NORTHFIELD END is the name for the stretch of road which links the Fairmile (from Bix and Assendon) with the northern end of Bell Street, on the town's extreme northern edge. (See map). With Bell Street it forms part of Henley's original medieval street plan, and its origins may, in fact, pre-date the town, since the Fairmile follows the approximate line of the Roman road from Dorchester. The road from Marlow, which is also of medieval origin, intersects Northfield End just beyond Bell Lane.
Northfield End lay just outside the town boundary until the borough was extended in 1894. But from the Middle Ages there was suburban development here, with houses and other buildings (including a mill) mentioned from the 14th and 15th centuries. The name originated as 'Old Field' (from a small open field close by), and was gradually corrupted first to Naldefeld and later to Northfield. The form 'Northfield End' was established by the 16th century. Up here away from the commercial heart of the town there was room for larger houses set apart from the noise, bustle and smell of the town centre. From an early date, therefore, Northfield End may have had a relatively genteel suburban character, though this was always tempered by the presence of farmers, craftsmen and tradesmen. Even in 1901 doctors, solicitors and those with private means rubbed shoulders with corn dealers, bakers, carriers, coach builders, and labourers. This mix is reflected in the buildings, which include small 18th- and 19th-century cottages or shops as well as those with grand 18th-century facades (e.g. Nos 9 and 11, the former concealing an earlier timber-framed house). Another grand frontage is that of the former Bell Inn (just north of Bell Lane), which was established here by the late 16th century and became one of the town's busiest and most upmarket coaching inns, until its conversion into a new home for Henley Grammar School in the 19th century. Another building of note is the Friends' (Quaker) meeting house, established in converted cottages at Northfield End in the early 1660s, and largely rebuilt in brick in 1894. Read the censuses for Northfield End.