A Cookham History


Ancient Britons
Cookham appears to have had civilization for the last 4,000 years. There is a little Bronze Age site, set in the northern bend between Marlow and Cookham. At Cockmarsh there are 3 barrows still visible, one just as a crop mark. The biggest is about 3m high, with a bit of a ditch left on the north side. 

Cookham has its roots in prehistory you will find two megaliths, the Cookham Stone and the Tarry Stone

The Romans appear to have had some sort of settlement at the southern end of the village of Cookham Rise. 

Cookham was a crossing point of the river for the Romans on the Camlet Way between Silchester and Verulanium (present day St Albans). A Romano-British site occurred on Gibralter Meadow, at the foot of Winter Hill. It is possible this was a site of a ferry.

One Roman road ran from Braywick to Cockmarsh passing close to Cookham Railway station. Several artifacts were discovered, also a kiln built of chalk and flint. Roman pottery, brooches and other items have been found in the area.

After the Romans left in AD400, early Saxon settlers in the parish appear to have liked the area around Cookham Rise. There was probably an adjoining river port named “Cwch-ium” - Celtic for Boat-Place The island of Odney may have been sacred to the chief Saxon god, Woden, being Wodenes-Eye or “Woden’s Isle”. The river divided the territories of Mercia and Wessex, Cookham being on the Wessex side.

Cookham Church was mentioned in a charter as being attached to a monastery in existence in 726. Its actual location is unknown, but it is thought that it was close to the present church.

It is likely that the fort at Cookham was completed by the year 886. Alfred the Great tried to ensure that no part of Wessex was more than twenty miles from a fortified centre.

870 AD the Vikings row up Thames.  There are many names still linking to the Danes in the area. Danesfield off the Cookham Road. 

The present village of Cookham probably grew up around an 8th century Saxon Monastery situated in the parish, probably a twin-house for both monks and nuns. A National Religious Synod once met there. The Saxon Kings also had a Royal Palace here.

997 - The Witan (Saxon parliament) met in 997 at Cookham held by Ethelred the Unready. Attending the Witan were 1 arch bishop, 3 bishops, 2 aldermen, 3 abbots and numerous lords from West Saxons, Mercians, Danes and English. 

Cookham became a royal manor sometime between 965 and 975, administered by King Edgar from his palace in Old Windsor. Cookham remained crown property until 1818.

In the Domesday Book (1086) Cookham is listed as containing '32 villagers, 21 cottagers, 4 slaves, 2 mills, 2 fisheries and woodland at 100 pigs'. It appears as Cocheham. 

1086  A market was established worth 20s. Fairs used to be held on 16 May and 11 October. 

In 1140, a Norman church was built on the site of Holy Trinity Church, Cookham. There is an interesting Lady Chapel part of the current Holy Trinity church dated to 1182. It was built on the site of a hermitage that adjoined the old Norman building. An anchoress lived here through the generosity of King Henry II, who may have been trying to expiate himself for the murder of St. Thomas à Beckett. She died in 1181.

By 1166 the original manor of Cookham was broken up into several smaller manors which were held mainly by local gentry. There were six main estates, the manor of Lullebrooke probably being the most important. The Odney Club is built on the site of the original manor house.

Although Cookham is described as a village, in 1225 it was described as a borough at the assizes. When a wooden bridge was built across the Thames by 1250 at Maidenhead as part of the London to Bristol main road, Cookham started to lose its status as Maidenhead grew.

1281 Edward I assigned the manor of Cookham to his mother Eleanor.

1292 The name Lullebrooke Manor came about when it was sold to Walter de Lullebroc.

Towards the end of the 1200s the north arcade of the nave of Holy Trinity Church, which consists of two independent arches, was rebuilt (the earlier openings being perhaps enlarged), the chancel arch was reconstructed and the south aisle was added. In the south wall of the south aisle are three windows of about 1270


Early in the 1300s the south aisle of Holy Trinity church was continued eastward to form the south chapel . The present church is mostly 13th century. 

1341 Joan the widow of Robert de Lullebroc, obtained licence to have an oratory in the manor of Lullebrook. 

Around 1350 Churchgate House, timber-framed house by Holy Trinity was originally built. It has a priest-hole and is said to have been the residence of the Abbot of Cirencester.

First swan master appointed, which created the activity of swan upping.

The Bel and the Dragon built in 1417, it is one of the oldest licensed houses in England.


In the 1500s the west tower of Holy Trinity was built.

The Forge in Cookham Dean is thought to date back to the time of Elizabeth I and has been a forge over 400 years. 

The original Stone House was built by the monks of Bisham and after the dissolution of the monasteries was given to Anne of Cleeves by Henry VIII as part of her divorce settlement. She exchanged it for a manor in Suffolk so it fell into disrepair and was dismantled and a building of the same name was built and at one time housed an illicit distillery.

1597 Elizabeth I leased Widbrook to the villagers. On termination of the lease the villagers refused to return their grazing rights to the Crown, this was upheld by the Courts and Widbrook has been common land ever since. 

Cromwell Cottages at Cookham Dean are thought to have had Roundhead soldiers billeted there during the Civil War.

Chequers Inn in Cookham Dean is built. Said to have been run by the Copas family who still farm in the village.

The Kings Arms was built as a stopping place for the coach running from Reading to Windsor. It was formally the Kings Head and was the home of the widow Martha Spott. In 1668 she minted her own coinage. 


March 9th 1741, Richard Smith, a highwayman was shot on the road and interred in the churchyard.

.A parliamentary report of 1776-7 reported that Cookham had a parish workhouse accommodating up to 90 inmates. This is now part of Maidenhead. 

1785 Formosa Place, the seat of Sir George Young, bart., was built.

The Royal Manor of Cookham was held by the Crown until 1818. when it was purchased by George Bangley, the London stationer.

1830 Cookham Lock is opened replacing Hedsor Wharf.

1838 George Bangley sells the Manor of Cookham to Ebenezer Fuller Maitland who sold it to the Vansittarts of Bisham Abbey.

In 1839, the Tarrystone, or Cookham Stone as it was then called, was moved from its present position by George Venables when Cookham bridge was started and taken to Mill House Gardens. This reputedly brought a curse on the Venables family. The Tarrystone is thought to be either a mounting block or possibly a meteorite

15 May 1845 St John the Baptist in Cookham Dean was consecrated by Richard Bagot, Lord Bishop of Oxford. The foundation stone had been laid by the Vicar of Cookham on 15th July 1844.  The church was built by Silver & Sons of Tittle Row, Maidenhead, at a cost of about £1300. It contains windows by such famous artists as Lavers & Barraud, Charles Eamer Kempe and Clayton & Bell. The rerodos was carved in 1876. Rev. George Hewitt Hodson was the first incumbent in 1844. The land was given by the Lady of the Manor, Mrs Ann Mary Vansittart, with the consent of the Commoners

1846 A Wesleyan Chapel is built in Cookham Village, later to become the Stanley Spencer Gallery in 1962.

1849 The Manor of Cookham was purchased from Mrs. A. M. Vansittart by Henry Skrine of Stubbings and Warleigh whose family still own it.

1854 Cookham railway line opens from Maidenhead to Wycombe.

1840 a wooden road bridge was constructed across the Thames by Freebody. This soon rotted and Cookham bridge was built in 1867 to replace it. It is constructed of iron to an attractive design. It was a toll bridge which was ceased when the bridge was sold to Berkshire County Council, the old toll house can still be seen.

1860 Canon Joseph Thomas Brown  restored the church and made other improvements in the parish.

Guglielmo Marconi 1874-1937,pioneer in wireless communication, lived at ‘Hillyers’, Cookham Rise, where he is thought to have conducted experimental transmissions in 1897. 

1879 - Cookham Dean Football Club is formed

1882 - The first Cookham Regatta is held, by 1890 this was attended by 10,000 people.

1891 Birth of the famous artist, Sir Stanley Spencer on 30 June at Fernlea in Cookham High Street. Several of his paintings were set in the village. 

1894 The parish of Cookham is formed from the ancient parish by the severance of that part of Maidenhead lying north of the London and Bath Road. 

1908 Kenneth Grahame's Wind in the Willows is published. Grahame wrote the Wind in the Willows at Herries School in Cookham Dean. He lived with his grandmother at ‘The Mount’ in Cookham Dean as a child. 

1901 The Reading Room in Lower Road was located to the current Social Club, built by Mr Pinder Brown, to become a Reading Room and Working Men's Club. This was sold to the Social Club in 1947. Women could still not enter, although this was relaxed in the late 1960s when they could enter as guests, although they still could not become members.

1910 the old Fire Brigade building was erected in the Pound, but was sold off in 1929.

1911 The Kings Hall is given to the village by Colonel Ricardo, as a reading room when the new Methodist Church in Cookham Rise is built.

1927 Lullebrooke Manor and grounds were bought by the John Lewis Partnership and have been used by the company as a country club and training centre ever since. It is normally known at the Odney Club.

1936 The Pinder Hall is built through the generosity of Mr H Pinder-Brown. The architect was Mr A Vernon Kislingbury of Cookham and the building was erected by Messrs. Cripps and Green Ltd of Maidenhead and the electrical work was carried out by Mr T G Church of Cookham.

1937 Cookham railway station opens.

1939 Pinder Hall requisitioned to provide a school for LOC evacuees from Fulham

1947 Severe flooding in Cookham takes place.

1948 Cookham Reach Sailing Club formed, It was in the garden of a Mr Lilley at Cookham Reach. Boats were launched by the Ferry Inn and paddled upstream to the Club.

1945 - 1950 Moor Hall is used by GB Animation financed by J Arthur Rank. The Animaland cartoons were produced there.

1950 the toll over Cookham bridge is stopped. The toll house can still be seen at the entrance to the bridge from Bourne End. 

1959 Death of the painter Sir Stanley Spencer. His grave can be seen in Holy Trinity churchyard. 

1962 The Stanley Spencer Gallery is opened at the King's Hall, the old Wesleyan Chapel.

1964 St Elisabeth's Catholic Church in Lower Road opened

1971 the Chartered Institute of Marketing moves to Moor Hall taking over from ICL.

1977 Celebrations of the Queen's Silver Jubilee. Cookham High Street is closed for a street party.

1988 The Cookham Regatta is revived after 58 years.

1994 Cookham twins with the village of St Benoit near Poitiers in France.

1997 Cookham has its first radio station Cookham Summer FM. This is repeated in 1999 and 2006.

2000 Millennium starts with an Internet Café Training for the village

2000 July Millennium Celebrations are held on Marsh Meadow.

2002 Flood Alleviation scheme completed 

2002 In April the new library and Parish Office are completed the library is opened in May. The buildings are in the grounds of Cookham Rise School in High Road. In June the Parish Office is opened and the Cookham Time Capsule is buried outside the new library building

2002 Cookham holds Jubilee Celebrations.

2003 Severe flooding in Cookham, the worst since 1947,  despite the Flood Alleviation scheme finished in 2002.

2006 Cookham again runs a four week radio station in the railway station waiting room, Cookham Summer FM

2007 - September 2007 the Spencer Gallery is re-opened after an £800,000 refurbishment. The costs were raised from the Lottery Fund. 

2007 - On 14 October the first Cookham Gravity Grand Prix was held in Cookham Dean. which has been held yearly ever since.

2009 - Let's Rock the Moor was held as part of the Cookham Festival during May, with quite a lot of opposition. It has been repeated yearly ever since after a lot of bureaucracy for the organisers to keep it running.

2012 - On 4 June 2012 a street party was held in the High Street to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

2012 - In November Cookham is flooded again and this time the whole of Cookham Village is cut off. The army are called in to help.