The Vicarage


In 1812 540 was borrowed from the Governors of the Bounty of Queen Anne by mortgaging the glebe lands, to fund the building of a new vicarage in Chitterne. The Reverend John Batchellor was Vicar of Chitterne All Saints and Chitterne St Mary at the time.

The new vicarage was sited on the edge of Chitterne St Mary, at the bottom of the hill facing the road from Heytesbury, in a position where it must have immediately become a landmark with it's grey slate roof, and pale-pink, washed walls setting off the distinctive iron-work supported canopy shading the ground floor windows. The pale pink walls were re-painted pale yellow in 2008.

To the side and rear are a range of brick out-buildings. A stable for two horses, a tack room and a carriage house with a hay-loft above, at the side of the house, and, tucked away behind the house, a rare example of a two-holer privy.

In 1861 when the All Saints vicarage was demolished, the material was used to repair and enlarge St Mary's vicarage.

Rev. William Swayne, vicar of Chitterne 1874 -1883, painted sketches in oils on the vicarage shutters and doors.

When Rev. Arthur Hawkes resigned as vicar in 1954, the Ecclesiastical Commissioners arranged for a firm from Salisbury to refurbish the vicarage. Beech trees which had grown tall enough to hide the building from the road were cut down too.

It remained the home of the incumbent until the parishes of Chitterne and Tilshead were linked under one vicar in the 1960's, and a new vicarage was built in Tilshead. Since then, as St Mary's House, and now, The Old Vicarage, it has passed through the hands of several different owners but, remarkably, the interior layout has remained much the same as it must have been in Victorian or even Regency times. There are distinct "front" and "back of house" areas still, recalling times when the Vicar and his family were waited on by serving staff. Over time the garden has been reduced in size to accommodate a bungalow to the east and a new house to the west. Most recently the stable building has been refurbished and returned to its former use.

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