Friday, 18 June 2021

Wargrave Local History Society

MEMBERS learnt about the history of Hennerton at January’s meeting.

MEMBERS learnt about the history of Hennerton at January’s meeting.

Phil Davis gave the talk, called “Hennerton Hexagon”, telling the stories of six people who had been associated with the area.

They included lavender farmer Zachary Allnutt who, like his father Henry, was a Henley solicitor and clerk to the Thames Navigation  Commissioners.

The Allnutts installed pound locks on the River Thames which made navigation easier and helped in the transportation of goods.

By 1815, Park Place belonged to the 1st Earl of Malmesbury, a close friend of Napoleon, who separated the southern end of the estate and put it up for sale.

Stockbroker Charles Frederick Johnson bought the land for £21,000 and hired architect C H Latham to design him a house at Hennerton.

The house was sold to John William Rhodes in 1848. 

Rhodes was involved in providing education in Wargrave and was the largest contributor to the cost of building  Robert Piggott Junior school before dying a year after it opened.

Mr Davis also talked about two other members of the Rhodes family: Herbert Edward and William Wilfred.

Herbert Edward was born at Hennerton and educated at Eton and Cambridge.

He was a rower and played cricket for Yorkshire. In 1889, he died after falling from the balcony of a train while drunk.

William Wilfred was one of J W Rhodes’ grandsons and became a lawyer and also an army major. He was discharged in 1917 after suffering a traumatic experience while serving.

The last of the six people was an American serviceman known only as Caruso who had been at Hennerton during the Second World War.

Mr Davis said he only knew his name, birthplace of Akron, Ohio, and that a heart symbol was relevant to him.

He checked the US army enlistment records and also contacted a newspaper in Ohio before tracking down a school librarian who was Caruso’s granddaughter.

The librarian found her grandfather’s scrapbooks, which contained a picture taken at Hennerton, and found out that he was a metal worker who often made copper bracelets for friends in the shape of a heart.

The society’s next meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 9, when Ann Griffin will talk about the Rev James Austen Leigh, of Knowl Hill.

On Tuesday, March 8, the society will hold its annual meeting with the programme for the coming year.

Meetings take place in the Old Pavilion at the recreation ground off Recreation Road in Wargrave, starting at 8pm.

For more information, call Peter Delaney on (0118) 940 3121 or visit

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