Calne: Churches

A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 17, Calne. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 2002.

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, 'Calne: Churches', in A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 17, Calne, (London, 2002) pp. 101-109. British History Online [accessed 21 May 2024].

. "Calne: Churches", in A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 17, Calne, (London, 2002) 101-109. British History Online, accessed May 21, 2024,

. "Calne: Churches", A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 17, Calne, (London, 2002). 101-109. British History Online. Web. 21 May 2024,


A church was probably built early on the estate called Calne, which belonged to the king from the 9th or 10th century, and was endowed with what was almost certainly part of it. Calne church was standing in 1066, and in 1086 it was held of the king by Nigel, probably Nigel the physician. It was acquired by Osmund, bishop of Salisbury, who in 1091 gave it to Salisbury cathedral, and by 1116 its estate had been used to endow a prebend in the cathedral. (fn. 1) The church was apparently served by chaplains until, evidently between 1241 and 1291, a vicarage was ordained. (fn. 2)

It is likely that in the earlier Middle Ages the parish of Calne church was conterminous with the king's estate called Calne, which, with varying degrees of probability, may have included smaller settlements near Calne, and Berwick Bassett, Beversbrook, Calstone (including what became Blackland), Cherhill, Compton Bassett, Heddington, and Yatesbury. (fn. 3) To the west Studley and Whetham, probably assarts from Chippenham forest, were probably not in the king's estate but became parts of the parish; Bowood, which remained royal forest until the 17th century, was claimed then as part of the parish. (fn. 4) Beversbrook became part of Hilmarton parish. (fn. 5) In the other places independent churches, parish churches dependent on Calne, one dependent chapel or more which failed to survive the Reformation, and, in the 19th century, a district church, a chapel of ease, and a mission church were built. The independent churches had been built at Blackland by the 12th century, at Calstone by 1301, at Compton Bassett by the late 12th century, at Heddington by c. 1130, and at Yatesbury by the 13th century or earlier. Those at Blackland and Calstone received their income from, and were assigned as their parishes, the estates on which they were built, (fn. 6) and land at Blackland and most of Calstone remained in Calne parish. (fn. 7) Berwick Bassett church had been built by 1221 and Cherhill church by the 12th century: each was dependent on Calne. By the early 15th century and the mid 16th the inhabitants of Berwick Bassett and Cherhill respectively had acquired full rights in the churches. (fn. 8) In the Middle Ages a dependent chapel stood at Studley and possibly others at Quemerford and Whitley, and new churches were built at Derry Hill in 1839-40, Quemerford in 1852-3, and Sandy Lane in 1892. (fn. 9)

Calne parish, including Berwick Bassett and Cherhill, was a peculiar of the prebendary of Calne, who held Calne church. (fn. 10) The prebend was annexed to the treasurership of Salisbury cathedral from between 1220 and 1227, (fn. 11) and from then until 1846, when his peculiar jurisdiction was abolished, the treasurer, triennially inhibited by the dean, exercised quasi-episcopal jurisdiction over the parish. (fn. 12)

In 1657 parliament ordered that the benefices and parishes of Calne and Blackland should be united, (fn. 13) and in 1658 Berwick Bassett was detached from Calne and united to Winterbourne Monkton. (fn. 14) The union of Calne and Blackland was not effected, and after the Restoration Berwick Bassett was again dependent on Calne. (fn. 15) In 1734 Calne vicarage was united with the curacy of Cherhill. The two were disunited in 1842, when Cherhill became an independent church, and Berwick Bassett became an independent church in 1853-4. (fn. 16) In 1709 Bowood park was declared to be no part of Calne parish, (fn. 17) and in the 19th century Calne ecclesiastical parish was much reduced. In 1841 a west part, Derry Hill, Sandy Lane, and most of Studley, was, with Bowood, part of the district assigned to Derry Hill church; (fn. 18) 204 a. near Cherhill village was transferred to Cherhill in 1879; (fn. 19) and in 1887 Stockley was transferred from Calne ecclesiastical parish to Heddington, Calstone's land which lay in Calne ecclesiastical parish was transferred to Blackland and Calstone Wellington, land at Quemerford and the land at Blackland which lay in Calne ecclesiastical parish was transferred to Blackland parish, and detached portions of parishes were transferred to the ecclesiastical parishes which embraced them. (fn. 20) In 1962 Calne vicarage was united to Blackland rectory, which until then had been united to Calstone Wellington rectory; only the north and west parts of Blackland parish, including the church and much of the land transferred to the parish in 1887, was served by the new united benefice. In 1973 the rest of Studley and other land were transferred from Calne ecclesiastical parish to the parish of Christchurch, Derry Hill. (fn. 21)

Until the vicarage was ordained chaplains were presumably appointed by the recipients of the church's revenues. The advowson of the vicarage belonged to the treasurer of Salisbury cathedral as owner of the Prebendal estate. Candidates were presented to the dean for institution. (fn. 22) The bishop of Salisbury collated in 1381, when the treasurership was vacant, and for an unknown reason in 1564; (fn. 23) John Powell presented in 1549 by grant of a turn. (fn. 24) Under the Cathedrals Act of 1840 the advowson passed to the bishop in 1841, (fn. 25) and the bishop was sole patron of the united benefice of Calne and Blackland formed in 1962. (fn. 26)

At £4 6s. 8d. in 1291 and £8 5s. in 1535 Calne vicarage was of modest value for a living in Avebury deanery. (fn. 27) The vicar probably had no tithe until c. 1381, when the living was augmented by a grant of the tithes of lambs, calves, milk, mills, and orchards from the whole parish: (fn. 28) because Calne was a parish in which much land was used for animal husbandry and there were many mills, (fn. 29) that augmentation, which appears to have included Cherhill and to have excluded Berwick Bassett, (fn. 30) became valuable. From 1641 or earlier leases of the Prebendal estate included a provision for payments to the vicar. The payment was £12 a year under a lease of 1641, (fn. 31) £34 a year under leases of 1766 and later. (fn. 32) As a result of those augmentations the vicar's income, c. £770 in 1830, rose above the average for the deanery. (fn. 33)

In the 1760s the owner of Bowood House was paying £2 a year to the vicar. (fn. 34) The payment may have been to replace tithes from land on the east bank of the Whetham stream drowned in 1766 by the lake near the house or otherwise imparked. It was presumably continued as the £2 a year which in the early 19th century was paid to the vicar in place of tithes on 45 a. on the east edge of Bowood park. The £2 a year was converted to a rent charge in 1843. (fn. 35) In 1818, when the Alders, the Marsh, and the open fields of Calne were inclosed, land was allotted to the vicar to replace tithes on 374 a. The vicar's remaining tithes from Calne parish were valued at £840 in 1842 and commuted in 1843. (fn. 36) The vicar also received tithes, or payments in place of them, from outside the parish. At the augmentation of the vicarage c. 1381 it was unconvincingly implied that great tithes from Witcombe (in Hilmarton), Compton (probably Compton Bassett), and Bupton (in Clyffe Pypard) were added to it: (fn. 37) the only tithes from those places known to have been paid to the vicar were those from 42 a. in Compton Bassett which were valued at £12 in 1838 and commuted in 1839. (fn. 38) In the early 15th century the vicar was entitled to small tithes arising at Cherhill, (fn. 39) and from 1734, when the vicarage was united with the curacy of Cherhill, he held other tithes there. (fn. 40) Some tithes were exchanged for land at inclosure in 1821, (fn. 41) and in 1844-5, when they were valued at £1 5s. and commuted, the vicar's only tithes from Cherhill were those of homesteads. (fn. 42) In the 1630s the vicar claimed tithe of wood and other small tithes from Bowood park, apparently on the grounds that the park contained former assarts which lay in Calne parish. (fn. 43) The outcome of that claim is obscure. Later in the 17th century, probably c. 1660, what was apparently another claim by the vicar to those tithes failed, (fn. 44) but in the earlier 19th century the vicar was nevertheless receiving £5 a year by prescription in place of tithes from one of the assarts. The prescribed payment was converted to a rent charge in 1847. (fn. 45)

The vicar is not known to have held land in Calne parish until the early 19th century. At the inclosure of 1818 there were allotments to him of 11 a. to replace tithes and 1 a. to replace feeding rights, (fn. 46) and 6 a. in the parish was allotted to him at the inclosure of 1821. (fn. 47) About 1822 the 12 a. allotted in 1818 was transferred to the Prebendal estate, (fn. 48) and in 1843 the vicar had 14 a. of glebe in the parish. (fn. 49) Of the 14 a., 6 a. was sold in 1919 (fn. 50) and 6 a. in 1952. (fn. 51) From 1734 the vicar held 1 yardland in Cherhill. (fn. 52) At inclosure in 1821 that was replaced by an allotment of 29 a. in Cherhill, and tithes were replaced by an allotment of 15 a. there. (fn. 53) The vicar had 49 a. of glebe in Cherhill in 1843; (fn. 54) it was sold in portions in 1919, 1926, and 1952. (fn. 55)

A house described as the vicarage house in 1699 (fn. 56) was probably part of the living. In 1728 what was called the vicar's house stood a little north of the church and probably at the northwest end of Mill Street. (fn. 57) About 1822 the principal house on the Prebendal estate, standing in Cow Lane at what was the south end of Eastman Street, was transferred to the vicarage in exchange for the 12 a. allotted to the vicar in 1818. (fn. 58) The house was enlarged in 1826 (fn. 59) by the construction of a large north-south block of five bays by three, of two storeys, and with a hipped roof on bracketed eaves; the south and west fronts of the new block are of finely dressed golden ashlar. The older part of the house was replaced by two east service ranges, a two-storeyed one built in the later 19th century at the south end of the new block, and a single-storeyed one at the north end. The house was replaced as the vicarage house by a later 20th-century house in Mill Street bought in 1975, and was sold in 1978. (fn. 60) The house in Mill Street was replaced by a new house in Vicarage Close and was sold in 1989. (fn. 61)

In the 13th century and the mid 16th there may have been a chapel of St. Andrew at Calne; (fn. 62) there is no later evidence of one. A chapel in which the Virgin was invoked apparently stood in the town only about the 13th century. (fn. 63) A chapel had been built at Studley by the earlier 13th century, presumably by the lord of Studley manor. In 1241 the treasurer of Salisbury cathedral gave permission to the lord of the manor to employ, at his own expense, a chaplain to serve a chantry in the chapel; the chaplain was to be chosen by the lord of the manor subject to the treasurer's approval. It was agreed that attendance at services in the chapel should not be to the detriment of Calne church, and the lord of the manor acknowledged that Calne was the mother church and agreed that he, his household, and his chaplain would attend several services at Calne each year. The chaplain of Calne was to attend at Studley to hear the confession of the lord of the manor and his family, purify women whose children had been baptized at Calne, and, if the lord of the manor wished, administer the sacrament at Easter; adults were given the choice of burial at Calne or Studley. (fn. 64) The chapel, probably in use in 1405, (fn. 65) had been closed by c. 1480. (fn. 66) In 1251 the abbot of Pershore (Worcs.) claimed the right to nominate a chaplain to serve a chapel at Quemerford; (fn. 67) there is no other evidence that such a chapel existed. From 1325 to 1369 the lord of Whitley manor claimed the right to appoint a chaplain to serve a chapel at Whitley; (fn. 68) there is no other evidence of a chapel there.

A chantry in which the Virgin was invoked had been founded in Calne church by 1312. (fn. 69) At its dissolution in 1548 it had a cantarist, a 13oz. chalice, and a net income of £4 4s. (fn. 70) What was apparently another chantry was endowed when, by a licence of 1336, Robert Hungerford gave land to a hospital in Calne to provide a chaplain to say mass daily in Calne church. (fn. 71) In 1409 the chaplain was the warden of the hospital, who was also St. Mary's cantarist and failing to say mass daily as required. (fn. 72) The chantry endowed c. 1336 was united to St. Mary's chantry in Heytesbury church in 1442, (fn. 73) from when the chaplain is unlikely to have said mass at Calne. A chantry of St. Mary Magdalene was founded and endowed by John St. Lo under licences of 1446-7; the chaplain was to say mass at the altar of St. Mary Magdalene and St. Nicholas in Calne church. (fn. 74) At its dissolution in 1548 it had a cantarist, a 13½-oz. chalice, and a net income of £8 10s. (fn. 75) Lights in the church had apparently been endowed by 1346, (fn. 76) and St. Mary Magdalene's light was burning in 1412; (fn. 77) at the Reformation ½ a. in Calne given for a light to burn in front of an image of the Virgin passed to the Crown. (fn. 78) In 1406 there was a fraternity in Calne dedicated to the Cross. (fn. 79)

The north doorway in 1803

In 1389 Calne was among places in which William Ramsbury, apparently in minor orders, allegedly preached heresy and conducted services which imitated the mass. (fn. 80) In 1406 vestments, a breviary, and two processional candlesticks were missing from Calne church, and in 1412 the dean of Salisbury cathedral ordered the churchwardens to provide an antiphonary, a psalter, and an ordinal. In 1409 the vicar was presented for not accompanying funeral processions. (fn. 81) In 1540 the vicar, suspected of papistry for failing to remove the name of St. Thomas Becket from a book, was found to have erred through negligence. (fn. 82) In 1587 quarterly sermons were not preached and a clerk, possibly a curate, was accused of purifying a strumpet without imposing penance. (fn. 83) William Mortimer was vicar 1602-53. (fn. 84) Thomas Jones, apparently his successor, was expelled from the living at the Restoration. (fn. 85) In 1766, when the vicar was an invalid, a curate held two services each Sunday and services on Wednesdays, Fridays, and holy days. (fn. 86) John Guthrie, vicar 1835-65, oversaw the restoration of the parish church and the construction of a chapel of ease at Quemerford and promoted parochial schools, a friendly society, and a literary institution in Calne. (fn. 87) In 1864 he employed three assistant curates. In Calne church two services were then held each Sunday and one service on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and some saints' days. Communion was celebrated thrice monthly and at four major festivals. (fn. 88) John Duncan, vicar 1865-1907, instituted a daily service and weekly communion at Calne and in 1870 introduced a surpliced choir; in 1870 Calne was one of the few parishes in the Wiltshire part of Salisbury diocese in which communion was celebrated every Sunday and on holy days. (fn. 89) Duncan's high-church teaching caused parishioners to leave the church in 1866 and to found a free church. (fn. 90)

In the earlier 16th century a nominal 6 a. in open fields in Calne parish, ½ a. in Abberd mead, and presumably pasture rights belonged to Calne church; (fn. 91) after inclosure in the early 19th century the church held a total of 5 a. The land was leased for £9 a year in the 1830s, £12 15s. in 1904. (fn. 92) About 1920 it was sold and the proceeds were invested. (fn. 93) The income from the land and later from the investment, c. £10 in 1995, was used for general church expenses. By will proved 1882 Emily Price gave the income from £500 to maintain the church clock; £33 was spent on repairs in 1898, and in 1996 the charity's income was still used as the donor intended. In 1887 Ellinor Gabriel gave the income from £110 to maintain the organ in the church, (fn. 94) and in 1917 H. G. Harris, who had given a new organ in 1908, gave the income from £1,000 to maintain it; in 1995 the combined income of the two charities was £192 and devoted to the organ. Emily Rutherford (d. 1974) and Gertrude Weston (d. 1986) each founded by will a charity to pay for upkeep of the church; in 1996 the total income was £1,350. From 1990 the church was eligible to benefit from the Holy Trinity Field trust, and repairs to the roof were paid for by the trustees. (fn. 95)

St. Mary's churuch from the south-east in 1803

The church of ST. MARY, so called in 1336, (fn. 96) may have been named before 1241 in honour of the assumption of the Virgin. (fn. 97) It stands, large and cruciform and with a tall north tower, in a triangular churchyard embanked on the north-east. (fn. 98) Its fabric, of limestone rubble and ashlar, is mainly post-medieval and externally is Perpendicular in style. The church has a chancel with north and south aisles and north vestry, a crossing with north and south transepts, an aisled and clerestoried nave with north and south chapels at its east end and with north and south porches, and a tower of four stages at the north end of the north transept.

The church standing in 1066 was almost certainly on the site of the present church; no part of its fabric is known to survive. The nave of the present church is narrow, and remains of a round-headed window in its north wall suggest that it was built without aisles in the 12th century; billet-and-chevron moulding has been re-used or reproduced on its north doorway. In the late 12th century the church was enlarged to a cruciform plan, and a narrow aisle and a five-bayed arcade were added to each side of the nave. The two arches at the west end of the north arcade, semicircular and of one order, apparently survive from the late 12th century, and there is other masonry of that date in the north and south walls of the aisles, in the footings of the piers at the crossing, and possibly in the east wall of the south transept. In the 13th century the chancel aisles were built and most of the south transept was rebuilt. The chancel was lengthened in the 14th century, and in the late 14th century a chapel, in which there are the remains of a large piscina, was built on the north side of the north aisle of the nave. In the 15th century the north porch, which is vaulted, and apparently the south porch were built, the clerestory was built and the roof of the nave rebuilt, and the aisles of the nave were refenestrated. (fn. 99)

The central tower fell in 1638, (fn. 100) and between then and c. 1650 the north transept and the east end of the church, which had presumably both been damaged by the fall, were reconstructed in mixed classical and Gothic styles. The south part of the transept was rebuilt and a new tower was built on the site of the north part and projecting slightly northwards. The tower has a Perpendicular silhouette and details in Decorated style. The crossing was rebuilt with classically moulded depressed arches resting on piers with shafts of the Tuscan order, the west end of the chancel was rebuilt with two-bayed arcades with round arches on Tuscan columns, and two oeil-de-boeuf windows were inserted in the east wall of the crossing. Work on reroofing aisles, presumably the north aisle of the nave and the north aisle of the chancel, was paid for in 1650. (fn. 101) Other 17th-century work probably included the conversion of the five arches of the nave's south arcade and of the three easternmost arches of its north arcade from round to pointed, and the insertion of unusual tracery in the south window of the crossing and the east window of the chancel. In the earlier 19th century all those arches were pointed and the tracery was in situ. (fn. 102)

The south arcade in 1803s

A new gallery was built in the church c. 1605. In 1715 a singers' gallery was converted for the use of both the lessee of Bowood park and the owner of Studley manor, and, between the church's north and south doors and evidently at its west end, a new singers' gallery was built. The church was repewed to designs by Messrs. Strong and White approved by the vestry in 1819. It then had three galleries, one described as old and presumably that of c. 1605, one described as new and presumably that of 1715, and that reserved for the owners of Bowood House and Studley manor. (fn. 103) The pulpit was moved c. 1819, and in 1848 a three-decker pulpit stood in the centre of the crossing. (fn. 104)

The south and west parts of the church were restored in 1864 to designs by William Slater. The two westernmost bays of the south arcade of the nave were rebuilt, the south transept was rebuilt and lengthened, the extension occupying the site of a staircase to a gallery, and the south porch, part of the south aisle of the chancel, and most of the west wall of the nave were rebuilt; the south chapel, between the transept and the porch, was built to mirror the north chapel. On the north side of the church the vestry was built east of the chancel aisle, and a coped wall and parapet between the chapel and the nave aisle was removed. Each chapel formed an outer aisle. The church was reseated and the west gallery, in which until then the organ stood, and galleries in the north and south aisles of the nave, the south transept, and the south aisle of the chancel were removed; a gallery in the north transept was retained. The pulpit was replaced by one at the north-west corner of the chancel and the organ was moved to the north transept. (fn. 105) The arches in the arcades of the nave which were pointed in the earlier 19th century, except those of the easternmost bay of each arcade, were changed back, or changed, to round; the work was done after 1848 (fn. 106) and probably in 1864.

In 1882-3, under the direction of J. L. Pearson, the gallery and the organ were removed from the north transept, the organ was placed in the north aisle of the chancel, the north chapel was screened off as a vestry, and the vestry built in 1864 was converted to a sacristy. (fn. 107) In 1890-1, also to Pearson's designs, the chancel was restored. Its walls were heightened, its 17th-century roof was retained, a new and taller east window was inserted, and a low stone chancel screen was built. (fn. 108) A new organ was installed in 1908: it was built by P. A. Conacher & Co. and its case, elaborate and with medieval and 17th-century motifs designed by C. R. Ashbee, was made by the Campden Guild in 1907. (fn. 109)

In the early 15th century the church had three silver-gilt chalices and other plate. (fn. 110) In 1527 the parish bought a chalice for 20s., (fn. 111) in 1551 it had a gilt chalice with a cover, and in 1553, when 3 oz. of silver was confiscated, it retained a 15-oz. chalice. Most of the plate held in the early 15th century had presumably been lost by 1551. In 1864 the existing plate was replaced by two chalices, three patens, a flagon, and a spoon, (fn. 112) which all belonged to the church in 2000. An additional chalice and paten was given c. 1995. (fn. 113)

Plan of St. Mary's church c. 1900

In 1553 four bells, one of which had been cast in 1527, and a sanctus bell hung in the church. The sanctus bell, probably cast in the later 15th century, hung there in 2000. By 1796 the ring had been increased to eight: it may have been increased in 1707, the date of three bells cast by Abraham Rudhall at Gloucester which hung in the church, and in 1783 and 1786, the dates of two bells cast by Robert Wells at Aldbourne which hung there. In 2000 two of the bells (i and v) cast in 1707 were still hanging, as were those (vii and viii) cast in 1783 and 1786 and one (ii) cast by John Rudhall at Gloucester in 1796. A bell cast by William Purdue in 1658 was replaced by one (iii) cast by Mears & Stainbank in 1928; the third bell (vi) of 1707 was recast by C. & G. Mears in 1848; a bell (iv) cast by James Burrough at Devizes in 1751 was recast by Mears & Stainbank in 1899. (fn. 114) The bells were rehung in 1907, (fn. 115) there has been no major change to the ring since 1928, (fn. 116) and in 2000 the bell of 1658 was standing in the church.

Registers of baptisms, marriages, and burials begin in 1528 and are almost complete. (fn. 117)

CHRISTCHURCH at Derry Hill was built in 1839-40, (fn. 118) and a district, consisting of Bowood and Pewsham extra-parochial places and parts of Calne, Bremhill, Chippenham, Corsham, and Bishop's Cannings parishes, was assigned to it in 1841. (fn. 119) From 1861 the district was called the new parish of Derry Hill, (fn. 120) and in 1864 Sandy Lane was transferred from it to the new parish of Chittoe. (fn. 121) Christchurch was served by a perpetual curate, from 1868 called a vicar, nominated by the vicar of Calne; the first was licensed in 1840. (fn. 122) In 1994 the vicarage was united to the vicarage of Bremhill with Foxham, and the vicar of Calne was given the right to present at alternate vacancies of the united benefice. (fn. 123)

In 1842 the perpetual curacy was endowed with the income from £500 raised by subscription and from £200 given by Queen Anne's Bounty. (fn. 124) As owners of the great tithes of Bowood and Pewsham, which were then held on long leases, the dean and chapter of Salisbury cathedral and later the Ecclesiastical Commissioners gave £10 a year as a stipend, probably from c. 1842, and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners augmented the living in 1842 by £100 a year and in 1864 by a further £181 a year. In 1880, after the leases had expired, the Ecclesiastical Commissioners transferred £370 of rent charge, all that in respect of the commuted tithes of Bowood and Pewsham and some of that in respect of commuted tithes of Calne, to the vicar and withdrew the stipend and augmentations. (fn. 125) A glebe house was built between 1840 and 1842. (fn. 126) It was demolished in 1984, a new vicarage house having been built in its garden in 1983. (fn. 127)

In 1864 the perpetual curate held two services each Sunday and additional services in Lent. Communion was celebrated at Christmas and Easter, on Ascension day and Whit and Trinity Sundays, and additionally on two Sundays each month; there were usually c. 20 communicants. (fn. 128) As at Calne, in 1870 communion was celebrated each Sunday and on holy days. (fn. 129) Alterations of the interior of the church proposed in the 1870s and 1880s, regarded as evidence of the high churchmanship of the vicar, were successfully opposed by Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, marquess of Lansdowne. (fn. 130) From c. 1978 to 1994 Derry Hill vicarage was a separate benefice in Oldbury group ministry. (fn. 131)

The church was built of ashlar in a late Perpendicular style to designs by T. H. Wyatt and D. Brandon (fn. 132) and consists of a rectangular body and a west tower with a needle spire. (fn. 133) It was roofed with stone slates which were replaced by tiles in 1961. The body of the church comprises a small sanctuary, which stands between north and south compartments, and a wide nave, which has a south porch. The north compartment, which has a north door, is a vestry; the south, which has a south door, is a vestibule in which a staircase gives access to a pulpit at the south-west corner of the sanctuary. Shafts with foliage capitals emphasize the entrance to the sanctuary, which retains its original east window of painted glass. The nave contains a west gallery. In 1936 the nave was reseated and a screen was added below the gallery, and in 1953-4 stalls at the east end of the church were constructed for the choir, which until then had sung in the gallery. (fn. 134) The main entrance to the church is now through the tower vestibule, which is flanked by small polygonal chambers.

A chalice, a paten, and a flagon, all hallmarked for 1840, were given in that year probably by the vicar of Calne; they and other items of plate were still held in 1996. (fn. 135) From when it was built the tower probably housed a single bell; (fn. 136) it was evidently removed when the church was repaired in 1961-2 and was not there in 1996. (fn. 137)

HOLY TRINITY church was built at Quemerford in 1852-3 as a chapel of ease of Calne church. (fn. 138) Its churchyard replaced that of St. Mary's church as the parish graveyard, but, apart from 1863-4 when Calne church was being restored, it was not licensed for the solemnization of marriage until 1990. (fn. 139) It was usually served by an assistant curate appointed by the vicar of Calne, (fn. 140) and Caroline Guthrie (d. 1866), the relict of the vicar, gave by will the income from £1,000 stock to the minister serving it. In 1904 the income from the charity was £26. (fn. 141) The assets of the charity were sold in 1994 for £310 net. (fn. 142)

In 1864 morning and afternoon services were held in Holy Trinity church; (fn. 143) in 1870 holy communion was celebrated monthly. (fn. 144) A surpliced choir was introduced in 1888. (fn. 145)

In 1899 H. J. Harris and H. W. Harris gave 1 a., the income from which was to be spent on maintaining the churchyard. The land lay near the church, and in 1901 a caretaker's lodge was built on it. (fn. 146) In the late 1980s the land and the lodge were sold, and in 1990 the net proceeds were transferred to the Holy Trinity Field trust, the net income of which was c. £24,000 in 1996. The trustees are required to maintain the churchyard of Holy Trinity church and allowed to spend excess income on religious and other charitable purposes of the Church of England in Calne ecclesiastical parish; in the 1990s they paid for repairs to Holy Trinity church and the parish church. (fn. 147) In 1900 the Churchyard Fund to maintain the churchyard at Quemerford was established by the vicar and the churchwardens of Calne and Quemerford with the income from £100 stock raised by subscription. (fn. 148) Eight or more other charities were endowed to maintain Holy Trinity church and its churchyard; in 1996 £122 was received from the Churchyard Fund and charities endowed by Sir John Bodinnar (d. 1958), A. H. Burt (d. 1958), Amy Harris, C. H. Lawrence (d. 1951), Helena Mail (d. 1954), Miss D. M. Pinnegar (d. 1965), and Mabel Smith (d. 1982). (fn. 149)

The church is set back from the London road and stands in a large graveyard bounded by the trees of Wessington Avenue. (fn. 150) It was designed by C. H. Gabriel, (fn. 151) is tall, of coursed rubble, and crisply detailed in Decorated style, and consists of a chancel with north vestry and a nave with south porch and west bellcot and spirelet. (fn. 152) The chancel is long, has tall south windows and diapering in relief on its walls, and is separated from the vestry by a traceried screen. The chancel arch is high and wide, and the nave has an open timber roof with cusped trusses and windbracing.

A chalice, a paten, and a flagon, all hallmarked for 1866, were given to the church in that year by J. R. A. Chinnery-Haldane, the assistant curate, and still belong to it. (fn. 153) A bell which presumably hung in the bellcot from 1852-3 was replaced in 1897 by a new bell cast by Mears & Stainbank, which still hangs in the bellcot. (fn. 154)

In 1864 Sandy Lane was transferred to the new parish of Chittoe, (fn. 155) and in 1892 St. Nicholas's church was built there as a mission church. (fn. 156) In 1980 Chittoe church was declared redundant, Bromham and Chittoe parishes were united as the new parish of Bromham, Chittoe, and Sandy Lane, and Sandy Lane church became a chapel of ease in the new parish. In 1981 the church was rededicated to ST. MARY THE VIRGIN AND ST. NICHOLAS. (fn. 157)

The church, built to designs by J. H. Hopkins, (fn. 158) is small, is of unusual timber construction, and has a steep thatched roof. (fn. 159) It has an A frame with six pairs of trusses which project beyond the walls and, clad in iron shoes, rest on brick sleeper walls. The trusses are tied beneath the floor by iron rods. The main walls consist of two skins of timber between which sawdust was rammed as insulation. (fn. 160) The fittings inside the church, which include a lectern, a font, and a traceried screen dividing the chancel and the nave, are also of timber, and there are 19th-century brass oil lamps.


  • 1. Ibid. ii, p. 115; above, manors (preamble; Prebendal).
  • 2. Sar. Chart. and Doc. (Rolls Ser.), p. 253; Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 182.
  • 3. Cf. above, manors [preamble].
  • 4. Ibid. introduction (early medieval settlement; composition of Calne par.; Studley; Whetham); below, Bowood, estates (Bowood).
  • 5. V.C.H. Wilts. ix. 49-65.
  • 6. Above, Blackland, church; below, Calstone Wellington, church; Compton Bassett, church; Heddington, church; Yatesbury, church.
  • 7. Above, introduction (composition of Calne par.).
  • 8. Above, Berwick Bassett, church; below, Cherhill, church.
  • 9. Below, this section.
  • 10. W.R.O., D 26, passim.
  • 11. Above, manors (Prebendal).
  • 12. W.R.O., D 26, passim; cf. Chandler's Reg. (W.R.S. xxxix), pp. xiv, 44-6, 97-9, 121-2.
  • 13. P.R.O., C 54/3954, no. 14.
  • 14. Ibid. PRO 31/17/33, pp. 314-15, 324.
  • 15. Above, introduction (composition of Calne par.); ibid. Berwick Bassett, church.
  • 16. Ibid. Berwick Bassett, church; below, Cherhill, church.
  • 17. Above, introduction (composition of Calne par.).
  • 18. W.R.O., D 1/36/4/1, no. 9.
  • 19. Ibid. 1121/27.
  • 20. Ibid. D 1/36/4/9, no. 7.
  • 21. Ibid. 2586/45.
  • 22. Ibid. D 5/1/2.
  • 23. Phillipps, Wilts. Inst. i. 65, 222; Le Neve, Fasti, 1300- 1541, Salisbury, 19.
  • 24. W.R.O., D 5/1/2.
  • 25. V.C.H. Wilts. iii. 201; Le Neve, Fasti, 1541-1857, Salisbury, 13.
  • 26. W.R.O. 2586/45.
  • 27. Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 182, 190-1; Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), ii. 129-33.
  • 28. W.R.O., D 1/2/4, ff. 158v.-159.
  • 29. Above, econ. hist.
  • 30. Ibid. Berwick Bassett, manor (Prebendal); below, this section.
  • 31. W.A.M. xli. 15.
  • 32. W.R.O., Ch. Com., treasurer, 7/1-6.
  • 33. Rep. Com. Eccl. Revenues, 828-9.
  • 34. Bowood Mun., Lab 3/3/12, letter, Bull to Dodsworth, 1766.
  • 35. W.R.O., tithe award; for the lake and imparking at Bowood, below, Bowood, estates (Bowood).
  • 36. W.R.O., EA/110; ibid. tithe award.
  • 37. Ibid. D 1/2/4, ff. 158v.-159.
  • 38. Ibid. Compton Bassett tithe award.
  • 39. Chandler's Reg. (W.R.S. xxxix), p. 46.
  • 40. Below, Cherhill, manor; church.
  • 41. W.R.O., EA/129.
  • 42. Ibid. Cherhill tithe award.
  • 43. Ibid. D 1/42/49; cf. below, Bowood, estates.
  • 44. W.R.O., A 1/110/1709E.
  • 45. Ibid. Bowood tithe award.
  • 46. Ibid. EA/110.
  • 47. Ibid. EA/129.
  • 48. Below, following para.
  • 49. W.R.O., tithe award.
  • 50. W.A.S. Libr., sale cat. xxvi, no. 10.
  • 51. Ch. Com. deed 473445.
  • 52. Below, Cherhill, manor; church.
  • 53. W.R.O., EA/129.
  • 54. Ibid. Cherhill tithe award.
  • 55. W.A.S. Libr., sale cat. xxvi, no. 10; Ch. Com. file 9052; ibid. deed 473445.
  • 56. W.R.O. 130/33A, deed, Wastfield to Jeffery, 1699.
  • 57. Ibid. 1171, map 2; 'Calne in my Memory, 1839 to 1899' (MS.: copy in possession of Mr. P. Q. Treloar, 10 the Green), 86.
  • 58. W.R.O. 2176/3; cf. ibid. G 18/1/9; ibid. 1409, box 31, bk. of ref. to map of Calne, 1828; for Eastman Street, above, introduction (Calne outside the town).
  • 59. W.R.O., D 5/3/3.
  • 60. Ibid. 2586/43; Ch. Com. deed 633566.
  • 61. Ch. Com. deed 666321; inf. from the hon. treasurer, Calne and Blackland par. church council, Church Ho., Church Street.
  • 62. Bradenstoke Cart. (W.R.S. xxxv), p. 53; W.A.M. xv. 252; Marsh, Hist. Calne, 370.
  • 63. W.A.M. xv. 252.
  • 64. Sar. Chart. and Doc. (Rolls Ser.), pp. 252-4.
  • 65. Chandler's Reg. (W.R.S. xxxix), p. 45.
  • 66. D. & C. Sar. Mun., 189, f. 86v.
  • 67. P.R.O., SC 1/47, f. 35, no. 65.
  • 68. Cal. Pat. 1324-7, 164; 1330-4, 452; Cal. Inq. p.m. ix, pp. 16-17; xii, p. 379; above, manors (Whitley).
  • 69. Reg. Ghent (Cant. & York Soc.), ii. 912-13; W.A.M. xv. 252.
  • 70. P.R.O., E 301/58, no. 32.
  • 71. Cal. Pat. 1334-8, 231; for the hosp., above, introduction (Calne: the town to c. 1800).
  • 72. Chandler's Reg. (W.R.S. xxxix), pp. 97-8.
  • 73. Hungerford Cart. (W.R.S. xlix), p. 90.
  • 74. Cal. Pat. 1441-6, 459; 1446-52, 61.
  • 75. P.R.O., E 301/58, no. 31.
  • 76. Hist. MSS. Com. 55, Var. Colln. iv, p. 109.
  • 77. Chandler's Reg. (W.R.S. xxxix), p. 122.
  • 78. B.L. Harl. Ch. 80 H. 37.
  • 79. Chandler's Reg. (W.R.S. xxxix), p. 46.
  • 80. Reg. Waltham (Cant. & York Soc.), pp. 169-70.
  • 81. Chandler's Reg. (W.R.S. xxxix), pp. 46, 98, 122.
  • 82. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xvi, p. 156.
  • 83. W.R.O., D 26/12/1.
  • 84. Ibid. 2083/1; ibid. D 5/1/2.
  • 85. Calamy Revised, ed. Matthews, 302.
  • 86. Bowood Mun., Lab 3/3/3, letter about Calne vicarage, 1766.
  • 87. Marsh, Hist. Calne, 148.
  • 88. W.R.O., D 1/56/7; for services at Quemerford, below, this section (Holy Trinity).
  • 89. V.C.H. Wilts. iii. 73; W.R.O. 2586/77; ibid. D 1/ 56/9.
  • 90. Below, prot. nonconf.
  • 91. W.R.O. 2083/1.
  • 92. Endowed Char. Wilts. (N. Div.), 164, 189-90.
  • 93. W.R.O., L 2, Calne (church lands).
  • 94. Endowed Char. Wilts. (N. Div.), 202-3; inf. from the hon. treasurer, Calne and Blackland par. church council.
  • 95. Char. Com. files; Wilts. Cuttings, xiv. 175; W.R.O. 2586/15; inf. from the hon. treasurer, Calne and Blackland par. church council; for the organ, below, this section; for Holy Trinity Field trust, ibid. (Holy Trinity).
  • 96. Cal. Pat. 1334-8, 231.
  • 97. Sar. Chart. and Doc. (Rolls Ser.), pp. 253-4; cf. Chandler's Reg. (W.R.S. xxxix), p. 45.
  • 98. Above, plates 1-2; illustrations in this section.
  • 99. Description partly based on J. Buckler, watercolours in W.A.S. Libr., vol. v. 34, 35 (reproduced on this page); viii. 50 (reproduced above, p. 104; below, p. 106); cf. Marsh, Hist. Calne, 151, plan at p. 152 (reproduced below, p. 107).
  • 100. Hist. MSS. Com. 55, Var. Colln. i, p. 105.
  • 101. Marsh, Hist. Calne, 155; for the chancel and the crossing, above, plate 2.
  • 102. Buckler, watercolours in W.A.S. Libr., vol. v. 35 (reproduced above, p. 105); viii. 50 (reproduced on this page); print dated 1848 reproduced, without the date, in P. Q. Treloar, Calne in Pictures, 3, and reproduced above, plate 2.
  • 103. Marsh, Hist. Calne, 153; W.R.O. 2176/2; 2238/23.
  • 104. W.R.O. 2238/23; above, plate 2.
  • 105. Marsh, Hist. Calne, 163; W.R.O., D 1/61/15/14; for the organ and some of the galleries in 1848, above, plate 2.
  • 106. Cf. above, plate 2.
  • 107. W.R.O., D 1/61/15/14; ibid. 2586/77.
  • 108. Ibid. D 1/61/35/2; A. Quiney, J. L. Pearson, 254; Marsh, Hist. Calne, 155.
  • 109. A. Crawford, C. R. Ashbee, 296-7.
  • 110. Chandler's Reg. (W.R.S. xxxix), p. 59.
  • 111. W.R.O. 2083/1.
  • 112. Nightingale, Wilts. Plate, 138.
  • 113. Inf. from Mrs. T. McGunigle, Church Ho., Church Street.
  • 114. Walters, Wilts. Bells, 45-6, 268; W.R.O. 2083/1.
  • 115. W.R.O., D 1/61/43/26.
  • 116. Inf. from Mrs. McGunigle.
  • 117. W.R.O. 2083/1-10.
  • 118. Ibid. 2512/172/11; date on bldg.
  • 119. W.R.O., D 1/36/4/1, no. 9.
  • 120. Ibid. 811/99; 1036/14.
  • 121. Ibid. D 1/36/4/6, no. 4.
  • 122. Ibid. 1036/14; Incumbents Act, 31 & 32 Vic. c. 117.
  • 123. Inf. from the vicar, Derry Hill.
  • 124. C. Hodgson, Queen Anne's Bounty (1845), pp. ccxxx, cccxxxv.
  • 125. Lond. Gaz. 29 Apr. 1842, p. 1168; 12 July 1864, p. 3499; 19 Nov. 1880, pp. 5828-9; W.R.O., Ch. Com., chapter, 87/22-4; ibid. Ch. Com., chapter, 91/21-2; ibid. 1036/14; for Calne tithes, above, manors (Prebendal).
  • 126. W.R.O. 2512/172/11.
  • 127. Inf. from the vicar.
  • 128. W.R.O., D 1/56/7.
  • 129. V.C.H. Wilts. iii. 73.
  • 130. Bowood Mun., Lab 3/3/17, file, Derry Hill church; W.R.O. 1036/14; 2362/23-5.
  • 131. Sar. Dioc. Dir. (1977/8, 1978/9, 1994).
  • 132. W.R.O. 1036/20.
  • 133. Below, plate 42.
  • 134. Inf. for 1936-61 is from ibid. 2512/172/11.
  • 135. Nightingale, Wilts. Plate, 141; inf. from the vicar.
  • 136. Kelly's Dir. Wilts. (1859 and later edns.); Walters, Wilts. Bells, 71, states that 5 bells cast by Mears & Stainbank hung in the church c. 1929.
  • 137. W.R.O. 2512/172/11; inf. from the vicar.
  • 138. W.R.O., D 1/60/4/24.
  • 139. Ibid.; D 1/56/9; Wilts. Cuttings, xiii. 77; inf. from Mr. J. D. Billings, 42 Wessington Park.
  • 140. e.g. W.R.O. 2586/39-41; 2586/77.
  • 141. Ibid. 2586/77; Endowed Char. Wilts. (N. Div.), 206.
  • 142. Inf. from the hon. treasurer, Calne and Blackland par. church council.
  • 143. W.R.O., D 1/56/7.
  • 144. Ibid. D 1/56/9.
  • 145. Ibid. 2586/77.
  • 146. Ibid.; Endowed Char. Wilts. (N. Div.), 207-8; cf. W.R.O., tithe award.
  • 147. Inf. from the hon. treasurer, Calne and Blackland par. church council.
  • 148. Endowed Char. Wilts. (N. Div.), 206-7; W.R.O. 2586/ 77.
  • 149. Inf. from the hon. treasurer, Calne and Blackland par. church council; W.R.O. 2586/14.
  • 150. For Wessington Avenue, above, introduction (Calne: the town in the 19th cent.; the town in the 20th cent.).
  • 151. 'Calne in my Memory' (MS.: copy in possession of Mr. Treloar), 222.
  • 152. Below, plate 43.
  • 153. Nightingale, Wilts. Plate, 138; inf. from Mrs. McGunigle.
  • 154. Walters, Wilts. Bells, 46; plaque in church; inf. from Mrs. McGunigle.
  • 155. W.R.O., D 1/36/4/6, no. 4.
  • 156. Sar. Dioc. Gaz. (1893), 44.
  • 157. Notice in church.
  • 158. Ibid.
  • 159. Below, plate 45.
  • 160. Sar. Dioc. Gaz. (1893), 44; drawings in church in 2000.