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Brief History of All Saints Church, Crudwell, Wiltshire
All Saints Church, Crudwell
From the Brief History Leaflet at All Saints.
Crudwell was associated with Malmesbury Abbey continuously between 681 and 1539 and Crudwell, but not its church is
mentioned in the Domesday Survey. In 1553 the Manor of Crudwell and other land was sold to John Lucas of
Essex. The Lucas family had the patronage of the church and large leasehold rights and built a school in
Crudwell. Between 1782 and 1839 the Lucas family sold the patronage to the Maskelyne family of Oaksey Park and
more recently it was purchased by the Anslow Sole family. Both families provided Rectors.
Until 1836 Crudwell, then in the Deanery of Malmesbury, transferred from Salisbury Diocese to the Bristol and Gloucester
Diocese. It is now in the North Wiltshire Deanery of the Bristol Diocese.
The font is a simple octagonal basin with a similar shaft of the kind made in the 14th and 15th century. The
south-west window is in memory of Maurice Maskelyne (1806-59) and his son William Vivash Maskelyne (1834-59).
The tower was started in the 14th and completed in the 15th century. The sawn-off beam ends suggest that a
musician's gallery originally ran across the west end of the church. The four-light west window, a later insertion,
is in memory of William Maskelyne (1806-66) Rector of Crudwell. In the tower there are five bells: 1,3,4 and 5 - C
& G, Mears, Founders London, 1858 and 2 - the same, without date. The bells are now rung by levers (a Carillon).
Late 12th Century. The mid-15th century Seven Sacraments window is in unusually good condition and represents
Orders, Confirmation, Penance, Marriage and Extreme Unction: Baptism and Eucharist are missing. Here is a
good example of a hagioscope (squint).
This chapel dates from the early 14th century. The organ was built by W. Smertland of Bath in 1871. The
aumbrey, an inlet in the wall used for keeping holy oils, no longer has its wooden door.
The 13th century piscina which was used in the past for washing the chalice drains into the churchyard. The old
chancel door here had deteriorated and a new oak chancel door has been made by a Malmesbury joiner, using the original
iron fittings and lock. This was dedicated by the Rector, the Rev. Barry Raven on 1st July, 2001.
The nave is high and narrow, the proportions of a Saxon church, indicating a building of that period; a Saxon nave and
sanctuary could easily be contained in the present nave. A roof line can be seen on the east face of the tower.
When John Aubrey visited Crudwell church in 1670 he wrote "Here are the best and most substantial seats I know anywhere
built by one Walter...". One of the surviving panels divides the south-east part of the nave from the south aisle
altar. The panel shows the crowned arms of Henry VII (1485-1509) on a shield, incorrectly marshalled. The
supporters are a white greyhound and a red dragon. A Tudor rose and a pomegranate commemorate the marriage of the
King's eldest son, Arthur to Katherine of Aragon in 1501. At the foot is the profile of a clean-shaven man with
long hair and a brimmed hat surrounded by four entwined roses, possibly a representation of Henry VII and his four
children. Bench ends on the south side of the nave show carvings of roses and lilies, fruit motifs, a leaping stag,
profile heads with forked beards, etc. On the north side there is a large Tudor rose, a winged dragon-like beast,
an eagle and a large full-faced head of a man with three curls on his forehead, shoulder length hair and clean shaven
face, possibly a portrait of the donor or builder, Walton.
Late 14th or early 15th century. The central panel of the south window was donated as one of the Millennium Projects
of the Parish of Crudwell to celebrate the second millennium. It was crafted by a Crudwell stained glass artist
depicting village rural features, and installed by him in May, 1999. On 14th May 2000 it was dedicated by Bishop
Barry of Bristol. The door in the south wall leads to the parvis room over the porch.
15th Century. Here is a board recording all Rectors of the Parish from 1231.
This is a First World War Memorial which was 'unveiled' on All Saints Day, 1st November 1920. It lists the names of
those Crudwell men who were killed in the order in which they died. Fortunately, all 48 men and women of Crudwell
who took part in the Second World War of 1939-45 returned safely and as a thank-offering contributed to the fine oak table
just inside the Church.
With thanks to the authors who allowed this to be included on these pages.
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