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St Mary Magdalene, Winterbourne Monkton, Wiltshire

(51°26′45″N, 1°51′42″W)
Winterbourne Monkton
SU 097 719
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Wiltshire
now Wiltshire
medieval Old Sarum
now Salisbury
  • Allan Brodie
11 December 1993

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Feature Sets

Winterbourne Monkton is a small village about 6 miles NW of Marlborough. The church of St Mary Magdalene lies to the W of the village and is a building of coursed sarsen rubble; it consists of a chancel of 13thc with N vestry, a nave rebuilt in the 14thc, a S porch added in the 15thc, W tower, and a W gallery built in the 18thc. The church was rebuilt in 1878 by William Butterfield but several parts of the old church were reused. The building has no Romanesque fabric and the only feature of this period is the late 12thc font.


In 869 King Ethelred granted the manor of Winterbourne to Wulfere, who later assigned it to Glastonbury Abbey: this concession was confirmed by King Edward the Elder in 928. The Domesday Book records that Orgar held the manor in 1066, which passed to Gilbert Gibard in 1086 and Hugh de Polstead in 1189; it was valued at £20. From 1195 the manor was held by Geoffrey de Maizey and his descendants; in 1261 its lordship passed to Gregory de la Mare.

In the early 13thc the suffix Monkton was used and it referred to the estate there of Glastonbury Abbey. Before 1229 it was appropriated by Cirencester Abbey (Gloucestershire) and a vicarage ordained; this ceased with the Dissolution.





The guide book, citing Dr George Zarnecki, suggests that the figure on the font is St. Bernard, being saved by birds from eating a poisoned loaf. The pose of the figure, with painfully splayed legs, is reminiscent of the more elegant figure on the nearby font at Avebury.


DCMS Listing Description.

N. Pevsner and B. Cherry, Buildings of England: Wiltshire. Harmondsworth 1975, 2nd edition.

Victoria County History: Wiltshire, vol. XII, 192-8, especially 196-8.

H. M. Taylor and G. Zarnecki, A Guide to the church of St. James, Avebury, and the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, Winterbourne Monkton. Swindon 1982.