Sparsholt, a parish in Berks, near the Wilts and Berks Canal, 3 miles SSW of Challow station on the L.& S.W.R., and 3½ W of Wantage. It includes Kingstone Lisle and Fawler, which are noticed separately, and the hamlet of Westcote, and has a post office under Wantage; money order and telegraph office, Childrey. Acreage, 3329; population of the civil parish, 447; of the ecclesiastical, 744. There is a parish council consisting of five members. Several manors are in this parish, two of which belong to the Hippisley family. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Oxford; gross value, £409 with residence. Patron, Queen's College, Oxford. The church of the Holy Rood is chiefly Decorated English, and has a peculiar Early English doorway. It has some ancient and interesting tombs and monuments, including two female effigies and one effigy of a knight all hollow and carved in wood.
The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.
|Ecclesiastical parish||Sparsholt Holy Cross|
|Poor Law union||Wantage|
Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.
The Phillimore transcript of Marriages at Sparsholt 1559-1812, Berkshire is available to browse online.
The register dates from the year 1558 and includes entries from Kingston Lisle.
Church of England
The Holy Cross (parish church)
The church of the Holy Cross, one of the most ancient churches in the county, existed before 963, and was rebuilt in 1187, the whole being enlarged and the present chancel built in 1327: it is now chiefly of the Decorated period, and consists of chancel, nave, south transept, north porch, vestry and a western tower with wooden shingled spire, erected in 1796 and containing 4 bells, two of which date from 1578; the tenor was cast in 1603 and the fourth is a pre-Reformation ibell dedicated to St. Catherine: the east window is modern, but the side windows of the chancel are lofty and of good Decorated work: the sedilia, piscina and a sepulchral recess have feathered arches, with crockets, pinnacles and finials: on the north side of the chancel is an ogee-arched recess, similarly ornamented and probably an Easter sepulchre: the nave has good windows of two lights and an open-timbered Decorated roof; the north doorway is Late Norman, with a semi-circular arch and shafts with foliaged caps; on the south side is a similar doorway now blocked; in the south chantry, which forms part of the Sparsholt manor house estate, are two recesses very richly ornamented with ogee arches, beneath which are two altar tombs, with female effigies of wood, wearing veils and wimples and supposed to represent two wives of Robert Achard, by whom this chapel was erected c. 1330: in the transept is the wooden effigy of a knight, believed to represent either Lord Talbot or possibly Robert Achard: the transept screen dates from 1350: in the church is a monument to Sir George Hyde K.B. of Denchworth and Kingston Lisle, ob. 1625: the church was restored in 1891 at a cost of £1,500: in 1891 the south chantry was restored, and two stained windows and other gifts were presented in 1897-8 by the late Lieut.-Col, Hippisley: in 1910 an east window was presented by Mrs. Hippisley in memory of her late husband, and in the same year an organ was provided at a cost of £310: the church affords 200 sittings.
Sparsholt was in Wantage Registration District from 1837 to 1974
Directories & Gazetteers
We have transcribed the entry for Sparsholt from the following:
- Samuel Lewis' A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858. (Sparsholt (Holy Cross))
- Kelly's Directory of Berkshire, 1899
Land and Property
The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Berkshire is available to browse.
Online maps of Sparsholt 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.