Eton, Berkshire

Eton (/ˈtən/ EE-tən) is a historic town in Berkshire, (historically in Buckinghamshire), 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.[2] Historically in Buckinghamshire, since 1998 it has been part of the unitary authority of Windsor and Maidenhead. The town is best known as the location of Eton College.

Eton High Street from Windsor Bridge
Eton is located in Berkshire
Location within Berkshire
OS grid referenceSU965775
Civil parish
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townWINDSOR
Postcode districtSL4
Dialling code01753
PoliceThames Valley
FireRoyal Berkshire
AmbulanceSouth Central
UK Parliament
List of places
51°29′17″N 0°36′33″W / 51.4881°N 0.6092°W / 51.4881; -0.6092Coordinates: 51°29′17″N 0°36′33″W / 51.4881°N 0.6092°W / 51.4881; -0.6092

Origin of the nameEdit

The name derives from Old English Ēa-tūn, meaning "River-Town", a reference to Eton's proximity to the River Thames.


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.[3]

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.[4]

The population was 3,526 by 1841.[5]

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.[6] This practice continued until 1845 when a scholar refused to associate with the inns because they were a "temptation" to Eton students.[3] Eton was favourably[clarification needed] modernised and was the first village in the UK to have its own post office and modern drainage system.[7]

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.[3]

In about 1970, the bridge connecting Eton to Windsor was closed to all motor traffic, but continues to be used by pedestrians.

Notable peopleEdit

In birth order:


View of Eton looking across the River Thames from Windsor

At the parish level, the town is represented by seven councillors in the Eton Town Council, a body which also includes seven councillors representing Eton Wick.

At the district level, the town is part of the Eton and Castle electoral ward of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, and is currently represented by one councillor (George Fussey of the Liberal Democrats).[9]

Nationally, since 1997 the ward has formed part of the UK Parliamentary constituency of Windsor and is currently represented by Adam Afriyie of the Conservative Party.

Between 1983 and 1997, the town was part of the UK Parliamentary constituency of Windsor and Maidenhead, which was continuously held by the Conservative Party during this period.

Before 1983, the town was within the boundaries of the UK Parliamentary constituency of Eton and Slough. This was 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 Monday to Saturday buses on the Slough – Eton – Eton Wick - Taplow - Maidenhead route (bus 15). Redline Buses operates the Slough – Eton – Eton WickDorneyMaidenhead route on Tuesdays and Fridays (bus 63/68).[10]


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, but uphill, and served by Great Western Railway services to London Paddington.

Journey times for the Riverside service are 56–78 minutes while the Central service takes 41–56 minutes, with a change of train at Slough.[11]

Nearest townsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Eton Town Council".
  2. ^ "Civil Parish population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  3. ^ a b c "Parishes: Eton - British History Online".
  4. ^ "Eton College - Life In The Early Days".
  5. ^ The National Cyclopaedia of Useful Knowledge, Vol.III, (1847), London, Charles Knight, p.898
  6. ^ "Eton (including Eton Wick)". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016.
  7. ^ "The history of Eton, Berkshire".
  8. ^ Family website
  9. ^ Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead: Eton and Castle Ward Archived 2010-05-16 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "Untitled Document". Archived from the original on 15 April 2012.
  11. ^ "National Rail Enquiries - Official source for UK train times and timetables".

External linksEdit

  Media related to Eton, Berkshire at Wikimedia Commons