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St. Mary's parish church
Cholsey is located in Oxfordshire
 Cholsey shown within Oxfordshire
Population 3,380 (2001 census)[1]
OS grid reference SU5886
   – London  45 mi (72 km) 
Civil parish Cholsey
District South Oxfordshire
Shire county Oxfordshire
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Wallingford
Postcode district OX10
Dialling code 01491
Police Thames Valley
Fire Oxfordshire
Ambulance South Central
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament Wantage
Website Cholsey Parish Council
List of places

Coordinates: 51°34′26″N 1°09′04″W / 51.574°N 1.151°W / 51.574; -1.151

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.


A Bronze Age site has been found beside the River Thames at Whitecross Farm in the northeast of the parish.[2]

A pre-Roman road, the Icknield Way, crosses the River Thames at Cholsey.

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.[3] It was demolished in 1815.

The Fair Mile Hospital, a former lunatic asylum, originally opened near Cholsey in 1870 and closed in 2003.[4]

The novelist Agatha Christie's grave is in the churchyard. She died at Winterbrook House in the parish in 1976.


Cholsey railway station.

Cholsey is served by Cholsey railway station, a calling point for First Great Western stopping services on the Great Western Main Line between Reading and Didcot.

The station was also the junction for a branch line or bunk line to Wallingford, which the heritage Cholsey and Wallingford Railway now operates on Bank Holidays and some weekends.

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.


  1. ^ "Area: Cholsey CP (Parish): Parish Headcounts". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 21 March 2010. 
  2. ^ Cromarty, Barclay, Lambrick & Robinson, 2006
  3. ^ Samuel Lysons, Magna Britannia, Berkshire volume, page 264
  4. ^ Sloan, Liam (22 September 2010). "Pictures shed light on history of Cholsey psychiatric hospital". Oxford Mail. 

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