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Asterleigh is located in Oxfordshire
Location within Oxfordshire
OS grid referenceSP4022
Civil parish
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townWoodstock
Postcode districtOX20
Dialling code01608
PoliceThames Valley
AmbulanceSouth Central
EU ParliamentSouth East England
UK Parliament
List of places
51°53′49″N 1°25′01″W / 51.897°N 1.417°W / 51.897; -1.417Coordinates: 51°53′49″N 1°25′01″W / 51.897°N 1.417°W / 51.897; -1.417

Asterleigh, sometimes in the past called Esterley,[1] is a farm and deserted medieval village about 3 miles (4.8 km) northeast of Charlbury in Oxfordshire. The site of the former village is about 0.25 miles (400 m) west of the present farm.[2]


Asterleigh's toponym indicates that it was created by woodland clearance[3] on what would then have been the edge of Wychwood Forest.

The Domesday Book of 1086 does not record Asterleigh as a separate settlement. Medieval pottery found in 1948 suggests that Asterleigh was inhabited by the 12th century.[2] Also in 1948, squared stones were found along with limestone roofing slates that had medieval-style drilled nail-holes.[2]

The earliest known documentary record of Asterleigh is from early in the 13th century.[2] At the time of the Hundred Rolls in 1279 it had 20 farms.[3] However, the village declined and its landowning family decided to leave the village and move to Nether Kiddington.[3]


Asterleigh was an ecclesiastical parish that had its own parish church by 1216.[1] However, in 1466 John Chedworth, Bishop of Lincoln absorbed Asterleigh into the ecclesiastical parish of Kiddington, declaring:

the tenths, oblations, rents and emoluments of the rectory of Asterleigh were so diminished as to be insufficient to support a rector, or even a competent parochial chaplain, on account of the paucity of parishioners, the barrenness of land, defects of husbandry, and an unusual prevalence of pestilences and epidemic sicknesses.[3]

In 1783 the Reverend Thomas Warton reported that "pieces of moulded stone and other antique masonry" had been found at Asterleigh.[4] In 1960 the footings of the church porch were unearthed and reburied.[5]

Farm and civil parish[edit]

By the 18th century Asterleigh was no more than a farmhouse.[6] Asterleigh Farm was an extra-parochial area of 300 acres (120 ha) until 1858[7] when it was made a civil parish.[8] In 1895 it was combined with the civil parish of Kiddington.[8]

The site of the medieval village and church is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument.[9]


  1. ^ a b Page, 1907
  2. ^ a b c d Jope, 1948, pages 67-69
  3. ^ a b c d Emery, 1974, page 102
  4. ^ Warton, 1783, cited in Jope, 1948, pages 67-69
  5. ^ Case & Sturdy, 1960, page 131
  6. ^ Warton, 1815, page 23
  7. ^ Vision of Britain website: Asterleigh[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ a b Vision of Britain website: Kiddington[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ West Oxfordshire District Council: Scheduled Ancient Monuments Archived September 2, 2011, at the Wayback Machine


  • Case, Humphrey; Sturdy, David (1960). "Recent Mediaeval Finds in the Oxford Region". Oxoniensia. Oxford Architectural and Historical Society. XXV: 131.
  • Emery, Frank (1974). The Oxfordshire Landscape. The Making of the English Landscape. London: Hodder & Stoughton. pp. 101–102. ISBN 0-340-04301-6.
  • Jope, E.M. (1948). "Recent Mediaeval Finds in the Oxford Region". Oxoniensia. Oxford Architectural and Historical Society. XIII: 67–69.
  • Page, W.H., ed. (1907). A History of the County of Oxford, Volume 2. Victoria County History. Archibald Constable & Co. pp. 1–63.
  • Warton, Thomas (1783). The History and Antiquities of Kiddington (2nd ed.). pp. 17–21.
  • Warton, Thomas (1815). The History and Antiquities of Kiddington (3rd ed.). London: J. Nichols, Son & Bentley. p. 23.