Great Bedwyn, Wiltshire - St Mary Church
12th century

Click on photos below to enlarge
Notes in italics from Wiltshire by Nikolaus Pevsner Revised by Bridget Cherry (1975)
Yale University Press, New Haven and London

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A shapely church with a crossing tower of just the right height in relation to nave, chancel and transepts. The general tenor is C12 or C13, though none of the external details are. It is inside that one can get an impression of what determines the character of the exterior (interior below). ... The bell-openings tall, of two lights, the tracery a kind of minimum Dec. Pretty openwork battlements, perhaps later.

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The Dec W front is of 1843.

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Transept windows entirely Dec, especially the N and S windows of three lights with ogee trefoils, barbed, i.e. with barbs sticking out between the foils (cf. Malmesbury). The W and E windows have pointed-trefoiled lights and a cinquefoiled circle over, with the foils daintily cusped. ... Perp clerestory.

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Long late C13 chancel with, on the N and S sides, long lancet windows with pointed-trefoiled heads. ... The E window is Victorian.


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The arcades of four bays are late C12, i.e. they have round piers but square abaci. The arches are pointed, but have one slight chamfer, then a bold zigzag at r. angles to the wall surface, and then an equally bold hood-mould of billets. Flat bases with spurs (not shown)

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Now the capitals, which are unfortunately atrociously over-restored. The NW respond is in the best state; trumpet scallops and leaf crockets. The re-cut SW respond has upright palmettes. Two others have similar palmettes upside down used as a decoration of trumpet scallops,

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and three have decorated trumpet scallops with little fleur-de-lis at the top. 

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But one on the S side has stiff-leaf on stalks arranged in two tiers, the leaves turned horizontal, and another, also on the S side, crockets with, towards the nave, three little heads. Final picture, decorated scallops and crockets.

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In the N arcade E respond shallow niche with a seated figure, probably C14, but almost entirely defaced. Pulpit in front.

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The transepts and crossing early C14. The crossing arches of two continuous chamfers, the arches from the aisles into the transepts too (not shown)

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In the chancel. Sir John Seymour, died 1536. Removed from Easton Royal Priory. The re-erection took place in 1590. Of that time the tomb-chest with shields and much ribbonwork. The effigy, however, must be of 1536.

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Inscription above the tomb. His daughter Jane Seymour became queen to Henry VIII. His eldest son John is commemorated in the brass plaque to the left of the monument.

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The piscina (in the chancel) is Dec, with an ogee arch loaded with thick leaves. ... In the S transept two twin tomb recesses with early C14 mouldings. In one effigy of a cross-legged Knight, his head on a diagonally placed pillow. Suggested to be Sir Adam de Stokke, died 1313.

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View of the church from the south-east. As the size of the church suggests, Great Bedwyn was once more important. There were twenty-five burgesses in 1086. There are many attractive buildings in the village, here the old White Hart and thatched cottages. 

Village Website

Wikipedia entry


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