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St Michael's church, Bray

Bray (sometimes Bray-on-Thames) is a village and civil parish in the Englishmarker county of Berkshire. It stands on the banks of the River Thames, just south-east of Maidenheadmarker. It is famous as the village mentioned in the song The Vicar of Bray. The parish has an area of and a population of 8460 at the 2001 census. The village contains two triple-Michelin-starred restaurants.


Bray has always been a very large parish, although it has shrunk considerably since Maidenhead became independent in 1894. As well as the main village, the parish contains a large number of villages and hamlet, often greens, which were originally scattered amongst the dense woodland of Windsormarker Forest that once covered the area. These include: Bray Wickmarker, Holyportmarker, Water Oakleymarker, Oakley Greenmarker, Moneyrow Green, Stud Green, Foxley Green, Touchen Endmarker, Braywoodsidemarker, Hawthorn Hillmarker and Fifieldmarker.

Village character

Despite being located on the very edge of Maidenhead, Bray is still very much an idyllic English village. It won best 'Small Village' in the 2005 Britain in Bloom awards, while its cricket club is the oldest in the county, having been first established in 1798. Bray is a very affluent residential area, as well as being a place popular with tourists exploring the Thames. There are many delightful walks and a number of well-known eating establishments. Two of its restaurants have three Michelin stars: The Fat Duckmarker, which was adjudged the best restaurant in the world by Restaurant magazine in 2005, and the Waterside Innmarker, which ranked 19 in Restaurant's list. This is particularly significant as there are only three triple-starred restaurants in Great Britain. There are also many television and film studios in the Bray area.

There are several very expensive houses on the river upstream of Bray Lockmarker and they have been referred to as 'Millionaires row' in the national press. The flooding risk of these houses has recently been decreased by the Jubilee Rivermarker a large drainage ditch between Maidenhead and Etonmarker.

Notable buildings and structures

Parish church

The Church of England parish church of St Michael was built in 1293, supposedly to replace a Saxon church at Water Oakleymarker. It has a number of sculptures which may have come from th earlier church, including a damaged Sheela na Gig. It is best known to brass rubbers for housing the superb memorial brass of 1378 to Sir John Foxley, the Constable of Southampton Castle, and his two wives. One of the local cottages has a tunnel which it is believed leads to the church and served as an escape route for clergymen.


The Jesus Hospital is a red-brick group of almhouses, founded in 1609 by William Goddard, whose full-size effigy stands over the entrance, to house thirty-four of the aged poor of Bray and six of the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers to which he belonged.

Monkey Island Lodge

Main article: Monkey Island, Braymarker.
Monkey Islandmarker, in the Thames, is associated with the 3rd Duke of Marlborough, and still houses two amusing structures that he built and furnished with paintings of monkeys.

Notable residents

Popular culture

  • In the BBC faux cooking show Posh Nosh, Simon and Minty Marchmont ran a restaurant near Bray.


  1. Full list of Michelin stars in Britain and Ireland The Daily Telegraph. Published 24 January 2008. Retrieved 20 August 2009.

See also

External links

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