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Fawley is a downland parish five miles south of Wantage, consisting of three townships: North or Great Fawley, South or Little Fawley, and Whatcombe; the latter was once a separate parish.

North Fawley, which forms a complete square, lies in a hollow around the church, South Fawley had a manor house built by Sir Francis Moore about 1614 and some cottages, while Whatcombe has a former manor house which is now a racehorse training stable.

Paradise and Slow Pond were named as places in the 1851 census.

Fawley is also the name of a village in south Hampshire, and in Buckinghamshire (near Hambleden).


2,190 acres  (887 hectares) in 1851


270 in 1851; 165 in 2011


Kintbury Eagle

Poor law union


Registration district


Present-day local authority

West Berkshire

Grid reference

SU 39 81

Adjoining parishes

In 1851: BrightwaltonChaddleworthEast Garston, Letcombe Basset, Letcombe Regis, Wantage, West (Great) Shefford

Genealogical resources

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

See also Berkshire Record Office holdings.

Published local history

  • A guide to the church of St Mary the Virgin and the two Fawleys, by R Lumley-Smith
  • St Mary the Virgin, Fawley, the story of the two Fawleys and Whatcombe by Ray Rawlings and Linnet McMahon

Anglican church and parochial organisation

The living of Fawley is a vicarage in the diocese of Oxford (Salisbury diocese prior to 1836).

The church of St Mary the Virgin, consecrated in 1866, replaced an older structure which stood further to the east. It is now served from Great Shefford.

There were at one time remains of an ancient religious house at Whatcombe.


A schoolmistress was enumerated in the village in 1851. Berkshire Record Office holds admissions registers and other records of a National school operating in 1862.

Other local history

Fawley was the home of Thomas Hardy’s grandmother, and was the model for Marygreen in his novel, Jude the Obscure. Jude’s surname was Fawley.

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