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Houses in Spelsbury - geograph.org.uk - 1116420.jpg
Village main road
Spelsbury is located in Oxfordshire
Spelsbury shown within Oxfordshire
Population 305 (parish, including Dean & Taston) (2011 Census)
OS grid reference SP3421
Civil parish
  • Spelsbury
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Chipping Norton
Postcode district OX7
Dialling code 01608
Police Thames Valley
Fire Oxfordshire
Ambulance South Central
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament
Website Spelsbury Parish Council
List of places
51°53′46″N 1°29′31″W / 51.896°N 1.492°W / 51.896; -1.492Coordinates: 51°53′46″N 1°29′31″W / 51.896°N 1.492°W / 51.896; -1.492

Spelsbury (/ˈspɛlzbri, -bəri/ or locally /ˈspɛw-/) is a village and civil parish about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) north of Charlbury and about 4 miles (6.4 km) southeast of Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire. The village is on a narrow hill between the Coldron and Taston brooks overlooking the River Evenlode and the ancient Wychwood Forest to the south. The 2011 Census recorded the parish's population as 305.[1]


The toponym is derived from the Old English for either "spying place" or the place of a person called "Speol". It was first recorded in the Cartularium Saxonicum in AD 1010 as Speoles byrig. In 1086 the Domesday Book recorded the village as Spelesberie.[2]

The Church of England parish church of All Saints was originally Norman with a central tower. In about 1200 transepts were added, but during the 13th century the Early English Gothic nave was built on the site of the Norman chancel. The nave is flanked by north and south aisles. The present west doorway in the tower and several of the windows in the aisles are early 14th century.[3]>

In 1706 the 1st Earl of Lichfield had the bell tower restored. In 1740 the 2nd Earl of Lichfield had the chancel rebuilt. In 1774 the 4th Earl of Lichfield had the nave and aisles remodelled. The chancel was rebuilt again in 1851.[3] Spelsbury parish includes the hamlets of Dean and Taston. In 2001 the Church of England Benefice of Ascott-under-Wychwood, Chadlington and Spelsbury merged with that of Enstone and Heythrop to form the Chase Benefice.[4]

Spelsbury has a group of almshouses built in 1688 by John Carry.[3] Coldron Mill, south-west of the village, is on a site where a mill has existed for at least a thousand years.[5] In the village a drinking fountain in the shape of a shell commemorates Henry Dillon, 13th Viscount Dillon, who died in 1853.[6]

The poet John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester lived and is buried in Spelsbury.[7] The actor Sir Ben Kingsley lives in the village.[8]


David and Samantha Cameron at Spelsbury to vote in the 2010 General Election

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