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Wiltshire Community History

Church of All Saints, Lydiard Millicent

Lydiard Millicent church was given to the abbey of Cormeilles between 1066 and 1075 by the FitzOsbern's. William FitzOsbern, Earl of Hereford and owner of Lydiard Millicent manor, founded the abbey at Cormeilles.

One surviving fitting from the late 12th century is the font which has arcade carving and a limestone bowl. The new font was carved by the choir boys in 1862 under the instruction of the curate, the Reverend McKnight.

All Saint's Church was greatly enlarged in the 14th century; the tower and the aisle are proof of this. There are seven masks set in the walls of the south aisle and a sundial can be found in the south east corner.

In the 15th century the nave was reroofed and given large Perpendicular windows; they retain fragments of the original stained glass. The chancel was also altered. This was done when Robert Turgis purchased the estate and was given a licence by the King to rebuild the manor house and the church.

The chancel has a blocked priest's door on the south side and the east window is 19th century. In 1857 a canopy was fitted above the south doorway. There is a timber panelled vault in the chancel and a squint from the nave. The trefoiled piscina has a slot for a credence shelf. In 1870 the chancel was largely rebuilt and a vestry was added in the Middle Pointed style, designed by G. E. Street. The Reverend Hayward put up the present pews at the same time. A 'Gillwarmer' was installed which was an early type of central heating. The Reverend McKnight noted 'I was anxious to get the old [ugly] stoves and pipes out of the church, and so, as soon as the Gillwarmer was in place and tested, I asked the churchwarden, Mr. Plummer, for permission to remove and sell them. He demurred. “Wait a bit sir, wait a bit. Them new fangled things often fail. We shall most likely want the stove yet to help it”'. When the time came to try out the new heating system Mr. Plummer was prepared for the worst! The heating worked splendidly and Mr. Plummer had to remove many layers before the end of the service. He told McKnight to sell the stoves at once!

In 1870 new fittings were also purchased, including a reredos and chamber for an organ. The organ itself was pumped by hand. It was given by the Reverend McKnight and his pupils. The later 16th century pulpit is oak panelled, octagonal and has good ironmongery. It was removed and given to Braydon Church; the Reverend McKnight's reading desk was converted and replaced it. In 1963 the pulpit was replaced by the original (which had remained in Braydon Church until its closure) and the panels of the converted writing desk were reused as parts of a vestment chest.

In 1924 the west vestry was created by erecting a carved oak gothic screen under the tower arch; it was produced by local craftsmen. The organ was moved to the west vestry and the screen removed to the chancel in 1963. This occurred because the current organ was to be exchanged with that from Clyffe Pypard and the replacement was three inches too wide! The west tower has a stair tower which was added to the north side in 1858. The weather vane is 18th century.

In 1850 Dr. Warneford, rector, philosopher and philanthropist, restored the roof. He lived in his other parish in Gloucestershire. The services at All Saint's Church were taken by the Reverend Hugh Allen, Rectory of St Mary's, Cricklade.

Oswald Brakespear designed the cross and candlesticks. The black cross behind the altar was buried under a new central aisle. The plain stone with which it had been fixed was sold to become part of the fireplace at the new manor house.

The brass oil lamps in the church were taken out and replaced with electric lighting in the 1950s.

In the 1960s the old tiled steps to the altar and brass altar rails were removed, along with the choir stalls. The steps were replaced with stone ones.

Two and a half ounces of church plate was confiscated in 1553, leaving nine and a half remaining. In 1862 plate hallmarked 1861 was given by the rector's wife and was still in the church in 2004. The Elizabethan chalice and a more modern set of silver communion plate were given to the Reverend McKnight as a gift for all had had done for the parish by the churchwardens and parishioners. A chalice was also given to the church in 1994.

There were three church bells in 1553, later becoming a ring of five. Four of these bells were cast by Abraham Rudhall of Gloucester in 1712 and the later sixth bell was by Gillet and Johnson of Croydon, added in 1933 and given by Colonel and Mrs Canning. The bells were re-hung in 1906.

The lynch-gate is roofed with a large piece of topiary. The shaft of the churchyard cross probably dates from Saxon times but the cross itself was added in 1854, replacing the one destroyed by Puritans. Robert Whitfield, rector from 1614-1664 was among the Puritan clergy who signed the 'Concurrent Testimony of the Ministers of Wiltshire' in 1648.

Even up until the 1930s coffins were transported by horse drawn cart or motor lorry. There was a four wheeled hand bier which is still in the village but is not used now. There was a Sunday school which held treats on the lawns of Lydiard House.

John Butler served as rector from 1724-1754. In 1738 he was accused of being drunk and sleeping during a service. Another complaint by Mr Askew, the owner of the Manor House, in 1747 was that his services were too short and too few. The Reverend Christopher Cleobury was the first Rector to be appointed by Pembroke College. He built the rectory in 1857. He was too ill to serve the cure so the curate Reverend McKnight served instead.

The United benefice was formed in 1956 - the rector lived at Lydiard Millicent. From c.1989 the team rector lived near the new church at Shaw but by 2004 had moved back to Lydiard Millicent.

Church Search Results

There were 8 items found.

Church of All Saints, Lydiard Millicent
Church of All Saints, Lydiard Millicent

Image Date: 2009
Image Location: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre


Church of All Saints, Lydiard Millicent
Church of All Saints, Lydiard Millicent

Image Date: 2009
Image Location: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre


Church of All Saints, Lydiard Millicent
Church of All Saints, Lydiard Millicent

Image Date: 2009
Image Location: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre


Church of All Saints, Lydiard Millicent
Church of All Saints, Lydiard Millicent

Image Date: 2009
Image Location: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre


Church of All Saints, Lydiard Millicent
Church of All Saints, Lydiard Millicent

Image Date: 2009
Image Location: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre


Church of All Saints, Lydiard Millicent
Church of All Saints, Lydiard Millicent

Image Date: 2009
Image Location: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre


Church of All Saints, Lydiard Millicent
Church of All Saints, Lydiard Millicent

Image Date: 2009
Image Location: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre


Church of All Saints, Lydiard Millicent
Church of All Saints, Lydiard Millicent

Image Date: 2009
Image Location: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre


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