lyffe Pypard is a small village with a general air of contentment. The houses are nicely kept and gardens in order, as if they were designed to keep tourists happy. The pub, the Goddard Arms, even has a sign welcoming horses and a place to tether them.
John Aubrey in the 1660s described St. Peters in 'Cliff Pypard vulgo
Pepper' as: "There is a handsome Church, and have been very good windowes." We agree! The church seems much larger than necessary for the size of the village as it is today. Whilst we were at the church (in May 2000) one of its members came to welcome us. He suggested the church was built by the Goddard family and their workers - some 300 - were expected to attend each week. The Wiltshire Collections book suggests otherwise - "... of Lord Cobham, who they say died in the grounds here. He built this church." But whomever built it, they made a very good job!
At the time of our visit we were told there were just six regulars who attend the services and four members look after the land - a quarter of the cemetery each. What an undertaking - that certainly takes some dediction. The building was clean and well cared for and the grounds tended.
We were told a few years before a new roof was needed and work was currently needed on the tower and a surveyor was due to visit. These wonderful old buildings we visit have survived centuries. It seems sad that in the 21st century, when we have the technology and knowledge of how to preserve properly, it is the lack of money that is the problem. It is a continual struggle to raise money - surely a precarious existence?
The church of St. Peter is a Grade I listed building - more information about the listing can be found at the Historic England