Thursday 10 October 1985

The Monastic Church At Edington


The October 1985 meeting of the Warminster History Society was held at Warminster Library and was attended by 55 members. The guest speaker was Miss Penelope Carew-Hunt, of Edington, who gave a very interesting and enlightening presentation on the monastic church in Edington.

Acknowledged to be one of the most perfect of Wiltshire churches, the monastery and priory lies under the escarpment of Salisbury Plain. Built during the reign of Edward III, under the direction of William of Edington, the monastery was founded and endowed in July 1352. William was born in 1300 and became Lord Chancellor in 1362. The building was consecrated in 1361. Constructed from Bath stone, both the nave and chancel were planned to a cruciform layout, and the many and beautiful stained glass windows together with the Norman tower, enhance the beauty of the building, which is a landmark in West Wiltshire.

Smaller in scale than Malmesbury Abbey, the monastery houses many interesting features. Its heavy battlement type exterior gives it the appearance of being fortified, and with the priory in an adjacent site the whole complex forms a perfect example of one of the best monastic churches of its period.

The graceful lines within contain some mediaeval tombs; those at the west end having been salvaged from Imber.

William of Edington died in October 1366 and is buried in Winchester Cathedral.

Edington Church is now used for festivals of church music, which are well attended by many visitors, including from overseas.