Idmiston, Salisbury, SP4 0AU
Fearsome gargoyles and Medieval carvings
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This is an imposing Medieval church. A remarkable feature of the church is the collection of Medieval carvings - internally in the form of elegant corbel-heads, roof bosses, and externally in the form of fearsome gargoyles.
There are monuments to the local Bowle family, including vicar John Bowle, who edited an edition of Don Quixote.
The nave arcades (from the late 13th-century) have an eye-catching striped appearance created by the deliberate use of contrasting bands of stone.
Much of the rest of the church is late 14th-century. There is a distinctive clerestory and a two-storey north porch with a steeply pitched roof and fine doorways.
The whole building was heavily restored by J L Pearson and Ewan Christian in 1865.
Opening times on the CCT website
Leigh, Cricklade, SN6 6QY
A Medieval chancel abandoned to the wetlands
All Saint's is now just a chancel, the remains of a Medieval church near the source of the Thames that was abandoned to its wetland surroundings in the 19th-century when the rest of the church was removed to a drier and more convenient site.
The arches, windows and other features date from the 13th-and 15th-centuries and the east gable of the old nave was left to protect the chancel arch.
There are 17th-century texts painted on the walls and framed in designs of clouds and scrolls.
Alton Priors, Salisbury, SN8 4LB
Mysterious trapdoors, buried Sarsen stones and ancient yew trees
The Perpendicular tower of this lovely Medieval church dominates surrounding fields. It stands just across the stream from St Mary’s at Alton Barnes, and the churchyard yew tree is said to be 1700 years old!
Inside it is lime-washed and barn-like, with big rustic roof trusses and open timbering. The chancel arch is all that remains of the church's Norman past.
The rest of the church dates from late-Medieval times, except for the body of the chancel which was rebuilt in the 19th-century.
The church still contains Jacobean pews, unusually tall communion rails and a 1590 tomb.
A mysterious trapdoor conceals a buried Sarsen stone (a sandstone block).
Off Rectory Hill, West Dean, Salisbury, SP5 1JJ
Stuart fashions on display in striking life-size memorials
Striking memorials grace this fascinating rural chapel – which is all that remains of a 14th-century church.
The earliest, a wall memorial from the 1620s, shows a kneeling John Evelyn I and his wife wearing grand Stuart fashions, with their 11 children in a line below.
Perhaps the most imposing memorial is Robert Pierrepoint’s – an angel supports his life-sized marble figure.
The chapel stands alone in excellent walking country – a great place to take a break.
Inglesham, Swindon, SN6 7RD
An ancient painted wonder saved by William Morris
This exquisitely beautiful and fascinating 13th-century church stands on a gentle rise of land above waterside meadows near the Thames, only a stone's throw from the Thames, and just off the Ridgeway Path it is a frequent stopping point for walkers.
Pioneering Victorian designer William Morris – who lived at nearby Kelmscott – oversaw St John’s restoration in the 19th-century, ensuring it kept its original Medieval identity.
An amazing series of paintings, from the 13th- to the 19th- century, cover the walls often with one painted over another, in places seven layers thick. While it is not always easy to puzzle out the subjects, you can see 15th-century angels above the chancel arch, an early 14th-century doom on the east wall of the north aisle, and several 19th-century texts, as well as a 13th-century masonry pattern throughout the chancel.
There is an unusual and powerful Saxon stone carving of the Madonna and Child is set in the south wall.
The woodwork of the roofs, the 15th-century screens and the 17th- and 18th- century pulpit and box pews are all original to the church, and their arrangement is still much as it would have been in Oliver Cromwell’s time.
Nearby Lechlade has some lovely places to stop for lunch or a cup of tea.
Leigh Delamere, Chippenham, SN14 6JZ
A dramatic Victorian confection built from 12th-century parts
James Thomson (who also designed nearby Grittleton House) built this church in 1846, built using parts of its 12th-century predecessor, such as the splendid bell-cote which can now be seen at Sevington School one mile to the west.
The rest is impressively dramatic. The Gothic gloom of the chancel, with its extravagant reredos, carved and decorated in many colours, contrasts with the tremendous colours of the great west window by Wilmshurst.
Stratford Tony, Salisbury, SP5 4AT
Hidden...down lane, across stream, up a bank
This Medieval church is reached down a narrow lane, over a footpath across a stream and up a steep bank, making the journey to reach it part of the adventure.
Externally, the church is a patchwork of lichens on brick, stone and flint completing an idyllic rural picture. Inside, the church is as lovely as its rural setting, furnished with handsome box pews with attractive colonnaded tops.
There is a lovely stained glass east window by the Kempe Studio (1884).
Wilton, Salisbury, SP2 0HQ
These romantic ruins stand as a memorial to the people of Wilton
On completion of Wyatt and Brandon’s 'Italianate’ church in 1845, this 'old' church in the Market Place was partially demolished, leaving only the chancel with one bay of the nave, and the ruins of the arcades and tower arch.
Apart from the charming 18th-century ceiling, there are fascinating memorials to the people of Wilton in the remains of this church, which stands surrounded by the romantic ruins of its arcades and tower arch.
Rollestone Road, Rollestone, Salisbury, SP3 4HG
A church owned by religious crusaders for 350 years
This tiny, charming church, which overlooks the River Till was built mainly in the 13th-century, of flint and stone chequerwork with two large Perpendicular windows.
The little wooden bell-turret was added in the 19th-century. Inside, it has its original font and Georgian heraldic glass. The oak benches with Jacobean carved ends come from St Catherines in Haydon, Dorset.
The church was originally owned by the religious crusading order of the Knights Hospitaller for 350 years.
Orcheston, Salisbury, SP3 4HL
A secluded Medieval flint and stone church in a lush valley
One of two Medieval churches in a small village off the Salisbury to Devizes road, St George’s is attractively secluded in its lush valley.
It is built of flint and stone with a Norman north door and 13th-century windows in the nave and chancel.
The main windows are Perpendicular, as is the low tower with its fine, tall panelled arch.
The Royal Arms are dated 1636 and most of the fittings are Victorian.
Imber, Warminster, BA12
A church left over from the ghost village of Imber
This lovely 13th-century church stands in rolling downland deep inside the military training area of Salisbury Plain.
It is all that remains of the ghost village of Imber (now just abandoned houses), which was evacuated for military training purposes in 1943.
The distinctive 14th-century tower has five pinnacles. The interior, divested of its fittings, allows you to appreciate the architecture and atmosphere of this unique church, as well as the remains of Medieval wallpaintings of a rare depiction of the Seven Deadly Sins and a set of 17th-century bell ringing changes painted on the north wall of the tower.
Outside the sloping churchyard contains fine 17th-and 18th-century tomb chests.
This church is only open occasionally to visitors.
Draycot Cerne, Chippenham, SN15 5LG
A handsome parkland church set above a river
This small, handsome parkland church is set in parkland above a river. The tower is 17th-century and the church was altered and restored in the 19th-century.
Inside are a Gothick pulpit and box pews, sumptuously coloured Victorian glass and a series of monuments which includes a 13th-century knight’s effigy, a handsome Perpendicular tomb chest and a fine bust by Joseph Wilton to Sir Robert Long.
Duck Street, Sutton Veny, Warminster, BA12 7AL
An atmospheric partial ruin containing interesting artefacts
Old St Leonard's was abandoned in the 1860s when a new church was built.
It is now partially ruined and only the chancel (previously used as a mortuary chapel) still has its roof.
The chancel contains some interesting artefacts including benefaction boards, a bier, font, bell and many elegant memorials on the walls.
Berwick, Salisbury, SP3 5UA
Poignant monuments to the lost Howe children
The low tower and pretty porch of this tiny church are seen through trees from the road.
Of 12th-century origin, an 1859 restoration by the owner of the local Fonthill estate saved it from complete decay. The font and a sculptured relief of the Lamb of God over the south doorway are Norman survivals.
A handsome 1647 monument depicts George Howe and his wife caressing a skull, and another poignant monument is to the six children of George Howe, the oldest of whom was three years of age.
Chute Forest, Andover, SP11 9DF
A fine example of low budget inventiveness
Standing remote in rural surroundings and designed by J L Pearson in 1875, St Mary’s is a fine example of low budget inventiveness.
The church was erected at the expense of the Fowle family, whose mortal remains rest in the churchyard.
Built of flint, brick and tile with a tall pyramid spire, and with nave and aisles spanned by a single roof, it is a pattern of well-proportioned architecture.
There are pretty stained glass windows by Clayton and Bell.
Old Dilton, Westbury, BA13 4DB
Church with a curious spire near the White Horse
The 14th-century St Mary’s lies down a pretty wooded lane near the river Biss, on one of the many walking paths to the Westbury White Horse.
This delightful little church is approached through a railway arch that opens out onto a simple churchyard, revealing an unusual church – squat yet pretty, with a tiny stone spire like an inverted ice-cream cone.
Inside, little has changed since the 18th century and is crowded with plain, bleached box pews, some built on the original Medieval benches, a three-decker pulpit, family pews and two small galleries.
The gallery north of the chancel was once used as a schoolroom and contains a fireplace.
Maddington, Shrewton, Salisbury, SP3 4JE
A beautiful church with chequerboard walls
Set in a shady churchyard, this lovely church lies at the top of a long footpath.
It has a low west tower, a long nave, chancel and south transept, presumably for a family pew. A few small fragments remain from the Norman church and there were additions and alterations in succeeding centuries, much being done in the 17th-century.
In 1853 the chancel was rebuilt and the whole church restored by T H Wyatt. Both nave and chancel walls are faced with flint and sandstone chequerwork.
Inside, over the tower arch, there is a large plaster cartouche of strapwork enclosing the date 1637, which is said to refer to the erection of a now vanished gallery at the west end of the nave.
Shipton Road, South Tidworth, Tidworth, SP9 7ST
An extravagantly rich interior designed by a builder of palaces
Standing south of the garrison town of Tidworth, this fine steepled edifice surrounded by trees was designed in 1878 by John Johnson, the architect of London’s Alexandra Palace.
However the quality of the exterior, considerable though it is, hardly prepares one for the magnificence of the interior, which is sumptuously decorated with exotic marbles, rich carving and Italian mosaics creating a great sense of vitality and extravagance.
Fisherton Delamere, Warminster, BA12 0PZ
A Medieval marvel in wonderful walking country
This hillside church stands in a pretty churchyard and is a convenient stopping point for Wylye Valley walkers with wonderful views.
There has been a church here since Norman times and the font in the church today dates from that period. However, the current building was built in the 14th-century and then largely rebuilt in the Medieval style in the 19th-century, using the original materials. The outside is built in a chequerboard pattern of flint and stone, typical of many churches in this area.
Inside it is light and airy. There is an elegant screen which dates only from 1912 - the architect F C Eden was commissioned to design it, as well as other woodwork in the church.
He had intended the screen to be painted, but this was never carried out, mainly because the screen was tremendously unpopular with the people of the parish.
One of the most touching monuments in the church is a poignant memorial to two babies of Thomas and Joan Crockford, showing one child in bed and the other wrapped in a shroud - Thomas Crockford was the vicar in the 1600s.
Berwick Bassett, Nr Avebury, Marlborough, SN4 9NQ
A modest church with a simple and light interior
Situated by a farmyard to the north of Avebury and near the Ridgeway, this modest church is essentially 14th-century in origin, although the font suggests an earlier structure.
The interior is light and simple; its nave is Medieval, as is the chancel, though rebuilt later in brick with the old window openings retained.
The low tower has a Victorian top and there is an pretty 15th-century screen inside the church.
Everleigh, Marlborough, SN8 3HD
One of the first churches with an iron frame
Built by John Morlidge of London for the Astley family in 1813 in the Gothic style, St Peter’s was one of the first churches to be constructed with an iron frame.
The short chancel and narrow nave, the elegant west gallery and hammerbeam roof all emphasise its loftiness.
The church retains many of its original fittings and has monuments to the Astley family, including an enormous tablet to Francis Dugdale Astley, founder of the church, who died in 1818.
There is also a ring of six bells.
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