Pictures of Bray
Bray is a pretty place lying on a bend of the Thames a short distance from Monkey Island where there was once a fishing lodge belonging to the Dukes of Marlborough.
This delightful place was made famous by the "Singing Vicar" of the 17th and early 18th century who declared vocally "Whatsoever King shall reign, I'll be the Vicar of Bray, Sir" and he was. The Vicar was quite probably Simon Aleyn, who survived several reigns and changed from Catholic to Protestant twice. He held the living in the 16th century and lies buried in the churchyard.
The church is well worth seeing, it is quite picturesque with a 15th century gatehouse and a churchyard littered with the graves and tombs of several centuries. Its history is thought to date back to the 11th or 12th century, when it was in the ownership of the Abbot of Cirencester.
Bray is a pleasant, very pleasurable little place with a delightful mix of attractive properties. Further upstream close to Bray Lock visitors to the village will note charming expensive properties belonging to noted wealthy people, this stretch is sometimes referred to as "Millionaire's Row".
The Fishing Lodge on nearby Monkey Island was once inhabited by George III who was banished here during one of his mad rages, but since 1840 the building has been a luxury hotel popular with the aristocracy and high society. Edward VII and Queen Alexandra visited, and H.G.Wells and Rebecca West were frequent guests, it was here that Miss West set her first novel - The Return of the Soldier.
At nearby Cookham is one of the loveliest reaches of the River Thames, this is overlooked by Cliveden, a magnificent three hundred year old mansion which was the home of the famous Astor family and the setting for 20th century scandal and intrigue.
In 2005 Bray won the Small Village award in the Britain in Bloom competition.
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