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Church of St Mary

A Grade II* Listed Building in Codford St Peter, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.1572 / 51°9'25"N

Longitude: -2.0373 / 2°2'14"W

OS Eastings: 397485

OS Northings: 139767

OS Grid: ST974397

Mapcode National: GBR 2X9.7S3

Mapcode Global: VHB5D.M5TR

Entry Name: Church of St Mary

Listing Date: 11 September 1968

Last Amended: 18 October 2013

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1285186

English Heritage Legacy ID: 313517

Location: Codford, Wiltshire, BA12

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Codford

Built-Up Area: Codford St Peter

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

Church of England Parish: Codford St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury

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Anglican parish church. Probable late C12/C13 origins, tower added in C15; largely rebuilt by T H Wyatt 1863, restored 1878-79 by E H Lingen Barker.


Anglican parish church. Probable late C12/C13 origins, tower added in C15; largely rebuilt by T H Wyatt 1863, restored 1878-79 by E H Lingen Barker.
MATERIALS: constructed of dressed Chilmark limestone ashlar and rubble stone, with some flint. The roofs are tiled with ceramic ridge cresting.
PLAN: orientated approximately west to east. It comprises a three-bay nave with a south aisle, south porch, west tower, two-bay chancel and north vestry.
EXTERIOR: the C15 west tower is of three stages and has string courses and diagonal buttresses. The moulded pointed west doorway has king mask terminals to the hoodmould and is C19. Above is a C19 three-light window with reticulated tracery. The north side has an arrowloop to the second stage, while the south side has a gilded circular clockface. There are one- and two-light Perpendicular windows with louvres to the bellstage, and a string course to the battlemented parapet. The west window to the nave is of three lights with reticulated tracery. The C19 gabled south porch has diagonal buttresses, a coped verge, and side walls with cusped ogee lancets. Its Tudor-arched doorway has a planked door with ornamental hinges. The south aisle has one two-light pointed window with ogee lights to the left of the porch and two to the right. Its east end has a two-light Perpendicular-style window with a recessed quatrefoil over and a diagonal buttress. The north side of nave has three C19 two-light pointed windows, and there is an ashlar stack attached to the west buttress. The gabled vestry has a shouldered planked door to the east and a pair of shouldered lights to the north side. The chancel has diagonal buttresses. Its north side has two lancets and there is a single lancet to the south, all C19. The east end has a C19 Perpendicular window of three lights with a hoodmould. In the gable above are datestones inscribed with WL/1807 and IM/1622.
INTERIOR: the three-bay south arcade is C19 and has plain chamfered pointed arches on cylindrical piers with moulded capitals. The nave has a tiled floor with cast-iron heating grilles. The seating, including the choir stalls, appears to be Wyatt’s, that to the nave and aisle somewhat, but not radically, rearranged by Lingen Barker. The organ pipes are set in a pointed chamfered archway to the south chapel. The transitional pointed chancel arch is C12 and has keel-moulded shafts, crocketed capitals and square abaci. The north-east capital has vine carving, with a roll-moulded arch with scroll-carved ornament around the top. The chancel has a C19 stone reredos with interlaced arcading; its upper part cut away in 1913, probably to reveal the east window, polychrome floor tiles, and its altar incorporates pulpit panels from the Church of St Mary, Oxford, brought here by James Ingram. Both the nave and chancel have deep, arch-braced collar trusses resting on stone corbels; those in the chancel are carved angels. The aisle has an arch-braced collared roof, and the south chapel has a plain rafter roof.
PRINCIPAL FITTINGS: a C12 cylindrical stone font with roll mouldings, possibly recut, and a short columnar stem on a later base; a Jacobean polygonal carved wooden pulpit with 1913 back panels and sounding board that has been reset on a C19 stone plinth; the stained glass includes two-light aisle window of 1844, possibly coloured by James Ingram; a commemorative window of 1898 celebrating Queen Victoria's golden jubilee; and unsigned glass of 1910 in the east window. In the south chapel is part of an early-C17 stone monument probably erected to commemorate Sir John Mompesson (d.1584). It has two round arches and composite columns to a carved frieze and cornice with the Mompesson arms in panels below. In the tower is a stone and slate memorial tablet with floral drops and gadrooned apron, and a scrolled pediment with torch to John Ingram, died 1785, and a Gothic stone tablet over the south door to Jacobus(sic) Ingram, died 1844.


Codford St Mary is situated on the former Salisbury to Warminster turnpike, but the village is now bypassed by the current main road. It is possible that there may have been a church here in Saxon times but the earliest documentary reference dates from 1282 and the building retains some Norman fabric. The surviving parts of the late C12/C13 church, including the font, chancel arch, and some fragments of carved stone in the form of grotesque heads or masques, show that it was quite an ambitious building to which the tower was added probably in the C15. A rood and rood stairs were inserted in the C16 and a datestone of 1622 would suggest that the chancel was rebuilt in the C17. This seems to have been paid for by John Mompesson, the rector in 1612-45. Between the late C16 and the later C18 the majority of the estate of Codford St Mary was owned by the Mompesson family.

Proposals to restore the church were circulating as early as 1836 but were precipitated by the partial collapse of the south-east corner of the nave, caused (according to James Ingram) as a result of the removal of too much masonry at the time the rood screen was erected in the C16. The 1843-4 restoration was the result of a partnership between the prolific architectural practice of Wyatt & Brandon and the church militant member and celebrated Professor of Anglo-Saxon, James Ingram.

From 1838 until 1851 Thomas Henry Wyatt (1807-1880) went into partnership with David Brandon with whom he developed a successful practice. He was honorary architect to the Salisbury Diocesan Church Building Society, an appointment that brought many commissions his way. He built or rebuilt at least sixteen churches in Wiltshire and restored some thirty more, and undertook similar work in Dorset. He was elected president of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1870. James Ingram (1774-1850), who part funded the restoration was born in Codford St Mary and is considered to have been one of the best Old English scholars of his generation. Wyatt considered that it was necessary to take down all the walls to their foundation, apart from the tower and part of the chancel. The south aisle was added, with a chapel or organ chamber at its east end, and the south porch was re-erected in its present position. Wyatt's plan of the interior shows that he also rebuilt the arcade piers.

The interior, however, owes much to the second restoration of 1878-9 by E H Lingen Barker (1838-1917), architect of Hereford, who created a classic High Victorian atmosphere. He rebuilt the arcade and reorganised the seating to accommodate 186 people (146 free seats and 40 for children). He also added the vestry and reworked the west doorway.

Reasons for Listing

The Church of St Mary, dating from the late C12 and late C14; rebuilt by T.H. Wyatt 1863 and restored in 1878-79 by E.H. Lingen Barker, is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: although it retains some medieval fabric, namely the core of the tower, this is primarily a well-executed High Victorian rural church which remains substantially intact;
* Interior: it is largely the creation of the 1840s and 1870s, is very complete, and very characterful in the High Victorian style;
* Fittings: of particular note is the virtually intact set of pews and stalls of the 1840s which complement each other.

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