"This parish, which with its neighbours Boarstall and Brill was formerly part of Bernwood Forest and contained woodland sufficient for 200 swine at the Domesday Survey, has still 468 acres of woods and plantations in its area of 2806 acres. Not quite 300 are arable, and nearly all the rest are laid down in pasture. The land is generally 300 ft. above the ordnance datum. Here, as in Boarstall and Brill, some unauthorized inclosures were made before 1577, the offender in this parish being Richard Leigh, who, holding some 200 acres in right of his wife, the widow of George Tyrell, inclosed 'all their woody grounds.' Oakley was formally inclosed by a Private Act of 1819. The village, which is small and scattered, lies in a wide-spreading valley close to the hamlet of Little London. The church, at its east end on the high road from Bicester to Thame, was reputed in the 17th century to stand within the borders of the parish of Brill." [© copyright of the editors of The Victoria Histories of the Counties of England]



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.
"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



The following Monumental Inscriptions are available as publications or as part of a Society library:

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



In 1798 the Posse Comitatus listed 65 men between the ages of 16 and 60 in Oakley.

In the earliest government census of 1801, there were 257*** inhabitants in 65 families living in 34 houses recorded in Oakley.

Census YearPopulation of Oakley

* = 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.
***= The population figure in Magna Britannia for 1801 differs from that in the Victoria County History. One of these books has the figures of Oving for Oakley and vice versa for this year

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 Mary, Oakley have been deposited in the Buckinghamshire Record Office in Aylesbury, and they hold the following years:

EventDates covered
Christenings1726 - 1979
Marriages1727 - 1997
Burials1726 - 1979

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

Society Library*
Dates covered
1604 - 1678
1727 - 1753
1813 - 1841
Buckinghamshire Genealogical 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 Oakley showed the following numbers:

Oakley, St Mary30 - Morning General Congregation
20 - Morning Sunday Scholars
50 - Morning Total

100 - Afternoon General Congregation
30 - Afternoon Sunday Scholars
130 - Afternoon Total

Independent or Congregational
Meeting House and Sunday
School Little London
50 - Morning Sunday Scholars
50 - Morning Total

61 - Afternoon General Congregation
52 - Afternoon Sunday Scholars
113 - Afternoon Total


Description & Travel

You can see pictures of Oakley which are provided by:




Historical Geography

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



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

OAKLEY, in the hundred of Ashenden and deanery of Waddesdon, lies on the borders of Oxfordshire, about seven miles north-west of Thame. A manor in this parish, which was formerly in the family of Pole, is now the property of the Duke of Marlborough; the manor of Oakley was claimed by the late Mrs. Crewe, as an appendage of her manor of Shabbington, now belonging to her son-in-law, Lord Viscount Falmouth. At the time of the Norman survey, two hides in Oakley were held by a young lady, to whom they had been given by Godic the sheriff, for teaching his daughter to work gold embroidery.

The manor of Studley, a hamlet in this parish, which lies partly in Oxfordshire, is the property of Alexander Croke esq. a defendant of the celebrated Sir George Croke, who founded a chapel and hospital in the adjoining village of Beckley. Mr. Croke's seat is in Oxfordshire.

In the parish church are some monuments of the Tyrrells of Oakley, descended from Sir Timothy Tyrrell, of Shotover, master of the buckhounds to King James I. eldest son, by a second marriage, of Sir Edward Tyrrell, of Thornton, knt. and half-brother of Sir Edward Tyrrell, who was created a baronet in 1627. Among the monuments of this family at Oakley, are memorials of Sir Timothy Tyrrell, governor of Cardiff Castle, and general of the Ordnance for South Wales, who died in 1701, aged 81; his wife Elizabeth, one of the daughters and co-heirs of Archbishop Usher; Captain John Tyrrell of the navy, who died in 1692, having distinguished himself by his services in the East Indies, and been made an admiral in those seas; and James Tyrrell esq. author of the General History of England, who sold the family estate at Oakley; he was one of the commissioners at the peace of Ryswick, and was buried at Oakley in 1745. In Oakley church also is the monument of Baron Schutz, of Shotover, who died in 1757, and others of that family.

The rectory of this parish was given by the Empress Maud to the canons of St. Frideswide at Oxford, to whom the great tithes wer appropriated: they are now the property of Sir John Aubrey, who is patron of the vicarage.

Oakley was formerly the mother-church of Brill, Borstall, and Addingrave. The two first have been made separate parishes. Addingrave, still a hamlet of this parish, had a chapel of ease, which has been suffered to fall to ruins.



You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SP639122 (Lat/Lon: 51.804798, -1.074646), Oakley which are provided by:


Names, Geographical

The name Oakley derives from the old english ac + leah and means 'Oak clearing'.