East Challow

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East Challow
EastChallow StNicolas northwest.JPG
St Nicholas' parish church
East Challow is located in Oxfordshire
East Challow
East Challow
Location within Oxfordshire
Population769 (2011 census)[1]
OS grid referenceSU3888
Civil parish
  • East Challow
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townWantage
Postcode districtOX12
Dialling code01235
PoliceThames Valley
AmbulanceSouth Central
UK Parliament
List of places
51°35′22″N 1°27′06″W / 51.5895°N 1.4516°W / 51.5895; -1.4516Coordinates: 51°35′22″N 1°27′06″W / 51.5895°N 1.4516°W / 51.5895; -1.4516

East Challow is a village and civil parish about 1 mile (1.6 km) west of Wantage in the Vale of White Horse, England. Historically it was part of the ecclesiastical parish of Letcombe Regis, but since 1852 East and West Challow have formed their own single ecclesiastical parish.[2] The civil parish was part of Berkshire until the 1974 boundary changes transferred the Vale of White Horse to Oxfordshire.


The place-name Challow is first attested in a charter of 947 (though the earliest surviving copy of the charter is twelfth-century) in the Old English phrase "to Ceawan Hlewe", which can straightforwardly be translated as "to Ceawa's burial mound",[3] where Ceawa is a personal name attested only here and in the place-name Chawridge.[4]: 4 [5] The name appears as Ceveslane (considered to be a mis-spelling of Ceveslaue) in the Domesday Book of 1086.[3][2] Thirteenth-century variants included Chaulea, Chaulauhe, Chawelawe and Shawelawe.[3][2]

The "East" element in the name, added to distinguish East Challow from West Challow, is first found in 1284 (in the form Est Challowe).[3]

Church and mission[edit]

Church of England[edit]

The Church of England parish church of St Nicolas was a-12th century Norman building, but the font and some masonry of the nave are now almost the only original features that survive.[2] In the 13th century the chancel and chancel arch were rebuilt, and the bell-cot and three-bay north aisle were added.[6] The Decorated Gothic south chapel was added early in the 14th century.[6] The communion table was made in the 17th century.[2] In the 18th century the aisle was rebuilt in brick, and a porch was added over a 12th-century doorway.[2]

In 1858 St. Nicolas' was drastically restored,[6] with the aisle and west front rebuilt and the nave re-roofed.[2] The rebuilding of the west front removed a 12th-century west doorway and a 15th-century west window above it.[2] In 1884 the low tower was added at the west end of the aisle.[2][6] The oak rood screen was added in 1905.[2] The church is a Grade II* listed building.[7] St. Nicolas' has two bells,[2] which are not dated, but the smaller was cast by Robert Wells of Aldbourne, Wiltshire,[8] which makes it very likely to be 18th-century.

The Mission

The Mission[edit]

The Mission is a Free Church that was built in 1904.[9]


East Challow village is on both sides of the A417 road, on its section from Wantage to Faringdon.

The Wilts & Berks Canal was built east–west across the parish and opened in 1810, to convey Somerset coal through Wiltshire and Berkshire to the Thames. The canal fell into disuse and was abandoned in 1914, but work to restore it has been in progress since the 1970s.[10] Parts of its route are now footpaths, and there is a narrow strip of overgrown land between Canal Way and Canal Farm Lane.[11][12]


East Challow has a public house, the Goodlake Arms, that was once controlled by Morland Brewery. Vicarage Hill, the village cricket ground, hosts some home matches of Oxfordshire County Cricket Club.[13]


  1. ^ "Area: East Challow (Parish): Usual Resident Population, 2011 (KS101EW)". Neighbourhood Statistics: Full Dataset View. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 14 October 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Page & Ditchfield 1924, pp. 222–228
  3. ^ a b c d Victor Watts, The Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names Based on the Collections of the English Place-Name Society (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), p. 124.
  4. ^ Richard Coates, 'On Some Controversy Surrounding Gewissae / Gewissei, Cerdic and Ceawlin', Nomina, 13 (1989–90), 1–11.
  5. ^ John Insley, 'Britons and Anglo-Saxons', in Kulturelle Integration und Personennamen im Mittelalter, ed. by Wolfgang Haubrichs, Christa Jochum-Godglück (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2019), §4.
  6. ^ a b c d Pevsner 1966, p. 131
  7. ^ Historic England. "Church of St Nicholas (Grade II*) (1048593)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 6 December 2019.
  8. ^ "Challow, S Nicholas". Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers. Retrieved 21 August 2022.
  9. ^ "Home". The Mission, East Challow. Retrieved 14 October 2014.
  10. ^ Squires, Roger (1983). The New Navvies. Chichester, Sussex: Phillimore. pp. 123–124. ISBN 0-85033-364-4 – via Internet Archive.
  11. ^ "East Challow to Wantage". Wiltshire Swindon & Oxfordshire Canal Partnership. Retrieved 21 August 2022.
  12. ^ "East Vale Projects". Wilts & Berks Canal Trust. Retrieved 21 August 2022.
  13. ^ "Ground profile: Vicarage Hill, East Challow". CricketArchive. Retrieved 27 January 2013.