Henley: Social and Political History

Pages 120-159

A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 16. Originally published by Boydell & Brewer for the Institute of Historical Research, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 2011.

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The Middle Ages to the Reformation

Social Structure and Wealth

The quality of some of Henley's surviving medieval houses points to considerable disposable wealth in the town, and a few prosperous and well-connected Henley merchants are identifiable throughout the Middle Ages. Yet despite the importance of the grain trade and the increasing independence of Henley's merchant guild, for much of the period Henley lacked the large and wealthy mercantile élite which dominated some medieval towns. In 1327 only 4 out of 38 taxpayers in Henley (11 per cent) paid 3s. or more, compared with 30 per cent in Abingdon, and over 20 per cent in Reading, Wallingford and Thame. The spread of Henley's other tax payments, from 6d. to 2s. 6d., suggests more modest wealth amongst a significant group of lesser traders, shopkeepers and craftsmen. (fn. 1)

Part of the reason, at least until the Black Death, was the dominance of the Henley grain trade by large-scale London merchants, to the extent where, it has been suggested, Henley 'must have seemed like an up-river London colony ... a place where Londoners met merchants from other Thames-side towns'. (fn. 2) Even so, some Henley men stood out. Most notable was the grain merchant Robert of Shiplake (fl. 1306–33), whose tax payment of 4s. 3d. (with another 4s. from property in Badgemore) set him alongside some of the wealthiest inhabitants of neighbouring towns. Shiplake was also prominent in town affairs, serving four times as warden and appearing as a witness to town charters. Two other exceptionally wealthy traders, Thurstan of Ewelme (fl. 1305–16) and John of Harwell (fl. 1315–58), may have enjoyed similar status. Both witnessed charters, and Harwell (who was also elected warden) endowed a chantry in Henley church. (fn. 3)

The Black Death seems to have broken the London merchants' hold over Henley and brought more Henley traders to the fore, but as earlier only one or two exceptionally wealthy individuals dominated the town at any one time. Thomas Clobber (fl. 1363–1433), involved in the cloth and possibly grain trades, had business interests as far afield as Devon, and from 1384 to 1417 served 17 terms as warden. On the last occasion he must have been in his seventies, making him a venerable figure of at least 90 by his death. (fn. 4) A similar role was fulfilled in the 15th century by the wool merchants John Elmes (d. 1460) and his younger namesake (d. 1491), alongside their fellow merchants John Logge and John Deven. Like Deven the elder Elmes was a newcomer to the town, and had far-flung trading and social links. Some of the wine which he imported through Southampton was presumably for his own use, and probably he enjoyed a lavish lifestyle. Besides serving as warden he became a significant property owner in the town, acquiring rents, three gardens, two granaries and 22 tenements, and like Harwell he founded a chantry in the church, for which he built a side-chapel. His role in local government extended way beyond Henley, and by 1443 was sufficiently onerous for him to obtain a life exemption from serving on assizes, juries and inquisitions, or as bailiff, escheator, coroner, constable, and collector of tenths and fifteenths. (fn. 5) The domestic comfort and display of such townspeople is reflected in their wills. John Deven owned jewels and silver bowls and left money to his servants, while William de Barneville (d. c. 1466) left feather beds and bolsters, silverware, numerous cooking utensils, and clothing including a gown lined with beaver fur. (fn. 6) Presumably these were the sort of people occupying houses like 76 Bell Street, its timber-framed hall embellished with elaborate decorative carving. (fn. 7) Alongside them, the 15th-century wool trade apparently also attracted members of some Oxfordshire and Berkshire gentry families into the town. (fn. 8)

Beneath these dominant individuals, a broader borough élite was represented by the town guild, (fn. 9) which in the 1290s probably included less than a fifth of the adult male population. Members were drawn from a broad spectrum of the town's more prosperous inhabitants, encompassing craftsmen as well as merchants, traders and shopkeepers: among them were tailors, tanners, carpenters and smiths, while a weaver was admitted in 1449. Women were excluded, in contrast to some other towns. A smaller group within the guild exercised particular authority, regularly witnessing town charters, and dominating the most important offices such as bridgeman or warden. Craftsmen, although admitted as burgesses, seem at first to have been excluded from this self-appointed oligarchy, but from the 15th century they too appeared in greater numbers, presumably in response to declining guild membership as the population fell. By c. 1400 town officers included tanners, tailors and a hosteler, and by mid-century there were nearly equal numbers of craftsmen and traders or shopkeepers. (fn. 10)

The wider populace, irrespective of guild membership, was dominated by a significant body of moderately prosperous craftsmen, traders, and retailers, who in the early 14th century may have numbered around 140: in all, some 55 to 70 per cent of the town's adult male householders. Such people extended way beyond the burgess body and the 38 inhabitants wealthy enough to be taxed in 1327, and by comparison are poorly documented. Many, however, appeared as pledgors in the manor court, and several had craft-related bynames such as Baker, Barber, Dyer, Mareschal (or farrier), Smith, and Taylor. (fn. 11) The overall picture seems to have been similar in the early 16th century, when 191 taxpayers were listed. Of those, over a fifth (22 per cent) paid between £2 and £19, and were probably substantial tradesmen and retailers. Another 76 (or 40 per cent) paid £2, most likely representing small craftsmen and husbandmen, while 60 (31 per cent) paid at the wage earners' rate of £1, and were presumably servants or labourers. By comparison, the upper élite remained small. Only 13 (7 per cent) paid over £20, among them the grain merchant and sometime town warden Richard Brockham, the fuller and innkeeper Robert Kenton, the glover John Hogge, and the butcher John Jessop. Of those only Brockham (taxed on goods worth £80) approached the wealth of earlier merchants such as Clobber or Elmes. (fn. 12)

Less visible is the sizable group who fell below the tax threshold, and who appear in the records only sporadically. A late 13th-century guild document known as the Nuns des Gent hints at a significant but relatively transient population of adult sons, servants, apprentices, journeyman, and lodgers, for whose good conduct established Henley householders were required to give pledges. (fn. 13) In 1332–3 a total of 266 named men and 50 named women appeared before the manor court, presumably representing much of the adult male population, (fn. 14) and by the early 16th century it has been estimated that Henley's untaxed poor could have included up to 95 households. If so, the combined body of untaxed poor and £1 wage-earners made up just over half the adult male population by that date, a relatively high proportion. (fn. 15)

Locative surnames suggest that many of the town's inhabitants were drawn from the hinterland described above, which stretched 10 miles or so across the Chilterns, but only 4 miles or so into Berkshire and Buckinghamshire across the Thames. (fn. 16) The significant London trading presence declined sharply after the Black Death, though small-scale immigration from London possibly continued: some mid 14th-century incomers may have been London merchants trying to escape the plague, and the significant number of newcomers admitted to the guild in the late 14th century and the 15th perhaps also included a few from the London area. (fn. 17) Many 15th-century incomers came from elsewhere, however, and were probably connected with the wool and cloth trades. Among them were immigrants from Reading and other Berkshire towns, (fn. 18) while a man from the Low Countries was mentioned in 1436. (fn. 19) Several other late 15th- and early 16th-century inhabitants were of Welsh origin, (fn. 20) and in the 1480s at least two came from Scotland or close to the Scottish border. (fn. 21)

Government and Politics

Though the planned town originated as a royal creation the manor was seldom in royal hands from the late 12th century, and probably the king never made more than passing visits to Henley. (fn. 22) Building work was carried out at the manor house in 1209 following Robert de Harcourt's forfeiture, (fn. 23) and letters patent or close were occasionally dated at Henley into the 14th century, long after the Crown had granted away the manor. (fn. 24) Routine royal inquisitions and sessions of the peace were held in the town from time to time, unsurprising given its accessibility, proximity to London, and importance as a market centre. (fn. 25)

Henley remained a seignorial town throughout the Middle Ages, with authority technically vested in the lord of the manor and exercised through his three-weekly court and annual view of frankpledge. But in reality, from the 13th century the townspeople enjoyed a significant and steadily increasing degree of self-government through the merchant guild, which appointed its own officers and which, by the late 14th century, owned substantial property in the town. Even the manor court, which by the 1380s may have met in the guild hall, was effectively run by leading burgesses, and in the later Middle Ages it seems to have served partly as a small claims court rather than as an instrument of lordly control. (fn. 26)

On the whole relations between Henley's lords and townspeople seem to have remained amicable, a situation no doubt helped by the fact that the lords were mostly non-resident landholders on a large scale, and took little direct interest in town government. An exception may have been John de Moleyns, whose power base was in Buckinghamshire and who, by the time he acquired Henley manor in 1337, was already infamous for lawless thuggery and intimidation. At Henley, as in other manors, he secured confirmation of extensive manorial rights including a gallows, and it has been plausibly suggested that the warden's designation as 'mayor' in 1337–8, which was unique in medieval Henley, represented an assertion of status and defiance by the townspeople. (fn. 27) A later keeper of the manor (following Robert Hungerford's attainder in 1461) may have also been guilty of extortion, for which he received a royal pardon in 1466. (fn. 28) By contrast, there were some striking examples of cooperation. In 1328–9 Hugh d'Audley supported the town's right to exact tolls from London merchants trading through Henley, (fn. 29) and in 1440 a new fair grant was obtained at the joint petition of the lord, the warden (John Elmes), and the 'whole community of the town'. (fn. 30)

Owners of Fillets manor, of whom several lived at Phyllis Court, (fn. 31) presumably had closer dealings with the town. William Wyot, who was also the Moleynses' lessee, was cited in 1419–20 for obstructing a field path and for failing to provide a pillory, cucking stool and gallows. (fn. 32) More positively William Marmion (d. c. 1470) oversaw the will of the wealthy Henley townsman and sometime warden William de Barneville, served on the local commission of the peace, and in 1459 accounted before the guild (with John Deven) for lead for the church. (fn. 33) Thomas Hales was in dispute with the rector over tithes in 1502, and as a merchant of the staple possibly had more in common with his fellow townsmen than with the aristocratic lords of Henley manor. (fn. 34)

The guild's assembly books (extant from 1395) give little insight into town politics. Its regulatory powers and fines may occasionally have prompted hostility, however, and from the 1490s there are hints that its authority was coming under increasing pressure. Two prominent burgesses (one of them an innholder, barge owner and possibly grain merchant) were expelled in 1496 and 1506, and others were cited for opposing the warden. A ruling of 1492 laid down fines for inhabitants who disobeyed the warden's injunctions, while a new oath of admission required burgesses to obey officers' orders and to support the guild's ordinances. Around the same time there seem to have been moves to involve the entire burgess body more closely in town government, reflected in a new (1480) requirement for at least 24 burgesses to ratify grants of town property, and in more detailed recording of the names of those attending. The reasons for the increased tension are unclear, though it has been suggested that the resurgence of the river-borne grain trade and attempts to regulate out-of-market trading may have played a part. So, too, may the belated establishment in 1498 of separate craft guilds for weavers, mercers and tailors, although like Henley's contemporary religious fraternities these were established on the town guild's authority, and seem to have had a limited role.

A more general nervousness about vagrancy, lack of order, and the undermining of established authority is suggested by a series of manucaptions during the 1490s and 1500s, by which townsmen guaranteed the good behaviour of their servants or sons. During the same period several inhabitants (including servants and craftsmen) were bound over to keep the peace, and an exceptional meeting of the warden, burgesses and 'all the inhabitants' in 1532 was called expressly to improve order in the town. Masters and mistresses were to ensure that their servants were home by 8 p.m., illicit games were outlawed, and town officers were to be informed when servants left their master's service. (fn. 35) Hedge-breaking seems to have been a cause of concern in 1535, when the guild ruled that masters of servants found guilty of three such offences should be banished from the town. (fn. 36)

Despite these concerns, there is little evidence for exceptional social or political disorder. In the 1320s Robert of Shiplake and another leading guildsman (John at Greenlane) were implicated in raids on neighbours' property at Bolney, Nettlebed and elsewhere, and in 1400 a Henley man suspected of involvement in Sir Thomas Blount's failed uprising against Henry IV had his property temporarily forfeited. (fn. 37) More seriously, from the 1460s Lollardy became a significant factor in the town as it did across the south-west Chilterns, its growth promoted by London trade links and by the activities of itinerant preachers. A 'false priest' who allegedly incited riot and sedition at Henley in 1453 may have been involved, and ten years later half a dozen Henley townsmen were accused of holding or promoting heretical beliefs. All of them either abjured their beliefs or were acquitted, however, and most seem to have enjoyed normal relations with their neighbours. The religiously radical smith William Ayleward was a burgess and held town property, while John Redhode (accused with him in 1463) went on to serve as constable. (fn. 38)

Otherwise, the occasional recorded instances of violence or disorder were such as might be found in any town. The most serious included thefts from the church and, in 1520, the murder of a priest. (fn. 39) But far more common were fines for illegal gambling or disorderly behaviour, as when a burgess was bound over in 1493 for drunkenly disrupting church services. (fn. 40)

Popular Culture and Social Provision

Much of the evidence for Henley's communal life revolves around the church, with its chantries, fraternities, and seasonal festivities. Two of the most important chantries were run by the guild and had a strong communal element, as did the 15th-century Fraternity of Jesus, whose members included women as well as men. More popular festivities included, by the early 16th century, an Easter Resurrection play and an annual Corpus Christi 'pageant'. (fn. 41)

Other events in the ritual calendar were of a more secular nature, though proceeds were administered by the guild and used sometimes for church purposes. All were variants of the seasonal games found in many late medieval parishes, although in Henley none are recorded before the mid 15th century. Hocktide festivities included a 'wife gathering' at which local men 'captured' local women (or vice versa) and released them on payment of a fine, while a 'king play' at Whitsuntide involved election of a mock king or queen, sometimes with entertainment by a minstrel or a fool. From the 1490s to 1520s there was also a Robin Hood game, recorded around the same time at Thame and Reading. In 1520 the gross profits from all three events were nearly £9, more than half from the Robin Hood game and some 48s. from the wife gathering. (fn. 42) Some of these seasonal games survived into the later stages of the Reformation, with payments made in the mid 1550s for refurbishing morris costumes, repairing the garters of bells, and for a fool and tabor-player at Whitsuntide, while the king game continued in the mid 1560s. Presumably all of them lapsed soon after. (fn. 43)

The guild's close involvement in these festivities suggests that it actively promoted them, and in 1498 it re-established a custom whereby the warden perambulated High Street, Bell Street and New Street over Christmas to 'drink, make merry and visit the houses of his neighbours'. The motive may have partly been to improve relations between the guild and the inhabitants, (fn. 44) though if so it is unclear why Duke and Friday Streets were omitted: possibly they were perceived as too low-status. In contrast, everyday gambling, dicing and cards were frowned on, probably as much for the risk of violence as on moral grounds. In 1422 the guild received 6s. 8d. in fines from dice players and gamblers, and occasionally it bound over named individuals to refrain from allowing dice, cards and other illicit games on their premises. (fn. 45)

Poor relief fell within the guild's remit through its administration of town property, and through the bridgemen's joint role as churchwardens. (fn. 46) Much of the guild's property was for upkeep of the church and bridge, but some surplus was occasionally given to the poor: in 1419 the guild agreed that the residue of funds for a particular obit should be given in alms, (fn. 47) and Easter collections at the church door may have been similarly distributed. (fn. 48) By the mid 15th century some burgesses were making explicit provision for the poor in their wills. In 1443 the smith John at Lee (who served several terms as constable) left the guild three houses on Bell Street, partly to provide coats every year for five poor inhabitants. (fn. 49) Ten years later William Pykard left houses on High Street partly to provide an annual 20d. dole, (fn. 50) while John Deven's widow Joan (d. 1484) provided for 6 qrs of charcoal to be distributed twice a year. (fn. 51) Jane Stonor (d. 1493 x 1494 ), though not endowing a charity, left the exceptionally large sum of 5 marks for distribution to the poor at her funeral and month's mind. (fn. 52) Some such bequests may have reflected local Lollard influence, which elevated almsgiving above obits or oblations to priests. (fn. 53)

An almshouse existed by 1453, when Pykard earmarked part of his bequest for the inmates. John Elmes left 10s. to the 'poor men' there in 1491, and in 1498 the warden paid 4s. for fuel. The building adjoined the hermitage near the bridge, close to St Anne's chapel. It was superseded in the 1530s when Bishop Longland founded a new almshouse nearby, which seems at first to have used the earlier building as well. (fn. 54)

A school master was mentioned in 1419, when the guild appointed him town clerk at 6s. 8d. a year. (fn. 55) Possibly the school had a continuous existence: Bishop Longland (who was born at Henley) attended a 'school of good and sound learning' there in the 1470s or 1480s, giving him a sufficient grounding to go on to Eton, and Henley still had a school in the early 16th century. (fn. 56) By the 1550s it occupied a building in the churchyard, probably the so-called Chantry House. Despite the name, however, the building seems not to have originated as church property, and the arrangement was probably of recent origin. (fn. 57)

Town and Society 1550–1700

Townspeople, Wealth and Social Life

During the century and a half from 1550 Henley remained heavily reliant on river-related trades. Among the most significant developments was the emergence of a prosperous group of maltsters, many of whom also farmed, and who were sometimes involved in trading other goods along the river. By the mid 17th century they included some of the town's wealthiest and most prominent inhabitants, displacing to some degree the grain merchants of the earlier period. Bargemen, though still not especially wealthy, were by 1700 the single largest occupational group, and with the maltsters probably accounted for over a third of the adult male population. The rest comprised the various craftsmen, tradesmen and retailers found in most small towns. (fn. 58)

In overall size and prosperity the town ranked fairly high among Oxfordshire market centres. In 1581 its taxable wealth placed it behind only Oxford, (fn. 59) and in 1665 only Oxford and Abingdon (then Berks.) had more recorded houses. (fn. 60) Individual wealth varied considerably, however. Out of a sample of 170 testators between 1568 and 1709, half left goods worth under £50 and over a fifth under £15. At the opposite extreme, 47 (28 per cent) had goods worth over £100, and 18 (11 per cent) over £300. (fn. 61) The wealthiest by far were the maltster and farmer Thomas Parslow (d. 1679), the maltster and timber merchant Ralph Messenger (d. 1668), and the innkeeper Abraham Goodwin (d. 1666), who each left goods valued at over £1,400. (fn. 62) Equally exceptional were the maltsters Humphrey Newbury and Thomas Flight (d. 1665 and 1679), the mercer Ambrose Freeman (d. 1662), and the innkeeper Richard Stevens (d. 1702), with goods worth between £755 and £972. (fn. 63) Other notably well-off inhabitants included the tanner William Osgood (d. 1668, £467), the timber-merchant George Cranfield (d. 1667, £384), the butcher and farmer John Woodroffe (d. 1675, £299), (fn. 64) and several other maltsters-cum-farmers with goods worth £100–£600. (fn. 65)

Such statistics are slightly misleading in that much of this wealth was wrapped up in stock and business. Over £300 of Parslow's estate, for instance, was in malt, billets and other agricultural produce, with another £620 owed him in debts. Nonetheless the social aspirations of these prosperous traders are clear from their wills and inventories. Messenger had a house of at least seven rooms excluding outbuildings, which was furnished with 'turkey-work' and leather chairs, hangings and rugs, a clock, court cupboards, and feather beds. As was usual in this period his working premises adjoined his domestic accommodation, but this was still an environment framed for polite living. (fn. 66) Several such people made bequests to servants, (fn. 67) and a maltster's house mentioned in 1630 included a maid's and man's chamber. (fn. 68) At a slightly lower level the locksmith Robert Douglas (who also traded in malt, and had goods worth £92) owned good joined furniture, feather beds, curtains, rugs, books, pewter, and numerous cooking utensils. (fn. 69) So, too, did most innkeepers, although again their premises represented stock-in-trade and capital rather than indicators of personal status. The town's numerous bargemen, even the minority who owned or part-owned a barge, were generally of much more modest wealth, with inventories valued at between £6 and £96. Several had moderately well furnished houses of at least 3–4 rooms (sometimes with shops), but many others left no will and, as hired hands, may have been considerably poorer. (fn. 70)

As in the Middle Ages, social status was also expressed through involvement in town government. Membership of the corporation established in 1568 (fn. 71) was dominated by a closely knit élite in which wealthy traders figured large. Parslow, Messenger and Freeman (or his father) all served as warden, in some cases for several terms; so, too, did the farmer and maltster John Hunt (d. 1631 or 1638), the maltster (and possibly grain merchant) Thomas Cleydon (d. 1630), the innkeepers Henry Boler and William Atkins (d. 1665 and 1692), and the prosperous fishmonger William Robinson (d. 1698), who issued a trade token. Many of these people were closely interconnected, often intermarrying, and witnessing or overseeing each other's wills. (fn. 72) Similar people seem to have dominated the wider burgess body, certainly the capital burgesses and chief officers: 34 burgesses listed in 1639 included maltsters, brewers, and at least one each of innkeepers, tallow chandlers, and drapers, of whom several went on to hold town office. (fn. 73) Wealth was apparently not the only criterion, however. Craftsmen, bargemen, bakers, butchers and lesser retailers – even those whose probate inventories suggest that they were fairly prosperous – seem generally not to have featured amongst the town's capital burgesses or office holders, perhaps reflecting a continuation of prejudices noted in the medieval period. (fn. 74) In addition, several prosperous and well connected townsmen in the more 'élite' trades (the timber merchant George Cranfield or the maltster William Elton the younger, for instance) seem to have played no part in town government, perhaps from personal choice. (fn. 75)

By the 17th century, many of the more prosperous maltsters and traders called themselves gentlemen or 'Mr'. The phenomenon has been noted in other towns such as Witney, although there it may have been primarily in retirement. (fn. 76) In Henley, at least 10 per cent of the wills which included a title or trade designation were ostensibly made by 'gentlemen', of whom many were clearly working traders, and similar people were sometimes called gentlemen in other documents. The title may have been partly associated with involvement in town government: wardens and other officers were regularly called 'Mr' in borough records, and many of those so designated in 17th-century hearth taxes had already held town office or soon went on to do so. (fn. 77) Another criterion may have been property ownership, since several prominent traders were also landlords. John Hunt (d. 1631) had houses throughout the town and farmland in Remenham, while Parslow owned Mankorns Farm and a house on Bell Street. (fn. 78) Townsmen's aspirations were further reflected in new educational initiatives. A grammar school was established in 1604, and as early as 1600 the warden John Lewes had a nephew at Oxford University. (fn. 79) Wide horizons are illustrated not only in extensive trading and social connections with London, but in occasional links with places as far afield as Herefordshire, Winchester, Northampton, and Marlborough. (fn. 80)

Against such a background, it is not surprising to find Henley already catering for the prosperous and socially aspiring, a phenomenon which accelerated from the late 17th century with the development of coaching. Inns such as the Bell at Northfield End were well regarded by the 1630s when Archbishop Laud stayed there, and some seem to have acquired bowling greens which were used by better-off townsmen as well as by visiting guests. (fn. 81) In the 1680s the newly extended Bear Inn on Bell Street had a set of musical instruments in the parlour. (fn. 82) Equally symptomatic (and presaging a trend which increased from the 18th century) was the appearance of educated professionals serving the town's better-off inhabitants. (fn. 83) The town's first known attorney (Solomon Sewen) may have been warden in 1681–2, (fn. 84) while the surgeon and apothecary Edward Stevens (d. 1663) occupied a well-furnished house which included a study of books and his surgery instruments, although he also stocked groceries and haberdashery. (fn. 85) A 'musician' was recorded in the town in 1639. (fn. 86)

At the opposite extreme were the 13 per cent of householders taxed on only one hearth, or whose household goods (like those of the labourer Jasper Wellman in 1634) were worth only £1 or £2. (fn. 87) In 1595 an impoverished weaver was said to have persuaded a small boy to steal wood for him from Elmes' wharf overnight, and the corporation records occasionally detail poor-relief payments to particular individuals. (fn. 88) Otherwise, the lowest tiers of Henley society are hinted at only in the town's numerous charitable bequests and in the corporation's operation of the poor law.

Landowners and country gentry

Henley's social élite extended beyond the town to the surrounding countryside. Some local landowners were old-established families such as the Stonors of Stonor Park, who had had close dealings with Henley from the Middle Ages and whose property there included (by the 17th century) Jennings' wharf south of Friday Street. (fn. 89) As an Oxfordshire JP Sir Walter Stonor (d. 1550) played a prominent local role in enforcing the Reformation (in contrast to his strongly recusant descendants), while John Stonor served as JP in the 1680s. (fn. 90) Many other local landowners were newcomers, however, often with a background in trade or the professions. The Drapers, who acquired Park Place in Remenham by 1642, were brewers and merchants with interests in the Thames malt trade, and typified the new commercial wealth which increasingly displaced older landed families along the middle Thames. Probably they commissioned one of the famous views of Henley and the river painted in the 1690s by the Flemish artist Jan Siberechts, who undertook work for London merchants, bankers and financiers as well as for aristocratic patrons. (fn. 91) At Harpsden Court the long-established Forsters were replaced in the 1640s by the lawyer Bartholomew Hall (d. 1677), a close friend of Sir Bulstrode Whitelocke, (fn. 92) while London bankers such as Sir Robert Clayton (d. 1707) acquired other local estates through skilful financial manoeuvering, often involving offers of credit to impecunious landowners. (fn. 93) In Henley itself, owners of Phyllis Court included the London alderman William Masham (d. 1600), who came from a local family and left £100 to the town's poor. (fn. 94) His successor Sir John Meller, whose father-in-law was another prominent London alderman and lord mayor, was living at Phyllis Court in 1622, when violence erupted during a dispute with fellow townsmen over rights of way. (fn. 95)

Of longer term significance was the arrival of the judge and lawyer Sir James Whitelocke at Fawley Court in 1617, and the family's piecemeal acquisition of the Phyllis Court estate and Henley manor. Thenceforth until the 20th century Henley had resident lords who took an interest in town affairs, living first at Phyllis Court and, from 1768, again at Fawley. (fn. 96) Bulstrode Whitelocke's first legal work was for Henley townsmen, and he later served both as counsel for the corporation and as a governor of the Periam school. A bid for parliament in 1640 was warmly supported by 'the town of Henley and the freeholders thereabouts', and his local influence is suggested by an attempt to involve him in promoting a new type of malt kiln in the town. Whitelocke subsequently served as MP for nearby Marlow, and commanded the Parliamentary garrison at Henley during the Civil War. Relations with leading townsmen were sometimes close: in the 1660s he dined several times with the Messengers, and attended formal events such as the warden's feast. (fn. 97)

Festivities and recreation

Henley's traditional seasonal games were suppressed at the Reformation, and thereafter the only regular festivities recorded were exclusive events such as the warden's annual feast in September (held presumably in the guildhall), (fn. 98) or the annual dinners provided for governors of the Periam school. (fn. 99) More popular games are hinted at in the statutes of the grammar school, which forbad pupils to play football, dice, or cards, or to swim or bathe in the river without the master's consent. (fn. 100) Alehouses, though poorly recorded before the 18th century, were presumably a further source of popular recreation. (fn. 101)

Bowls seem to have been popular among Henley's more prosperous social classes. Charles I 'came to bowls' at Henley (probably at Phyllis Court) in 1647, (fn. 102) and several townsmen owned their own sets. (fn. 103) A house with an attached bowling green in 1638 (sited probably off the Fair Mile) seems to have been an inn or tavern frequented by Henley's social élite; goods in the hall included several sets of bowls belonging 'to diverse gentlemen', (fn. 104) and the Broad Gates inn had a bowling green by 1723. (fn. 105) Other inns had shuffleboards and (apparently) chess boards, complete with their 'men'. (fn. 106) Recreational use of the river is reflected in a two-day boat trip to Hampton Court and Windsor in 1648 by the Whitelockes and their friends the Halls of Harpsden Court, along with the families' servants. (fn. 107)

32. Civil War fortifications at Phyllis Court: a drawing of 1786, allegedly based on a lost original discovered during the house's demolition. Both the earthworks and the house (seen from the north) fit the limited documentary evidence, but the details may be fanciful.

Politics, Civil War, and Revolution

During the 16th and 17th centuries Henley's strong London trade links, combined with its position on the fringe of the county and diocese, contributed to a strand of religious and political radicalism which had a marked effect on the town. Lollardy remained important in the area up to the Reformation, and though Henley's late 16th- and early 17th-century clergy mostly conformed, at least two had Puritan (and in one case Presbyterian) tendencies which were shared by some of the townspeople. The town's Civil War role as a Parliamentary stronghold was largely dictated by its strategic position, but chimed with the political sympathies of some leading inhabitants and of Sir Bulstrode Whitelocke, who went on (despite his relatively moderate views) to hold high office under Cromwell. After the Restoration the south-west Chilterns emerged as one of the main focuses of religious Dissent in Oxfordshire, and though the link with Lollardy remains unclear, the involvement of soldiers from Cromwell's disbanded New Model Army raised establishment concerns. (fn. 108) Similar worries were expressed in the 1680s when, amidst fears of whig plots, the town was singled out as being 'too full of men of those principles', providing 'a more convenient hiding place as lying on the edge of the county'. (fn. 109) None of these tendencies were universal within the town, whose inhabitants also included religious and political conservatives. Nonetheless they reflect the extent to which Henley, like neighbouring towns along the middle Thames, remained firmly within London's cultural and political orbit.

Henley's position between London and Oxford made the town strategically important in the Civil War, particularly after Oxford became the Royalist capital in 1642. Control of the river was considered essential: in 1643 the Committee for Safety of the Kingdom instructed the lord mayor of London 'to consider of some speedy way for guarding the river of Thames', and Parliamentarian scouts reported that provisions were sometimes surreptitiously shipped upstream to Henley for conveyance to Oxford by cart or river. (fn. 110) The town's importance was increased by the proximity of Reading and of fortifiable riverside houses such as Greenlands, both of which became Royalist strongholds until seized by Parliament during 1644. (fn. 111) Henley itself saw a skirmish in January 1643, when Royalists approaching up Duke Street were massacred by cannon fire from Parliamentarians who had just arrived in the town, (fn. 112) and in April 1644 barges from Henley were seized and taken into Reading. (fn. 113) Parliament garrisoned and fortified Phyllis Court in March of that year and again the following spring, 'for hindering the great trade and correspondence between Oxford and London, as also for the well being of Reading and Abingdon, the great supplies of corn and wood for London, and its offensiveness by reason of its nearness to the enemy'. It remained a Parliamentarian stronghold until hostilities ended in 1646, when the defences were slighted. (fn. 114) Charles I briefly stayed there as a captive in July 1647, Bulstrode Whitelocke absenting himself to London. (fn. 115)

Long before it was garrisoned, Henley suffered the comings and goings of both sides. Fawley Court was ransacked by Royalists in autumn 1642, and Prince Rupert had forces at Henley in 1642 and 1643, when a Henley shopkeeper was arrested and a man was hanged from a tree at Northfield End. Bulstrode Whitelocke subsequently complained of pillaging and damage by his own side, including the accidental burning of the Bell Inn in 1644 and malicious damage to his woods and land. (fn. 116) Garrisoning brought new woes, including martial law and mutinous behaviour by unpaid soldiers, (fn. 117) while in 1646 a woman who had complained of mounting taxation allegedly had her tongue nailed to a signpost. (fn. 118) The corporation minute books suggest that routine town business continued, (fn. 119) and Henley undoubtedly suffered less than Reading. Nonetheless the economic dislocation must have been serious. In 1645 the town was 'wholly out of trade', (fn. 120) while the damage to Whitelocke's houses, lands and income caused him long-term financial problems. (fn. 121) Henley bridge, like others in the area, suffered serious damage, but was fairly quickly repaired. (fn. 122)

The town's subsequent political and religious history, combined with the presence of so many prosperous tradespeople with London connections, suggests that there was probably a strong bias towards Parliament. Even so political allegiance may have been mixed. After the war several Henley people were fined for having allegedly helped or consorted with Royalists, some of them possibly under duress, (fn. 123) while in 1655 there was an unsuccessful attempt to replace the town clerk John Tyler with a man claimed to be a 'cavalier'. (fn. 124) An 'aged widow' who had reportedly had her back broken at Henley for her loyalty to the king received a royal pension in 1660. (fn. 125) Whitelocke himself was a committed but moderate Parliamentarian who abhorred the war, and spent much of the 1640s and 1650s pressing for compromise. (fn. 126)

The Whitelockes' political views surfaced again during the revolution of 1688, when on 13 December Bulstrode's son Sir William entertained William of Orange and his retinue at Phyllis Court during the prince's progress to London. There the prince met a deputation of peers, bishops and London aldermen headed by the London banker and former lord mayor Sir Robert Clayton. Sir William's son Bulstrode had been killed at Cirencester the previous month, after a party of horse led by the Whitelockes' friend and neighbour Lord Lovelace was intercepted by loyalist militia. The double rainbow in one of Siberechts' later Henley paintings, possibly part-commissioned by Whitelocke, may recall the family's role in the revolution in symbolic form. (fn. 127)

Some townspeople shared the Whitelockes' views. Government suspicions of subversive whiggism in the town were confirmed in 1683, when pistols and swords were found hidden in a bag of meal; the owner was one Flight, whose brother lived in London, and who was perhaps related to the Henley maltster Thomas Flight (d. 1679). Another prominent Whig, probably also a maltster or brewer, was Adam Springall (d. 1707), one of a leading Henley family who served several terms as town warden, and who was on friendly terms with Lovelace. (fn. 128) The strength of radical religious Dissent in late 17th-century Henley suggests that such views may have been common, and the presence of a large barging community perhaps further strengthened the town's whiggish politics. Oxford bargemen were closely associated with whiggism throughout the late 17th century and the 18th, and in 1640 Marlow bargemen strongly supported Sir Bulstrode Whitelocke when he stood for parliament there. (fn. 129)

Corporation records give little insight into more routine town politics, save for occasional opposition to the corporation's authority. (fn. 130) In 1625 William Gravett complained of 'certain busy factious-headed fellows' who had allegedly set themselves against the warden and burgesses, and hoped that his charitable bequest to the town would ensure that they 'can better maintain their authority in future and punish offenders'. (fn. 131) Personal rivalries may have also underlain a complaint in 1631 that some capital burgesses were being elected without progressing through the lower town offices, contrary to precedent. (fn. 132) More colourfully, opposition to poor rates led to the imprisonment of a Henley glover in the town hall in 1643 following an assault on the constables and overseers and 'uncivil speech in the face of the court', during which he allegedly declared that 'he cared not a fart what they could do unto him'. A Henley brazier apologized for similar 'scandalous words' against the corporation a few months later, having accused them of being 'knaves and fools' who 'made rates money and put the overplus in their own purses'. (fn. 133) In both cases the disruption of the Civil War and exceptionally heavy taxes presumably played a part.

Education to 1700

Two endowed schools set up within a few years of each other in the early 17th century catered for differing local needs. The grammar or free school (formally established in 1604) replaced the existing 15th- and 16th-century school, and pursued a predominantly classical curriculum aimed at the sons of local gentry or of Henley's more prosperous merchants and traders. The Periam or Bluecoat school, founded in 1610, prepared the sons of Henley's poorer tradesmen or craftsmen for apprenticeship, concentrating on reading, writing and accounts. (fn. 134) Both were accommodated in the so-called Chantry House between the churchyard and the river, which was used as a school house by the 1550s and which was sold to the warden and corporation in 1578. From the early 17th century the grammar school occupied the top floor and the Periam school the middle one, which opened onto the churchyard. (fn. 135)

The grammar school was under consideration by 1602, when the Rotherfield Peppard farmer Augustine Knapp left £200 to the warden and corporation for the purchase of lands worth £20 a year, to be used within two years as an endowment. Following a 'humble petition' from the inhabitants, the school was founded in 1604 under the auspices of James I, who allowed rents totalling £11 17s. 4d. from confiscated church obits and chantries in Henley to be added to the endowment. (fn. 136) The warden and corporation conveyed the Chantry House to the newly appointed school governors the same year, together with an associated storehouse stretching eastwards towards the river, and, on later evidence, wharfage rights adjoining the Red Lion, for which rents were received in the 17th and 18th centuries. (fn. 137) In 1625 the lawyer William Gravett, then of Lyon's Inn in London, left additional property in New Street and South field in support of the schoolmaster, (fn. 138) and by the 1770s the school's income was over £80, more than half of it (£44 4s.) from Gravett's bequest. (fn. 139)

James I's foundation charter set up a governing body of 13 with power to acquire property, elect successors, and appoint and dismiss the master and usher. The first appointed governors were typical, comprising local gentry such Sir William Knollys and Francis Stonor (of Greys Court and Stonor Park), the rector Abraham Man, and leading Henley townsmen such as John Kenton, Thomas Cleydon and Henry Thackham, of whom most served at least once as town warden. (fn. 140) Statutes were drawn up in 1612, approved by the bishop of Oxford. The master was to hold a university degree, be well versed in Latin and Greek, and hold 'sound' (i.e. Anglican) religious views. The assistant master or usher was to be a competent grammarian and Latinist, preferably with a degree. The latter also taught arithmetic, 'fair' writing in secretary and Roman hands, and accounts 'to those who desire to be instructed in the same', but such practical training was secondary: no pupils were admitted who could not already read competently, and those in the highest form were to converse in Latin. Religious instruction featured prominently, with pupils taught from the authorized catechism and required to attend church 'reverently' on Sundays and feast days. Parents or sponsors paid fees of 4d. a quarter (or 6d. if they lived outside the town or parish), plus an 18d. entrance fee. (fn. 141) All or most of the 17th-century masters appear to have been graduates, and some were local: Alexander Gregory (master in 1623) was the rector's son-in-law. Their effectiveness varied, however. Henry Monday (d. 1682) reportedly spent much of his energy on 'physic' and writing learned books, while in 1700 a successor was dismissed for absence. (fn. 142)

The Bluecoat school, for 20 'poor scholars' from within the town, was founded by Dame Elizabeth Periam (d. 1621), who following her husband's death lived at Greenlands in Hambleden (Bucks.). As a daughter of the lord keeper Sir Nicholas Bacon she belonged to an important political family with a keen interest in education, and went on to found two scholarships at Balliol College, Oxford. (fn. 143) As with the grammar school, religious orthodoxy featured prominently: the master was to take the Oath of Supremacy and could be dismissed for promoting unauthorised doctrine, while pupils were to recite the Creed, Lord's Prayer and Ten Commandments daily, and attend church as a group. In other respects the curriculum differed fundamentally, with 'grammar learning' expressly forbidden in favour of reading, writing, arithmetic, and accounts, so that pupils 'may be fitted to be apprentices'. In this the school had some success, apprenticing at least 120 boys between 1624 and 1659: of those, 47 were apprenticed in Henley or Rotherfield Greys and as many as 38 in London, with a handful going to other towns including Reading, Wallingford, and even Winchester and Ongar. By the time of apprenticeship the majority had been in school for five or more years (from the ages of 9 or 10 to between 14 and 17), which presumably made them attractive to prospective masters. Some may have been genuinely poor, although as several were subsequently apprenticed to their own fathers (including carpenters, a glazier, and a locksmith), they presumably came from relatively solid backgrounds. Nonetheless parents were not expected to contribute to costs, and were helped with maintenance. Every pupil received a new uniform at Easter and a 12d. gift on Childermas Day (28 December), while 20s. a year was allowed for school heating, and another 20s. for paper, pens and ink. Schoolmasters were required to be a childless bachelor or widower, but otherwise no formal qualifications were laid down. Henry Buck (master c. 1627–41) was a local man who supplemented his income as a scribe, while John Tyler (c. 1649–56) apparently also served as town clerk. (fn. 144)

The school's institutional organization was similar to that of the grammar school. A body of governors set up under statutes of 1610 and 1618 comprised the town warden, the rector, and up to 12 or 13 feoffees of the school's lands; the first feoffees included Periam relatives, the rector of Fawley, and local gentry, succeeded later by (amongst others) Bulstrode Whitelocke and William Knollys (d. 1664) of Greys Court. Like the grammar school governors they had power to receive and administer rents, and to appoint and dismiss masters. The initial endowment comprised property worth £60 18s. a year at Remenham and Skirmett, plus profits from a 24-a. wood in Nettlebed. The Remenham land (Bottom House farm) was exchanged c. 1732 for a £100 fee farm from Park Place in Remenham, and by the 1770s the endowments yielded £134, as well as income from £800 South Sea annuities. (fn. 145)

Almshouses, Charities, and Early Poor Relief

From the mid 16th century to the late 17th Henley benefited, like many towns, from charitable bequests by leading townsmen. Most set up bread, clothing or apprenticeship charities, and three separate almshouse foundations together accommodated 22 old people. A few bequests were of money for investment, but the majority comprised gifts of property or rents in the town and elsewhere. Usually these were conveyed to the warden and bridgemen, or sometimes (after 1568) to the corporation, which administered its charitable property alongside the existing 'bridge rents'. For the most part the charities seem to have been well run, though by the early 19th century the bridgemen's joint responsibility for church, bridge, and eleemosynary charities was creating some confusion. The corporation also oversaw the town's more formal duties of poor relief under national legislation, appointing collectors or overseers and apparently auditing accounts. (fn. 146)


The late medieval almshouse was refounded by John Longland (d. 1547), bishop of Lincoln, who was born at Henley. New arrangements were in hand by 1538, and by his will Longland left £10 for the purchase of land as an endowment, both for upkeep of the buildings, and to provide 4d. a week each for three female and five male inmates. All were to hold orthodox religious beliefs and perform specified daily devotions. Like the town's other charities the almshouse was administered by the guild or corporation, to which land in Windsor was conveyed by Longland's executors in 1566, and which by the 1580s annually appointed two almshouse overseers. Charitable bequests by William Barnaby (d. 1587) and Robert Kenton (d. 1584) augmented the inmates' allowances by a total of £4 4s., and by the 1820s the almshouses' total income was £190, mostly from the Windsor property. Another 5 a. in Rotherfield Greys may have also formed part of Longland's endowment. (fn. 147)

33. The Longland almshouses in 1827, looking north-west towards the church. The buildings were demolished in 1829–30 (partly for road widening), and replaced by almshouses facing into the churchyard.

Until 1829 the premises stood on the south side of Hart Street opposite the church, between the rectory house and the waterfront. (fn. 148) The women were at first accommodated in the 'old house', which adjoined the hermitage near the bridge; possibly it stood on or near the site of the Angel on the Bridge inn, which later formed part of the almshouses' endowment. The five men occupied the 'new house' built close by, apparently on the site of the Hart Street houses given to the guild by William Pykard in 1453 (above). (fn. 149) The almshouses seem to have been remodelled in the 17th century and again in 1723, and by the 1820s were arranged around a courtyard, with a pump in the middle and a carriageway through to Hart Street on the north (Fig. 33). (fn. 150)

The admission of two Henley men to Ewelme Hospital in 1666–70 (supported by town testimonials) suggests that local provision remained inadequate. (fn. 151) An additional almshouse for 10 people was set up in 1665 by the maltster Humphrey Newbury (a victim of the plague), who by his will left £200 and houses on Duke Street, Hart Street and Market Place as an endowment. A plot fronting the churchyard's eastern edge, occupied by a house and malt house, was conveyed to trustees soon after, though the almshouse was not finally erected until 1672. Adjoining it was a separate range for four poor widows, built around 1669 by Ann Messenger (d. 1670), widow of the merchant and sometime town warden Ralph Messenger. A sum of £200 left to trustees by her will was used to buy fee farm rents worth just under £9 a year, and in 1672 another £2 rents were added using a charitable bequest by William Palmer of South Stoke (d. 1598).

The corporation nominated inmates for both sets of almshouses, who were elected by vote. Like the Longland almshouses, the Newbury and Messenger ranges were rebuilt in the earlier 19th century; by then, the inmates' weekly allowance had been supplemented by income from the Longland endowment or from other town charities, in an attempt to make the town's almshouse provision more equitable. (fn. 152)

Poor relief and other charities

Between 1539 and 1664, another 20 charities for the poor were established by prosperous townsmen or by others with Henley connections. Thereafter new endowments fell off sharply as in many towns and villages, with only four more eleemosynary charities set up before 1800. (fn. 153) The trades of many of the founders are unclear, since their wills described them only as 'yeoman' or 'gentlemen'. John Fowl (d. 1544) was probably a fuller, however, William Barnaby (d. 1587) was a draper, and Robert Shard (d. 1663) was an innkeeper, while some others may have been farmers or maltsters, and John Lewes (d. 1600) served as town warden. (fn. 154) Local gentry founding charities included William Masham (d. 1600), the owner of Phyllis Court, and Lady Periam (founder of the Periam school), while Archbishop Laud (d. 1645), born at Reading, remembered Henley in his will along with Wallingford, Wokingham and New Windsor. (fn. 155)

Henley's charities followed a common pattern. Six were for distribution at the town officers' discretion, while four others provided for doles in money or bread on particular days of the year, including Easter, Christmas, New Year's Day, Lady Day and Michaelmas. Another four were clothing charities providing coats, shifts or shirts, in one case specifically for the blind, lame or impotent. Perhaps surprisingly only two charities (excluding the Periam school) funded apprentices: Archbishop Laud's (endowed with a £50 rent charge on land in Eye and Dunsden), and John Hart's (endowed in 1664 with a £9 rent charge in Easington, which was intended to apprentice 2 boys).

Different again were two charities explicitly aimed at setting the poor to work. Abraham Pocock (d. 1596), yeoman, left £10 to buy hemp, flax, wool and yarn to keep the poor in employment, (fn. 156) while Masham left £100 'that [the poor] may learn to live by their honest labour'. (fn. 157) Probably those produced the 'stock' for the poor administered by the corporation in the early 17th century. (fn. 158) In 1651 the corporation used part of Masham's bequest to buy land on the town's western edge, the remaining cost met from £100 given by Richard Jayes of Reading. Thereafter the rent was paid to the overseers and presumably added to the poor rate, until in 1790 the land became the site of a new purpose-built workhouse. (fn. 159)

Alongside the endowed charities, older patterns of ad hoc almsgiving continued. Poor boxes were mentioned throughout, and in 1640 the church contained four. (fn. 160) Occasionally the corporation donated some of its small fines to the poor box, and in 1620 it ruled that fines from outsiders who traded illegally in the town should go to poor Henley people pursuing the same trade. (fn. 161) Churchmen, too, played a part, the intruded rector William Brice reportedly providing broth on Sundays during the 1650s, and generally proving 'very charitable towards the poor of the parish'. (fn. 162) Numerous other inhabitants (amongst them the earlier rector Abraham Man) made one-off gifts in their wills or during their lifetimes, of which some were quite substantial; (fn. 163) among the more unusual was a gift of 6s. 8d. in 1620 by a pregnant gentlewoman, in return for the rector giving her leave to eat meat on Fridays. (fn. 164) Not all charitable giving was for the poor, however. Townsmen continued to make bequests towards bridge repair, among them William Barnaby (d. 1587) and William Gravett (d. 1625), who respectively left endowments of 13s. 4d. and £2. Robert Kenton (d. 1638) left seven houses on New Street for the same purpose. (fn. 165)

The corporation's minute books contain only sporadic references to more formal poor relief, which may (as in the 18th century) have been dealt with primarily through the vestry. (fn. 166) From the 1580s to 1640s the corporation annually elected collectors or overseers of the poor, apparently audited their accounts, and possibly helped set poor rates. (fn. 167) In 1585 grain and cash for the poor were listed in the corporation minute book, (fn. 168) and the corporation occasionally identified individual candidates for relief, to be helped presumably from charities or the rates. (fn. 169) In 1674 the overseers' total income was c. £106, and their expenditure £103; (fn. 170) by contrast the various clothing, bread and money doles probably yielded less than £15–£20, although Laud's apprenticeship charity represented another £50. (fn. 171) More general charitable income was used to help keep poor rates down. (fn. 172)

The 18th-Century Town

During the 18th century the town's social structure remained fundamentally unaltered, notwithstanding the emergence of some prominent bargemasters and wealthy commercial brewers. (fn. 173) Nonetheless the development of coaching, improved roads, and the Chilterns' much admired scenic beauty attracted increasing numbers of gentry, aristocracy and aspiring middle classes to the town and the surrounding area, transforming its social tone, and initiating its transformation into a fashionable social centre as well as an inland port. Local landowners participating in Henley's social and cultural life included successive lords of Henley manor, alongside neighbours such as the Hodges family of Bolney, the Stevenses and Grotes of Badgemore, and Field Marshal Henry Seymour Conway (d. 1795) of Park Place in Remenham, which was earlier a country retreat for the prince of Wales. Conway was a soldier and politician, though many others were incomers with a background in commerce. (fn. 174) The trend continued into the early 19th century, when the 'beauty of [Henley's] situation' was said to have 'induced many private families to construct ornamental houses', and the surrounding hills were 'interspersed with elegant villas'. (fn. 175)

The town itself remained dominated by prosperous tradesmen, brewers, innkeepers, and retailers, supplemented by new specialist suppliers catering for the growing local éite and passing coach trade. The veneer of professionals also increased, so that by the 1790s there were 4 clergy, 5 surgeons or druggists, and 3 lawyers, along with 5 schoolmasters or mistresses employed at a number of private schools and academies. (fn. 176) The town's development into a sophisticated provincial market and social centre was further reflected in its physical transformation, marked by extensive rebuilding in fashionable London styles, and by large-scale public works including the elegant new bridge. (fn. 177)

Henley as a Social Centre

Charity balls and concerts in Henley are mentioned from the 1750s, and by the 1780s subscription assemblies and balls over the winter season (usually from October to January) were well established. Most seem to have been patronised by fashionable local gentry from outside the town, the sort of people who, like the Powyses of Fawley Rectory, often spent the spring season at Bath, and for whom Henley's winter season became part of the social calendar. (fn. 178) The scale of such events is unclear, though an assembly in 1806, described as 'a very good one', had twenty couples, perhaps the number dancing rather than attending over all. (fn. 179) Some events were in the town hall, but many were held in the more upmarket inns, whose remodelling and expansion in the 18th century reflected not only growing trade from coaching, but their increasing association with the social life of the town and surrounding countryside. A charity ball 'for the benefit of M. Vanscor, a dancer at Drury Lane' was held at the Bell Inn in 1777, (fn. 180) and a supper and ball there the same year filled it to capacity, forcing the landlord to take forty private beds in the town. In 1794 it was rebuilt with 'a spacious ballroom, comfortable sleeping rooms [and] four parlours'. A gentleman's club at the equally fashionable Red Lion met regularly by the 1790s. (fn. 181)

By far the grandest social event was a 'gala week' sponsored by Lord Villiers, the tenant of Phyllis Court, in January 1777, and attended by 'so great [i.e. fashionable] a crowd ... [as] you don't often see in the country'. Inns and country houses were filled to capacity, and grand suppers and balls running into the small hours were held both at the Bell and at Fawley Court, where ninety two (including prominent members of the aristocracy) sat down to supper. Musicians included 'the best from Italy', and plays were staged at an improvised theatre at Bolney Court. Ordinary inhabitants were largely excluded, and though one play rehearsal was opened to Hodges' tenants and 'many of the townspeople of Henley', the benefits to the town were largely economic. Never before (wrote Caroline Powys) 'was it so gay or so much money spent there', while 'provisions rose each day immoderately'. (fn. 182) The gala was exceptional, but Powys's diaries also describe a more routine round of balls and dinner parties at local country houses, in which families such as the Grotes and Freemans participated. (fn. 183) The Freemans also owned a pleasure boat with awning and curtains, on which guests enjoyed a 'delightful water party' in 1795. (fn. 184) In addition, coaching brought in a more transient population of gentry and notables. Visitors to the Red Lion reportedly included the lexicographer and wit Samuel Johnson and (in 1788) George III, (fn. 185) who was also a regular visitor to Sambrooke Freeman at Fawley Court. In 1785 the king and his party dropped in unexpectedly on the dowager Sarah Freeman at Henley Park, to the general excitement of the neighbourhood. (fn. 186)

Professional and amateur dramatics (performed by hired or travelling players or by local gentry) were integral to the assembly season, and some performances in the town may have had a more popular audience. In 1765 Foster's Company of Comedians played there for two months in the summer, (fn. 187) and in 1798 the theatre impresarios Sampson Penley and John Jonas staged a season at the Broad Gates inn at Market Place. In 1805 they established a purpose-built theatre on New Street (the future Kenton Theatre), at which Caroline Powys witnessed performances 'as capital ... as any I've seen in London or Bath'. By 1812 (when a bargemen was fined for throwing a quart mug of beer into the pit) its social character had evidently changed, and it closed the following year, having latterly been only 'tolerably well attended a few weeks of the year'. (fn. 188) A slightly earlier theatre at Wargrave (open 1788–92) proved equally popular with local gentry, and possibly with Henley townspeople. (fn. 189)

Occasionally there were more public celebrations. In 1789 the king's recovery was marked by illuminations, a public dinner in the town hall, and distribution of beer to the populace, while the corporation hosted a tea and ball 'for the ladies'. (fn. 190) A state visit in 1814 by the Prince Regent, Czar Alexander I, and the king of Prussia (en route to Oxford) also attracted large crowds. (fn. 191) More regular events included the mayor's annual feast, for which fish was provided by the tenant of the corporation's fishery. (fn. 192) For many inhabitants, however, entertainment presumably revolved around the increasing number of pubs and alehouses, with their skittles, 'five farthings', and ubiquitous card games. Even at such well-appointed inns as the White Hart illegal backroom gambling seems to have been common, sometimes for high stakes. (fn. 193) Organized sport is poorly recorded before the 19th century, though in 1766 a team of Henley 'gentlemen' played cricket against a family side from Rotherfield Peppard, and in later years against Wokingham, Reading and Sonning. (fn. 194)

A final aspect of the area's social life was the scientific interests shared by landowners such as Sambrooke Freeman, Field Marshall Conway, and Thomas Hall of Harpsden, and by Henley's Congregationalist minister Humphrey Gainsborough (d. 1776). Gainsborough, brother of the painter Thomas, was an engineer of note, whose numerous inventions included a tide mill, a condensing steam engine, a refrigerated fish wagon, a drill plough, and timepieces, and who was closely involved in local road and river improvements. Hall (a fellow Congregationalist) may have provided a workshop at Harpsden, and Gainsborough corresponded regularly with Freeman, whom he called his 'good benefactor'. Gainsborough died universally respected, a symptom of the extent to which the Congregationalists were by then an accepted part of Henley society. (fn. 195)

Government and Politics 1700–1800

Though the charter of 1722 revised the mechanics of town government, (fn. 196) the mayor, aldermen and burgesses of the new corporation were drawn from the same leading townsmen as earlier. Members in 1765 included the draper William Newell (as mayor), the attorneys Thomas Newell and Thomas Cooper, the brewers John Blackman and Richard Hayward, the innkeeper Edward Prascey (tenant of the Red Lion), the builders Benjamin and William Bradshaw, and the ironmonger and maltster Thomas Sanders. Membership was similar in 1794, when the mayor was the grocer and tallow chandler John Allen, and members included brewers, grocers, an attorney, a druggist, a saddler, and the sail-cloth and sacking manufacturer James Orme. (fn. 197) No bargemasters appear to have been corporation members, and Nonconformists were excluded from office until repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts in 1828.

As earlier, corporation members called themselves 'Mr' or 'gentleman', and corporation events were attended with some display. The two serjeants at mace appointed under the new charter were each provided with a laced hat, and the charter itself was to be received 'in a public manner', with an entertainment provided by the mayor. (fn. 198) In the 1790s the corporation had its own locked pews in the church, (fn. 199) where they presumably sat in order of rank; numerous other leading townsmen also had private pews, which were numbered and regulated by the churchwardens. (fn. 200) The corporation's influence in the town was enhanced not only by its continuing control of town charities but, after 1722, by its right to hold quarter sessions and a weekly small-claims court. (fn. 201) The vestry (which dealt with poor relief as well as church affairs) included most of the same prominent burgesses and aldermen, and sometimes local gentry. Gislingham Cooper (who acquired Henley manor) attended regularly in the 1720s, while later members included John Raine and Capt. Stevens of Badgemore House. In 1790 Strickland Freeman (then lord of Henley) served on a committee overseeing the new workhouse, while his predecessor Sambrooke Freeman contributed to improvements at the church. (fn. 202)

Relations between the town and lords of Henley manor were not always harmonious, however. In particular there were long-running disputes over Thames fisheries and ownership of the waterfront, which came to a head when the corporation embarked on improvements to landing facilities and embankments. Around 1700 Sir William Whitelocke forced the removal of a campshot built without permission outside the Red Lion, (fn. 203) and from 1786 there was protracted litigation with Strickland Freeman over fishing, riverside encroachments, and loading rights. Freeman sued both the corporation and the owner of the Red Lion and its granaries, Barrett March, and fell out with the bridge commissioners who, in 1787, threatened to cut down stakes demarcating the riverside areas claimed as manorial waste. Armed with the Bridge Act of 1781 (which authorized improvements to the approach roads), the corporation seems to have won its case. (fn. 204) Membership of the bridge commission had already prompted tension with Sambrooke Freeman and other local landowners, who demanded what the townspeople saw as excessive representation: in 1781 the corporation declared that it would prefer 'to have the whole matter dropped, as they certainly think themselves better judges of the interest of the town than neighbouring gentlemen can be'. In the end they accepted 16 external landowners from Fawley, Badgemore, Rotherfield Greys, and further afield, though as the corporation had block membership it retained a small majority. (fn. 205) In such circumstances, town attorneys may have sometimes had divided loyalties. Thomas Cooper (d. 1788) served both as town clerk and as Sambrooke Freeman's manorial steward, while he or his son Thomas was also clerk for the bridge commission. (fn. 206)

Despite Henley's Whig traditions, voting in the contentious 1754 Oxfordshire election was mixed, with only a narrow majority (around 53 per cent of the vote) for the Whig or New Interest candidates. Old Interest (or Tory) supporters included the builder Benjamin Bradshaw, the wharfinger Richard Eylsey, the innkeeper and bargemaster Robert Usher, and Gislingham Cooper, who in 1753 entertained around 180 local gentry, clergy and freeholders at Henley. The New Interest was powerfully represented, however. The 2nd earl of Macclesfield, father of the New Interest candidate Viscount Parker, was high steward of Henley, and two months after Cooper's entertainment staged an even larger treat, at which 800 were said to have been entertained 'in the town hall and at several public houses'. Both New Interest candidates canvassed in Henley on several occasions, and Sambrooke Freeman (who lived outside the county at Fawley Court) became involved in controversial campaigning on their behalf. Several prominent townsmen ultimately voted for the New Interest, among them the brewer John Blackman and the future brewer Richard Hayward. (fn. 207) Lord Macclesfield, whose father had reportedly helped secure the new charter in 1722, (fn. 208) maintained his family's interest in the town beyond the election, serving as governor for the grammar and Periam schools. (fn. 209) Even so an Old Interest club was still holding quarterly meetings at the Bell in 1761. (fn. 210)

The corporation's loyalty to king and constitution was demonstrated in 1792, when, amidst fears of invasion and insurrection, it issued a declaration of support and undertook to suppress 'all seditious and inflammatory publications'. The statement was circulated to every publican, and the constables were instructed to notify the corporation magistrates of unlawful meetings or handbills. (fn. 211) Two years later the corporation voted 50 guineas towards internal defence of the kingdom, though when troops were quartered in Henley in 1796 it nonetheless declared them 'a very great inconvenience', and petitioned the War Office for their removal. (fn. 212) In 1795, when exceptional corn prices prompted fear of bread riots, the corporation was quick to seek the support of local cavalry and militia, though in the event none was needed. Five years later it tempered its response, regulating bread prices and promoting soup kitchens and grain distribution, while simultaneously warning that such initiatives would end 'on the appearance of any tumult or riot'. (fn. 213) The threats were not wholly imaginary, since in March 1800 the mayor received a letter threatening to burn the town if bread prices were not lowered. (fn. 214)

A more routine concern with law and order was reflected in various anti-crime and prosecution societies mentioned from the 1750s, including (in 1757) an annual subscription scheme for prosecution of murderers. (fn. 215) Occasionally the Henley quarter sessions committed felons to Oxford Castle, some of them for corn or sheep stealing rather than domestic burglaries. (fn. 216) Highwaymen remained an occasional threat: post-chaises travelling from Bolney to Henley for the 1777 gala were stopped by highwaymen looking for diamonds, and twenty years later Caroline Powys's husband was robbed four miles outside the town. (fn. 217)

Education 1700–1800

Educational provision was supplemented by several new schools during the 18th century, of which most were unendowed private academies catering for local gentry and for the town's more prosperous inhabitants. A boarding school for young ladies was mentioned in 1782, and a school at Northfield End (run by a clergyman) in 1783. (fn. 218) Ten years later there were three young ladies' boarding schools and another for gentleman, and three other inhabitants were listed as schoolmasters. (fn. 219)

Rather different was the so-called Green or Greencoat School, set up in 1719–20 to clothe and provide basic education for eight poor children (four boys and four girls). In recompense for the children's lost earnings, each parent was to receive an allowance of up to 40s. a year. The founder was the London mercer John Stevens, probably a native of Henley, whose £1,000 bequest was used to buy a £40 rent-charge on New Mills in Rotherfield Peppard; the endowment was supplemented in 1765 from a £100 bequest by Thomas Stevens, one of the trustees. Money in hand was invested in South Sea Annuities, the income used to pay the master and mistress, to provide uniforms, pens, papers, bibles and prayer books, and to pay the parents' allowances. All the pupils learned reading, writing and arithmetic, and the girls learned spinning, knitting and sewing; the number of children benefiting was increased to twelve in 1818. (fn. 220) The establishment of a Sunday school in 1780 may have further benefited rudimentary education for poorer children. (fn. 221)

The grammar and Periam schools continued separately until the 1770s, but with mixed results. The grammar school was largely irrelevant to the town's needs, and suffered from inadequate or neglectful masters: by 1758 only five boys attended, and there was no money for repairs. Numbers at the Periam school were limited by the terms of its foundation, and in 1778 the two were combined by Act of Parliament as the United Charity Schools of Henley. A new body of governors was set up including the rector, mayor, recorder and senior justice of Henley, and the schools were reordered as an upper school (to be taught by a master in holy orders who was versed in classical languages), and a lower school (to be taught reading and arithmetic by a master and usher). Numbers at the upper school were limited to 25 under the age of 14, who had to be able read, write and cast accounts before admittance; the lower school was limited to 60, of whom 20 (designated Lady Periam's boys) received various allowances from the Periam bequest, and could stay until age 16 or 17. Four of the Periam boys were to be apprenticed every year. Quarterly fees (excluding entrance payments) were 1s. 6d. for the upper school, and 6d. for the lower.

Both schools moved probably in 1792 to newly acquired premises on the south side of Hart Street, opposite the church, (fn. 222) with a house provided for the master of the upper school. Despite improvements the links between the schools steadily weakened, and in 1805 the lower school was moved into neighbouring buildings. By 1819 numbers there had fallen to 40, partly through competition from the new National school, though pupils were well taught, and Periam boys were apprenticed 'when their parents could procure them masters'. The upper school had become almost a private academy, teaching 13 boys for annual fees of 4 guineas each. Nine of them were learning Latin and Greek, but none had come up from the lower school as originally envisaged. (fn. 223)

A 'parish library' was bequeathed to the town by the rector Charles Aldrich (d. 1737), who stipulated that neighbouring clergy and anyone paying church rates could borrow books. The library seems to have remained in the rectory house until 1777, when shelves for it were put up in the vestry room in the church. The collection chiefly comprised Greek and Latin classics, books in Hebrew and oriental languages, and theological works, and even in 1813 was 'little if ever used by the inhabitants'. It was finally sold off in the 1940s, having been stored in various places after the vestry was altered in 1883. (fn. 224)

Poor Relief and Workhouses

Controlling poor rates became a dominant theme of town government during the 18th century as the cost of poor relief rose. Total annual expenditure by 1775–6 was over £740, and in 1783–5 an average of £1,000. (fn. 225) This was higher than for most Oxfordshire towns, both as an absolute sum and per head of population, although expenditure also included the rural part of Henley parish. By 1725 and possibly earlier, rate-setting and general policy was overseen by the vestry; the new corporation's role was confined to charity administration and occasional use of its property. Day to day business was jointly managed by the overseers and churchwardens or bridgemen. (fn. 226)

A workhouse was established in cottages on the north side of New Street (on the site of the modern Kenton Theatre) in 1725–6, the costs met by loans and mortgages, and by a one-off poor rate of 18d. in the pound. The buildings were owned by the corporation, which leased them to the churchwardens and overseers and in 1755 undertook repairs. (fn. 227) At first the parish ran the workhouse directly, but from 1741 it usually farmed the maintenance and clothing of the poor to local contractors for periods of up to 3 years, in 1754 for £338 a year, and by 1788 for £800. Additional allowances were paid in special circumstances, such as an outbreak of sickness in the workhouse in 1741, or high prices and a 'great increase in the poor' in 1752. Occasionally the vestry reverted to direct management through a specially appointed committee; salaried supervisors were employed in 1777 and again in 1779, after a contractor was dismissed for failing to keep the inmates clean, for not teaching them to read, and for not saying prayers or escorting them to and from church. (fn. 228) By then the workhouse had accommodation for 70 people. (fn. 229)

In 1727 and on several later occasions the vestry insisted that receipt of relief was conditional on entering the workhouse, and that it would pay no further out relief or paupers' rents. (fn. 230) In reality the approach was more flexible. Various weekly allowances were agreed in 1739 and 1742, in 1740 the overseers paid 6s. towards a man's rent providing he found the rest, and in 1788 a man and his family were awarded 100 weeks' advance of a 6s. weekly allowance so that he could buy goods into his shop. (fn. 231) From the 1780s the vestry also undertook periodic inoculations against smallpox, and contracted with local doctors for medical care for the poor. (fn. 232) Other expenses including occasional settlement cases: in 1783–5 legal costs averaged £34 a year, compared with only 5s. 8d. on setting the poor to work. (fn. 233) A standing overseer was appointed from 1791, with a salary (by 1799) of £50. (fn. 234)

Disputes over rating assessments and arrears were recorded from the 1720s, and became more acute as costs increased. In 1747 the vestry limited annual rates to 1s. 9d. in the pound, but by 1764 rates of 3s. were common, rising to 4s. 6d. by the 1780s. (fn. 235) Part of the reason was thought to be an increase in out relief, since the existing workhouse was no longer big enough; accordingly, the vestry decided to build a new and larger workhouse on corporation land at the top of Gravel Hill, primarily in the hope of keeping down future rates. The workhouse was completed in 1790–1, the building costs of £1,600 met by an advance from Barrett March, the wealthy owner of the Red Lion, and by a 6d. rate to supplement the general poor rate. (fn. 236) By 1802 it had 110 inmates excluding children, but 266 adults and children were still receiving out relief, and total poor relief costs (in line with national trends) had risen to over £2,500. Of that £1,436 was spent in the workhouse, and £1,027 on out relief. Another 307 people received occasional relief, making a grand total of 683 or 23 per cent of the population. Poor rates were by then 6s. 9d. in the pound. (fn. 237)

Meanwhile the corporation continued to administer the town charities, whose income (though relatively negligible) was sometimes diverted to help offset poor or church rates. The trustees of one such charity (with land in Sussex) temporarily withheld it in protest, but in 1767 the contractor farming Henley's poor still received some charitable income, and in 1790 other charities were put towards the costs of building the new workhouse. (fn. 238) In contrast to the 16th and 17th centuries, only three new eleemosynary charities were established, two of them bread charities producing c. £7 a year, and one a charity for the blind distributing £25–£40 a year. Another (to provide plum cakes for children catechized at Lent) was never received. (fn. 239)

Town and Society c. 1800–1914

The bypassing of Henley by the Great Western Railway's London-Bristol line (completed in 1841) severely threatened the town's future, destroying its coaching, and initiating a protracted decline of the river trade. (fn. 240) Yet by the 1820s there was a realization that Henley's burgeoning role as a high-class riverside tourist and social centre provided an alternative, and could be exploited to bring trade into the town. Central to this was the self-conscious promotion of the regatta, which had its origins in the first Oxford-Cambridge boat race of 1829, and which became a formalized annual event ten years later, eventually attracting large crowds not only over the two or three days' rowing but over much of the summer season. With the belated opening of the Henley branch line in 1857 the town was able to exploit its potential more fully, and by the 1890s the event attracted over 34,000 visitors, with house boats lining the river for several weeks. Henley's wider role as an inland resort and commuting centre developed against this background, culminating in the building of new hotels, and provision of a wide range of river-related leisure amenities. (fn. 241)

Though recovery was not immediate the town's social profile also attracted wealthy permanent residents, continuing an interrupted trend noted in the early 19th century. (fn. 242) By the 1880s the influx of prosperous middle classes incomers was fuelling extensive suburban growth, (fn. 243) and the surrounding area attracted successful businessmen or professionals of whom many became involved in town life. Among them were the stationer and Conservative politician W.H. Smith (posthumously Viscount Hambleden), who moved to nearby Greenlands in 1871, and the London solicitor Sir Frank Crisp, owner of Friar Park. (fn. 244) Nonetheless Henley remained a town with a substantial working population, albeit one geared increasingly towards retail and services. In 1901 only 12 per cent of householders were professionals or had private means, compared with 64 per cent employed in retailing, building, brewing, crafts, and other trades or services. Another 10 per cent of householders were labourers, 5 per cent were in domestic service, and at least 9 per cent (including market gardeners) were connected with agriculture. (fn. 245)

Henley Regatta to 1914

By the 1820s recreational and competitive rowing was an increasingly fashionable gentleman's sport, both at the universities and in a number of private subscription clubs in London and elsewhere. (fn. 246) No major rowing events were held at Henley before the first Oxford-Cambridge university boat race of 1829, however, which was originally planned for London, and which was moved to Henley probably at the Oxford club's instigation. The Henley stretch must have been familiar to Oxford rowers, and provided an attractive setting on neutral territory within easy reach of both Oxford and London. The event 'created an unusual bustle', with Henley's inns and lodgings fully booked even at inflated prices, and 'an assemblage of fashion' expected along the river banks. (fn. 247)

Similar one-day events (sometimes called regattas) followed sporadically during the 1830s, both in Henley and in neighbouring towns such as Maidenhead. The impetus seems to have come largely from university and London clubs, though Henley boats participated, and local people were quick to exploit the potential, erecting private stands and raising subsidies for music and fireworks. The 1837 and 1838 events coincided with the Henley horticultural show, and as well as formal races included matches between wherries and punts, a band, and a firework finale. (fn. 248) A public meeting in March 1839 sought to establish an annual regatta with the express intent of benefiting the town, and within a month 180 guineas had been raised in subscriptions. Despite bad weather (which reduced attendance from an anticipated 15,000 to around 8,000) the event was a great success, and thereafter it became an established part of the social and sporting calendar, held at first over two days and from 1886 over three. (fn. 249)

Early management was through a body of self-perpetuating stewards assisted by a committee. Apart from the mayor the former consisted entirely of local gentry, who played a central role in setting up the event. The first stewards included W. P. Williams-Freeman of Fawley Court, Thomas Stonor (later 1st Lord Camoys) of Stonor Park, and the owners of Badgemore House and Park Place, and by 1850 there were 23 stewards including the earls of Orkney, Falmouth, and Kilmorey. The earl of Macclesfield (who was also high steward of the town) became first patron, to be succeeded later by Lord Camoys. The committee, with a quorum of five, was made up of leading townspeople, who in 1850 included the solicitors Samuel Cooper and James Nash (one of the founders), the surgeon James Brooks, the brewer W. H. Brakspear, the chemist and stationer Charles Kinch, the draper William Plumbe, and the wine and spirit merchant Charles Towsey. (fn. 250) Some leading townsmen also rowed, among them the future builder Robert Owthwaite, the young solicitor John Cooper (d. 1905), and a son of the solicitor Zachary Allnutt, who all took part in the 1839 regatta. (fn. 251)

34. Houseboats and pleasure boats at the 1896 regatta, which attracted 35,000 visitors over the three days. Houseboats were a common feature from the 1880s.

The stewards owned no corporate property until the early 20th century, most spectators watching from the bridge and banks, or from stands erected by townsmen such as (in 1839) the builders Cooper & Son or the upholsterer J. T. Mattingley. Particularly popular were the stands outside the Red Lion, which until 1886 overlooked the finishing line. (fn. 252) From mid century the stewards occasionally rented some riverside meadows, including the site near the bridge on which (in 1864) they built the first regatta boathouse. Even so, with income largely confined to subscriptions and entrants' fees the regatta's finances remained delicate. In 1841 it was running a deficit, and as late as 1878 (when the stewards received over £190 from stands and enclosures) it was still barely breaking even. Expenses in 1878 included rents, cups and medals, decorations, a band, hire of stands, and policing costs, as well as miscellaneous wages. (fn. 253)

Despite these problems, from the outset the event attracted nobility and 'the beauty, rank and fashion of the neighbourhood'. Some travelled a considerable distance, particularly after the opening of the Great Western Railway to Twyford, which in 1844 conveyed 'a great many Londoners' who then drove on to Henley. By then the Times considered the regatta 'one of the chief attractions of the season', its appeal enhanced by its 'delightful' setting; by the start 'hundreds of fashionably dressed persons had congregated in the stands', while the bridge was 'covered with handsome equipages'. (fn. 254) In the early days numbers were swelled by university undergraduates, whose behaviour was sometimes less genteel: decades later the Congregationalist minister's son recalled them driving over in dogcarts 'with others of a far lower grade', and claimed that the manse windows were smashed more than once after his father opposed the regatta because of their drunken rowdyism. (fn. 255) Nonetheless the influx of such large crowds evidently fulfilled the founders' purpose of benefiting the town. In 1849 some 225 Henley tradesmen petitioned the stewards to ensure the regatta's continuation, alleging that 'its superior attractions' had 'introduced the town ... to the notice of thousands', and that it 'created so great an influx of visitors during a considerable portion of the year, which may in a degree compensate for the injury the trade of the town has sustained from various causes'. (fn. 256)

In 1851 the regatta's shaky finances, combined with its beneficial effects on trade, prompted the corporation to seek royal patronage. At its request Lord Camoys approached Prince Albert, who agreed to become patron and donated £50; thereafter the event became Henley Royal Regatta, enhancing its social prestige even though the prince never attended. The opening of the Henley branch line in 1857 further increased the number of visitors, with additional trains laid on at regatta time. A visit in 1887 by the prince and princess of Wales, the kings of Denmark and Greece, and other royalty – orchestrated by the 4th Lord Camoys as part of the celebrations for Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee – added further to its reputation. (fn. 257) In 1897 nearly 38,000 visitors came by train over the three days, and 'it would be impossible to estimate the whole concourse of people attending, for miles round every house is full to repletion with guests'. Many came not so much for the races as for 'the charms of the scenery', the social ambience, and the 'lavish hospitality', and photographs show the river jammed with punts and pleasure boats between the formal races. (fn. 258) Numbers arriving by train gradually fell before the First World War, to only 15,000 in 1910. Nonetheless the event retained its fashionable appeal, and in 1912 saw a royal visit from George V and Queen Mary. (fn. 259)

From around 1880 increasingly luxurious houseboats began to appear in large numbers, many of them staying not just for the regatta but for much of the summer season. Places were allocated by the Thames Commissioners, and mooring fees brought additional modest income for the stewards. (fn. 260) The boats' size made them unpopular with neighbouring house owners, however, and their water closets and waste food dumped overboard caused increasingly serious river pollution. In 1886 a commissioner from The Lancet judged the state of the river to be 'simply scandalous', and castigated the houseboat-owners for flouting laws in a manner which, for less wealthy people, would have resulted in prosecution. (fn. 261)

As the regatta's social prestige increased, so, too, did its sporting reputation. Early regattas generated considerable interest amongst rowing crews in Oxford, Cambridge and London, though rowers had little influence over the regatta's management until the 1880s, and the course (which ran from Temple Island to the bridge in order to provide the best possible spectacle) was considered unsatisfactory and unfair. Such inadequacies, combined with mounting competition from regattas in London and elsewhere, perhaps contributed to a decline in entries during the 1840s and 1850s, with a nadir in 1850 when the event was temporarily reduced to one day. In 1874 the sporting Bell's Life and Chronicle declared its desire to 'slay or drown the committee' and to replace them with 'a few practical men who really knew one end of an oar from the other', and in 1880 a report into the regatta's management and finances led to a standing committee on which town and rowing men were equally represented. A new constitution in 1885 set up a committee of twelve, elected annually from amongst the stewards, and in 1894 the rower H. T Steward (a former president of the Leander Club) became chairman, succeeding J. F. Hodges of Bolney Court (Harpsden). The course was improved in 1886 when the finish was moved downstream to Poplar Point (opposite Phyllis Court), and thereafter the regatta was held over three days.

Long before then the event's appeal was again increasing the number of entries, with the first overseas competitor (Trinity College, Dublin) entering in 1870, and a United States crew in 1878. Thenceforth the regatta remained an international event. The prestigious Leander Club (based in London) built a clubhouse at Henley c. 1895–7 following a long association, and in 1908 Henley was chosen for the first Olympic Regatta, held there two weeks after the annual regatta. (fn. 262)

Henley as a Resort

Henley's wider potential as a riverside resort was recognised by 1826, when the Henley stationers Hickman & Stapledon (later Hickman & Kinch) published the first of a series of town guides aimed at attracting visitors from London and elsewhere. Early editions focused on the town's accessibility from London (initially by coach), on the area's natural beauty, and on its appeal to walkers, riders, anglers and artists, which by 1838 was said to be bringing it a 'large share of public patronage'. The area's relative tranquillity, compared with busier and more 'fashionable watering places', was promoted as part of its appeal, along with the town's comfortable accommodation and growing amenities. The latter included pleasure boats and fishing punts, a map-lined newspaper room at the post office where visitors might subscribe for a single week, and (by 1838) horticultural shows and literary and reading societies. From 1831 fishing was regulated by the Henley Fishing Association (later the Henley Fishery Preservation Society), established to protect stocks for sport along a 3½-mile stretch of river. (fn. 263)

The demise of coaching and the delay in acquiring a railway presumably slowed the town's burgeoning appeal. The Bell and (for a time) the Red Lion both closed in the 1840s, (fn. 264) and an inhabitant born in 1840 remembered Henley primarily as a 'quiet little town'. (fn. 265) Nevertheless a guide published in 1850 made much of the regatta and the town's other attractions, and played up the anticipated rail link. Speeches celebrating the station's opening in 1857 confirmed that benefits to tourism were among its promoters' chief priorities: Lord Camoys hoped that it would bring a 'new era of prosperity' to the town, introducing large numbers to 'the delightful scenery of the neighbourhood, to whom, but for this branch railway, it would never be known'. (fn. 266) Opposition to a proposed extension of the line to Marlow in 1898 was driven by similar motives, since it was feared that the planned viaduct would detract from the 'superb scenery' which was Henley's 'stock in trade'. (fn. 267) By then, Henley was being promoted not only to tourists but to London commuters as a 'desirable residence ... and a bourne of peace and rest after the worries of business'. (fn. 268)

As visitor numbers increased during the later 19th century, so too did Henley's leisure amenities. By the 1890s there were several steam or electric launches, some run by local firms such as Messrs Hobbs & Sons at the end of New Street or Thomas Shepherd at the Red Lion. Others were operated by Salters of Oxford, or by the London-based Upper Thames Electric Launch Company. Boats, canoes and punts could be hired from half a dozen firms or individuals, among them the proprietors of the Angel and Carpenter's Arms pubs, who also hired out expert rowers or fishermen. A swimming baths at Solomon's Hatch (on the Berkshire side of the river) was open daily in summer, with first-class tickets at 21s. for the season. (fn. 269) Accommodation, too, was expanded. Some was in old-established inns including the Red Lion, which re-opened in 1859 and which, following refurbishment in 1889, was transformed from 'an old world coaching inn' into 'a fashionable hotel' with billiard room, reading room, and two coffee rooms. (fn. 270) New hotels included the Royal on the waterfront (opened 1869 and rebuilt 1899–1900), and the nearby Imperial (1896), both close to the station, (fn. 271) while less exalted accommodation was available in the Henley Restaurant at the central crossroads, opened in 1893 with 'airy, well-furnished rooms' and hot or cold baths, 'a luxury when heated from rowing, cycling etc.'. (fn. 272)

Outside regatta season the numbers attracted by these amenities are difficult to judge, though rectors in the 1880s and 1890s commented on the 'incursion of pleasure seekers during the summer months', (fn. 273) and by 1897 there were reckoned to be at least 1,000 visitors every Sunday. (fn. 274) By 1900 the GWR ran regular summer excursions from London, combining the rail journey with a river trip and dinner at 'the historic Red Lion', and in 1901 Henley corporation set up a committee to advertise the town's attractions more widely. The railway also made possible summer excursions by Henley residents, including an annual church choir outing established by 1894. (fn. 275) Even so, one resident remembered pre-1914 Henley as being 'almost dead' outside the tourist season. (fn. 276)

The town's social tone was set not only by the regatta and genteel tourism but by the presence of local gentry and of the upper middle classes. A resident born in 1847 recalled the inhabitants of neighbouring country houses coming regularly into town in their carriages, (fn. 277) and in the later 19th century some were active in the town's social life. Frank Crisp in particular supported philanthropic causes and occasionally hosted public events in the grounds of Friar Park, as well as serving as a magistrate, contributing to the new Congregationalist church and isolation hospital and, in 1901, performing with members of the Brakspear and Cooper families in a fund-raising pantomime for Henley cricket club. (fn. 278) At regatta time the Mairs hosted private parties at Phyllis Court, one of the prime viewing points, while in 1896 W. H. Smith's son the Hon. W. F. D. Smith was president of the Fishery Preservation Society, whose other officers included Lord Camoys, W. D. Mackenzie of Fawley Court, Sir Francis Stapleton of Greys Court, and the brewer Archibald Brakspear. Similar gentry and professionals were involved with numerous town societies, among them the London solicitor J. S. Burn, who retired to Henley in 1855 and in 1861 published a substantial history of the town. (fn. 279) Nonetheless, Henley's role as a fashionable resort co-existed with problems of slum housing and inadequate sanitation. A rector in 1866 commented on the 'miserable overcrowded dwellings' in various parts of the town, while conditions in some of the hidden off-street cottage courts caused concern into the 20th century. (fn. 280)

Societies, Entertainment and Sport

By 1838 there were three literary and reading societies in Henley, one for local gentry and the others for tradesmen. The former was probably that based in the Red Lion, which continued in 1861 at an annual subscription of 21s., and whose reading room enjoyed 'a beautiful view of the river'. By 1858 there was also a reading, chess and music society with rooms in Bell Street, which stocked newspapers and periodicals and hosted lectures, musical entertainments and chess tournaments on winter evenings. The patron was the rector T. B. Morrell, and smoking, drinking or card-playing were forbidden. (fn. 281) A circulating library run by a Hart Street stationer existed by 1826, and in the 1830s the rector James King established a short-lived lending library in a 'tavern'. By 1852 there were said to be 'several book societies' and a Dissenters' (probably Congregationalist) lending library, and by 1896 there were two circulating libraries, one based at the railway station and the other at the offices of the Henley Advertiser at Market Place. (fn. 282) A debating society existed by 1888. (fn. 283)

Public meetings and occasional dances or entertainments were held in the town hall throughout the 19th century, among them a concert given in 1852 by two members of Her Majesty's Theatre. (fn. 284) By the late 19th century several other halls offered plays, concerts and miscellaneous entertainments, or hosted meetings and local societies. The former theatre and National school on New Street, owned by the corporation and known variously as St Mary's Hall, St Mary's Theatre or (from 1904) Kenton Hall, was used regularly for public entertainments in the 1860s, and in 1892 was re-launched by a lessee for plays, concerts, opera and vaudeville. In 1893 it staged 13 professional and amateur productions, and the following year hosted 22 groups including the new Henley Bijour Orchestra and gymnasts from the Henley Volunteers. Similar venues in the 1890s included the New Greys Hall on Greys Road and the Royal Gymnasium Theatre on Queen Street. From 1901 most were gradually superseded by the new town hall, which became the favoured venue for most public events; St Mary's Hall closed around 1910 (to be resurrected as a theatre in 1930), while the Gymnasium was used by the YMCA. (fn. 285) An exception to this pattern was Henley's first cinema. 'Animated photographs' and Speer's Grand Cinematograph were exhibited in St Mary's Hall in 1900, and c. 1911 the Henley Picture Palace (or House) was opened in an ice rink at 33 Bell Street, hosting live variety acts as well as film showings. (fn. 286) Open-air travelling shows in the 1870s included a waxworks, a display of wild beasts, and circuses, (fn. 287) and in 1913 another circus was held in meadows off Reading Road. (fn. 288)

A horticultural society was founded in 1833, partly to encourage 'industrious cottagers' from the surrounding area who, on application to a subscribing member, could enter free of charge. Shows of fruit, flowers and vegetables (exhibited by prosperous townspeople and local gentry as well as by cottagers) were held at first in the town hall, and later in the grounds of Phyllis Court, Fawley Court and Friar Park. (fn. 289) By 1895 there was also an annual poultry, pigeon and rabbit show in St Mary's Hall. Annual ploughing matches (held outside the town on neighbouring farms) were started in 1892 by Richard Ovey of Badgemore, with support from the prominent Henley land agent and auctioneer W. Anker Simmons. The events proved popular, not least for their promotion of agricultural interests at a time of severe agricultural depression. (fn. 290)

A Temperance Society was formed in 1859, based at the Assembly Rooms on Bell Street where, in the 1890s, it held fortnightly meetings. A separate Total Abstinence Society was mentioned in the 1880s, also on Bell Street. (fn. 291) By then Temperance was becoming a divisive issue in local politics, (fn. 292) and a variety of Church and Nonconformist groups were set up to help promote the cause. A Temperance choir gave concerts in the Assembly rooms, and there was a Holy Trinity Temperance cricket club. (fn. 293) A British Workman's Temperance pub or coffee house was opened on Bell Street before 1879, (fn. 294) and in 1882 the Henley Coffee Tavern Co. set up a Temperance Hotel or Coffee House at 8 Market Place. (fn. 295) Religious societies included a non-sectarian Young Men's Christian Association established in 1857, and, by the 1890s, a Church of England Juvenile Society, a Church Lads' Brigade, and a non-denominational Pleasant Sunday Afternoon Society (founded in 1893–4), which met in the Assembly Rooms and had over 130 members. (fn. 296)

Club boxes were mentioned in the 18th century, (fn. 297) and, though no Henley friendly societies were reported in 1803, by 1813 the town had 95 friendly society members, rising to 100 two years later. (fn. 298) The earliest was the Northfield End Friendly Society, set up in 1806 at the White Horse and Star; (fn. 299) at least nine more followed in the 1830s–50s, including a Congregationalist Benefit Society established in 1838 (which had 153 members in 1855), branches of the Independent Order of Oddfellows and of the Ancient Order of Foresters, and an apparently short-lived Henley Provident Society, which covered the town and surrounding villages. (fn. 300) Also listed in the 1860s were clothing and coal societies, a benevolent society for poor women during their lying-in (founded in 1808), and a Henley Parochial Work Society, which supplied 'poor and deserving women' with needlework and sold the completed items to the poor at reduced prices. The Friends had their own benefit club in the 1890s, and ran a non-denominational benevolent fund for non-members. (fn. 301)

Bands for the regatta and other events seem to have been hired on an ad hoc basis for much of the 19th century, among them an 'excellent' band from Reading which accompanied the grammar school's annual athletics meetings in the 1860s. (fn. 302) A band made up of boys from the workhouse accompanied a schools treat in 1860, (fn. 303) and the Working Men's Institute reportedly started a brass band in 1875. A town band was founded in 1903, its members drawn partly from an earlier Henley Volunteers' band. (fn. 304) Other musical groups included the Henley Amateur Band, which accompanied a supper for Greys Brewery employees in 1896, (fn. 305) and a string band for the Pleasant Sunday Afternoon Society. (fn. 306) A grammar school choir was established in the 1860s, and gave occasional public concerts which were well attended by the 'principal families of the town and neighbourhood'. The church choir, too, performed public concerts in St Mary's Hall. (fn. 307)

Sports clubs

A rowing club existed by 1819, (fn. 308) and that or a successor in 1828–9. (fn. 309) By 1838 rowing was a 'favourite amusement among the young men', and there were 'several clubs ... among the different classes'. (fn. 310) Most seem to have been informal groups focused on a particular boat and its crew, among them the Wave, Albion and Dreadnought clubs, which all competed in the 1839 regatta; of those, the Dreadnoughts existed by 1836 and continued in the 1850s. A formally constituted Henley Boat Club was started in 1853, changing its name to the Henley Rowing Club in 1868. (fn. 311) By 1896 (when the president was W.D.F. Smith of Greenlands House) it was based at the Red Lion and had 55 members, mostly leading townsmen. The club held monthly trophy races and participated in local regattas, as well as arranging an annual town regatta (distinct from the Royal Regatta) usually in August. A separate working men's rowing club (the Henley United Rowing Club) was set up in 1886 under the presidency of Archibald Brakspear, with a boathouse at the Little White Hart on the waterfront. Ten years later it had 40 members, and owned six boats. Subscriptions were 5s., compared with 10s. 6d. for the Henley Rowing Club. (fn. 312)

A cricket club existed by 1850, when it played on a meadow near the bridge loaned by a Remenham landowner; its president in 1861 was J. F. Hodges of Bolney Court. (fn. 313) Since the club had already acquired 'local celebrity' it may have been of long standing, and certainly matches involving Henley teams were mentioned in the 1830s. (fn. 314) The club seems to have closed in 1862, and in 1869 a new one was founded by Archibald and George Brakspear, both keen sportsmen, with a ground off Remenham Lane on the Berkshire side of the river. Like the rowing club it was mostly for leading townsmen and gentry, and in 1886 a separate Henley Town Cricket Club was formed for 'shop assistants and working men', with a subscription less than a quarter of that for the older club. By 1896 it had nearly 100 members and a ground also off Remenham Lane, replacing an earlier one on Station Meadow. (fn. 315) The Town Club continued until around 1908 and the older club until 1915, when it lost its ground; thereafter there seems to have been a hiatus until the 1930s. (fn. 316)

A football club (known later as Henley Town Football Club) was started in 1871 by Archibald Brakspear and the maltster and wine merchant Henry Ive, along with the architect and town surveyor William Wing. As one of the first clubs in Oxfordshire it had a prominent early role, helping to organize county matches before the creation of the Oxfordshire Football Association in 1884; its first ground was off Marlow Road, replaced later by one off Reading Road. Shorter-lived clubs included Friar Park (1877–89) and Henley Rovers, which soon after its foundation in 1895–6 amalgamated with the town club. (fn. 317) Matches were popular: the GWR ran special 'picnic fares' from Henley for a final at Caversham in 1889, and the town band welcomed the team back from the Oxfordshire Senior Cup final in 1904. (fn. 318)

Athletics meetings were mentioned occasionally from the 1860s, held usually on Dry Leas or the Warren at Northfield End. (fn. 319) In 1896 there was a Church Institute Athletic Club for 'mechanics' aged 18 and above: its gymnasium branch (with 45 members) met regularly at a gymnasium attached to the Church Institute in the former Periam School buildings, south of Hart Street. Other branches provided for cricket, rowing, and for 'reading, games, debate etc.'. (fn. 320) The Institute had closed by 1908, when it was converted into a working men's club. (fn. 321)

A lawn tennis club was started in 1880, and in 1896 had four courts and a small pavilion off Marlow Road; management was by a committee of 'three ladies and three gentlemen', with weekly and monthly subscriptions available for visitors. Cycling was catered for by three clubs in the 1890s: a Cyclist Touring Club based at the White Hart on Hart Street, the Henley Cycle Club at the Temperance Hotel (which organized an annual athletics festival), and the Henley Wheelers' Cycling Club, formed in 1894 for 'young working men'. A successful swimming club was started the same year. (fn. 322) Golf, perhaps surprisingly, came relatively late, with the Henley Golf Club (actually at Harpsden) opening only in 1907–8, six years after that at Huntercombe. (fn. 323) The Henley Volunteer Rifle Corps (instituted in 1859) had a shooting range off the Fair Mile, with a long range at Nettlebed; a silver cup for an annual shooting competition was donated by Mrs Hodges of Bolney Court, and a silver bugle by 'the ladies of Henley and the neighbourhood'. (fn. 324)


A Masonic Lodge (the Thames Lodge) was established at Henley in 1881. (fn. 325) Prominent members included Archibald Brakspear, and at first the Lodge met in premises at Thameside adjoining Brakspears' Brewery. A purpose-built hall was built on Reading Road in 1890–2 on a site given by another prominent Freemason, W. D. Mackenzie of Fawley Court. (fn. 326) Membership in the late 19th and early 20th century included several of Henley's leading townsmen and town councillors, forming an influential faction associated for the most part with the Conservative brewing interest. Notable examples were the doctor James Lidderdale and the estate agent W. Anker Simmons: both served as mayor, and in 1917 Simmons co-founded a daughter Lodge at Caversham, of which he became Master. By contrast the draper W. T. Coates, admitted shortly after his election as mayor in 1888, was a Liberal and Congregationalist. (fn. 327) Freemasonry remained a significant factor in the town into the 20th century, pervading public municipal ceremonies such as the laying of the foundation stone for the new town hall in 1899, or the opening of the War Memorial Hospital in 1922. (fn. 328)

Town Politics 1800–1914

Political tensions revolved around common 19th-century themes: poor and church rates, dissatisfaction (particularly from the 1850s) with the still unreformed corporation, (fn. 329) disputes over sanitation and drainage schemes, and, in the later 19th century, Temperance. Behind many such conflicts lay an underlying antagonism between the traditional, predominantly Anglican and often Conservative town élite which dominated the corporation, and a more Liberal, pro-Temperance and often Nonconformist lobby dominated by leading tradesmen. Divisions were seldom clear-cut, however, and on many issues alliances cut across traditional divides.

35. The Freemasons' Lodge on Reading Road, built in 1890–2 to designs by the Reading architect William Ravenscroft.

Church repairs in Henley were traditionally met from the ancient bridge rents and related charities, (fn. 330) but by the 1850s rising costs were necessitating regular church rates as well. That these were set not by elected churchwardens on the usual pattern but by the corporation's unelected bridgemen added to local tensions. At a vestry meeting in 1855 Dissenters and other opponents of compulsory rates forced a poll of the whole parish, and in 1857 six refusers appeared before a packed session of the town bench. The agitation led to the separation of the offices of bridgeman and churchwarden in 1858, with a rector's and a people's warden appointed in the usual way. Even so elections of churchwardens remained contentious, with the 'popular anti-church rate candidate' T. N. Watts winning a sizeable majority in 1859. Division of charitable income for use of the church or bridge proved equally contentious, requiring intervention by the Charity Commissioners and engendering 'an amount of acrimony ... quite unusual in this parish'. (fn. 331)

Bound up in these disputes was a wider hostility to the unreformed and unelected corporation, which had been excluded from the 1835 Municipal Corporations Act and was increasingly seen as an ailing, outmoded and unrepresentative oligarchy incapable of tackling the pressing issues of drainage and sanitation. (fn. 332) Outspoken critics included leading tradesmen such as Watts (a clothier), the grocer and baker Edmund Chamberlain, and the builder Charles Clements, who from the 1860s became prominent members of the town's new local board (set up in 1864). (fn. 333) Both Watts and Clements were committed Anglicans who served as churchwarden, but like many of their fellows they had close relations with Dissenters, and became active in the Temperance movement. Consequently the corporation's domination not only by prominent lawyers and doctors but by wealthy brewers such as the Brakspears became an additional source of conflict. (fn. 334) Clements asserted in 1897 that the Brakspears had wielded disproportionate influence in the town for decades, not only as employers and magistrates, but through their wealth, connections, and patronage of clubs and societies, 'so that ordinary tradespeople do not like to take any action in matters which concern him'. (fn. 335) The widespread public mourning which accompanied W. H. Brakspear's funeral in 1882 suggests that the observation contained some truth, (fn. 336) although attitudes may have been changing: only six years later a Brakspear ally complained of a 'spirit ... among the working men ... which points with a sneer to the time when the Brakspears were the reputed "kings of Henley"', and questioned whether the town had not been 'more prosperous under a monarchical than it is ever likely to be under a dictatorial local government'. (fn. 337)

The local board presented itself as a more progressive body, although in reality several corporation members (the Brakspears excepted) served on both, and the board itself was not above political infighting. An election in 1868 'resembled ... a contest for a parliamentary seat', with the chairman T. N. Watts and the builder and board member Robert Owthwaite exchanging acrimonious public statements regarding the board's policies on drainage and town improvements. (fn. 338) The conflict rumbled on until 1881, when Owthwaite complained to Whitehall about what he regarded as the board's failings. (fn. 339) The following year Watts prompted further controversy through a handbill in which he promised to resist 'sinister' combinations on the board which threatened ratepayers' interests, an accusation which at least one fellow member (Joshua Swithinbank of Denmark House) took personally. (fn. 340)

Some of these issues were defused by delayed municipal reform in 1883, which replaced the board and corporation with a new town council; (fn. 341) nonetheless, entrenched political rivalries continued. In 1884 Clements and Archibald Brakspear were at loggerheads over new corporation robes and chains of office, which Clements (backed by Chamberlain and the cabinet maker George Fuller) thought symptomatic of the 'pomps and vanities of the Old Corporations', (fn. 342) while in 1889 Clements fought an acrimonious campaign against Brakspear for a seat on the new county council, losing by only a few votes. (fn. 343) By then, Temperance was becoming a major political divide in Henley, with Clements one of its most active supporters both as a public campaigner and as a town alderman and magistrate. Other proponents included the draper and Congregationalist W. Simpkins (mayor in 1891–2), the Quaker grocer Charles Singer, and the vicar of Holy Trinity F. W. Young (1889–1900), who held regular Temperance meetings and accused Brakspear of profiting from the misery created by drink. Clements's statements to the Royal Commission on Liquor Licensing in 1897 caused a furore in Henley, where a workshop at his premises was burned down possibly in an arson attack. The picture he presented of the problems caused by excessive drinking among the poor was based partly on observation of his own workers; it was challenged, however, by the pro-drink alderman and estate agent W. A. Simmons, who called it 'a libel on the working men of Henley' and asserted that 'not four per cent of the homes in Henley are in the condition stated'. The tensions dragged on for several more years, until in 1901 Clements and Brakspear were publicly reconciled amidst the patriotic fervour engendered by the Boer War. By then licensing reform was in train, and the issue seems not to have caused major problems in Henley thereafter. (fn. 344)

Party politics contributed to such disputes, but did not generally drive them. Henley's Whig traditions were reflected in an overwhelming vote for parliamentary reform in 1831, (fn. 345) and in a sizeable Liberal majority in the more normal parliamentary election of 1862, when the town's Liberal voters included not only people like T. N. Watts and Robert Owthwaite, but the lawyers John Cooper and J. S. Burn and the lord of the manor Edward Mackenzie. Conservative voters included W. H. Brakspear, the doctor T. W. Jeston, and the draper William Plumbe, all stalwarts (with Cooper) of the unreformed corporation. (fn. 346) The inauguration of the Henley & District Conservative Association in 1883 was presided over by Mackenzie's son W. D. Mackenzie, and attended by local gentry including W. H. Smith and Col. Makins of Rotherfield Court; (fn. 347) a Conservative club was opened on Hart Street in 1886, and acquired a new building on Queen Street in 1894. (fn. 348) A Liberal club near the town hall was also opened in 1894, (fn. 349) supported not only by townsmen like Clements but by gentry such as Sir Frank Crisp, who in 1898 hosted a Liberal fête in the grounds of Friar Park. (fn. 350) Conflicts after 1883 continued up to a point to follow party divisions, with Clements representing a broadly Liberal and Temperance co-alliance, while men like Brakspear and Simmons represented a broadly Conservative (and Anglican) pro-drink faction. Many of the latter were also Freemasons, a fact reflected in the heavily Masonic ceremony which marked the laying of the foundation stone for the new town hall in 1899. (fn. 351)

Henley's heavily partisan newspapers played a prominent role. The Conservative Henley Advertiser, founded c. 1868 and run from 1877 by A. R. Awbery, ridiculed Clements's Temperance stance, though from 1885 its hegemony was challenged by the Henley Free Press, started by the Liberal Congregationalist minister J. Jackson Goadby. In 1892 the Free Press was taken over by the Henley Conservative Association (which had previously subsidized the Henley edition of the Oxford Times), and relaunched as the pro- Conservative Henley and South Oxfordshire Standard. The Advertiser continued until 1908, and the Standard (in a less political guise) into the 21st century. (fn. 352) Councillors were sometimes censured for inappropriate statements in the press, and occasionally united against inaccurate reporting. In 1880 the corporation chairman complained that a newspaper had quoted private conversations, while in 1887 the corporation cautioned the editor of the Advertiser and threatened to exclude his reporter. (fn. 353)

Education 1800–1914

National, Industrial and British schools

As in most towns the 19th century saw expanded educational provision particularly at elementary level, promoted chiefly by the Church and (for Dissenters) by the Congregationalists. A National and Industrial school for children aged 5–13 was opened in 1817 on New Street, in the corporation premises used until recently as a theatre. Local clergy were prominent in its management, and Anglican religious instruction formed an important part of the curriculum, alongside reading, writing, arithmetic, and (for girls) knitting and 'household work'. Funding was from voluntary subscriptions. (fn. 354) By 1820 nearly 190 children attended, (fn. 355) and in 1830 the premises were enlarged to accommodate an infant school, supported by weekly fees of 2d. (or 1d. for a second child). Infants whose parents worked in the fields could stay all day. (fn. 356)

Purpose-built premises for the schools were erected at the top of Gravel Hill in 1849 and opened the following year, the cost met largely by public subscription. The buildings included accommodation for the master and mistress, and had space for 520 children; (fn. 357) an additional schoolroom (designed by William Wing) was added in 1879. (fn. 358) By 1854 the school taught 120 boys, 90 girls and 120 infants, rising by 1872 to 153 boys, 117 girls and 147 infants; (fn. 359) even so, in the mid 1860s it was running at a deficit and seeking additional subscribers and donations. Income in 1864 included £75 in subscriptions, £41 in weekly fees, £54 in government capitation, and £32 collected at special annual sermons. Subscribers included prominent inhabitants such as W. H. Brakspear, the attorney Samuel Cooper, and Charles Lane of Badgemore, as well as local clergy. (fn. 360) A grant of £10 was received from the trustees of the Green School, which was absorbed into the National schools in 1849; thereafter its charitable income was used to clothe and educate 6 boys and 6 girls free of charge. (fn. 361)

A government inspection in 1867 was critical of standards in spelling and arithmetic, though by 1873 the school was in 'good condition', and in 1910 it was 'efficient'. (fn. 362) From the outset, however, the managers sought to provide practical industrial training as well as basic numeracy and literacy, which for girls meant preparation for domestic service and household management. A separate school of industry for 20 girls (set up c. 1803–5) seems to have been subsumed in the National school, whose founders planned to award a guinea's-worth of clothing to every girl who retained a domestic post twelve months after leaving school. (fn. 363) The intention presumably foundered, since in 1859–60 a group including the rector and members of the Brakspear family set up a new training school to prepare older National school girls for service. Amenities included a wash house and laundry, and girls were given placements in houses around the town, with several eventually finding permanent posts. Despite the scheme's success it attracted only lukewarm interest from parents, and by 1866 its future was in doubt; (fn. 364) possibly it continued as the 'school for destitute girls' mentioned the same year, which sold the girls' needlework and had 56 pupils in 1869. (fn. 365) Boys in the National school were trained in horticulture on a large plot at the back of the school, and exhibited their produce at Henley Horticultural Society shows; (fn. 366) a corporation grant allowed the training to continue in the 1860s, until its suspension in 1867. A government drawing master appointed in 1864 was dispensed with on financial grounds, (fn. 367) and in 1910 the inspector considered 'some form of manual instruction' for older boys to be essential. (fn. 368)

A separate National infant school for the growing southern suburbs was opened on Greys Hill in 1850, soon after the opening of Holy Trinity church; by 1854 it had 80 children supported by voluntary contributions and pence. By 1866 it received a government grant, and in 1893 it had 'excellent' teachers who won 'the highest praise' from diocesan inspectors. Most children went on to Henley National school, until in 1892–3 Trinity National school was built nearby at a cost of some £3,000. Average attendance in 1896 was around 130 with another 100 in the infant school, and by 1906 the school had accommodation for 420 pupils, with an average attendance of 244. (fn. 369)

A British school catering for Dissenters was opened near the Congregationalist chapel before 1820, supported by subscriptions. Like the National school it was 'intended to help the poor', and in the 1840s was deemed unsuitable for the Congregationalist minister's son, who attended a small private school in the town. (fn. 370) A new schoolroom was built in 1856 in the minister's garden, on the corner of Reading Road and Norman Avenue. (fn. 371) The school came under government inspection in 1871, and in 1876 had accommodation for 153 children and an average attendance of 112. Income included voluntary contributions (c. £45), school pence (c. £44), and a government grant (c. £74), and management was by a committee drawn from 'the various sects'. Increasing attendance prompted a series of building extensions, (fn. 372) and in 1911 the school was generally judged efficient; the premises had major defects, however, which continued to cause difficulties until the school's closure in 1932.

A Roman Catholic church built in 1888–9 had a school attached, which in 1906 had accommodation for 50 children and average attendance of 36. (fn. 373) In 1910 a few Roman Catholic girls attended cookery classes at the British school, from which the Catholic school 'borrowed' a teacher in 1911 to cover staff illness. (fn. 374)

Grammar and Periam (United Charity) schools

Though officially united since 1778 and recombined in 1891–2, the grammar and Periam schools remained separate institutions for much of the 19th century, sharing one body of trustees but meeting different educational needs. The grammar school continued to cater primarily for sons of gentry and professionals, including (in 1867–8) medical and military men, clergymen, and architects. Most were boarders from as far as Maidenhead, London, Southampton, and even Scotland, while a few Henley boys included a colonel's son and a wine merchant's son. Basic fees were £6 a year for instruction in classics, arithmetic and mathematics, with additional charges for French and drawing (4 guineas) or German (5 guineas); boarding charges were 50–60 guineas a year, and pupils supplied their own books and materials. (fn. 375) In many respects the school attempted to emulate the great public schools, not least on the playing field. In the 1860s cricket, athletics, football, shooting and (from 1864) rowing were all encouraged, the master specifically invoking 'muscular Christianity' and the moral benefits of 'manly games'. (fn. 376) Though well conducted the school offered no regular public examinations or university exhibitions, however, giving it 'more the character of a preparatory school', and causing some pupils to be moved to larger or wealthier institutions to finish their education. (fn. 377)

The school continued in its earlier premises south of Hart Street until c. 1841, when it moved to the former Bell Inn at Northfield End. (fn. 378) The main block included domestic accommodation and a schoolroom, with the principle schoolroom in the stable block behind; adjoining paddocks provided playing fields. The stables were replaced by a new schoolroom (designed by Benjamin Ferrey) in 1863–4, the £500 cost met by public subscription. (fn. 379) By then the school was enjoying one of its most successful periods, under the energetic headship of Revd Charles Godby (headmaster 1844–c. 1870): by 1867–8 it had 75 pupils, of whom 50 were boarders. (fn. 380) Godby's departure 'dealt the school a blow from which it never recovered', and was judged 'a great loss to the town'. (fn. 381) Numbers had fallen to 25 by 1872, and, despite some successes, remained relatively low into the early 20th century. (fn. 382) Despite the large proportion of outside pupils relations with the town were good, fostered in part by Godby's engagement with local affairs, (fn. 383) and in part by the involvement of prominent townspeople and local gentry as school trustees. (fn. 384) School events such as the annual athletics day (accompanied by bands and entertainments) and occasional concerts were also popular with townspeople. (fn. 385) Nonconformists objected to the school's Anglican bias and exclusiveness, but by the 1860s rules about attendance at Sunday school were no longer strictly enforced, and a government inspector believed that the absence of Dissenters reflected the type of curriculum rather than any general hostility. (fn. 386)

36. Henley Grammar School c. 1900, incorporating (right) the former Bell Inn with its long late 18th-century frontage, and (left) new schoolrooms added by Benjamin Ferrey c. 1863–4. The school occupied this site from c. 1841 to 1928.

The lower or Periam school met more local needs, providing a broad-based curriculum which proved popular with aspiring local tradesmen. In 1867–8 there was a full complement of 60 boys aged up to 15 or 16, whose fathers included victuallers, carpenters, a master bricklayer, a watchmaker, a harness-maker, and gardeners or farmers. A few came from as far as Reading, though others lived within a few hundred yards of the school. Unlike the grammar school, the school was popular with Dissenters, who presumably valued the curriculum above any compromising of their religious principles. As earlier, 20 Periam scholars received free books, clothes and tuition, and were apprenticed as funds allowed; the rest paid 10s. a quarter (reducible in special circumstances), and could buy books at cost. Subjects were reading, writing, and arithmetic, with dictation, grammar, Euclid, modern geography, English history, and (Anglican) religious education. (fn. 387) The school remained on its existing site south of Hart Street, where a new schoolroom and offices were built in 1858; the cost of £376 was met from sale of land off Reading Road, required for the building of the railway. (fn. 388) In 1879 it was reorganized as an English school. (fn. 389)

The decision to merge the grammar and Periam schools in 1891 was prompted presumably by falling numbers at the former, and perhaps by the latter's increasing redundancy as National school provision expanded. Charity Commission Schemes in 1891–2 confirmed the arrangement, changing the combined school's official name to Henley Grammar School; the Periam school premises were converted to other uses, and the reconstituted grammar school continued at Northfield End until a further reorganization in 1928–9. (fn. 390) It retained its public school ethos: at tercentenary celebrations in 1904 the chairman of governors (Col. Sir W. T. Makins) applauded the value of schools such as Eton, while nonetheless emphasizing Henley Grammar's aspiration to provide 'a good sound commercial secondary education'. Numbers had recently risen from only 16 to 44, (fn. 391) and by 1909 there were 60 boys aged 8–16; as earlier, however, most left at 14 or 15 for schools which offered university scholarships, and staff were considered under-qualified. Continuing financial difficulties were mitigated from 1918 by receipt of an increased county council grant, on condition that a quarter of the school's intake should be ex-elementary school children. Thereafter the pupils (still all boys) comprised fee-payers, the 10 Periam foundation scholars, and county scholars, who in 1922 held 66 out of 129 places. (fn. 392)

Other schools and institutes

In 1815 over 20 day schools were reported in Henley, together teaching 147 boys and 103 girls. (fn. 393) Some were presumably superseded by the National and British schools, though dame and other private schools continued: nearly 20 schoolmasters and mistresses were listed in the 1841 census, and a dozen in 1901. (fn. 394) Some institutions were high-status boarding schools, among them William Lamb's school at the Fair Mile (with 21 boys aged 7–12 in 1841), a contemporary 'ladies' seminary' in Denmark House (with 4 girls aged 7–12), (fn. 395) and perhaps the West Hill Boarding School for Girls recorded in 1908–9. (fn. 396) Others, however, provided elementary education for the children of townspeople who thought the National and British schools beneath them, and who could neither afford nor obtain places at the Periam school. One such was a 'small private school' started in the 1840s by the Misses Brangwin, and attended from the age of 7 by the Congregationalist minister's son, (fn. 397) while two schools mentioned by the rector in 1869 (Miss Godfrey's and Mrs Hone's) may have been similar, and taught 40 girls between them. (fn. 398) A small outlying school at Assendon, supported by owners of Henley Park, remained open from 1849 to the 1880s. (fn. 399) The union workhouse had a school from its opening, teaching reading, writing, and (for girls) laundry, though it was often poorly managed, and in 1837 the master was dismissed for allegedly impregnating a pauper inmate. (fn. 400) New schoolrooms incorporating a playground with swings were built in 1871–2, (fn. 401) though in 1896 workhouse children were said to attend the National schools. (fn. 402)

From the 1850s rectors of Henley tried repeatedly to establish adult evening classes, but with limited success. (fn. 403) More popular was a Working Men's Institute built on Duke Street in 1874–5, which thrived under the presidency first of the brewer Archibald Brakspear, and later of the builder Charles Clements. (fn. 404) About 1890 the Institute moved to Caxton Terrace, (fn. 405) and the upper floor of the Duke Street building was taken over by a School of Art and Science, established in St Mary's Hall in 1876 under the secretaryship of the stationer T. O Higgs. In 1891 (when still in St Mary's Hall) the school had 80 adult students, of whom 60 studied arts, 10 science, and 10 practical planning and geometry; in 1896 it offered courses in chemistry, maths, electricity, magnetism, drawing, shorthand, and book-keeping, at 2s. 6d. a class. By then it was managed by the corporation and included a chemistry laboratory, the building's ground floor continuing as a public reading room. (fn. 406) An official report the following year recommended developing it into a centre for the whole area, and promoted closer cooperation with the grammar school. (fn. 407) As the Technical Institute the school continued on Duke Street until c. 1932, moving thereafter to Greys Road and becoming one of the progenitors of Henley College. (fn. 408)

Poor Relief, Workhouse and Charities

Henley remained responsible for its own poor relief until 1834, when it became the centre of a poor-law union and the parish workhouse became the union workhouse. (fn. 409) By 1813 expenditure was nearly £4,000, the highest of any town in Oxfordshire, prompting public meetings and unrest amongst ratepayers; 323 people were then receiving permanent or occasional out relief, and there were 76 adults in the workhouse. (fn. 410) In 1819 expenditure was still £2,730, and in 1821 the parish set up a select vestry 'to remedy ... this growing evil', claiming that such high rates were inadmissible in a period of low prices. The new body examined every aspect of poor relief and rating, identifying which properties were not assessed, appointing beadles to clear beggars, and establishing a mop manufactory in the workhouse to prevent the 'lazy and indolent from seeking an easy living [there] at the expense of others'. From 1821 to 1835 expenditure generally continued to fall, for which the select vestry (despite some criticism) claimed the credit: in 1822 it reckoned that savings would have been even greater had so many rateable houses not lain empty, and in 1829 congratulated itself on keeping rates low despite greatly increased prices, unemployment, and sickness. Providing work rather than relief was a priority: claimants were paid for collecting and splitting pebbles for road repair, while in winter months many grubbed roots and cleared earth and snow, the roots being sold to the poor as fuel, or used at the workhouse instead of coal. In 1830 the select vestry laid out 13 allotments to be let to the poor, a successful scheme which was thought to have kept some families off poor relief. In 1834 expenditure was £1,573, the lowest (with two exceptions) for many decades. (fn. 411)

The poor-law union created in 1834 encompassed 21 (later 24) parishes including Henley, and as elsewhere responsibility passed to a newly appointed board of guardians. The first elected members for Henley were the maltsters Hugh Barford and William Dobson, the innkeeper James Dixon (of the Red Lion), and the wine and spirit merchant Frederick Towsey, while Charles Lane of Badgemore House and the mercer John Plumbe were amongst the JPs serving ex officio. The Henley attorney Nicholas Mercer became auditor. Henley corporation leased the workhouse site to the guardians, who set about enlarging it to accommodate at least 250 inmates; even so, in the late 1840s the workhouse contained 60 more people than the agreed maximum of 276, causing some children to be put into rented accommodation in New Street. In 1851 there were 229 inmates including 47 from Henley, with occasional numbers swelled by tramps and vagrants. The first master was a Henley man (William Jackson), who had previously served as overseer of the poor for Henley and was a churchwarden; his successor, however, was from London. (fn. 412) High poor rates remained a local issue, and c. 1848 were among the grievances cited in a town appeal against the new national income tax. (fn. 413)

Despite the reorganization, until 1883 the corporation remained involved in poor relief through its administration of town charities, which in 1880 (excluding bridge and church income) yielded some £1,100 a year. (fn. 414) Periodic attempts were made to overhaul their administration: reforms were under consideration before the Charity Commissioners report of 1820, (fn. 415) and in 1857 the Henley solicitor John Cooper (as town clerk) compiled a summary of the charities which was printed at his own cost, for circulation around the town. A reorganization in 1858, following the separation of the offices of bridgeman and churchwarden, ended decades of confusion by separating the bridge and church charities from those for the poor, and from 1871 a salaried treasurer was appointed. Around the same time mass doles of bread from the town hall on Good Friday and 5 May were abandoned as too 'demoralising', to be replaced by weekly collection of free loaves on a ticket system from specified bakers. Several charities traditionally given in bread, but not so required under the original endowment, were diverted to other uses, including education and apprenticeship. (fn. 416) Though well intended, such policies attracted widespread criticism, which from the 1850s became caught up in broader antagonism to the unreformed corporation. In 1820 the Charity Commissioners criticised the diversion of some charities towards the parish workhouse on the grounds that it benefited rich ratepayers rather than the poor, (fn. 417) and in the 1870s redirection of former bread charities prompted popular ill feeling particularly among Dissenters, who objected to charitable support of the (Anglican) grammar school. The diversion of charities to supplement Laud's apprenticeship fund prompted similar resentment, since it was assumed (wrongly) that non-denominational endowments were being channelled into one which, exceptionally, demanded Anglican allegiance. (fn. 418) Such tensions ended only with the reform of town government in 1883, which created an independent body of trustees to oversee the charities. (fn. 419)

Despite such problems there were some new charitable bequests. The wealthy innkeeper Barrett March (d. c. 1816) left £200 to the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford for support of Henley patients, which was later diverted to the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading. Bread or coal charities were established by Josiah Sarney (d. 1818) and his widow (£700 in all), and by the chemist William Hickman (£50 by will dated 1850), while a Wooburn woman left £100 for the blind. (fn. 420) The Longland and Newbury–Messenger almshouses were rebuilt in 1829–30 and 1846 respectively, on opposite sides of the churchyard; the Longland rebuilding was connected with road widening and enlargement of the churchyard, and increased accommodation to 12 places, while the Newbury rebuilding was funded by temporary diversion of another charity. (fn. 421) The almshouses remained effectively closed to Dissenters, with the Longland inhabitants still bound to attend church services. (fn. 422) In 1855 the corporation insisted on continuous residence, following accusations that some almspeople visited only to receive their weekly stipend. (fn. 423)

The corporation also supported more ad hoc initiatives. Allotments for 'industrious labourers', claimed to alleviate poverty and combat drunkenness, proved popular and were expanded, (fn. 424) while rating changes in 1865 seemed designed, in part, to help poorer cottagers. (fn. 425) Soup kitchens were set up as necessary, supported by corporation or charity funds, (fn. 426) and in 1848 the corporation paid for 6 paupers to emigrate to Australia. (fn. 427) In 1847 the corporation voted £100 from the town charities to put the poor to work, and in 1862 funds were similarly used to pay unemployed labourers to lay a new road from the station. (fn. 428) Additional assistance came from the growing number of friendly and parish societies (fn. 429) and from ad hoc almsgiving: a former mayor alleged that keepers of the Red Lion, Catherine Wheel and Angel were particularly popular with the poor, 'as they never turned a deaf ear to hungry applicants'. (fn. 430) Occasional treats accompanied town celebrations, as when the opening of the restored parish church in 1854 saw the distribution of 1,000 lbs of boiled beef amongst the parish poor. (fn. 431)

Town and Society Since 1914

Town and Society 1914–39

Though the 1920s saw the creation of Henley's first council estates, growth between the wars was limited and the town's social and economic structure changed little. In the 1930s there was a continuing emphasis on shops and services, with little industry or factory employment other than at Brakspear's Brewery and in a few small, long-established engineering or boat-building firms. (fn. 432) Town government, too, was run by the same sort of leading tradesmen and professionals as earlier, though with less paternalistic influence. In 1935 the mayor and deputy mayor were the butcher William Lee and the tobacconist Edward Harry Dee, while other aldermen and councillors included John Chalcraft of Brakspear's Brewery, A. F. Plint of Stuart Turner Engineering, Charles Luker (proprietor of the Henley Standard and its printers Higgs & Co.), and the surgeon W. J. Susman, who held several public medical posts. Others included the boat builder W. A. Hobbs and the estate agent H. T. Simms, along with heads of other shops and businesses. (fn. 433) The Brakspears themselves remained absent from the corporation after Archibald's death in 1909, and for a time lived in Harpsden, though they retained a role in the town. Archibald's son A. R. Brakspear (1870–1933) was active in the Salisbury Club, the British Legion, and Henley sports clubs (including cricket, rowing, and golf), while in 1926 the firm laid out a cricket ground at Remenham for the brewery staff team. (fn. 434) Freemasonry remained important, leading members including A. R. Brakspear and Charles Luker. (fn. 435)

Meanwhile Henley's role as an upmarket resort and social centre continued, now underpinned not only by the railway and river but by recreational motoring. By 1928 the prestigious Phyllis Court Club (established at Phyllis Court in 1906) claimed to be 'one of the principal motoring and sports centres in the south of England', its accessibility along pleasant country roads allowing London-based members to lunch, dine, or spend the weekend there, and others to use it as a base for commuting or pleasure trips. Facilities included tennis courts, a restaurant, and 50 bedrooms, and ambitious expansion schemes (mostly unrealized) aimed to make it 'the most luxurious and entertaining club rendezvous outside London ... comparable with the best of the great country clubs of America and the east'. (fn. 436) Its patrons probably spent little time in the town itself, but both the corporation and private businesses continued to develop amenities for less exclusive visitors and for residents. A recreation ground north of Greys Road was opened in 1919 on land given by Sir Paul Makins, while Mill Meadows (east of the station and railway line) were acquired by the corporation in 1921, and laid out as public riverside gardens with an ornamental lake, bowling and putting greens, tennis courts, and children's swings. A pavilion was added c. 1929. (fn. 437) Tourist guides in the 1930s listed boat hire, golf courses, drives or walks, and the open-air swimming baths, and several hotels catered specifically for visitors arriving by pleasure boat, offering special rates and free carriage of luggage from the landing stage. (fn. 438) As earlier, however, tourism remained seasonal. The Red Lion was closed between October and March, and though Henley was a 'popular riverside resort' in summer, in the winter it became 'a small and comparatively quiet market town'. (fn. 439)

37. The main lounge of the Phyllis Court Club in the early 20th century. Opened in 1906, the Club continued in the early 21st century.

Clubs and societies continued as earlier. Church clubs included the Trinity Hall Lads' Brigade, which offered sports, hobbies and excursions. (fn. 440) Town rugby and cricket clubs were founded in 1930, (fn. 441) and by 1939 there were squash and badminton courts on Friday Street, as well as the two rowing clubs and a sailing club. (fn. 442) Henley Operatic (later Operatic and Dramatic) Society was started in 1922, performing initially at the Palace Cinema on Bell Street; later it became associated with the Kenton Theatre on New Street, which was reopened as the New or Henley Theatre in 1930. (fn. 443) The Palace continued until c. 1932, to be replaced by the Regal Cinema (on the same site) in 1936–7. Schemes for a larger cinema on Hart Street in 1933–4 involved demolition of 18th-century buildings, and were abandoned after public protests. (fn. 444)

Henley in Wartime

Most Henley recruits in the First World War served in the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Infantry, and as elsewhere came from all social classes; 186 were killed, among them members of prominent families including the Brakspears. (fn. 445) At least one conscientious objector (a Quaker) was imprisoned. (fn. 446) Billeting of troops in Henley began almost immediately, and by 1915 there were also some Belgian refugees. The town hall was used as a military Red Cross hospital throughout the war, the initial cost of conversion met by R. W. Brakspear; at its full capacity it had 52 beds, and corporation business was transferred to the Technical Institute on Duke Street. By 1917 the corporation was allotting vacant land on the town's fringes for agricultural use in support of the war effort, and in 1918 it set up a municipal piggery at Assendon. (fn. 447)

38. A Red Cross military hospital with 24 beds was opened in the town hall in 1914, soon after the outbreak of war. Capacity was increased to 52 through conversion of the council chamber and other rooms.

The restoration of peace was marked by a victory procession in July 1919, marred only by the continuing effects of the influenza epidemic. (fn. 448) Tablets commemorating the town's war dead were erected outside the town hall, and a War Memorial Hospital, first mooted the same year, was built by public appeal in 1922–3, on a plot off Harpsden Road donated by a bereaved father. (fn. 449) A German field gun given to the corporation as a war trophy was initially displayed at the hospital site, but in 1923 was moved to Mill Meadows. (fn. 450) Rotherfield Court on the town's western edge, formerly home to the Makins family, was converted in 1921 into a hospital for shell-shocked soldiers, its 'elevated and sunny position' being thought conducive to their recovery. (fn. 451)

Material damage during the Second World War was confined to 'a line of bombs across the fields by Gillotts [and] a few incendiaries', (fn. 452) but from the start the town received large numbers of evacuees and war workers: by late September 1939 there were already 1,443 official evacuees, and an unknown number of unofficial ones. (fn. 453) Town centre buildings (including vacant houses) were requisitioned as needed, among them the YMCA Centre on Queen Street, 17 Northfield End, and The Hermitage on Vicarage Road, which became a small hospital for evacuee children. (fn. 454) A British Restaurant to provide cheap meals was established in the reading room and former Technical Institute on Duke Street in 1941, (fn. 455) while outside the town both Badgemore House and Phyllis Court were requisitioned for military use. (fn. 456) Air raid shelters were constructed at Northfield End, Market Place, and Station Road in 1939–40, and one on Reading Road in 1941. (fn. 457) As in the First World War the engineering firm Stuart Turner (which had its own Home Guard) won some lucrative government contracts, particularly for generators, (fn. 458) while Spitfires were assembled in an underground factory not far from the town at Warren Row, where the largely female workforce included many from Henley and the surrounding area. (fn. 459) During 1940 Henley's inhabitants raised over £5,000 towards the cost of manufacturing a Spitfire, (fn. 460) and subsequently tolerated the widespread removal of iron railings from Queen Street and other places around the town. The town's VE parade in May 1945 was, unusually, filmed in colour by an amateur photographer, while the names of 72 Henley servicemen killed on active service were subsequently added to the town hall memorial tablets. (fn. 461)

A more positive legacy was the creation of the town's first public library, started for children by a Red Cross librarian in 1942, extended to adults in 1943, and taken over by the corporation in 1944. Housed at first in a room in the Liberal Club, it moved to the town hall basement in 1947, and in 1965 was taken over by the county council. (fn. 462)

Town and Society since 1945

From the 1950s Henley's relatively rapid growth, combined (from the 1960s) with the arrival of new industries on estates off Reading Road, began to alter its social character. (fn. 463) Elderly inhabitants in 1985 recalled its transformation from a small and intimate town in which they knew most of the inhabitants into a larger, more anonymous and considerably wealthier place, less close-knit, and with a much higher turn-over of population. (fn. 464)

Nonetheless, compared with many Oxfordshire towns Henley's post-war industrial and population growth remained limited. Planners recognised that large-scale housing or industrial expansion was neither feasible nor desirable, concentrating instead on the need to conserve Henley's distinctive character as an 'historic' market town in an unparalleled setting, with an economy based on retail, services, and commuting as much as on industry. Tourism, too, was developed in a carefully controlled way, with Henley promoted as a convenient staging post for visitors exploring the Chilterns and Thames Valley. (fn. 465)

The town's continuing appeal and good communications attracted an increasingly affluent population. In 1966 the recent influx was attributed to a combination of Henley's attractiveness as a residential centre, and growing employment opportunities in London and Reading; a high proportion of inhabitants were professional and scientific employees, of whom many worked outside the town, while others worked in services and retail. A similar social profile persisted in 2009, when a fifth of the working population (significantly above the county average) were managers or in comparable senior posts, and half commuted elsewhere, including to London. (fn. 466) Similar factors attracted an unusual proportion of retirees, with 23 per cent of inhabitants (a third above the national average) aged over 65 in 2001. (fn. 467) The presence of such people was reflected in house prices, which from 1988 to 2002 rose by 183 per cent: this was symptomatic of the gentrification of the Chilterns generally, and made house prices in Henley among the most expensive in England. (fn. 468) Perhaps predictably, ethnic minorities represented only 3 per cent of the population in 2001, relatively low even for Oxfordshire and the south-east. (fn. 469) The town's most famous incomer, alongside the affluent professional classes, was the former Beatle George Harrison, who moved to Friar Park in 1971 and became involved in a number of local conservation campaigns. (fn. 470)

This was not the whole picture, however. The 50–60 per cent of inhabitants working in Henley included many on more modest incomes, employed in shops, services and local businesses. As house prices rose, provision of affordable housing became a dominant planning issue: in 1992 South Oxfordshire District Council had 1,938 people on its waiting list, most of whom wanted accommodation in local towns including Henley. Despite controlled building in and around the town, affordable housing remained an issue in 2009. South Oxfordshire as a whole was by then one of the least deprived areas of England, though even in Henley some southern areas contained pockets of minor deprivation, and one part suffered relatively high crime rates. (fn. 471)

In keeping with its tourist and service role, Henley retained a wider range of leisure amenities than many places of its size. The corporation's riverside gardens at Mill Meadows were extended in 1968 by purchase of the adjoining Marsh Meadows, and a new multi-purpose pavilion was opened in 1992. (fn. 472) Leisure development of that area was crowned in 1998 by the opening of the prestigious (and privately run) River & Rowing Museum, which fulfilled long-term plans for a national rowing museum and incorporated galleries about the town. (fn. 473) Boating, angling and other water sports continued, the Henley stretch of the Thames being reckoned 'the busiest on the river' in 1979. (fn. 474) An indoor sports and leisure centre run by the district council was opened in 1977 in the grounds of Gillotts School, incorporating a swimming pool and multi-purpose facilities; other sports amenities were available at the town council's Mill Lane sports ground and through a variety of clubs and societies, including the town football, rugby and rowing clubs. (fn. 475) Community facilities included church halls, the Chantry House (bought for parish use in 1923), and, from 2000, the Christ Church Centre at the United Reformed (formerly Congregationalist) church on Reading Road. (fn. 476) In 2010 there was also a youth centre on Deanfield Avenue, providing workshops, games facilities and internet access. (fn. 477) The Kenton Theatre (so called from 1951) thrived despite recurring financial problems, celebrating its bicentenary in 2005, (fn. 478) while the Regal cinema, following its controversial closure in 1986, was replaced in the 1990s by a cinema nearby in the new Waitrose development. (fn. 479) A new library was opened in 1981, replacing its inadequate predecessor in the town hall. (fn. 480) Local businesses continued to take an active role: in particular Sir Martyn Arbib (founder of Perpetual plc) was a major funder of the River & Rowing Museum, and his company sponsored local causes including Henley Town Football Club. (fn. 481) Trade from visitors helped maintain a wide range of services including food and drink outlets and upmarket galleries, alongside the supermarkets and other shops aimed more at local residents. (fn. 482)

Town politics in the later 20th century focused primarily on planning issues, in particular the difficult balance between development and conservation. In 1985 the unsuccessful battle to save the Regal cinema brought celebrities including George Harrison onto the streets alongside local people, (fn. 483) while conflicts over the related Waitrose supermarket development on Bell Street and Tesco's application for an outlying supermarket off Reading Road dragged on for several years. Disputes became particularly acrimonious against the background of early 1990s national recession, which some claimed was already killing the town centre. (fn. 484) The presence of such an affluent and educated population helped fuel public debate, not only through the Chamber of Commerce but through pressure groups like FRESH (Future Regeneration Strategy for Henley), which won the support of the local Conservative MP Michael Heseltine, and in 1993 drew up an alternative development plan for the town. (fn. 485) Even more influential was a non-aligned Henley Residents' Group set up in 1989 to fight town-centre development plans, which won seats on the town and District councils and, having broadened its remit, remained a major political force in 2010. (fn. 486) The Group's success illustrated the extent to which local needs sometimes overrode Henley's traditional post-war Conservative bias, although Conservatives continued to be returned in county, district and town elections, reflecting the town's social character. (fn. 487) Henley MPs included such well known Conservative politicians as Michael Heseltine (1974–2001) and Boris Johnson (2001–8), though as the parliamentary constituency encompassed the whole of south-east Oxfordshire their election represented political views far beyond the town. (fn. 488)

Twentieth-Century Education

Primary education

In 1926 the National school on Gravel Hill and Trinity School on Greys Hill were reorganized for boys and girls respectively, with younger children attending the Greys Hill infant school. A further reorganization followed in 1932–3, when a larger infant school was opened on Greys Road; Trinity School became a mixed juniors', while the Gravel Hill school became a mixed senior school. All three absorbed pupils from the British (non-denominational) school, which closed in 1932. Throughout that period the former National schools were generally successful, with some boys winning scholarships to the grammar school. (fn. 489)

Trinity School (later Trinity CE Primary) had controlled status by 1954, when its nearly 400 pupils were accommodated in the two Greys Hill buildings and in huts provided by the LEA. (fn. 490) New premises off Vicarage Road were opened in 1965. (fn. 491) Two additional LEA schools (Valley Road Primary and Badgemore Primary) opened in 1970 and 1978 respectively, both catering for expanding housing west of the town centre, while Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Primary (aided by 1954) was rebuilt in 1958, and by 1970 had over 200 pupils. All four primary schools remained in 2010, the County Infant School on Greys Road having merged with Trinity Primary in 1981. (fn. 492)

As earlier, there were some private primary and kindergarten schools. St Mary's on St Andrew's Road (founded 1926) and Rupert House School at Northfield End (founded by 1939) both continued in 2010. Caxton House School, which admitted boarders, was mentioned in 1939 and 1961. (fn. 493)

Secondary and tertiary education

In 1928 Henley Grammar School was transferred to the county council and reorganized as a fee-paying, co-educational school based at Rotherfield Court, south-west of the town centre. Its endowments were conveyed to the newly formed Henley Educational Charity, which used its income to fund scholarships and educational improvements around the town. Fees were abolished under the 1944 Education Act, with selection thereafter dependent on the 11-plus; other children attended the senior school at Gravel Hill (above), which in 1948 was reorganized as a Secondary Modern. The latter school moved in 1960 to Gillotts Lane on the town's south-west fringe, where a girls' technical school (offering commercial and nursing courses) had opened in a former mansion house in 1950. (fn. 494) In 1966 the grammar school (by then selecting at age 13) had 442 pupils, and Gillotts Secondary Modern 471. (fn. 495)

The Technical School on Greys Road was taken over by the county council in 1948, and from 1953 had a full-time principal. It moved the same year to the former Liberal Club on Reading Road, and from 1960–2 (renamed South Oxfordshire Technical College) took over the former Secondary Modern premises on Gravel Hill. By September 1962 it was offering full-time engineering and commercial courses to school leavers, and by 1970 it had 15 full-time staff and 1,600 full-time enrolments. Close relations were fostered with the grammar school, whose sixth-formers participated in courses such as engineering, pottery, and speedwriting. (fn. 496)

Comprehensive education was fully implemented in 1976, when Gillotts became a comprehensive school for pupils aged up to 16, and the grammar school (renamed King James's Sixth Form College, in recognition of the grammar school's nominal founder) became the first 6th-form college in the county. In 1979 Gillotts had over 1,000 pupils, King James's over 500, and South Oxfordshire Technical College 480 (excluding part-time and evening students), and an above-average proportion of students stayed in education after age 16. In 1987 King James's and the Technical College merged to form Henley College, which combined academic courses up to A-Level with a range of vocational training and part-time adult education, and was the first institution of its kind in Oxfordshire. At its opening the college had around 1,500 full-time students, with accommodation spread between the former grammar school (or Rotherfield) campus and the former Secondary Modern (or Deanfield) campus; new buildings adjoining the Deanfield site were opened in 1998. An international Baccalaureate course launched in 1990 proved popular, and in 2004 the college was awarded Beacon Status. (fn. 497) Gillotts school specialized in maths and computing, and in 2007 had 900 pupils. (fn. 498)

20th-Century Social Provision and Charities

During the 20th century responsibility for social provision fell increasingly to county or national bodies. (fn. 499) The workhouse continued under the management of the board of guardians until 1929, latterly providing temporary accommodation for tramps; thereafter it was transferred to the county council as a Public Assistance Institution, passing to the National Health Service in 1948 when it was reorganized as Townlands Hospital. (fn. 500) The borough corporation was still providing soup kitchens in 1929. (fn. 501)

Administration of town charities remained local. A Charity Commission Scheme in 1914 divided Henley Municipal Charities into five branches (almshouses, poor's, blind poor's, bridge and church), under the administration of 12 trustees; of those, the poor's branch supported apprenticeships up to £100 a year and occasional marriage portions under Laud's charity, with three fifths of the residue going to the Educational Foundation, and the rest used for general relief. (fn. 502) Several further Schemes followed between 1928 and 1984, the last of which continued in 2010, when there were still 12 trustees including the mayor and rector. The Bridge Charity (with income of over £48,000 in 2008–9) was for the general benefit of the inhabitants of Bix, Rotherfield Greys or Henley, and the Relief In Need Charity (with income of £6,500) for those in 'need, hardship and distress'. The Church Charity (£28,000 in 2008–9) supported maintenance of the parish church and its services, while the Stevens, Hart, and Municipal Educational Charity (£4,200) supported educational needs, including social and physical training. (fn. 503) The Almshouse Charity (income £177,000) oversaw the old-established almshouses in the churchyard, together with newer almshouses built on Western Avenue c. 1938, and the Burgis Homes of Rest, built at 37–43 Vicarage Road following a bequest by Edwin Burgis in 1924. (fn. 504) Total charitable expenditure in 2008–9 exceeded £173,800. (fn. 505)

39. Henley's waterfront in 2008, its buildings reflecting the shift from commercial traffic to pleasure boating. The boathouse built for Sir Frank Crisp is on the right, next to the barge-boarded range built for Hobbs and Sons. The gabled Little White Hart (rebuilt 1900) is on the left.

The Regatta since 1914

Throughout the 20th century the regatta's sporting and social appeal continued unabated, despite serious financial difficulties in the 1960s–70s, and the hiatuses caused by two World Wars. Between 1919 and 1939 entries increased by 60 per cent, with foreign entries almost doubling. An equally rapid revival after the Second World War was reflected in Henley's unprecedented selection for a second Olympic Regatta in 1948. Numbers of entries reached 200 by 1962 and 300 in 1984, and from 1986 the event was increased to five days. Its high-class social appeal was consciously maintained, prompting comparisons with Royal Ascot or Goodwood. Organizers after the Second World War set out to recreate 'the gracious ... privileged yet popular ambience' of earlier regattas, and from the 1980s attempts to attract a younger clientele were similarly tempered by continuing appeals to tradition.

From the 1920s the regatta's management gradually acquired much of the riverside land required to stage the event, beginning with part of Lion Meadow (on the Berkshire bank) in 1924; by 1974 it owned c. 75 a., and in 1987 bought Temple Island, the traditional starting point for the regatta course. Baltic Cottage, at the end of Friday Street, was leased as the regatta headquarters from 1945, to be replaced by Bridge House (renamed Regatta House) in 1967. That was sold in 1972, and in 1986 the striking new Royal Regatta headquarters were erected next to the bridge. A small island on the Buckinghamshire bank (formerly the site of Fawley Court boathouse) was bought in 1992.

Crucial to the regatta's finances was the introduction in 1919 of the stewards' enclosure, an exclusive viewing area confined to annual subscribers admitted by the committee of management. The limit on enclosure membership rose from 300 in 1919 to 704 in 1939, and to 1,500 by c. 1956; in 2010 it was around 6,500, with a waiting list of over 1,100. By then the total cost of staging the regatta was over £2 million a year, of which some 75 per cent came from subscriptions paid by enclosure members, and their purchases of badges and services for guests. A separate non-members' enclosure allowed visitors to 'sample the unique atmosphere of Henley Royal Regatta' at more modest daily rates. Other income came from catering and corporate entertainment, developed on a large scale from the 1980s. As a result the regatta remained independent of commercial sponsorship or subsidy, and in 2010 was still run autonomously by a self-electing body of 57 stewards, from whom the committee of management was elected annually. Donations from regatta profits helped support a Stewards' Charitable Trust set up in 1988, to encourage young people to row or scull; by 2009 the Trust had distributed over £2 million. (fn. 506)

From 1983 a separate Henley Festival of Arts and Music was held the week following the regatta, staged in a spectacular riverside enclosure with a floating stage. The event continued in 2010, net proceeds going to the Henley Festival Trust in support of arts-based charitable work. (fn. 507)


  • 1. PRO, E 179/161/9; Peberdy, 'Henley' (on which much of following section based), 83–4.
  • 2. Peberdy, 'Henley', 70–3, 106, 310–12; above, econ. hist.
  • 3. Peberdy, 'Henley', 78, 80–4, 104; above, econ. hist.; below, relig. hist. (chantries).
  • 4. Peberdy, 'Henley', 118–20, 135–6.; above, econ. hist.
  • 5. Peberdy, 'Henley', 174–82, 244; O. Coleman (ed.), Brokage Bk of Southampton 1443–44 (Southampton Rec. Ser. 4 and 6, 1960–1), I, 98, 123; Cal. Inq. pm Hen. VII, I, p. 243; Cal. Pat. 1441–6, 169; above, econ. hist.; below, relig. hist.
  • 6. Oxon. Wills, 27, 29.
  • 7. S. Townley, Henley-on-Thames: Town, Trade and River (2009), 54–5; above, bldgs. (med. hos.).
  • 8. Peberdy, 'Henley', 169–72; above, econ. hist.
  • 9. For guild, above, local govt.
  • 10. Peberdy, 'Henley', 80–3, 93, 127–35, 185–6, 189–91, 200, 246–7, 279–309; Briers, Boro. Recs. passim; Midgley, Ministers' Accts, I, 91.
  • 11. Peberdy, 'Henley', 85–8; for manor ct rolls, ORO, BOR3/B/IV/CR/1–15.
  • 12. PRO, E 179/161/195, analysed in Peberdy, 'Henley', 247–54. For Kenton's will (1532), ORO, MS Wills Oxon. 178, f. 85.
  • 13. Briers, Boro. Recs. 234–8, discussed in Peberdy, 'Henley', 52.
  • 14. ORO, BOR3/B/IV/CR/1; Peberdy, 'Henley', 91.
  • 15. Peberdy, 'Henley', 250–1.
  • 16. Above, econ. hist.; Peberdy, 'Henley', 49–60.
  • 17. Peberdy, 'Henley', 117–23, 128–35, 237, 266.
  • 18. Ibid. 172–3, 270.
  • 19. Cal. Pat. 1429–36, 578.
  • 20. Briers, Boro. Recs. 69 (Apoweys); L&P Hen. VIII, VII, p. 294 (Appowell); ORO, BOR3/A/II/1, ff. 26v.–28v.; Cal. Pat. 1558–60, p. 153. The surname Welsh (Waleis) was recorded in 1306: PRO, E 179/161/10.
  • 21. PRO, E 179/161/138 (Henry Lyon, Scoticus); Stonor Suppl. p. 17. For John Scot (recorded 1314–41), ORO, BOR3/A/IX/1/22; BOR3/A/IX/1/44.
  • 22. Above, devpt of town; manors.
  • 23. Rot. Lib. 128–9.
  • 24. Cal. Pat. 1272–81, 186; 1340–3, 470; 1436–41, 232; Cal. Close, 1288–96, 71; 1318–23, 361–2; 1323–7, 306; cf. L&P Hen. VIII, IV (2), p. 1668.
  • 25. Osney Cart. VI, p. 66; E. G. Kimball (ed.), Oxon. Sessions of the Peace (ORS 53, 1983 for 1979–80), 76; Cal. Inq. p.m. XIX, p. 219; Cal. Pat. 1467–77, 585.
  • 26. Above, local govt.; Peberdy, 'Henley', 88–97, 138–47, 191–24.
  • 27. Peberdy, 'Henley', 101–3; Cal. Chart. 1327–41, 399; N. Fryde, 'A Medieval Robber Baron: Sir John Molyns of Stoke Poges, Bucks.', in R. F. Hunnisett and J. B. Post (eds), Medieval Records Edited in Memory of C. A. F. Meekings (1978), 197–221.
  • 28. Peberdy, 'Henley', 194; Cal. Pat. 1461–7, 517.
  • 29. A. H. Thomas (ed.), Cal. of Plea and Memoranda Rolls ... of the Corporation of the City of London at the Guildhall, 1323–64 (1926), 62–3, 87.
  • 30. Cal. Chart. 1427–1516, 7; Briers, Boro. Recs. 48.
  • 31. Above, Henley and Fillets manors.
  • 32. ORO, BOR3/B/IV/CR/2, discussed in Peberdy, 'Henley', 146.
  • 33. Oxon. Wills, 27; Stonor Letters, I, p. xxiii note; Briers, Boro. Recs. 61; cf. Cal. Close, 1429–35, 323.
  • 34. Cal. Pat. 1494–1509, 281; L&P Hen. VIII, I (1), p. 254.
  • 35. Peberdy, 'Henley', 255–60, based on Briers, Boro. Recs.; for John Lyde (expelled 1496), Oxon. Wills. 62–4
  • 36. Briers, Boro. Recs. 214.
  • 37. Cal. Pat. 1321–4, 60, 258–9, 308, 319; 1327–30, 215–16; 1399–1401, 192.
  • 38. Ibid. 1452–61, 98; Lincs. RO, reg. XX (Chedworth), ff. 57–62; Briers, Boro. Recs. 61–3, 65 69–71; below, relig. hist.
  • 39. Briers, Boro. Recs. 122–3, 139–40, 190.
  • 40. Ibid. 32, 56, 109, 120, 165–6.
  • 41. Below, relig. hist.
  • 42. Briers, Boro. Recs. index s.v. parish games and plays; for context, R. Hutton, Rise and Fall of Merry Eng. (1994), 26, 28–33, 67; A. F. Johnstone and S.-B. MacLean, 'Reformation and Resistance in Thames/Severn Parishes', in K. L. French et al. (eds), The Parish in Eng. Life (1997), 178–99.
  • 43. Johnston and MacLean, 'Reformation and Resistance', 189, 191.
  • 44. Peberdy, 'Henley', 264; Briers, Boro. Recs. 122.
  • 45. Briers, Boro. Recs. 32, 56, 165–6.
  • 46. Above, local govt.
  • 47. Briers, Boro. Recs. 26.
  • 48. Ibid. 71–2, 76, 78 etc.
  • 49. Ibid. 19, 29, 35, 45 etc.; 4th Rep. Com. Char. (Parl. Papers 1820 (312), v), p. 201.
  • 50. ORO, BOR3/A/II/1, f. 2v.; 4th Rep. Com. Char. (1820), pp. 201–2; Briers, Boro. Recs. 84, index s.v. Pykard.
  • 51. Oxon. Wills, 33–4; the charity was lost or never received.
  • 52. Ibid. 50.
  • 53. Lincs. RO, reg. XX (Chedworth), ff. 57, 59; D. Plumb, 'The Social and Economic Spread of Rural Lollardy: a Reappraisal', in W. J. Sheils and D. Wood (eds.), Voluntary Religion (Studies in Church Hist. 23, 1986), 116.
  • 54. 4th Rep. Com. Char. (1820), pp. 201–3; ORO, BOR3/A/II/1, f. 2v.; PRO, PROB 11/14 (Elmes); Briers, Boro. Recs. 120, 214, 222; below.
  • 55. Briers, Boro. Recs. 26, 29.
  • 56. New DNB, s.v. John Longland; VCH Oxon. I. 470.
  • 57. ORO, Acc. 4443, box 1, 1/3/5–9; above, bldgs (to 1700: riverside).
  • 58. Above, econ. hist. and Table 3.
  • 59. PRO, E 179/162/345; E 179/162/346; E 179/162/347.
  • 60. K. Rodwell (ed.), Historic Towns. in Oxon. (1975), 201 (omitting 19 houses taxed at Northfield End, and some in Roth. Greys).
  • 61. Henley wills and inventories in PRO, PROB 4 and PROB 11; ORO, MSS Wills Oxon., indexed in Prob. Recs. Oxon. 1516–1732.
  • 62. PRO, PROB 4/10920 and PROB 11/360 (Parslow); PROB 4/11040 and PROB 11/327 (Messenger); PROB 4/17605 (Goodwin); Goodwin ran the Bell.
  • 63. Ibid. PROB 4/10908 and PROB 11/320 (Newbury); PROB 4/10900 (Flight); PROB 4/22293 (Stevens); ORO, MS Wills Oxon. 23/1/20 (Freeman).
  • 64. ORO, MSS Wills Oxon. 49/3/4 (Osgood); 162/4/28 (Cranfield); 72/1/22 (Woodroffe).
  • 65. e.g. Roger Bowell, John Grant, Ric. Eeles: MSS Wills Oxon. 115/3/35; 26/4/16; PRO, PROB 4/7696.
  • 66. PRO, PROB 4/11040. For other examples, above, bldgs (houses 1550–1700).
  • 67. e.g. ORO, MSS Wills Oxon. 32/4/12; 70/2/48.
  • 68. Ibid. 296/2/37; cf. ibid. 141/1/3 (Jas Maynard 1636); 149/2/3 (Edw. Stevens 1663).
  • 69. Ibid. 18/2/31.
  • 70. Above, econ. hist.; cf. J. A. Dils, 'Henley and the River Trade in the Pre-Industrial Period', Oxon. Local Hist. 2 (6) (Spring 1987), 189–90; Townley, Henley, 70–2.
  • 71. Above, local govt.
  • 72. ORO, BOR3/A/V/BM/5–7 (wardens' appointments); ibid. MSS Wills Oxon. 298/1/36; PRO, PROB 11/160 (Hunt); PROB 11/159 (Cleydon); PROB 4/17414 (Boler); J. G. Milne (ed.), Cat. Oxon. 17th-Cent. Trade Tokens (1935), pp. 39–40 (Atkins and Robinson).
  • 73. ORO, BOR3/A/V/BM/6, f. 103v.; identification based on Henley wills and inventories in ORO, MSS Wills Oxon.; PRO, PROB 11.
  • 74. Exceptions include the shoemaker Ralph Wilkes, town warden in 1594–5: ORO, BOR3/A/V/BM/5, ff. 47, 73v.
  • 75. ORO, MS Wills Oxon. 162/4/28, 20/4/14. An earlier William Elton (d. 1641) was warden in 1637–8.
  • 76. VCH Oxon. XIV, 38, 88.
  • 77. ORO, BOR3/A/V/BM/5–7; PRO, E 179/255/4, pt.1, ff. 127–30.
  • 78. PRO, PROB 11/160 (Hunt); PROB 11/360 (Parslow); cf. ibid. PROB 11/448 (Thos Gooding).
  • 79. Ibid. PROB 11/96 (Lewys); below (educ.).
  • 80. ORO, MSS Wills Oxon. 2/1/37, 162/4/17, 185.23; below (educ.).
  • 81. Whitelocke Diary, 69; below (festivities and recreation).
  • 82. ORO, MS Wills Oxon. 164/1/46.
  • 83. Above, econ. hist.
  • 84. ORO, BOR3/A/V/BM/6, f. 440; OxS, par. reg. transcript, burials Jan. 1706/7. Another Solomon Sewen died in 1685.
  • 85. Above, bldgs (houses 1550–1700); ORO, MS Wills Oxon. 149/2/3.
  • 86. ORO, MS Wills Oxon. 141/1/39.
  • 87. Ibid. 70/4/41; above, bldgs.
  • 88. J. Howard-Drake (ed.), Oxford Church Court Depositions, 1592–6 (1998), no. 96; below.
  • 89. Stonor Letters, I, pp. xxxiii n, 53, 110; II, 50–1, 77, 110, 146, 167, 174; for Jennings' wharf, Stonor Archive, 125/9 (wood sale 1673); Fawley Map (1788).
  • 90. L&P Hen. VIII, VII, p. 201; XIV (1), p. 176; XIV (2), p. 360; ORO, Cal. QS, I, p. 11b.
  • 91. L. Wortley, 'Jan Siberechts in Henley-on-Thames', Burlington Mag. 149 (March 2007), 148–57; VCH Berks. III, 162.
  • 92. Below, Harpsden, manors; for Hall, R. Spalding, Contemporaries of Bulstrode Whitelocke (Recs. Soc. and Econ. Hist. ns 14, 1990), 108–11.
  • 93. Wortley, 'Siberechts in Henley', 148–51; idem, 'City Merchants' Landownership around Henley-on-Thames and the Paintings of Jan Siberechts', in M. Galinou (ed.), City Merchants and The Arts, 1670–1720 (2004), 95–102; New DNB.
  • 94. Above, manors; below (early poor relief). For earlier Mashams (or Massams) in Henley, Briers, Boro. Recs. 190; PRO, E 179/161/195; L&P Hen. VIII, VII, p. 457.
  • 95. Spalding, Contemporaries of Whitelocke, 192–4; PRO, STAC 8/217/20.
  • 96. Above, manors.
  • 97. Whitelocke Diary, 59, 67–8, 112, 121–2, 166 and n, 210, 648, 674, 693; New DNB.
  • 98. ORO, BOR3/A/V/BM/6, f. 122v.; Whitelocke Diary, 200, 674.
  • 99. Periam Sch. Statutes (1618), s.16: copy in ORO, Acc. 5905, envelope 4.
  • 100. Grammar Sch. Statutes (1612), ch. 4.7: copy in ORO, S128/1/A2/2.
  • 101. Above, econ. hist.
  • 102. Whitelocke Diary, 195.
  • 103. e.g. PRO, PROB 11/ 116 (Neville Good); ORO, MSS Wills Oxon. 41/4/25; 148/3/29.
  • 104. ORO, MS Wills Oxon. 148/3/29; cf. ibid. tithe award and map, no. 90; Burn, Henley, 20.
  • 105. Cottingham, Hostelries, 74.
  • 106. ORO, MSS Wills Oxon. 60/2/12; 148/3/29; 172/4/48.
  • 107. Whitelocke Diary, 219.
  • 108. Below [Civil War]; below, relig. hist.
  • 109. Cal. SP Dom. July-Sept. 1683, 37–8, 68.
  • 110. Ibid. 1641–3, 440; I. G. Philip (ed.), Jnl of Sir Samuel Luke, III (ORS 33, 1953), 199–200, 220; I. G. Philip, 'River Navigation at Oxford during the Civil War and Commonwealth', Oxoniensia 2 (1937), 152–65, modified by M. Prior, Fisher Row: Fishermen, Bargemen, and Canal Boatmen in Oxford, 1500–1900 (1982), 127.
  • 111. VCH Berks. III, 356–61; Jnl of Sir Samuel Luke (ORS 29, 31, 33, 1950–3), passim; Cal. SP Dom. 1644, pp. 163, 303, 329, 341, 350.
  • 112. Capt. Samuel Turner, A True Relation of a Late Skirmish at Henley-upon-Thames (1643); OxS, par. reg. transcripts Jan. 1642/3.
  • 113. H. G. Tibbutt (ed.), Letter Bks of Sir Samuel Luke (Beds Hist. Rec. Soc. 42, 1963), p. 640.
  • 114. Whitelocke Diary, 150, 166, 187–90; B. Whitelocke, Memorials of the English Affairs (1853), I, 244; Cal. SP Dom. 1644–5, 145, 175, 184–5, 300, 314–15, 318.
  • 115. Whitelocke Diary, 195.
  • 116. Ibid. 138–9, 150–2, 159–60; Whitelocke, Memorials, I, 227–8; R. Spalding, The Improbable Puritan: a Life of Bulstrode Whitelocke 1605–75 (1975), 86; Jnl of Sir Samuel Luke, I, 4, 7, 22, 103, 132. The 'shopkeeper' (called Freeman) was possibly the wealthy mercer Ambrose Freeman (d. 1670).
  • 117. Whitelocke Diary, 178, 184; Cal. SP Dom. 1644–5, 314–15, 318–19; CJ, IV, 461.
  • 118. CJ, IV, 435; Burn, Henley, 275.
  • 119. ORO, BOR3/A/V/BM/6.
  • 120. Cal. SP Dom. 1644–5, 354; cf. Whitelocke Diary, 181; Cal. Cttee for Advance of Money, I, 183.
  • 121. Wortley, 'City Merchants' Landownership', 97–9.
  • 122. e.g. ORO, BOR3/A/V/BM/6, ff. 146v., 149v.; Jnl of Sir Samuel Luke, III, 194; Turner, Late Skirmish at Henley.
  • 123. Cal. Cttee for Compounding, II, pp. 948, 1631; Cal. SP Dom. 1650, 135.
  • 124. Cal SP Dom. 1655, 244, 399; 1671–2, 366; cf. Burn, Henley, 278; ORO, BOR3/A/V/BM/6, ff. 155v., 228v., 239v.; below, relig. hist. (Presbyterians).
  • 125. Cal. SP Dom. 1660–1, 19.
  • 126. New DNB.
  • 127. S. W. Singer (ed.), Corresp. of Henry Hyde Earl of Clarendon... with the Diary of Lord Clarendon from 1687 to 1690 (1828), II, 224–5; L. Wortley, 'Jan Siberechts in Henley-on-Thames', Burlington Mag. 149 (March 2007), 156; cf. Plate 4 (detail, excluding rainbow).
  • 128. Cal. SP Dom. July-Sept. 1683, 37–8, 68, 153; cf. PRO, PROB 4/10900 (Thos Flight); ibid. PROB 11/494 (Springall); Cottingham, Hostelries, 292; New DNB, s.v. 3rd Baron Lovelace.
  • 129. Prior, Fisher Row, 170–4; below, relig. hist.
  • 130. For corpn (established 1568), above, local govt.
  • 131. ORO, BOR3/A/II/1, ff. 46 and v.
  • 132. Ibid. BOR3/A/V/BM/6, f. 42.
  • 133. Ibid. ff. 136, 138v.
  • 134. For other accounts, VCH Oxon. I, 470–2 (which misdates the foundation of the Periam school to 1609); J. Dils, 'The Lady Periam School, Henley-on-Thames, 1610–1660', Oxon. Local Hist. 5 (1) (Autumn 1996), 3–12.
  • 135. For Chantry House, ORO, Acc. 4443, box 1, 1/3/5–16; Periam Sch. Statutes (1618), s.17: copy in ORO, Acc. 5905, envelope 4; above, bldgs (to 1700: riverside).
  • 136. ORO, BOR3/A/II/1, ff. 40v.–41; ibid. Acc 4443, 2/1/2 (Letters Patent, 17 Dec. 1604). The school's formal name was The Free Grammar School of our Sovereign Lord James King of England.
  • 137. ORO, Acc. 4443, 1/3/15–16; Burn, Henley, 94–7; Cottingham, Hostelries, 183–4. For premises N. of Mkt Place acquired in 1604, ORO, MS dd Cooper and Caldecott c 19 (1–11).
  • 138. ORO, BOR/3/A/II/1, ff. 44v.–45v.
  • 139. First Rept Commrs for Educ. of Poor (Parl. Papers 1819 (83)), p. 201; Brief Account of the United Charity Schools in Henley-upon-Thames, Incorporated by Act of Parl (1834), 5–7: copy in Bodl. GA Oxon. 8° 900 (36); both wrongly date Gravett's bequest to 1664.
  • 140. ORO, Acc. 4443, 2/1/2 (Letters Patent, 17 Dec. 1604); for wardens, ORO, BOR3/A/V/BM/5.
  • 141. Ibid. S128/1/A2/2 (statutes 1612).
  • 142. VCH Oxon. I, 471; for Gregory, PRO, PROB 11/142 (John Kenton 1623); ORO, MS Wills Oxon. 141/1/20.
  • 143. Dils, 'Periam School'; New DNB. The school could take up to 2 boys from houses adjoining the town in Roth. Greys, presumably those on Friday Street.
  • 144. Para. based on Dils, 'Periam School'; Periam Sch. Statutes (1609/10 and 1618): copy in ORO, Acc. 5905, envelope 4; ORO, S128/2/F1/1 (accts 1622–1778). For Tyler, ORO, BOR3/A/V/BM/6, ff. 155v., 228v., 239v.; he or a namesake became a Nonconformist (below, relig. hist.).
  • 145. Dils, 'Periam School'; Periam Sch. Statutes (1610 and 1618); ORO, S128/2/F1/1; First Rept Commrs for Educ. of Poor (1819), p. 201; ibid. App. p. 334.
  • 146. 4th Rep. Com. Char. (1820), pp. 200–18; J. Cooper, An Account of the Charities under the Management of the Corporation of the Town of Henley-on-Thames (1858): copy in Bodl. GA Oxon. 8° 915; below, this section.
  • 147. Briers, Boro. Recs. 222; 4th Rep. Com. Char. (1820), 202–5; New DNB, s.v. Longland; ORO, BOR3/A/V/BM/5, f. 4v.
  • 148. e.g. ORO, MS Oxf. Dioc. c 2168, no. 5 (plan of rectory ho. site).
  • 149. 4th Rep. Com. Char. (1820), 201–5.
  • 150. ORO, MS dd Par. Henley b 1, 23 Apr. 1733; ibid. MS Oxf. Dioc. c 2168, no. 5; Bodl. MS Top. Oxon. a 67, f. 314.
  • 151. Cal. SP Dom. Addenda 1660–5, 490; Cal. SP Dom. 1670, 327.
  • 152. 4th Rep. Com. Char. (1820), 213–16; Par. Colln, II, 171; PRO, PROB 11/333 (Ann Messenger); ORO, BOR 3/A/X/CN/4a; BOR 3/A/IX/1/516a; BOR 3/A/IX/1/549; BOR3/A/V/BM/6, f. 366.
  • 153. Section based on 4th Rep. Com. Char. (1820), 200–18; Cooper, Acct of Charities (1858). For a Quaker charity established in 1720, PRO, PROB 11/576, f. 56v. (John Toovey).
  • 154. ORO, MS Wills Oxon. 179.11 (Fowle); PRO, PROB 11/62, ff. 175–8 (Barnaby); ibid. PROB 11/96 (Lewes); Cottingham, Hostelries, 256 (Shard); OxS, par. reg. transcripts.
  • 155. Above, manors; this section [educ.]; New DNB, s.v. Laud.
  • 156. PRO, PROB 11/89.
  • 157. ORO, BOR3/A/II/1, f. 39 and v.
  • 158. Ibid. BOR3/A/V/BM/5, ff. 201, 252; BOR3/V/BM/6, f. 113v.
  • 159. Townlands: 4th Rep. Com. Char. (1820), 209–10; ORO, BOR3/A/V/BM/6, f. 216.
  • 160. OxS, par. reg. transcript 1558–1653, p. 235.
  • 161. ORO, BOR3/A/V/BM/5, ff. 2, 4, 13, 15v.–16, 251.
  • 162. Calamy Revised, ed. A.G. Matthews, 73.
  • 163. ORO, MS Wills Oxon. 141/1/20.
  • 164. OxS, par. reg. transcript 1558–1653, p. i.
  • 165. 4th Rep. Com. Char. (1820), 202, 205–6; OxS, par. reg. transcripts.
  • 166. Below, this section; no vestry mins are known before 1725.
  • 167. Above, local govt (town govt 1568–1722: poor).
  • 168. ORO, BOR3/A/V/BM/5, flyleaf.
  • 169. Ibid. f. 17; ORO, BOR3/A/V/BM/6, ff. 151, 414.
  • 170. Ibid. BOR3/A/V/BM/6, f. 395.
  • 171. Estimates based on 4th Rep. Com. Char. (1820).
  • 172. e.g. ibid. 210–11.
  • 173. Above, econ. hist.
  • 174. Above, manors; below, Harpsden; VCH Berks. III, 162; New DNB, s.v. Sir Wm Hamilton; Fred. Lewis, prince of Wales; Conway.
  • 175. Brewer, Oxon. 324; Lewis, Topog. Dict. England (1840 edn), 409–10.
  • 176. Bailey's Western & Midland Dir. (1784); Univ. Brit. Dir. III (c. 1794), 365–9; above, econ. hist. (1700–1800: shops and services).
  • 177. Above, devpt of town; bldgs.
  • 178. e.g. Oxf. Jnl Syn. 22 Sept. 1758; 6 June, 14 Sept. 1759; Powys Diaries, 226, 235, 246, 250; for Bath, ibid. 225, 287–8, 297–9, 351–3.
  • 179. Powys Diaries, 362.
  • 180. Oxf. Jnl Syn. 22 Dec. 1777.
  • 181. Powys Diaries, 179, 279, 297, 331; Cottingham, Hostelries, 52–60, 181–90.
  • 182. Powys Diaries, 178–91.
  • 183. Ibid. 240, 246, 251, 277, 282, 285 etc.
  • 184. Ibid. 284.
  • 185. Climenson, Guide, 35; cf. B. Redford (ed.), Boswell's Life of Johnson, II (1998), p. 198 n., implying that the inn Johnson stayed at may have been in Henley-on-Arden.
  • 186. Powys Diaries, 216–19.
  • 187. Oxf. Jnl Syn. 6 July 1765.
  • 188. B. Port, The Well-Trod Stage of the Kenton Theatre (2005), 13–20; G. Tyack, 'The Rebuilding of Henley-on-Thames, 1780–1914', Oxon. Local Hist. 3 (2) (spring 1989), 71–2; Powys Diaries, 361–2; Brewer, Oxon. 328.
  • 189. Port, Well-Trod Stage, 9–12.
  • 190. Oxf. Jnl Syn. 19 Mar. 1789; Powys Diaries, 240.
  • 191. Letters of 1st Earl of Malmesbury 1745–1820, ed. by his grandson (1870), II, 420–2.
  • 192. ORO, BOR3/B/II/24/79.
  • 193. Sheppard, Brakspear's, 33–5.
  • 194. Oxf. Jnl Syn. 23 Aug. 1766; G. B. Buckley, Fresh Light on 18th-Century Cricket (1935), 45–6, 49, 89, 178.
  • 195. D. Tyler, 'Humphrey Gainsborough (1718–76): Cleric, Engineer and Inventor', Transacs of the Newcomen Soc. 76 (1) (2006), 51–86; Gent. Mag. 55 (2) (1785), pp. 931–2; Glos. RO D1245/FF38 (B-C).
  • 196. Above, local govt.
  • 197. ORO, BOR3/A/V/BM/8; for trades, e.g. ibid. MSS Wills Oxon.; Bailey's Western & Midland Dir. (1784); Univ. British Dir. III (c. 1794), 365–9. Hayward (an upholsterer and appraiser) took up brewing in 1768: Oxf. Jnl Syn. 25 July 1759; Sheppard, Brakspear's, 7.
  • 198. ORO, BOR3/A/V/BM/7, 8 Sept. 1722.
  • 199. Ibid. BOR3/A/V/BM/8, p. 757.
  • 200. Ibid. p. 786; ORO, MS Oxf. Archd. Oxon. b 24, ff. 186–9, 236–242v.
  • 201. Above, local govt.
  • 202. ORO, MS dd Par. Henley b 1, passim; for Sambrooke Freeman, ibid. BOR3/A/V/BM/8, p. 413.
  • 203. Burn, Henley, 96–7.
  • 204. ORO, BOR3/A/V/BM/8, pp. 577–8, 581–2, 588, 599–600, 605, 620; ibid. BOR3/A/XIX/BB/7, 1 June 1787; ibid. BOR3/B/II/24, passim. Freeman also sued Oxford corporation over tolls in Henley: Oxf. Jnl. Syn. 3 Mar. 1790.
  • 205. F. Sheppard, 'Henley Bridge and its Architect', Architec. Hist. 27 (1984), 321–2; ORO, BOR3/A/V/BM/8, pp. 508 sqq, 514; ibid. BOR3/B/II/24/54; above, communics (bridge).
  • 206. Oxf. Jnl Syn. 22 June 1781, 3 Oct., 17 Dec. 1788, 11 Sept. 1789; ORO, BOR3/A/VIII/4, 26 Apr. 1777; ibid. BOR3/A/XIX/BB/7, 1 June 1781; ibid. BOR3/B/II/19 and 21.
  • 207. Oxon. Poll, 1754, 28–31; R. J. Robson, The Oxon. Election of 1754: A Study in the Interplay of City, County and Univ. Politics (1949), esp. 18–20, 22, 26–7, 57–8, 83; Oxf. Jnl. 30 June 1753, p. 3; 15 Sept. 1753, p. 3; 3 Nov. 1753, pp. 2–3. Macclesfield lived at nearby Shirburn Castle.
  • 208. Brewer, Oxon. 331. Macclesfield and his successors remained high stewards of Henley until the 19th century: Burn, Henley, 75.
  • 209. Secker's Visit. 78; A Brief Acct of the United Charity Schools in Henley-upon-Thames (1834), 4, 7, 9: copy in Bodl. GA Oxon. 8° 900 (36).
  • 210. Oxf. Jnl Syn. 27 Oct. 1757, 22 Jan. 1761.
  • 211. ORO, BOR3/A/V/BM/8, pp. 675, 677.
  • 212. Ibid. pp. 734, 792.
  • 213. Ibid. p. 771; ORO, BOR3/C/IV/7/1–20.
  • 214. W. Thwaites, 'Assize of Bread in 18th-Century Oxford', Oxoniensia 51 (1986), 171, 176.
  • 215. Oxf. Jnl Syn. 24 Apr. 1756; 2 Apr. 1757; 29 Apr. 1786.
  • 216. Ibid. 2 June 1764; 14 Sept. 1772; 10 May 1781; 8 Dec. 1783; 18 Feb., 17 Apr. 1786.
  • 217. Ibid. 6 Mar. 1782; Powys Diaries, 190, 297.
  • 218. Oxf. Jnl Syn. 13 July 1782, 4 Apr. 1783.
  • 219. Univ. Brit. Dir. III (c. 1794), 365–9.
  • 220. First Rept Commrs for Educ. of Poor (1819), p. 204; for orig. papers (uncat.), ORO, Acc. 5636.
  • 221. P. Horn (ed.), Village Educ. in 19th-Cent. Oxon. (ORS 51, 1979), 75; below, relig. hist.
  • 222. For date, Climenson, Guide, 55.
  • 223. First Rept Commrs for Educ. of Poor (1819), pp. 201–4; A Brief Acct of the United Charity Schools in Henley-upon-Thames (1834): copy in Bodl. GA Oxon. 8° 900 (36); VCH Oxon. I, 471–2; Oxf. Jnl Syn. 23 May 1778; ORO, MS Oxf. Dioc. d 707, f. 82, claiming both were fully subscribed in 1808. For site and bldgs, Bodl. MS Top. Oxon. a 67, ff. 310–13; ORO, MS Oxf. Dioc. c 2202, no. 24 (rectory ho. plan).
  • 224. Brewer, Oxon. 327; Gardner's Dir. Oxon. (1852), 535; Anon., Cat. of the Old Library at Henley-on-Thames (1852); Climenson, Guide, 65; ORO, MS dd Par. Henley b 1, 8 Apr. 1777; ibid. MS Oxf. Dioc. c 1849/1, corresp. 1944.
  • 225. Poor Abstract, 1777, p. 140; 1787, p. 188.
  • 226. ORO, MS dd Par. Henley b 1, passim; above, local govt.
  • 227. ORO, MS dd Par. Henley b 1, s.a. 1725–8; ibid. BOR3/A/V/ BM/8, p. 165. The premises were among those given by Robert Kenton (d. 1638): J. Cooper, Acct of Charities (1858), 18–20.
  • 228. ORO, MS dd Par. Henley b 1, passim; ibid. BOR3/C/IV/2.
  • 229. Poor Abstract, 1777, p. 140.
  • 230. e.g. ORO, MS dd Par. Henley b 1, 2 Jan. 1726/7, 25 Aug. 1730, 6 Oct. 1740.
  • 231. Ibid. 11 Dec. 1726, 20 May 1739, 24 Feb. 1739/40, 19 Oct. 1742, 2 Jan. 1788.
  • 232. Ibid. 11 Mar. 1788, 18 Feb. 1794, 15 Apr. 1797, 10 Apr. 1799, 19 June 1810.
  • 233. Ibid. 4 Mar. 1738/9, 24 Apr. 1739, 29 Apr. 1766; Poor Abstract, 1787, p. 188.
  • 234. ORO, MS dd Par. Henley b 1, 27 Apr. 1791, 3 Jan. 1795, 27 Dec., 31 Dec. 1799.
  • 235. Ibid. passim.
  • 236. Ibid. 16 Nov. 1784, 1788–92; ORO, BOR/3/A/IX/1/693; Cooper, Acct of Charities (1858), 28–31; above, bldgs (workho.).
  • 237. Poor Abstract, 1804, pp. 398–9.
  • 238. Cooper, Acct of Charities (1858), 29, 36–7; 4th Rep. Com. Char. (1820), 209, 211; ORO, MS dd Par. Henley b 1, 6 Jan. 1767.
  • 239. 4th Rep. Com. Char. (1820), 203, 216, 218; Cooper, Acct of Charities (1858), 11, 32, 35. For the corporation's response to high corn prices in the 1790s, above (govt and politics).
  • 240. E. T. MacDermot and C. R. Clinker, Hist. Gt Western Railway (1964), I, 66, 452; above, communics; econ. hist.
  • 241. Below (regatta; Henley as a resort).
  • 242. Brewer, Oxon. 324; Lewis, Topog. Dict. England (1840 edn), 409–10.
  • 243. Above, devpt of town; bldgs.
  • 244. New DNB, s.v. Crisp, Smith; above, bldgs; below, outlying estates.
  • 245. PRO, RG 13/1369; above, econ. hist.
  • 246. R. D. Burnell, The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race 1829–1953 (1954); R. D. Burnell and H. R. N. Rickett, A Short History of Leander Club, 1818 to 1968 (1968); R. D. Burnell, Henley Royal Regatta: a Celebration of 150 Years (1989), on which much of this section is based.
  • 247. Burnell, Oxf. and Camb. Boat Race, 27–9; Oxf. Jnl, 6, 13 and 20 June 1829.
  • 248. A. Cottingham, 'The Beginnings of Henley Regatta from the Reading Mercury and Oxford Gaz.', HAHG Jnl 11 (Summer 1996), 1–3; Oxf. Jnl, 18 and 25 June 1831, 28 Apr. 1832, 9 June 1837, 22 and 29 June 1839 (Maidenhead); MS Diary of Annette Brakspear (photocopy in OxS, o 920 BRAK), 8.
  • 249. Burnell, Regatta, 3–4, 68; Oxf. Jnl, 23 Mar., 18 Apr., 1, 6 and 22 June 1839.
  • 250. Burnell, Regatta, 3–4; Guide to Henley-upon-Thames and its Vicinity (1850), 26–31; Oxf. Jnl, 18 Apr. 1839; for occupations, cf. Pigot's Dir. Oxon. (1830 and 1842); Slater's Dir. Oxon. (1850).
  • 251. Climenson, Guide, 69; Oxf. Jnl, 22 June 1839; Oxf. Times, 3 Feb. 1905 (Cooper); cf. Pigot's Dir. Oxon. (1842); OxS, par. reg. transcripts.
  • 252. Burnell, Regatta, 45, 57–8, 67; Cottingham, 'Beginnings of Henley Regatta', 2; Oxf. Jnl, 22 June 1839, 18 June 1864.
  • 253. Burnell, Regatta, 37–9, 45–6, 57–8; Oxf. Jnl, 18 June 1864. The stewards bought the freehold of the boathouse site in 1903: Burnell, Regatta, 57.
  • 254. Oxf. Jnl, 9 June 1837, 1 July 1843; Times, 26 June 1844, 26 June 1846.
  • 255. A. Rowland, An Independent Parson: The Autobiography of Alfred Rowland [1924], 3–4; cf. 'Reminiscences of Henley Regatta by an Oxford Man' (1853): copy in Bodl. GA Oxon. 354 (2).
  • 256. Burnell, Regatta, 41.
  • 257. Ibid. 11–13, photo oppos. 52; P. Karau, An Illust. Hist. of the Henley-on-Thames Branch (1982), 4–5, 24, 28–9, 31, 90, 129–35; above, communics. For an earlier royal visit to Henley, Oxf. Jnl, 19 June 1841.
  • 258. Climenson, Guide, 71; Karau, Henley Branch, 31; S. Townley, Henley-on-Thames: Town, Trade and River (2009), 8, 145.
  • 259. Karau, Henley Branch, 132–3.
  • 260. Burnell, Regatta, 47–9, 51, 53; A. Perkins, The Phyllis Court Story: 14th-Century Manor to 20th-Century Club (1983), 81–3; Climenson, Guide, 71; Bodl. GA Oxon. c 317/22, Thames Conservancy notices 1894–1911.
  • 261. Birmingham Daily Post, 20 July 1886; The Lancet, 17 July 1886, pp. 142–3; 9 July 1887, pp. 84–5.
  • 262. Burnell, Regatta, 5–6, 67–71, 96–116, 127; Burnell and Rickett, Hist. Leander Club, 12–13, 19. For a different view of falling entries in the mid 19th cent., Guide to Henley (1850), 30–1, quoting Bell's Life, 15 July 1849. A new straight course was introduced in 1923–4.
  • 263. The Henley Guide (1826); A Guide to Henley-upon-Thames and its Vicinity (1838, 1850 and 1866 edns): copies in Bodl. For Fishing Assocn (reconstituted 1859), cf. Burn, Henley, 313; Climenson, Guide, 79; HS, 7 Oct 1892; Times, 3 Aug 1900.
  • 264. Above, econ. hist.; the Bell was superseded by the much smaller Bell Tap.
  • 265. A. Rowland, An Independent Parson [1924], 3.
  • 266. Guide to Henley (1850); Oxf. Jnl, 6 June 1857.
  • 267. Karau, Henley Branch, 29–30; Times, 7, 10, 14 Feb., 19 Mar. 1898 (letters).
  • 268. Climenson, Guide, 24.
  • 269. Ibid. passim. The swimming baths were opened in 1871–2: HA, 17 June 1871; ORO, BOR3/A/V/BM/12, 22 Jan. 1872.
  • 270. Sale Cat., Red Lion Hotel (1897): copy in OxS; Cottingham, Hostelries, 189–90.
  • 271. Above, bldgs.
  • 272. Climenson, Guide, 39–40.
  • 273. ORO, MSS Oxf. Dioc. c 347, f. 210; c 356, f. 201v.
  • 274. Royal Comm. on Liquor Licensing Laws: Third Report, Mins of Evidence (Parl Papers 1898 [C.8693–4], xxxvi), 86–7.
  • 275. Karau, Henley Branch, 33–4, 126; The Sphere, 9 July 1900; for advertising, ORO, BOR3/A/VII/CM/5, pp. 108, 496.
  • 276. HS, 23 Feb. 1979, p. 3 (J. Crocker's recollections).
  • 277. HS, 5 Aug. 1927: cutting in OxS, Pamph HENL 944.
  • 278. HS, 23 Dec 1892, 14 Apr. 1893; Climenson, Guide, 23, 68, 74; Port, Well-Trod Stage, 28; below, relig. hist. (Nonconf. from 1820).
  • 279. A. Perkins, The Phyllis Court Story (1983), 85; Climenson, Guide, 79, 86–7; Schedules ... of the Henley Hortic. Soc. (1864): copy in Bodl GA Oxon 8° 900 (43); New DNB, s.v. J.S. Burn.
  • 280. ORO, MS Oxf. Dioc. c 332, f. 225; above, devpt of town; bldgs.
  • 281. Guides to Henley (1838, 1850 and 1866 edns); Burn, Henley, 91, 313–14; Bucks RO, AR 1/93/251 (reading, chess and music soc. poster 1858).
  • 282. Henley Guide (1826), 16; Cat. of the Old Library at Henley-on-Thames, with Remarks on Lending Libraries for Rural Districts (1852), 4–5; Climenson, Guide, 64.
  • 283. Stevens' Dir. Reading [1888], 436; HS, 23 Dec. 1992, p. 14 (quoting ibid. 23 Dec. 1892).
  • 284. Oxf. Jnl, 30 Oct 1852.
  • 285. Port, Well-Trod Stage, 1, 21–32; for 1860s, Bodl. GA Oxon. c 317/22, concert programmes etc.
  • 286. Port, Well-Trod Stage, 30; NMR, BF 092680.
  • 287. ORO, BOR3/A/XVI/MB/1, pp. 277, 368.
  • 288. Port, Well-Trod Stage, 30.
  • 289. Burn, Henley, 101, 284, 312; Guide to Henley (1838), 16; Oxf. Jnl, 9 June 1837; Schedules and Regulations of the Henley Hortic. Soc. (1864–7): copies in Bodl GA Oxon 8° 900 (43–6); Climenson, Guide, 68.
  • 290. Climenson, Guide, 68, 74–5.
  • 291. Ibid. 67–8; Guide to Henley (1866), 38; Stevens' Dir. Reading [1888], 437.
  • 292. Below (town politics).
  • 293. Sheppard, Brakspear's, 80–1, based on Henley Free Press, 7 May, 20 May 1892, 27 Mar., 6 June 1896.
  • 294. ORO, BOR3/A/VI/LM/2, 14 Jan. 1879; Climenson, Guide, 40.
  • 295. HA, 29 Apr. 1882; Kellys Dir. Oxon. (1883 and later edns); Climenson, Guide, 39; cf. ORO, F/4/6/F/1.
  • 296. Guide to Henley (1866), 38; Climenson, Guide, 66–8.
  • 297. Oxf. Jnl Syn. 2 June, 1 Aug. 1764.
  • 298. Poor Abstract, 1804, pp. 398–9; 1818, pp. 352–3.
  • 299. ORO, QSD/R/22; PRO, FS 1/580/188; FS 4/42/188.
  • 300. Information from Shaun Morley, based partly on PRO, FS 1–4; data to be published in ORS 68 (forthcoming).
  • 301. Guide to Henley (1866), 34–8; Burn, Henley, 315–16; Climenson, Guide, 54, 67.
  • 302. Bk of Sports of Royal Grammar Sch. (1864–8 issues): copies in Bodl. GA Oxon 8° 900 (38–42).
  • 303. Oxf. Jnl, 18 Aug. 1860.
  • 304. HS, 24 Nov. 1978, p. 3; for the Institute, below (educ.).
  • 305. Sheppard, Brakspear's, 77; HS, 13 Nov 1896.
  • 306. Climenson, Guide, 68.
  • 307. Bk of Sports of Royal Grammar Sch. (1865–7 issues); Bodl. GA Oxon. c 317/22, concert programmes.
  • 308. Commem. chair of 1819 auctioned by Partridge Fine Arts, 2008 (inf. from Mr J. F. Bailey).
  • 309. ORO, MS dd Par. Henley St Mary e 1, f. 84.
  • 310. Guide to Henley (1838), 16.
  • 311. J. F. Bailey, 'Establishing the Foundation Date of Henley Rowing Club', HAHG Jnl 7 (Dec. 1989), 17–20; Oxf. Jnl, 22 June 1839; Reading Mercury, 28 July, 4 Aug. 1838, 25 July, 1 Aug. 1836, 2 July 1853. Traditional foundation dates of 1830 or 1839 for Henley Rowing Club are unsubstantiated.
  • 312. Climenson, Guide, 72.
  • 313. Guide to Henley (1850), 34; Burn, Henley, 313; cf. Slater's Dir. Oxon. (1850), entry for P. B. Cooper.
  • 314. Reading Mercury, 8 Aug. 1836, 15 Aug. 1836 (refs kindly supplied by J. F. Bailey).
  • 315. Sheppard, Brakspear's, 84; Climenson, Guide, 73 and map facing p. 1; Berks. Chron. 1 May 1869; HA, 12 June, 10 July 1886. For grammar sch. cricket, below (educ.).
  • 316. HS, 26 Mar. 1915, 19 Sept. 1930; inf. from Mr J.F. Bailey.
  • 317. J. F. Bailey, A Phoenix Once Again: a Brief Hist. of the Henley Town Football Club (1974): pamphlet in OxS; J. F. Bailey, 'History of Henley Sport', HS, 7 Jan. 2000; cf. HA, 4 Nov. 1871; Berks. Chron. 25 Nov. 1871; Climenson, Guide, 73, wrongly implying that the town club first started in 1887.
  • 318. HA, 24 Mar. 1888, 23 Mar., 30 Mar. 1889; HS, 24 Mar. 1904.
  • 319. Bk of Sports of the Royal Grammar Sch., Henley-on-Thames (1864–8 issues); ORO, P207/N/1, pp. 17, 47; HS, 7 Oct 1892 (quoted in ibid. 9 Oct 1992, p. 24). For Dry Leas and the Warren, ORO, tithe award nos. 52 and 71.
  • 320. Climenson, Guide, 66 and map facing p. 1.
  • 321. Henley Chron. 27 Feb., 9 Oct. 1908.
  • 322. Climenson, Guide, 72–4; HA, 16 Oct. 1880.
  • 323. HS, 17 May 1901, 13 Sept. 1907; below, Harpsden.
  • 324. Burn, Henley, 313; Guide to Henley (1862), 32; Climenson, Guide, 57.
  • 325. (accessed Feb. 2010). An older Churchill Lodge (established 1841) was moved from Henley to Nuneham, and later to Oxford: Climenson, Guide, 31.
  • 326. HA, 4 Jan. 1891; Building News 2 Sept. 1892, p. 315; for Brakspear, HA, 18 Jan. 1881; Sheppard, Brakspear's, 84.
  • 327. J. H. Umfreville, 'The Comings and Goings of Charles Clements', Oxon. Local Hist. 5.5 (Winter 1998–9), 4, 8, 10, 15–16, 22; below (town politics); for Caversham, www.oxfordshiremasons. (accessed 28 Feb. 2010).
  • 328. Umfreville, 'Clements', 15–16; ORO, P207/N/1, p. 93; Henley and District War Memorial Hospital: Programme [for] Laying the Foundation Stone (1922): copy in OxS.
  • 329. For town govt, above, local govt (1722–1883).
  • 330. 4th Rep. Com. Char. (1820), 208.
  • 331. Oxf. Jnl, 16 Aug. 1855, 14 Nov., 5 Dec. 1857, 29 May, 14 Aug. 1858, 30 Apr. 1859; J. Cooper, Acct of Charities (1858), 5–6, 14–15; Burn, Henley, 319–20; ORO, BOR3/A/V/BM/11, 15 May, 27 Nov. 1857; above, local govt (corpn 1835–83).
  • 332. Above, local govt (1722–1883).
  • 333. Ibid.
  • 334. Rept of Commissioners ... into Municipal Corpns (Parl. Papers 1880 [C.2490], xxxi), 41–4, 159; ibid. Mins of Evid. pp. 164–84; J. H. Umfreville, 'The Comings and Goings of Charles Clements', Oxon. Local Hist. 5.5 (Winter 1998–9), 3–25.
  • 335. Royal Comm. on Liquor Licensing Laws: Third Report, Mins of Evidence (Parl Papers 1898 [C.8693–4], xxxvi), 77, 80, 90.
  • 336. Sheppard, Brakspear's, 69–70, 85; HA, 23 Feb., 4 March 1882.
  • 337. ORO, BOR3/A/VII/CM/2, 28 Dec. 1888.
  • 338. Oxf. Jnl, 12 Dec. 1868.
  • 339. HA, 12 Mar., 20 Aug. 1881; Oxf. Jnl, 2 Apr., 17 Dec. 1881; ORO, BOR3/A/VI/LM/2, 3 Feb., 9 Aug., 24 Aug., 13 Dec. 1881.
  • 340. Oxf. Jnl, 13 May 1882; ORO, BOR3/A/VI/LM/3, 14 Nov. 1882.
  • 341. Above, local govt.
  • 342. Oxf. Jnl, 12 Jan. 1884.
  • 343. Umfreville, 'Clements', 3–4, 10–11.
  • 344. Ibid. 10–23; Royal Comm. Liquor Licensing Laws: Mins of Evid. (1898), 74–95; for Singer, ORO, BOR3/A/VII/CM/2, 8 May 1889 and passim; below, relig. hist.
  • 345. Copy of the Poll of the Freeholders for Knights of the Shire for the Co. of Oxford 1831: copy in Bodl. GA Oxon 4° 36 (1); Oxf. Jnl, 19 Mar. 1831, 8 Dec. 1832.
  • 346. Poll of the Electors ... of a Kt of the Co. of Oxon. 1862: copy in Bodl. GA Oxon. 4° 45(5); cf. PO Dir. Oxon. (1854 and later edns).
  • 347. The Times, 26 July 1883.
  • 348. Climenson, Guide, 33.
  • 349. Ibid. 34.
  • 350. ORO, P207/N/1, p. 85.
  • 351. Umfreville, 'Clements', 4, 8–17, 22; HS, 16 June 1899.
  • 352. 'Higgs & Co. 1879–1979' (Advertising Suppl. to HS, 9 Mar. 1979); HS Centenary Mag. 22 Feb. 1985; E. H. Cordeaux and D. H. Merry, Bibliog. of Printed Works relating to Oxon. (1955), I, pp. 141–2; Umfreville, 'Clements', 11, 14.
  • 353. Oxf. Jnl, 18 Dec 1880; ORO, BOR3/A/VI/LM/3, 14 Nov. 1882; BOR3/A/VII/CM/1, 1 Mar. 1887; BOR3/A/VII/CM/2, 13, 28 Dec. 1888.
  • 354. B. Port, The Well-Trod Stage (2005), 21–2; Burn, Henley, 101; Bodl. GA Oxon. c 317/22, printed notices (1817); ORO, MS dd Par. Henley St Mary e 1; ibid. S128/8/A2/1.
  • 355. ORO, S128/8/A2/1.
  • 356. Ibid. S128/10/A1/1 (min. bk 1830–44).
  • 357. Ibid. MS Oxf. Dioc. c 1849/1, draft conveyance 29 May 1850; ibid. BOR3/A/V/BM/10, 26 Sept. 1848; MS Diary of Annette Brakspear (photocopy in OxS, 0 920 BRAK), 30 Oct. 1849, 4 Apr. 1850: ; Guide to Henley (1850), 15; Burn, Henley, 101.
  • 358. HA, 20 Sept. 1879.
  • 359. Wilb. Visit. 70; ORO, MS Oxf. Dioc. c 338, f. 202v.
  • 360. Bodl. GA Oxon. c 317/22, rept on Nat. Schs 1864.
  • 361. Ibid.; Gardner's Dir. Oxon. (1852), 537; ORO, Acc. 5636.
  • 362. ORO, S128/9/A1/1–3 (log bks 1863–1935).
  • 363. Ibid. MS Oxf. Dioc. d 568, f. 172; Bodl. GA Oxon. c 317/22, printed notices (1817).
  • 364. Henley Training Sch. for Girls Repts (1863–6): copies in Bodl. GA Oxon. c 317/22; MS Diary of Annette Brakspear (photocopy in OxS), s.a. 1859–60.
  • 365. Guide to Henley (1866), 18; ORO, MS Oxf. Dioc. c 335, f. 192v.
  • 366. Burn, Henley, 101; ORO, S128/9/A1/1, 4 Oct. 1865, Nov. 1867.
  • 367. Bodl. GA Oxon. c 317/22, rept on Nat. Schs 1864; ORO, BOR3/A/V/BM/12, 30 July 1867.
  • 368. ORO, S128/9/A1/3, Dec. 1910.
  • 369. Retn of Non-Provided Schs (Parl. Papers 1906 (178), lxxxviii), p. 22; Wilb. Visit. 123; ORO, MSS Oxf. Dioc. c 332, ff. 368–9; c 359, f. 353v.; Climenson, Guide, 56; OS Map 1:2500, Oxon. LIV.9 (1879 and 1899 edns).
  • 370. ORO, MS Oxf. Dioc. d 578, f. 124; A. Rowland, An Independent Parson [1924], 1, 11–12.
  • 371. Rowland, Indep. Parson, 11; illustr. in Cottingham and Fisher, Henley, 164–5.
  • 372. Retn of Income and Expend. Public Elem. Schs 1875–6 (Parl. Papers 1877 [C.1882], lxvii), pp. 212–17; Climenson, Guide, 56.
  • 373. Climenson, Guide, 54; Retn of Non-Provided Schs (1906), p. 31.
  • 374. ORO, T/SL 28i (log bk 1910–29).
  • 375. Schools Inquiry Comm. 1867–8 (Parl. Papers 1867–8 [3966– XI], xxviii), pp. 239–45; Bye Laws ... Rules and Regulations ... by the Trustees of the United Charity Schools of Henley (1843): copy in Bodl. GA Oxon 8° 900 (37).
  • 376. Bk of Sports of the Royal Grammar Sch., Henley-on-Thames (1864–8 issues): copies in Bodl. GA Oxon 8° 900 (38–42).
  • 377. Schools Inquiry Comm. 1867–8, pp. 239–45.
  • 378. PRO, HO 107/874 (Henley bk 5, f. 53v.); ORO, Acc 5905, lease 10 Apr. 1847; G. Allen, The Story of Henley College (2004), 22.
  • 379. Sale Cat, Fawley Ct Estate (1853), lot 7; Appeal for new building c. 1863: copy in Bodl. GA Oxon. c 317/22; Bk of Sports, Royal Grammar Sch. (1865 issue), 18–20; Schools Inquiry Comm. 1867–8, p. 242. For later additions by H. T. Hare, ORO, MS dd Par. Henley St Mary b18 item 19.
  • 380. Schools Inquiry Comm. 1867–8, p. 240; for Godby, Burn, Henley, 98; 'Reminiscences of W. Anker Simmons' (1919): copy in OxS, Pamph HENL 944; PO Dir. Oxon. (1869).
  • 381. 'Reminiscences of W. Anker Simmons'.
  • 382. ORO, MS Oxf. Dioc. c 338, f. 202v.; Times, 22 Sept 1904.
  • 383. e.g. ORO, BOR3/A/V/BM/11; Oxf. Jnl, 30 Oct 1852; Bodl. GA Oxon. c 317/22, repts on Training sch., Nat sch., coal soc. etc.
  • 384. e.g. Bye Laws ... by the Trustees of the United Charity Schools (1843); Bodl. GA Oxon. c 317/22, appeal for new bldg c. 1863.
  • 385. Bk of Sports, Royal Grammar Sch. (1864–8 issues).
  • 386. A. Rowland, An Independent Parson [1924], 11; Schools Inquiry Comm. 1867–8, p. 240.
  • 387. Schools Inquiry Comm. 1867–8, pp. 239–45; Bye Laws ... by the Trustees of the United Charity Schools (1843).
  • 388. Burn, Henley, 98–9. The school briefly moved to Northfield End from 1841–6: Allen, Henley College, 22.
  • 389. Kelly's Dir. Oxon. (1891), 651; Climenson, Guide, 54–6.
  • 390. Char. Com. Schemes (1891–2): copies in ORO, MS dd Par. Henley St Mary b 18, item 19; Climenson, Guide, 54–6; G. Allen, The Story of Henley College (2004), 8, 24, 28.
  • 391. The Times, 22 Sept 1904.
  • 392. Allen, Henley College, 8, 28; ORO, S128/4/A35/1, hist. notes.
  • 393. ORO, MS Oxf. Dioc. c 433. f. 107; cf. ibid. d 707, f. 82.
  • 394. PRO, HO 107/874; RG 13/1369; cf. Guide to Henley (1866), 18; ORO, MS Oxf. Dioc. c 338, f. 202v.
  • 395. PRO, HO 107/874 (Henley bk 5, ff. 47v.–48, 53v.–54); Pigot's Dir. Oxon. (1842), 19.
  • 396. Town and County Dir. Oxon. (1908–9), 69.
  • 397. A. Rowland, An Independent Parson [1924], 11.
  • 398. ORO, MS Oxf. Dioc. c 335, f. 192v.
  • 399. Below, Bix, soc. hist. (educ.).
  • 400. V. Alasia, 'Henley Union Workhouse 1834–61', Oxon. Local Hist. 6.1 (Autumn 1999), 47–8; idem, 'Henley Union Workhouse 1861–1901', HAHG Jnl, 22 (Autumn 2007), 26–8.
  • 401. OS Map 1:500, Oxon. LIV.9 (1879 edn); above, bldgs (workho.).
  • 402. Climenson, Guide, 32–3.
  • 403. Wilb. Visit. 70; ORO, MSS Oxf. Dioc. c 332, f. 225; c 335, f. 193; c 338, f. 203v.; c 353, f. 201; cf. Burn, Henley, 315.
  • 404. J.H. Umfreville, 'The Comings and Goings of Charles Clements', Oxon. Local Hist. 5.5 (Winter 1998–9), 7–8, 10–11; A. Cottingham, 'The Working Men's Institute', HAHG Newsletter 25 (June/July 1981), 5–6; ORO, BOR3/A/VI/LM/2, 14 Apr. 1874; Kelly's Dir. Oxon. (1915 edn), 115.
  • 405. Stevens' Dir Reading (1888); Kelly's Dir. Oxon. (1883 and later edns); it appears to have closed soon after.
  • 406. Cal. Dept of Science and Art for 1891 (Parl. Papers, 1890–91 [C.6225], xxxii), 190; HA, 26 Sept. 1891; Climenson, Guide, 30; Smith's Dir. Reading (1897), 510; Kelly's Dir. Oxon. (1915 edn), 115.
  • 407. ORO, Acc. 5905, envelope 1 (rep. 5 Apr 1897; mtg of jnt cttee 22 Apr. 1898).
  • 408. Ibid. BOR3/A/VII/CM/23, p. 327; Kelly's Dir. Oxon. (1920 and later edns); below (20th-century educ.).
  • 409. Below, this section.
  • 410. Poor Abstract, 1818, pp. 352–3; ORO, MS dd Par. Henley b 1, 4 Oct. 1813, 6 June, 13 June 1815.
  • 411. ORO, BOR3/C/III/6A (select vestry reps, 1821–34); Poor Rate Retns (Parl. Papers 1822 (556), v), p. 135; ibid. (1825 (334), iv), p. 170; (1830–1 (83), xi), p. 158; (1835 (444), xlvii), p. 153; Oxf. Jnl, 2 May 1835 (giving different figs).
  • 412. Alasia, 'Henley Union Workhouse, 1834–61' and '1861–1901'; PRO, HO 107/1725; above, bldgs (workho.). For parishes included, Census, 1851.
  • 413. Cottingham, Hostelries, 23.
  • 414. Rept of the Commissioners ... into Municipal Corporations not Subject to the Municipal Corporations Acts (Parl. Papers 1880 [C.2490], xxxi), Mins of Evid. p. 174.
  • 415. 4th Rep. Com. Char. (1820), 208.
  • 416. Rep. Comm. Munic. Corpns (1880), Mins of Evid. pp. 164–5, 167, 169, 172–4; J. Cooper, An Account of the Charities under the Management of the Corporation of the Town of Henley-on-Thames (1858); Burn, Henley, 319–20.
  • 417. 4th Rep. Com. Char. (1820), 211.
  • 418. Rep. Comm. Munic. Corpns (1880), Mins of Evid. pp. 177, 180, 182–3.
  • 419. ORO, BOR3/A/V/BM/12, 6 Nov. 1883.
  • 420. Cooper, Acct of Charities (1858), 34, 38–40.
  • 421. Ibid. 16–17, 31, 33; ORO, BOR3/A/V/BM/10, 7 Oct. 1843, 26 July, 29 Aug. 1844, 13 Mar. 1846; BOR3/A/X/CJ/93/1–63; BOR3/A/X/CP/50/6; plaques.
  • 422. Rep. Comm. Munic. Corpns (1880), Mins of Evid. p. 183.
  • 423. ORO, BOR3/A/V/BM/11, 3 and 27 Apr. 1855.
  • 424. Guide to Henley (1850), 21; Rep. Comm. Munic. Corpns (1880), Mins of Evid. pp. 167–8; ORO, BOR3/A/V/BM/10, 28 Sept. 1846; BOR3/A/V/BM/12, 7 July 1865.
  • 425. Bodl. GA Oxon. c 317/22, notice of Local Board 15 Feb. 1865.
  • 426. e.g. ORO, BOR3/A/V/BM/11, 5 Dec. 1853, 11 Jan. 1854, 6 Aug. 1860; BOR3/A/V/BM/12, 16 Jan. 1867; BOR3/A/VII/CM/2, 20 Dec. 1890.
  • 427. Ibid. BOR3/A/V/BM/10, 30 June 1848; cf. ibid. BOR3/A/V/BM/12, 11 May 1864.
  • 428. Ibid. BOR3/A/V/BM/10, 4 Jan. 1847; BOR3/A/V/BM/11, 7 Nov. 1862.
  • 429. Above (societies).
  • 430. 'Reminiscences of W. Anker Simmons' (1919): copy in OxS.
  • 431. Oxf. Jnl, 9 Dec. 1854. For workho. treats, Alasia, 'Union Workho. 1861–1901', 29–30.
  • 432. Above, devpt of town; bldgs; econ. hist.
  • 433. Kelly's Dir. Oxon. (1935); Sheppard, Brakspear's, 87–8 (Chalcraft); Berks. Mercury, 1 Feb. 1979, p. 10 (Plint); HS Centenary Mag. 22 Feb. 1985 (Luker).
  • 434. Sheppard, Brakspear's, 83, 86–8. The ground was later used by Henley Town Cricket Club.
  • 435. Sheppard, Brakspear's, 86; County Publicity Dir. (1958–9), 246 (Luker).
  • 436. A. Perkins, The Phyllis Court Story: 14th-Century Manor to 20th-Century Club (1983); Phyllis Ct Club, Henley: Plans and Partics of Enlargement (1928); ibid. [c. 1934]: copy in Bodl. GA Oxon. c 317/22.
  • 437. ORO, BOR3/A/VII/CM/19, p. 498; BOR3/A/VII/CM/20, pp. 2, 358, 367, 379–81, 396, 409, 488; BOR3/A/VII/CM/21, pp. 26, 116, 327; BOR3/A/VII/CM/22, pp. 7, 388.
  • 438. Henley-on-Thames Official Guide (1928–1939 edns): copies in Bodl. GA Oxon 8° 1061; Salter's Guide to the Thames (37th edn c. 1935): copy in Bodl. GA Eng. Rivers 8° 82; above, econ. hist. (1918–60).
  • 439. Salter's Guide to the Thames (37th edn c. 1935), 74, adverts p. lxiii.
  • 440. D. C. Whitehead, Henley-on-Thames (2007), 84.
  • 441. HS, 19 Sept. 1930; Henley Rugby Football Club Golden Jubilee 1930–80 (1979): copy in OxS. A new Henley Town Cricket Club was formed in 1974: local inf.
  • 442. Henley-on-Thames Official Guide (5th edn c. 1939), 20–4.
  • 443. B. Port, The Well-Trod Stage of the Kenton Theatre (2005), 31, 33–7; Henley Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society website (March 2010).
  • 444. C. Moloney, 'Excavations and Bldg Survey at Bell Street, Henley-on-Thames, 1993–4', Oxoniensia 62 (1997), 131; above, bldgs.
  • 445. Whitehead, Henley-on-Thames, 76; war mem. tablets at town hall.
  • 446. A. Pitt, Henley Quakers: A Short Hist. of the Relig. Soc. of Friends in Henley-on-Thames (Henley Preparative Meeting, 1994), 8.
  • 447. ORO, BOR3/A/VII/CM/18, pp. 366, 369, 401, 465, 498; BOR3/A/VII/CM/19, pp. 2, 37–8, 158, 165–6, 170, 298; HS, 30 Oct. 1914, 24 Jan. 1919 (cuttings in OXS, Pamph HENL 944); ibid. 7 May 1976, p. 5.
  • 448. Whitehead, Henley-on-Thames, 78.
  • 449. Henley and District War Memorial Hospital: Programme [for] Laying Foundation Stone (1922); Opening Ceremony, 3 June 1923: copies in OXS; Whitehead, Henley-on-Thames, 79; ORO, BOR3/A/VII/CM/19, pp. 421, 431; BOR3/A/VII/CM/20, pp. 40, 398; BOR3/A/VII/CM/21, p. 100.
  • 450. ORO, BOR3/A/VII/CM/19, pp. 419, 461; BOR3/A/VII/ CM/20, p. 119; BOR3/A/VII/CM/21, p. 91.
  • 451. G. Allen, The Story of Henley College (2004), 32–3.
  • 452. HS, 23 Feb. 1979, p. 3 (J. Crocker's recollections).
  • 453. ORO, BOR3/A/VII/CM/25, p. 253.
  • 454. Ibid. pp. 256, 278, 309; ORO, BOR3/A/VII/EM/48.
  • 455. Ibid. BOR3/A/VII/CM/25, pp. 457, 502; BOR3/A/VII/CM/26, pp. 5–6.
  • 456. A. Perkins, The Phyllis Court Story (1983), 142–7; C. B. Willcocks, 'Badgemore, Henley-on-Thames', The Builder, 21 Mar. 1952, 442.
  • 457. ORO, BOR3/A/VII/CM/25, pp. 124, 249, 290, 310, 398, 405, 416.
  • 458. Stuart Turner Ltd: A Little Souvenir (2006); Berks. Mercury, 1 Feb. 1979, 10; ORO, BOR3/A/VII/CM/19, p. 41.
  • 459. HS, 15 June 1988.
  • 460. Ibid. 3 Apr. 1981.
  • 461. Whitehead, Henley-on-Thames, 86–9.
  • 462. HS, 17 Mar. 1978, 4 Dec 1981; ORO, BOR3/A/VII/CM/26, pp. 201, 502; BOR3/A/VII/CM/27, p. 54.
  • 463. Above, popn; devpt of town; econ. hist.
  • 464. HS Centenary Mag. 22 Feb. 1985 (recollections).
  • 465. Miller Research, Henley Distinctiveness Study: Draft Report to SODC (Dec. 2009); above, devpt of town; econ. hist.
  • 466. OCC, Informal Town Map (1966); S. Oxon. Visitor Study (QandA Research for SODC, Nov. 2009). Eleven per cent of the working population worked in London in 1979: SODC, District Plan for Henley (Jan. 1979).
  • 467. Census, 2001: stats from www.neighbourhood.statistics. (Nov. 2008); cf. HS, 16 Apr 1993.
  • 468. '20 Years of UK Housing' (Halifax press release 25 Jan. 2003: accessed online July 2008); above, vol. intro.
  • 469. Census, 2001; S. Oxon. Visitor Study (2009).
  • 470. Below, this section; below, outlying estates.
  • 471. SODC, South Oxon. Local Plan (Dec. 1993), 100; S. Oxon. Visitor Study (2009).
  • 472. SODC, South Oxon. Local Plan (Dec. 1993), 222; above, local govt (town property).
  • 473. Above, bldgs (since 1914).
  • 474. SODC, District Plan for Henley (Jan. 1979), 130–2.
  • 475. Ibid. 48–50; Henley & District Indoor Sports Centre (SODC 1977): copy in OxS; Henley-on-Thames Official Guide [c. 1986], 57 sqq: copy in Bodl. GA Oxon 8° 1567; SODC, South Oxon. Local Plan (Dec. 1993), 209, 221–3.
  • 476. ORO, MS Oxf. Dioc. c 1849/1, corresp. 1923–46 (Chant. Ho.); local inf.
  • 477. Henley College community groups webpage (accessed Mar. 2010).
  • 478. B. Port, The Well-Trod Stage of the Kenton Theatre (2005), 47–93.
  • 479. (accessed Mar. 2010).
  • 480. HS, 4 Dec. 1981.
  • 481. Ibid. 18 June 1993, p. 1; Henley Town FC website (accessed March 2010).
  • 482. Henley Distinctiveness Study: Draft Report to South Oxon. District Council (Dec. 2009); above, econ. hist.
  • 483. HS, 31 May, 5 June 1986; for Harrison's involvement in other conservation issues, e.g. ibid. 29 Oct. 1982, 18 July 1986.
  • 484. e.g. ibid. 5 June 1986, 27 Jan. 1989, 11 Dec., 18 Dec. 1992, 19 Mar., 16 Apr., 4 June, 11 June, 30 July, 6 Aug. 1993; SODC, South Oxon. Local Plan (Dec. 1993), 176.
  • 485. HS, 21 May, 11 June, 30 July 1993.
  • 486. HRG website (accessed 15 Mar. 2010).
  • 487. SODC website: local elections; OCC website: county councillors (both accessed 15 Mar. 2010).
  • 488. Election results from 1885 at (accessed May 2010). For constituency (created 1885), VCH Oxon. I, 455–6; SODC website (accessed May 2010).
  • 489. Whitehead, Henley-on-Thames, 80; ORO, S128/9/A1/3, s.a. 1926, 1932–3, and passim; ibid. BOR3/A/VII/CM/23, p. 219.
  • 490. ORO, MS Oxf. Dioc. c 1850/2, corresp. re Trinity school; information from LEA.
  • 491. Local information.
  • 492. Ibid. and inf. from LEA; OCC, Informal Town Map (1966), 12; SODC, District Plan for Henley (Jan. 1979), 53–4; (accessed 16 Mar. 2010).
  • 493. Henley-on-Thames Official Guide (c. 1939 and later edns): copies in Bodl.; (accessed 16 Mar. 2010).
  • 494. G. Allen, The Story of Henley College (2004), 8, 30–64; Whitehead, Henley-on-Thames, 98–9; Char. Comm. Scheme 8 June 1929; ORO, Henley RDC VII/ii/3. For Gillots, below, Roth. Peppard.
  • 495. OCC, Informal Town Map (1966), 12.
  • 496. Allen, Henley College, 9, 94–106. The address changed from Gravel Hill to Deanfield Ave. after the latter was developed alongside.
  • 497. Allen, Henley College, 9, 78–9, 108–27; SODC, District Plan for Henley (Jan. 1979), 54; (accessed 16 Mar. 2010).
  • 498. Inf. from Ofsted and school websites (accessed Dec. 2007).
  • 499. e.g. SODC, District Plan for Henley (Jan. 1979), 53; above, local govt (health).
  • 500. Whitehead, Henley-on-Thames, 79–80; www.oxfordshire (accessed 4 Aug. 2009); above, local govt (health).
  • 501. ORO, BOR3/A/VII/CM/22, p. 355.
  • 502. ORCC, Kimber report 4695 (viewed c. 1998), Scheme 24 Nov. 1914.
  • 503. Ibid. Schemes 6 Nov. 1928, 13 May 1955; Charity Comm. website (accessed 19 Mar. 2010).
  • 504. Charity Comm. website (19 Mar. 2010); G. H. J. Tomalin, Book of Henley on-Thames (1975), 51; ORO, BOR3/A/VII/CM/22, pp. 45, 65, 110, 499; BOR3/A/VII/CM/25, p. 81.
  • 505. Charity Comm. website (19 Mar. 2010).
  • 506. Section based on R. Burnell, Henley Royal Regatta: a Celebration of 150 Years (1989), passim; Henley Royal Regatta website (accessed Mar. 2010); Observer, 19 May 1974; Country Life, 10 Apr. 1975.
  • 507. Berks. and Bucks. Countryside, vol. 24 no. 203 (July 1984), 27; Henley festival website (accessed March 2010).