Marlow, Buckinghamshire

Coordinates: 51°34′12″N 0°46′48″W / 51.570°N 0.780°W / 51.570; -0.780
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Overlooking the River Thames and Marlow
Marlow is located in Buckinghamshire
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
List of places
51°34′12″N 0°46′48″W / 51.570°N 0.780°W / 51.570; -0.780

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-southwest of High Wycombe, 5 miles (8 km) west-northwest 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 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. Marlow's status as a regional commercial centre was present even before the first bridge in this area was built in the 13th century due to the settlement acting as an inland port.[7]

A 14th century hall, known as 'The Old Parsonage' built in Marlow on St Peters Street is currently the oldest inhabited building in Buckinghamshire.[7]

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.[8]


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.[9] 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[10] the much larger Széchenyi Chain Bridge across the River Danube in Budapest.[11]

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.[12]

The former Marlow Town Hall

Marlow Town Hall, which later became a hotel and then a shop, was completed in 1807.[13]

The Hand & Flowers has earned 2 Michelin stars

The Hand & Flowers, the first gastropub to hold two Michelin stars, is located on West Street.[14] 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.[15]

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)


There are two tiers of local government covering Marlow, at parish (town) and unitary authority level: Marlow Town Council, and Buckinghamshire Council.

Court Garden, Pound Lane: Council offices since 1934.

Marlow Town Council was established in 1974 as a successor parish to the former Marlow Urban District Council, which had been created in 1896. The urban district council had been based at Court Garden House since 1934, and the town council continues to be based there. Between 1974 and 2020 the town was also included in the Wycombe District, based in High Wycombe. The county and district councils merged in 2020 to become the unitary Buckinghamshire Council.

Marlow is divided into three wards for electing town councillors: North & West, South and South East.[19] There are a total of twelve Marlow Town Councillors elected from these wards. The wards have seven, two and three seats respectively.[19] Since 2011,[20] the Town Council has been entirely Conservative with several councillors "double-hatting" across town and county council.[19] The town forms a single ward with three councillors for electing councillors to Buckinghamshire Council.[21]

In the 2021 local elections, a group of independent candidates contested eleven out of the twelve seats. They worked under the banner "Independents for Marlow"[22] and were inspired by similar actions in Frome, High Wycombe,[23] and other places, part of the "flatpack democracy" movement. None were successful and all twelve seats were held by Conservatives.[24]


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 Division Four 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.[25]

Other sports[edit]

Marlow Sports Club also hosts five other sports, hockey, running (Marlow Striders), cycling (Marlow Riders), junior football, and petanque.[26]


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.

Local media[edit]


Marlow is within the BBC London and ITV London region. Television signals are received from the Crystal Palace TV transmitter [27] and one of the two local relay transmitters (Marlow Bottom [28] and Wooburn[29]).


Local radio stations are BBC Radio Berkshire on 94.6 FM, Heart Thames Valley on 102.6 FM, and Marlow FM[30] 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.


The town is covered by the local newspaper, Bucks Free Press.[31]

Notable people[edit]

Notable current and former residents in approximate birth order.

Percy Bysshe and Mary Shelley's house in Marlow
  • 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).[38]
  • Jerome K. Jerome wrote part of Three Men in a Boat at a local pub, the Two Brewers.[39]

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

Cultural references[edit]



  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. ^ a b "A brief history of Marlow". Marlow Town Council. Retrieved 5 June 2022.
  8. ^ The National Cyclopaedia of Useful Knowledge Vol.III, London, (1847), Charles Knight, p. 898
  9. ^ Thacker, Fred S. (1968) [1920], The Thames Highway, vol. 2, Locks and Weirs, Newton Abbot: David & Charles, p. 290
  10. ^ "The Hungarian Chain Bridge has a twin in England". Daily News Hungary. 5 May 2017. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
  11. ^ Christopher Winn: I Never Knew That about the Thames (London: Ebury Press, 2010), p. 108.
  12. ^ Town Tour Marlow Society
  13. ^ Historic England. "Crown Hotel (1159570)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ "Environment Agency Dimensions of locks on the River Thames". web page. Environmental Agency. 8 November 2012. Retrieved 18 November 2012. Dimensions given in metres
  16. ^ "Marlow Town Twinning".
  17. ^ "British towns twinned with French towns". Archant Community Media Ltd. Retrieved 11 July 2013.
  18. ^ The Marlovian, September 2009
  19. ^ a b c "Marlow Town Council website - Your Councillors".
  20. ^ "Bucks Free Press - New faces for all-Tory Marlow Town Council - 10th May 2011".
  21. ^ "Councillors by ward". Buckinghamshire Council. Retrieved 31 May 2022.
  22. ^ "'Independents for Marlow' website".
  23. ^ "View registration - The Electoral Commission". Retrieved 29 May 2023.
  24. ^ "Town Council election results May 2021". Marlow Town Council. 11 May 2021. Retrieved 31 May 2022.
  25. ^ "Marlow Tennis Club". Marlow Tennis Club.
  26. ^ "Marlow Sports Club – Marlow Sports Club".
  27. ^ "Full Freeview on the Crystal Palace (Greater London, England) transmitter". UK Free TV. 1 May 2004. Retrieved 3 October 2023.
  28. ^ "Freeview Light on the Marlow Bottom (Buckinghamshire, England) transmitter". UK Free TV. 1 May 2004. Retrieved 3 October 2023.
  29. ^ "Freeview Light on the Wooburn (Buckinghamshire, England) transmitter". UK Free TV. 1 May 2004. Retrieved 3 October 2023.
  30. ^ "Marlow FM 97.5 | Community Radio". Marlow FM 97.5 | Community Radio.
  31. ^ "Bucks Free Press". British Papers. 29 November 2013. Retrieved 3 October 2023.
  32. ^ "Marlow Society - Marlow Town Highlights". 12 January 2006. Archived from the original on 12 January 2006. Retrieved 5 June 2022.
  33. ^ Wheals, Brian Brenchley (1984). Theirs Were But Human Hearts. Selfpublished. ISBN 9780950905303.
  34. ^ "Welcome to The Marlow Society – The Marlow Society".
  35. ^ "UK & Ireland Genealogy/". Archived from the original on 21 February 2009.
  36. ^ "Wycombe District Council" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 October 2007.
  37. ^ Christopher Winn: I Never Knew That about the Thames (London: Ebury Press), p. 110.
  38. ^ "Cuthbert Ottaway: England's sporting genius rediscovered". BBC Sport.
  39. ^ Christopher Winn: I Never Knew... p. 111.
  40. ^ Christopher Winn: I Never Knew... p. 110.
  41. ^ "LBC Radio". Archived from the original on 20 July 2007.
  42. ^ Joe Slade (28 November 2004). "'We're so proud', say Marlow parents of rugby World Cup winner". Bucks Free Press. Retrieved 21 January 2020.
  43. ^ "Ricky Gervais' quiet life in Buckinghamshire at his 'country retreat'". 22 May 2022.
  44. ^ "Marlow's post box turning gold after Paralympics success". Bucks Free Press. Retrieved 12 March 2022.
  45. ^ "The Marlow Murder Club Series". Goodreads. Retrieved 10 March 2024.
  46. ^ "The Marlow Murder Club". UKTV Play. Retrieved 10 March 2024.
  47. ^ "The Marlow Murder Club". IMDb. Retrieved 10 March 2024.
  48. ^ "The Marlow Murder Club". PBS. Retrieved 10 March 2024.
  49. ^ Ashby-Sterry, Joseph. "A Marlow Madrigal". Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  50. ^ 'June Night on Marlow Reach', played by organist Ian McGlinchey

External links[edit]