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Marlow Buckinghamshire History And Local Legends
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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© 2012 Nell Rose