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Besselsleigh, Berkshire

Historical Description

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.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyBerkshire 
Ecclesiastical parishBesselsleigh St. Lawrence 
Poor Law unionAbingdon 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Church Records

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.

Civil Registration

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:

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:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Berkshire papers online:

Visitations Heraldic

The Visitations of Berkshire 1532, 1566, and 1665-6 is available online.

DistrictVale of White Horse
RegionSouth East
Postal districtOX13
Post TownAbingdon