Churches

All Saints Church – Church Lane, Westbury, BA13 3BT
Tel No: 01373 859450

Revd Steve Jarvis

All Saints’ Church is the Parish Church of Westbury. The church stands in the centre of the town in a handsome churchyard surrounded by cottages and footpaths at the head of the market place. It is a spiritual focus for the town. All Saints’ Church was built in the second half of the 14th century with some later additions, but standing on the site of an even older Saxon church. It is a fine, stone, Grade 1 listed building transitional between the decorative and perpendicular styles. It boasts the third heaviest peal of eight bells in the world and an Erasmus Bible.

A church at Westbury is mentioned in the Domesday Book (1086) and is most likely to have been a Saxon wooden church on the same site as the present one. The first stone church was built by the Normans, probably by 1220, and this seems to have been replaced by the 14th century church using the Norman cruciform plan. The most likely date for this church is 1340-1380 in the transitional period between the Decorated and Perpendicular styles. William of Grimstead endowed a chantry in 1341. The parts of this building that remain are the nave and aisles, the transepts, probably the base of the tower and the window to the west of a small door in the Lady Chapel. There was extensive rebuilding in the 15th century and other features are Perpendicular. The nave was heightened and a clerestory added, three chapels were added and the tower was raised to 84 feet (about 25 metres) by adding a second stage. The north aisle chapel was built by William of Westbury and his father John, who endowed a chantry in 1437, while the south chancel chapel is the Lady Chapel, later known as the Willoughby de Broke Chapel or Phipps Chapel.

In the first half of the 16th century the south porch was built, or rebuilt with a small room over it. The chancel was extended eastwards to its present length in the middle of the 16th century. The Church is in a very pleasant situation, being in a close in the centre of the town surrounded by 18th century cottages. The church itself underwent an extensive restoration in 1847 owing to the energies of the Rev. Stafford Brown. The nave roof was renewed, a new west window created, the east wall of the chancel buttressed and the gallery removed. At the same time an extra 285 free sittings were made. In 1857 a new burial ground ( now West Wilts District Council owned) on the road to Bratton was purchased and in 1880 a new vicarage was built on the site of an earlier one. In 1948 the roof of the south chancel chapel was repaired.

In 1968 it was found that an old culvert had broken and water had saturated the clay surrounding the church foundations. Cracks in the masonry were appearing and the tower was leaning. 150 concrete piles were driven into the ground to a depth of 35 to 40 feet and connected with cross beams to stabilise the structure. There were six bells in the tower until 1921 when they were recast, with the original inscriptions being reproduced. Two new small bells were added and the peal is now the third heaviest peal of eight in the world, with the tenor bell weighing 35 cwt. The church clock dates to the beginning of the 17th century and is unusual in having no face although it strikes the hours and quarters. It was made by a local blacksmith and has to be wound every day. The parish registers date from 1556 and, other than those in current use, are held in the Wiltshire and Swindon Record Office.

 

St. Bernadette’s Catholic Church – West End, Westbury, Wiltshire BA13 3JQ

Tel No: 01225 752152

In the 1670s there was one Catholic in the parish, Giles Adlam, a fuller, but by 1683 there were said to be none. In the 1930s Westbury Catholics went by coach to worship in Trowbridge but by 1938 they were building their own church in West End. This was completed in December 1938. During the Second World War Italian prisoners of war attended mass here. There is no resident priest but the congregation and its sacristan are served from Trowbridge.

 

Westbury URC Church – Warminster Road, Westbury, Wiltshire BA13 3PJ

Tel No: 01373 822398

Rev. David Coppard

This congregation was also called the Independent Meeting and the Lower Meeting. The meeting claims to date from 1662 when a group gathered around Philip Hunton, the vicar who had been ejected from the parish church of Westbury because of Presbyterian leanings. His followers met at his house where he preached to them privately. When Hunton died in 1682 he left a piece of land, called the Hop Ground, to ‘The Protestant Nonconforming Church of Westbury’. After his death a barn in Lower (now Leigh) Road was converted into a chapel c.1693, but this was burned down in 1711. There were suspicions that this was done by members of the parish church but no proof was forthcoming. The Hop Ground was sold to pay for the building of a new chapel, probably on the site of the present one, on the eastern side of Warminster Road.

By 1725 the congregation numbered 800 and included some of the town’s most influential people. In 1751 some people suspected the minister of holding Unitarian views and withdrew to form the Upper Meeting. In 1821 the chapel was rebuilt at a cost of £2,000 and by 1829 the congregation totalled 500. The front of the chapel received its present embellishments in the late 19th century. On 9th May 1940 the members of the two Congregational chapels were reunited and the members of the Upper chapel returned to worship in the old chapel. In 1972 the Congregationalists joined the Presbyterians to form the United Reformed Church. The church still retains its 19th century three sided gallery.

 

Methodist Church – B3097 Station Road, Westbury, Wiltshire

Rev. David Coppard

John Wesley preached in Westbury in 1748 and 1749, attracting good numbers, but it was not until around 1809 that a Methodist chapel was built in the Warminster Road. The cost was £400 and the sum was raised by voluntary subscriptions. By 1904 the original chapel was too small for the congregation and a new site was bought at the end of Station Road. No building was allowed during the First World War and it was not until 1926 that the new chapel, in the form of a basilica with attached schoolroom, was opened. The earlier chapel became a masonic hall. In 1995 work started to update the premises and provide a coffee bar, kitchen and toilets while in the church itself the communion area was refurbished.

 

Baptist Church – West End, A350, Westbury, Wiltshire

The Church was founded in 1825, with the current building being erected in 1867. In recent years the Church has been subject to quite an extensive modernisation plan which is ongoing. It has comfortable seating and a suite of rooms which include a hall, modern kitchen facilities and toilets. Facilities also include access for wheelchair users and disabled toilets.

 

Stormore Baptist Church

Minister – Revd Len Clift   Tel. 01373 827364 Email: stormorechapel@gmail.com

The church meets at Stormore Chapel, Dilton Marsh, Westbury, BA13 4BH

Website: www.stormorechurch.org

 

Holy Saviour – Westbury Leigh

Holy Saviour Church is situated in the centre of Westbury Leigh: the ‘village’ that stretches from Westbury westwards towards Dilton Marsh. The church is part of the Parish of Westbury.

The church is a 19th century mellow stone building that has been transformed into a multi-purpose community hall that meets a wide range of local needs.

The chancel of the church is preserved for regular Christian worship. However, by folding back a screen the entire church might be used for larger services. What was the nave of the original design is now a large modern hall. There is a fully equipped kitchen, along with toilets and facilities for the disabled. Above the kitchen is an upstairs meeting room, which is carpetted, spacious and quite atmospheric.

 

Church of the Living God

Revd Iain and Revd Fatimah MurrayTelephone 01373 826876

Sunday Services are held at The Laverton Hall at 10.30am

For more information visit the website: http://www.clgwestbury.org.uk/

 

Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses – Westbury Leigh, Westbury

Tel: 01373822386

Jehovah’s Witnesses have been in the town since the late 1960s.

 

Providence Baptist Church, High Street, Dilton Marsh, Westbury BA13 3SP

Minister: Pastor Guy Davies.

Tel: 01373 826727 Email: pastor.davies@blueyonder.co.uk

www.providence-ebenezer.org.uk

Services are held at 10.30am & 6pm every Sunday.

The Church was founded under the preaching of George Phillips. Mr Phillips, the son of a Devonshire farmer was converted under the preaching of Charles Wesley. Originally he was called to be the Pastor of Westbury Leigh Baptist Church, but resigned from his charge as some members of the congregation were suspicious of his Methodist background.

Phillips held a series of open air preaching meetings, beginning in April 1810 that led to the formation of the Church. By the October of that year, the sizeable Chapel had been built.

The Church was called ‘Providence’ because the open air services that led to the gathering of the Church were not once hindered by rain. ‘Penknap’ is the name of the field on which the Chapel was built.

In 1999, Pastor Tom Jeffries helped bring Penknap (as it was known then) into a joint-Pastorate with Ebenezer Baptist Church, West Lavington, an arrangement which continues to this day. The Churches remain independent, but co-operate closely and meet alternately at Providence and Ebenezer for prayer and Bible study. Providence is both a Grace Baptist Church and a member of the Fellowship of Independent Churches and enjoys regular fellowship with like-minded churches in the area. Guy Davies became pastor of both churches in 2003.