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    Village History

    West Challow is a village steeped in history.

    Childrey Brook, a tributary of the River Ock, runs through the village. The old Wilts and Berks canal skirts the village on the south side. When opened in 1810 it flowed from Trowbridge to Abingdon carrying cargo through West Challow until it was formally abandoned in 1914. The canal is now gradually being restored by the Wilts and Berks Canal Trust.

    Once part of Berkshire West Challow transferred to Oxfordshire in 1974. The 2011 census recorded the parish’s population as 184. Challow railway station, on the Great Western Railway line between Didcot and Swindon, was built on the Wantage-to-Faringdon road, two and a half miles north of West Challow. The station closed in 1964. The GWR provided employment for five porters, a stationmaster and a railway policeman from the village in 1851; there was also a shop in the village at this time.

    One noteable resident was Joan Vokins, a farmer's wife from West Challow who became an early Quaker leader. She travelled, preached and published extensively in England, the American colonies and the Caribbean, and was the sister-in-law of the much persecuted Oliver Sansom of Boxford. She died in 1690.

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