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Church of St Mary the Virgin, Bishops Cannings

Description: Church of St Mary the Virgin

Grade: I
Date Listed: 19 March 1962
English Heritage Building ID: 311533

OS Grid Reference: SU0377364181
OS Grid Coordinates: 403773, 164181
Latitude/Longitude: 51.3767, -1.9472

Location: Chandlers Lane, Bishops Cannings, Wiltshire SN10 2JZ

Locality: Bishops Cannings
County: Wiltshire
Country: England
Postcode: SN10 2JZ

Incorrect location/postcode? Submit a correction!

Listing Text

SU 06 SW (east side)

6/112 Church of St Mary the Virgin


Anglican parish church for former episcopal estate. Early to late
C13, C14, C15, restored 1862-3 and 1883. Ashlar limestone, with
lead roofs to nave and aisles, stone tiled to transepts, chancel
and south porch, and slate to south chapel. Cruciform plan,
comprising short nave with aisles and south porch, transepts with
east lady chapel to south transept, and 2-storey vestry, partly of
flint, on north side of chancel. Central tower with spire. Nave
and aisles have 3-light windows with Perpendicular tracery, but
triple lancets to west end. Large clerestory windows and
crenellated parapet with pinnacles concealing higher pitched roof
of former C13 nave. South porch has cusped traceried outer arch,
damaged, and ballflowers on tendrils. Gabled string over with
large leaf crockets and flanking panelled buttresses, being a C15
encasement of the late C13 porch. Transepts have gabled
buttresses, corbel table and lancet windows, the Lady Chapel
similar but refaced in C19. Chancel c1250, with offsetting
buttresses and plain parapet, 'Y' traceried windows on south
replacing multiple moulded lancets as on north side. East end
reworked in C19. External stoups by north aisle and north transept
doors, and mass dials on porch, which also has remains of stoup.
Sundial with gnomon on gable of south transept. Tower has nook
shafts at angles rising to corbel table. Two blind lancets at
ringing level and 3 tall lancets to bell stage, all with pierced
stone screens. Stair tower at north east angle rising high above
roof and conical capping. Plain parapet and simple octagonal
spire. Porch is vaulted, with undercut foliage boss at
intersection and cylindrical corbels. Inner doorcase has nook
shafts with scrolled capitals carrying early C13 round arch with
corbel at its apex.
Interior: Nave of Early C13, arcades of 4 bays, pointed arches of
2 orders on round columns with trumpet scalloped capitals.
Unplastered walls above reveal positions of 4 clerestory windows
each side, the eastern sills raised when rood screen access
inserted. Western lancets have stiff-leaf foliage to internal
shafts. Roof of 5 king-post trusses dated TW 1670 WS, wall posts
on large stone corbels in forms of heads of kings and bishops.
North aisle has 2 western lancets, the lower late C12-early C13,
the upper with the adjacent aumbry, serving a former floored area
under the early steep roof. Aisle roofs replaced when walls
heightened. Blocked :stair in north aisle led to bridge across
aisle to rood screen. Crossing is inserted later in early C13
work: heavy octagonal piers carrying lierne vault, a C15 reworking
of an earlier crossing. Carved bosses at intersections of vault,
and central circular bell-lift. South transept has 2 heavily
moulded arches on east side with stiff-leaf capitals and shafts.
Wall rebuilt further out. Trefoiled early-mid C13 piscina, with
credence shelf. C15 wall painting of ashlar in reveal of west
windows. Eastern chapel, to Our Lady of the Bower, also C13,
converted to Ernle chapel in 1563. C19 iron screen. Chancel of 3
bays, late C13, with quadripartite ribbed vault on round attached
columns and capitals, and carved bosses at intersection of double-
shafted ribs. Blocked south priest door. Inserted late C13-early
C14 two-bay sedilia partly obscuring earlier piscina with blocked
low window to exterior. Mid C13 piscina at east end with bowl
supported on twin columns. North transept, now choir vestry, also
has stilted eastern arches with stiff-leaf capitals. Blocked north
door. Sacristry of 2 storeys, the ground floor C13, and upper
floor a late medieval alteration. Fittings: Font: Late C15.
Octagonal with quatrefoiled panels on short octagonal column, all
raised over 2 steps. Pulpit: C19. Openwork oak on corbelled
stone base. Nice brass and iron handrail with crozier terminal.
Lectern: C19 oak eagle. Chancel altar: c1830, limestone,
panelled with cinquefoiled panelled stone reredos. Organ: 1809,
by George Pike England, given by Captain Cook's navigator, William
Bailey. Gothick case, refurbished 1884 but some original pipework.,
Pews, 1883 by Hems of Exeter, with carved bench ends. Furniture:
Crossing Altar: C17 table with carved top rails and stretchers.
Offertory Box, also C17, heavy turned column with octagonal head
bound in iron and with the 3 locks required by Canon Law. Carrel,
early C17, free standing box with moulded seat and desk and a high
side panel with top moulding, probably C15, bearing a joyless
painting of early C17 (?) depicting the hand of meditation. In
Lady Chapel: C16 table with baluster legs, stretchers and raised
runners, and a C17-early C18 houselling bench. Monuments: Chancel
south wall: Tablet, white marble on slate, to Thomas Brown of
Horton, died 1822, and later family. North wall: four wall
tablets, C19 white marble on slate. From east; (a) Gabled panel,
to Frances Macdonald, died 1838, by Osmund of Sarum. (b)
Sarcophagus with draped urn over, leaf bracket below and shaped.
panel behind. To Elizabeth Ruddle Gibbs, died 1816. (c) Draped
urn over corniced panel, to Thomas Skeate, died 1831, and wife.
(d) Simple panel, to George Ruddle, died 1801, and wife, by
Holbrook of Bath. Also a limestone monument, a shouldered panel
with pediment, gadrooned base and fluted apron, to Rev. John
Shergold, died 1777. In Ernle Chapel, wall tomb, 1571, limestone.
A chest of 3 panels with shields on strapwork. Flanking pilasters
rise to frame central arched recess. Entablature and cresting with
arms and mantled helm against a scrolled gable. Inscribed panel on
strapwork cartouche within recess, to John Ernle of Bourton, died
'A thousand, five hundred threescore and a leven'. On east wall, a
floor based wall monument, purbeck marble panel in white marble
frame, and purbeck columns. Steep broken pediment with central
coloured arms on mantled field. Flaming lamps on gable ends. To
Edward Ernle of Ichilhampton, died 1656, and his grandson Edward.
Also a good floor slab to Martha Ernle, 1716. Brasses: In chancel
eleven C19 brasses from 1862 to 1922. Nave: Two Barrow Mogg
brasses. In south aisle, a copper repousee Art Nouveau memorial to
the Boer War, on oak shield. External monuments: On south porch,
1792, a limestone panel with crest and apron and illegible
inscription between pilasters. On south transept: Shaped
limestone panel, C18, scrollwork around a weathered inscription.
On chancel: 1735, an aedicule with fluted pilasters and broken
pediment, to Sarah Gambler of Devizes, and further monument of
1734, a panel with heavy foliage around, to Mary Sloper. Glass:
East window: C13 design by Wailes. Pale figures in south chancel
windows. Mediaeval graffiti on south-west tower pier.
(Pevsner, Buildings of England: WILTSHIRE; Brief church guide

Listing NGR: SU0376464173

This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.