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The West Berkshire Historic Environment Record (HER) is the primary index of the physical remains of past human activity in the unitary authority of West Berkshire Council. Limited elements of the West Berkshire HER are available online via the Heritage Gateway, therefore it is not suitable for use in desk-based studies associated with development, planning and land-use changes, and does not meet the requirements of paragraph 194 of the National Planning Policy Framework (2021: 56). Please read the important guidance on the use of the West Berkshire HER data. For these purposes and all other commercial enquiries, please contact the Archaeology team and complete our online HER enquiry form.

This site is designated as being of national importance and is afforded additional protection. Consult West Berkshire Council's Archaeology team if more information or advice is needed.

HER Number MWB15997
Record Type Building
Name Wokefield Park (House)

Grid Reference SU 673 656
Map Sheet SU66NE
Parish Wokefield, West Berkshire
Map:Show location on Streetmap


Grade II* listed early 18th century house with many later additions, a Catholic approved school in the mid 20th century and redeveloped as a hotel in the later 20th century

Associated Legal Designations or Protected Status


Other Statuses and Cross-References

  • National Monuments Record No.: SU 66 NE 14
    SU 6730 6571 - St Benedict's School
  • National Monuments Record No.: SU 66 NE 22
    SU 67 65 - Wokefield Park
  • Old Listed Building Ref (pre 1984) (II): Map No 30 18/1B Wokefield Park
    C.18 altered early C.19, probably by Sir John Soane. A large symmetrical composition of three storey central block and wings, linked by two storey sections. Roman cement with raised quoins, cornice above first floor windows, and balustrade above second floor windows except over links where it is over cornice. Slate roof. The central block and links, each of 3 bays, and 2 bays on projecting ends of wings. Each front totals 13 bays. On north and entrance front a Doric stone portico covers ground floor of central block, the columns standing on block bases and supporting entablature with triglyph frieze. 6 panel central door in stone architrave with console brackets and cornice. South front has small square central Doric porch with sides filled in, angle pilasters, entablature and pediment. All windows have architrave surrounds. Stone urns are placed on balustrade between bays. Interior has contemporary fireplaces and early C.18 stair with twisted balusters and moulded handrail. Decoration has been considerably altered C.19.

Monument Type(s):

  • COUNTRY HOUSE (18th century to Mid 20th century - 1701 AD? to 1950 AD?)
  • BOARDING SCHOOL? (Mid 20th century to Late 20th century - Present - 1936 AD to 1980 AD?)
  • JUVENILE PRISON? (Mid 20th century to Cold War - 1936 AD to 1969 AD?)

Full Description

Wokefield Park seems to be the only house of note in the parish according to Pevsner <2> who describes it as a large house, but of at least two periods, the centre of seven bays probably being Early Georgian. Rocque's map <3> marks 'Oakfield House' in this location, showing several elements of designed landscape including avenues, drives and plantations. (This should not be confused with the later house called Oakfield, about 600m to the north.)

The Victoria County History <4> notes the house as the seat of Mr Palmer in 1923. The mansion was listed in 1967 when it was called St Benedict's School <1><8>.

Extracts from a history of the house and park <5> include this information:

In 1839 the mansion was the home of Robert Allfrey; his grandson sold Wokefield Park to Lord Alfred Palmer (of Huntley & Palmer family). In 1936 the house was taken over by the De La Salle Catholic brothers who developed it into a senior boys Approved School; with the passing of the 1969 Children's Act, the establishment transferred to the London Borough of Brent in 1974. The house reached its current design in the early 19th century.

The estate appears to have been refurbished in 1820, and the lake may have been created then. Drainage problems arising from the lake's construction meant that the grounds between the house and lake were continually waterlogged. In 1966 clay was taken from the then being constructed M4, and a raised sports pitch made.

Xerox arrived at Wokefield Park on 01/04/1991. The Executive Centre was built on the site of a disused farm in the early 1990s. In 1996, plans were drawn up for the new extension to the Mansion House; construction started in 1997 and took about 18 months to complete. The golf course was added in 1999. <5>

A local history of Stratfield Mortimer <14> includes information about Wokefield Park. The present building replaced the old Manor House in c 1750 when the park and much of the manor were acquired by the Brocas family of Beaurepaire in Bramley. In 1936 the building became St Benedict's Approved School, leading to development of staff houses and workshops in the grounds, and the addition of a chapel in the house. In 1986 Wokefield Park became a conference centre.

In the 21st century Wokefield Park operates as a hotel and conference venue, forming part of a wider conference and leisure offer within the Wokefield Park site. Substantial extensions added during the late 20th and early 21st centuries are the principal focus of activity and attract significant event and conference income, with the modern additions and also the upper floors of the historic buildings providing guest bedrooms. The application scheme submitted in 2016 aimed to address the factors limiting the prominence of the listed building within the complex, in order to encourage much wider public appreciation of the listed buildings as the heart of the venue <15>. The accommodation wing was the subject of a major fire in November 2015 though this appears not to have affected the historic building.

An aerial photograph from 1952 <17> shows the historic building and park.

Sources and further reading

<00>1950-83. Buildings included in the statutory list of buildings of special architectural or historic interest, pre Review. WBC Network. Map No 30 18/1B. [Unpublished document / SWB10875]
<01>Department of the Environment. 1974-2000?. DOE List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. [Unpublished document / SWB10006]
<02>Pevsner, N. 1966. The Buildings of England (Berkshire). P230. [Monograph / SWB10024]
<03>Rocque, J. 1761. Rocque's Map of Berkshire. 1:35,000 (approx). Marked 'Oakfield House'. [Map / SWB7242]
https://www.rct.uk/collection/700042/rocques-map-of-berkshire (Accessed 09/02/2021)
<04>Page and Ditchfield (eds). 1923. Victoria County History (VCH) Berks III 1923. Vol 3. P422. [Monograph / SWB10005]
http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/berks/vol3 (Accessed 08/03/2022)
<05>Horvarth, J and Cook, P. ?. The History of Wokefield Park. [Monograph / SWB14250]
<06>Mortimer Local History Group. 1994. Mortimer through the ages - A short history of Mortimer, Mortimer West End and Wokefield. online. p58. [Unpublished document / SWB14057]
https://www.mortimervillage.org.uk/Mortimer%20Village%20History (Accessed 10/12/2019 - many individual pdf extracts on Mortimer's history)
<07>Mortimer Local History Group. 2001. Mortimer in Old Photographs. [Unpublished document / SWB146964]
<08>Ordnance Survey. 1960-1978. Ordnance Survey Epoch 5 1:10,000 (6 inch). 1:10000. 1:10,000 1970 Marked St Benedict's School. [Map / SWB149875]
<09>Dils, J (ed). 1998. An Historical Atlas of Berkshire. p96-7 Country houses 1750-1900 by Geoffrey Tyack. [Monograph / SWB13916]
<10>Tyack, G, Bradley, S and Pevsner, N. 2010. The Buildings of England (Berkshire). p390. [Monograph / SWB147855]
<11>Ordnance Survey. 1806. Ordnance Survey Drawing of Odiham; BL OSD 125, 19. Two inch to the mile. Marked but not named. [Map / SWB147896]
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ordnance_Survey_Drawings_-_Odiham_(OSD_125).jpg (Accessed 24/08/2022)
<12>Historic England (previously English Heritage). ?-present. NMR Buildings Files on Historic England Archive. BF087048. [Index / SWB147173]
https://historicengland.org.uk/images-books/photos/ (Accessed 21/04/2020)
<13>Dils, J and Yates, M (ed). 2012. An Historical Atlas of Berkshire (2nd Edition). p120-121, Country Houses 1750-1914 by Geoffrey Tyack. [Monograph / SWB148708]
<14>Mortimer Local History Group. 1994. Mortimer through the ages - A short history of Mortimer, Mortimer West End and Wokefield. online. p54-59 Houses. [Unpublished document / SWB14057]
https://www.mortimervillage.org.uk/Mortimer%20Village%20History (Accessed 10/12/2019 - many individual pdf extracts on Mortimer's history)
<15>Morse Heritage. 2016. Wokefield Park, Wokefield - Heritage Statement. 2017 WBC Network. 16/01295/COMIND. [Unpublished document / SWB149243]
<16>Jackson Stops and Staff?. 1936. Sales Particulars: The Wokefield Park Estate. [Unpublished document / SWB148871]
<17>Aerofilms. 26/07/1952. Britain from Above - EAW045030. Aerial Photo. [Photograph / SWB149507]
https://britainfromabove.org.uk/en/image/EAW045030 (Accessed 28/11/2018)
<18>Beard and Company. c1866. The Seats and Mansions of Berkshire. [Monograph / SWB12897]
https://www.getty.edu/art/collection/objects/60494/beard-company-the-seats-and-mansions-of-berkshire-photographically-illustrated-by-beard-and-company-twyford-about-1866/?dz= (Accessed 21/01/2022)
<19>Orion Heritage. 2019. Wokefield Estate: Heritage Assessment. 2019 WBC Network. [Unpublished document / SWB149985]

Related Monuments

MWB16188Wokefield Park (formerly Oakfield Park) (Landscape)
MWB21449Chatwood, Lockram Lane, Mortimer (Building)
MWB16333Oakfield Park (formerly Oakfield Lodge) (Building)
MWB17476Site of Wokefield Park Farm, also called St Benedicts Farm (Monument)
MWB21451Trunkwell Cottage, Beech Hill (Building)
MWB21450Wokefield Cottage, Lockram Lane, Mortimer (Building)

Associated Excavations and Fieldwork

EWB1551Desk Based Assessment, Wokefield Park
EWB1857Wokefield Estate: Heritage Assessment