Any listing of Marlow’s most distinguished residents, past and present, would have to include the name of Sir Evelyn Wrench, whose house in Mill Road, close to the lock, bears the memorial plaque, pictured above, on the wall.

Author and journalist, also editor of The Spectator magazine, Evelyn is best remembered for his English Speaking Union, but had made his fortune as a publisher of postcards in the early 1900s when sending cards was a nationwide craze. Above is a “Wrench Series” view of Chichester, although I have yet to find one with a Marlow scene, maybe because he only moved here later in life, when he had become a nationally known author on matters relating to the British Empire, and a contributor to National Geographic Magazine. A best seller was his commentary on the First World War titled “Struggle” published in 1935.

When I was at school and in the choir at All Saints Church, I have memories of Sir Evelyn, a tall and distinguished figure, walking with a stick: he was a regular church-goer. In 1960 he compiled an interesting little booklet “A Short History Of Great Marlow Parish Church”. This deserves to be reprinted since it contains many interesting and little-known facts about the town as well as the church. However I am sure that a reprinted version would cost a little more than the modest one shilling charged in 1960!

I have copied just a few paragraphs above, and I am sure that you will be fascinated by the severe consequences if you failed to attend church in the 17th century - a £20 fine (equal to over £2000 today) or if you went to work on ‘The Sabbath’ you faced being sent to jail. How things have changed in 2023, and even in 1960 Sir Evelyn’s listing of no less than 25 services at All Saints throughout the week comes as a surprise, plus others at Holy Trinity Church, which was built in 1852 because All Saints was unable to seat all the huge attendances.

I have a few doubts about the Dick Turpin story, but if correct this would have been the former Lower Crown Inn which used to be where the Duke Of Clarence bar is today. Evelyn refers to the famous ‘Spotted Boy’ as the ‘Piebald Boy’ and reprints in full the long and touching poem that became unreadable over the years on the churchyard gravestone. The booklet was subsidised by including various adverts for town businesses and shops including Dawn in Station Road, a forerunner of the many boutiques in town now: Haley’s Chemists, Simpson Printers and Lovells Builders, whose yard was behind the High Street, to mention just a few. And did Robert Brown’s Grocers Shop really have a selection of 30 varieties of cheeses as claimed? It reminds me of that wonderful Monty Python ‘Cheese Shop’ Sketch!

Contact Michael at or 01628 486571.