Henley Town Hall
|Area||5.58 km2 (2.15 sq mi)|
|Population||12,186 (2021 Census)|
|• Density||2,184/km2 (5,660/sq mi)|
|OS grid reference|
|• London||33 miles (53 km)|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Website||Henley-on-Thames Town Council|
Henley-on-Thames (/ -/(listen) HEN-lee) is a town and civil parish on the River Thames in Oxfordshire, England, 9 miles (14 km) northeast of Reading, 7 miles (11 km) west of Maidenhead, 23 miles (37 km) southeast of Oxford and 37 miles (60 km) west of London (by road), near the tripoint of Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. The population at the 2011 Census was 12,186.
There is archaeological evidence of people residing in Henley since the second century as part of the Romano-British period. The first record of Henley as a substantial settlement is from 1179, when it is recorded that King Henry II "had bought land for the making of buildings". King John granted the manor of Benson and the town and manor of Henley to Robert Harcourt in 1199. A church at Henley is first mentioned in 1204. In 1205 the town received a tax for street paving, and in 1234 the bridge is first mentioned. In 1278 Henley is described as a hamlet of Benson with a chapel. The street plan was probably established by the end of the 13th century. As a demesne of the crown it was granted in 1337 to John de Molyns, whose family held it for about 250 years.
The existing Thursday market, it is believed, was granted by a charter of King John. A market was certainly in existence by 1269; however, the jurors of the assize of 1284 said that they did not know by what warrant the Earl of Cornwall held a market and fair in the town of Henley. The existing Corpus Christi fair was granted by a charter of Henry VI. During the Black Death pandemic that swept through England in the 14th century, Henley lost 60% of its population. A variation on its name can be seen as "Henley up a Tamys" in 1485.
By the beginning of the 16th century, the town extended along the west bank of the Thames from Friday Street in the south to the Manor, now Phyllis Court, in the north and took in Hart Street and New Street. To the west, it included Bell Street and the Market Place. Henry VIII granted the use of the titles "mayor" and "burgess", and the town was incorporated in 1568 in the name of the warden, portreeves, burgesses and commonalty. The original charter was issued by Elizabeth I but replaced by one from George I in 1722.
Henley suffered at the hands of both parties in the Civil War. Later, William III rested here on his march to London in 1688, at the nearby recently rebuilt Fawley Court, and received a deputation from the Lords. The town's period of prosperity in the 17th and 18th centuries was due to manufactures of glass and malt, and trade in corn and wool. Henley-on-Thames supplied London with timber and grain. A workhouse to accommodate 150 people was built at West Hill in Henley in 1790, and was later enlarged to accommodate 250 as the Henley Poor Law Union workhouse.
Prior to 1974 Henley was a municipal borough with a Borough Council comprising twelve Councillors and four Aldermen, headed by a Mayor. The Local Government Act 1972 resulted in the re-organisation of local government in that year. Henley became part of Wallingford District Council, subsequently renamed South Oxfordshire District Council. The borough council was replaced by a town council but the role of mayor was retained.
Henley Bridge is a five arched bridge across the river built in 1786. It is a Grade I listed historic structure. During 2011 the bridge underwent a £200,000 repair programme after being hit by the boat Crazy Love in August 2010. About 1 mile (1.5 kilometres) upstream of the bridge is Marsh Lock. Henley Town Hall, which maintains a prominent position in the Market Place, was designed by Henry Hare and completed in 1900. Chantry House is the second Grade I listed building in the town. It is unusual in having more storeys on one side than on the other. The Church of England parish church of St Mary the Virgin is nearby and has a 16th-century tower. The Old Bell is a pub in the centre of Henley on Bell Street. The building has been dated from 1325: the oldest-dated building in the town. To celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, 60 oak trees were planted in the shape of a Victoria Cross near Fairmile, the long straight road to the northwest of the town. Two notable buildings just outside Henley, in Buckinghamshire, are:
Lloyds Bank's analysis of house price growth in 125 market towns in England over the year to June 2016 (using Land Registry data), found that Henley was the second-most expensive market town in the country with an average property price of £748,001.
The town's railway station is the terminus of the Henley Branch Line from Twyford. In the past there have been direct services to London Paddington. There are express mainline rail services from Reading (6 mi or 9.7 km) to Paddington. Trains from High Wycombe (12 mi or 19 km) go to London Marylebone. The M4 motorway (junction 8/9) and the M40 motorway (junction 4) are both about (7 mi or 11 km) away. There are two bus services that runs from Reading through to High Wycombe via Henley. They are the 800 and the 850 bus service.
The River and Rowing Museum, located in Mill Meadows, is the town's one museum. It was established in 1998, and officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II. The museum, designed by the architect David Chipperfield, features information on the River Thames, the sport of rowing, and the town of Henley itself. The University of Reading's Henley Business School is near Henley, as is Henley College. Rupert House School is a preparatory school located in Bell Street.
Henley is a world-renowned centre for rowing. Each summer the Henley Royal Regatta is held on Henley Reach, a naturally straight stretch of the river just north of the town. It was extended artificially. The event became "Royal" in 1851, when Prince Albert became patron of the regatta. Other regattas and rowing races are held on the same reach, including Henley Women's Regatta, the Henley Boat Races for women's and lightweight teams between Oxford University and Cambridge University, Henley Town and Visitors Regatta, Henley Veteran Regatta, Upper Thames Small Boats Head, Henley Fours and Eights Head, and Henley Sculls. These "Heads" often attract strong crews that have won medals at National Championships. Local rowing clubs include:
The regatta depicted throughout Dead in the Water, an episode of the British detective television series Midsomer Murders, was filmed at Henley.
Henley has the oldest football team Henley Town F.C. recognised by the Oxfordshire Football Association, they play at The Triangle ground. Henley also has a rugby union club Henley Hawks which play at the Dry Leas ground, a hockey club Henley Hockey Club which play at Jubilee Park, and Henley Cricket Club which has played at Brakspear Ground since 1886. a new club in Henley was started in September 2016 called Henley Lions FC.
Henley's local newspaper is the Henley Standard. BBC Radio Berkshire (94.6,95.4,104.1,104.4), Heart Berkshire (97.0, 102.9, 103.4), Reading 107 (107.0), all broadcast from Reading, serve an area including Henley, as does Time 106.6 broadcast from Slough. London's radio stations such as Capital FM and Magic 105.4 along with a few others can also be received. Regatta Radio (87.7) was broadcast during Henley Royal Regatta for a number of years up to 2014. As Henley is on an overlap of TV regions, it is possible to receive signals from both BBC London and BBC South transmitters, as well as ITV London and ITV Meridian. However, the local relay transmitter for Henley only broadcasts programmes from ITV and BBC London, making Henley the only part of Oxfordshire included within the London television region.
Henley-on-Thames was represented in the 2010 American drama film The Social Network as the site of a rowing competition between the US and the Netherlands.
Henley is twinned with:
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