WYATT, Thomas Henry
(b. 1807, Lough Glint, Ireland, d. 1880, London)

Exterior view

1842-43
Photo
Parish church of St Mary and St Nicholas, Wilton, Wiltshire

St Mary and St Nicholas at Wilton is a Victorian church built by Thomas Henry Wyatt and David Brandon for the Pembroke family at Wilton House. The style is Italian Romanesque and the church is dominated by its 33 metre high campanile. There are superb monuments of the founding family as well as a Byzantine-style apse with richly coloured mosaics and imported medieval stained glass.

The church was built between 1841 and 1844 in West Street, 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.It is unusual for an Anglican parish church in that it is built on a north-south axis; this was said to be the wish of the Countess as it was the custom for churches in her native Russia, but this is not the case and it is most likely that the restricted nature of the site caused this alignment. It is in the Romanesque style, being an imitation of a basilica in Lombardy. There is an aisled and clerestoried nave with an aisled chancel and an apse. A campanile 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.

This convincing Italianate basilica with detached campanile was recognized at the time as a major exercise in the Rundbogenstil (round-arched style). It contains Antique black columns (c. 2 BC) as well as examples of Cosmati work from Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome.

The church was consecrated on 9th October 1845.