Marlow, Buckinghamshire


Overlooking the River Thames and Marlow
 Marlow shown within Buckinghamshire
Population 14,004 (2011 Census)[1]
14,325 (2011 Census)[2]
OS grid referenceSU855865
Civil parishMarlow
Shire countyBuckinghamshire
RegionSouth East
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post town MARLOW
Postcode district SL7
Dialling code 01628
Police Thames Valley
Fire Buckinghamshire
Ambulance South Central
EU Parliament South East England
UK ParliamentBeaconsfield
List of places

Coordinates: 51°34′00″N 0°46′00″W / 51.566667°N 0.766667°W / 51.566667; -0.766667

Marlow (historically Great Marlow or Chipping Marlow) is a town and civil parish within Wycombe district in south Buckinghamshire, England. It is located on the River Thames, 4 miles (6.5 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, 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.


Further information: History of Buckinghamshire
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]


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 The current bridge is a suspension bridge, designed by William Tierney Clark in 1832, and was a prototype for the much larger Széchenyi Chain Bridge across the River Danube in Budapest.[7]

Royal Military College, Marlow, Buckinghamshire, 1810

The Junior Wing of the Royal Military College, later moved to Sandhurst on the borders of Berkshire and Surrey, was once based in West Street, Marlow, at Remnantz, a large house built in the early 18th century which served as the Junior Department of the College from 1801 until 1812.[8] The weather vane on the building features a man firing a cannon and may date from that period. The building is now owned by the Bosley family.

The Hand & Flowers, the first gastropub to hold two Michelin stars, is located on West Street.[9] Like many local pubs, it serves the award-winning beers brewed locally in Marlow Bottom by the Rebellion Beer Company.


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 and Carousel Buses 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:


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. 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. Another local football club, Marlow United F.C., has been promoted to the Hellenic Football League Premier Division for the 2008/09 season.

Marlow Rugby Club play at Riverwoods Drive. They were founded in 1947 and run a range of senior, youth and mini rugby teams. The England Rugby team had their training base at Marlow RFC until the late nineties before they moved to nearby Bisham Abbey.

There are also two cricket clubs, Marlow Park CC and Marlow Cricket Club which was founded in 1829 and is now part of Marlow Sports Club. This Club is home to a variety of sports; hockey, tennis, running, cycling, junior football, netball and softball.


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

Marlow FM 97.5

Marlow FM[13] 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 or former residents in approximate birth order.

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

Cultural references

Marlow was the subject of a poem by Joseph Ashby-Sterry, A Marlow Madrigal.[24]


  1. neighbourhood Statistics 2001 Census
  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. 1 2 William Page (editor) (1925). "Parishes: Great Marlow". A History of the County of Buckingham: Volume 3. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 14 July 2011.
  5. Mills, A D, Dictionary of English Place-Names, Oxford University Press (1991)
  6. Great Marlow as described in "Magna Britannia", 1806
  7. Christopher Winn: I Never Knew That about the Thames (London: Ebury Press, 2010), p. 108.
  8. Town Tour Marlow Society
  9. Duncan, Fiona (16 November 2010). "The Hand and Flowers, Marlow: hotel review". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 6 February 2012.
  10. Marlow Town Twinning Association
  11. "British towns twinned with French towns". Archant Community Media Ltd. Retrieved 2013-07-11.
  12. The Marlovian, September 2009
  13. Marlow FM
  14. British History Online
  15. The Marlow Society
  16. UK & Ireland Genealogy/
  17. Wycombe District Council
  18. Christopher Winn: I Never Knew That about the Thames (London: Ebury Press), p. 110.
  19. Christopher Winn: I Never Knew... p. 111.
  20. Christopher Winn: I Never Knew... p. 110.
  21. LBC Radio
  22. "Me and my school photo: Rugby star Matt Dawson". Daily Mail. 22 May 2009.
  23. Crick, Andy (11 March 2010). "Seaman's wife divorces him". The Sun. Retrieved 2012-02-19.
  24. Ashby-Sterry, Joseph. "A Marlow Madrigal". Retrieved 22 August 2016.
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