A great many Palaeolithic implements have been found in Burnham. Many of these have come from extraction pits, such as Haycock’s Pit, which produced a handaxe and flint flake; Almond’s Pit where a handaxe, flake and scrapers were found; Cooper’s Pit, which had handaxes, cores and flakes; handaxes and flakes from a brickearth pit in Dorney Wood; six handaxes and one flint flake from a pit for Poyle’s brickworks; and Deverill’s Pit that also contained handaxes flakes and cores. Lower to Middle Palaeolithic flint flakes have also been found by chance at many sites, for instance on Odencroft Road, Ansculf Road, Wentworth Avenue, Kidderminster Road, and many more. This suggests a major tool production area around Burnham.


Later prehistoric artefacts have also been found. A Mesolithic to Bronze Age flint scatter is known from the Hitcham Road allotments and the garden of 108 Lent Rise. Flint tools are found scattered in many places, such as 25 Neolithic flakes found at Nashdom Abbey and the Neolithic to Bronze Age fire-cracked flint found in fieldwalking north of Marsh End Lane. A large number of artefacts were found in Windmill Field, Hitcham, which was dug in the nineteenth century, mainly to find Saxon remains. Neolithic to Bronze Age pottery, including a cinerary urn, flint flakes and axe-heads and animal remains were all found in the excavations. Some sunken huts were thought to be Saxon or Bronze Age. A mound on the Dropmore estate is thought to be a Bronze Age barrow but it may be of a later date. Another possible barrow site is marked by a ring-ditch west of Lower Lambournes Wood, as seen in aerial photography. A possible Neolithic long barrow is also known from aerial photographs at Lock’s Bottom. A pit and some gullies filled with Neolithic to Bronze Age flint flakes and scrapers were found in excavation at the Wyeth Laboratories site.


Seven Ways Plain, Burnham Beeches - you can just see the rise of the bankPalaeolithic and Neolithic flint tools have also been found in Burnham Beeches. A hillfort, now known as Seven Ways Plain, was constructed in Burnham Beeches, probably at some point during the Iron Age. Whilst the scheduled area of the hillfort has not been excavated, a recent research excavation of a section of an associated linear earthwork revealed a possible buried soil horizon cut by a later ditch. The monument is known to have been damaged by Second World War activities. Two ditches containing Iron Age pottery and later prehistoric flints were found in excavation in a field north of West Town Farm. Some Iron Age activity was also discovered in Poyle brickworks pit. Pottery, a clay cooking stand and animal bone were all discovered, suggesting the presence of an Iron Age settlement. Snails were also recovered and may give some idea of what the environment was like in the immediate vicinity.


A little Roman pottery and a few coins were also found in the same pit. Roman keys and coins have been found near Bath Road in Hitcham, too. Roman pottery and tile was found on Bromycroft Road and Kidderminster Road in Britwell. Some late Roman imitation Samian pottery was found in trial trenches at Redwood Close but otherwise no Roman activity has been detected. The nineteenth entury excavations in Windmill Field, Hitcham, seemed to reveal Saxon buildings and burials, but very little is understood about this site. At the end of the Saxon period, Domesday records Burnham and East Burnham.


Hartley Court Moat, Burnham BeechesIn the medieval period Burnham was divided into the manors of Huntercombe (which had a fourteenth century manor house that was rebuilt in the seventeenth and extended in the nineteenth century); East Burnham or Allard’s Manor (the medieval manor house was demolished in the nineteenth century); Britwell (the manor house is now eighteenth and nineteenth century); West Town manor; possibly a Cippenham manor belonging to Richard, and Penland Manor (recorded from the thirteenth century).


In Hitcham parish (where there are medieval fishponds) the sixteenth century manor house was demolished in 1804 although the seventeenth century garden walls remain.


Burnham AbbeyHartley Court Moat may have been part of one of the manors, but is recorded separately from the thirteenth century, along with a deer park mentioned from 1299, on which Burnham Beeches probably stands.


Another surviving medieval monument is Burnham Abbey. It was founded in 1266 and suppressed by King Henry VIII in 1539. It was allowed to decay and only restored in 1914 for use as a nunnery again. Excavations have revealed the late medieval drainage system, the site of the thirteenth to sixteenth century church and burials nearby and the site of the medieval manor house before the abbey was built. The whole thing was surrounded by a moat and it had its own deer park. Several buildings still survive and are used as part of the nunnery, such as the chapter house and infirmary. As well as these two sites there are records of a watermill and fishery at West Mill, Lake End.


The medieval market hall in Church Street, Burnham was demolished before 1940. St Peter’s church in Burnham dates back to the twelfth century, as does St Mary’s in Hitcham.


St Peter's church, BurnhamGaribaldi pubBurnham has many listed buildings, with over 35 in the High Street and Church Street.  The oldest parts of these date from the fifteenth through to the eighteenth and nineteenth century.  There is one from the twentieth century - a red K6 telephone box on the High Street.


Much of the High Street is in a Conservation Area designated in 1977.  Of the many licensed premises in the High Street only two continue in their original listed buildings: The Bee (formerly the Crispin) and the Garibaldi. Others such as The Feathers (now Old Feathers) and The George have reverted to private use. The New Inn is now in commercial use as is the former late eighteenth century doctor's house and surgery known as Burnham House.


Outside the High Street area there are many listed buildings in Burnham parish.  Forming a separate Conservation Area south of the Bath Road (A4) are Burnham Abbey (Grade I), the Tithe Barn and dovecote associated with the Abbey (now in separate ownership); Huntercombe Manor (Grade I) and Huntercombe Farmhouse dating back to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.


Individual listed properties around the parish include seventeenth century Elizabeth's Way in Poyle Lane and 8 and 10 Church Walk, Burnham Beeches Hotel (eighteenth and nineteenth century with later additions) and The Priory (built in 1824).  Also from the nineteenth century are the two lodges for Britwell House/Court - now called Grenville Court.  Previously at the entrance gates to the house, they are now separate properties. The Britwell Road was diverted to its present alignment in 1897, leaving the old road which ran in front of the house as a private access road.


In Hitcham the listing includes the former Tithe Barn â€‹from the seventeenth century, now a private house, and Hitcham House built in 1867 for George Hanbury when it was named Blythewood.


In later centuries there were several brickworks in Burnham, including at Lent Rise, Poyle, Dorney Wood, Kiln Wood and Harehatch Lane. There was a brickworks and pottery kiln in Burnham Beeches in the nineteenth century. This century also saw the construction of the Great Western Railway to Taplow in 1838, using bricks made at Lent Rise for the Thames river bridge, (Burnham Beecheses Station opened in 1899) and the Church of St Anne at Dropmore and Dropmore County First School. In Hitcham parish Nashdom Abbey was built in 1907-8 by Sir Edwin Lutyens for Prince Dolgorouki and his English wife Fanny. In 1924 it became the home of an Anglican Benedictine Order of monks; the community remained there until 1987. Also in Hitcham, Hitcham Park was used as a Second World War prisoner-of-war camp whilst Burnham Beeches was used as a vehicle reserve depot and army camp.Photo of Burnham War Memorial


War Memorials were erected in Burnham and Hitcham, commemorating the fallen of both world wars.


The housing stock in Burnham began to increase at the end of the nineteenth century when larger individual houses were built piecemeal and this continued into the early twentieth century, with small developments in Fairfeld Road (early 1900s) and Linkswood (1930s).  In 1921 Orchardville was the first council housing estate in Burnham parish, followed by North Burnham Estate in the early 1950s, Clonmel Way in the 1960s and the Lent Green Estate in the 1970s.  Private housing estates also catered for the rapid increase in residents with Nursery Estate (late 1950s), Hag Hill Estate (1960s), the Fairway (1960s) and Hatchgate Gardens (1970s).  Smaller developments continue up to the present with St Denis Close being the latest (2021), commemorating Burnham's links with St Denis de l'Hotel in France.


Until 1930 Burnham civil parish had included Cippenham which then became part of Slough Unban District.  Under the Bucks Review Order of 1934 Hitcham civil parish was abolished with part amalgamating with Burnham and part with Taplow.  In 1974 Slough, including the Britwell London County Council housing estate, became part of Berkshire.  Some of the references above include sites in modern Slough.


Many thanks to Shirley Shaw who updated this page in 2021.


Want to find out more? Read the detailed historic town report for Burnham (below).