Figheldean is a village about four miles N of Amesbury on the River Avon. The church lies to the N of the village on the R bank of the river, and is a flint with limestone dressing building. The church consists of a chancel, a 13thc nave featuring arcades with round piers and double-chamfered arches, a S aisle and a late 12thc-early 13thc W tower. During the 15thc the church was extensively altered: the chancel and the nave were rebuilt, and the S porch and the S aisle were added in this period. Romanesque sculpture is found on the tower arch that dates from the late 12thc.
The building was restored several times in the 19thc: in 1858-9 Ewan Christian restored the chancel, and in 1859-60 John West Hughall restored the nave, added the N vestry and heightened the tower; the S porch was restored in 1902.
The Domesday Survey records that in 1066 and 1086 'Fiseledene' was held by Harding, son of Alnoth; it valued £9. In the late 12thc Henry Hussey held the manor. The overlordship may have descended in the Hussey family until 1319 with Knighton manor but is not expressly said to have done so.
In 1115 Henry I granted Figheldean church to Old Sarum and Bishop Roger, but he gave up his right to the dean and chapter. The church was taken from the cathedral in the 1140s but in 1157 it was restored by Henry II. The rectory was appropriated to the treasurer of the cathedral, apparently before 1180–5 when the church was granted for payments of £10 a year to him, and by 1291 a vicarage had been ordained. The treasurer fulfilled all the functions of the ordinary in the parish from c.1190 until his peculiar jurisdiction was abolished in 1841; the church was also exempt from archidiaconal jurisdiction from c.1190.
The arch of the W tower is a double order arch with shafts with trumpet scallop capitals. The jambs employ alternating courses of greensand and limestone. The capitals are trumpet scallops. The abaci have been repaired and replaced in the 19th or 20thc.
|Height of abaci||0.15m|
|Height of capitals||0.18m|
|Height of nacking||0.03m|
|Height of opening||2.52m|
|Width of opening||1.47m|
H. Brakspear. 'Notes on Churches', Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine, 47 (1937), 595-607.
Historic England listing 1131027.
P. A. Unwin., Figheldean and its Church, 2008, private press.
Wiltshire Archives D1/61/11/5 and Lambeth Palace Library ICBS 5406 (J. W. Hugall 1859).
N. Pevsner and B. Cherry, Buildings of England: Wiltshire, Harmondsworth 1975, 244-5.
A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 15, Amesbury Hundred, Branch and Dole Hundred, Victoria County History, London, 1995, 105-19.