St James, Dauntsey, Wiltshire

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Feature Sets (2)


The church is rubble stone and ashlar with stone slate roofs and coped gables. The north and  south doorways in the aisles date from the 12th century, indicating that the nave walls predate the 14th century when the arcades were created. The chancel was built in the 15th century and was extended eastwards in the 16th. The tower was added in 1630-2. The church was restored in 1904. The Romanesque elements are the reset and remodelled north and south doorways to the nave aisles, reusing 12th-century shafts and capitals. 


The settlement is called Dantesie in the Domesday Survey. The church, which Malmesbury Abbey claimed to possess c1177, appears to have belonged to the abbey before the Norman Conquest. There were 10 hides and land for 6 ploughs at the time of the Domesday Survey, when Robert held it of the abbot. There was a mill, 12 acres of meadow and woodland half a league long.  It was valued at £6 pre- and post-Domesday. By 1263, possibly soon after c1177, Malmesbury Abbey had relinquished its claim to the church.


Exterior Features


North Doorway of Nave

This doorway, which has been reset and remodelled, now has a flattened chamfered arch above a low opening with a single order of octagonal shafts.  Both capitals are cushions with beading along the curved edge of the shields and triangular leaves beneath.    

Capitals 0.21 m high, neck 0.03m high, face 0.20m wide
Chamfered abaci 0.15 m high
h. of doorway 2.00 m
Shafts 0.15 m diameter
w. of doorway 1.15 m

South Doorway of Nave

This door likewise has a flattened chamfered arch above a low opening with a single order of octagonal shafts. Both capitals are cushions with triangular leaves beneath. Buckler illustrated the door in the early 19th century (volume VIII, plate 66). There are traces of pigment on the capitals. 

Capitals 0.24 m high, 0.04m high neck, 0.20m wide face
Chamfered abaci 0.14 m high
Shafts 0.14 m diameter


The monuments and fittings in the church are of outstanding quality, including, for example, a very rare 16th-century Doom, showing the Last Judgement, painted on timber panels. In nave and aisles, a complete set of 17th-century scratch-moulded box pews with ball finials survives.


  • J. Buckler, Unpublished album of drawings. ¬†Devizes Museum, vol VIII, plate 66.¬†

  • DCMS Listing Description Number 1199909.

  • N. Pevsner and B. Cherry, Buildings of England: Wiltshire, Harmondsworth 1975, 2nd edition, 204-5.

  • Victoria County History: A History of the County of Wiltshire, vol.14, ed. D. A. Crowby, London 1991, 65-75.


Site Location
National Grid Reference
ST 980 824 
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Wiltshire
now: Wiltshire
medieval: Old Sarum
now: Bristol
medieval: St James the Great
now: St James
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Allan Brodie 
Visit Date
26 Jun 1993