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Winterbourne

Church of St. Michael, Winterbourne

Church of St. Michael, Winterbourne Date Photo Taken 2008
Uploaded 28/03/2009 14:46:19
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Map Latitude 51.109419634043185 : Longitude -1.7516916990280151
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Original Media Location: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre


In 1867 the decision was taken to demolish the two existing churches at Winterbourne Earls and Winterbourne Dauntsey, and to replace them with one new parish church in Winterbourne Earls. The church wardens’ presentments do not survive for the years immediately prior to re-building, so we do not know for sure why the decision was taken to demolish the two churches. The likely reason was that the existing buildings were in need of major repair, and it would be more economic to build one new church to serve the adjoined communities than repair the two old ones. The combined population of the two communities was 450 people; the old churches could seat 280, whereas the new church would seat 303. During this period the Bishop gave permission for services to be held in the school.

The new parish church of St. Michael was built during 1867-8 and consecrated on 15th April 1868. The total cost of re-building was £3,100. The Salisbury Journal describes both the new building and the consecration service at length.

The church consists of a chancel, nave, south aisle, porch and tower. The nave and aisle are in the perpendicular style and the chancel in Early English. Much of the material used was taken from the old churches, including all the flint in the walls. All the windows in the chancel are the old stone work, as well as those in the nave, except the ones in the south aisle. The west window formerly occupied the same position in the church at Winterbourne Earls, and the window near the pulpit was the west window in the church at Winterbourne Dauntsey. The nave is separated from the south aisle by an arcade of three arches.

The font, pulpit, reading desk and lectern are all new. The communion table, given by the Bishop of Salisbury, is made from beams formerly belonging to the old churches. Around the walls of the church are placed monuments of the Dyke family, brought from the church at Winterbourne Dauntsey, and those of the families of Nicholas and Elliott, from the church at Winterbourne Earls. In the tower are five bells, three old bells and two that were re-cast.

The consecration ceremony lasted the whole day. After morning service, a party of 200 sat down to lunch. After the meal and speeches, everyone went back to the church for the afternoon service. In the evening the labouring poor were given a supper.

Minor alterations have been made to the building during the 20th century. These include an organ in 1912, an electric organ blower in 1957 and electric heaters (to replace oil heaters) in 1957. Also in the 1950s the church was given two pieces of furniture from the redundant church at Imber. The pitch pine choir stalls were replaced with oak stalls and the pulpit replaced with a Jacobean one. The Victorian font at Winterbourne Earls was also replaced by a font originally in Winterbourne Dauntsey.

The church has been part of the Bourne Valley Team since 1973. The parish registers dating from 1558, other than those currently in use, can be seen at the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre.


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