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Besselsleigh StLawrence South.JPG
St. Lawrence's parish church
Besselsleigh is located in Oxfordshire
 Besselsleigh shown within Oxfordshire
Population 87 (2001 census)[1]
OS grid reference SP4501
Civil parish Besselsleigh
District Vale of White Horse
Shire county Oxfordshire
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Abingdon
Postcode district OX13
Dialling code 01865
Police Thames Valley
Fire Oxfordshire
Ambulance South Central
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament Oxford West and Abingdon
List of places

Coordinates: 51°43′N 1°21′W / 51.71°N 1.35°W / 51.71; -1.35

Besselsleigh or Bessels Leigh is a village and civil parish about 4.5 miles (7 km) south-west of Oxford. Besselsleigh was part of Berkshire until the 1974 boundary changes transferred it to Oxfordshire.

The village is just off the A420 road between Oxford and Swindon.


Besselsleigh is almost certainly the Lea or Leigh owned by a Saxon named Earmund in the 7th century. The manor of Leigh passed to the family of a Thomas Bessels in the mid-14th century, and by the next century the village had acquired its present toponym.[2]

The Church of England parish church of Saint Lawrence existed by the 12th century, and the west wall, Norman south door[3] and possibly some other parts survive from this time.[2] The church was rebuilt in the latter part of the 13th century,[2] which is the date of the Decorated Gothic west window of the nave and east window of the chancel.[3] Most of the other windows are Perpendicular Gothic:[3] that in the north wall of the chancel from the 14th century and others in the church from the 15th century.[2]

In 1632 William Lenthall paid for St. Lawrence's to be "beautified and repaired"[2] and in 1788 William John Lenthall paid for further works on the church.[4] The font is 17th century and the pulpit is 18th century.[3] St. Lawrence's is a Grade II* listed building.[4]

Economy and amenities[edit]

The Greyhound public house

Besselsleigh has a public house, the Greyhound. The Greyhound is in the coat of arms of the Lenthall family who used to own Besselsleigh Hall.[5]

Parklands Campus (formerly Bessels Leigh School and Spires School) at the edge of the village is an independent special school for boys and girls aged 11 to 16, run by the charity Action for Children.[6]


St Lawrence's parish church: 13th century east window of chancel
  1. ^ "Area selected: Vale of White Horse (Non-Metropolitan District)". Neighbourhood Statistics: Full Dataset View. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 30 March 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Page & Ditchfield 1924, pp. 393-398
  3. ^ a b c d Pevsner 1966, p. 86
  4. ^ a b "Church of St Lawrence". National Heritage List for England. English Heritage. Retrieved 20 August 2012. 
  5. ^ The Greyhound Besselsleigh
  6. ^ Action for Children: Parklands Campus


External links[edit]

Media related to Besselsleigh at Wikimedia Commons