Great Shefford is in the southern part of the Lambourn Downs in the valley of the River Lambourn and at the southern end of a low dry valley along which the A338 Wantage to Hungerford road passes. The road snakes through the village where it crosses the river, and nearby the Swan pub/restaurant, a rather attractive thatched cottage, and a nearby part timber framed building offer a little character to an otherwise rather plain looking village, as most of Geat Shefford is modern.

Location map:


Like many small villages Great Shefford used to have a range of shopkeepers and traders to support its agricultural population. In the nineteenth century these included bakers, blacksmiths, a wheelwright, miller, bricklayer, corn dealer, carpenter, shoemaker, master, tailor, coal dealer, draper and a Post Office. And at one time there was a station on the Lambourn Valley Railway in the village. Now there is just a village store, a garage and a few other businesses.

The parish church, St. Mary's, is on the edge of the village along the road to Lambourn and is approached along an avenue of trees. The churchyard contains a yew tree and the base and shaft of a cross found in 1870 upon which a modern cross-head has been set. The building dates from c.1200 with the exception of the porch and an organ chamber on the north side of the nave erected in 1870. A new window was introduced in the south wall of the chancel in the 14th century, and in the 15th century the present east window and two on the south side of the nave were inserted. The upper stage of the tower is also 15th-century.

The late 16th-century manor-house is near the church. It is now a much modernised farmhouse.

A quarter of a mile to the south-east of Great Shefford is East Shefford House, partly built in the 17th and 18th centuries, and nearby is the redundant church of St. Thomas which has important monuments to the widespread Fettiplace family.

Shefford Woodlands

Shefford Woodlands is a hamlet about 1 mile south-east of Great Shefford on higher ground along Hungerford Hill. The hamlet developed where the A338, which used to be a turnpike linking Hungerford and Wantage crossed the Roman road of Ermin Street linking Silchester and Gloucester. In the centre of the hamlet is the Church of St. Stephen which was formerly a Methodist chapel which had fallen into disuse. Like Great Shefford, Shefford Woodlands now has few period cottages and is mainly modern.

Great Shefford is on the A338 Hungerford to Wantage road about five miles south-east of Lambourn.

Images of Great Shefford:
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Great Shefford