HENLEY-ON-THAMES, a market-town of Oxfordshire, England, is situated on the left bank of the Thames and at the terminus of a branch of the Great Western Railway. It is 22 miles S. of Oxford and 35 W. from London by rail, and 47 miles from Oxford and 64?; from London by the river. It occupies one of the most beautiful situations on the Thames, at the foot of the finely wooded Chiltern Hills. The river is crossed by an elegant stone bridge of five arches, constructed in 1786 at a cost of £10,000. The principal buildings are the parish church, a handsome Gothic structure recently restored at a cost of over £7000, possessing a lofty tower of intermingled flint and stone, which is attributed to Cardinal Wolsey, but which was more probably erected by Bishop Longland ; the grammar school, founded, in 1003 ; the town-hall, a neat building supported by Doric columns ; the reading-room and library, and various charitable institutions. Henley is a favourite summer resort, and also possesses some trade in corn, flour, malt, and timber. It is celebrated for the Henley Royal Regatta, the principal gathering of amateur oarsmen in England, which usually takes place in July. The population of the parish in 1871 was 3736, and of the local board district 4623.
Henley existed at a very early period, and according to some authorities was a Roman station. It obtained a charter of incorporation from Elizabeth, in which it is named Hanleygang or Hanneburg. In 1643 it was occupied by the Parliamentary forces, who successfully repelled an attack made upon them by the Royalists.
See History of Henley-on-Thames, by John Southerden Burns, London, 1861, and An Account of the Races at the Annual Henley Regattas front their commencement June 1839 to the year 1879, Henley, 1879.