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St Michael and All Angels parish church, Atworth

Wiltshire

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What is now the parish church of Atworth is strangely situated on the western edge of the village, so the church’s main, west, door faces away from it. It was originally a chapel of the mother church of the large ancient parish of Bradford on Avon, Holy Trinity. A chapel is said to have existed from late in the 11th century, with a new building erected in 1451. This had the western tower over the entrance door and a narrow nave and chancel without aisles.

The present church was built in 1832, after the old one, parallel and a few metres to the north, had become considered to be too small and was in poor condition. The 15th century tower was retained and connected by a short passage when the rest had been demolished. The new church was designed with gothic revival style features, with multi-cusped traceried pointed windows, pinnacles, buttresses and some exotic Lombard friezes, but these are really decorations to a plain Georgian hall-chapel, rather than a gothic church.  The architect was Henry Edmund Goodridge (1797-1864), the Bath architect of Beckford Tower, The Corridor, Downside Abbey, Cleveland Bridge and many Italianate villas in Bath. He was probably engaged because of the Hale family of Cottles Park, where he was responsible for designing an extension to the house.

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The interior is a rectangular box with a gallery that is supported on cast iron stanchions. A few monuments were transferred from the old building. The wooden pews were made by local carpenter F. Titt in 1881 as part of a refit.

The church is now served by the united benefice of Atworth and Shaw & Whitley (in Melksham Without).