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Shrivenham StAndrew southwest.JPG
St Andrew's parish church
Shrivenham is located in Oxfordshire
Location within Oxfordshire
Population2,347 (2011 Census)
OS grid referenceSU2388
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townSwindon
Postcode districtSN6
Dialling code01793
PoliceThames Valley
AmbulanceSouth Western
UK Parliament
WebsiteShrivenham Oxfordshire England
List of places
51°35′53″N 1°39′32″W / 51.598°N 1.659°W / 51.598; -1.659Coordinates: 51°35′53″N 1°39′32″W / 51.598°N 1.659°W / 51.598; -1.659

Shrivenham is a village and civil parish in the Vale of White Horse, Oxfordshire, about 5 miles (8 km) southwest of Faringdon. The village is close to the county boundary with Wiltshire and about 7 miles (11 km) east-northeast of Swindon. The 2011 Census recorded the parish population as 2,347.[1] Shrivenham is located within the historic boundaries of Berkshire. The 1974 boundary changes transferred the Vale of White Horse to Oxfordshire for the purposes of administration.


Shrivenham has numerous thatched cottages, stone walls, an historic pump and a parish church that is unusual for having been rebuilt in the 17th century. The village has three historic public houses: the Barrington Arms, The Crown and the Prince of Wales.

Beckett estate[edit]

The main country estate in Shrivenham is the Beckett Estate. In the 17th century it was the home of Henry Marten, the regicide. Later the Barrington family owned the estate and lived at Beckett Hall. The family and estate gave their names to Great Barrington, Massachusetts and Becket, Massachusetts.[citation needed] Charlotte, the second wife of the 8th Viscount Barrington, endowed the memorial hall in the village: it was opened in 1925 by Princess Beatrice, daughter of Queen Victoria.[2] The hall and surrounding playing fields, known as Viscountess Barrington's Memorial Hall & Recreation Ground, are on Highworth Road.

GI American University[edit]

At the end of World War II in Europe, the US Army's Information and Educational Branch was ordered to establish an overseas university campus for demobilised American service men and women. It did this on the Beckett estate at Shrivenham. This, and two other campuses in Europe, was set up to provide a transition between army life and subsequent attendance at a university in the USA, and therefore students attended for just one term. [3]

UK military colleges[edit]

Shrivenham has been the site of UK military colleges since 1946 and the establishment of the Royal Military College of Science (RMCS) in the grounds of Beckett Hall. This college has since been absorbed into the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom. The academy provides higher education for personnel in the British Armed Forces, Civil Service, other government departments and service personnel from other nations. The current Director General is Air Marshal Edward Stringer, a senior RAF officer who took his post in 2018. The academy is headquartered at Shrivenham and delivers education and training in a number of sites. The majority of training is postgraduate with many courses being accredited for the award of civilian qualifications. The Conflict Studies Research Centre (CSRC) is just over the parish boundary in Watchfield.

Joint Services Command and Staff College (JSCSC) is a British military academic establishment providing training and education to experienced officers of the Royal Navy, British Army, Royal Air Force, Ministry of Defence Civil Service, and serving officers of other states. JSCSC combined the single service provision of the British Armed Forces: Royal Naval College, Greenwich, Staff College, Camberley, RAF Staff College, Bracknell and the Joint Service Defence College, Greenwich. Initially formed at Bracknell in 1997, the college moved to a purpose-built facility in the grounds of the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom at Watchfield in Oxfordshire in 2000.[4]

The Conflict Studies Research Centre (CSRC) was part of the UK Defence Academy. It specialised in potential causes of conflict in a wide area ranging from the Baltic to Central Asia. This geographical focus was inherited from the Centre's original incarnation as the Soviet Studies Research Centre (SSRC) in 1972, at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, examining the Soviet military threat. Renamed in the 1990s, the Centre later examined wider issues including foreign policy, energy security and demographic change. The Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre, the MOD's independent think tank, is also located in the area.


Shrivenham had a parish church by 1117, when Henry I granted its advowson to the Augustinian Cirencester Abbey upon the latter's foundation.[5] Little survives from the church of that time save for part of the west wall of the nave, which is late 12th century,[5] and the font which is carved from Purbeck Marble.[6] By the 15th century the parish church was cruciform,[5] with a central Perpendicular Gothic belltower that was built in about 1400.[6] The present Church of England parish church of Saint Andrew is the result of a comprehensive and unusual rebuilding in 1638, funded largely by the Earl of Craven.[6] The end walls of the nave, chancel and two transepts were extended to form a rectangle with a nave of three bays with round arches on Tuscan columns with excessive entasis;[6] a chancel of two bays; and north and south aisles running the full length of the nave, tower and chancel.[5] The nave, chancel and aisles share one continuous roof. The central bell tower was retained in what otherwise was an almost completely new early 17th century church.[7] A Jacobean wooden pulpit and tester and almost continuous panelling around the walls completed the interior.[6] The building remains largely as it was completed in 1638, apart from the addition of a neoclassical west porch in the middle of the 18th century.[8]

Inside St. Andrew's are numerous monuments. The oldest is a stone recumbent effigy in the south aisle, apparently of a 14th-century woman.[8] Many of the monuments from later centuries commemorate notable residents of Beckett Hall, including John Wildman (c. 1621–93), Rothesia Ann Barrington (died 1745; monument sculpted by Thomas Paty), John Barrington, 1st Viscount Barrington (1678–1734), William Barrington, 2nd Viscount Barrington (1717–93; monument designed by James Wyatt and sculpted by Richard Westmacott) and Rear Admiral Samuel Barrington (1729–1800; monument sculpted by John Flaxman).[6] The tower has a ring of ten bells. Mears and Stainbank of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry cast the six largest bells, including the tenor, in 1908.[9] Gillett & Johnston of Croydon cast the third and fourth bells in 1948.[9] These were a gift from a US Army civil affairs unit that trained in Shrivenham before the Normandy invasion.[10] The ring was increased from eight to ten bells in 2003 when the Whitechapel Bell Foundry cast the present treble and second bells.[9] A Primitive Methodist chapel was established in the village in 1872.[5] It is now Shrivenham Methodist Church.

Economic history[edit]

There has been human settlement at Shrivenham from at least 400 BC. The remains of a Roman villa have been uncovered nearby. Shrivenham is part of Shrivenham Hundred which includes Ashbury, Buscot, Coleshill, Compton Beauchamp, Eaton Hastings, Longcot, Shrivenham, and Uffington.[11] After the 19th century English hundreds effectively ceased to function, although they have not been abolished.[citation needed] Shrivenham railway station continued to serve the parish until British Railways closed it in 1964. The Wilts & Berks Canal from Semington on the Kennet and Avon Canal to Abingdon on the River Thames was built between 1796 and 1810. In 1805 it reached Shrivenham where a wharf was built.[12]

Coal delivered via Semington to Shrivenham peaked at 601 tons in 1840,[13] when the Great Western Railway was built through the area and opened Shrivenham railway station. Coal deliveries by canal fluctuated through the 1840s and then collapsed from 272 tons in 1850 to only 28 tons in 1852 and none for most years thereafter, except for 27 tons in 1858 and 24 tons in 1864.[13] Other canal freight also declined, and between 1893 and 1896 just 48 tons were shipped between Shrivenham and Wantage.[14] In 1894–95 Ainsworth, a local canal carrier, handled 23 tons of freight at Shrivenham.[15] By then the canal was increasingly in disrepair, in 1901 the collapse of the Stanley Aqueduct effectively ended the little remaining traffic and in 1914 an Act of Parliament formalised the abandonment of the canal.


In Tom Brown's School Days, the main character Tom Brown mentions Shrivenham railway station (now closed):

"Most of you have probably travelled down the Great Western Railway as far as Swindon. Those of you who did so with their eyes open have been aware, soon after leaving the Didcot station, of a fine range of chalk hills running parallel with the railway on the left-hand side as you go down, and distant some two or three miles, more or less, from the line. The highest point in the range is the White Horse Hill, which you come in front of just before you stop at the Shrivenham station. If you love English scenery, and have a few hours to spare, you can't do better, the next time you pass, than stop at the Farringdon Road or Shrivenham station, and make your way to that highest point."

Sport and leisure[edit]

  • The local football team is Shrivenham F.C.
  • The Vale of White Horse Gliding Centre[16] flies from Sandhill Farm, just north of the village.
  • Shrivenham Amateur Dramatics Society[17]

Notable people[edit]

Twin town[edit]



  1. ^ UK Census (2011). "Local Area Report – Shrivenham Parish (1170217895)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  2. ^ "MEMORIAL HALL About The Hall". Shrivenham village website. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
  3. ^ MacKenzie, Norman (17 November 1945). "Shrivenham". New Statesman and Nation: 329. Retrieved 8 October 2011.
  4. ^ Ministry of Defence: The Joint Services Command and Staff College National Audit Office Report 2002
  5. ^ a b c d e Page & Ditchfield 1924, pp. 531–543.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Pevsner 1966, p. 218.
  7. ^ Pevsner 1966, p. 217.
  8. ^ a b Historic England. "Parish Church of St Andrew (1284309)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 14 March 2012.
  9. ^ a b c Baldwin, John (13 November 2005). "Shrivenham S Andrew". Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers. Central Council of Church Bell Ringers. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
  10. ^ "Unit History: Shrivenham and Manchester". Retrieved 22 March 2016.
  11. ^ Page & Ditchfield 1924, pp. 500–502.
  12. ^ Dalby 2000, p. 23.
  13. ^ a b Dalby 2000, p. 119.
  14. ^ Dalby 2000, p. 123.
  15. ^ Dalby 2000, p. 124.
  16. ^ "Vale of White Horse Gliding Centre". Retrieved 22 March 2016.
  17. ^ "Shrivenham Amateur Dramatics Society". Retrieved 22 March 2016.


  • Boobyer, David (2005). Shrivenham: Portraits of a Typical English Village.
  • Child, Mark (2007). Guide to St Andrew's Church Shrivenham In The Diocese of Oxford. Thanet: The Church Publishers.
  • Dalby, LJ (2000) [1971]. The Wilts and Berks Canal (3rd ed.). Usk: Oakwood Press. pp. 23, 119, 123, 124. ISBN 0-85361-562-4.
  • Dils, Joan; Schwartz, Deidre (2004). Tudor and Stuart Shrivenham. self-published by the authors.
  • Hill, Rev. Edward Frank (1929). A Record of the Parish of Shrivenham, Berkshire. Faringdon: C Luker.
  • Laird, Philip (2007). Shrivenham: A Local Place for Local People.
  • Page, William; Ditchfield, PH, eds. (1924). A History of the County of Berkshire. Victoria County History. IV. assisted by John Hautenville Cope. London: The St Katherine Press. pp. 531–543.
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus (1966). Berkshire. The Buildings of England. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. pp. 217–218.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

More historical information is available at