Marlow, Buckinghamshire

Marlow, Buckinghamshire.jpg
Overlooking the River Thames and Marlow
Marlow is located in Buckinghamshire
Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right, CC BY-SA 3.0
Location within Buckinghamshire
Population14,004 (2011 Census)[1]
14,325 (2011 Census)[2]
OS grid referenceSU855865
Civil parish
  • Marlow
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townMARLOW
Postcode districtSL7
Dialling code01628
PoliceThames Valley
AmbulanceSouth Central
UK Parliament

Marlow (/ˈmɑːrl/; historically Great Marlow or Chipping Marlow) is a town and civil parish within the Unitary Authority of Buckinghamshire, England. It is located on the River Thames, 4 miles (6 km) south south-west of High Wycombe, 5 miles (8 km) west north-west of Maidenhead and 33 miles (53 km) west of central London.


The name is recorded in 1015 as Mere lafan, meaning "Land left after the draining of a pond" in Old English.[3]

From Norman times the manor, parish, and later borough were formally known as Great Marlow, distinguishing them from Little Marlow. The ancient parish was large, including rural areas north and west of the town. In 1896 the civil parish of Great Marlow, created in the 19th century from the ancient parish, was divided into Great Marlow Urban District (the town) and Great Marlow civil parish (the rural areas). In 1897 the urban district was renamed Marlow Urban District,[4] and the town has been known simply as Marlow.


A map of Marlow from 1945

Marlow is recorded in the Domesday Book as Merlaue.[5]

Magna Britannia includes the following entry for Marlow: "The manor of Marlow, which had belonged to the Earls of Mercia, was given by William the Conqueror, to his Queen Matilda. Henry the First, bestowed it on his natural son, Robert de Melhent, afterwards Earl of Gloucester, from whom it passed, with that title, to the Clares and Despencers, and from the latter, by female heirs, to the Beauchamps and Nevilles, Earls of Warwick. It continued in the crown from the time of Richard III's marriage with Anne Neville, until Queen Mary granted it to William Lord Paget, in whose family it continued more than a century; after which, it passed, by purchase, to Sir Humphrey Winch, in 1670; to Lord Falkland in 1686; to Sir James Etheridge in 1690; to Sir John Guise in 1718; and to Sir William Clayton in 1736. It is now the property of Sir William Clayton bart. a descendant of the last purchaser".[6]

Marlow owed its importance to its location on the River Thames, where the road from Reading to High Wycombe crosses the river. It had its own market by 1227 (hence the name Chipping Marlow), although the market lapsed before 1600. From 1301 to 1307, the town had its own Member of Parliament, and it returned two members from 1624 to 1867.[4]

The population of Great Marlow was 4,480 by 1841.[7]


Marlow is adjoined by Marlow Bottom, a mile to the north. Little Marlow is nearby to the east along the A4155 Little Marlow Road and Bourne End is further along the same road. To the south across the Thames are Bisham (home of Bisham Abbey) and Cookham Dean, both in Berkshire.


There has been a bridge over the Thames at Marlow since the reign of King Edward III.[8] The current bridge is a suspension bridge, designed by William Tierney Clark in 1832, and it was constructed by 1835. It was a prototype for and is twinned with[9] the much larger Széchenyi Chain Bridge across the River Danube in Budapest.[10]

Royal Military College, Marlow, Buckinghamshire, 1810

The Junior Wing of the Royal Military College, which is now based at Sandhurst, was once based at Remnantz, a large house in West Street, built in the early 18th century.[11]

(c) Colin Smith, CC BY-SA 2.0
The former Marlow Town Hall

Marlow Town Hall, which later became a hotel and then a shop, was completed in 1807.[12]

The Hand & Flowers has earned 2 Michelin stars

The Hand & Flowers, the first gastropub to hold two Michelin stars, is located on West Street.[13] It is one of several local pubs serving award-winning beers brewed locally, in Marlow Bottom, by the Rebellion Beer Company.

Marlow is the location of Marlow Lock, originating from the 14th century.[14]

Marlow Lock house from the depths of the lock


Sign on the bridge to Marlow

Marlow is twinned with


The A4155 road runs through Marlow town centre, with the A404 lying one mile to the east, the M40 motorway further to the north, and the M4 motorway to the south.

Marlow is served by a railway station which is the terminus of a single-track branch line from Maidenhead. The train service is known as the Marlow Donkey, which was the nickname given to the steam locomotives that once operated on the line. There is also a pub with the same name, located close to the railway station.

Bus services are provided by Arriva Shires & Essex to neighbouring towns, including High Wycombe, Henley-on-Thames and Reading.


All Saints Church from Marlow suspension bridge

Education is provided by several schools, including:

  • Great Marlow School (11–18)
  • Sir William Borlase's Grammar School (11–18)
  • Burford School (4–11)
  • Danesfield School (4–11)
  • Foxes Piece School (4–11)
  • Holy Trinity Church of England School (7–11)
  • Marlow Church of England Infant School (4–7)
  • Spinfield School (4–11)
  • St Peter's Catholic Primary School (4–11)

Local government

Marlow is divided into 3 wards: North & West, South and South East.[18] There are a total of 12 Marlow Town Councillors elected from these wards. The respective wards have 7, 2 and 3 seats.[18] Since 2011,[19] the Town Council has been entirely Conservative with several councillors "double-hatting" across town and county council.[18]

In the 2021 local elections, a group of independent candidates contested 11 out of the 12 seats. They worked under the banner "Independents for Marlow"[20] and were inspired by similar actions in Frome and other places, part of the "flatpack democracy" movement.


Statue of Sir Steve Redgrave in Higginson Park


Marlow Rowing Club, founded in 1871, is one of Britain's premier rowing clubs and has produced many Olympic oarsmen including Sir Steve Redgrave. The club is based by Marlow Bridge and exercises above and below the lock. The Olympic lightweight men's double-sculls gold medallist at Beijing 2008, Zac Purchase, is a former member of Marlow Rowing Club.


Marlow F.C. is the oldest football club in the town, currently playing in Tier 8 Southern Football League Division One Central.

Marlow F.C are the only football club in England to have applied for entry into the FA Cup every season since its inception in 1871. The first England captain Cuthbert Ottaway played for Marlow F.C. Ottaway was selected to lead the England team travelling to Partick to meet Scotland on 30 November 1872 in what is now recognised as the first international match to be played. The game ended in a 0–0 draw.

Another local football club, Marlow United F.C. plays in Tier 11 Thames Valley Premier League Premier Division and finished 2nd of 14 in the 2016/17 season.


Marlow Rugby Club plays at Riverwoods Drive. It was founded in 1947 and runs a range of senior, youth and mini-rugby teams.


There are two cricket clubs, Marlow Park CC, and Marlow Cricket Club which was founded in 1829 and is now part of Marlow Sports Club. Marlow Cricket Club has three Saturday teams and plays in the Thames Valley League. The Sports Club caters to field hockey, tennis, running, cycling, junior football.


Marlow Tennis Club was founded in 1899 and also plays at Marlow Sports Club. It has four floodlit all-weather courts and fields men's, women's and mixed teams in Bucks, Berks and Farnham Common leagues.[21]

Other sports

Marlow Sports Club also hosts five other sports, hockey, running (Marlow Striders), cycling (Marlow Riders), junior football, and petanque.[22]


There are two regattas associated with Marlow; the Marlow Town Regatta and Marlow International Regatta. Earliest records indicate a regatta took place annually on the River Thames in Marlow from 1855. The latter transferred to the purpose built Dorney Lake, owned by Eton College, in 2003. Marlow still hosts its Original River Regatta which takes place annually in June.

Marlow FM 97.5

Marlow FM[23] is a local community radio station that was launched on FM on 11 May 2011. It broadcasts to Marlow and the surrounding areas on 97.5FM, and also streams over the internet. The station provides travel and news updates for the local area.

Notable people

Notable current and former residents in approximate birth order.

  • Dr William Battie, an eminent 18th-century physician specialising in mental illness, built and lived in Court Garden House from 1758 until his death in 1776. Local lore has it that he forgot to include a staircase to the first floor, so it had to be added later.[24] In 1789 his daughter sold the house to Richard Davenport, High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire, who lived there for 10 years,[25] during which, Court Garden was described in Boydells History of the River Thames (1793), as "a fine Georgian house standing on a gentle eminence, a lawn of some extent descending gradually from it to the river." In 1926 the estate was saved for the people of Marlow, largely due to the efforts of local resident and Crimean War veteran General George Higginson, after whom Higginson Park is named.[26]
  • Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Shelley moved into a house in West Street in 1816. He composed The Revolt of Islam there in 1817, while Mary worked on Frankenstein. Thomas Love Peacock, who had suggested Shelley move to the town, wrote his novel Nightmare Abbey (1818) at a nearby house.[27]
  • Cuthbert Ottaway played for Marlow F.C. He was the first captain of the England football team and led his side in the first official international football match (1872).[28]
  • Jerome K. Jerome wrote part of Three Men in a Boat at a local pub, the Two Brewers.[29]
  • T. S. Eliot lived in West Street during the First World War.[30]
Percy Bysshe and Mary Shelley's house in Marlow

MARLOW is one of the pleasantest river centres I know of. It is a bustling, lively little town; not very picturesque on the whole, it is true, but there are many quaint nooks and corners to be found in it.

Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men In A Boat

  • Marlow Bottom has become the home of quintuple Olympic gold medallist rower Steve Redgrave, Britain's only athlete to have won gold medals at five consecutive Olympics. Higginson Park features a bronze statue of Sir Steven looking across the river towards the location of the finishing line of the Marlow Town Regatta. He is also commemorated in Redgrave Place.>
  • The star chef Heston Blumenthal, owner of The Fat Duck in Bray, Berkshire (voted Best Restaurant in the World in 2005) lived in Marlow until about 2017.
  • Actress Anna Acton was born in Marlow.
  • Television and radio presenter Paul Ross, brother of Jonathan Ross, also lived in Marlow, having moved there after filming Celebrity Fit Club at nearby Bisham Abbey. He moved out of Marlow in 2013.[31]
  • Japanese Formula One racing driver Takuma Sato was a Marlow resident, as was Bruno Senna, who lived in the same house.
  • Pakistani cricketer and International Cricket Council (ICC) match Referee Wasim Raja lived in Marlow and worked as a cricket coach in a local school.
  • Musician Jim Capaldi lived in Marlow for many years with his wife and two daughters until his death in 2005.
  • England scrum-half and World Cup-winner Matt Dawson spent his childhood in Marlow and went to a local primary school.[32]
  • Ireland Cricket Captain, Andrew Balbirnie, spent his early childhood living on Chapel Street in Marlow.
  • Peter Firth, Sir Harry Pearce in the BBC MI5 drama Spooks, is a Marlow resident.
  • Andrew Strauss, former England cricket captain, moved to Little Marlow with his family in 2010.
  • Tom Kerridge, Michelin Star chef, lives in Marlow with his wife and son.
  • Beth Cullen-Kerridge, sculptor, has lived in Marlow since 2005.
  • Chris Evans (presenter), radio and television personality, bought a property in Marlow in June 2019.
  • Shakin' Stevens, singer and songwriter, lives in Marlow.
  • Naomi Riches MBE lives in Marlow and has a gold postbox on the High Street as a commemoration for winning the London 2012 Olympics.

Cultural references

Marlow was the subject of a poem by Joseph Ashby-Sterry, A Marlow Madrigal.[33]



  1. ^ "Local statistics – Office for National Statistics".
  2. ^ "Civil Parish population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  3. ^ Watts, Victor, ed. (2010), "Marlow", The Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names, Cambridge University Press
  4. ^ a b William Page, ed. (1925). "Parishes: Great Marlow". A History of the County of Buckingham: Volume 3. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 14 July 2011.
  5. ^ A. D. Mills, Dictionary of English Place-Names, Oxford University Press (1991).
  6. ^ Great Marlow as described in "Magna Britannia", 1806.
  7. ^ The National Cyclopaedia of Useful Knowledge Vol.III, London, (1847), Charles Knight, p. 898
  8. ^ Thacker, Fred S. (1968) [1920], The Thames Highway, vol. 2, Locks and Weirs, Newton Abbot: David & Charles, p. 290
  9. ^ "The Hungarian Chain Bridge has a twin in England". Daily News Hungary. 5 May 2017. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
  10. ^ Christopher Winn: I Never Knew That about the Thames (London: Ebury Press, 2010), p. 108.
  11. ^ Town Tour Marlow Society
  12. ^ Historic England. "Crown Hotel (1159570)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  13. ^ Duncan, Fiona (16 November 2010). "The Hand and Flowers, Marlow: hotel review". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 19 November 2010. Retrieved 6 February 2012.
  14. ^ "Environment Agency Dimensions of locks on the River Thames". web page. Environmental Agency. 8 November 2012. Retrieved 18 November 2012. Dimensions given in metres
  15. ^ "Marlow Town Twinning".
  16. ^ "British towns twinned with French towns". Archant Community Media Ltd. Retrieved 11 July 2013.
  17. ^ The Marlovian, September 2009
  18. ^ a b c "Marlow Town Council website - Your Councillors".
  19. ^ "Bucks Free Press - New faces for all-Tory Marlow Town Council - 10th May 2011".
  20. ^ "'Independents for Marlow' website".
  21. ^ "Marlow Tennis Club". Marlow Tennis Club.
  22. ^ "Marlow Sports Club – Marlow Sports Club".
  23. ^ "Marlow FM 97.5 | Community Radio". Marlow FM 97.5 | Community Radio.
  24. ^ "Welcome to The Marlow Society – The Marlow Society".
  25. ^ "UK & Ireland Genealogy/". Archived from the original on 21 February 2009.
  26. ^ "Wycombe District Council" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 October 2007.
  27. ^ Christopher Winn: I Never Knew That about the Thames (London: Ebury Press), p. 110.
  28. ^ "Cuthbert Ottaway: England's sporting genius rediscovered".
  29. ^ Christopher Winn: I Never Knew... p. 111.
  30. ^ Christopher Winn: I Never Knew... p. 110.
  31. ^ "LBC Radio". Archived from the original on 20 July 2007.
  32. ^ Joe Slade (28 November 2004). "'We're so proud', say Marlow parents of rugby World Cup winner". Bucks Free Press. Retrieved 21 January 2020.
  33. ^ Ashby-Sterry, Joseph. "A Marlow Madrigal". Retrieved 22 August 2016.

External links

Media files used on this page

Buckinghamshire UK location map.svg
Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right, CC BY-SA 3.0

Map of Buckinghamshire, UK with the following information shown:

  • Administrative borders
  • Coastline, lakes and rivers
  • Roads and railways
  • Urban areas

Equirectangular map projection on WGS 84 datum, with N/S stretched 160%

Geographic limits:

  • West: 1.33W
  • East: 0.33W
  • North: 52.21N
  • South: 51.47N
Flag of Buckinghamshire.svg

Buckinghamshire flag
Marlow 015.jpg
(c) Snapper five at English Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0
The Compleat Angler, Marlow
Marlow sign.JPG
Author/Creator: Acad Ronin, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
Sign on the bridge to Marlow
Marlow 002.JPG

Snapper five (talk)

, Licence: CC-BY-3.0

Statue of Steve Redgrave in Marlow, Buckinghamshire

Marlow 026.jpg
(c) Snapper five at English Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0
Mary Shelley's house in Marlow
Author/Creator: unknown, Licence: CC-BY-SA-3.0
Author/Creator: Motmit, Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
Marlow Lock River Thames
Author/Creator: Hertzsprung, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
All Saints' parish church, Marlow, viewed from Marlow Bridge
Marlow 019.jpg
(c) Snapper five at English Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0
View west from Marlow Lock
Marlow 001.JPG

Snapper five (talk)

, Licence: CC-BY-3.0

Court Garden House, Marlow

The Hand & Flowers - Marlow in 2014.jpg
Author/Creator: Amanda Slater, Licence: CC BY-SA 2.0
The Hand & Flowers is a gastropub in Marlow that opened in 2005. Owned and operated by Tom Kerridge and his wife Beth Cullen-Kerridge, it gained its first Michelin star within a year of opening and a second in the 2012 list, making it the first pub to hold two Michelin stars. It was named the AA Restaurant of the Year for 2011–12. Reviews from food critics have been mixed.
Royal Military College Great Marlow, 1810.jpg
Royal Military College at Great Marlow, 1810, before its removal to Sandhurst in 1812.
Marlow 005.jpg
(c) Snapper five at English Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0
Rowers on the Thames at Marlow
Former Crown Hotel,
(c) Colin Smith, CC BY-SA 2.0
Former Crown Hotel, Marlow, Bucks
Marlow, Buckinghamshire.jpg
Author/Creator: No machine-readable author provided. Robneild assumed (based on copyright claims)., Licence: CC-BY-SA-3.0
Taken by Rob Neild on 17 Dec, 2005.
map of from 1945