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Wiltshire Community History

Church of St. Mary, South Tidworth

A late 19th century church of very unususal design. It was commissioned by Sir John Kelk, a building engineer who had bought Tedworth House in 1876 and perhaps wished to make amends for his predecessor's treatment of the original St. Mary's church. The architect was John Johnson, who unfortunately died in the year work started (1878) and the building was supervised by G.H. Gordon.It was built near the site of the original village church. The foundation stone was laid on 29th April 1879 and the building completed in 1880. The style is Gothic and the material is a rock faced brown stone. Externally the most striking feature is the bell turret, which emerges as a high, projecting buttress on the west wall and turns into a narrow tapering spire. The church is tall and there is a large amount of room inside with a nave and aisles, a chancel, and a south transept balanced by a north vestry. It is a classic 13th century design and there is a very similar church of that period in North Yorkshire. The roof of the nave is supported by polished grey veined marble columns and the building has been awarded Grade I listed status. When the ecclesiastical parishes of North and South Tidworth were united in 1972 North Tidworth church became the parish church and St. Mary's became redundant on 1st September. It passed to the Redundant Churches Fund in 1973. The church provides a dramatic entrance, standing by the roadside as you enter the village from Shipton Bellinger.

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