Kingston Lisle is a village about 7 miles south-east of Faringdon. The village originated as an Anglo-Saxon spring-line settlement at the foot of Blowing Stone Hill, which is part of the Berkshire Downs. A total of 31 houses were recorded in this area in the Domesday Book in 1086. The 2011 Census recorded the parish population as 225. The name Kingeston appears recorded in 1220 and derives from a tūn or ton, a fenced enclosure, farmstead, village, or estate belonging to the king. This was such a common village name in England that the surname of the Lord of the Manor was added so it became recorded in 1336 as Kingston del Isle. A country house and park was built on the edge of the village during the 17th-century. The house was later enlarged and is now a Grade II listed building.
The Blowing Stone is now kept in the garden of the local pub, aptly named the Blowing Stone Inn. The Blowing Stone is an ancient sarsen stone with holes in it. It is said to have once stood on the top of the hill and positioned so that when the wind blew over the stone it acted as a siren and produced a booming sound. Legend has it that the Saxon king, Alfred the Great blew through it to summon his troops for the Battle of Ashdown that he won against the Danes in 871. Hence, this might suggest that the village may have originally been named for the King’s Stone but that, like the legend, is not considered likely.
- Photos scanned from the society archives.
- The English Place-Name Society search page – https://epns.nottingham.ac.uk/search
Researched and compiled by Ian Lee, October 2021.