GREAT CHALFIELD MANOR, WILTSHIRE

Grid Ref: ST 860 630
7 & 8 June 2005

Manor House spacer South Side
Great Chalfield Manor, south side, west end   South side east end
Main entrance   Church
The main entrance faces north   The church entrance
All Saint's   Pulpit
All Saints' at Great Chalfield   Pulpit and sounding board
Tropnell Chapel   Window
The Tropnell Chapel Screen   Window to commemorate evacuees
Tropnell arms   Piscina
Arms of Thomas Tropnell   Piscina in Tropnell Chapel

 

Great Chalfield Manor

Great Chalfield Manor on a sunny day in June has that peace, beauty and sense of history one rejoices to find on a trip into the English countryside. The property is owned by the National Trust. It does not have the customary National Trust tea-room but in the barn there is self-service provision for drinks. The house was rebuilt by Thomas Tropnell between 1465 and 1480. There is a central great hall which from the beginning had a chimney. Across the screens passage there was not the traditional buttery, pantry and kitchen but parlour or Dining Room. Tropnell added the gabled ends with the oriel windows.

The property passed to Thomas Tropnell's great-granddaughter Ann who married John Eyre in 1550. During the time the house was owned by this family, it was occupied by Parliamentary forces from 1644-1646. Thereafter there were a number of absentee landlords and the house fell into disrepair. However, in 1836 it was recorded in detail by Thomas Larkin Walker, a pupil of August Pugin. In 1838 the East Wing was pulled down. Walker's drawings were invaluable for the restoration carried out between 1905 and 1912 by Sir Harold Brakspear for Robert Fuller who had purchased the house from his father, G. P. Fuller of Neston Park. In 1943, Robert Fuller gave the house and grounds together with an endowment to the National Trust.

All Saints'

There was a chapel on this site from 1316 and records of a church from 1349. Thomas Tropnell modified the church with the addition of octagonal spire and bellcote, the porch and the Tropnell chapel with its screen. In about 1680, John Hall of Bradford on Avon gave the pulpit. Repairs were made in 1719 when a buttress was added against the north wall. The roof and chancel were restored and the floor relaid in 1765. The Neale family added the small chapel south of the chancel and east of the Tropnell Chapel in 1775; it is now used as the vestry. Further restoration took place in 1912-22, supported by Robert and Mabel Fuller, based on architectural drawings made by Thomas Larkin Walker in 1832. At this time a new screen and reredos were installed. Box pews from the 18th century were removed and their panels used on the walls of the nave. The choir stalls were also repaired. In 1964, the spire was repaired and the roofs of the nave, chancel and Tropnell chapel have been retiled.

The Tropnell Chapel screen bears five coats of arms for families that the Tropnells married into. From left to right they are Percy, Rous, Tropnell (shown in the my photograph), Tropnell impaling Ludlow of Hill Deverill and the fifth is for Roche. The stained glass was made in 1999 by Andrew Taylor. It shows the parable of the sower. The inscription reads:

This window is given by the family and friends of Mary Elizabeth (1916-1996) Patrona and Churchwarden of this parish, Widow of John Boyle (d. 1944) and of Charles Floyd (d. 1971) and only child of Robert and Mabel Fuller, who restored this church and Manor. Thanks be to God.

Sources:

Pamphlet available in the church.
Great Chalfield Manor, National Trust booklet, 2004

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