The chapel of St Mary Tory

The chapel of St Mary Tory (tor = hill) is magnificently placed on a site overlooking the town. It is sometimes referred to as a hermitage and sometimes as a pilgrim chapel located, as it is, on the pilgrim route between Glastonbury and Malmesbury.

The building was viewed by Leland in the course of his ‘Itinerary’ in 1533. He noted that “There is a Chapelle on the highest Place of the Towne, as I entered.” Later, Aubrey, writing in the 17th century, called it the “finest hermitage I have seen in England; severall roomes and a very neate chapell of good freestone. This high hill is rock and gravell, faces the south and southwest, therefore is the best seate for a vineyard of any place I know; better in England cannot be.”

The mediæval building was restored in 1877. The derelict 15th century east window was replaced in 1999, and the story of the replacement designed by Mark Angus can be read in an article in the February 2010 issue of Parish News.

Like the church of St Laurence, St Mary Tory, which is also in the care of the Saxon Church Trust, is still used as a place of worship.