St. Mary's parish church
Cholsey shown within Oxfordshire
|Population||3,380 (2001 census)|
|OS grid reference|
|– London||45 mi (72 km)|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
|Website||Cholsey Parish Council|
Cholsey is a town and civil parish two miles (3 km) south of Wallingford, in South Oxfordshire. In 1974 it was transferred from Berkshire to the county of Oxfordshire, and from Wallingford Rural District to the district of South Oxfordshire.
The village green is known as The Forty and has a substantial and ancient walnut tree. Winterbrook, at the north end of Cholsey parish adjoins Wallingford, and is the site of Winterbrook Bridge, which crosses the Thames.
The village itself was originally founded on an island (Ceol's Isle) in marshy ground close to the Thames. There is evidence that the House of Wessex Royal family owned land in Cholsey in the 6th and 7th century. At this time the town was home to a st. Wilgyth who was venerated locally in the Middle Ages.
A royal nunnery, Cholsey Abbey, was founded in the village in 986 by Queen Dowager Ælfthryth on land given by her son, King Ethelred the Unready. The nunnery is thought to have been destroyed by invading Danes in 1006 when they camped in Cholsey after setting nearby Wallingford ablaze. However, Saxon masonry still survives in the Church of England parish church of St Mary. Most of this flint and stone church was built in the 12th century.
In the 13th century a tithe barn was built in the village. It was, at the time, the largest aisled building in the world, being 51 feet (16 m) high, 54 feet (16 m) wide and over 300 feet (91 m) long. It was demolished in 1815.
The novelist Agatha Christie's grave is in the churchyard. She died at Winterbrook House in the parish in 1976.
In addition, Cholsey is also served by a bus service operated by Thames Travel- the 136 operates a circular route to Wallingford, and the 135 also passes Cholsey en route to Goring.
Sources and further reading
- Cromarty, Anne Marie; Barclay, Alistair; Lambrick, George; Robinson, Mark (2006). Late Bronze Age Ritual at Whitecross Farm, Wallingford. Thames Valley Landscape Series 22. Oxford: Oxford University School of Archaeology. ISBN 0-947816-67-4.
- Page, W.H.; Ditchfield, P.H., eds. (1924). A History of the County of Berkshire, Volume 4. Victoria County History. pp. 296–302.
- Pevsner, Nikolaus (1966). Berkshire. The Buildings of England. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. pp. 115–117.
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