Maidenhead (landing place of the maidens)


Maidenhead from Nordon's early 17th century survey of Windsor Forest
(click map for 1761)

A wooden bridge was built at Maidenhead to replace the ford and ferry at Babham End, possibly as early as the 13th century. In 1352 Edward III established a guild in the town to keep the wooden bridge in good repair. The Corporation was allowed to take three oak trees annually from Windsor forest for repairs. Here the old Bath Road crossed the River Thames and the town developed by offering travellers a range of services, including refreshment and accommodation at an increasing number of inns and posting houses.

Maidenhead thicket, to the west of the town, was notorious for highwaymen. Leyland wrote that it was infested with robbers for five miles in extent.

The wooden bridge was replaced by one of stone in 1772.

Maidenhead from Rocque's map of Berkshire, 1761
(click map for 17 century)

References in main text:

      XI   Commuting (1)
     XII   Commerce (1)