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St John the Baptist and St Helen, Wroughton, Wiltshire

(51°31′13″N, 1°48′14″W)
SU 137 802
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Wiltshire
now Wiltshire
medieval Old Sarum
now Salisbury
  • Allan Brodie
  • John Wand
26 June 1993, 3 June 2004

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Wroughton is a village about three miles S of Swindon. The church lies to the W of the village, in the hamlet of Elcombe. A dressed stone building, its chancel and aisled and clerestoried nave are datable to a 14th and 15thc remodelling. Its Romanesque N arcade was replaced by the present structure in 1846, when the church was restored by Thomas Henry Wyatt and several 12thc elements, such as the N arcade, were removed; these features are illustrated by a group of watercolours made by John Buckler in 1810. Further restorations were carried out in 1852, in the 1880s, and again in 1905. The only surviving Romanesque sculpture is found on the N and S doorways of the nave.


The church has pre-Conquest origins as it is mentioned in a charter of 956. The Domesday Survey records that 'Elendune' (or 'Ellendune', the ancient name of Wroughton) was a large and rich manor worth £18; there were six mills. In 1066 it was held by Godric, Alnoth, Alwin, and Brictnoth; in 1086 the lordship passed to Robert of Ashton, Humphrey de l'Isle, and Alfred. By 1107 William Giffard, Bishop of Winchester, assigned the church to the Precentor of St Swithun’s Priory in Winchester, but in 1124 he appropriated it. From 1275, Wroughton was held by Robert Daundely and his descendants, as Nicholas of Ely, Bishop of Winchester, relinquished his claims to the manor.


Exterior Features


Interior Features






J. Buckler, Unpublished album of drawings. Devizes Museum, vol. VII, plate 8; vol. VIII, plates 28, 33, 58, 65.

Victoria County History: Wiltshire, vol. XI, 235-52, especially 249.

N. Pevsner and B. Cherry, Buildings of England: Wiltshire, Harmondsworth 1975.

Historic England listing 1355917.

C. E. Ponting, 'The Church of St John the Baptist and St Helen, Wroughton', The Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine, 38 (1914), 415-25.

G. Poole, A Discovery Tour of Wroughton Parish Church, n. p. 2007.

T. H. Wyatt, D. Brandon, D. 1850, Lambeth Palace Library, ICBS 4305.

T. S. Maskelyne, F. H. Manley, 'Notes on the Ecclesiastical History of Wroughton, its Rectors and Vicars', The Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine, 41 (1922), 451-78.