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BRAY AND OCKWELLS.
On Ockwells rich and feudal halls,
Its storied roofs and turrets gay,
It is impossible to enter the pretty village of Bray, without the mind reverting to the versatility of one of its ancient vicars who flourished in the reign of Henry the Eighth. Nor is it to be wondered at that the good vicar was unwilling to part with his benefice, for it seems replete with happiness and tranquillity. Indeed there are few villages which afford a more striking appearance of rural enjoyment. Here the Thames takes its peaceful course, affording scenes which painters delight to copy, and the church, rich in monumental memorials, delights the eye with its picturesque situation, and its beautiful architecture. The more distant views add to the charm of the scenery, and from some points the magnificent viaduct of the Great Western Railway is seen to advantage. Nor should the well kept and happy looking hospital be forgotten, with its walks and smiling gardens, and the comfortable abodes of its inmates. It was founded in 1627 by William Goddard, Esq. whose statue is over the entrance door, and is called “Jesus college;" and here forty poor persons reside, six of whom have an allowance of twelve shillings a week, if married, and seven shillings if single. The rest have eight shillings a month. There is a small chapel at the upper end of the quadrangle in which service is performed. The external architecture of the hospital is in good taste, and it is evident that the trustees and visitors do their duty conscientiously in attending to the well-being of the poor people within its walls.
The church, evidently an ancient structure, contains within it many interesting brasses and monuments which are well worthy the attention of visitors. One of the brasses commemorates the celebrated vicar of Bray, who possessed the living in the reigns of Henry the Eighth-Edward the Sixth-Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth. It was shewn us by the clergyman of the parish, and there is no doubt of its authenticity. By the care and liberality of the present excellent vicar, the church is a pattern of neatness and propriety.
There are some good houses scattered around this pleasing village. The celebrated Nell Gwynne resided in one of them, called Philberds.
In the parish of Bray, and about a mile from the church, is the ancient manor house of Ock