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Church of St Paul's

Formally Langley Burrell

By the early 1850s, there was an identified and urgent need for a new church to serve the new suburb of Chippenham that was developing near the railway station, much of it within the boundaries of Langley Burrell parish. The portion of Langley Burrell within this district had a population of 400 and was a mile and a half from the parish church, making the village church of St Peter's inconvenient for many. While Chippenham itself had a population of around 5000, the church only accommodated 1000.

By 1853, the rector and lord of the manor of Langley Burrell, Robert Ashe, had gifted land for a new church and burial ground. Ashe later endowed the living of the church with a small income. He was also part of the committee, along with the Chippenham MP Joseph Neeld, formed to bring the project to fruition. The chosen architect was Sir George Gilbert Scott, who was to become nationally important for designing such constructions as the Albert Memorial. The new church dedicated to St Paul was built in a Gothic Revival style by Daniel Jones of Bradford-on-Avon. Its foundation stone was laid in February 1854 by Neeld, while Ashe said prayers for the success of the project. Ashe evidently watched the progress of the building with 'anxiety' but died before the church was consecrated in April 1855.

At its consecration, the press noted Ashe's role as one of the chief benefactors of the church. However, the land on which St Paul's was built was not technically Ashe's to give as it belonged to the glebe and was, therefore, part of the property of the rectory of Langley Burrell, not Ashe himself.

Although consecrated in 1855, the new church was without a tower. It was only finally completed in 1860. The bells were installed even later between 1861 and 1875.

The church is grade II*, so listed because of its high-quality design and detailing, which has survived remarkably intact. The stone-built church located at the end of Maud Heath's Causeway, and now in Chippenham not Langley Burrell, has an aisled nave with clerestory windows. The nave pillars are alternately round and octagonal and feature carved heads in the arches that depict the twelve apostles. The chancel arch contains the figures of the Virgin Mary and St Joseph.

 

The Church of St Paul's,
Malmsbury Road,
Chippenham

 

NGRef: ST 91921 73990
Historic England 1268096 

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