market town and civil parish in Vale of White Horse, Oxfordshire, England

Wantage is a town in the Vale of the White Horse, near the Thames Valley, in the English county of Oxfordshire (earlier on it belonged to Berkshire), and about 17 miles (27 km) south-southwest of Oxford. It is famous for being the birthplace of King Alfred the Great.

Population9,767 (2001 census)
OS grid referenceSU399878
• London72.3mi
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townWANTAGE
Postcode districtOX12
Dialling code01235
PoliceThames Valley
AmbulanceSouth Central
UK Parliament
WebsiteWantage community website
List of places

Local governmentEdit

Wantage has a town council consisting of sixteen councillors, twelve of whom are Liberal Democrats (2007). It is also part of the district of the Vale of White Horse.


A view of Wantage town centre, 2004. A statue of Alfred the Great stands in Market Place, which is used as a car park except on market days.

Wantage sits at the crossing of the B4507 valley road, the A417 Reading to Cirencester road and the A338 Hungerford (and junction 14 of the M4 motorway) to Oxford road.

Wantage is connected to Oxford, Didcot, Abingdon and Faringdon by regular bus services. The fastest public bus journey from Wantage to Oxford takes about 45 minutes, the slowest can take over 1 hour 15 minutes.


King Alfred the Great was born here in the 9th century. Wantage appears in the Domesday Book of 1086. Its value was £61 and it was in the king's ownership until 1190. Troops of the king were stationed in Wantage during the English Civil War.

Since 1848, Wantage has been home to the Community of Saint Mary the Virgin, one of the largest communities of Anglican nuns in the world.

Famous peopleEdit

  • King Alfred the Great was born in Wantage in 849.
  • John Betjeman, Poet Laureate from 1972 to 1984, lived in Wantage and his book, 'Archie and the Strict Baptists' is based in the town. A memorial park has now been established in the town named after him, which includes extracts from his poems in a peaceful wooded area.


Wantage is twinned with:

The town was twinned with Seesen (Germany) in 1979 and Mably (France) in 1990.

Other websitesEdit