The beginnings of St Mary’s

The church was built in 1860 because ‘the resident gentry felt the distance to their parish church in Westbury was a great disadvantage’. The site chosen was a piece of scrubland on the edge of Sneyd Park estate, belonging to William Baker, a local builder. The design was a simple one, the work of John Norton, a London architect who went on to design Tyntesfield House outside Bristol, and was completed for a cost of £15,000. In 1871, the nave was extended, the west porch added, and the tower and spire erected. The spire, which stands 160 feet from the ground, was nearly completed when a violent storm brought it crashing to the ground. Fortunately it fell away from the church and nobody was injured. In 1872, six bells were hung and rung for the first time on 6 September 1874. When in 1883 a clock was placed in the tower, the chancel extended and a south aisle chapel added, the building began to look very much as it does today. David Wright was the first vicar from 1860 to 1895. His strong biblical teaching set the foundation for St Mary’s future ministry. He is buried in the churchyard, his grave marked by a fine celtic cross.

Church about 1864 before spire

Church about 1864 before spire

Church around 1880

Church around 1880 from photo

David Wright

David Wright Colour 1 Copy