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Please note there are 3 Allingtons in Wiltshire – ours is the one 7 miles north of Salisbury. St John the Baptist is easily found on the A338 in the heart of Allington village.
From floor to ceiling, there are vines, fleur-de-lys, roses, oranges, curtains, and lots of stars.
The earliest parts of the building are Romanesque – as with the chancel arch and, outside,on the north wall where you will find the fragment of a decorated Norman door.
The church was largely rebuilt between 1847 and 1851 by “priest-architect” Father William Grey (1820-72), who was responsible for at least ten new churches in England and Canada. He tried to keep as much of the original character as he could, the only major change being to the top storeys of the tower. He had the medieval font recut and kept the 16th century parish chest. He also re-used pieces of the older stonework, including a fragment of a Norman doorway on the north elevation.
One of the principal sights of the interior is the internal decoration to the chancel. This is of 1876 and created in memory of Fulwar William Fowle, rector of the parish for a remarkable 60 years (Grey was his curate). Fowle helped finance the rebuilding and there is a memorial to him in the chancel. The stencil and freehand decoration on the plaster, including the orange trees, and the east window are all by the distinguished form of Heaton Butler and Bayne.
An earlier incumbent was his kinsman Thomas Fowle (d. 1806) who was engaged to Cassandra, sister of Jane Austen. Unfortunately, he died in the West Indies trying to earn enough money to marry her.