Horse and Coach routes from and to Marlow

Following the AiM Walk on Sunday the 13th of March, AIM has conducted some research that provides a few more pieces in the jig-saw.

In the last AiM newsletter we speculated on various possible coach routes that might have left Marlow bound for Oxford and/or High Wycombe and vice-versa. These routes were from Chapel Street to Seymour Court, via the Dell, through Henley, via Watlington, up the Wycombe road towards Handy Cross, along Berwick Road and Mundaydean Lane, until it joined the Lane End road south of Lane End and the along Oxford road towards Frieth.

Another possible route avoiding any hills, would have taken the Bourne End, Wooburn, Loudwater roads to High Wycombe.

Marlow Coach and horses

There are various directories at Wycombe library and the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies that throw a little light on transportation before automobiles. A selection is listed below.

1794 – The ‘Bye Post’ was a postal coach that travelled from Wycombe and arrived at the Upper Crown in Marlow at 9.00am.

1830 – Pigot’s Directory, “Thomas Hall’s Sociable’’ first left his House, then the White Hart Inn Henley, leaving for Wycombe, via Marlow, every Tuesday and Friday at 9 am.

1831/32 – Pigot’s Directory, ‘The Industry’, went from Wycombe to Reading, via Marlow (Red Lion, 8 o’clock, every Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday) and Henley; ‘The Industry’ from Reading via Marlow (the Crown) to Wycombe arrived at 7 pm, every Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.

1831/32 – Pigot’s Directory, ‘Hall’s’ departed from the Falcon in Wycombe to Marlow and Henley every Tuesday and Friday afternoon; and Chs Busby departed from his house in Wycombe to Marlow every Wednesday and Saturday night.

1842 – Pigot’s Directory, ‘Loftin’s Van’, travelled from Marlow to Wycombe from the 3 Tuns and the Greyhound, Tuesdays and Fridays, about 11 am.

1847 – Kelly’s Directory, Omnibus from Henley to Wycombe, through Marlow, every Tuesday and Friday.

1850 – Slater’s Directory, an Omnibus from the Falcon Inn in Wycombe departed every Tuesday and Friday at 3 pm. via Marlow to Henley

We have also investigated main roads and toll roads. From the Jefferey’s map of 1766/68, a turnpike road existed from Marlow to High Wycombe along the Wycombe Road/Handy Cross route. This route also appears on the 1 inch OS map of the 1870s. The turnpike road to Wycombe, via Bourne End, Wooburn and Loudwater is present on the 1940/47 1 inch OS map, but not on the 1870s version.

Again if members (and non-members) have any additional information they would like to pass on, please let us know, so that we can build up and put together a better and more accurate record of Marlow transport before the age of the train and motor car.

Many thanks to Julian Hunt, the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies, Bath Postal Museum and Gerry Palmer for their help in furthering our research.

by John Laker

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