Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Date first listed:
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Statutory Address:

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

Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
Steeple Ashton
National Grid Reference:
ST 90646 57114


STEEPLE ASHTON CHURCH STREET ST 95 NW (off north side) 7/215 Church of St Mary the Virgin 11.9.68 GV I

Anglican parish church. Late C15, some rebuilding 1670, chancel rebuilt 1853 by Clutton. Limestone ashlar, lead roofs. Plan: west tower, nave with aisles and north and south porches, chancel with chapels. Perpendicular. Two-storey south porch with Tudor- arched doorway with hoodmould, diagonal buttresses, carried up to crocketed pinnacles, 2-light cusped square-headed first floor window, gabled parapet with string courses, large incised sundial over door. South aisle to left has half a 4-light Tudor-arched window, right half taken up by polygonal stair turret to porch, elaborate aisle and nave buttresses with panelled and crocketed pinnacles, aisle and chapel to right of porch has four 4-light windows, square moulded doorway. Four-bay clerestory with 4-light windows, both aisle and nave roofs have richly-carved battlemented parapets, string courses with large gargoyles, flying buttresses to east corners of nave, 4-light windows to east end of aisles. Chancel has 1850s five-light east window with Perpendicular tracery, north side has C19 two-light Perpendicular-style window. North aisle has blocked east window, four 4-light Perpendicular windows to left of single-storey porch with blocked doorway and 1980s inserted window, two 4-light windows to right, 4-bay clerestory, same windows, pinnacles and roof detail as south side. Four-stage tower with flanking bays, each with 4-light window to north and south, 2-light to west ends, polygonal stair turrets, tower has Tudor-arched moulded west doorway, 4-light window over, fine canopied image niches, 3-light windows to second, third and fourth stages, blocked to lower but with Somerset-type stone louvres to bellstage, set-back buttresses, string courses, gargoyles to battlemented parapet with corner pinnacles. Former spire fell in 1670. Interior: Porch has lierne vault with carved bosses on bust corbels, fixed stone benches, early C19 double doors plus original ledged Tudor-arched door. Four-bay nave with unusual wooden lierne vault with carved pendants and bosses, originally intended to be stone, tall moulded pointed 4-bay arcades on compound piers, tall clerestory with moulded stone springers on busts for vault. Panelled pointed tower arch. Four-bay aisles with stone lierne vaults, crocketed image niches with finely-carved busts below, possibly recut. Baptistry in southbay flanking tower, moulded cross beam ceilings, C19 octagonal stone font with tall wooden cover. Lady chapel to south of chancel has 2-bay stone lierne vault supported on niches with busts. Organ chamber and small chapel fill two east bays of north aisle. Moulded pointed chancel arch, blocked 5-light window over and original lower roofline visible, C19 three-bay vaulted ceiling, C19 carved wooden reredos, Minton tiled floor. Other fittings: C19 nave and chancel seating, C19 polygonal carved wooden pulpit, three C19 brass candelabra. Some medieval stained glass in aisles and Lady Chapel, 1879 west window glass. Good collection of monuments: Baptistry group includes large coloured marble to John Smith died 1775; south aisle marble to Henry Long of Rood Ashton (q.v.) died 1672; north aisle stone tablet to Elizabeth Silverthorn died 1756; gothic tablet over south door to Samuel Hey died 1825 - founder of the Hey library. A brass inscription at the west end records the fall of the spire in 1670 and subsequent rebuilding of tower in 1675. Brass plate records building of aisles, paid for by Robert Long and Walter Leucas. One of the finest Perpendicular churches in the country, its wealth coming from Steeple Ashton's woollen industry. (N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England, Wiltshire, 1975)

Listing NGR: ST9064957113


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

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Books and journals
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Wiltshire, (1975)


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: 19 Mar 2007
Reference: IOE01/15263/03
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Graham Hill. Source Historic England Archive
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