WESTWOOD, WILTSHIRE
Westwood Manor and St. Mary the Virgin

Grid Ref: ST 815 590
8 June 2005

West wing spacer Central range
Westwood Manor showing west wing   Central Range of Westwood Manor
St. Mary's   Stone carving
St. Mary the Virgin   Detail on arch above the main entrance
Tower   Ceiling
The Tower   Ceiling of the church
Nave   Carved shield
View down the nave to the west door   Carved shield with Bushe crest

 

Westwood Manor

Westwood is mentioned in Saxon charters of 983 and 987. King Ethelred granted land first to Aelfnoth and only four years later to his huntsman Leofwine although it is not clear that this is the same land. The manor was given by Queen Emma, the mother of Edward the Confessor, or possibly by her stepson, King Harthacnut, to the priory of St. Swithin's at Winchester, whose monks were the chapter of the cathedral. The Domesday survey of 1086 shows the land still in the hands of the Bishop of Winchester. In the early 1200s, the the monks leased out some or all of the lands rather than farm it directly.

In brief, various phases in the construction and modification of the manor were the responsibility of Thomas Culverhouse, who took over the property in 1470; Thomas Horton who obtained the lease in 1518, and John Farewell who acquired the manor in 1616. At the Dissolution, the manor of Westwood was given to the Dean and Chapter of Winchester Cathedral.  Details of the changes are given in the National Trust booklet. The last owner was Edgar Graham Lister, born in 1873, who was in the Foreign and Diplomatic Service. He took over the property when it had been in use as a farmhouse since at least 1833. He was responsible for restoration and improvements including panelling in the King's Room brought from Keevil Manor in 1910. The dining room was panelled with wood from a house in Bristol. Mr. Lister died in 1953 leaving the house, his collection of furniture and an endowment to the National Trust. The house has many interesting features and I recommend a visit. On a sunny June afternoon the setting is idyllic.

St. Mary the Virgin, Westwood

According to the information provided for visitors, there are few contemporary documents describing the church. The patrons are the Dean and Chapter of Bristol cathedral and it is believed that this has been the case since the Diocese of Bristol was established in 1540. Other sources indicate that Westwood was a chapelry of Bradford-on-Avon since at least 1299. It became a parish in its own right in 1884. The date of construction is not known but the tower and lady chapel in the north aisle were constructed in the late 15th or early 16th century. The tower is magnificent with its traceried windows, gargoyles, pinnacles and a stair turret with a small dome.  There is the monogram TH in the spandrels of the west door. One suggestion is that these might relate to Thomas Horton of Iford while another suggestion is that they relate to Thomas Hungerford of Farleigh Hungerford. The pulpit of 1607 was moved from Norton St. Philip' s by Canon Jones who discovered it in Tellisford.

The nave was rebuilt in 1786 and the south wall of the chancel was rebuilt about 1840. The restoration in the 19th century by Canon Jones removed all the plaster from the walls with the loss of inscriptions and frescoes. The west gallery was also removed at this time. The western half of the ceiling was replaced at some stage by lath and plaster and in 1968 this was restored to match the eastern half but without the carved woodwork, as shown in my photograph. The shield on the north wall contains the arms of Bushe, Dalwyn or Dynland, Ryd or Ryde, Vaughan, Strange, Fernfold and Horton with the Bushe crest. These quarterings arise from the marriages of women from these families into the Bushe family. The shield is a fairly uniform colour and I have digitally enhanced the contrast in my photograph to try to show more detail.

Sources:

Westwood Manor, Wiltshire, The History of the House and its Inhabitants, by Denys Sutton, The National Trust, 1999.
Information for visitors in the church.
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

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