The first settlement of the area was recorded during medieval times in 1179 when King Henry II purchased land to construct buildings on. The manors of Benson and Henley as well as the town itself were granted to Robert Harcourt by King John in 1199. The first church in record was built in 1204 at Henley. The town got a paving grant in 1205 and the first mention of a bridge was in 1234. The street system was started at the end of the 13th century.
In 1337 the town was given to John de Molyns as a demesne of the crown. Molyns family continued to hold it for over 250 years. It is believed that some people from Henley were members of Edward I and III's parliaments but there is not official record of this. Some believe the market held on Thursdays was given its charter by King John but no solid record of the market has been established until 1269. Nearly 60% of the people in Henley died during the devastating black plague that occurred throughout England in the 14th century.
The town was officially given its incorporation by Henry VIII in 1568 when he allowed them to appoint a mayor and burgess. During the Civil War the town suffered at the hands of both sides. William III rested in the town in 1688 as he headed towards London. He stayed The Fawley Court which has been rebuilt recently. He was given a deputation by the lords of the court. The town saw wealth through the 17th and 18th centuries by way of the making of glass and malt plus the corn and wool trade.
There is a five arched bridge name Henley Bridge that flank the river. The bridge was first constructed In 1786 and the St. Mary's church was established close by. The church has a tower that was erected during the 16th century. A mile up stream from the bridge is the March Lock. There are many well known private building with in close proximity to Henley. One of them if Fawley Court which is a building constructed with red bricks. The design for the building was done in 1684 for William Freeman by Christopher Wren. The inside was designed by James Wyatt while the landscape was done by Lancelot Brown.
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