St Mary's Church
Great Bedwyn

The Church's origins date back to the 11th century and later underwent an
restoration in the Victorian period during the 1860's.

The church has had a long history of different heating systems installed during the 1800 and 1900's. There remains evidence of the original warm air heating system using a furnace stove located in a basement room supplying warmed air to the church through several floor gratings sited in the aisles. 

Researching the Haden warm air stoves order books held in the Haden Archive at the Wiltshire History Centre showed that a stove had been ordered and installed in the church. The stove was No.1901 ordered on the 9th January 1860. The entry in the order book is shown below.

When it is considered that over 7000 of these stoves were made, then each one now discovered becomes a living example, highlighting the rarity of these items of equipment showing the Victorian craftsmanship with their engineering history and its heritage.

The later wet heating system in the church appears to have been installed in three stages. The first two stages still remain as they were when originally installed during the late Victorian period and Edwardian period. The Victorian heating system using cast iron socket and spigot pipework feeding box-ended pipe coil heaters was most likely installed in the 1880's. The pipe coil heaters all have decorative end header boxes. The manufacturer of these heaters is as yet unknown. Only two other examples of this type of decorative box-ended pipe coil heater has so far been found. One is in a church in Templecombe Somerset, the other in Cropthorne Worcestershire.

There is a possibility that the pipe coil heaters were manufactured by the Stourbridge firm Jones and Attwood. Similar style heaters are illustrated in their product catalogues dating from that time period, but none show decorative patterns on the box-end headers.

A selection of photos for the decorative box-end pipe coil heaters are shown below.

The second stage of the wet heating system which most likely dates from the Edwardian period extended the original system by installing several 2-column pattern cast iron sectional radiators, manufactured by the National Radiator Company. They are connected by steel pipework and wrought iron fittings. It is interesting to note that these radiators are still in their original grey primer coat of paint in which they were delivered to the Church. The third stage of heating are modern style steel panel radiators connected into the existing older pipework.

AUGUST  2011