1st Baron Desborough
Wiliiam Henry Grenfell. 1st Baron Desborough of Taplow, KG, GCVO. Born on the 30th of October 1855. Although he did not live in Cookham, certainly had a great influence on what happened in and around the village.
Educated and Harrow and Balliol College, Oxford. Was quite an athlete in various sports. He was a member of the Oxford Varsity Crew when they tied with Cambridge in the Boat Race of 1877. A member of the winning crew the following year, He swam the rapids twice below Niagara Falls. Also he climbed The Matterhorn three times, among other sporting activities.
In the 1880 General Election he was elected Liberal member of parliament for Salisbury and held the seat until 1886. He was elected as member for Hereford in 1892, but resigned over the Irish Home Rule Bill in 1893. Then he returned to the House of Commons as a Conservative in 1900.
He made his home at Taplow Court, where he entertained the elite of the day and had a Stické court built in 1892. In 1905 he was raised to the peerage an took the title 1st Baron Desborough of Taplow.
He did so many things that it is very hard to keep track of all his accomplishments. One long service to the public was when he took on the Chairmanship of the Thames Conservancy Board in 1904, a position he held for thirty two years.
He was High Steward of Maidenhead and Grenfell Park is named after him. Some of the trees in the park are from seeds that he collected during his trips around the world.
In 1928 he was admitted as a Knight of the Garter. He was also a very active Freemason as well.
He was three time Punt champion of the River Thames, and steward of the Henley Regatta. Punt racing was in his day was quite a regatta event, which was run over a 880 yard course on a straight stretch of the river.
He died at the age of 89 on the 9th of January 1945. He had three sons, two of which were killed in the first world war. The third was killed in a motor accident in 1926. So the title became extinct