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Wiltshire Community History

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Church of St. Mary, Whaddon, Hilperton

Church of St. Mary, Whaddon, Hilperton Date Photo Taken 2004
Uploaded 12/10/2004 09:30:50
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Original Media Location: Michael Marshman

This church was built by the 12th century and still contains a blocked 12th century north doorway and a reconstructed 12th century south doorway with a decorated tympanum. The door in the latter is made of two 14th century oak panels with heavy hinges. In the 19th century the capitals of the original chancel were thought to be Norman and the nave walls could be late Norman. The church was altered in the 14th century. It seems likely that most of the village was wiped out by the plague in 1349 and new houses were built away from the old village site. The village had been prosperous up to the mid 14th century but does not seem to have recovered and remained a small settlement. This seems to be borne out by the church in which most work was carried out on the chancel, the responsibility of the lord of the manor. It was rebuilt in 1676-8 and in c.1778 was pulled down and rebuilt with a north aisle, over the family vault of the Long family. At the same time the churchyard was enclosed by a brick wall. Meanwhile the small, 30 feet by 14 feet, nave was repaired but little altered over the centuries. In 1837 the Norman font was replaced and eventually came to rest in St. Michael's church at Hilperton.

The living of Whaddon was annexed to Hilperton in 1854. The present chancel was built in 1879 because damage to the foundations, caused by the work of 1778, was responsible for cracks in the walls and roof damage. The porch was also rebuilt and a bell cote for two bells added at the western end. The reused stone of the porch shows an inverted post-Reformation scratch dial, where the original stone was reset upside down. The Long vault was sealed for securuty reasons in 1984 and between 1987 and 1992 an appeal raised funds for the repair of the church roof. The church is still used for ordinary services and occasionally for other events, such as weddings. The parish registers from 1653 (christenings and burials) and 1661 (marriages), other than those in current use, are held in the Wiltshire and Swindon Record Office, where the Bishop's Transcripts from 1582 also exist.

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