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Holy Rood, Rodbourne, Wiltshire

(51°32′58″N, 2°5′47″W)
ST 934 834
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Wiltshire
now Wiltshire
medieval Salisbury
now Bristol
medieval Holy Rood
now Holy Rood
  • Allan Brodie
  • James Cameron
26 October 1991

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The church has a Norman nave with surviving narrow windows with deep splays and a chancel that was built in the 13thc. In the nave the north and south doors date from the 12thc. while the church contains an unusual stone chair that may belong to the 13thc.


Rodbourne is a village whose lands formed a long and narrow tithing and chapelry in the southeast corner of Malmesbury parish. Until a vicarage of Malmesbury was ordained between 1191 and the mid 13thc., the chapel may have been served from Malmesbury abbey.


Exterior Features





The stone chair is very unusual, as most examples of stone chairs in parish churches are formed of two stone uprights that probably originally enclosed longer benches. However here the back is carved out of a single piece of stone that means it was always a single seat. The curved back finds comparison with the unique late-13thc. sedilia at Isle Abbotts (Somerset), but as a single stone chair, a closer association can be made with the pre-Conquest frith-stools at Hexham Abbey and Beverley Minster. The only comparison in a village church is that in Sprotborough (West Yorkshire), which has figural decoration of the 14thc. To suggest that the chair's presence is related to the church being served by visiting staff from a monastery may be tempting but has no grounding in serious evidence.


J. Buckler, Unpublished album of drawings. Devizes Museum, Vol. 8, pl. 66.

N. Pevsner and B. Cherry, Buildings of England: Wiltshire. Harmondsworth 1975, 2nd edition, 382.

A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 14, Malmesbury Hundred. Victoria County History, London 1991, 165-8.