St Peter & St Paul, Heytesbury
A Warm Welcome
Our congregation warmly welcomes new residents and visitors whenever we meet to worship, and at social activities. Frequently we gather in our beautifully lit chancel to pray and sing together, or on other occasions when a larger congregation assembles, we sit in the nave and appreciate the impressive space which fills with glorious organ music leading the Team choir. Often, we stay after a service and talk together with refreshments at the west end.
On Saturdays throughout the summer the doors are open, and stalls are set up to display and sell fruit and vegetables from our gardens, and cakes from our kitchens. On other occasions we have stalls stocked with bread and sausage rolls, and a wider selection of local produce as well as local arts and crafts.
From time to time, we are a venue for larger Team services, as we can accommodate well over 100 people. We delight in the happy occasions of baptisms and weddings, and console one another at funerals, giving thanks for friends we have known well.
The impressive space of our building allows us to hold exhibitions, concerts and presentations, and we welcome community events. Centred in the middle of the village, the ancient and much-loved building is open and available to all, as it has been down the centuries.
In Heytesbury each generation has left its mark on the fabric of the church as uses for the building have changed. The early church Saxon church of Heytesbury dates from 1086 and was given to Salisbury Cathedral by Henry 1 about 1115. It was a collegiate church which was effectively a “mother church” with resident priests whose task may have been partly educational as well as caring for the souls of Heytesbury and surrounding parishes. It survived the Reformation and only ceased to be a collegiate church by 1840. The disastrous fire in Heytesbury in 1765 destroyed most of the village and the inhabitants found shelter in the church until their houses could be rebuilt.
By the 19th century, parts of the church had fallen in disrepair but fortunately it was restored by the great Victorian architect, William Butterfield in 1867. He not only restored the nave, reinstated the side aisles of the chancel but also created a striking decorative scheme in the chancel.
In 1967, a major restoration project marked the centenary of Butterfield’s earlier restoration with work to the nave ceiling and carved bosses and limewashing the walls. The 21st century has heralded its third restoration project with the reroofing on the nave, chancel and tower. As part of the reroofing project, roof slates were signed by villagers, school children, clubs and other supporters from far and wide. In the future when the roofs are once again repaired, the future residents will have a glimpse of life in Heytesbury in 2017. At the same time the chancel was restored to reveal Butterfield’s beautiful decorative scheme in the chancel which had been partially hidden by overpaint. Currently, there is a major re-ordering scheme to open up the nave by removing most of the pews to create a communal space for church and village activities – a reminder that in medieval times the church was the centre of the community with space for daily activities. The project will eventually include a toilet, meeting room and a servery housed within an architectural framework complimenting the splendour of the nave.
Address and Contact information:
Church of St Peter and St Paul
If you would like to support the work of this beautiful church, you may donate by scanning this QR code. Thank you for your interest
Churchwarden: Christine Sitwell 01985 840556
Photographs of St Peter & St Paul, Heytesbury (click an image for a slideshow of larger images)