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Wiltshire Community History

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Coople Church, Keevil

Coople Church, Keevil Date Photo Taken 2011
Uploaded 10/01/2011 16:21:46
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Map Latitude 51.31386285835153 : Longitude -2.120168209075928
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Original Media Location: Michael Marshman

Base of Stone Cross from Coople Church, now in St. Leonard's Church, Keevil

This church remains somewhat of a mystery; stones which are thought to be the foundations of an original church were found in a field on 11 March 1913. A group of labourers were ploughing what is now known as Upper Ashton Field and struck some sort of foundations of a building.

These two areas of stone were found around nine inches below the surface and was 56 feet long by 18 feet 6 inches wide; probably there were two separate rooms. Because of the bad condition of the stonework it was impossible to take exact measurements of what seemed to be foundations, but some had three feet thick walls and there was evidence of external buttresses. Another interesting aspect is that the church - if this is indeed what these remains once were - seems to be aligned directly with Steeple Ashton church, which perhaps strengthens a theory regarding the old name of the field in which the remains were found; Coople Church Field.

Later the architect and church historian, C. E. Ponting, identified the foundations of rood loft stairs and found pits that suggested burial vaults.

Two skeletons were found on the south side, near to south wall, the traditional site for a burial ground. The 'font', now in Keevil Church is believed to have been the base of a church cross that was later hollowed out to form a large bowl for use as a font. It was found by ploughing 40 years before the finding of the church.

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