"WEST ILSLEY, a parish in the hundred of Compton, county Berks, 11 miles N.W. of Newbury, and 2 from East Ilsley, its post town. It is situated in a deep valley near the centre of the downs, almost hidden by the surrounding hills. Many of the inhabitants are employed in the breweries. The land is chiefly arable. The tithes were commuted for land under an Enclosure Act in 1825. The living is a rectory* in the diocese of Oxford, value £537, in the patronage of the Dean and Canons of Windsor. The church, dedicated to All Saints, is a small ancient structure with low tower. In the interior are monuments to Sir John Head and William Moorland. The charities produce about £2 per annum, besides 10 loads of wood given to 5 poor men annually. The living was once held by Bishop Goodman, and Mark Antonio, Archbishop of Spalatro, who first accounted for the colours of the rainbow. There are National schools for both sexes, also a Sunday-school. Baker, Esq., is lord of the manor.
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.