If you are reading this page using a screenreader, we support ARIA landmarks for quick navigation too

Wiltshire Community History

Church of St. Giles, Lea

The church of St. Giles in Lea has a square tower which is probably of Norman origin. The parish of Lea was originally part of the benefice of Garsdon and the Rector of Garsdon was also the Vicar of Lea. The Reverend Laurentius Croke held these offices in 1297. The church at Lea was attended by chaplains appointed by Malmesbury Abbey. By the 16th century it was annexed to Garsdon rectory. In 1650 there was a proposal to separate Lea and Cleverton from Garsdon, but this never happened. By the early part of the 20th century they had become a united benefice and were united with Charlton vicarage by 1987. The parish has changed Dioceses, from Sarum in the 17th century, to Gloucester in 1837 and then to Bristol in 1897.

Rectors of Garsdon took tithes from Lea and Cleverton, valued at £30 in 1650 and £188 in 1840. No clergyman is known to have been resident until the 20th century although curates may have lived in the parish.

The Church of St. Giles has a chancel and nave of the 14th century, a south porch and 15th century west tower. The church was enlarged and restored in 1879 and now has a chancel with north vestry and a nave with a north aisle and south porch. The restoration was due to the efforts of Reverend Sill Gray who raised funds for the rebuilding work, totalling £1277. 16s. 6d. The work involved taking down the whole church, apart from the tower and the east end wall and window, which were re-aligned and repaired. The rest of the church was rebuilt increasing the capacity from 100 to 220 people. The work was undertaken by local builders Stratton and Knapp under the guidance of the architect C.P. Phipps of London.

The local Garsdon stone was used, with Bath freestone dressings and interior. Care was taken to preserve the original character with the south wall built as a copy of the original. The ancient windows were re-used as well as the original font. Interior details include an ancient stone piscina repositioned in the chancel and varnished pitch pine fittings including a screen designed by the architect. This was used to screen the vestry at the east end of the new north aisle. The nave floor is of forest stone and tessellated tiles are used in the chancel. Reverend Sill Gray presented a carved oak lectern consisting of a carved eagle on a pedestal. The burial ground was also extended thanks to a gift from the Earl of Pembroke. The total cost of the work was £1,934. In June 1880 the church was re-opened and consecrated by the then Bishop of Gloucester.

In 1908 the chancel was reseated with oak front pews, the pulpit resited and a pipe organ replaced the harmonium in 1909.

All the church's plate was destroyed in 1752 when the clerk's house was burnt down but plate given in the 19th century remains. In 1553 there were four bells. Two new bells were cast in 1662, two in the 1660s and one in 1670. One of these remains. Parish registers were also destroyed in the fire of 1752, and existing registers date from 1751 for baptisms and burials and 1754 for marriages.

The church has been well looked after by the parishioners and exhibits a series of chancel and pew kneelers, a leather bound bible and an oak porch gate which have been donated in recent times.

Church Search Results

There were 12 items found.

Church of St. Giles, Lea
Church of St. Giles, Lea

Image Date: 2010
Image Location: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre


Church of St. Giles, Lea
Church of St. Giles, Lea

Image Date: 2010
Image Location: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre


Church of St. Giles, Lea
Church of St. Giles, Lea

Image Date: 2010
Image Location: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre


Church of St. Giles, Lea
Church of St. Giles, Lea

Image Date: 2010
Image Location: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre


Church of St. Giles, Lea
Church of St. Giles, Lea

Image Date: 2010
Image Location: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre


Church of St. Giles, Lea
Church of St. Giles, Lea

Image Date: 2010
Image Location: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre


Church of St. Giles, Lea
Church of St. Giles, Lea

Image Date: 2010
Image Location: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre


Church of St. Giles, Lea
Church of St. Giles, Lea

Image Date: 2010
Image Location: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre


Church of St. Giles, Lea
Church of St. Giles, Lea

Image Date: 2010
Image Location: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre


Church of St. Giles, Lea
Church of St. Giles, Lea

Image Date: 2010
Image Location: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre


Church of St. Giles, Lea
Church of St. Giles, Lea

Image Date: 2010
Image Location: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre


Church of St. Giles, Lea
Church of St. Giles, Lea

Image Date: 2010
Image Location: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre


Actions

Search

This website

Contact details

Contact Wiltshire Council

Write to us or call us

Wiltshire Council
County Hall
Bythesea Road
Trowbridge
Wiltshire
BA14 8JN