Friends of St Mary's Church, Cricklade, Wiltshire, U.K.


Chairman: Hugh Dudley, 4 Pleydells, Cricklade, SWINDON, SN6 6NG

Secretary: Gerry Dudley, 4 Pleydells, Cricklade, SWINDON, SN6 6NG

Treasurer: Tony Barratt, 13 Boundary Close, Stratton, SWINDON, SN2 7TF


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Chronological historical notes for St Mary's Cricklade

circa 1120 to 1150

Chancel arch constructed. "A richly-wrought specimen of the purest  Norman period - circa 1120 to 1150. The arch is a semi-circular one of two order enriched on the west face only-the inner order has a plain flat soffit, and on the face are the roll moulding and a kind of stud ornament, on the outer order is cut the usual chevron, the pattern diminishing in size from the springing upwards. Each order is supported by engaged shafts worked on the jambs, the bases being moulded and having the so-called stud ornament, with square plinth below."

[C. E. Ponting, F.S.A. Notes on the Churches visited in 1892. Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine (W.A.M.) Vol XXVII (1894), Hurry and Pearson, Devizes.]

C 13

The bowl of the font is of this period, apparently reduced in height, and set on a new base.


Font: C13 inverted column base on possible Roman capital as base, reset in C19.

[DoE List of Buildings of Special Archaeological or Historic Interest, (1986), SU 19 SW 13/145]

(There is a photograph of the original in Devizes Museum. It forms part of the Buckler collection (1810))

Late C13

Two lower stages of the tower constructed. (Early English)

[C.E. Ponting, F.S.A. Notes on the Churches visited in 1892. W.A.M. Vol XXVII, (1894)]


Walls of the north aisle appear to have been constructed.



Scratch dial to exterior of chancel.

[Cricklade Museum]


Churchyard cross erected.

[Cricklade Museum]

Circa 1400

Buttresses and top stage of tower erected.

[C.E.Ponting, F.S.A. Notes on the Churches visited in 1892, W.A.M. Vol XXVII, (1894)]

Circa mid C15

"The nave arcades of three bays each and the roofs of nave and aisles appear to have been constructed" (more detail available)


"Aisles are of Perpendicular character"

[Kelly's Directory 1889]

circa 1450

"The chapel is of unusually small dimensions, and was probably re- erected about 1450; the arch between it and the aisle shows that a chapel stood here prior to that date:"

[C.E.Ponting, F.S.A. Notes on the Churches visited in 1892. W.A.M. Vol XXVII (1894)]


"In 1553 Cricklade St. Mary's had iii bells"

[Brit.Museum. Add. MSS 33205 fo1229, Church Bells of Wiltshire, H.B. Waiters M.A., F.S.A. Wiltshire Archaeological Society Dec 1927,28,29 (in 3 parts)]


A panel of stained glass dated 1558 and depicting sickles, the arms of the Hungerfords who were manorial lords of Cricklade is on display in Cricklade Museum and purports to have come from St. Mary's.

[Cricklade Museum]


"The pulpit is a good specimen of Jacobean work -its door has been taken off and put away in the tower."

[C.E.Ponting, F.S.A. Notes on the Churches visited in 1892. W.A.M. Vol XXVII, (1894)]

Pulpit: Mid C 17 half -octagonal oak with archaded panelling.

[DoE List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, (1986) SU 19 SW 13/145]


Chained Bible from St. Mary's Church, now displayed in Cricklade Museum.

[Cricklade Museum]


Altar table 1627 with stretchers between turned legs and carved fasciae.

[DoE List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. (1986) SU 19 SW 13/145]


Burial register commenced.


Baptism register commenced.


Marriage register commenced.

The registers open with the word A B R A C A D A B R A and are super-scribed "N.B. The officiating Minister of this Parish is entitled to 2d for every corpse buried in the churchyard."

[WRO 1189/3]


Call Bell cast "Come away, make no delay"

[WRO 1632/45]

13 May 1756

Baptised William son of Thos. Peir and Margaret his wife.

13 May 1756

Baptised Mary dau. Thos. Pears her Parents not discovered.

[WRO 1189/4]

(The house next to the churchyard gate was the home of the highwayman William Peare and his twin sister Mary, baptised in St. Mary's in 1756. He was convicted for robbing a stage coach and hanged in 1783. Tradition has it that he was buried in an unmarked grave in St. Mary's churchyard - at dead of night).

[Cricklade Museum.]

Mary was described as his twin, but the inscription in the register repudiates this.


Three bells cast ( see details and inscriptions June 1894)


Monuments in churchyard south-west of tower.

"Pair of chest tombs C17 and early C18. To north, cyma table and base. Scrolled end brackets. Incised panels on sides with scrolls around. Inscription not legible. To south, chest tomb with moulded table and base. Recessed corner balusters. To JOHN HINTON, died 1792."

[DoE, SU 19 SW 13/148, List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historical Interest. (1986)]


C18 brass candelabra

[DoE, SU 19 SW 13/145, Ibid]


Sundial added to exterior s. wall of chancel.


Pair of chest tombs south of tower. Inscription on southern tomb reads: CATHARINE JACKSON died 6 May 1833 aged 78 years


In 1861 the census recorded the following for the parish of St. Mary's, Houses: 104, Inhabited 91, Uninhabited 9 Males 167, Females 200, Total 367.


circa. 1862

To remove the gallery and provide accommodation in the church for the inhabitants of the priory.

[WRO 1632/71 (Faculty papers)]


Restoration of St. Mary's

Interior plans

[WRO 1632/72]

Press cuttings

[Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard]

1862 cont'd

From "a mass of mouldering woodwork, and crumbling stone, of ricketty galleries and irregular pews"


Unsightly galleries which rested on the pillars of the s. aisle were removed.

Exterior stairs to rood loft and gallery were removed. New roofs put to aisles and chancel. Oak roof of nave restored

Straggling and unsightly pews removed and replaced, in better taste!

All evidence of "Churchwardens' Gothic" removed


Inscription on interior n. wall of tower reads:

The Church Clock was presented to the parish of St. Mary's Cricklade by Major Henry Smyth and Elizabeth Smyth, his wife. 1863

[Inscription in church tower.]

The clock has its mechanism in the tower, and face in e. wall. The face and mechanism are connected by a shaft running under the roof.

[Cricklade Museum]

3 Oct 1863

"A new clock has been erected on St. Mary's Church through the munificence of Major Smyth."

[Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard]

(Major Smyth of Sandown, Isle of Wight, was a veteran of Cricklade He died in 1867, aged 91).

[Cricklade Museum]

30 Mar 1882

Death of Rev. Hugh Allen, Rector.

31 Dec 1882

Burials discontinued in St. Mary's churchyard except as follows: "In such vaults and walled graves as are now existing in the Churchyard burials may be allowed on condition that every coffin therein be separately enclosed by stonework or brickwork properly cemented:

In such reserved grave spaces in the Churchyard (as have never before been buried in, and, when opened, are free from water) burials may be allowed of so many members of the families to whom they have been allotted as can be buried at or below the depth of five feet."

[WRO 1632/65]

9 Jan 1884

Burial of Ellen Agnes (age 27 years) dau. of the late Rev. Hugh Allen (This is the last recorded burial in St. Mary's Churchyard)

[WRO 1189/3]

21 Jun 1893

New organ opened. Cost (including new Roof of Timber and Lead to Organ-chamber etc £156: 8: 6)

[WRO 1632/45]


Property belonging to the (ecclesiastical) Parish, and vested in Churchwardens for ecclesiastical purposes:

One house in High Street, now in the occupation of John Bush, baker, yielding a head-rent of £1: 3: 6.

One Cottage lower down in High Street, formerly in the occupation of Henry Sadler, and now in the occupation of George Cotterell, yielding a rack-rent of £6: 10: 0. (George Cotterell was coachman to Thomas Butt Miller)

One Cottage in Back Lane (otherwise called Horsefair Lane) now in the occupation of Alfred Barnes, yielding a head-rent of 2s/6d

Plot of garden ground in Back Lane, now in the occupation of Robert Hopkins (Clerk and Sexton) at yearly rent of 10s/-.

[WRO 1632/45]

June 1894

Church bells repaired: Elm Stocks, Oak Wheels, gun metal bearings in cast iron blocks and covers, hardened gudgeons, iron stops, new pulleys, sliders and tufted Ropes - New head-stock to Call Bell, lever, and oak uprights.

Inscriptions on Bells: On large Bell: "Prosperity to this Town 1779"

On Second Bell: "Thos. Rudhall, Gloucester, Founder 1779"

On Third Bell: "Peace and good Neighborhood 1779"

On Fourth, or Call Bell (small): "Come away, make no Delay" 1733"

[WRO 1632/45]

25 Jun 1894

The Bells having been disused for Ringing for many years past, after the above mentioned repairs the First peal was this day rung in celebration of the Birth on the 23rd inst. of the eldest son (Edwd. Albert Christian Geo. Andrew Patrick David) (Later Edward VIII) of H.R.H. The Duke of York

[WRO 1632/45]

July 1894

Interior of Church (walls, pillars, and roof) cleaned -Timber Freize revarnished.

Sep-Oct 1894

Church Tower re-roofed (new timber and lead)

[WRO 1632/45]

Mar-Jun 1896

Ancient Stone Cross cemented, - Churchyard wall (to Street) partly rebuilt - Ellacombe's Chiming Apparatus fitted.

[WRO 1632/45]

17 Dec 1896

Shock of Earthquake felt in Cricklade about 5.40 a.m. (as well as in various other parts of England, especially in Hereford, where minarets of Cathedral were displaced)

[WRO 1632/45]

23 Jan 1901

Bell tolled throughout day for Death (on Tuesday 22nd inst. at 6.30 p.m.) of our good Queen Victoria, in the 82nd year of her age.

[WRO 1632/71]

28 Jan 1901

The Accession of His Majesty King Edward VII proclaimed at the Jubilee Clock, Cricklade, this day by Thomas Butt Miller Esq. High Bailiff of Cricklade, in the presence of a very large number of the inhabitants.

[WRO 1632/45]

9 Feb 1901

Cemetery for Parishes of St. Mary and St. Sampson consecrated.

[WRO 1632/45]

25 Dec 1903

Carved Oak Eagle Lectern presented to St. Mary's Church by Thos. Butt Miller Esq. used for first time on Christmas Day.

[WRO 1632/45]

30 Apr 1905

New gold-embroidered covering for Communion Table presented to the Church by Mrs. T. B. Miller of the Manor House, Cricklade, the work of many years by her own hands, and used this day for the first time (1st Sunday after Easter)

[WRO 1632/45]

2 Aug 1906

To remove the e. window and erect a new stained glass window.

To provide a reredos, altar rails, Super Altar and stone floor for the chancel.

To close a door in the chancel.

To fill all the windows in the church with cathedral glass and to restore the dormer windows in the aisles which were removed in or about 1862

[WRO 1632/71 (Faculty papers)]

E. window inscription reads:

To the glory of God and in loving memory of John McKaye B.A. for 20 years Rector of this Parish who died June 30th 1905 this window is dedicated by his friends and parishioners Oct 1906.

3 Nov 1908

Specification for (repairs to) Cricklade St. Mary's Churchyard Cross commences: "The cross has suffered less from fanatical prejudice than from injudicious repair by the use of iron..."

[WRO 1632/64]


Restoration of St. Mary's - reinstatement of dormer windows removed during 1862 restoration - to provide more light. Press cutting

[Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard]

8 Jul 1915

To insert stained glass to a single window in the e. wall of the s. aisle and 3 light windows at e. end of s. aisle as a memorial to Thomas Butt Miller - the gift of Mrs Miller of Kingscote Park, Tetbury, Glos.

[WRO 1632/71 (Faculty papers)]

Inscription reads:

To the glory of God and in memory of Thomas Butt Miller 13 January 1915.

Nov 1917

Church contents (a few details from inventory)

Seating was for about 200

The choir contained one organ with 2 manual pedals and 12 stops, and a gas stove.

There was gas lighting, including one burner in the pulpit.

The tower contained 4 bells

The lantern of the churchyard cross held the following figures:

s. the assumption of the Virgin

n. Bishop with crozier

w. crucifix with St. Mary and St. John

e. Queen and Knight

[WRO 1632/70]

16 Apr 1925

Petition for donations towards the repair of the Churchyard Cross.

"Cricklade St. Mary's


Early this year the TOP portion of this Cross was blown down. The cost of repairing the damage done to this singularly beautiful cross amounts to £20. Mrs. Cyril Giles and Mrs. A. Robinson, members of the Church Council, have kindly consented to call round for donations. Donations of one shilling and upwards will be gratefully accepted by The Rector and the Churchwardens. The work of refixing the Lantern and the broken pieces has been carried out by a skilled mason under the directions of Mr .W .A.H. Masters, Architect and Diocesan Surveyor, and of Mr. Weir the Architect to the Protection of Ancient Buildings Society .

Signed: Charles Wray"

[WRO 1632/64]

(The collection book detailing all receipts is extant)

12 Oct 1928

To erect an oak reading desk at the entrance to the chancel, on n. side, for the use of the clergy.

[WRO 1632/71 (Faculty papers)]

10 Sep 1934

To introduce electric lighting.

[WRO 1632/71 (Faculty papers)]


Removal of iron railings from frontage, for scrap metal.

[Cricklade Museum]

3 Sep 1947

To remove 3 pews to provide altar to s. aisle.

To place an organ blower behind the organ.

[WRO 1632/71 (Faculty papers)]

11 Aug 1948

To remove 3 pews from s. w. comer, for the font.

[WRO 1632/71 (Faculty papers)]


"New festal frontal made by Messrs Wippell, from an embroidery worked many years ago by the late Mrs Butt Miller and presented to St. Mary's by her son Mr. Geo Miller of Romsey, Hants 1948."

[WRO 1632/57 (Extract from an Inventory dated 1929)]

20 Jun 1949

To insert an oxidised silver plate in s. wall of the sanctuary in memory of Cicely Laura Miller and Servants.

In s. w. comer, to insert a stained glass window of St. Nicholas, in memory of Rev. C Wray.

[WRO 1632/71 (Faculty papers)]

Inscription on plate reads:

To the glory of God and in loving memory of Thomas Butt Miller and his wife Cicely Laura Miller late of the Manor House. Also of their faithful servants Eliza Prior, George Cottrell and Harriet Greathead.

Inscription on s. w. corner window reads:

Charles Wray, Priest, Rector of Cricklade St. Mary's 1912 - 1927 Died 18 March 1945.

28 Sep 1949

To insert stained glass depicting St. Christopher and St. Hubert to 2 light windows in s. wall of sanctuary , in memory of Cicely Laura Miller.

[WRO 1632/71 (Faculty papers)]

(It is understood that Cicely Laura Miller was known as "Bunny" to her friends - hence the inclusion of the rabbits in the lower window).


Parish amalgamated with St. Sampson's

[DoE SU 19 SW 13/145 List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historical Interest, (1986), quoting (Thomson & Taylor in W_A_M- 60 (1965).75 and 61. (1966), 38.f)]


Restoration of St. Mary's

Excavations of 1964 suggest that the north chapel walls are founded on Anglo-Saxon work associated with the town wall.



St. Mary's proclaimed redundant


St. Mary's re-opened for Catholic worship

1985 St Mary’s Church joins the Local Ecumenical Partnership
1998 The Friends of St Mary’s established
3 Oct 2001 New boundaries were decreed for the Parish of St Thomas of Canterbury, Fairford with St Mary, Cricklade


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