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The Hanneys lie in the Vale of the White Horse in northern (old) Berkshire, relocated since 1974 in Oxfordshire. The parish combines the townships of East and West Hanney (which has also been known as Church Hanney), and formerly also the chapelry of Lyford. In a directory of 1868 the name of West Hanney described both Hanneys and Lyford. Today the settlements are often referred to as the Hanneys, and Lyford is treated separately.

The placenames Langmead and Banstable occur in the 1851 census, and Bullocks and Erles Court are mentioned in early documentation about the village. A hamlet of Paufrey was mentioned in East Hanney’s enclosure act of 1803, but no longer exists.

Letcombe Brook flows through the parish, and formerly powered Dandridge Mill (producing silk, and later grain) and another. The area is richly fertile arable land, but is low-lying, and suffered severe flooding in 2007 and 2008.

The (formerly GWR) railway passes through West Hanney, served by a station which opened in Wantage Road in 1840.

The A338 also crosses the village, having been built in 1776 as a turnpike road.

The Wantage to Abingdon stretch of the Wilts and Berks canal, opened in 1810, passes through the village.


In total (including Lyford) 4,300 acres (1,741 hectares)


1,020 in 1851; 1,150 in 2001; 2011 West Hanney 491, East Hanney n/a


Wantage (Lyford was in Ock hundred)

Poor law union


Registration district

Wantage (Lyford was in Abingdon)

Present-day local authority

Vale of  the White Horse, Oxfordshire County Council

Grid reference

SU 40 92

Adjoining parishes in 1851

Ardington, Drayton, Garford, Lyford, Marcham, Steventon, Wantage

Genealogical resources

See Berks FHS Books for coverage of this parish in the society’s range of CDs.

See also Berkshire Record Office holdings.


www.thehanneys.org.uk community site

http://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk contains the parish plan for the Hanneys; it contains much useful description of the village past and present.

Published local history

  • Diana R Bowder Hanney, a short history
  • Hanney History Group Late Victorian Hanney an agricultural community(1994)
  • Hanney History Group Holmes of Hanney (1993)
  • Angela Cousins Telling tales: a patchwork of village people East and West Hanney (2011) details of availability on www.thehanneys.org.uk

Anglican church and parochial organisation

The parish of West Hanney is a vicarage, united with the chapelry of East Hanney, in the diocese of Oxford (1870).

The church of St James the Great in West Hanney is of Norman origin, restored in the nineteeenth century and still serves the parish.

The church of St James the Less, East Hanney was built in a plain medieval style in 1858, succeeding an earlier chapel of the same dedication. By 1976 it had been closed for worship and converted to residential use.

Today the ecclesiastical parish of Hanney falls within the same benefice as Challow and Denchworth.


A National school in West Hanney was described as "recently erected" in 1868. The community website dates its foundation in 1847.


The 1851 census enumerated an inn called the Crown. Two other residents described themselves as innkeepers without naming any inn.

Today there is the Black Horse in East Hanney and the Plough in West Hanney.

Other local history

There was a post office in 1872, and there is still one today.

The Priory is/was (in 1924) an Elizabethan or early Jacobean house, south-west of the church.

According to www.thehanneys.org.uk the church displays a plaque (near the font on the north wall) to the oldest ever recorded English woman, Elizabeth Bowles, who died in 1718 aged 124.

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