Marlow Buckinghamshire History And Local Legends

All Saints Church Marlow Buckinghamshire
All Saints Church Marlow Buckinghamshire | Source

Merelafan Anglo Saxon

Marlow in Buckinghamshire is situated in the South of England and is the village where I was born. Actually Marlow used to be a village, but over the years it has expanded and become a small town.

When I was a child, I didn't really appreciate it very much. It was just somewhere to live. But after moving away for a few years, I could'nt wait to come back.

I looked at Marlow with different eyes. Since then I have moved away again but try to visit as often as possible. These photos were taken the last time I visited and I was surprised and somewhat amazed at how much it had changed.


Marlow is a very pretty place. But it still has only one high street, and a couple of roads leading into and out of it, at the top of the high street. It's shaped a bit like a T.
The History of Marlow Bucks is quite interesting. The name Merelafan, as it was originally called, means Land remaining after the draining of a pool. I always believed it to be Marsh Lowlands, which is very similar.


William the Conqueror gave Marlow to his bride Queen Matilda, as a wedding present. According to the Domesday Book, the name had changed to Merlaue, by 1086.
Over the Centuries it was passed down to each King and Queen, right up to Richard the First, and on until Queen Mary granted it to William Lord Paget. These days Marlow is still owned by Sir William Clayton Bart.

Higginson Park River Thames
Higginson Park River Thames | Source
Steve Redgrave Statue Marlow Bucks
Steve Redgrave Statue Marlow Bucks | Source

River Thames.

Marlow suddenly became very popular because of the beautiful river running through it. If you stand on the bridge on a summers day and look towards the distance, it is an amazing sight. The trees drop down into the water, and the whole of the river is covered with boats.


This is the town of the famous Olympic rower, Steve Redgrave. This is where he trained to go on and win five Gold Medals at the Olympics and numerous other medals at different events around the world.


Every time he and his crew won another gold medal, the whole town came out and celebrated in Higginson park. The statue, right, was put up a few years ago, and there was a big event with the Queen doing the honours. I was at the front of the crowd and saw her and Prince Philip. The statue is situated in front of Court Gardens house.

Marlow Bridge going over to Bisham pronounced Bis-Ham taken from the two words, bis meaning twice, and Ham being short for hamlet.
Marlow Bridge going over to Bisham pronounced Bis-Ham taken from the two words, bis meaning twice, and Ham being short for hamlet. | Source

There has been a market here since 1324, but for a few years it disappeared. The one that we have got now is not very big, but it still does quite a good trade.


And of course there is the bridge.
The original was built about 1530, but was destroyed by the parliamentary army of Oliver Cromwell in 1642. The bridge that is here now was built between 1829 and 1832.

The Spotted Boy Local Marlow Legend
The Spotted Boy Local Marlow Legend | Source

The Spotted Boy.

There have been many famous people living in Marlow over the years, from the author, Mary Shelley who wrote Frankenstein, to modern day celebrities like Mel B of the Spice girls. But the most amazing was the Spotted Boy. He was a Caribbean boy brought over to England and shown around the fairs and exhibitions.


One day the showman John Richardson, who was the P.T Barnum of his day, saw the boy and was appalled by what he saw, and he bought him for the price of £1,000 pounds, which was a great deal of money in those days.


The boy suffered from unusual colouring. His skin was literally black and white. Today we would know it as Vitiligo, a well known skin condition. John Richardson adopted the boy and called him George Alexander Gratton.


He educated him, and took him everywhere he went around the country. He loved the boy so much, that it was said he was heartbroken when the boy died in 1813. Some say at the age of four, others say he reached the age of eight. He is buried in the All saints Church yard.
A few years later, when John died, he was buried with him, they are both together in the same vault. This Picture was found and brought back out to the church about ten years ago. It was restored and now hangs in the Vestry.

Marlow on Thames River
Marlow on Thames River | Source

Marlow River Thames

Apart from the town, there are lovely walks along the river. Apart from the park, you can walk along to Bourne end, which is about 2 miles away from Marlow. The house (right), is based in Winter Hill, which is the other side of the river, and it is a very expensive area.


Oh to be rich I say! That is the only draw back to living here. Even the smaller houses in my town are silly money. It was only a few years ago that Marlow was just a small village, and the majority of people living here were very poor. In the 1980s, more affluent people arrived, and the house prices went up very high.


Marlow Regatta.


We have a tradition, once a year, where the town is packed with visitors and residents. It is the Marlow Regatta. Higginson park, is filled to the rafters, so to speak, with a fun fair, rowing and a very big beer tent! The organisers close off the top part of the river with marquees and everybody gets dressed up in their best Sunday clothes, and pay to sit around watching the rowing.
The woman wear big hats and pretty summer dresses, and the men wear boater hats, and suits. If you are not dressed correctly, you don't get in. It is a great couple of days, and I think I have probably only missed about two years ever since I was born. This is followed by the same people doing the same thing again, about two weeks later at Henley Regatta, which is a bit more well known.

Marlow Sleepy Town On The Thames View And Sources By Nell Rose
Marlow Sleepy Town On The Thames View And Sources By Nell Rose | Source

And there we have it. The pictures above are all the places I like to go and wander when things drive me mad!

Or just when the sun starts to shine, I escape the hustle and bustle of my everyday life, and relax watching the river go by on it's endless way towards the sea.

© 2012 Nell Rose

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Comments 56 comments

carol7777 profile image

carol7777 3 years ago from Arizona

I loved learning about where you were born and past history. When we lived in France many years ago we made two trips to England and many years later bicycled through the countryside with our kids. There is nothing more beautiful than the countryside..I remember just being in awe. Thanks for sharing this lovely bit of history. Voted UP.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa

Well, Nell, reading this hub of yours was escaping the hustle and bustle of my everyday life. I was there in spirit. When I ever get the opportunity to go to England, I would love to visit Marlow Buckinghamshire. Voted up, interesting and awesome :)


Janine Huldie profile image

Janine Huldie 3 years ago from New York, New York

Nell, I totally enjoyed reading about your town and all the sights and local traditions. Made me want to come visit!! Seriously awesome job and have of course voted up and shared all over :) :)


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England Author

Hi carol, thanks so much for reading, yes its a lovely little place, and the countryside is so beautiful, nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England Author

Hi Martie, thanks for reading, yes it even surprises me when I go back how beautiful it is, when we grow up somewhere we don't tend to take any notice, thanks again, nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England Author

Aw thanks Janine! lol! glad you liked it, nell


Miss Mimi profile image

Miss Mimi 3 years ago from On the road again

Wow Nell, this looks gorgeous! No wonder you still go back to visit all the time. This was such a sweet, yet practical tribute to your town, thanks for sharing this with all of us. Voted up, beautiful and interesting.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

Thanks for sharing your beautiful town and story, so very interesting! History is so important isn't it to warm our hearts to places? You did a great job here. ^


ThomW 3 years ago

Thanks for the interesting article and pictures. Haven't had a chance to get to England yet. Did spend a week touring the French countryside about 15 years ago. Hope to get to the British Isles one of these days.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England Author

Hi Mimi, Aw thanks so much! lol! it is a lovely place, I love having a wander down the river, its so peaceful, nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England Author

Hi Jackie, thanks so much, and great to see you, nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England Author

Hi Thom, you will love it, we have so many great counties here, thanks so much for reading. nell


Jools99 profile image

Jools99 3 years ago from North-East UK

Wow, Nell, it's so picturesque! And I had no idea about it being a gift from William the Conquerer! A very interesting hub Nell, great photos and a fine history of Marlow!


bac2basics profile image

bac2basics 3 years ago from Spain

Hi Nell. Marlow looks lovely, no wonder it has become so popular, I bet it´s full of yuppies now. It´s a shame when local people cannot afford to live in their own town because the house and everything else prices have been artificially inflated don´t you think ? Just as a matter of interest..how many times a year do those buildings right on the river bank flood ? the river looks almost ready to burst the banks on the photo´s, and that poor sod fishing looks like he´s frozen solid LOL. Maybe he spends all his money on his mortgage so has to go and catch his own dinner ( giggle)


alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 3 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

The clincher for me was the big beer tent at the regatta!

Seriously, Marlow looks an interesting place with an interesting piece of history to it. I don't know why William gave it to his queen Matilda as a wedding present when he'd been married to her for at least a decade by the time he came here! Marlow would have been at times within Mercia, and alternately Wessex in Alfred's time.

Nice detail, nice pictures, nice place.


Larry Fields profile image

Larry Fields 3 years ago from Northern California

Hi Nell. The photos remind me of Corvallis, Oregon, where I went to graduate school (OSU). But the trees there were mostly conifers.

When I wanted to get away from it all, I'd take a walk on the bicycle path that paralleled the river. And in the early Fall, I'd eat some blackberries too.

I was born in Chicago, but it's difficult to be nostalgic about a big city that I barely remember. (We moved out to Southern California when I was a small child.)

Voted up and beautiful.


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 3 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

Thanks for sharing that Nell. It looks like a lovely place.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England Author

Thanks Jools, it is such a pretty place, trouble is most people move in an are so rich it puts the price up of the housing, cloths and just about everything else, shame, thanks so much, nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England Author

Hi anne, lol! I think they do get a bit of flooding down by the rivers edge, I know that it more or less came up to the top of the road a few years ago, so yes it looks lovely but I wouldn't have wanted to live by the river, I was lucky and lived nearer the town and bridge, thanks as always, nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England Author

Hi alan, lol! that beer tent did it for me too! haha! yes It was a bit strange that he gave matilda it for a wedding present, maybe it was given years before, but they only visited it then? I did wonder if it was Mercia or Wessex so that's great info too, thanks nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England Author

Hi Larry, thanks so much, yes I always go for a walk on the cycle path when I come home to visit, its so peaceful, thanks as always, nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England Author

Hi christopher, thanks for reading, yes its lovely, but too expensive! lol!


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

Mel, I love it. Thanks fr sharing such an important piece of your life. I almost felt like I was there. Oh, the pictures I could get!


always exploring profile image

always exploring 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

Great that you shared a part of your life with us. Marlow has a lot of history. I would love to see the Thames River. The Marlow Regatta reminds me of our Kentucky Derby, everyone wears beautiful hats, it's a horse racing tradition. Take care..Cheers.


alocsin profile image

alocsin 3 years ago from Orange County, CA

Marlow is certainly an old town -- older than anything here in the U.S. The location on the Thames is lovely, though I'm wondering why parts of the posts in the last picture are submerged underwater. Voting this Up and Beautiful.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Marlow sounds and looks like a lovely place, Nell. I can understand why you like to return there frequently. The regatta sounds like a lot of fun, too.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England Author

Hi avian, lol! thanks yes you would love it here! glad you liked it, nell


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 3 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

Super piece about Marlow, Nell … I always think it must be idyllic to live on the banks of the Thames.


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida

What a lovely-looking place, Nell, and your photos are outstanding. I can understand why you might get a sense of renewal each time you visit.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England Author

Hi drbj, thanks so much for reading, yes my brother still has a place there, so we go back to visit, its so lovely and peaceful, glad you liked it, nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England Author

Hi Angie, it is so lovely, especially the Temple End way, all those bridges! lol! thanks so much for reading, nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England Author

Hi Alicia, yes that regatta is one of the best things in our town, well until the council tried to ruin it but that's another story! lol! thanks!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England Author

Hi alocsin, those posts are underwater because the water is slightly high being winter, but they usually just lead down to where the tourist boats are, we do get floods but not too badly thank goodness! lol! thanks as always, nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England Author

Hi Ruby, thanks for reading, yes I have heard of the Kentucky Derby! wish I could see that! sounds great, you are most welcome to visit ruby, just give me a yell! lol!


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 3 years ago

I love hearing about towns, cities from the hearts of those who have experienced them first hand. You really get to feel the heart beat of the area. This looks like such a pleasant place to live. Thanks for sharing.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England Author

Thanks teaches, yes its a lovely little town, I really do miss it when I am not there, thanks so much for reading, nell


Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 3 years ago from United States

Such a beautiful review which made want to visit this place. Great job, Nell


old albion profile image

old albion 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

Hi Nell. Congratulations on this wonderful review of your town. I looks a lovely place to live or visit. Thank you.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England Author

Thanks so much Ruchira, glad you liked it, and have a great weekend!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England Author

Hi old albion, thanks so much it is a lovely place, so peaceful, nell


lilyfly profile image

lilyfly 3 years ago from Wasilla, Alaska

Sweetie, as always a fine read, say, have you ever thought of working for a historical tour, or writing about England for travel magazines? You ALWAYS make me want to go to wherever you writing about! Another winner Nell! Love yaz, lily


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England Author

Hi lily, lol! now that's an idea! thanks as always lily, nice to see you, nell


Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

This sounds and looks so beautiful Nell. Your photos are lovely. Now I need to ask my husband why he did not give me a town for our wedding! This hub has me daydreaming. Beautiful and voted up!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England Author

Thanks Glimmer, sorry its taking me a while to answer, stupid pc! lol!


Ann Clement Froehlich 3 years ago

I was also born in Marlow. I have enjoyed your articles. My Aunt, Uncle and cousin are buried in All Saints Church. I was christened there.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England Author

Thanks Ann for reading, how fascinating! do you live nearby now?


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York

Brilliant. I don't know which I like better, your hub or your pictures! Thank you for bringing Merry Old England into our homes. What a joy to read and how nice to know more about such a lovely place.

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.


heidithorne profile image

heidithorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

Thanks for the tour of a spot off the beaten path that would be awesome to see one day when I get to the UK! Lovely photos, too!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England Author

Hi Mary, thanks for reading, yes this is my neck of the woods! lol! I moved away, came back now I live a few miles away, but yes its lovely isn't it? glad you liked it, nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England Author

Thanks heidi, you will have a great time if you get over here, thanks so much for reading, nell


CelebrateUSA profile image

CelebrateUSA 2 years ago from Chicago, Illinois

Nell Rose, I want to see more of the Regatta. What a delightful tour - I am absolutely enthralled - from the history to the tiny details of those who are famous. Thank you so much! Voted up!


WiccanSage profile image

WiccanSage 2 years ago

Wow, you are such a wonderful virtual tour guide Nell! I feel like I learn so much from you and love your images, it feels like a 'mental vacation' just reading your hubs! Great work, voted up!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England Author

Hi Celebrate, thanks so much for reading, yes a lot goes on down there in that little town! lol!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England Author

Hi Wiccan, that's brilliant thank you! its nearly as good as a real vacation! haha!


MG Singh profile image

MG Singh 2 years ago from Singapore

Looks like a lovely place , made to look beautiful with a well presented hub


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England Author

Thanks MG, it is beautiful in this area, thanks so much for reading, nell

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