Eton (// EE-tən) is a historic town in Berkshire, England, on the opposite bank of the River Thames to Windsor, connected to it by Windsor Bridge. The civil parish, which also includes the large village of Eton Wick, two miles west of the town, had a population of 4,692 at the 2011 Census. Historically in Buckinghamshire, since 1998 it has been part of the unitary authority of Windsor and Maidenhead.
Eton High Street from Windsor Bridge
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Origin of the nameEdit
The land that is now Eton once belonged to the manor of Queen Edith, wife of Edward the Confessor. The land was appropriated by the Normans after 1066. The main road between Windsor and London went through the area and a hamlet sprang up amid pasture meadows to maintain the road and the bridge.
In 1440, Henry VI chose Eton as the location for his new college, Eton College. Workmen were moved into Eton to build the college. All of the land immediately around the hamlet was granted to the college, which stopped further growth. The new college chapel made the village a pilgrimage point, and inns were set up along the high street. Henry VI gave the college the right to hold fairs on its grounds.
During the English Civil War, after Windsor Castle was captured by parliamentarian forces, the Royalist army moved into Eton and attempted to retake the town, occupying the college. Efforts to retake Windsor were unsuccessful and the royalists eventually fled.
The population was 3,526 by 1841.
The college sometimes leased small plots of land to the village as an act of charity, leading to the construction of houses near the bridge. Scholars at the college also used to collect "salt" (money) from the inns of Eton High Street. This practice continued until 1845 when a scholar refused to associate with the inns because they were a "temptation" to Eton students. Eton was favourably[clarification needed] modernised and was the first village in the UK to have its own post office and modern drainage system.
By 1925 the town was described as more commercial than residential, with most of the buildings (apart from those of the school itself) belonging to businesses serving the schoolboys.
In about 1970, the bridge connecting Eton to Windsor was closed to all motor traffic.
In birth order:
- William Oughtred (1574–1660), mathematician and cleric, was born here.
- Edmund Bristow (1787–1876), artist, was born here and lived his whole life in the Windsor area.
- Charles Duke Yonge (1812-1891), was an English historian, classicist and cricketer.
- George E. Davis (1850–1906), founding father of chemical engineering, was born here.
On a Parish level, the town is represented by seven councillors in the Eton Town Council, a body which also includes seven councillors representing Eton Wick.
On Borough level, the town is part of the Eton and Castle electoral ward and is currently represented by one councillor (George Fussey of the Liberal Democrats) in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.
Before 1983, the town was within the boundaries of the UK Parliamentary constituency of Eton and Slough. This was consistently held by the Labour Party from its creation in 1945 to its redistribution in 1983, except between 1964 and 1966 when it was held by a Conservative.
Eton is served by two bus companies. Courtney Buses operates daily buses on the Slough – Eton – Eton Wick - Maidenhead route (bus 15). Redline Buses operates the Slough – Eton – Eton Wick – Dorney – Maidenhead route on Tuesdays and Fridays (bus 63/68).
Windsor is served by two terminal stations. Eighty metres southeast of the town's historic pedestrian and cycle bridge is Windsor & Eton Riverside that is served by South Western Railway services to London Waterloo. Windsor & Eton Central is 200 metres to the southwest and served by Great Western Railway services to London Paddington.
- "Civil Parish population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
- "Parishes: Eton - British History Online".
- "Eton College - Life In The Early Days".
- The National Cyclopaedia of Useful Knowledge, Vol.III, (1847), London, Charles Knight, p.898
- "Eton (including Eton Wick)". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04.
- "The history of Eton, Berkshire".
- Family website
- Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead: Eton and Castle Ward Archived 2010-05-16 at the Wayback Machine
- "Untitled Document". Archived from the original on 2012-04-15.
- "National Rail Enquiries - Official source for UK train times and timetables".