Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Hidden Henley

Hidden Henley

THESE remains of an old monument are in a field next to the bypass as you take the road from Crowmarsh and approach the new River Thames bridge.

Its deterioration is advanced and there is probably little time left to see it for yourself before it completely disintegrates due to exposure to the weather. But be warned that it’s difficult to spot among the grasses.

There is a curious story behind it. The monument may be all that is left of the original Mongewell Park estate, which was owned by the American Henry Gould.

One story goes that, as an atheist, he hated to see people on their way to St John’s Church within the grounds walking alongside his land. He had the lane that leads to the church sunk below deep banks so that the villagers would be out of sight.

In 1948 the estate became the Jewish boarding school Carmel College but this closed in 1997.

Agatha Christie used the mansion house as the basis for her play The Mousetrap.

The other buildings, some of which are Grade II listed, have become derelict. The church has been out of use since 1981 and is now missing a large section of its roof. Gould would doubtless be pleased!

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