Newton Toney Church
Priest in Charge - Rev'd Peter Ostli-East
Tel: 01980 611350
Representative - Ali Adamson
There has been a church in Newton Toney since at least the 12th 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 Malet and Fiennes Families
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 17th 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.
Church Spire Re-roofing - late 2017
After multiple fund raising activities and securing a grant, the church spire re-roofing was completed in December 2017. Photographs showing before and after are below:
Spire before repair - some of the previous patching work is visible
Spire after roof shingle replacement
Newton Toney's Festival of Flowers at St Andrew's Church
The first Festival of Flowers was held at St. Andrew's, Newton Toney in 2007. It was a very small affair financed by the arrangers themselves - but was so successful that the biennial festival was born and has been running ever since. All the arrangers are amateurs and drawn mainly from Newton Toney, augmented by two or three people from nearby villages.
The festival has grown over the years into a three-day event which has become a village highlight. We fund-raise hard during the year between festivals so that we have sufficient funds to completely cover all the costs involved with staging. This means that all money raised during the festival – whether via donations in the church or from the refreshments, raffle and craft stalls in the hall – goes to the church. In recent years we've also been joined by Allington Artists who stage their annual art exhibition in the hall during the festival.
The festival themes have been quite varied – Patron Saints, Our Village, Showtime, Royal Events, Dance, Happiness is… …and the Best of British. We pride ourselves that our festival is one of the best around, and we have often received comments in the Visitors' Book which say it's as good as the Cathedral!
Since 2007 we've raised almost £20,000 for St. Andrew's which, amongst other things, has helped to re-shingle the church spire and restore the organ.
Another event at St. Andrew's is the Christmas Tree Festival which also runs biennially. The first one was held in December 2016 and it is now one of the major fund-raisers for the Festival of Flowers.
At present it's uncertain as to whether there will be a festival in 2021. The current year should be our fund-raising year and all events for the foreseeable future have been cancelled because of Covid-19. We may be able to hold a Christmas Tree Festival in December but that depends on the progress of the virus. So the jury's out at the moment – we all really hope that we'll be able to hold a festival of some sort next year, even if it's a scaled-down version. Watch this space!