A rich history that has shaped a modern Henley Town
The first recorded history of Henley dates back to 1179 when King Henry II bought land ‘for the making of buildings’. It is believed that the existing Thursday market was granted by a charter of King John some time before 1269. The black plague in 14th Century swept through Henley and it is believed Henley lost as much as 60% of its population.
Henley is often known because of its links to rowing through the Henley Royal Regatta. It was first established here in 1839 because of the straight part of river known as the Henley Reach though this stretch was subsequently extended artificially.
The establishment of an annual event was suggested by Captain Edmund Gardiner at a public meeting at the Town Hall, who suggested that it should be held ‘under judicious and respectable management’ and that it would benefit the town and ‘from its peculiar attractions it would also be a source of amusement and gratification to the neighbourhood and the public in general’.
The Regatta became ‘Royal’ in 1851.