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Wiltshire Community History

Church of All Saints, Farley

In the 12th century there was a chapel at Farley which was annexed to the church at Alderbury. This is thought to have been built of flint and cob and had a thatched roof. It stood 300 yards away from where the current church, All Saints, stands.

All Saints' Church is linked with Farley Hospital which was commissioned by Sir Stephen Fox (a son of Farley) and was designed by his collaborator Sir Christopher Wren, one of the best known architects in the world. Wren was responsible for St. Paul's Cathedral in London and in “Wiltshire Villages”, Edith Oliver wrote: “It is impossible not to think of St. Paul's as we first see this exquisitely symmetrical little village church and appreciate the generous scale on which it has been carried out and the purity of its details.”

Christopher Wren's surveyor was Alexander Fort, and his mark of “F” can been seen clearly on the gate pillars. When Sir Stephen bought the lease of the Manor of Pitton and Farley, this included the advowson. Building was completed in 1690 and the cost of the new church ran to £2, 013 8s 5d. The church is a Grade I listed building.

It has a nave, a chancel, a west tower and north and south facing chapels. The pulpit is carved with arches and fruit. The north transept was known as Ilchester Chapel.Under the chapel is the crypt where the Fox and Ilchester families were buried until the 19th century. Repairs were made to the church in 1790 and in 1875 the pews were removed. At that time the choir stalls were added, the pulpit was reduced and stained glass were put in the windows.

From 1669 until 1839 there were joint parish registers for Farley and Pitton churches; after 1839 each had separate registers. All registers, other than those in current use are held at the Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre in Chippenham.

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Church of All Saints, Farley
Church of All Saints, Farley

Image Date: c.1970
Image Location: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre


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