East Ilsey in 1835
East Ilsey (anciently Huldesley or Hildesley) lies between Newbury and Abingdon, nine or ten miles from the former, and eleven from the latter. It is fifty-four miles from London through Reading. It is situated amidst the downs formed by that range of chalk hills which has been described above as crossing the county : on these downs a great number of sheep are fed. Although East Ilsey is a very small place, of not more than 738 inhabitants (in 1831), its sheep-market, which commences on the Wednesday in Easter week, and is held every alternate Wednesday till Whitsuntide, is supposed to be one of the largest in England next to that of the metropolis. The sheep are purchased by the Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire farmers, and fattened for the London market. There is a market on Wednesday throughout the year, but the great sheep-market is for a limited season, as mentioned above : there are also two fairs. The living is a rectory in the deanery of Newbury, of the net annual value, according to the Ecclesiastical Revenues' Report (1835) of £645.