Ewelme is a village and civil parish in the Chiltern Hills in South Oxfordshire District, 2.5 miles (4 km) north-east of the market town of Wallingford. The 2011 UK census recorded the parish's population as 1,048.
To the east of the village is Cow Common and to the west, Benson Airfield, the northeastern corner of which is within the parish boundary.
William de la Pole, 1st Duke of Suffolk (1) (1396-1450) and his wife Alice de la Pole (1385-1475) established the school and cloistered almshouses from their profits from the East Anglian wool trade in 1437. Alice was the daughter of Thomas Chaucer, Speaker of the House of Commons and granddaughter of the poet Geoffrey Chaucer. As lords of the manor, she and her father had both lived at Ewelme Palace which once stood in the village.
Ewelme School is said to be the oldest school building in the UK still in use as a local authority school.
The almshouses are officially called "The Two Chaplains and Thirteen Poor Men of Ewelme in the County of Oxford". The thirteen almsmen have now been reduced to eight, but the building is still run as a charity by the Ewelme Trust.
Under James I the original purpose of the position of Master of Ewelme Hospital was diverted in 1617 to support the Regius Professorship of Physic at the University of Oxford; this was confirmed in 1628 by the attachment of the stipend to the chair. At the same time the rectorship of Ewelme was made to support the same university's Regius Professor of Divinity, who then served as Rector of the parish.
Thomas Chaucer and Alice de la Pole are buried in the Church of England parish church of Saint Mary the Virgin adjoining the almshouses. Thomas, who died in 1434, was the son of Geoffrey the Poet and Phillipa Roet, whose sister Katherine de Roët married John of Gaunt, son of Edward III. The tomb chest of Thomas and that of his wife Matilda or Maud de Burghersh are topped with memorial brasses showing him in plate armour and her in mantle, veil and wimple with their respective crests (his a unicorn and hers a lion) at their feet.
Alice's alabaster tomb, almost undamaged by time, consists of a canopy of panelled stone, below which is the recumbent effigy of the Duchess on top of the tomb chest which contains her remains; the space beneath the chest encloses her sculpted cadaver, which is viewed through elaborate reticulated arches. Her effigy was examined by Queen Victoria's commissioners in order to discover how a lady should wear the insignia of the Order of the Garter.
William de la Pole was Alice's third husband. Alice's first and second husbands were John Philip (died 1415) and Thomas Montagu, 4th Earl of Salisbury (1388-1428). Her six-year-old step-great-granddaughter, Anne Beauchamp, 15th Countess of Warwick (1440-1447), also died at Ewelme, but was buried at Reading Abbey.
Jerome K. Jerome (1859-1927), author of Three Men In A Boat, lived at Gould's Grove just southeast of Ewelme. He and his wife Ettie (died 1938) are buried in St. Mary's churchyard; their tombstone reads "For we are labourers together with God".