St Michael’s Church is the only 13th Century Church in the Borough of Swindon. High on the hill where St Michael’s now stands, men have made their homes for more than 2000 years; they lived here before Christ was born – and before the Romans climbed this hill to settle here.
In ancient times the settlement on this hill top was called Vorda, Worth or Wrde.
The earliest written record of the church in Highworth appears in the Doomsday Book, the vast register of England’s landowners, completed in 1086 in the days of William The Conqueror. In the Doomsday Book we find this statement:
“RADALPHUS, THE PRIEST, HOLDS THE CHURCH AT WRDE”
There is a record of clergy and patrons of St Michael’s Church from 1290 AD onwards.
In the 12th century a cruciform church stood on the sight of the present St Michael’s, according to the late C. E. Ponting, the Wiltshire antiquarian. The east, north and south arms of that 12th century church extended to the limits of the present chancel and transepts.
One of the original deep window openings can be seen in the wall at the left of the altar (pictured right)
Part of the original structure appears in the walls of the present chancel and the north transept.