SOUTH WRAXALL, WILTSHIRE

Grid Ref: ST 833 648.
7 June 2005

 

Church of St. James spacer South entrance
St. James   South Entrance and door to Long Chapel
Cottage   Long Chapel
Cottage by the church   View across the nave to the Long Chapel
Tomb   South Wraxall Manor
Long family tomb with effigy   South Wraxall Manor viewed from the public footpath

The church of St. James was restored in 1823 and again in 1882. Before 1882 it had box pews and a small singing gallery. The south aisle chapel is believed to be from the 14th century. It was taken over by Robert Long as a family pew in 1566 and the external doorway bears the initials RL on either side of the date: "R. Anno Domini 1566, L"   On the south side of the chapel is an altar tomb with an effigy of Lady Katherine, widow of Sir Henry Long, who died about 1490. She was the mother of Robert Long. Shown on the tomb are the arms of the Long family with Berkeley and Seymour quarterings. The panel on the front shows a winged angel between two lions.

The tower has six bells which were recast in 1769. At the top is a Saddleback roof of stone supported on masonry arches. Behind the tower, and not shown in my photograph, is a connecterd building housing the staircase for the tower.

There are a number of monuments to members of the Long family, the most recent from the Second World War, commemorating Walter Francis David, 2nd Viscount Long, a Major in the Coldstream Guards who was killed in action in Holland on 23 September 1944. (At that time the Coldstream Guards were part of Operation Market Garden to capture bridges over the Rhine at Arnhem).

The following information is taken from a FreeDictionary web page.

"Walter Hume Long, 1st Viscount Long (1854-1924) was a British Conservative Politician of the late 19th and early 20th century. He served as President of the Board of Agriculture (1895-1900), President of the Local Government Board (1900-1905), and Chief Secretary of Ireland (1905) under Salisbury and Balfour. In 1911, he competed with Austen Chamberlain for the leadership of the party, but ultimately the post went to the compromise candidate, Andrew Bonar Law. In Asquith's coalition ministry of 1915, Long was again President of the Local Governement Board (1915-16) and under Lloyd George he served as Secretary of State for the Colonies (1916-19) and First Lord of the Admiralty (1919-1921). He retired in 1921 and was raised to the peerage as Viscount Long of Wraxall in the County of Wiltshire."

The 2nd Viscount was the son of Brigadier General Walter Long, son of the 1st Viscount. The Brigadier General was killed in action in 1917. As the 2nd Viscount had no son the title went to his uncle, Richard Eric Onslow Long (1892-1967) younger brother of the Brigadier General. He was succeeded by his second son, Richard Gerard Long as the 4th Viscount as the eldest son, Lieutenant Walter Reginald Basil Long, had been killed on active service in Greece in 1941. In the First World War, the mortality rate for officers was much higher than that for enlisted men. It is a sobering thought that this family, whom many might regard as born with all life's advantages, should pay such a heavy price in the two great conflicts.

South Wraxall Manor can be glimpsed from the public footpath. My photograph does not do justice to it but I include it because the hall is the subject of an interesting tale. The manor was built in the 15th century around a hall about 1435 which still has its roof and screen. There is the gatehouse of about 1510 with an oriel window. The house was built by Robert Long and his descendant Walter Long added a drawing room and many windows in the 16th century. The whole complex covers three sides of a courtyard. According to tradition it was at this house that Sir Walter Long and Sir Walter Raleigh were the first to smoke tobacco in England. Servants threw water over Raleigh as they thought he was on fire.

Sources:

The King's England, Wiltshire, by Arthur Mee, published by Hodder and Stoughton, first edition, May 1939, new and revised edition, 1965, ISBN 0 340 00107 0

index button

Celebrating England
© Craig Thornber, Cheshire, England, UK. Main Site Address: http://www.thornber.net/

W3C HTML Strict W3C CSS