"BESSELSLEIGH, a parish in the hundred of Hormer, in the county of Berks, 4 miles to the N.W. of Abingdon, and 5 S.W. of Oxford. It derives its name from the families of Bessels and Leighs to whom it formerly belonged, and from whom it passed to the Fettiplaces and the Lenthalls. The living is a the diocese of Oxford, of the value of £280, in the patronage of K. J. W. Lenthall, Esq. The church, dedicated to St. Lawrence, is a small edifice, with chancel and belfry in the Gothic style. The parish shares the benefit of the free school of Appleton, founded by Sir R. Fettiplace, and of Sellwood's clothing charity for the poor. The principal residence is Besselsleigh House, the seat of K. J. W. Lenthall, Esq., who is lord of the manor and principal landowner. The Speaker of the Long Parliament was a member of this family.
From The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland(1868). Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003.
Other descriptions can be found from other periods in various trade directories covering Berkshire from the early 19th century onwards and from A Vision of Britain Through Time.