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Cholsey Church - - 11622.jpg
St Mary's, Cholsey
Grid reference: SU5886
Location: 51°34’26"N, 1°9’4"W
Population: 3,380  (2001)
Post town: Wallingford
Postcode: OX10
Dialling code: 01491
Local Government
Council: South Oxfordshire
Website: Cholsey Parish Council

Cholsey is a village and parish in Berkshire lying two miles south of Wallingford. The village green is known as The Forty. Winterbrook, at the north end of Cholsey parish adjoins Wallingford, and is the site of Winterbrook Bridge across the Thames.


A Bronze Age site has been found beside the River Thames at Whitecross Farm in the north-east of the parish.[1]

The Icknield Way, an ancient long-distance trackway predating the Roman period, crosses the River Thames at Cholsey.


The village was originally founded on an island (Ceol's Isle) in marshy ground close to the Thames. There is evidence that the West Saxon royal family owned land in Cholsey in the 6th and 7th century. 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, Anglo-Saxon masonry still survives in the 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 high, 54 feet wide and over 300 feet long.[2] It was demolished in 1815.

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 stopping services on the Great Western Main Line between Reading and Didcot.

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


  1. Cromarty, Barclay, Lambrick & Robinson, 2006
  2. Samuel Lysons, Magna Britannia, Berkshire volume, page 264


  • Cromarty, Anne Marie; Barclay, Alistair; Lambrick, George; Robinson, Mark (2006). Late Bronze Age Ritual at Whitecross Farm, Wallingford. Thames Valley Landscape Series. 22. Oxford: Oxford University School of Archaeology. ISBN 0947816674. 
  • Page, W.H.; Ditchfield, P.H., eds (1924). A History of the County of Berkshire, Volume 4. Victoria County History. pp. 296–302. 
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus (1966). Berkshire. The Buildings of England. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. pp. 115–117. 

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Cholsey)