All Saints Parish Church, Great Chalfield
This little church is approached through the gatehouse to Great Chalfield Manor. The earliest records refer to the existence of a chapel in 1316 and to a church in 1349. The church then consisted of a chancel and nave. Of this building only part of the nave remains. In 1480 Thomas Tropenell built a chapel. At the same time the chancel was rebuilt, the nave enlarged and a west end porch and a bell-cote were added. In 1719 the roof of the nave was retiled and a ceiling added. However, as Pevsner refers to a panelled wagon roof, it is likely that this ceiling was later removed. In 1775 a second chapel was built and the chancel was lined with ashlar and re-roofed. Further restoration took place in 1914 when the 18th century box pews were removed and made into panels for the nave walls.
In front of the north window in the nave stands a fine ‘three-decker’ pulpit. This oak panelled, late 17th century furniture consists of a reader’s desk, clerk’s desk and pulpit. It was given by John Hall who was Lord of the Manor. The pulpit canopy was added in 1765. Above the panelling on the nave walls can be seen two 15th century consecration crosses, on either side of the west door. There are the remains of two others on the north and south walls.
A stained glass window of the ‘Parable of the Sower’ (Luke 8: 4-14) by Andrew Taylor was installed in 1999. This was to celebrate the restoration of Great Chalfield by Robert & Mabel Fuller, and as a thanks giving for their daughter and son-in-law.
The Tropenell Chapel is separated from the nave by a 15th century stone screen which carries five painted Coats of Arms. On the west wall of the Chapel are the remains of six 15th century paintings depicting the martyrdom of St. Katherine. They were described by a former Rector, before being white-washed over in 1765. This also happened to a painting of a Bishop on the east wall of the Chapel.
A modern oak screen parts the chancel from the nave. Traces of 15th century wall paintings survive by the north window. A ceiling was added to the chancel in 1765 when the floor was raised throughout the church. Another oak screen divides the chancel and the vestry.
The church is part of the living of Broughton Gifford with Great Chalfield and Holt. The church registers dating from 1605 (baptisms, marriages and burials), apart from those currently in use, can be seen at the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre.
All Saints Parish Church has a weekly service – every Sunday, following the book of Common Prayer.
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