History of Sunninghill & Ascot

The Parish is steeped in history. Originally consisting mainly of heath and woodland, historical changes can be observed. The church of St Michael’s and All Angels in Sunninghill is of Saxon origin, Henry VIII signed his first document as king at Eastmore, (now Sunninghill Park); and The Thatched Tavern, Cheapside, retains some of its ancient 16th century timbers.

Yet it was Queen Anne who put Ascot on the map in 1711, by founding a racecourse whilst out hunting on the East Cote (now Ascot). In 1714, she preserved an area in the centre for racing. A railway was built in 1856 providing easy access to London. This attracted race goers and people to the area. Sunninghill grew as a busy, thriving High Street and the village still retains the narrow streets and cottages of the Victorian era. In 1920 a Picture House was built, which now houses the Novello Theatre, a Mr. Thomas Holloway, who manufactured medicinal pills, built Royal Holloway College on the A30 and a hospital for the treatment of T.B. was founded at Heatherwood

It was Queen Anne in 1711 that first saw the potential for a racecourse at Ascot (in those days called East Cote). Whilst out riding near Windsor Castle she came upon an area of open heath that looked, in her words, “ideal for horses to gallop at full stretch”.

Off the Windsor Road by the side of the racecourse is Kennel Avenue, lined with majestic Redwood trees and leading to Old Huntsman’s House where Queen Anne kept the royal buckhounds.

A railway was built in 1840 providing easy access to London which attracted racegoers and wealthy people to settle in the area. Some of these large houses still stand and are characteristic of the Parish.

In South Ascot the road names have an association with Lewis Carroll. The Rev. Liddell father of Alice (in Wonderland) lived in the area. You will find Carroll Crescent and Liddell Way on what is now the Bouldish Farm Estate. Before the railway bridge was built, this area was known as ‘the bog’ and provided the poor of the area with a living digging peat.

The original police station was situated in the Old Courthouse in the High street, as was the Fire Station, which is now a tile shop. A hospital for the treatment of TB was built at Heatherwood.

The Thatched Tavern in Cheapside is one of the area’s oldest buildings and manages to retain some of its ancient 16th century timbers. Also on Cheapside Road are the magnificent Golden Gates which mark the royal entrance to Ascot Racecourse and were first used by Edward V11 in 1878.

The village Picture House specially built by the Ranee of Sarawak around 1920 now houses the Novello Theatre. Sunninghill still retains the narrow streets and pretty cottages of the Victorian era and has a busy thriving High Street.

The church of St Michael & All Angels is of Saxon origin. It was started in 890AD and rebuilt in 1120 AD. Henry V111 signed his first document as King at Eastmore, now Sunninghill Park.

Near the village of Cheapside lies Silwood Park, where the last Lord of the Manor lived. His widow built Cordes Hall in Sunninghill and bequeathed it to the community. A Mr Holloway, who manufactured medicinal pills and built Royal Holloway College on the A30 with his fortune, occupied Tittenhurst, a manor house off Buckhurst Road. The Wells Public House on London Road (now renamed) opposite Cheapside Road, was famous for its ‘benefiting good health waters’.

The royal town of Windsor and its castle are within easy reach and there are strong historic links with the neighbouring Parish of Sunningdale.