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Wiltshire Community History

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Church of St. Mary, Codford

Church of St. Mary, Codford Date Photo Taken 2011
Uploaded 18/12/2013 08:51:18
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Map Latitude 51.156866792944975 : Longitude -2.0372195541858673
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Original Media Location: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre

World War I military graveyard memorial in a separate cemetery.

It is possible that there may have been a church here in Saxon times but the earliest architectural evidence is Norman. This includes late Norman stone animal masks and, from the last quarter of the 12th century, the chancel arch, with a unique line of carving. The tower and much of the church is late 14th century and new windows were inserted in the chancel and nave in the 15th century. A rood and rood stairs were inserted in the 16th century while the chancel was rebuilt in the 17th century. This seems to have been paid for by John Mompesson, there is a date stone of 1622, and a small dormer window was put in the south-west angle of the nave roof to light the gallery for the singers around the same time. The chancel was repaired in 1807.

In June 1843, when a labourer was removing an accumulation of rubbish, part of the south wall of the nave, nearest the chancel collapsed. It was felt that this wall had been weakened by the insertion of the 16th century rood stairs and, as the village population was increasing, it was decided to take the opportunity to enlarge the church while rebuilding. A public subscription provided the funds for this and the diocesan architect T.H. Wyatt was employed. He said that it was necessary to take down all walls to the their foundations, apart from the tower and part of the chancel. The south aisle was built with a chapel or organ chamber at the end and the south porch of the existing church was re-erected in its present position. During this reconstruction much Norman work was found under the wall plaster and traces of wall paintings were uncovered on some plaster.

The church was further restored in 1878-9 by E.H. Lingen-Barker. The font, on a modern base, is from the Norman church and is dated to 1180. The pulpit is Jacobean and has been rest on a stone plinth. The registers from 1653 (burials) and 1654 (baptisms and marriages), other than those in current use, are held in the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre.

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