The Maharajah's Well
A gilded elephant stands on top of the cast iron machinery of this Victorian well. The 368-foot deep well, under its domed canopy (made at a foundry in Wallingford), was paid for by the Maharajah of Benares (now Varanasi). He had met the young Edward Reade, the local squire, who spent many years in India where among other work he helped to sink a well for a village in Benares. He told the Maharajah that drought conditions also occurred on parts of the Chilterns.
Moved by Reade's stories of water shortage in Stoke Row – the water had to be fetched by hand from miles away – the Maharajah paid for a well to be dug in Stoke Row, at a cost of around £400, as well as a small well-keeper's cottage and a cherry orchard. The cherries from the orchard provided an income to help pay for the well’s upkeep.
The well is 4 feet in diameter, dug by hand mostly through chalk, and is 368ft deep. It took a year to complete and was opened on the Queen’s birthday in 1864. The well was in use for over 70 years and was a huge benefit to Stoke Row as a community.
The well is free to visit.
Crooked Billet - Stoke Row
Find the Crooked Billet hidden down Newlands Lane, a single track surrounded by beach woodlands. The pub sits in 5 acres of Oxfordshire’s finest countryside. Cozy, relaxed, informal atmosphere, mish mash furniture. Super friendly service. Cooking an electric award winning mix of affordable modern British/Mediterranean dishes. In house bakery. Open & cooking all day,everyday. Alfresco garden dining & cozy intimate indoor tables. Championing local & British produce. Supporting local suppliers. Much of the pub’s produce grown at their small holding.
Dating back to 1642, the Crooked Billet is one of Oxfordshire’s oldest pubs. Back in the day, Bess, the landlord’s daughter’s lover was Dick Turpin. Many original features remain — no bar; real ale is drawn directly from the cellar barrels. Flag stone floors, low timbered ceilings, inglenooks, log fires. Paul Clerehugh acquired the pub in the late 1980s; gaining a formidable food reputation. The term ‘Gastropub’ was christened by the Crooked Billet when a Daily Mail article published in 1989 coined the phrase; making the Crooked Billet, Britain’s first Gastropub. Paul is quick to point out Jesus was born in one.
Winner of the Observer Food Monthly’s Best Sunday Lunch, AA Guide’s Best Pub Food and Waitrose’s favourite Foodie Pub. Paul Clerehugh won the Food Hero TV series, hosted BBC TV’s Mind Your Own Business with Kevin Gould & co-presents food on Friday for BBC Radio Berkshire. Paul was the first pub chef to receive the Craft Guild of Chefs Award; Tom Kerridge, Jason Atherton, and Dominic Chapman in the following years.
Often, a famous face blends in unobtrusively with Stoke Row regulars. Kylie Minogue, Marco Pierre White, Matt Damon, Prince Harry, Sir Tom Jones, Pierre Koffman, Kate Winslet, Theresa May, Jimmy Page, James Martin, Liam Neeson, Mary Berry, Kenneth Branagh, Rowan Atkinson, to name a few who’ve creme bruleed and seared their scallops at the Crooked Billet.
During pandemic lockdowns, the local community generously supported the pub’s Take Away offering and saved the business. The pub provided meals to Stoke Row school for a while. Cooked for Royal Berkshire Hospital NHS Staff during lockdown and has worked with Deep Purple’s SunFlower Jam for many years; a charity raising awareness and over £1million for alternative cancer research and treatment for children.
The Crooked Billet, Newlands Lane, Stoke Row, RG9 5PU Relaxed - Friendly - Scrupulous - Informal Open and cooking all day every day.
The Cherry Tree
The Cherry Tree pub in Stoke Row nestles in one of the highest points in the Chilterns and was originally 2 flint cottages, dating back to the 1700's. Now after 200 years of serving the citizens of Stoke Row, the Cherry Tree Inn is redesigned with a new interior and serving honest, home-made food. Locals and customers from a wider area, drive, walk or cycle to this beautiful country inn. The lovely garden including a kitchen garden enables the pub to be both child and dog friendly with an added attraction of a children’s menu and home-grown produce on the menu with an emphasis on locally sourced, locally produced ingredients, cooked in an innovative style by head chef Matthew Allen and his brigade. Indeed, many of the vegetables and salad ingredients are picked fresh from the 1/3 acre kitchen garden created by the current landlord Dan Redfern.
The Cherry Tree has an added attraction of four on-suite King size letting rooms enabling visitors from far and wide to come and enjoy this beautiful part of the country.
Open from 8am-11pm Monday to Saturday and 8am-11pm on Sunday.
Website link http://www.thecherrytreeinn.co.uk/
The Rising Sun, Witheridge Hill
The Rising Sun, Kate and John offer a beautiful setting at this 16th Century country pub.
With 2 gardens, 2 fires and a very friendly environment this is a lovely pub to relax in.
A good selection of locally sourced and prepared in house meals served 7 days a week. Full bar including cask ales and local beers. Regular music events, super dog friendly and supporters of local honey producers and bees.
Stoke Row Playground
The is located at Cherry Orchard, off Cox’s Lane. The equipment, is suitable for a range of ages, is spread across six stations and includes swings, cargo netting, a miniature climbing wall, swings, wobbly walkways on springs and a slide. The playground, is covered by wood chippings as a safety measure and surrounded by a fence with gates.
Church of St John the Evangelist, Stoke Row.
Before 1848, the hamlet of Stoke Row was part of the parish of Ipsden and North Stoke, though with Ipsden Church being 4 miles away, church attendance from Stoke Row was not very good! The Vicar of the time, the Revd Richard Twopenny, had the support of Bishop Wilberforce of Oxford and many benefactors, especially Mr. John Reade and his family of Ipsden House, raising £2,500 for the provision of a church and school in Stoke Row. The site for the church, vicarage and school were given by St John’s College, Oxford who until recently remained the Patrons of the parish living. The Church of St John the Evangelist, Stoke Row, was consecrated on the 19th October 1848. Stoke Row church The building is a beautiful example of simple Victorian architecture. The rectangular floor space accommodates a nave seating about 90 people and a spacious chancel area.There is a tower at the north-east corner which houses the vestry, clock and bell. The exterior of the building is a fine example of flintwork in a variety of styles(!) and the roof is slate, with cedar shingles on the bell tower. A delightful rose window was designed and made by Barbara Batt. The clock is a rare example from the 1920’s which is still in working order. It has recently been restored.
The old vicarage was sold by the Diocese of Oxford in 1984 when Stoke Row and Checkendon churches became the first to form the new Langtree Team Ministry and the Rectory was located in Checkendon. An imaginative reordering in 2011-2015 saw the pews removed, and a new wooden floor with underfloor heating installed, together with a disabled access toilet and kitchen in a small extension on the south side of the church. St John the Evangelist Church, Stoke Row is now in regular use by the adjoining Church of England Primary school who use the wonderful space as their school hall, and it remains available to the whole community as a place for weddings, baptisms and funerals, as well as a weekly service of worship on Sundays at 9.30am. Up to date information about services, including those by zoom can be found at: https://langtreechurches.org/ Church
Contact Details: Revd Kevin Davies Church Address: St John the Evangelist Church, Stoke Row, Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire, RG9 5RB, UK. The Rectory Address: The Rectory, Checkendon, RG8 OSR Tel: 01491 680252 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Stoke Row Chapel