East Ilsley, Berkshire Family History Guide

East Ilsley is an Ancient Parish and a market town in the county of Berkshire.

Alternative names: East Ilsley, Market Ilsley

Parish church:

Parish registers begin:

  • Parish registers: 1653
  • Bishop’s Transcripts: 1608

Nonconformists include: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Wesleyan Methodist.

Adjacent Parishes

Historical Descriptions

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

ILSLEY (EAST), or Market-Ilsley, a small town and a parish in Wantage district, Berks. The town stands on the side of a hill, near Ickleton street, surrounded by a ridge of downs, 6¾ miles SSW of Didcot r. station, and 9 N by E of Newbury; occupies the site of the Saxon town Nachededorne; was formerly called Hildesley or Huldesley; is thought, by some antiquaries, to be the Æscendune, where Alfred fought the Danes; is now noted for sheep markets and fairs; has a post office under Newbury, and good inns; and is a seat of petty sessions and a polling place. Its sheep markets existed as early as the time of Henry II.; they are the largest throughout a great extent of England; and they commence on the Wednesday fortnight before Easter, sometimes earlier, and continue every alternate Wednesday till July. Sheep and lamb fairs also are held from Easter till November; fairs for sheep, on Easter Wednesday, Whit Wednesday, the Wednesday after 17 Oct., and the Wednesday after 12 Nov.; a fair for lambs on 1 Aug.; fairs for sheep and lambs, on 26 Aug. and the Wednesday after 19 Sept.; a fair for wool on the first Wednesday of July; and a hiring and pleasure fair on 13 Oct. So many as 50,000 sheep and lambs have been for sale at the fair of 26 Aug. Coursing meetings are held on the neighbouring downs. The parish comprises 2,979 acres. Real property, £ 4,490. Pop., 746. Houses, 130. The property is divided among a few. The manor belongs to Capt. Woodley, and great part of the land to Col. L. Lindsay. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Oxford. Value, £722. Patron, Magdalen College, Oxford. The church is partly Norman; has an early English chancel, and an embattled tower; was enlarged and repaired in 1845; and contains an old monument of one of the Hildesleys, ancient lords of the manor. There is a national school. John Hilsey, bishop of Rochester in the 16th century, was a native; and R. Wightwick, the cofounder of Pembroke college, Oxford, was rector.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].


Below is a list of people that were declared bankrupt between 1820 and 1843 extracted from The Bankrupt Directory; George Elwick; London; Simpkin, Marshall and Co.; 1843.

Pickman Wm., East Ilsley, Berkshire, grocer & tallow chandler, June 8, 1822.

Tyrrell William, East Ilsley, Berks, draper and tailor, Feb. 7, 1826.

Parish Records

FamilySearch Catalog


Census returns for East Ilsley, 1841-1891

Church Records

Bishop’s transcripts for East Ilsley, 1607-1835 Author: Church of England. Parish Church of East Ilsley (Berkshire)

Parish chest materials, 1702-1893 Author: East Ilsley (Berkshire)

Parish registers for the Parish Church of Saint Mary the Virgin, East Ilsley, Berkshire, Archdeaconry of Berkshire, Diocese of Salisbury (to 1836), Diocese of Oxford (1836-present) : baptisms 1608-2003, marriages 1608-1978, banns 1823-1866, burials 1608-1868 Author: Berkshire Family History Society (England); Church of England. Parish Church of East Ilsley (Berkshire)


Monumental inscriptions of East Ilsley Author: Saxton, Eric

Poorhouses & Poor Law

Parish chest materials, 1702-1893 Author: East Ilsley (Berkshire)

Buildings and Dwellings

“Time, gentlemen please” : 300+ years of pubs and brewing in East and West Ilsley Author: Burnay, Suzanna G.

Business Records and Commerce

“Far famed for sheep and wool” : – a history of East Ilsley’s markets and fairs Author: Wardel, Nigel

Court Records

Court books, 1621-1754 of the Manor of Ashridge (somtimes Hundred, situated in in Berkshire, regarded legally in Wiltshire). : There are also some court records from the manor of Hart Oake. Author: Manor of Ashridge. Court (Berkshire)

Military Records

Names familiar to all : the stories of the East Ilsley War Memorial Author: Sanderson, Kay


“Time, gentlemen please” : 300+ years of pubs and brewing in East and West Ilsley Author: Burnay, Suzanna G.

Probate Records

Transcripts of some East Ilsley Wills : compiled in connection with a study of monumental inscriptions of East Ilsley Author: Saxton, Eric

Voting Registers

East Ilsey district poll book 1840


Vision of Britain historical maps


  • County: Berkshire
  • Civil Registration District: Wantage
  • Probate Court: Court of the Archdeaconry of Berkshire
  • Diocese: Pre-1836 - Salisbury, Post-1835 - Oxford
  • Rural Deanery: Newbury
  • Poor Law Union: Wantage
  • Hundred: Compton
  • Province: Canterbury