THE CHURCH IN NEWTON TONEY
There has been a church in Newton Toney since at least the 12 th Century
and records from 1179 suggest that it was originally under the aegis of Amesbury Priory. A Rector, Richard Baret, was in office in 1296 and a Rector specific to the village, was then in office until the Bourne Valley Team Ministry was formed in 1973, though shared with Cholderton 1953-73. The living was in the gift of the Lords of the Manor but was given to Queens’ College Cambridge in 1637. However, from 1646 to 1660 “Dissenting Intruders” were appointed by the Cromwellians and the first actual presentation by Queens’ was Richard Bryan in 1661. In 1776 the college appointed John Ekins who also became Dean of Salisbury Cathedral. He took down the Jacobean Rectory and built the present one on a plinth using stone from the original cathedral at Old Sarum! The Dean of Queens’ represents the college on the Patronage Board to this day.
The original church was replaced by the present one, dedicated to St. Andrew, in 1844. Designed by Wyatt and Brandon in a 14 th Century style it was the gift of the Malet family. There is a picture of the old church in the porch showing a chapel on the side believed to have provided access to a Malet family vault. All the memorials were transferred to the new church, the tower of which is believed, at least in part, to have come from Benson’s Folly which had stood on Tower Hill above the racecourse on land now part of Porton Down. The Fiennes family memorial includes Celia Fiennes who made the celebrated ride round the country on her ‘cock horse’. Her Mother’s memorial now lies beneath the Vestry floor. There are numerous memorials to the Malet family who also provided many of the stained glass windows.
The church remains well supported by the village to this day and, in addition to regular services in accordance with the Book of Common Prayer, it is much used by the school and Flower Festivals, Opera and Concerts are held. This wider use is encouraged and is not unusual, Cock Fighting was held in the church in the early 17 th Century!
The Fiennes family also supported non-conformists and meetings were held in the Manor House in the 17 th century. Other houses in the village were certified for their use until the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel was built in 1877. It closed in 1981. Thomas Bradshaw, Lord of the Manor preceding the Malets, was Roman Catholic and formed a chapel in Wilbury House, employing a resident chaplain.