The Italianate Church
Believe it or not this is another English Parish Church in a small English town. The church was built between 1841 and 1844 on the site of the medieval Church of St. Nicholas, at the instigation of the Dowager Countess of Pembroke and her son, Lord Herbert of Lea at a cost of £20,000.
The Countess was of Russian descent and wanted something grand so commissioned architects to design the church in a Romanesque style, as an imitation of a basilica in Lombardy. The influence of members of the Pembroke family in the style and fittings was considerable. There is an aisled and clerestoried nave with an aisled chancel and an apse. A campanile, 105 feet high, is connected to the church by a short cloister. Much material of early workmanship was imported from Europe and incorporated into the church. Examples are the marble columns at the southern end of the side aisle which came from a 2nd century B.C. Temple of Venus at Porto Venere, and 12th and 13th century stained glass from France that was set in the central apse window. Glass from the old chapel at Wilton House was also included. Many tablets and memorials were brought from the old parish church of St. Mary, which was partly demolished in 1845. The six bells from there were also recast for the new church. The church was consecrated on 9th October 1845 and three charities were established for its maintenance.