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Tollard Royal

Church of St. Peter ad Vincula, Tollard Royal

Church of St. Peter ad Vincula, Tollard Royal Date Photo Taken 2012
Uploaded 21/11/2013 11:37:31
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Map Latitude 50.95879080505713 : Longitude -2.0811930298805237
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Original Media Location: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre

There is evidence in tax records that a church existed at Tollard Royal in 1291, serving not only the village of Tollard Royal itself, but also part of Farnham village. This evidence is confirmed by the presence of two late 13th century windows in the church nave, and also a doorway and the tower arch, which date from the same period or from the early 14th century. In 1291 the church was served by two rectors, but by 1496 the parish had been united into one rectory only.

The church was named St. Peter's church in 1469 but an article in the Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine of 1875 by Rev. Canon J.E. Jackson cited documentary authorities of the 18th and earlier 19th century giving the suffix "Ad Vincula", "in chains". This name has been infrequent in the United Kingdom.

The church is constructed of flint and limestone with a tiled roof, although the tower is ashlar. In 1412 a bell tower was built and in the late 15th and early 16th century the building was enlarged with the addition of the aisle and porch and the heightening of the nave. In 1714 a gallery was added, later removed. The two-stage west tower is a rebuilding of the early 15th century tower. Reroofing of the church took place in the mid-19th century restoration and further restoration of this period included rebuilding of the aisle and arcade and removal of the chancel arch. Nikolaus Pevsner, in his Buildings of England: Wiltshire, provides only a brief description of the church including that it is "much renewed, the chancel all but rebuilt".

The windows of the church are primarily of the 19th century restoration, although the communion rails date from the early 18th century. The memorials include earlier structures, however, including one in the nave dating from the early 14th century and depicting a cross-legged knight, Sir William Payne; one to a Robert Barber (d.1686) and his wife (d.1720); another dated 1740 to another Robert Barber, of Ashcombe, just outside the parish boundary in Berwick St. John parish and, in addition, a memorial to George Pitt-Rivers who died in 1810. A larger memorial to the anthropologist General A.H. Lane Fox Pitt-Rivers who died in 1900 describes him as "Inspector of Ancient Monuments".

The tower houses five bells, dating from the 15th, 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

A rectory house was mentioned in 1677; this was replaced by a house at the western end of the street at a date after 1773. This house was described in 1783 as being of stone and flint with a brick front. The house was sold c.1954.

In 1925 the united benefice of Tollard Royal was formed and subsequently included other Dorset parishes. Tollard Royal is now part of the Chase benefice within the Archdeaconry of Dorset, Salisbury Diocese, all of whose parishes except Tollard Royal are in Dorset.

Registers of baptisms at Tollard Royal church between 1688 and 1858 may be viewed at the Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre; those dating from 1859 to date remain with the church. Marriage registers for 1692 to 2009 are at the History Centre, together with burial registers from 1689 to 1909. Burial registers from 1909 to date remain with the church.

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