Photographs on this page by kind permission of Twyford & Ruscombe Local History Society
The name Twyford means double ford… and indeed it has two – one is on the Bath Road to the west of the town centre… and the other is next to the Land’s End Public House.
Before the arrival of the railway in 1838, Twyford was primarily an agriculturally based settlement with a population of approximately 850.
The first reference to a mill at Twyford may have been made in 1168 when Wimund the Miller of Twyford was mentioned and over the years mills have been used for the production of paper, silk and flour with the last mill in the village being damaged by fire in the 1970’s and subsequently turned into housing in recent years.
Before the building of the A4 in 1928 Twyford’s position on the Bath Road had always been a hive activity which was centered around the King’s Arms, an important coaching inn on the main route from London to Bath. The opening of the by-pass in 1929 finally ended the east-west flow of main road traffic through the centre, but Twyford is still on a busy north-south route from Wokingham in the south to Henley in the north. The greatest expansion, however, has taken place since the Second World War, with the construction of several estates to the north and south of the town. This has effectively transformed it from a village to a town of almost 10,000 people, although it is still referred to as a village by its inhabitants.
The most famous son of Twyford has to be William Penn who went on to be the founder of Pennsylvania. He spent his last years in Ruscombe Fields, a property close to Twyford, and is held in remembrance by a residential street named ‘Pennfields’.
The oldest house in Twyford, is the Old Farm House on High Street which was originally part of Twyford farm which closed down in 1920.
Other noteworthy buildings are the Twyford Almshouses which were built by Sir Richard Harrison, Lord of the manor of Hurst, in 1640 and the 17th century Chiswick House which used to be the “Rose & Crown”.