Church of St Mary Magdalene, Winterbourne Monkton

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The Church of St Mary Magdalene

The Church of St Mary Magdalene is the Anglican church in the village of Winterbourne Monkton, Wiltshire, England.

Its history dates from the 12th century, with the vicarage being consecrated before 1229. It was attached to Cirencester Abbey and then Avebury.[1][2] The endowment of the church was considered too small many times during the Middle Ages.[3]

An unusual feature inside the church consists of two huge timber columns which originally supported the bells in the free-standing bell tower.[4] The tower was joined to the chancel by the addition of the nave in the 14th century.[1] The tower contains three bells dating from the 17th century.[3] The church was rebuilt in 1878 by William Butterfield and is Grade II listed.[4]

The circular font is from the 12th century,[1] while the pulpit is from the 17th.[4] The font is decorated in a zigzag style with foliage supported by trumpet scallops. On the northern side is a figure with splayed legs. There is some evidence that the font was originally painted.[5] It has been speculated that the figure, which has three horns or a crown, has been speculated to be an example of a Sheela na gig, however many of its features contradict this suggestion.[6]

The parish of Winterbourne Monkton with Berwick Bassett is part of the Upper Kennet benefice within the Diocese of Salisbury.[7]


  1. ^ a b c "Church of St. Mary Magdalene, Winterbourne Monkton". Wiltshire Community History. Wiltshire Council. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  2. ^ "Winterborne Monkton: St Mary Magdalen, Winterborne Monkton". A Church Near You. Church of England. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Parishes: Winterbourne Monkton In: A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 12, Ramsbury and Selkley Hundreds; the Borough of Marlborough". British History Online. Victoria County History. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
  4. ^ a b c Historic England. "Church of St Mary Magdalen, Winterbourne Monkton (1033812)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  5. ^ "St Mary Magdalene, Winterbourne Monkton, Wiltshire". Corpus of Romanesque Sculpture in Britain and Ireland. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
  6. ^ "Winterbourne Monkton". The Sheela Na Gig Project. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
  7. ^ "Winterborne Monkton: St Mary Magdalen, Winterborne Monkton". A Church Near You. Church of England. Retrieved 3 September 2016.

Coordinates: 51°26′48″N 1°51′39″W / 51.4466°N 1.8608°W / 51.4466; -1.8608