Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Date first listed:
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Ordnance survey map of CHURCH OF ST ANDREW
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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SU 12337 30538



II* Dates of main phases, name of architect: Norman origins for the nave, updated in the 14th century. Much rebuilt by George Herbert c. 1630, some repairs c. 1861 by T.H. Wyatt, and more fully restored 1894-6, by C.E. Ponting.

Materials: Flint with freestone dressings and some chequerwork. The freestone includes much of characteristically local grey-green colour, possibly Chilmark stone. Red tiled roofs.

Plan: Nave, chancel, open south porch, west bell-turret.

Exterior: A small and simple two-cell church. At the west end is a tile-hung bell turret with louvres and a pyramidal cap. The chancel roof is slightly lower. At this point the south wall shows a clear building break. The north nave wall is blind, with chequerwork, and has a blocked Norman doorway (see Interior). The chancel has a two-light north window of the 19th century, copying the Dec example on the south. Picturesque late 19th century south porch, gabled and tiled, with timber superstructure on low stone walls, and arch-braced roof trusses. The south-east nave window is of two ogee lights and a quatrefoil under an ogee outer arch, with flowing Dec tracery, i.e. c1310-40. A simpler cusped two-light window in the south chancel wall has slight ogee points, also Dec. Adjacent, a small square opening through the wall with a timber shutter inside, perhaps to allow the ringing of a Sanctus bell from within the chancel. The east window is E.E. style, of three stepped lancets under continuous hoodmould. It was inserted perhaps in the early or mid 19th century, and altered 1894-6. Late 14th or 15th century Perp W window of two cusped lights, and a hoodmould with head stops.

Interior: A small single space without chancel arch, seating only 30-40 people. Open timber roof on tie-beams, with a deeper frieze in the chancel. Segmental trusses, probably originally a plaster wagon-vault. The chancel roof is all of 1894-6, and in the nave most of the earlier roof fabric was replaced in oak at the same time. In the north wall, a blocked door recess with plain round-arched head, simplest Norman. The square opening in the south chancel wall gives onto a splayed reveal under an oak lintel. Simple iron shutter hinges, perhaps 17th century. The floor is of oak blocks.

Principal Fixtures: The fine 17th century south door has moulded ribs forming nine panels, and in the head concentric segmental mouldings with carved decoration. The style is right for George Herbert's repairs c. 1630. C.E. Ponting¿s thorough restoration of 1894-6 emphasises the association with George Herbert through simple 17th century-style fittings, e.g. the oak panelled dado in nave and chancel, turned communion rails, etc. Plain octagonal font, 19th century. There is no pulpit. The seating is 19th or early 20th century open backed benches. A chancel pavement of chequered green and white marble was laid in 1895. Stained glass in the east windows is by Lavers & Barraud, 1866, with two smaller chancel lights attributed to them on stylistic grounds. The west window glass is signed by Caroline Townshend and Joan Howson, c1935, commemorating George Herbert and his friend Nicholas Ferrar, who published Herbert's poetry as The Temple posthumously. There is a small tablet with naive fluted pilasters to John Norris, c1711, and a more refined Georgian type with oval slate ground on Siena marble, to John Lawes, d. 1787.

History: The blocked round-arched door suggests a Norman church, i.e. not later than c1200. The earliest record of a chapel at Bemerton is c1286. In 1291, the Abbess of Wilton's holdings in the parish are given under the heading 'Fugglestone and Bemerton', suggesting that St Peter, Fugglestone and St Andrew by then formed a single parish, with Bemerton as a dependent chapel. From the Reformation it may have had many absentee rectors; Walter Curll, Herbert's predecessor, lived at a rectory in Suffolk. In 1630 he was replaced by the metaphysical poet and writer George Herbert (1593-1633), who was appointed to the living under the patronage of his relatives, the Herberts of nearby Wilton House. He repaired the dilapidated church, virtually rebuilt the rectory opposite, and described the ideal of clerical behaviour in his book A Priest to the Temple, better known as The Country Parson. He is buried in the church or churchyard, commemorated by a small stone of 1895 in the chancel. In 1861 T.H. Wyatt built the larger church of St John, c. 200 yards west, and made haphazard alterations at St Andrew at the same time, removing the pulpit, tester, gallery and box pews. In 1894-6 a more thorough restoration was carried out by the Diocesan Architect C.E. Ponting, under the rector, Canon Warre. The principal workmen, both parishioners, were the village carpenter, George Powell, who made the panelling, and Mr Barratt, also master mason of Salisbury Cathedral. Both are commemorated in small plaques on the west wall. The church reopened on October 20, 1896.

Sources: George Herbert, Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004-6). Pevsner and Cherry, Buildings of England, Wiltshire, (1975), pp. 106-7. Salisbury and Winchester Journal, August 18, 1866 (new east window). Rosemary Hill, The Governing of his House; George Herbert at Bemerton..., (article in the church, source unknown). Victoria County History, A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 6 (1962), pp. 37-50.

Reasons for Designation: The church of St Andrew is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:

* A substantial survival of the form and fabric of a small Medieval village church, including slight Norman remains, and Dec and Perp windows. * The characteristic local materials - flint, local limestone and tile-hanging - make an important contribution to the village streetscape. * Low-key restoration by the architect C.E. Ponting. * It forms a group with the partly 17th century rectory opposite. * The historic associations with the 17th century poet, George Herbert.


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This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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Date: 04 Jun 2006
Reference: IOE01/14797/24
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Peter Read. Source Historic England Archive
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