Henley-on-Thames shown within Oxfordshire
|Population||10,646 (2001 census)|
|OS grid reference|
|– London||36.4 miles (58.6 km)|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
|Website||Henley-on-Thames Town Council|
Henley-on-Thames is a town and civil parish on the River Thames in Oxfordshire, England, about 10 miles downstream and 7 miles north-east from Reading, 10 miles upstream and 7 miles west from Maidenhead. It is near the tripoint of Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.
The first record of Henley 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 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 Henry VI.
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.
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. Henley-on-Thames supplied London with timber and grain.
Landmarks and structures
Henley Bridge is a five arched bridge across the river built in 1786. It is a Grade 1 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.
Chantry House is the second Grade 1 listed building in the town. It is unusual in having more storeys on one side than on the other.St. Mary is nearby, and features a 16th-century tower.
To celebrate Queen Victoria's Jubilee, 60 oak trees were planted in the shape of a Victoria Cross near Fair Mile.
Just outside Henley, in Buckinghamshire, there are several notable private buildings:
- Fawley Court is 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 and is now home to Henley Business School
The town's railway station is on a 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 (10 km away) to Paddington. Trains from High Wycombe (20 km away) go to London Marylebone. The M4 motorway (junction 8/9) and the M40 motorway (junction 4) are both about 15 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.
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 regatta.
Other regattas and rowing races are held on the same reach, including Henley Women's Regatta, the 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 Championships.
Local rowing clubs include:
- Henley Rowing Club (located upstream of Henley Bridge)
- Leander Club (world famous, home to Olympic and World Champions, near Henley Bridge)
- Phyllis Court Rowing Club (part of the Phyllis Court Club and set up for recreational rowing)
- Upper Thames Rowing Club (located just upstream from the 3/4 mile mark/Fawley/Old Blades)
- Henley Whalers (associated with UTRC) focus on fixed-seat rowing and sailing.
Henley has the oldest Football team 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 who play at Dry Leas.
- George Harrison is dedicated to him.
- The American science fiction writer James Blish (1921–1975) lived in Henley from 1968 until his death.
- British engineer Ross Brawn, best known for his role as the technical director of the Scuderia Ferrari f1 team and current team principal of Mercedes Grand Prix.
- 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 Church.
- French general Charles-François Dumouriez (1739–1823) is buried at St. Mary the Virgin parish church.
- The Freeman family of Fawley Court: Several generations of Freemans lived at 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 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".
- Michael Heseltine, Baron Heseltine of Thenford preceded Boris Johnson as Conservative MP for Henley.
- Musician Liam Gallagher of Oasis and his wife Nicole Appleton of All Saints have a second home in Henley-on-Thames.
- Musician and former Friar Park, Henley-on-Thames in 1970, and lived there until his death. His widow, Olivia Harrison, continues to live on the estate.
- Politician Boris Johnson was the Member of Parliament until he resigned after being elected Mayor of London in 2008.
- Politician William Lenthall (1591–1662) was born in Henley-on-Thames. He was Speaker of the House of Commons between 1629 and 1640.
- Author Shiplake.
- Prince Stanisław Albrecht Radziwiłł (1917–1976) is buried at St Anne's church, Fawley Court just outside Henley, where he founded the Divine Mercy College.
- Mathematician Marcus du Sautoy lives in Henley.
- Singer Lee Ryan lives in Henley.
- Broadcaster Phillip Schofield lives in Henley with his wife and two daughters.
- Financier Urs Schwarzenbach lives at Culham Court, Aston, east of Henley.
- Entrepreneur, philanthropist and workplace revolutionary Dame Stephanie Shirley lives in Henley with her husband.
- Singer 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 had Do Anything and star of TV show Roman Mysteries.
- Actor David Tomlinson (1917–2000) was born and raised here.
- Actor Orlando Bloom has property in Henley-on-Thames.
- Scriptwriter Richard Curtis owns a holiday home in the parish.
- Actor Jonathan Lloyd Walker was born and raised here. He now lives in West Vancouver, Canada.
- Jonathan Bowden lived in Rotherfield Peppard (post town Henley-on-Thames) throughout the 1970s.
Henley-on-Thames is twinned with:
- 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;
BBC Radio Berkshire (94.6,95.4,104.1,104.4), Heart Berkshire (97.0, 102.9, 103.4), Reading 107 (107.0), all broadcast from Reading, serve an area including Henley, as does Time 106.6 (106.6) broadcast from Slough. Regatta Radio (87.7) is broadcast during Henley Royal Regatta.
Local television news programmes are the BBC's South Today and ITV's Meridian Tonight.
Friday Street Cottages
Red Lion Hotel
Henley Royal Regatta HQ
Henley on Thames New Street Town Houses
Henley on Thames Old Fire Station
Henley St Mary Interior
Friar Park Gatehouse detail
Imperial Hotel dragon roof
Greys Road Cottage
- "Area: Henley-on-Thames CP (Parish): Parish Headcounts". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 21 March 2010.
- Hylton, Stuart (2007). A History of Reading. Philimore & Co Ltd. p. 34.
- Samuel Lewis (editor) (1848). upon Thames "Hendred, East - Henstead". A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
- The Workhouse in Henley, Oxfordshire. Workhouses.org.uk. Retrieved on 2013-07-17.
- "Henley Standard article about bridge damage".
- "Chantry House". National Heritage List for England. English Heritage. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
- , Brakspear's Website
-  Google Maps
- "Royal Patronage", Henley Royal Regatta
- Rosemary Mitchell, "Copley , Esther (1786–1851)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. (Oxford: OUP, 2004). . Subscription required, accessed 8 May 2010
- "Henley-Leichlingen Twinning Association".
- "Henley Borama Friendship Association".
- Allison, Barbara (2011). "Henley's Major Inns in the Seventeenth and Early Eighteenth Centuries".
- Sherwood, Jennifer;
- Townley, Simon C, ed. (2011). A History of the County of Oxford, Volume 16: Binfield Hundred (Part One): Henley-on-Thames and Environs.
- "The Henley Guide. With fifteen illustrations". London: Hickman and Stapledon. 1826
- Henley - aerial photo
- River and Rowing Museum
- Henley Royal Regatta
- Henley Youth Festival held each March
- Henleys local bus service
- The Old Bell (oldest building in Henley)
- Henley-Leichlingen Twinning Association
- Stoke Row Chapel
- Hernes Estate