Eton, Berkshire

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Eton High Street - - 1920825.jpg
Eton High Street
Eton is located in Berkshire
Location within Berkshire
Population4,692 (2011 Census)[1]
OS grid referenceSU965775
Civil parish
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townWINDSOR
Postcode districtSL4
Dialling code01753
PoliceThames Valley
FireRoyal Berkshire
AmbulanceSouth Central
UK Parliament
List of places
51°29′17″N 0°36′33″W / 51.4881°N 0.6092°W / 51.4881; -0.6092Coordinates: 51°29′17″N 0°36′33″W / 51.4881°N 0.6092°W / 51.4881; -0.6092

Eton (/ˈtən/ EE-tən) is a town in Berkshire, England, on the opposite bank of the River Thames to Windsor, connected to it by Windsor Bridge. The civil parish, which also includes the village of Eton Wick two miles west of the town, had a population of 4,692 at the 2011 Census.[1] Within the boundaries of the historic county of Buckinghamshire, in 1974 it became part of the Berkshire admin area following the Local Government Act 1972;[3] since 1998 it has been part of the unitary authority of Windsor and Maidenhead. The town is best known as the location of Eton College.


View of Eton looking across the River Thames from Windsor

The name derives from Old English Ēa-tūn, meaning "River-Town", a reference to Eton's proximity to the River Thames. The land that is now Eton once belonged to the manor of Queen Edith,[4] wife of Edward the Confessor. The land was appropriated by the Normans after 1066; and by 1086, the lord was Walter son of Other.[4] The main road between Windsor and London went through the area and a hamlet sprang up amid pasture meadows to maintain the road and the bridge. In 1440, Henry VI chose Eton as the location for his new college, Eton College. Workmen were moved into Eton to build the college. All of the land immediately around the hamlet was granted to the college, which stopped further growth. The new college chapel made the village a pilgrimage point, and inns were set up along the High Street. Henry VI gave the college the right to hold fairs on its grounds.[5]

During the English Civil War, after Windsor Castle was captured by Parliamentarian forces, the Royalist army moved into Eton and attempted to retake the town, occupying the college. Efforts to retake Windsor were unsuccessful and the royalists eventually fled.[6] In 1812, Porny's charity school was founded by the estate of the late Antoine Pyron du Martré, otherwise Mark Anthony Porny, French master at Eton College.[5] Later named Eton Porny,[7] it became the school for local children at 29 High Street. In 1863, moving to the school's current site at 14 High Street Eton.[8] The population was 3,526 by 1841.[9] The college sometimes leased small plots of land to the village as an act of charity, leading to the construction of houses near the bridge. Scholars at the college also used to collect "salt" (money) from the inns of Eton High Street.[10]

This practice continued until 1845 when a scholar refused to associate with the inns because they were a "temptation" to Eton students.[5] Eton was favourably modernised and was the first village in the UK to have its own post office and modern drainage system.[11] By 1925 the town was described as more commercial than residential, with most of the buildings (apart from those of the school itself) belonging to businesses serving the schoolboys.[5] In April 1970, Windsor Bridge, connecting Eton to Windsor, was closed to all motorised traffic. All traffic must now travel via Royal Windsor Way (formerly the Windsor and Eton relief road),[12] a bypass opened in 1966.

Notable people[edit]

In birth order:


There are two tiers of local government covering Eton, at parish (town) and unitary authority level: Eton Town Council and Windsor and Maidenhead Borough Council.

At the parish level, the town is represented by seven councillors in the Eton Town Council, a body which also includes seven councillors representing Eton Wick. At the district level, the town is part of the Eton and Castle electoral ward of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.

Nationally, since 1997 the ward has formed part of the UK Parliamentary constituency of Windsor and is currently represented by Adam Afriyie of the Conservative Party.

Between 1983 and 1997, the town was part of the UK Parliamentary constituency of Windsor and Maidenhead, which was held by the Conservative Party throughout that period. Before 1983, the town was within the boundaries of the UK Parliamentary constituency of Eton and Slough. This was held by the Labour Party from its creation in 1945 to its redistribution in 1983, except between 1964 and 1966 when it was held by a Conservative.

Eton Town Council offices, 102 High Street

Administrative history[edit]

Eton was governed by a local board from 1849 to 1894, and by an urban district council from 1894 to 1974.[14] Eton Urban District Council was abolished under the Local Government Act 1972, with the area being transferred from Buckinghamshire to Berkshire on 1 April 1974 to become part of the new district of Windsor and Maidenhead.[15] A successor parish was created to cover the former Eton Urban District, which had covered both the town itself and Eton Wick. The parish council adopted the name Eton Town Council.[16]



Eton is served by two bus companies. Thames Valley Buses operates Monday to Saturday buses on the Slough – Eton – Eton Wick - Taplow - Maidenhead route (bus 15). Redline Buses operates the Slough – Eton – Eton WickDorneyMaidenhead route on Tuesdays and Fridays (bus 63/68).[17]


Windsor has two terminal stations. Eighty metres (260 ft) southeast of Windsor Bridge, the town's historic pedestrian and cycle bridge, is Windsor & Eton Riverside, with South Western Railway trains to London Waterloo. Windsor & Eton Central is 200 m (660 ft) to the south-west, but uphill, with Great Western Railway services to Slough for connecting services to stations such as London Paddington.[18]

Nearest towns[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Civil Parish population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  2. ^ "Eton Town Council".
  3. ^ "Local Government Act 1972: Schedule 1",, The National Archives, 26 October 1972, 1972 c. 70 (sch. 1), retrieved 27 December 2021
  4. ^ a b Powell-Smith, Anna. "Eton". Open Domesday. Anna Powell-Smith. Retrieved 2 October 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d "Parishes: Eton". British History Online. University of London. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  6. ^ "Eton College - Life In The Early Days".
  7. ^ "About us". Eton Porny CofE First School. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  8. ^ "Porny School". Historic England. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  9. ^ The National Cyclopaedia of Useful Knowledge, Vol.III, (1847), London, Charles Knight, p.898
  10. ^ "Eton (including Eton Wick)". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016.
  11. ^ "The history of Eton, Berkshire".
  12. ^ "Windsor and Eton relief road is given royal name". BBC News. 26 June 2012. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  13. ^ "Biographies". Retrieved 3 April 2022.
  14. ^ "Eton Urban District". A Vision of Britain through Time. GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 23 May 2022.
  15. ^ The English Non-Metropolitan Districts (Definition) Order 1972 (S.I. 1972 No. 2039). London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office. 1972. Retrieved 24 May 2022.
  16. ^ The Local Government (Successor Parishes) Order 1973 (S.I. 1973 No. 1110). London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office. 1973. Retrieved 24 May 2022.
  17. ^ "Untitled Document". Archived from the original on 15 April 2012.
  18. ^ "National Rail Enquiries - Official source for UK train times and timetables".

External links[edit]

Media related to Eton, Berkshire at Wikimedia Commons