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CHURCH OF ST MARY THE VIRGIN

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Transitional Norman cruciform, consisting of nave of 4 bays, aisles, north and south transepts, chancel and tower over crossing. Chancel is 13th century, replacing an earlier , shorter Chancel known from excavation. Tower and transepts early 14th century. West front 1854. There is evidence that Great Bedwyn had a minster from at least the mid-10th century onwards. Bedwyn is the subject of a document dating to the period 940-975, where `God's servants at Bedwyn' received the tithes of Lambourne, the earliest mention of the tithe system in England. In the period immediately after Domesday, it had five dependent chapels at Knowle, Chisbury, Marton, East Grafton and Little Bedwyn. Authority 8 suggests that the church is on or near the site of a Saxon forerunner, because the Domesday Book states that a priest held the church of Bedvynde, having succeeded his father who held it before the Conquest. A prebend of Bedwyn existed in the Cathedral of Old Sarum.

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