Some years ago I printed in this column a fascinating 1831 map of Marlow.

A few copies of that are known to exist, but I think that today’s map, 8 years later in 1839, may be the only one in existence.

It is in very fragile condition and in several pieces, forming part of a sales prospectus for a large number of plots of land in the town including Platt’s Farm. Extracts from the tattered remains are above.

This Rolls & Co prospectus came from a collection of ephemera that I am pleased to own, all having connections to General Sir George Higginson. This however belonged to his father Colonel George Powell Higginson, born 1788.

His son George would have been just 13 in 1839.

The family lived at Townsend Cottage, Henley Road, later renamed Gyldernscroft, and this has been inked in on the map probably by the Colonel himself (1).

He was obviously interested in Lot XII (Lot 12) known as the Lower Lake, to extend his existing estate. A handwritten inscription by the lake (2) and a further extract from the prospectus (inset) shows that he was successful in his bid.

Top right above gives an indication of the surprisingly large number of land plots that went up for sale at this date, many of them marked as the property of “Mr Atkinson” or “Mr Hammond”.

The former was William Atkinson J.P. from the Rookery in Chapel Street. He owned a lot of Marlow, a bit like today’s Michael Shanly.

I don’t have enough space today to mention all the other interesting things that can be seen on this map, especially with the help of a magnifying glass, but here are just three.

What we know as St. Peter Street today is titled Duck Lane, and just a few years before this map it was the approach to the old wooden bridge.

There is a St. Peter Street however – today’s Station Road.

This was several years before the Roman Catholic Church was built, although the plot of land is up for sale (XIV).

It seems to indicate, (as I think I guessed once before), that the Church was named from the locality, not the other way around.

Secondly, towards the bottom of Mill Lane you will see one property (not for sale!) marked as owned by Lady Morris.

This was Thames Bank, later renamed Thames Lawn, and she was the widow of Vice Admiral Sir James Nicoll Morris K.C.B. who served with Nelson at Trafalgar on board his ship Colossus.

He died at this house in 1819 having never properly recovered from a serious accident in his carriage. There is a memorial tablet in All Saints Church. Other properties are also marked as being owned by Lady Morris. And lastly, the hand drawn map used is credited to William Francis.

He was Headmaster at Sir William Borlase’s School.

Colonel George Powell Higginson died in 1866 and is buried in the family grave in All Saints Churchyard. Further details of his life can be found at

Contact Michael at or 01628 486571