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Wiltshire Community History

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Church of St. Mary, Redlynch

Church of St. Mary, Redlynch Date Photo Taken 1905
Uploaded 25/10/2007 08:29:35
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Original Media Location: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre, Chippenham

In the 1830s there was a substantial number of houses built in Redlynch, then the eastern part of Downton parish, and the only churches there were the chapels of the non-conformists. Because of the increase in population and, possibly, because of the non-conformist chapels already there, the vicar of Downton, the Rev. Liscombe Clarke, instigated the building of a church at Redlynch. This was built by 1837, at a cost of £1611, and was consecrated on 25th July 1837. It had a perpetual curacy, in the gift of the vicar of Downton, and c.1839 a house was provided for the curate. In 1841 an ecclesiastical district was assigned to the church out of Downton parish. The church is of yellow-grey brick and has a chancel, nave and south porch in the late Gothic style. There were 420 sittings, of which over three quarters were free seats, but 100 of these were lost in 1919 when the west gallery was removed 'because of dry rot and insecurity'. There were early problems with water and drainage on the site, particularly in 1845 when there were problems with the foundations, and again in 1852 when repairs were made.

There was a fair sized congregation and on Census Sunday, in 1851, there was a congregation of 143 at morning service and 165 in the afternoon. These afternoon services continued throughout the year until 1864 when they were changed to the evening during summertime. In 1955 the area of Nomansland was transferred to the ecclesiatical parish of Bramshaw (Hampshire) although it remained in the civil parish of Redlynch. In 1968 the benifice of the church was united with that of Morgan's Vale and the joint living became a new vicarage in the gift of the vicar of Downton and the Dicesan Board of Finance. Nowadays part of the churchyard is kept as a wildlife area in co-operation with the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust. Parish registers from 1838, other than those in current use, are held in the Wiltshire and Swindon Record Office, who also hold the Downton registers that contain Redlynch entries before 1838.

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