Place:Coleshill, Berkshire, England

Alt namesColeshill, Oxfordshiresource: current location
TypeParish (ancient), Civil parish
Coordinates51.642°N 1.661°W
Located inBerkshire, England     ( - 1974)
Also located inWiltshire, England     ( - 1881)
Oxfordshire, England     (1974 - )
See alsoShrivenham Hundred, Berkshire, Englandhundred in which it was located
Faringdon Rural, Berkshire, Englandrural district in which the parish was located until 1974
Vale of White Horse, Oxfordshire, Englandadministrative district in which the parish has been located since 1974
source: Family History Library Catalog

NOTE: There are four places named Coleshill in England and Wales. The others are in Warwickshire (quite large), Buckinghamshire (this Coleshill was once a detached part of Hertfordshire), and Flintshire.

Coleshill is a village and civil parish formerly in the Faringdon Rural District in Berkshire, England. Following the boundary changes which occurred in 1974, the whole of Faringdon Rural District was transferred to Oxfordshire where it is now located in the Vale of the White Horse administrative district.

Coleshill was an ancient parish in the Shrivenham Hundred, in the Faringdon Poor Law Union, and in the Highworth Cricklade and Staple Hundred of Wiltshire, England.

A Vision of Britain through Time provides the following description of Coleshill from John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales of 1870-72:

"COLESHlLL, a village in Faringdon [registration] district, Berks; and a parish partly also in Wilts. The village stands on the river Cole, at the boundary between Berks and Wilts, 3¾ miles WSW of Faringdon [railway] station, and 4½ N of Shrivenham; consists chiefly of new, neat, uniform cottages; has a post office under Swindon; and gives the title of Baron to the Earl of Radnor. The parish is mainly in Berks, but includes Lynt, a pasture farm of 480 acres in Wilts. Acres: 2,301. Real property: £5,202. Population: 464. Houses: 80. The property is not much divided. The manor belonged to the Pleydells, and passed, by marriage, to the Bouveries. Coleshill House, the seat of the Earl of Radnor, is a quadrangular structure of 1650 by Inigo Jones, retaining its original character, and forming the finest specimen of Jones' taste and talent; and it contains a fine hall, and many good family portraits. The grounds are remarkably beautiful; and there is a great model farm. Vestiges of a Roman camp are seen at Binbury. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Oxford. Value: £311. Patron: the Earl of Radnor. The church is a handsome structure, with pinnacled western tower; and contains a curious circular window, with the arms of Sir Mark Stuart Pleydell and his lady, a marble cenotaph, by Rysbrach, to their daughter, afterwards Countess of Radnor, and an eastern window, representing the Nativity, brought from Angers. Charities, £121."

Wikipedia states that Coleshill House, after serving a special role in World War II, burnt down in 1952.

Research Tips


  • GENUKI's collection of maps for Berkshire. For basic reference are the two online maps Berkshire Parishes (highly recommended) and Berkshire Poor Law Union areas. These locate the individual parishes and indicate the urban and rural districts to which each belonged. There are many other maps listed, some covering specific parts of the county.
  • Wikipedia's outline map of the unitary authorities, shown on many of their Berkshire pages, shows how the new divisions of government relate to the former districts. It has to be remembered that the county was reshaped in 1974 with the urban and rural districts of Abingdon and Faringdon and part of Wantage going to Oxfordshire, and the Borough of Slough (with Eton) coming in from Buckinghamshire. Every attempt is being made to indicate here in WeRelate the civil parishes, towns and villages for which these transfers occurred. Currently there are maps to be found on place pages that deal with civil parishes that transferred from Buckinghamshire into Berkshire. It is planned to provide maps within WeRelate for places that transferred from Berkshire to Oxfordshire--a much wider geographical area.
  • The extensive collection provided by Genmaps is provided free of charge online (currently offline, March 2016).
  • The Ordnance Survey has produced an up-to-date map of the boundaries of all the post-1974 districts throughout the country. This also shows the electoral constituency boundaries which are destined to change before 2020.

Online Historical References

  • Berkshire Record Office. The Berkshire Record Office [BRO] was established in 1948 to locate and preserve records relating to the county of Berkshire and its people, and anyone who is interested in the county's past. As well as original documents, catalogues and indexes, there is a library at the Record Office.
  • Berkshire Family History Society Research Centre. "The Berks FHS Centre can help you - wherever your ancestors came from. There is a Research Centre Library open to all."
  • West Berkshire Museum, Newbury, is housed in a building with an interesting past, but is currently closed for redevelopment. No information on their collections.
  • The GENUKI provision for Berkshire has been updated more recently than that for some of the other counties. A member of the Berkshire Family History Society is credited with this revision.
  • The FamilySearch Wiki on Berkshire explains the jurisdictions relating to civil affairs, parishes and probate (wills and testaments) for each parish in the county and also outlines when these jurisdictions were in existence. Alterations required to cover the post-1974 period have not been carried out for every parish concerned.
  • Brett Langston's list of Registration Districts in Berkshire will lead to specific parishes with dates.
  • Local History Online is a compilation of websites from Berkshire local history clubs, societies and associations.
  • The Berkshire section of The Victoria History of the Counties of England, in four volumes, is provided by British History Online. Volumes 3 and 4 provide an extensive history of the county, parish by parish, up to the end of the 19th century. There are local maps illustrating the text. Manors and their owners are discussed. Parishes are arranged in their original "hundreds"; the hundred for each placename in the Berkshire section of WeRelate will eventually be available.

Nineteenth Century Local Administration

English Jurisdictions is a webpage provided by FamilySearch which analyses every ecclesiastical parish in England at the year 1851. It provides, with the aid of outline maps, the date at which parish records and bishops transcripts begin, non-conformist denominations with a chapel within the parish, the names of the jurisdictions in charge: county, civil registration district, probate court, diocese, rural deanery, poor law union, hundred, church province; and links to FamilySearch historical records, FamilySearch Catalog and the FamilySearch Wiki. Two limitations: only England, and at the year 1851.

During the 19th century two bodies, the Poor Law Union and the Sanitary District, had responsibility for governmental functions at a level immediately above that covered by the civil parish. In 1894 these were replace by Rural and Urban Districts. These were elected bodies, responsible for setting local property assessments and taxes as well as for carrying out their specified duties. Thses districts continued in operation until 1974. Urban districts for larger municipalities were called "Municipal Boroughs" and had additional powers and obligations.

Poor Law Unions, established nationally in 1834, combined parishes together for the purpose of providing relief for the needy who had no family support. This led to the building of '"union poorhouses" or "workhouses" funded by all the parishes in the union. The geographical boundaries established for the individual Poor Law Unions were employed again when Registration Districts were formed three years later. In 1875 Sanitary Districts were formed to provide services such as clean water supply, sewage systems, street cleaning, and the clearance of slum housing. These also tended to follow the same geographical boundaries, although there were local alterations caused by changes in population distribution.