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Wiltshire Community History

Church of St. Edward, Winterbourne Dauntsey

The old church of St Edward was consecrated in 1326. When Sir Richard Colt Hoare visited in the 1830s he described it as 'a small plain building, formed of flint'. It was 52 feet long and 21 feet wide, and consisted of a nave, a chancel and a south porch.

In June 1867, during the period of demolition, the Salisbury Journal reported some interesting finds made by the workmen. A series of wall paintings were discovered beneath the plaster on the walls. The story told by these paintings began at the west end of the north wall and carried completely round the church. They covered the principal events in the life of Christ, ending with his resurrection at the north end of the west wall. The red and yellow colours were described in the paper as 'wonderfully fresh'. The writer believed the paintings to be of the same date as the church.

The church wardens' presentments do not survive for the years immediately prior to re-building, so we do not know for sure why the decision was taken to demolish the two churches. A possible reason was that the existing buildings were in need of major repair, and it would be more economic to build one new church to serve the adjoined communities than repair the two old ones.

During this period the Bishop gave permission for services to be held in the school.

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