Boyton, St Mary's Church
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: 13th century Giffard Chapel and its circular west window
We do not know when the first church was built here, but there are records of the church being rebuilt in 1159, so the first building must have ben very early indeed. The earliest part of the church is the chancel, where part of the south wall is 12th century, but much of the remainder is 13th and 14th century work.
And it is the Giffard Chapel that is the main reason to visit Boyton's church. The chapel dates to about 1270 and was built by Sir Alexander Giffard's two brothers, Walter and Godfrey, as a memorial to him and their family. Walter was Archbishop of York while his brother Godfrey was Bishop of York.
The most striking feature of the chapel - and there are quite a few striking features - is the huge west window, 12 feet across, with beautiful geometric tracery. The glass in the window is mostly modern, but there are fragments of older glass including several heraldic symbols to local families.
At the entrance to the Giffard Chapel is a table tomb with the effigy of an armoured knight. The effigy predates the chapel, and is not in its original position. It is thought to represent Sir Alexander Giffard (d. 1262) or his father Hugh.
On the wall is a small display case with an oyster shell, found under the floor of the chapel. The shell was used by the artist who painted Lady Giffard's tomb. It still bears traces of the original paint pigments, which have been used to help restore the tomb to something approaching its original colouring scheme.
The location is utterly wonderful, beside the manor house and surrounded by greenery. The Giffard Chapel is simply bursting with historic interest; I couldn't stop taking photos! There is so much of interest that you can easily spend an hour exploring the church. All Saints is one of the most enjoyable of the many, many interesting churches along the Wylye Valley.
Address: Boyton, Wiltshire, England, BA12 0SS
Attraction Type: Historic Church
Location: Beside the manor house in Boyton, on the minor road between Sherrington and Corton; limited parking along the drive. The church is normally open daylight hours.
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
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Nearest Accommodation to Boyton: