Besselsleigh, a parish in Berks, 4 miles NNW of Abingdon station on the G.W.R. Abington is the post town and telegraph office; money order office, Marcham. Acreage, 906; population, 101. The manor belonged anciently to the Leighs; passed by marriage to the Besils or Bessels; passed again by marriage to the Fettiplaces; was purchased by William Lenthall, Esq., Speaker of the Long Parliament; and belongs now to his descendants. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Oxford; net yearly value, £170 with residence. The church is a small building of stone in the Late Norman style.
The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.
|Ecclesiastical parish||Besselsleigh St. Lawrence|
|Poor Law union||Abingdon|
Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.
The register dates from the year 1689.
Church of England
St. Lawrence (parish church)
The church of St. Lawrence is a small building of stone, chiefly Late Norman, consisting of chancel, nave, south porch and a western bell gable, containing 2 bells dated 1655; it affords an example, almost unique in this county, of an unrestored interior, the pews and fittings of the nave being of the Stuart period, those of the chancel Georgian: there is an inscribed slab to Sir John Lenthall knt, ob. 8 Nov. 1681; the porch also is remarkable: the church was restored by Speaker Lenthall in 1032, and by his descendant William John Lenthall in 1788: there are 100 sittings.
For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.
Besselsleigh was in Abingdon Registration District from 1837 to 1974
Directories & Gazetteers
We have transcribed the entry for Besselsleigh from the following:
- Samuel Lewis' A Topographical Dictionary of England, 1848 (Besselsleigh (St. Lawrence))
- Kelly's Directory of Berkshire, 1915
Land and Property
The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Berkshire is available to browse.
Online maps of Besselsleigh are available from a number of sites:
- Bing (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- Google Streetview.
- National Library of Scotland. (Old maps)
- old-maps.co.uk (Old Ordnance Survey maps to buy).
- Streetmap.co.uk (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- A Vision of Britain through Time. (Old maps)
Newspapers and Periodicals
The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Berkshire papers online:
The Visitations of Berkshire 1532, 1566, and 1665-6 is available online.