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West Ilsley lies in a downland hollow, 11 miles north-west of Newbury and a mile and a half from its more populous sister village, East Ilsley.

Local place names

Hodcutt/Oddcut; Parson’s Copse; Harcourt Farm; Tithe Farm


3,038 acres (1,230 hectares)


406 in 1851; 332 in 2011



Poor Law union


Registration district


Present-day local authority

West Berkshire

Grid reference

SU 47 82

Adjoining parishes in 1851

Blewbury, Catmore, ChiltonEast HendredFarnborough, East Ilsley, West Hendred

Genealogical resources

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

See also Berkshire Record Office holdings.

Newbury Library holds typed transcripts of the parish register.

Published local history

  • H W Sowdon West Ilsley, Berks: a village of some importance (Blacket Turner, 1913)
  • Wiliam Hewett History and antiquities of the hundred of Compton…(inc East Ilsley) (John Snare, 1844)
  • Sue Burnay Time gentlemen please: 300 years of pubs and brewing in East and West Ilsley (Sigma Books, 2003)

Anglican church and parochial organisation

West Ilsley is a rectory in the diocese of Oxford, although patronage and probate formerly belonged to the Peculiar of Dean & Canons of Windsor.

The church of All Saints was comprehensively remodelled in late Victorian times, such that almost no trace of its twelfth-century predecessor remains, other than the roof of the nave.

Other churches

A Wesleyan Methodist chapel existed in 1840, and a Baptist chapel was built in 1866.


The 1818 report to the House of Commons committee on education cited a 1713 account of charity schools in Berkshire, which noted a school in West Ilsley, supprted by the rector, teaching 10 children.

A National school for boys and girls was recorded in 1840, 1854 and 1868, as were two Sunday schools. A schoolmistress was enumerated in the village in the census of 1851.

The modern primary school combined with that of East Ilsley in 1966.


The Post Office directory of 1854 recorded the Arrow inn. Today’s pub, almost certainly the same, is the Harrow.

Other local history

The Morland brewery was first set up in West Ilsley in 1711 by John Morland, a local farmer; the expanding business moved to Abingdon in 1887.

West Ilsley has Mick Channon’s and Denis Coakley’s racehorse training yards, and the village website claims the eighteenth-century Duke of Cumberland’s racing establishment at Kates Gore as its own – but so does East Ilsley.

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