st peter's church
Devizes) end of High Street opens its tower to tourists – for those happy to climb the 138 steps to reach the top.Marlborough High Street is flanked at each end by a church. And every Saturday, the church of St Peter's at the western (
The tower affords pretty much unparalleled views over Marlborough town centre, but also reveals one of its best-kept secrets – Britain's widest high street is kinky.
From ground level you wouldn't know it, but from the tower you can see that High Street has a definite curve. The reason? High Street was laid out by Norman town planners, back in the days when the town had a castle.
To the south of High Street curves the River Kennet, which was prone to seasonal floods. The high street is laid out at the point nearest the river which is not on the flood plane – hence the curve.
There's been a church on this spot since 1100, although the present St Peter's was rebuilt in 1460. It is best known as the place where Cardinal Thomas Wolsey – one of the most powerful men in the land under Henry VIII – was ordained.
In 1974 the church was declared redundant and a few years later Wiltshire Council proposed a super new roundabout for the town, which would have required the demolition of the building. From the public outcry the St Peter's Church Trust was born, and thanks to their efforts the historic church still stands – although we never got our roundabout, which we're sure would have been equally impressive.