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Church of St. Michael, Aldbourne
|Date Photo Taken 1930s|
Uploaded 25/10/2007 08:29:35
Map Latitude 51.480755 : Longitude -1.621441
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Original Media Location: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre, Chippenham
|It was stated that there was a well established church here in 966, which is most likely to have been a wooden one. In 1086 two hides of land belonged to the church, to support it and the priest. The early church was on the site of the present one, on higher ground, overlooking the village. By the mid-12th century there was a stone church with an aisled nave and, perhaps, a central tower; the south doorway and some masonry survive from this building. It is thought that a fire c.1220 damaged the church and it had to be rebuilt. The new church was cruciform in plan with a long chancel, a central tower, and an aisled nave of 4 bays; the dedication was to St. Mary Magdalene. In 1460 Richard Goddard had the 99 feet high west tower built, and the central tower was removed and the crossing arches rebuilt. Chantry chapels were added to the chancel, porches and an embattled clerestory to the nave, the roofs renewed and the windows enlarged. By the 15th century the dedication was to St. Michael. |
In the early 16th century a small chapel was added between the south porch and the transept. The south porch itself had an upper room that hed been used as a school for Latin grammar by the chantry priests. A Sunday School was in existence by the late 18th century and a gallery was erected for their use. Music was provided by gallery musicians until 1827 and records show that a new clarinet was bought for £2.12.6d (£2.63p) in 1807, another was purchased in 1813 with a bassoon from Bridgeman, the local bell founder. By 1827 there was a gallery with an organ. The church was said to be in poor condition in 1858 when the roof was leaking, the floorboards rotten and some masonry out of the perpendicular. Restoration took place in 1867 under William Butterfield. A new, more steeply pitched, slate roof was built over the old 15th century one that was kept as a ceiling for the nave and chancel. The north porch and the stair turret in the south porch were removed and the east window replaced by one of 3 lancets.
In 1957 the living was held with Baydon vicarage and in 1965 the two were united. They were combined with Ramsbury in 1973 as a team ministry. In 1974 the old vicarage was sold and a new one built. There are 8 bells; 2 of the early 16th century, 2 of the 17th century, and 4 from the 18th century that were made in Aldbourne (one of these was recast in 1915). The registers from 1637, apart from those in current use, are held in the Wiltshire and Swindon Record Office. Those for marriages and burials between 1639 and 1646 are missing.
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