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Wiltshire Community History

Church of All Saints, Westbury

A church at Westbury is mentioned in the Domesday Book (1086) and is most likely to have been a Saxon wooden church on the same site as the present one. The first stone church was built by the Normans, probably by 1220, and this seems to have been replaced by the 14th century church using the Norman cruciform plan. The most likely date for this church is 1340-1380 in the transitional period between the Decorated and Perpendicular styles. William of Grimstead endowed a chantry in 1341. The parts of this building that remain are the nave and aisles, the transepts, probably the base of the tower and the window to the west of a small door in the Lady Chapel. There was extensive rebuilding in the 15th century and other features are Perpendicular. The nave was heightened and a clerestory added, three chapels were added and the tower was raised to 84 feet (about 25 metres) by adding a second stage. The north aisle chapel was built by William of Westbury and his father John, who endowed a chantry in 1437, while the south chancel chapel is the Lady Chapel, later known as the Willoughby de Broke Chapel or Phipps Chapel.

In the first half of the 16th century the south porch was built, or rebuilt with a small room over it. The chancel was extended eastwards to its present length in the middle of the 16th century. The Church is in a very pleasant situation, being in a close in the centre of the town surrounded by 18th century cottages. The church itself underwent an extensive restoration in 1847 owing to the energies of the Rev. Stafford Brown. The nave roof was renewed, a new west window created, the east wall of the chancel buttressed and the gallery removed. At the same time an extra 285 free sittings were made. In 1857 a new burial ground ( now West Wilts District Council owned) on the road to Bratton was purchased and in 1880 a new vicarage was built on the site of an earlier one. In 1948 the roof of the south chancel chapel was repaired.

In 1968 it was found that an old culvert had broken and water had saturated the clay surrounding the church foundations. Cracks in the masonry were appearing and the tower was leaning. 150 concrete piles were driven into the ground to a depth of 35 to 40 feet and connected with cross beams to stabilise the structure. There were six bells in the tower until 1921 when they were recast, with the original inscriptions being reproduced. Two new small bells were added and the peal is now the third heaviest peal of eight in the world, with the tenor bell weighing 35 cwt. The church clock dates to the beginning of the 17th century and is unusual in having no face although it strikes the hours and quarters. It was made by a local blacksmith and has to be wound every day. The parish registers date from 1556 and, other than those in current use, are held in the Wiltshire and Swindon Record Office.

Church Search Results

There were 5 items found.

Church of All Saints, Westbury
Church of All Saints, Westbury

Image Date: 1950s
Image Location: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre, Chippenham


Church of All Saints, Westbury
Church of All Saints, Westbury

Image Date: 1950s
Image Location: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre, Chippenham


Church of All Saints, Westbury
Church of All Saints, Westbury

Image Date: 2002
Image Location: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre, Chippenham


Church of All Saints, Westbury
Church of All Saints, Westbury

Image Date: c.1908
Image Location: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre, Chippenham


Church of All Saints, Westbury
Church of All Saints, Westbury

Image Date: c.1910
Image Location: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre, Chippenham


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