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Wiltshire Community History

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Church at Manningford Abbots

Church at Manningford Abbots Date Photo Taken 2013
Uploaded 07/08/2014 14:27:39
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Map Latitude 51.32709711373451 : Longitude -1.7963907122612
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Original Media Location: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre

In 987 a 'church way' was recorded, and in 1291 the first mention was made of the church. In 1299 a rector was presented to the church by the Abbot of Hyde, and from then the abbots presented until the Dissolution. No dedication of the church is recorded. After the Dissolution, the church was granted to Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset until his death in 1552. With the manor, the church was passed down through the generations with presentation of the church often being delegated to others.

In 1783, services were held twice on a Sunday and weekday services were held on principal festivals. The sacrament was given to between 20 and 30 people at Christmas, Easter, Whitsun and Michaelmas. In 1812, the format changed to only one service on a Sunday but it increased to two services again in 1864, with an average attendance of sixty people of which thirteen were given the sacrament.

In 1806, the church had a window of late medieval date, a lancet in the south wall and a steeply-pitched tiled roof. Also the nave had a window of 16th century in the south wall. The church was rebuilt in 1861 - 1864 and reproduced in the style of the 13th and 14th centuries based on the same plan as the previous church. This restoration cost £550 and the church then accommodated 79 people. £150 of the £550 was paid by a Mr Edwin Barty, who petitioned for the work to be started.

The rectory was first mentioned in 1588, and the present rectory incorporates an early 17th century timber framed building which was built c.1636. In 1556, the rector at Manningford Abbots was in charge of two benefices. In 1926, the rectory was joined with the rectory of Manningford Bruce.

Some notable items of the communion plate include a silver parcel-gilt chalice of the late 15th century; a crucifix can still be seen on the foot of this chalice. There is also a late 16th century paten cover and a flagon given by Charles Adams who was the rector in 1782.

The church registers are preserved today and are held in the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre in Chippenham. Baptisms are recorded from 1539 to 1982, marriages from 1543 to 1964, and burials from 1538 to 1980. Also documents and plans for the development of the building in 1861 and petitions for the work to be allowed to go ahead, are available to view.

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