Henley-on-Thames /ˈhɛnliː ɒn ˈtɛmz/ ( listen) is a
town and civil parish on the
River Thames in Oxfordshire, England, 9
miles (14 km) northeast of Reading, 7 miles (11 km) west of
Maidenhead and 23 miles (37 km) southeast of Oxford, near the
tripoint of Oxfordshire,
Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. The population
at the 2011 Census was 11,619.
2 Landmarks and structures
5 Well-known institutions and organisations
7 Other sports
8 Notable people
9 See also
12 Further reading
13 External links
The first record of Henley is from 1179, when it is recorded that King
Henry II "had bought land for the making of buildings". King John
granted the manor of Benson and the town and manor of Henley to Robert
Harcourt in 1199. A church at Henley is first mentioned in 1204. In
1205 the town received a paviage[clarification needed] grant, and in
1234 the bridge is first mentioned. In 1278 Henley is described as a
hamlet of Benson with a chapel. The street plan was probably
established by the end of the 13th century.
As a demesne of the crown it was granted in 1337 to John de Molyns,
whose family held it for about 250 years. It is said that members for
Henley sat in parliaments of Edward I and Edward III, but no writs
have been found to substantiate this.
The existing Thursday market, it is believed, was granted by a charter
of King John. A market was certainly in existence by 1269; however,
the jurors of the assize of 1284 said that they did not know by what
warrant the earl of Cornwall held a market and fair in the town of
Henley. The existing Corpus Christi fair was granted by a charter of
Black Death pandemic that swept through
England in the 14th
century, Henley lost 60% of its population.
A variation on its name can be seen as "Henley up a Tamys" in 1485.
By the beginning of the 16th century the town extended along the west
bank of the Thames from Friday Street in the south to the Manor, now
Phyllis Court, in the north and took in Hart Street and New Street. To
the west it included Bell Street and the Market Place.
Henry VIII granted the use of the titles "mayor" and "burgess", and
the town was incorporated in 1568 in the name of the warden,
portreeves, burgesses and commonalty. The original charter was issued
by Elizabeth I but replaced by one from George I in 1722.
Henley suffered at the hands of both parties in the Civil War. Later,
William III rested here on his march to
London in 1688, at the nearby
recently rebuilt Fawley Court, and received a deputation from the
Lords. The town's period of prosperity in the 17th and 18th centuries
was due to manufactures of glass and malt, and trade in corn and wool.
London with timber and grain.
A workhouse to accommodate 150 people was built at West Hill in Henley
in 1790, and was later enlarged to accommodate 250 as the Henley Poor
Law Union workhouse.
Landmarks and structures
Henley Bridge over the River Thames
Henley Bridge is a five arched bridge across the river built in 1786.
It is a Grade I listed building. During 2011 the bridge underwent a
£200,000 repair programme after being hit by the boat Crazy Love in
August 2010. About a mile upstream of the bridge is Marsh Lock.
Henley Bridge, engraved in 1812 from a drawing by J. P. Neale, and
published in The Beauties of
England and Wales
Chantry House is the second Grade I listed building in the town. It is
unusual in having more storeys on one side than on the other.
Chantry House, next to the church
The Church of
England parish church of St Mary the Virgin is nearby,
and has a 16th-century tower.
The Old Bell is a pub in the centre of Henley. The building has been
dated from 1325: the oldest-dated building in the town.
To celebrate Queen Victoria's Jubilee[which?], 60 oak trees were
planted in the shape of a Victoria Cross near Fair Mile.
Two notable buildings just outside Henley, in Buckinghamshire, are:
Fawley Court, a red-brick building designed by
Christopher Wren for
William Freeman (1684) with subsequent interior remodelling by James
Wyatt and landscaping by Lancelot "Capability" Brown.
Greenlands, which took its present form when owned by
W. H. Smith
W. H. Smith and
is now home to Henley Business School
Lloyds Bank's analysis of house price growth in 125 market towns in
England over the year to June 2016 (using Land Registry data), found
that Henley was the second-most expensive market town in the country
with an average property price of £748,001.
Henley-on-Thames from the playground near the railway station
The town's railway station is on the
Henley Branch Line
Henley Branch Line from Twyford.
There are direct trains into
London Paddington during peak hours. At
other times one must change trains at Twyford. There are express
mainline rail services from Reading (6 miles or 10 km away)
to Paddington. Trains from
High Wycombe (12 miles or 20 km
away) go to
London Marylebone. The
M4 motorway (junction 8/9) and the
M40 motorway (junction 4) are both about 7 miles (12 km)
away. The bus service around the town is operated by Whites Coaches as
routes 151, 152, 153 and 154; other routes are provided by Arriva
Shires & Essex,
Thames Travel and Courtney Coaches.
Well-known institutions and organisations
The River and Rowing Museum, located in Mill Meadows, is the town's
one museum. It was established in 1998, and officially opened by Queen
Elizabeth II. The museum, designed by the architect David
Chipperfield, features information on the River Thames, the sport of
rowing, and the town of Henley itself.
The University of Reading's
Henley Business School
Henley Business School is near Henley, as
is Henley College.
A race during the Henley Royal Regatta
Henley is a world-renowned centre for rowing. Each summer the Henley
Royal Regatta is held on Henley Reach, a naturally straight stretch of
the river just north of the town. It was extended artificially. The
event became "Royal" in 1851, when Prince Albert became patron of the
Other regattas and rowing races are held on the same reach, including
Henley Women's Regatta, the
Henley Boat Races
Henley Boat Races for women's and
lightweight teams between
Oxford and Cambridge University, Henley Town
and Visitors Regatta, Henley Veteran Regatta, Upper Thames Small Boats
Head, Henley Fours and Eights Head, and Henley Sculls. These "Heads"
often attract strong crews that have won medals at National
Local rowing clubs include:
Henley Rowing Club (located upstream of Henley Bridge)
Leander Club (world-famous, home to Olympic and World Champions, near
Phyllis Court Rowing Club (part of the
Phyllis Court Club and set up
for recreational rowing)
Upper Thames Rowing Club
Upper Thames Rowing Club (located just upstream from the 3/4-mile
Henley Whalers (associated with UTRC) focus on fixed-seat rowing and
The regatta depicted throughout Dead in the Water, an episode of the
British detective television series Midsomer Murders, was filmed at
Henley has the oldest Football team
Henley Town F.C.
Henley Town F.C. recognised by the
Oxfordshire Football Association, they play at The Triangle ground.
Henley also has a rugby union club
Henley Hawks which plays at the Dry
Leas ground, a hockey club Henley Hockey Club which plays at Jubilee
Park, and Henley Cricket Club which has played at
Sir William McAlpine, 6th Baronet
Sir William McAlpine, 6th Baronet lives on the outskirts of Henley, in
Martyn Arbib led the Perpetual fund management company during the
late 20th century, unusually based in Henley-on-Thames, rather than
London. Arbib was a major benefactor in the establishment of the River
and Rowing Museum at Henley, which opened in 1998.
Mary Blandy lived at Blandy House her family's home in Henley, now a
dental surgery. In 1752, she was hanged for the murder, by poisoning,
of her father, Francis Blandy who had opposed her engagement to a
Scottish man who was already married. She proclaimed on the day of the
hanging in Oxford: "Gentlemen, don't hang me high for the sake of
decency". Mary is buried with her parents at St Mary The Virgin's
Church, despite that being forbidden at the time for a murderer.
She is said to haunt the
Kenton Theatre the family house and St Mary's
Sir William Hamilton KB, PC, FRS, FRSE, British diplomat, antiquarian,
archaeologist and vulcanologist was born here in 1730.
The American science fiction writer
James Blish (1921–1975) lived in
Henley from 1968 until his death.
Orlando Bloom has property in Henley-on-Thames.
Jonathan Bowden lived in
Rotherfield Peppard (post town
Henley-on-Thames) throughout the 1970s.
British engineer Ross Brawn, best known for his role as the technical
director of the
Scuderia Ferrari f1 team and former team principal of
Mercedes Grand Prix.
Winston Churchill led the Queen's Own
Oxfordshire Hussars, (C
Squadron) who were based at "The White House" on Market Place in 1908
and some years after that.
Sir Frank Crisp
Sir Frank Crisp (1843–1919), first baronet, lawyer and microscopist,
the ideator of Friar Park. The "Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It
Roll)" composed by the former
George Harrison is dedicated to
Richard Curtis owns a holiday home in the
Esther Deuzeville (1786–1851), as
Esther Copley later a writer of
children's books and works on domestic economy addressed to the
working people, lived here with her parents until her marriage in
1809. There is a plaque to her and her family in the United Reformed
Charles-François Dumouriez (1739–1823) is buried at
St Mary the Virgin parish church.
The Freeman family of Fawley Court: Several generations of Freemans
Fawley Court on the outskirts of Henley from 1684 to 1852.
They contributed significantly to the development of Henley and the
surrounding area as well as more generally to architecture and the
study of antiquities (
John (Cooke) Freeman
John (Cooke) Freeman and Sambrooke Freeman), and
veterinary science and equitation (Strickland Freeman).
Humphrey Gainsborough (1718–1776), brother of the artist Thomas
Gainsborough, was a pastor and inventor who lived in Henley. A blue
plaque marks his house, "The Manse".
Musician and former
George Harrison (1943–2001) purchased and
restored the buildings and gardens of Friar Park,
1970, and lived there until his death. His widow, Olivia Harrison,
continues to live on the estate.
Michael Heseltine, Baron Heseltine of Thenford preceded Boris Johnson
as Conservative MP for Henley-on-Thames.
Vince Hill lives in Henley-on-Thames.
Tony Hall, Baron Hall of Birkenhead lives in Henley-on-Thames.
John Hunt, Baron Hunt of Fawley
John Hunt, Baron Hunt of Fawley had a house in Henley, where he
lived from his retirement until his death.
Boris Johnson was the Member of Parliament until he
resigned after being elected Mayor of
London in 2008.
William Lenthall (1591–1662) was born in
Henley-on-Thames. He was Speaker of the House of Commons between 1629
Jewellery historian Jack Ogden lives in Henley-on-Thames.
George Orwell (1903–1950) spent some of his formative years
Henley-on-Thames and the nearby village of Shiplake.
Andrew Peach lives in Henley with his wife and two
Stanisław Albrecht Radziwiłł (1917–1976) is buried at St
Fawley Court just outside Henley, where he founded the
Divine Mercy College.
Lee Ryan lives in Henley.
Marcus du Sautoy
Marcus du Sautoy lives in Henley.
The actor David Tomlinson, who was born and raised in the town. Seen
here in the 1964 film Mary Poppins
Phillip Schofield lives in Henley with his wife and two
Urs Schwarzenbach lives at
Culham Court, Aston, east of
Entrepreneur, philanthropist and workplace revolutionary Dame
Stephanie Shirley lives in Henley with her husband.
Dusty Springfield (1939–1999) has a gravesite and marker in
the grounds of St Mary the Virgin parish church. Her ashes were
scattered in Henley and in Ireland at the Cliffs of Moher. Each year
her fans gather in Henley to celebrate "Dusty Day" on the closest
Sunday to her birthday (16 April).
Sir Ninian Stephen, Australian judge and Governor-General of Australia
(1982–1989) was born in Henley
Harry Stott, joint winner of I'd Do Anything and star of TV show Roman
David Tomlinson (1917–2000) was born and raised in Henley.
Jonathan Lloyd Walker was born and raised here. He now lives in
West Vancouver, Canada.
Brakspear Brewery, founded in 1779 but now moved to Witney
Henley Festival, held each July
Leander Club, one of the world's oldest rowing clubs
Henley shirt, a garment named after the town because it was the
traditional uniform of the rowing clubs
Stuart Turner Ltd, Henley-based engineering company founded in 1906
Henley's Local newspaper is the Henley Standard. The Henley Magazine
is produced for the Town Council.
Berkshire (94.6,95.4,104.1,104.4), Heart
Reading 107 (107.0), all broadcast from Reading, serve
an area including Henley, as does
Time 106.6 (106.6) broadcast from
Slough. London's radio stations such as Capital FM and Magic 105.4
along with a few others can also be received. Regatta Radio (87.7) is
broadcast during Henley Royal Regatta.
Henley is on an overlap of TV regions, It is possible to receive
signals from both BBC
BBC South transmitters, as well as
London and ITV Meridian (West). However, the local relay
transmitter for Henley only broadcasts programmes from ITV and BBC
London, making Henley the only part of
Oxfordshire included within the
London television region.
Henley-on-Thames (Parish): Key Figures for 2011 Census: Key
Statistics". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics.
Retrieved 3 November 2015.
^ Hylton, Stuart (2007). A History of Reading. Phillimore & Co
Ltd. p. 34. ISBN 978-1-86077-458-4.
^ Plea Rolls of the Court of Common Pleas; CP 40/892;
^ Lewis, Samuel, ed. (1931) . "Hendred, East – Henstead". A
Topographical Dictionary of
England (Seventh ed.). London: Samuel
Lewis. pp. 478–482. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
^ "Henley, Oxfordshire". The Workhouse. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
^ "Bridge damage costs £200,000 in repairs". Henley Standard. 5
September 2011. Archived from the original on 26 April 2014.
^ Historic England. "Chantry House (Grade I) (1047033)".
National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
^ , Brakspear's Website
^  Google Maps
^ "The 10 most expensive market towns revealed - Money Observer".
^ ""Royal Patronage", Henley Royal Regatta". Archived from the
original on 2 September 2013.
^ "About Us - Henley Cricket Club". www.henleycricketclub.co.uk.
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, (Mary Blandy) Andrea
McKenzie OUP, Accessed 21 June 2015
^ Mysterious Britain and Ireland, Accessed 21 June 2015
^ Mitchell, Rosemary, "Copley, Esther (1786–1851)", Oxford
Dictionary of National Biography. (Oxford: OUP, 2004). .
Subscription required, accessed 8 May 2010
Allison, Barbara (2011). "Henley's Major Inns in the Seventeenth and
Early Eighteenth Centuries". Oxoniensia.
Oxfordshire Architectural and
Historical Society. LXXVI: 55–79. ISSN 0308-5562.
Cardinals, The (2014). "Friar Park: A Pictorial History". Campfire
Publishing. ISBN 978-1502573261.
Sherwood, Jennifer; Pevsner, Nikolaus (1974). Oxfordshire. The
Buildings of England. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.
pp. 335–345. ISBN 0-14-071045-0.
Townley, Simon C, ed. (2011). A History of the County of Oxford.
Victoria County History. 16: Binfield Hundred (Part One):
Henley-on-Thames and Environs. Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer.
"The Henley Guide. With fifteen illustrations". London: Hickman and
Stapledon. 1826 inconsistent citations
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Henley-on-Thames.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Henley-on-Thames.
The district of South Oxfordshire
County Council elections
District Council elections
Henley County Constituency
Wantage County Constituency
Watlington (Christmas Common, Northend)
Benson (Preston Crowmarsh)
Brightwell-cum-Sotwell (Brightwell, Mackney, Sotwell)
Chinnor (Emmington, Henton, Oakley)
Crowmarsh Gifford, North Stoke, Mongewell, Newnham Murren)
Horspath (Bullingdon Green)
Shiplake (Lower Shiplake)
Baldons, (Baldon Row, Marsh Baldon, Toot Baldon)
Beckley and Stowood (Beckley, Stowood)
Berrick Salome (Berrick Prior, Roke, Rokemarsh)
Bix and Assendon (Bix, Bix Bottom, Lower Assendon, Middle Assendon)
Clifton Hampden (Burcot)
Cuddesdon and Denton (Cuddesdon, Denton)
Cuxham with Easington (Cuxham, Easington)
Drayton St. Leonard
East Hagbourne (Coscote)
Eye and Dunsden
Eye and Dunsden (Sonning Eye, Dunsden Green, Playhatch)
Forest Hill with Shotover (Forest Hill, Shotover)
Goring Heath (Whitchurch Hill, Cray's Pond)
Great Haseley (Latchford, Little Haseley, North Weston, Rycote)
Kidmore End (Gallowstree Common)
Lewknor (Postcombe, South Weston)
Mapledurham (Trench Green, Chazey Heath)
Newington (Great Holcombe)
Pishill with Stonor (Pishill, Stonor, Maidensgrove, Russell's Water)
Pyrton (Clare, Standhill)
South Moreton (Fulscot)
South Stoke (Littlestoke)
Stadhampton (Chiselhampton, Brookhampton, Ascott)
Stanton St. John
Stanton St. John (Woodperry)
Sydenham (Kingston Stert)
Tiddington-with-Albury (Tiddington, Albury)
Waterperry with Thomley (Waterperry, Thomley)
Bullingdon Rural District
Municipal Borough of Henley-on-Thames
Henley Rural District
Thame Urban District
Municipal Borough of Wallingford
Wallingford Rural District
Crowmarsh Rural District
Culham Rural District
Goring Rural District
Headington Rural District
Thame Rural District
Oxfordshire County Constituency
Wallingford Borough Constituency
Abingdon Borough Constituency
Berkshire North or Abingdon County Constituency
Abingdon County Constituency
List of Parliamentary constituencies in Oxfordshire
List of places in Oxfordshire
List of civil parishes in Oxfordshire
Ceremonial county of Oxfordshire
Boroughs or districts
District of Cherwell
City of Oxford
District of South Oxfordshire
District of the Vale of White Horse
District of West Oxfordshire
See also: List of civil parishes in Oxfordshire
County Council elections* Places
Special Scientific Interest
Grade I listed buildings
River Thames, England
Ravensbourne (Deptford Creek)
Maidenhead Railway Bridge
Longest UK rivers