If Islip has a claim to fame, it may lie in the fact that it was the birthplace of Edward the Confessor — born in the village in about 1004. To redeem a vow he had made to go on a pilgrimage to St Peter’s Rome, he built the Abbey of St Peter, Westminster, and endowed it with the lands and buildings of the village. Since then the right to nominate the Rector of Islip has belonged, first, to the abbot and monks of Westminster, and later, following the dissolution of the monastery, to the Dean and Chapter of the Abbey. But English history is complicated, and a summary is not enough. Further details are available in the column that lists the patrons of the parish, in the list of rectors on this site.
The relationship remains close in the present day. Parishioners annually take part in a pilgrimage to the abbey on or near the feast day of Edward the Confessor on October 13. In addition, the church has held a biennial fund-raiser, the Big Bike Ride, which begins at Westminster Abbey. Riders travel the distance of 62 miles to Islip, raising funds for the church, Dr South’s Church of England School in the village, and other charities.