Church of St Thomas a Becket, Salisbury, Wiltshire

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

P1000839-transf-crop-u2-960-u0.3-q30.jpg (146493 bytes)

The Doom, early 16th century.
Description further down the page. 

Dscn6045-transf-u2-h540-u0.5t3-q60.jpg (68335 bytes)

Dscn6044-transf-crp-cln-u1-740-u0.3t3-q40.jpg (79911 bytes)     P1000849-transf-crop-varlt-u2-h540-u0.5t3-q60.jpg (85358 bytes)     Dscn6040-crop-u1-740-u0.3-q30.jpg (77068 bytes)

The church is all 15th century or later (with just two exceptions visible inside the chancel aisles, mentioned below). The tower comes first. ... originally stood detached from the nave. It was under construction in 1400-5. ... The tower is on four stages and has set-back buttresses. ... Three-light blocked window into the present S aisle. Two-light Perp bell-openings. Panelled battlements and a small recessed lead-covered pyramid roof.
C.1450 the chancel was rebuilt and the chancel chapels added. (Only top of chancel visible here. Interiors below.).

Dscn6039-transf-u1-h540-u0.3t3-q40.jpg (77248 bytes)               Dscn6037-transf-u1-h540-u0.3t3-q30.jpg (81143 bytes)

Nave and aisles were rebuilt soon after. The aisles have four-light windows. The clerestory windows are wide, low, and of four lights. Three-centred arches. Battlements. W doorway with two-centred arch and traceried spandrels. Renewed great W window of seven lights with a transom. The aisles are nearly as wide as the nave, and the tower thus became attached to the S aisle. In the end the church, except for the tower, was a complete parallelogram.

P1000843-transf-clon-varlt-u2-h540-u0.5t3-q30.jpg (75895 bytes)     P1000846-transf-vary-u2-h540-u0.5t3-q40.jpg (80890 bytes)     P1000848-rot-u2-h540-u0.5t3-q60.jpg (68095 bytes)     P1000873-rotcrop-varlt-vary-u1-h540-u0.5t3-q50.jpg (82415 bytes)

Sumptuous interior. Five-bay arcades. Thin piers with foliage capitals. The piers have a section of four shafts and four waves in the diagonals. Two-centred arches. Panelling round the clerestory. Shafts rise from the piers to help carry the timber roof. Capitals with foliage and shields. Tall chancel arch.

P1000870-soft-varlt-transf-vary-varr-u2-h540-u0.3-q40.jpg (78690 bytes)     P1000840-levrgb-levmid-u2-h540-u0.3-q30.jpg (73882 bytes)     P1000839-transf-u2-h540-u0.5t3-q30.jpg (76143 bytes)     P1000839-transf-crop-u2-960-u0.3-q30.jpg (146493 bytes)

Panelling also on the W wall round the doorway. Extremely ornate and dainty nave roof, of Somerset type. Low pitch, tie-beams with cresting and inverted cresting below. Traceried arched braces. Tracery above the tie-beams and on the wall plate.
Above the chancel arch Doom, early C16, heavily overpainted. ... Above on the l. the rising of the dead, on the r. the fate of the damned and the mouth of hell. At the top Christ on the rainbow, the Virgin and St John, saints below, and a town l. and r., the most interesting part of the composition.

P1000850-transf-u2-h540-u0.5t3-q40.jpg (76312 bytes)          P1000871-soft-varlt-vary-u2-h540-u0.3-q50.jpg (72562 bytes)          P1000854-transf-crop-u2-h1000-u0.2t5-q10.jpg (107217 bytes)     

In 1447 the chancel collapsed. Rebuilding began at once, at the expense of the rich merchants of Salisbury. The chancel E window is of five lights with a transom and panel tracery (probably largely Victorian: RCHM) ... two rows of large figures, 1857, designed by Alfred Bell, made by Lavers (R.Hubbuck). ... 

P1000853-crop-u2-h540-u0.5t3-q30.jpg (82499 bytes)          P1000868-transf-varlt-u2-h540-u0.5-q40.jpg (66974 bytes)

The panelling of the E walls of  chancel and chapels is Victorian.

P1000835-transf-varlt-u2-h540-u0.5t3-q40.jpg (80810 bytes)          P1000865-transf-u2-h540-u0.3-q50.jpg (85600 bytes)          P1000858-transf-soft-vary-varr-u1-h540-u0.5t5-q40.jpg (82145 bytes)

Broad simple arches from the (nave) aisles into the chapels. They also have foliage capitals. ... The chancel chapel E windows are of four and five lights ... Records are preserved telling us that William Swayne built the S chapel. That gives a date c.1450. ... Very low pitch, almost flat. ... The N chapel was built at the same time (not shown). ... Reredos in the S chapel. 1724. Of wood, in the Wren style. ...

P1000859-transf-u2-h540-u0.3-q40.jpg (80672 bytes)               P1000866-rot-crop-varyr-u1t2-q60.jpg (82147 bytes)

The arcades of four bays are identical (between chapels and chancel). Slender piers with four shafts and four hollows. Four-centred arches. ... Here one can see the 13th century corbel-table of the earlier chancel. Also the west respond of the south chapel looks late 13th  century.
PAINTING. On the N wall of the S chapel Annunciation, Visitation, Nativity, rather primitive. The little emblems include the Garter and may refer to Bishop Beauchamp (1450-8), chaplain and later chancellor of the Garter.

P1000864-transf-soft-varlt-u2-h540-u0.5-q60.jpg (64617 bytes)               P1000862-soft-u2-h540-u0.3-q30-levmid-u0.3-q30.jpg (78878 bytes)

Monuments in the South Aisle. Thomas Eyre, died 1628, with wife and children, kneeling figures in the usual way. To the l. and r. big obelisks. Christopher Eyre, died 1628, and wife. Also kneeling figures.

St Thomas Website

Home Architecture Index Email:  Maps Link  (U.K.)

All photographic images on this website are Copyright the website owner 2001 or later unless otherwise stated. Email contact above. Full size originals (3-6 megapixels)  are available for approved purposes.