Riverside Properties in Cookham
Cookham is a village and civil parish in the north-easternmost corner of Berkshire in England, on the River Thames, notable as the home of the artist Stanley Spencer. It lies 2 miles (3.2 km) north of Maidenhead close to the border with Buckinghamshire. It has a population of 5,519 and was deemed Britain's second richest village by The Daily Telegraph in 2011.
The area has been inhabited for thousands of years. There were several prehistoric burial mounds on Cock Marsh which were excavated in the 19th century and the largest stone axe ever found in Britain was one of 10,000 that has been dug up in nearby Furze Platt. The Roman Road called the Camlet Way is reckoned to have crossed the Thames at Sashes Island, now cut by Cookham Lock, on its way from St. Albans to Silchester. By the 8th century there was an Anglo-Saxon abbey in Cookham and one of the later abbesses was Cynethryth, widow of King Offa of Mercia. It became the centre of a power struggle between Mercia and Wessex. Later King Alfred made Sashes Island one of his burhs to help defend against Viking invaders. There was a royal palace here where the Witan met in 997.
Although the earliest stone church building may date from 750 AD, the earliest identifiable part of the current Holy Trinity Church, Cookham is the Lady Chapel, which was built in the late 12th century on the site of the cell of a female hermit who lived next to the church and was paid a halfpenny a day by Henry II.
In the Middle Ages, most of Cookham was owned by Cirencester Abbey and the timber-framed 'Churchgate House' was apparently the Abbot's residence when in town. The Tarry Stone - still to be seen on the boundary wall of the Dower House - marked the extent of their lands.
The town people have resisted many attempts to enclose parts of the common land, including by the vicar, Rev. Thomas Whateley in 1799, Miss Isabella Fleming in 1869 (who wanted to stop nude bathing at Odney) and the Odney Estates in 1928 who wanted to enclose Odney Common. The Maidenhead and Cookham Commons Preservation committee was formed and raised £2,738 to buy the manorial rights and the commons which were then donated to the National Trust by 1937. These included Widbrook, Cockmarsh, Winter Hill, Cookham Dean Commons, Pinkneys Green Common and Maidenhead Thicket.
Cookham Village is on the A4094 between Maidenhead and Bourne End. The A404(M) motorway from Maidenhead to High Wycombe is just to the west of Cookham Dean. Cookham railway station is at Cookham Rise, on the Marlow to Maidenhead branch line. There are two direct trains to and from London, Paddington during the morning and evening rush hour. The rest of the trains require a change at Maidenhead. An hourly bus service to Maidenhead, Bourne End and High Wycombe is provided by Arriva Shires & Essex six days a week; on Sundays Courtney Coaches run a service from the village to Maidenehead and Bracknell. Then, of course, there is always the river, which has a long stretch of moorings above Cookham Bridge.
Cookham is a convenient base for a number of walks along the Thames Path and across National Trust property. There are a good selection of restaurants and pubs in the High Street. The Stanley Spencer Gallery, based in the former Methodist chapel, also has a permanent exhibition of the artist's works.