East Ilsley is a village and civil parish in the Berkshire Downs in West Berkshire, north of Newbury. The village is centred immediately east of the A34 dual carriageway which passes the length of the village from north to south. It has the vast majority of its buildings in a traditional clustered centre.

East Ilsley
East Ilsley, Berkshire.jpg
East Ilsley's village pond and small green with homes
East Ilsley is located in Berkshire
East Ilsley
East Ilsley
Location within Berkshire
Area15.02 km2 (5.80 sq mi)
Population538 (2011 census)[1]
• Density36/km2 (93/sq mi)
OS grid referenceSU4981
Civil parish
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townNewbury
Postcode districtRG20
Dialling code01635
PoliceThames Valley
FireRoyal Berkshire
AmbulanceSouth Central
UK Parliament
WebsiteOfficial website
List of places
51°30′54″N 1°15′14″W / 51.515°N 1.254°W / 51.515; -1.254Coordinates: 51°30′54″N 1°15′14″W / 51.515°N 1.254°W / 51.515; -1.254



The parish was anciently called Hildersley, as in a medieval inscription in the church. West Ilsley was a hamlet in Ilsley. Ilsley has been attributed by antiquaries as a leading contender for the uncertain site of the Battle of Ashdown (Alfred the Great's victory against the Danes).[2][3] Hilde-Laege, a strong plausible root of Hildersley, means "battle place".[citation needed]

Sheep marketEdit

In 1620 East Ilsley was granted a charter to hold a sheep market in the village, however the market had been informally held from the reign of Henry II. This became the second largest sheep market in the country, after Smithfield, throughout the 19th century.[2][3]

Economy in the 1870sEdit

Its real property, farms and homes, was worth £4,490 (equivalent to £457,055 in 2021) and its population in the United Kingdom Census 1871 was 746. It had 130 houses. This capital was remarked in a contemporary description as owned by a few. The manor belonged to Capt. Woodley, and great part of the land to Col. Robert Loyd-Lindsay. The benefice remained in the default form of a rectory, rather than a vicarage, in the diocese of Oxford, worth £722 (equivalent to £73,495 in 2021). The patron was Magdalen College, Oxford. There was, by this time, a National School in the village.[3]


The parish Church of St Mary is partly Norman; has an early English style chancel and has an embattled tower; it was enlarged and repaired in 1845 and contains an old monument of one of the Hildesleys, the ancient lords of the manor. The church is a Grade I Listed building.[4]

Notable inhabitantsEdit



East Ilsley's nearest station is Didcot Parkway, providing direct services to the West, West Midlands and London. Historically, the village was served by Compton railway station, which opened in 1882 and closed in 1962, on the Didcot, Newbury and Southampton Railway.


East Ilsley is served by buses 6 and 6A from Newbury.[5]

Roads and footpathsEdit

The Ridgeway long-distance footpath passes through a subway below the A34, approximately one mile north of the village.

Racehorse trainingEdit

Racehorses have been trained at East Ilsley for about 200 years, as an offshoot from the economic centre of training in the United Kingdom and Ireland, ten miles west at Lambourn.[6]


Of its 216 homes in 2011, the majority in this parish were owner-occupied; just over 10% were socially rented.

2011 Census Key Statistics
Output area Population Homes Owned outright Owned with a loan Privately rented Socially rented Other km2 km2 Greenspace[n 1] km2 gardens km2 road[1]
East Ilsley (civil parish) 538 216 65 85 28 29 9 12.6 12.1 0.1 0.2

Nearest placesEdit


  1. ^ Comprises cultivated fields, pasture, woodland and common.


  1. ^ a b Key Statistics: Dwellings; Quick Statistics: Population Density; Physical Environment: Land Use Survey 2005
  2. ^ a b A Topographical Dictionary of England. S. Lewis (1848). London: Samuel Lewis, p.691.
  3. ^ a b c d Imperial Gazetteer of Britain John Marius Wilson (1870-72). (University of Portsmouth visionofbritain.org.uk website). Retrieved 2014-12-03
  4. ^ Historic England (24 November 1966). "Church of St Mary (Grade I) (1136120)". National Heritage List for England.
  5. ^ "Services effective from 18 February 2013" Archived 19 August 2013 at the Wayback Machine Newbury and District Transport. Retrieved 2014-12-03.
  6. ^ Curling, Bill (1977), Derby Double: The Unique Story of Racehorse Trainer Arthur Budgett, London: William Luscombe (Mitchell Beasley), p. 25, ISBN 0-86002-164-5

External linksEdit