"An attractive place on a steep slope near Thame, with many timber-framed and plastered cottages. The small stone church is an unspoiled and humble village fane, like its neighbour Nether Winchendon." [Murray's Buckinghamshire Architectural Guide]


The following reference sources have been used in the construction of this page, and may be referred to for further detail. Most if not all of these volumes are available in the Reference section of the County Library in Aylesbury.

"Buckinghamshire Returns of the Census of Religious Worship 1851", Legg E. ed., 1991, ISBN 0 901198 27 7.
"Magna Britannia: Buckinghamshire", Lysons S. and Lysons D., 1806.
"Murray's Buckinghamshire Architectural Guide." editors John Betjeman & John Piper, London, 1948
"The Place-Names of Buckinghamshire", Mawer A. and Stenton F.M., 1925.
"The Victoria History of the Counties of England: Buckinghamshire", Page W. ed., 1905-1928
"War Memorials and War Graves: Ashendon Hundred, Volume 5", Peter Quick and Bertrand Shrimpton.



War Memorials

War memorials in Chearsley have been transcribed by Peter Quick and Bertrand Shrimpton, and published in a booklet entitled "War Memorials and War Graves: Ashendon Hundred, Volume 5", available from the Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society.



In 1798 the Posse Comitatus listed 53 men between the ages of 16 and 60 in Chearsley.

In the earliest government census of 1801, there were 214 inhabitants in 50 families living in 46 houses recorded in Chearsley.

Census Year Population of Chearsley
1801* 214
1811* 217
1821* 263
1831* 337
1841 308
1851 292
1861 287
1871 311
1881 235
1891 242
1901 212

* = No names were recorded in census documents from 1801 to 1831.
** = Census documents from 1911 to 2001 are only available in summary form. Names are witheld under the 100 year rule.

Microfilm copies of all census enumerators' notebooks for 1841 to 1891 are held at the Local Studies Libraries at Aylesbury and Milton Keynes, as well as centrally at the PRO. A table of 19th century census headcount by parish is printed in the VCH of Bucks, Vol.2, pp 96-101.

Availability of census transcripts and indexes.

  • 1851 - Full transcripts and indexes for Buckinghamshire are available on CD-ROM, hard copy and microfiche from the Buckinghamshire Family History Society.
  • 1861 - Available on CD-ROM with advanced search and mapping capabilities etc. from the Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society.
  • 1881
    • Available on CD-ROM from the Church of the Latter Day Saints, as part of the National 1881 Census Index.
    • Available on CD-ROM for Buckinghamshire, with advanced search and mapping capabilities etc. from Drake Software.
  • 1891 - Available on CD-ROM with advanced search and mapping capabilities etc. from the Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society.


Church History

Details of the stained glass in the church can be found on the following web sites (the site includes many photos):


Church Records

The original copies of the parish registers for St Nicholas, Chearsley have been deposited in the Buckinghamshire Record Office in Aylesbury, and they hold the following years:

Event Dates covered
Christenings 1570 - 1812
Marriages 1570 - 1990
Burials 1570 - 1812

Copies or indexes to the parish registers are available from societies as follows:

Society Library*
Dates covered
Society Publications
Dates covered
1715 - 1774
Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society
1571 - 1901
Buckinghamshire Family History Society
1570 - 1753
Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society
1571 - 1901
Buckinghamshire Family History Society
1678 - 1768
Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society
1571 - 1901
Buckinghamshire Family History Society

* = material held in a Society library is generally available for loan to all members either via post, or by collection at a meeting

An ecclesiastical census was carried out throughout England on 30 March 1851 to record the attendance at all places of worship. These returns are in the Buckinghamshire Record Office and have been published by the Buckinghamshire Record Society (vol 27). The returns for Chearsley showed the following numbers:

Church Attendance
Chearsley, St Nicholas No numbers given specifically
for the 30th March 1851
Chearsley, General
Baptist Chapel
20 - Morning General Congregation
30 - Morning Sunday Scholars
50 - Morning Total

60 - Afternoon General Congregation
15 - Afternoon Sunday Scholars
75 - Afternoon Total

62 - Evening General Congregation
12 - Evening Sunday Scholars
74 - Evening Total


Description & Travel

You can see pictures of Chearsley which are provided by:




Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Chearsley has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.



Chearsley was described in 1806 in "Magna Britannia" as follows:

CHERSLEY, in the hundred of Ashendon and deanery of Waddesdon, lies about seven miles south-west of Aylesbury, and nearly four miles from Thame, in Oxfordshire. This is supposed by some authors to have been the Cerdicesleah of the Saxon Chronicle, where Cedric and Cynric defeated the Britons.

The manor of Chersley was anciently in the noble family of Valence, Earl of Pembroke; and afterwards in the Hampdens: Edmund Hampden forfeited it by attainder in 1465. Before the year 1600, either by grant or purchase, it became the property of the Dormers, from whom it descended to the present proprietor, Sir Clement Cotterell Dormer. Sir Clement is patron also of the donative, and impropriator of the great tithes, which formerly belonged to the abbot and convent of Nutley, having been given to them by their founder, Walter Giffard. The church was anciently a chapel to Crendon: right of sepulture at Chersley was granted by the bishop of Lincoln in 1458. An act for the inclosure of this parish passed in 1805, when an allotment was made to the impropriator in lieu of tithes.



You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SP717106 (Lat/Lon: 51.789471, -0.961869), Chearsley which are provided by:


Names, Geographical

The name Chearsley is derived from two words; the first being a persons name 'Ceolred', and the second being leah meaning 'clearing' i.e. Chearsley means 'Ceolred's clearing'.