St Mary, Castle Eaton, Wiltshire

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Feature Sets (3)


The church dates mostly from the 13thc with a Perpendicular W tower. The N and S doors, and the font, date from the 12thc. The building was restored in 1861-3 by William Butterfield.


No church mentioned in Domesday Book. The manor was held by Earl Roger and consisted of 12 ploughs of land, a mill rendering 15s6d, and 100 acres of land, among other things.


Exterior Features


N Doorway

The N door is plain except for a narrow chamfer and a narrow, hollow chamfered hoodmould.

Height of opening 1.92m
Width of opening 1.07m

S Doorway

This Norman doorway has a single order of colonettes with strange, probably 19thc capitals with harsh detailing. The arch is decorated with lateral-on-the-face chevron moulding with a hollow and a roll. Dogs' heads, similar to those in the nave at Malmesbury, form the terminals of the hood mould which is decorated with hemispheres. 

Height of opening 2.64m
Width of opening 1.25m




The font has a drum-shaped bowl standing on an almost perilously narrow shaft and a moulded base. The style of its decoration, a band of large, swirling trilobed, almost stiff leaf foliage and the mouldings around the bottom of the drum and the base, suggest a date in the first half of the 13thc, rather than in the 12thc. Buckler illustrated it in the early 19thc before the current, harsh, square plinth was built (Vol. VIII, plate 29).

Circumference 2.51m
Height of drum 0.54m


The S doorway is Romanesque but it has been a victim of over-extensive restoration. Buckler illustrated the door in the early 19thc (volume VIII, plate 65). This verifies that its current form is broadly that of its original state.


  • Anon. 1905. Bristol Records Office EP/J/6/2/91

  • F. Arnold-Forster, Studies in Church Dedications or England’s Patron Saints, London 1899, III, 79.

  • J.Buckler, Album of Drawings, Vol. VIII, Devizes Museum, plate 29, 65.

  • DCMS Listing Description.

  • Historic England listing 1023297

  • Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Wiltshire, Penguin 1985, 145-46.

  • C.E. Ponting. 'Notes on Churches Visited in 1898' Wilts Arch and Nat Hist 30 1899 169-197

  • A. Tomlin. Castle Eaton's St Mary the Virgin Church 1992 Private Press

Exterior from NW
Interior to E


Site Location
Castle Eaton
National Grid Reference
SU 146 959 
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Wiltshire
now: Wiltshire
medieval: Old Sarum
now: Bristol
medieval: St Mary
now: St Mary
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Allan Brodie, John Wand 
Visit Date
11 August 1995