The People of St Mary's
4th February, 2014
Elizabeth Hazeldine has studied local and ancient history for many years and is in the process of building up an archive of the life stories of local people, who have left their mark on Henley, including amongst others:
- John Longland: Henry VIII's Confessor
- Dame Elziabeth Periam: who founded her own Charity School in the Chantry House
- Richard Jennings: who was involved in the building of St. Paul's Cathedral
- Mary Blandy: a notorious convicted murderess
Her talk will be based on these life stories.
Reviewed by Valerie on 4th February, 2014
In her talk, Elizabeth highlighted some of the individuals who in the past
had significantly influenced Henley and the church.
For instance, John Elmes in the 15th century ran barges into London, making so much money that
he bought local estates, e.g. Bolney, the size of which was shown on plans which she brought
along. John Elmes built the Chantry House as merchant's storage, with its three levels facing
the River. Having died in 1460, he paid for a chantry in the church, now the St Laurence's
prayer room, with bequests for masses to be said and also for charity.
John Longland was born in 1473 and became Bishop of Lincoln to Henry VIII during his divorce.
St Mary's church tower was built in memory of his parents and he also founded the Longland
Then came Dame Elizabeth Perriam, who lived at Greenlands in 1517. After the deaths of her
three husbands, she set up an educational establishment for poor boys of the town in the
Chantry House. Her splendid monument in the church was originally near the font, now near
Next came Richard Jennings, a Henley child of a bargeman, who attended the Perriam School and
eventually became a journeyman carpenter. This led him to London, where he became master
carpenter at St Paul's cathedral, in particular the domed roof. However, he was accused of
abusing funds and so returned to Henley. He restored Lady Perriam's memorial in grateful
thanks for his education. His own memorial can be seen in the church.
Mary Blandy's story is well known. She was educated but either naïve or cunning in respect
of her love for Cranston, who she met at Paradise House. Her father was poisoned because of
his opposition to the match and she was hanged at Oxford Gaol.
Local land owners mentioned were the Freemans and Mackenzies at Fawley Court, TW Morrell,
who built Rotherfield Court, and the subsequent purchaser, WT Makins, who made money from
the Gas & Lighting Company. He paid for Westlake to restore the windows in the church.
Sir Frank Crisp, a London lawyer, built Friar Park and was well loved for his philanthropy
in the town. His gravestone in Henley Cemetery has recently been restored by the Town
Council as a mark of respect.
Lastly, Elizabeth referred to her list of hundreds of local plague victims in Henley.
Ruth Gibson thanked the speaker for successfully placing Henley people into their houses,