Cotley Hill

Parish of Heytesbury, Imber, Knook and Tytherington




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Heytesbury Knook & Tytherington Villages

Local Information


Village Life





St. Peter and St. Paul 

Described in the Collins ‘Guide to English Parish Churches’ edited by John Betjeman, as ‘A noble cruciform fabric with a central tower, formerly collegiate …’ (in the thirteenth century it had four canons resident in Heytesbury).  Not much now remains of the original twelfth century building (the most obvious survivor is the chancel pillar with scalloped capital) which now dates mainly from the late twelfth, thirteenth and fifteenth centuries, from which latter time the fine stone-vaulted screen to the Hungerford Chantry (north transept) originates. Its tower contains six fine bells, the heaviest and oldest, the tenor, weighing 21cwt, was cast in 1480.  The church was rescued and extensively restored in 1864-1867 under the supervision of William Butterfield.  William was employed to oversee the restoration of the church. All the galleries were removed. The chancel, which had been entirely shut off from the nave for many years, was opened up, as were the two transepts. The arches of the chancel aisles, which had been filled up, were re-opened and the aisles themselves re-built.

William Cunnington (1754-1810) buried in Heytesbury Churchyard - read about this "pioneer archaeologist" article reproduced with the kind permission of British Archaeology [September October 2009 - pages 41-43]  [Wiltshire Heritage Museum, Paul Everill]


St. Margaret of Antioch

This small church, once subordinate to the great Collegiate Church of Heytesbury, lies adjacent to the fine Tudor manor house of Knook, but is itself much older, having Norman windows in the chancel and a notable tympanum, supported by Norman shafts, above the blocked up south door.  Nearby is what appears to be an ancient scratch dial, thought to be Saxon.

Gervaise Bland, as well as being curate of Knook and Heytesbury in 1668, was vicar of All Saints Chitterne.  Like Heytesbury church, Knook church possessed many valuable ornaments which have long since disappeared.

The church is dedicated to St. Margaret, the 13 year old shepherdess who was tortured and executed by Hyppolytus the Roman Governor of Antioch.  The church is a small stone building in mixed styles, consisting of a Norman chancel, nave, North porch and belfry with one bell.


St. James

This tiny chapel dedicated to St. James, traditionally associated with the Empress Maud (or Matilda), daughter of Henry 1,  who at the age of 12 had in 1114 been married to the Emperor Henry V of Germany, and after his death had married Geoffrey of Anjou.  During the period of her connection with Heytesbury, Maud endowed 28 acres of land at Tytherington, common pasture for 10 oxen, 2 cows, and 2 horses, together with a manor or dwelling for two chaplains to serve this chapel. The chapel dates from the early twelfth century, and is one of the oldest churches in Wiltshire.  Like Knook Church, long subordinate to Heytesbury Church, its ancient walls give one a feeling of the continuity of worship over 900 years, whilst its small size and the simplicity of its design add a sense of the simplicity of the Christian Faith. 

There is a story told by Sir Richard Hoare in 1824 in his “History of Modern Wiltshire and the Hundred of Heytesbury” that a dog was locked in the chapel after one of the quarterly services, and was found alive ten weeks later.  It must have had rainwater to drink, perhaps from a leaking roof, and rats or field mice to eat, or even maybe rabbits of chickens had got in through holes in the walls!.

The chapel was restored in 1891-2, when the roof and walls received attention.  During the restoration a new east window was put in, a new altar and frontals, clergy stall, lectern, credence table and new floor.  Further restorations were carried out in 1957.  In 1983 all 4,000 bung pegs securing the stone slates to the roof were replaced as these were found to be of soft wood.  In 1985 the interior walls were cleaned back to the original stone - a small section being left on view - the walls were then re-plastered.

Today it is waterproof and has one service each month.

Link to Salisbury Diocese