Wonderful Wargrave and Warfield
that Wally was a well-known pub frequenter during the 1960s, and by all accounts, “a bit of a character”. At the far end of the High Street lies The George and Dragon. Having changed hands a few times in recent years, this establishment is now more of a restaurant than a public house. There is a fantastic terrace where you can enjoy sipping your drinks in the sunshine. Occasionally, a mock steamboat from up Henley way makes its way past this spot providing a Tom Sawyer moment.
In January 1879 the small ferry boat hit ice and capsized throwing all four occupants into the river. Tragically, Essex Thomas, the ferryman, lost his ten-year-old daughter. A sad reflection of our past is that because of their class, the tragedy of the girl’s death was little reported, and it was only recently that the girl was identified as Mary Anne Thomas. There have long been reports of a sprite called Benji near the George and Dragon, who is said to lure people to their deaths in the river. He has been sighted on a set of steps on the Shiplake bank of the river that leads down to the water. Being surrounded by flat farmland and only the odd tree, these mistshrouded steps must surely rank as one of the creepiest sets of steps anywhere to be found.
The largest community event in the village is the Wargrave and Shiplake Regatta, including a large firework display, which has taken place since 1867 each November. Unfortunately, the event can’t go ahead this year, but the community spirit is stronger than ever, with lots going on.
Two attractive Berkshire villages that offer a little bit of everything
Sarah Rodi and Thomas Newport
ABOVE: Warfield Church ABOVE LEFT: The river at Wargrave