"WEST HANNEY, (or West Hanney with Lyford) a parish in the hundred of Wantage, county Berks, 4 miles N.E. of Wantage, and 7 S.W. of Abingdon. The Great Western railway passes in the vicinity, and has a station at Wantage Road, about 2 miles from the village. The parish, which is situated on the banks of the river Ock, comprises the township of East Hanney, and the chapelry of Lyford. The soil is fertile, and land chiefly arable. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Oxford, value with the curacy* of Lyford annexed, £205, in the patronage of the Dean and Chapter of Salisbury. The church, dedicated to St. James, is a Norman structure, with a square embattled tower containing seven bells. In the chancel are several ancient brasses, chiefly belonging to the Ashcombe family. The earliest is one of a priest, bearing date 1370. The charities produce £420 per annum, including the endowment of Ashcombe's almshouses. There is a National school for boys and girls, recently erected.
"EAST HANNEY, a township in the parish of West Hanney, hundred of Wantage, county Berks, 7 miles S.W. of Abingdon, and 3 N. of Wantage. The land, which is very rich, is almost entirely arable. The village is considerable, and most of the inhabitants are engaged in agriculture. The Wantage Road station of the Great Western railway is about three-quarters of a mile from the village.
"LYFORD, a chapelry in the parish of West Hanney, hundred of Ock, county Berks, 4 miles N. of Wantage, its post town, and 8 S.W. of Abingdon. It is situated on the river Ock, and the Wantage Road station on the Great Western line of railway is nearly 3 miles S.E. of the village. The surface is flat, and the land fertile, being in general a deep rich black earth. The tithes were commuted for land in 1801 under an Enclosure Act. The living is a perpetual curacy* in the diocese of Oxford, in the patronage of Worcester College, Oxford. Almshouses for fourteen poor persons of this parish were founded in 1603 by Oliver Ayshcombe."
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.