Field of Remembrance

Preparation for this year’s Royal Wootton Bassett Field of Remembrance gets underway at Lydiard Park today.

The 2019  Field of Remembrance opens in the historic 18th century Walled Garden at Lydiard Park on Friday November 1. A service of remembrance begins at 11 am with visitors requested to arrive before 10.45.

The Field of Remembrance pays tribute to all service personnel who lost their lives in war, particularly the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Field of Remembrance was first opened by Prince Harry on November 9, 2010. During the ceremony Prince Harry planted a cross dedicated to his close colleague Lance Corporal Jonathan Woodgate, killed in action earlier that year.

The Field of Remembrance will be open daily from 9 am to 4 pm and closes on Thursday November 21.

Volunteers will be stewarding St Mary’s Church at various times during November. Look out for the open sign outside the church.






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St Mary’s – revealed

The conservators have left, the scaffolding has been removed and after months hidden from view, the historic interior of St Mary’s Church, Lydiard Park is revealed.

An international team of students working with local volunteers and led by acclaimed conservator Jane Rutherfoord have been working on conserving the medieval wall paintings and along the way have made some fascinating discoveries.

The conservation of the 15th century nave wall painting of St Christopher had long been anticipated but no one could have predicted what would be found beneath the two plaques erected during the 18th century.

When the Hardyman family memorials were removed (and re-positioned in the south porch) the conservators made an amazing find – a medieval niche that had once contained a statue of St Christopher. And what’s more, once the rubble infill had been removed part of the head of the statue was also discovered.

The destruction of the niche took place during the turbulent Reformation period when church iconography, the symbols of the old religion, were destroyed, wall paintings covered over and statues smashed. Perhaps the person instructed to destroy the niche found the task too painful and had concealed the head of the statue to protect it. Whatever the story, the discovery adds yet another layer to the long history of the church.

High up in the Tudor barrel vaulted ceiling a collection of carved corbels look down on the congregation beneath. One is believed to be a likeness of Margaret Beaufort, half sister to the 15th century St John family and mother of Henry VII. During the conservation work it was discovered that the corbels had once been brightly painted and it was decided that the two by the chancel arch should be restored to their original colour palette.

Also revealed was the full extent of the Christ the Crown of Thorns wall painting in the south porch, yet another of the discoveries made during the conservation work.

The church is now accessible to the pubic again, although please check the Facebook page for opening times and read more about the St Mary’s conservation project on the church website.

The church will close again after Christmas when further work is due to commence.

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Corbels in the barrel vaulted roof – before



… and after restoration

15th century wall painting before conservation


… and after

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Christ the Crown of Thorns wall painting in the south porch

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Carved faces on the original entrance to the church show signs of damage inflicted during the Reformation

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The conserved 17th century Coat of Arms


Painting the Past

Please note that the Saturday performance times have changed. These will now take place at 6 pm and 8 pm.


Dear Friends

You may have already seen publicity about the theatre performances in Lydiard Park this weekend. Prime Theatre, Swindon’s youth theatre, have been working with young people to create a play inspired by St. Mary’s Church Lydiard Tregoze.  This is part of the church’s conservation project which is involving schools, community groups and many organisations in activities responding to Lydiard’s rich history. I do hope you are able to come along and support this event – it should be fun. Tickets can be booked on line – see below.

Outdoor Theatre: PAINTING THE PAST

Friday 19th and Saturday 20th July

6 pm and 8 pm
Swish. Brush. Etch. Sketch… A group of artists find themselves stuck in the past, trapped in the stories of their ancient artwork. They have one chance to escape, and it all hangs on the shoulders of one man, Sir John St. John, 1st Baronet of Lydiard Tregoze. Come on a journey through time as young actors from Swindon’s Prime Youth Theatre bring to life the stories of the artwork in St. Mary’s Church and the historic family whose legacy has shaped the Lydiard that we know and love today.

Please note: The performance will take place in various locations in Lydiard Park and audience will be asked to walk between scenes. Please meet at the picnic tables outside the stable café. Look for the gold sign! Pay and display parking is available on arrival.

Performance length: 40 minutes Tickets £5.00 Tickets can be purchased at Please book online to ensure a place, however there will be a limited number of tickets available to purchase at each performance. you by any chance available to volunteer to help in the Prime Theatre performance at Lydiard this Friday or Saturday.

For up to date information about the St. Mary’s Lydiard Tregoze Conservation Project visit

Best wishes

Julie Holland

Secretary & Trustee

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The St John polyptych in St Mary's Church, Lydiard Park




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Golden Wedding Anniversary

On this day 125 years ago, Henry George and Elizabeth Baily celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary with family and friends at St Mary’s Rectory in Lydiard Tregoze.

The Rev Baily might have only been the incumbent at St Mary’s for less than ten years but he was well known in Swindon where he had served as Vicar for thirty eight.

Henry George Baily arrived in Swindon in 1843 as Vicar at the ancient Holy Rood Church, the town’s original parish church. It was he who led the campaign for a new church, delivering his congregation at Christ Church designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott and dedicated in 1851.

But in 1894 it was less about his ecclesiastic achievements and all about his long marriage. As the Swindon Advertiser reported:

‘We have the pleasure of chronicling this week, an event that does not so very frequently occur in this country, viz, the celebration of a Golden Wedding.’

The report continued:

‘For the long period from 1847 to 1885, Mr Baily was vicar of Swindon, and great was the regret expressed by the congregation when he left Swindon and went to reside at Liddiard. However, he has always taken an interest in his old parishioners, and it was not surprising that a large company assembled at the Rectory at Liddiard on Wednesday, to congratulate Mr and Mrs Baily upon the celebration of their Golden Wedding.’

Mrs Baily even wore the same dress she wore on her wedding day, and that didn’t happen very often then, or now!

Henry George Baily was born in Calne on December 8, 1815, the son of George and Harriett Baily. At the time of the 1841 census he was studying at Christs College, Cambridge and two years later he married Elizabeth Mignan Richards at Holy Trinity Church, Cambridge on May 23, 1844. Elizabeth was born on August 31, 1817 at Baroda Guzerah, India the daughter of Captain James Goss Richards and his wife Elizabeth.

By 1851 Henry and Elizabeth Baily were living in the Vicarage, Market Square with their four children Harriet 6, Elizabeth 4, Mary 3 and one month old Henry George. They would go on to have ten children in all.

St Mary’s Rectory must have been pretty busy on the day of the celebrations. All their family were at home, including the grandchildren, and the great and the good of Swindon all piled in, along with local farming families such as Mr and Mrs Willis from Can Court and Mr and Mrs Horton from Costow.

‘During the afternoon Canon Ponsonby made the presentation, from the friends, and offered congratulations to the rev gentleman and his wife upon having attained their golden wedding. Mr A. Plummer also expressed the pleasure it gave him and other Swindonians to come over and congratulate their old friend and vicar, and trusted that he and his wife would live many more years.

They had not forgotten the good work Mr Baily had done whilst he was vicar of Swindon, and that during his ministry the splendid church and schools were erected there. In conclusion, Mr Plummer said he could only re-echo the sentiments of all present in congratulating Mr and Mrs Baily upon the celebration of their golden wedding.

Mr Baily, who spoke with a great deal of emotion, suitably acknowledged the kindness which had been shown towards him and his family.

The present consisted of a purse of gold, which will be accompanied by an illuminated address when it is completed, bearing the following words:-

Presented to the Rev H.G. Baily and Mrs Baily, together with a purse of gold, on their golden wedding, May 23rd, 1894, by the parishioners of Liddiard Tregooze and friends as a token of their respect and esteem. All unite in wishing them still many years of happiness and blessing,’ the report continued.

Henry George Baily died on May 8, 1900 aged 84 and is buried in the churchyard at Christ Church. His wife, Elizabeth, survived him by ten years. She spent her last years living with her youngest daughter Florence. She died in 1910 aged 92.

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The new rectory published courtesy of Roger Ogle

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St Mary’s, Lydiard Tregoze





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Christ Church

Opportunities to volunteer at St Mary’s Church

Have you got a few hours to spare during the week? Then you might be interested in becoming a volunteer at the historic St Mary’s Church in Lydiard Park? Have you got green fingers? Do you fancy planting a wildlife garden in the churchyard? Or perhaps you’d like to help with groups of local school children visiting the church – the opportunities are many and varied.

Make a date in your diary for Thursday 2nd May, 6.30 – 8 pm (please register first by emailing when an exciting new volunteer programme to support the St Mary’s Conservation Project is being launched at Lydiard Park Conference Centre.

St. Mary’s Lydiard Tregoze which lies within Lydiard Park is known as one of the most beautiful small parish churches in this country. Today it is undergoing a major Heritage Lottery Fund project to conserve its medieval wallpaintings and historic art interiors. Wallpainting conservation began before Christmas and is already revealing the beauty of long hidden pictures.

The £1 million project which is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and The Friends of Lydiard Park along with other generous donors, is also enabling a two-year programme of events and activities for the public, local schools and colleges.

An exciting new volunteer programme to support the project is being launched at Lydiard Park Conference Centre on Thursday 2nd May. The event is being hosted by The Friends of Lydiard Park and all those interested in finding out more about volunteering for the project are invited to attend.

There are a wide variety of volunteering opportunities including providing history tours, conservation care of historic furnishings and objects; helping with school groups, wildflower planting in the churchyard; and stewarding in the House and Church. To register for the event you will need to email St. Mary’s Church office

There are also a limited number of volunteer training placements to work with the church’s internationally renowned wallpainting conservators. For those interested in this type of hands-on conservation a minimum commitment of 2 working weeks is required and candidates should contact the partnership office as soon as possible.

‘Volunteering at St. Mary’s is a great way to discover more about St. Mary’s rich heritage,“ said Paul Gardner, Chair of the Conservation Project. “People may have skills and ways of volunteering which we haven’t even thought of and we’re keen to hear from anyone who is interested whether they are already very familiar with the church or have never visited before.”

St. Mary’s Church is widely regarded as one of the most important small parish churches in the country on account of its exceptional interiors and monuments to the St. John family who owned Lydiard Park.

“The Friends of Lydiard Park are really excited about the Volunteer Launch,” Friends of Lydiard Park Trust, Sarah Finch-Crisp said. “There are so many opportunities for people to get involved, learn new skills and have fun at the same time. The Friends have donated over £100,000 to the conservation project and we are delighted to be hosting this event for St. Mary’s and look forward to meeting enthusiastic local residents on the 2nd May.”

The current Heritage Lottery Fund project includes conservation of the medieval wall paintings and architectural paint schemes. Alongside that is the repair of historic pews, new heating and lighting and improved access and new interpretation.


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An Ancient Painting found by Accident at Fine Liddiard Church September 1837 – gifted to the church by the Brake family. The Friends of Lydiard Park funded conservation and framing of the picture.


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Volunteer led tour of St Mary’s churchyard, June 2018.

Growing up on Whitehill Farm

In November 2004 I was fortunate enough to meet Mary Morse and her husband Leslie at their home in Wootton Bassett. I was researching the former West Swindon farms for a local history project I was writing for the primary schools in the area. I completed projects for Salt Way (closed in 2006), Shaw Ridge, Tregoze and Brook Field Primary Schools, and my intention was to write further projects for Toothill and Oliver Tomkins primary schools, but unfortunately funding ran out.

Mary was very generous with her time, sharing her memories of growing up and living in the parish of Lydiard Tregoze.

I filed my notes and unfortunately they were never published. Sorting through my boxes of research I recently rediscovered Mary’s story, which I am posting on the Friends blog. I’m sure there are many local residents who will recall those times and remember Mary.

Mary’s father Wilfred Parsons returned from service in Egypt during the First World War and in 1920 he became a tenant at Whitehill Farm, then owned by Wiltshire County Councils.

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Toothill Farm

Whitehill Farm was once part of what was known as the Charterhouse Lands. In 1611 high ranking civil servant Thomas Sutton founded a hospital for pensioners and a school for forty poor boys at a former Carthusian monastery near Smithfield in London.  He bought various properties, the rents of which funded this charitable venture, among them Whitehill, Mannington and Toothill Farms in the parish of Lydiard Tregoze.

Mannington Farm

In 1616 John Lawe farmed 65 acres at Whitehill Farm.  In 1799 Richard Dore King signed a twelve year Lady Day lease on the farm where the wealthy King family remained in residence for much of the nineteenth century.

The three farms continued in the ownership of the Charterhouse Trustees into the 20th century. They were eventually sold in 1919 to Wiltshire County Council and broken up into small holdings for the use of returning ex-servicemen following the end of the First World War.

Mary’s parents met at St Mary’s Church, Lydiard Park. Ada Carter was originally from Ashbury while Wilfred came from Lydiard Millicent where his parents kept the village shop.

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St Mary’s Church

Before the war Mary’s father had worked as a groom for Captain James Sadler at Lydiard House, Lydiard Millicent. Mary still had a leather case used to store shirt collars presented to her father by the Captain on the occasion of his 21st birthday.

St Mary’s played a major role in Mary’s life and she spoke with great affection of the Rector who had been there during her youth and the Fellowship group he established. She mentioned the names of members of the congregation who continued to worship there in 2004.

She recalled watching Lady Bolingbroke and her son Vernon taking their place in the St John family pew and church events that punctuated the year, some of which took place in the mansion house.

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Old postcard view of Lydiard House

Mary was born in 1928 at Whitehill Farm. She had an elder brother Gordon and talked about being ‘daring’ and joining in with the games the boys played. She recalled the swing the boys made using a rope slung across a branch of an oak tree just inside the farm gate. She had one go on the swing then as the boys winched her up again the rope snapped and she came crashing down to the ground.

A local nurse checked her over and said she had not broken anything but to rest for a day or so. Her father would have had to travel into Swindon to get a doctor so he was grateful for the diagnosis. In later years Mary suffered from intermittent back pain and after the birth of her second son the doctor said she had some damage to her spine and queried whether she had ever had an accident as a child.

From a very young age Mary had farm chores to complete. At just three years old she helped to feed the hens and as she grew older she helped at busy times on the farm such as haymaking. She milked the cows and helped her mother churn the butter. She pumped water from the well to use in the dairy and cut with a scythe the strip of grass  the mower couldn’t reach close to the hedgerow.

Mary and her brother attended Clifton Street School in Swindon, cycling behind their father’s horse drawn milk cart. Wilfred delivered milk door to door in Swindon, ladling the milk from churns on the cart into jugs provided by the housewives.

Mary had vivid memories of living at Whitehill Farm during the Second World War when a camp with a hundred soldiers was billeted on one of the fields. 377 Battalion, followed by 419 Battalion and later both German and Italian prisoners of war camped there. Three antiaircraft guns and a machine gun were erected in this field (which is now the site of Beaumaris Road) and Mary recalled seeing a Messerschmidt plane fly so low she could see the pilot.

There was no NAAFI for the soldiers billeted at Whitehill so Mary’s mother provided them with provisions while the officers used the farm parlour as a living room. Mary recalled the camp dances and celebrating her 21st birthday in one of the Nissan huts.

Deacons, Wood Street, Swindon  c1990s photograph published courtesy of Local Studies, Swindon Central Library

Mary told me she had no desire to work anywhere other than on the farm with her father. However Mr Deacon from the china and jewellers shop in Old Town offered her a job. She was to have a month’s trial but after the first week she told her father she didn’t want to be an errand girl. Her father told her she would have to work out her month’s trial. Mary ended up working for Deacon’s for 55 years.

Mary’s brother took over the farm after their father’s death, but post war changes for Swindon were already on the way.

With the adoption of the Town Development Act 1952 Swindon embarked upon an ambitious development programme.  Further boundary changes added a large part of the old parish of Lydiard Tregoze and with it the former Charterhouse lands.

‘A 300 acre site at Toot Hill south of the A420 Swindon to Wootton Bassett road will provide the homes in a new urban village,’ the Advertiser reported on Wednesday November 17, 1971 as Thamesdown Council received approval for the western expansion of the town.

Today Whitehill Farmhouse stands on the corner of Beaumaris Road and Rowton Heath Way in Toothill, and remains a Swindon Borough Council owned property.

Mary died on December 20, 2009 aged 81. Her funeral took place at St Mary’s, Lydiard Park, the church that had been central to her life where she served as churchwarden, chorister, a member of the parochial church council and on various church committees.




St. Mary’s Church Lydiard Tregoze wins confirmed National Lottery support

St. Mary’s Church Lydiard Tregoze, which lies on the western edge of Swindon in historic Lydiard Park, has received a confirmed National Lottery grant award from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to conserve its gorgeous interiors. The project aims include conserving the buildings extensive and nationally significant medieval wall paintings, 17th Century monuments, ancient carved woodwork and star spangled ceiling.

Made possible by National Lottery players, the grant of £615,000 towards the £901,605 delivery phase will enable the church to carry out the conservation work, environmental improvements and access improvements to St Mary’s Church as well as the delivery of a specialist training programme and associated learning, volunteering and community engagement activities .

The project aims to rescue the church from deteriorating further and improve public access by re-opening the hidden south porch and creating a welcoming interpretation and activity area. The church plans a wide range of educational activities and events as well as offering training and volunteer opportunities for local people, families, schoolchildren and higher education students. These will include hands on conservation workshops and skills training.

St. Mary’s stands behind the gracious mansion of Lydiard House and is famous for the richness of its monuments to the St. John family who lived at Lydiard for over 500 years. The church currently attracts over 8,100 visitors a year from both this country and abroad and is well used by local schools researching heritage on their doorstep and visitors to the adjacent house and park.

Project Champion, Rt. Reverend Dr Lee Rayfield, Bishop of Swindon:

‘The National Lottery receives many deserving applications so it is particularly heartening that Swindon has once again been supported by the award of a major grant. St.Mary’s remains a national treasure and enabling us to preserve and restore its unique features continues to benefit local people as well as enriching our country’s heritage.’

Vicar St Mary’s Lydiard Tregoze Reverend Captain Clive Deverell (Area Dean )

“I am delighted that we have been awarded this National Lottery grant, it will ensure families from across West Swindon will be able to share in its worship and special history for generations to come. Also we will play our part in training a great number of future conservators of medieval Wall paintings. ”

Project Chair Paul Gardner

‘It is wonderful news and we are immensely grateful to the National Lottery and very excited about taking our plans forward, especially working with the many organizations from across the town – The Friends of Lydiard Park, schools ,Swindon Art College, The Arts Society , Swindon Festival of Literature, Prime Theatre and many more – that have enthusiastically supported the project and pledged their support and involvement.’

‘We have virtually raised the match funded of £286,600 needed for this stage of the project following receipt of substantial individual donations as well as grants from a range of charities and other organisations including The Friends of Lydiard Park, Garfield Weston Foundation, West Swindon & Lydiard Tregoze Church Partnership, All Churches Trust, The Pilgrim Trust, St Andrews Conservation Trust, The Leche Trust , Wiltshire Historic Churches Trust, The Alan Evans Memorial Trust and continued public fund raising.

I wish to thank the National Lottery whole heartedly for making this crucial award.

Alastair Stevenson, Chair Friends of Lydiard Park

I am immensely pleased that the National Lottery has chosen to make this substantial investment in the conservation of St. Mary’s Lydiard Tregoze. The Friends have been passionate supporters of this project, committing over £100,000 towards it thanks to the generosity of a private legacy. We look forward to seeing the conservation work begin in earnest and all the training, education and volunteering opportunities that it involves. Congratulations to St. Mary’s and grateful thanks to the National Lottery!

Nerys Watts, Head of HLF South West, said: “Thanks to National Lottery players, people of all ages will have the chance to get involved in creating a secure and exciting future for St Mary’s Church and its incredible heritage. We are delighted to support this project.”

St. Mary’s Church belongs to the Church of England. It is a vibrant working church with a dedicated vicar and regular Sunday services in the heart of the community of West Swindon & Lydiard Tregoze where continuous Christian worship has taken place for over 1100 years.

Lydiard Park’s 18th Century landscape was restored in 2004-7 in a £5.3 million project which was also supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLottery

For further information, images and interviews please contact Paul Gardner at or 07831 868429

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The North Aisle

St Mary’s Church is jam-packed full of fascinating features. Once you have viewed the fantastic 15th century wall paintings and marvelled at the magnificent St John memorials, have a look at the North Aisle. Dating back to the 14th century the North Aisle is possibly one of the oldest surviving elements in the church.

In 1968 Rev Bryan Carne, the Rector at St Mary’s Church, edited the first of 40 editions of the Friends of Lydiard Tregoz Reports. This first 24 page bulletin was published on July 6 and among the articles was an undated diagram of the seating arrangements in St Mary’s.

Church seating can be dated back to the Anglo Saxon period when it consisted of a basic three legged stool. By the 15th century benches or stalls along the church walls became more common although in the early 17th century stools were still a common form of seating.

Pew renting grew in popularity following the first of the Church Building Acts in 1818 when it was recognised as a legitimate church fund raiser.  Pew letting was largely abolished by the end of the 19th century although the practice continued in some areas into the 1950 and 60s. The system came to an end because it was complicated to administer and became increasingly unprofitable. It is not currently known if the tenants of the farms listed in the diagram paid for their pews or whether their position was a traditional one.

The boxed pews in St Mary’s date from c1839 when Rev Giles Daubeney re-ordered the church seating. Rev Daubeney served at St Mary’s for a total of 46 years, first as curate for eight years from 1831 and then as Rector for 38 years until his death in 1877.

During the mid Victorian period the north aisle was known as the Clarendon Aisle, a reference to the land owning Earls of Clarendon. The  pew beneath the window was reserved for the tenants at Midgehall Farm and dates from 1680. The boxed pews that run along the wall are something of a cut and pace job, the backs dating from the 17th century and the plain fronts from the 18th.

The name Midgehall means ‘a corner or nook of land infested by midges.’ Although not a description an estate agent would use today, Midgehall has always been a desirable residence.  Once a grange or manor belonging to Stanley Abbey Lawrence Hyde, second son of Edward 1st Earl of Clarendon, bought the Midgehall estate in about 1685. It remained in the Clarendon family until 1866 when it was sold to the Trustees of Sir Henry Meux.

The Bradford family were tenants at Midgehall throughout most of the 18th century and at the time of the 1851 census Cornelius Bradford farmed the 360 acres, employing twelve labourers, and served as Mayor of Wootton Bassett as well. His son Richard took over the tenancy after the death of Cornelius in 1852.

Across the other side of the Clarendon Aisle is the Windmill Leaze pew. Known today as Park Farm, Windmill Leaze was the Lydiard estate home farm, supplying the St John family with produce to support their homes in both Battersea and Lydiard.

In 1851 the farm was worked by William Kinchin, his widowed stepmother Martha (described on the census returns as his mother in law) and a cousin also named William Kinchin. The farm comprised 280 acres and William employed nine labourers and a Dairy Maid (Maryann Mills) who lived in the farmhouse. Sixteen year old farm servant Thomas Strang and a visitor, Martha Withers, were at the farm on census night. The Kinchin family were tenants at Windmill Leaze for more than 60 years. By 1911 John Rumming had taken over the tenancy. The Rumming family eventually bought the farm, which they continue to own to this day.

The pews in the main body of the church are entered by doors opening onto the nave aisle. However the pew numbered 4 on the diagram also has a door at the Clarendon Aisle to allow for an overflow of occupants from the Can Court pew.

On the other side of the nave aisle, behind the Clerk’s seat and a pew occupied by the tenant at Brook Farm, Thomas Plummer, and the subsequent owner, Joses Badock, are the pews occupied by Mannington and Toothill Farm tenants.

Mannington, Toothill and Whitehill Farms were acquired by Thomas Sutton in the 17th century to support his foundation, a hospital and school for forty ‘poor’ scholars known as Charterhouse. The farms remained the property of Charterhouse until 1919 when they were sold to the Wiltshire County Council to provide small holdings for soldiers returning from the First World War battlefields.

The windows of the North (Clarendon) Aisle contain fragments of  medieval painted glass of various workmen and bear the mark of some 19th century workmen. Edwin Edmonds and Norman Hitchcock etched their names while on the easternmost window of the north aisle wall E.T. Morse Glazier & painter added the admonition in 1805 – ‘He Hiss A fool Likewise A Nave That Rites hiss Name A/pon Glass.

The Rev Carne returned to the subject of the Clarendon Aisle in the Friends of Lydiard Tregoz Report No 38 published in 2005 in which he writes:

“The fact that the north aisle is called the ‘Clarendon Aisle’ and also that it was minimally altered in the 1850s raise the possibility that the aisle was added in the fourteenth century by the lessees of the manor of Midgehall to accommodate those who lived on that manor and that the manor maintained a prescriptive right to the whole of the north aisle.’

Notes on the Fabric and Fittings of St Mary’s Church and Related Matters.

Produced between 1968 – 2007 copies of the Friends of Lydiard Tregoz Reports are held in the British Library, the Bodleian Library and the Society of Antiquaries of London. They are also available somewhat closer to home in Local Studies, Swindon Central Library, Regent Circus.



The English Anglican Practice of Pew-Renting 1800-1960 by John Charles Bennett

Friends of Lydiard Tregoz Reports No 1, 11, 23 and 38.





Heritage Open Days

The figures are in for the first weekend of the Heritage Open Days event where more than 250 people visited St Mary’s Church, Lydiard Park. Church stewards welcomed visitors from Belgium, Valencia and Transylvania as well as those from a little closer to home.

The magnificent St John polyptych was on display. The multipaneled genealogical masterpiece with a family portrait at its centre is only open on a handful of occasions during the year, among them the Heritage Open Days in September.

Paul Gardner, Chair of St Mary’s Lydiard Tregoze Conservation Project, updated visitors on plans to conserve the 15th century wall paintings and the eagerly awaited decision on the next phase of HLF funding due later this month.

Church steward Mathew Koelz represented St Mary’s in the Wiltshire Historic Churches Trust Annual Ride and Stride fundraising event. Mat completed a 40 mile sponsored cycle ride during which he visited 40 churches.

One of the themes of the 2018 Heritage Open Days is that of Extraordinary Women. Local historian Frances Bevan celebrated the centenary of some women gaining the vote and spoke to visitors about Edith New, a Swindon schoolteacher, who played a prominent role in the Votes for Women campaign.

St Mary’s Church will be open from September 14-16 for the second Heritage Open Days event. Volunteers from the Arts Society will be on hand to give visitors a guided tour of the church from 11 am Friday with members of the congregation available over the weekend.

Jacob Hayward – so long with pain opprest

Spare a thought for poor Jacob Hayward, whose demise appears to have been a welcome release from a long illness.

This magnificent table top memorial is one of several listed monuments in the churchyard at St Mary’s and is evidence that Jacob was a wealthy man. His will reveals that he farmed at Chaddington and Bassett Down and that he owned the freehold of Cotmarsh Farm in Broad Hinton. This very matter of fact document bequeaths his property and his money to wife Jane and daughter Mary and was signed just 12 days before Jacob’s death. There is no mention of any personal effects and just one reference to a person other than Jane and Mary.


To the Memory of

Jacob Hayward

who departed this Life

the 19th Sept. 1801

in the 57th year of his Age

I was so long with Pain opprest,

That work my Strength away,

It made me long for Endless Rest

Which never can decay


to the Memory of

Jane wife of

Jacob Hayward

who departed this Life

the 29th of Nove. 1828

Aged 71 years


Come and hear more stories of other local families with local historian Frances Bevan who will be conducting guided churchyard walks on Sunday June 3, at 2.15 and 3.15. Meet outside the Stable Room.





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The Friends of Lydiard Park is an independent charity dedicated to supporting the conservation and continued enhancement of Lydiard House and Park.

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The Friends of Lydiard Park is an independent charity dedicated to supporting the conservation and continued enhancement of Lydiard House and Park.

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The Friends of Lydiard Park is an independent charity dedicated to supporting the conservation and continued enhancement of Lydiard House and Park.

Curators – HRP Blogs

The Friends of Lydiard Park is an independent charity dedicated to supporting the conservation and continued enhancement of Lydiard House and Park.