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Bisham, Berkshire

Historical Description

Bisham (anciently Bistleham and Bustleham-Montacute), a village and a parish in Berks, on the river Thames, 1 mile S from Marlow station on the G.W.R., 2 miles W by N of Cookham railway station, and 4 NW of Maidenhead. The parish has a post office, of the name of Bisham, under Marlow, which is the money order and telegraph office. Area, 2427 acres of land and 51 of water; population of the civil parish, 751; of the ecclesiastical, 628. Bisham Abbey is a celebrated country seat. A pointed doorway and a hall are part of an ancient monastic edifice, and the greater part of the mansion is of the ancient style of the Tudor architecture. The hall was tastefully restored in 1859, and has at one end a dark oak gallery, at the other a beautiful ancient three light lancet window. The scenery of the grounds of the mansion is very fine, and has engaged the pencil of some eminent artists. A preceptory of Knights Templars was founded here. In the reign of Stephen the abbey was refounded as an Augustinian priory in 1338 by Montacute, Earl of Salisbury; was changed into a Benedictine abbey a short time before the dissolution by Henry VIII.; was afterwards given by that king to his repudiated wife, Anne of Cleves; was conveyed by her to Sir Philip Hoby in exchange for his house in Kent; and was for three years the residence, under its owner's guardianship, of the Princess Elizabeth, afterwards Queen Elizabeth. The barn of the priory, the old moat round the garden, and the spring which supplied the Princess Elizabeth's bath, still remain. Temple House is a large brick mansion situated on the banks of the Thames, and surrounded by a beautiful park and grounds. There was an extensive copper mill at Temple, but it is now a paper factory, which gives employment to many of the inhabitants. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Oxford; gross yearly value, £159 with residence. The church tower is of Norman architecture, but the rest of the church was destructively modernized about 1810, and restored in better taste in 1849 and 1856. A north aisle was added in 1876. The vicarage of Stubbings is a separate charge.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyBerkshire 
Ecclesiastical parishBisham All Saints 
Poor Law unionCookham 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Church Records

The register dates from the year 1560.

The Parish Register Society transcript of the Registers of Bisham, 1560-1812 are online.


Church of England

All Saints (parish church)

The church of All Saints, which stands close to the river and not far from the Abbey, is an ancient structure of chalk and rubble stone, dating from about the 12th century, and consists of chancel, nave of four bays, aisles, south porch and an embattled western tower of Norman date, containing 3 bells; it wag restored in 1849 and 1850, and a north aisle was added in 1877-8, at a cost of £2,300, defrayed by Lieut.-Gen. Owen Williams J.P.: in the church are monuments to Sir Philip Hoby kt. the last English legate to the Pope, who died 1558 and Sir Thomas Hoby kt. ambassador to France, who died 1566, with their effigies in alabaster, erected by the widow of the latter: there is also a stained window with arms of twelve members of the Hobye family, placed in the year 1609: there are 350 sittings.

Civil Registration

For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.

Bisham was in Cookham Registration District from 1837 to 1896 and Maidenhead Registration District from 1896 to 1974

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Bisham from the following:

Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Berkshire is available to browse.


Online maps of Bisham are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Berkshire papers online:

Visitations Heraldic

The Visitations of Berkshire 1532, 1566, and 1665-6 is available online.

CountyWindsor and Maidenhead
RegionSouth East
Postal districtSL7
Post TownMarlow