex Paranormal Research Group