EVGRAEnglefield Green, Surrey, England
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Englefield Green History  

The Bailiwick Wick Lane Englefield Green (fromerly Edwins)

The land on which the Bailiwick stands was originally part of Wick Common, but was taken by encroachment at the end of the 1790’s by the simple method of "build your house and have a fire going within 24 hours", which gave you full rights to remain there.

The original building was a bungalow built by John Cheeseman at that time, but this was replaced in 1877 with the building that stands now, which was a house with a shop, built by john Cheeseman’s grandson, Robert George Cheeseman.

The photograph on the right of the front door as you enter was taken in about 1907, and features Mrs Frances Cheeseman, wife of William Cheeseman. He took over the shop, general store and beer house from his father and ran it until his death in 1944, helped by his daughter Frances, the little girl in the photograph, the eldest of his 4 children.

During the war, these was much activity in the area to support the war effort. Smith’s Lawn was used for the assembly of, for example, high altitude Wellington bombers.

There were two brick hangers, one situated near the road that comes in from Cheeseman’s Gate, where fuselage sections were built. During the war, 64 Wellington Mk VIs were assembled on Smith's Lawn and some aircraft were modified to carry an airborne lifeboat quite possibly tested on Virginia Water which still had some water in it. Two examples of this lifeboat, that would be dropped to ditched airmen, remain at Brooklands to this day.

For most of the war, this whole area, including Virginia Water, was closed to the public although young lads sometimes sneaked through the surrounding woods to watch what was going on.

On one occasion an air battle took place overhead resulting in a German Messerschmitt ME 109 crashing in the Cavalry Exercise Ground. Amazingly the pilot was thrown clear of the aircraft and walked away almost completely unhurt, and was taken prisoner by a passing Hurricane pilot from the New Zealand Air Force, Frank S T Dill, DSC, who was subsequently promoted to Air Commodore, became an MP in the New Zealand parliament, Minister of Defence and New Zealand ambassador to the USA.

Windsor resident Mr A A Newport, when a small boy, recalls seeing the plane come down. He writes: "It landed between poles about 30 feet on the west side of the road, facing east." The poles were designed to seriously damage any aircraft that attempted to land and succeeded in ripping off the wing tips and causing it to somersault at which point the pilot was thrown clear.

Content copyright The Bilwick - original text on http://www.hcpr.co.uk/bailiwick/history/