IT’S a rare occurrence these days to find a postcard not already in my collection, but above left is one I came across just recently – an old etching used as an advertising card (postmarked 1949) for guest house facilities at Harleyford, just outside Marlow.

I don’t think I had ever realised that they offered accommodation in past times.

Here are a few other pictures, old and relatively new, the latest two being aerial views of the house, grounds, and marina.

Top right is especially interesting – the Harleyford workforce, the probably early 1900s, and half of them enjoying a smoke.

It looks like the blacksmith standing on the left. The ivy-clad Lodge House was on the Henley Road.

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This present Harleyford House (replacing a previous one badly damaged by fire) was designed and built in 1753/5 by Sir Robert Taylor in the Georgian style for the Clayton family.

Taylor also designed the Bank of England in London amongst many other notable buildings including, locally, the river bridge at Maidenhead.

William Clayton (one of several called William on the family tree) was a local Member of Parliament. Harleyford House remained with the Clayton family until 1950.

It is listed Grade I on the National Heritage List for England, and the gardens are also listed Grade II on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.

The urn to the south west of the house, the ice house to the north east, the dairy to the north, and the temple to the north east are all listed Grade II.

In addition to the buildings, two statues of Robert Clayton, to the west and to the east of the house, are also listed Grade II although one is later copy.

Around 50 years ago these grounds were well filled by holiday caravans, both static and touring.

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Luxurious log cabins have now taken their place.

In this column a few years ago I told an interesting story.

Having been kindly allowed to visit and photograph the crypt below All Saints Church, a sealed and inaccessible passage was discovered by chance, only visible through a small iron grille in the wall, and, with a torch, a metal plaque could be seen on an iron door in the distance, reading “This vault was erected at considerable expense

by Lieutenant Colonel Sir William Robert Clayton, M.P. for Marlow, 1834”.

Holding a flash camera up to this grille, and using a zoom lens, a photograph was just about possible.

In case you were not reading the Marlow Free Press back then, I have added this photo above as an insert. I don’t think it has yet been discovered just who is interred in there.

Contact Michael at or 01628 486571