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Church of St. John the Baptist, Hindon

Church of St. John the Baptist, Hindon Date Photo Taken 2010
Uploaded 15/11/2010 16:38:06
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Map Latitude 51.0956072097969 : Longitude -2.1301138401031494
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Original Media Location: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre

The Millenium Wall Hanging

The church which now stands in Hindon was built in 1871 on the site of a previous chapel. Although now dedicated to St. John the Baptist the chapel was dedicated for a time from 1553 St. Luke due to the day on which the second of the bi-annual fairs was held. The dedication to St. John the Baptist may be connected to the belief that he was protector of those involved in the wool trade as he is often pictured with the Agnus Dei. The village has known connections with the wool trade and the Agnus Dei is pictured on a panel over the west door of the church.

The first recorded mention of a chapel on this site is the construction of the Chapel which is likely to have been on the present day site which was built in 1223-4 and is thought to have been dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel although this is not certain.

Throughout its history the church at Hindon has had many changes regarding its relationships with its neighbours particularly East Knoyle. By the latter part of the 14th century no funding was provided for the chapel or a vicar in Hindon so the responsibility fell to the vicar of East Knoyle. However, in 1393 a bishop's register lists 'William Stock, chaplain of Hindon' so by then local church activity must have recommenced. The chapel reopened as a 'chapel-of-ease', having probably been rebuilt, to East Knoyle and was served by a chaplain appointed by the rector. The rector retained control over the church by stating that the chaplain could not perform marriages there. There are, however, a few marriages registered at Hindon between 1608 and 1651. From 1848 marriages were allowed once more.

In 1822 the old chapel was described as 'a plain turreted building'. The 1871 church was significantly larger than the one it replaced and was built from designs by Wyatt, who is known to have also repaired, rebuilt or altered over 60 other churches in Wiltshire. It was built after Hindon became a district chapelry. In 1808 plans had been made to 'take down, enlarge and rebuild the Chapel of Hindon.' The sum needed (£1886-15-8d) was not raised and various repairs were carried out at this time instead. The chapel was extended in 1836 but following the collapse of part of the roof in 1869 a total rebuild was recommended. The new church cost £3,100 and was paid for by Richard Grosvenor who owned a large portion of the village at this time. The new church was built using some stone from the old church as well as the bells, clock face and memorial tablets. It was consecrated on 6 July 1871. There are several reasons for the construction of the new church of which decay of the old church is clearly one. The need for more seating was not, however. The new church contained a rood screen although this is believed to have been removed in the 1940s or 1950s. Another change was the decline in the use of the Hindon Town band in the latter half of the 19th and early part of the 20th centuries. It is recorded as having played at the consecration ceremony and the last recorded performance was in 1930 when they accompanied some of the hymns in church.

In 1922 Hindon joined with Chicklade and Pertwood to from a larger parish under one vicar. All Saints Church in Chicklade has remained open ever since. St. Peters in Pertwood has, however, had a more tumultuous path. By 1968 it had become derelict and was closed. In 1972 was declared redundant. It was the sold and restored allowing it to be reopened in 1998 since when it has had a few services annually.

The 1970s and 1980s saw many changes in the deaneries of the area. In 1975 Hindon was removed from Shaftesbury and Tisbury Deanery and returned to Chalke where it had historically belonged. From 1975 to 1986 it was joined with East Knoyle again but in 1985 it ceased to be a benefice. Since 1935 there has been a pattern of Sunday worship in Hindon church. The Lady Chapel was consecrated in 1957 and until 2009 was decorated with fabric used at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1957. The arch over the south gates to the churchyard was designed and made to celebrate the millennium and is designed to echo the original gates.

The parish registers from 1612, other than those in current use, are held in the Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre at Chippenham.

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