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St Mary, East Ilsley, Berkshire

(51°31′29″N, 1°17′26″W)
East Ilsley
SU 493 809
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Berkshire
now West Berkshire
medieval Salisbury
now Oxford
  • Ron Baxter
18 August 1998, 20 November 2013

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Feature Sets

East Ilsley is in the west of the county, 7 miles SE of Wantage. It lies close to the junction of the prehistoric Ridgway and the ancient route from Abingdon to Newbury, now followed by the A34 trunk road, a road so continuously noisy as to be audible at all times in the village. The church stands in the village centre. It has a nave with early 13thc. S aisle, N aisle of 1844-45, 14thc. W tower, and large square 13thc. chancel. The S aisle was restored in 1881-82, and the tower refaced in 1885-86. A further restoration was made in the mid-1970s to the stonework of the tower and the S aisle roof, and in 1987 major repairs were made to the N aisle roof, the ringers' chamber and the nave floor. The only feature reported here is the font, which dates from c.1200 or slightly later.


A holding in East and West Ilsley was held by Stephen from William fitzAnsculf in 1086, and by Baldwin in the time of the Confessor. This was assessed at 6½ hides. Another holding in both places was under the overlordship of Geoffrey de Mandeville, consisting of two manors held from him by Saswalo. Both had been held bfore the Conquest by Ordwulf, and in total they were assessed at 11 hides. East Ilsley was held by Henry de Ferrers and by Roger from him. This holding was assessed at 3½ hides in 1086, and the same before the Conquest when it was held by Algar. Finally there was a large holding of 20 hides held by Aubrey de Coucy in 1086, which belonged to the Bishop of Salisbury's manor of Sonning. A church belonged to this manor, but it was in Wallingford.

The manor relevant to us was held by Saswalo (or Sewall de Osevill) from Geoffrey de Mandeville. It remained in the hands of this family, and in 1199 the advowson of the church was confirmed to the Kinghts Hospitaller, to whom it had been granted by him.

mentioned. This was given to the Knights Hospitallers in 1199.





Pevsner (1966) (followed by Tyack (2010)) describes the font as 'said to be Norman but very doubtful'. The EH list description does not commit itself on the date of the bowl, while the VCH boldly states that it is 'of the 12th century'. This author prefers the assertiveness of the VCH, and agrees with the caveat that it might just be early 13thc.


Anon, The History of St Mary's Church, East Ilsley, East Ilsley PCC, 1997.

English Heritage listed building 39861

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Berkshire. Harmondsworth, 1966, 134-35.

G. Tyack, S. Bradley and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Berkshire. New Haven and London 2010, 287-88.

Victoria County History: Berkshire IV (1924), 24-31.