Great Chalfield shown within Wiltshire
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|EU Parliament||South West England|
Great Chalfield, also sometimes called by its Latin name of Chalfield Magna, formerly East Chalfield and anciently Much Chaldefield, is a small village and former civil parish in Wiltshire, England, now part of Atworth. Its nearest towns are Melksham, about 3 miles (4.8 km) away to the north east, and Bradford-on-Avon, at about the same distance to the south west.
At the time of the Domesday survey (1086) it was found that the manor of Chalfield had belonged to Wallef in the time of King Edward and possessed half a mill worth eighteen pence. This suggests that the two Chalfields (Great and Little, or East and West) shared a water-mill which stood on the stream which lies between them. A corn mill was operating at Great Chalfield in 1645 while it was occupied by a Parliamentary garrison.
The 15th-century manor house, Great Chalfield Manor, is a Grade I listed building now owned by the National Trust, having been given to it in 1943, with nine acres of land and an endowment fund, by Major R. F. Fuller, the lord of the manor.
The small Church of England parish church, adjacent to the manor house, is dedicated to All Saints and has a chancel, a nave, a vestry, a south chapel, a bell-cote crowned by a short octagonal spire, and a porch on its west side. Of the original 14th-century church only part of its nave survives, a new chancel having been built about 1480, when the porch and south chapel were added. The present vestry was added to the east of the chapel in 1775. There are traces of wall paintings and of panels depicting the life of St Katherine, which were described in 1760 before being whitewashed over. The vestry screen may date from the late 15th century, and an oak pulpit is late 17th century. The organ case is richly decorated and looks medieval but is modern.
In 1809, the antiquary Richard Warner was appointed rector of the parish. He may never have resided, but in 1830 The Edinburgh literary journal noted "Some of our readers may perhaps ask Who is the Rev. Richard Warner? We can only answer, that he is the Rector of Great Chalfield, Wilts".
- Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin, in Examples of Gothic architecture (1821), A historical account of the Manor House and Church at Great Chalfield, Wiltshire online.
- Thomas Larkins Walker, The History and Antiquities of the Manor House and Church of Great Chalfield, Wiltshire, illustrated by Twenty-eight Plates of Plans, Elevations, Sections, Parts at large, and a Perspective View (1837)
- H. P. Pafford, ed., Accounts of the parliamentary garrisons of Great Chalfield and Malmesbury, 1645-1646 (Wiltshire Record Society, vol. 2, 1940)
- Great Chalfield, in R. B. Pugh and Elizabeth Crittall (eds), A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 7 Bradford hundred (1953) online at british-history.ac.uk
- Great Chalfield Manor at nationaltrust.org.uk
- Donald A. Spaeth, The Church in an age of danger: parsons and parishioners, 1660-1740 (2000), p. 54
- Chalfield Magna at genuki.org.uk, accessed 29 November 2010
- J. T. Driver, 'A Perilous, Covetous man: the career of Thomas Tropenell, Esq. (c. 1405-88)' in The Wiltshire archaeological and natural history magazine vol. 93 (2000), pp. 83-87: "Thomas Tropenell esquire and lawyer appears to have spent most of his life in the south-west, especially in Wiltshire... his building of the fine manor house at Great Chalfield".
- The Edinburgh literary journal vol. 3 (1830), p. 308
- Reviewed in Civil Engineer and Architects' Journal (vol. 1, 1838), p. 19