Alton Barnes, St Mary's Church
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: Saxon stonework in the south west corner
While the Georgian fittings are interesting, for me the most interesting feature of the church are the tablet memorials to the Crowe and Hare families. The church guide says that the family members led 'colourful lives'. If you read the tablet inscriptions you will see just how true that is; one memorial commemorates Ensign William Crowe, who 'was killed in the disastrous attack upon the American batteries at New Orleans on the 8th of January 1815, aged 20', bravely bearing the baner of his regiment'.
Other Crowe memorials include William Crowe, Vice-Consul in Susa, and Frederic-Henry Crowe, British Consul in Cairo.
The oldest monument is to Warner South, a rector of the parish, who died in 1652. Set on the wall below this monument is a small rectangular memorial brass to William Budd (d. 1685). Another notable memorial is a wall tablet to Elizabeth Chandler (d. 1785).
St Mary's is within sight of a second historic church, All Saints, Alton Priors.
We actually did not intend to visit St Mary's at al! We came to Alton Barnes to visit the Churches Conservation Trust church of All Saints. It was only by sheer luck that I happened to spy the Saxon north doorway of St Mary's while walking back across the field from All Saints church. Intrigued, I came closer and discovered this delightful little building half hidden in a leafy churchyard. The interior is an absolute delight, with Georgian box pews and a very nice west gallery. But the real treasure for me was examining the memorials in the chancel. Reading the memorial inscriptions is fascinating, telling the story of the eventful lives lived by the Crowe and Hare families.
About Alton Barnes
Address: Alton Barnes, Wiltshire, England, SN8 4LE
Attraction Type: Historic Church
Location: Off the north-south Honeystreet road, opposite Alton Banes farm. Parking along the lane.
Website: Alton Barnes
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Alton Priors, All Saints - 0.2 miles (Historic Church)
Alton Priors White Horse - 0.6 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Hatfield Earthworks (Marden Henge) - 2.5 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Marden, All Saints Church - 2.9 miles (Historic Church)
West Kennet Long Barrow - 3.6 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Avebury Sanctuary - 3.8 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Silbury Hill - 4.1 miles (Prehistoric Site)
West Kennet Avenue - 4.6 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Nearest Accommodation to Alton Barnes:
Nearest Self Catering Cottages
Nearest Bed and Breakfasts
Nearest Tourist Information Centre ('as the crow flies')
Devizes Tourism Partnership
Wiltshire Heritage Museum
41 Long Street
Tel: 01380 800 400
The official Devizes TIC is now closed, but visitor information is available at several locations, including the Kennet and Avon Canal Museum, Wadworth Visitor Centre and Wiltshire Heritage Museum. Opening times vary with location. The Wiltshire Heritage Museum is currently open Mon-Sat 10am-5pm, Sundays and Bank Holiday 12noon to 4pm (subject to change). Not open on Mondays in winter.