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Wiltshire Community History

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Church of St. Mary, Potterne

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

A church was probably built here around 950, on a site about 95 metres south west of the present church. A 10th century font was found under the floor of the nave during the 1872 restoration and is now at the west end of the nave. The priest at the time of the Domesday Book (1086) held land worth 20 shillings (£1.00). In c.1091 the churches of Potterne and West Lavington, with their tithes, were among the endowments that Bishop Osmund made to his cathedral chapter at Salisbury. The two churches remained linked for some centuries. The present church was built in the mid 13th century and is comparatively little altered, with the addition of a south porch in the 14th century and a tower, or possibly the upper part of the tower, in the 15th century. There is a chancel, nave, north and south transepts, porches and a central tower. There are original lancet windows, a piscina and aumbry (recess or cupboard) in the chancel, and a piscina in each transept. The font is early 15th century and the carved oak pulpit is late 15th century. An organ was purchased in c.1723 from a bequest of Thomas Flower.

The church was restored and re-roofed in 1872 when all three galleries were removed. These were the choir gallery at the west end and the side galleries for old men, in their brown charity coats, and old women in their red cloaks. There is a Dole or Alms Stone in the churchyard on which the dole, often bread and cheese, was given after a service. There are six bells in the tower. The registers dating from 1556, except those in current use, are held in the Wiltshire and Swindon Record Office.

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