We know that the church building fell into such a state of disrepair that it was virtually rebuilt in the 15th century. Even so by the mid 17th century the church building was once again in such a poor state that its officials were petitioning Sarum for money to prevent the complete decay of the building.
‘To the Right Worshipful the Justices of the Peace at the Quarter Sessions held for the Peace at the City of New Sarum for the County of Wilts, the 9th day of January 1654.
The humble Petition of the Minister and Churchwardens of the parish of Fovant in the county aforesaid on the behalf of themselves and others as follows.
That whereas the parish Church of Fovant has for a long time been decaying for want of due and timely repair and is now in our apprehensions in so dangerous a condition that unless the sudden provision be made for the support of it we have just reason to fear least a great part of it may soon fall down … In all which as we question not but that your Worships will do a service very acceptable to God and may be instrumental to the securing of the lives of many So we your poor petitioners shall be more especially enjoyed to pray for a blessing from God upon your persons and proceedings.'
From the Clay Papers
The fabric of the building underwent a further restoration in the mid 19th century, and the tower parapet, rebuilt in 1828, was again restored in 1988.
In 1987 Mr. Wally Barrow, the Church Warden was concerned about the stonework at the top of the tower. There had been great storms the previous year and some of the masonry was cracked.
Mr. Barrow had previously recommended that the Parochial Church Council should increase the insurance. He invited Archdeacon Barney Hopkinson to inspect the tower with him. The Archdeacon recommended that the repair work should be done.
Three quotations were obtained for the work, each in the region of £44,000. The Cathedral Works Department was given the contract. Mr. Barrow, owner of Manor Farm, offered one of his farm buildings for the stonemasons to use as a workshop and storage facility, thus reducing the cost of the restoration by £20,000. The stones were removed from the parapet and laid out on the barn floor, where they were numbered, re-cut or repaired. Replacement stones were cut from Chilmark quarry.
As a result of the savings a new cross was cut and the stones up the tower repaired with stone from Chicksgrove quarry. The insurance covered the greater part of the repairs and the parishioners organised two fund raising bonanzas.
There is an engraved stone at the top of the tower which reads ‘This Tower was Repaired in 1828 Wm. Jay.......?’ It is hoped that the repairs of 1988 will hold for at least one hundred years.
Content last updated
16 November 2009
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