St Martin’s, Zeals
The sound of St Martin’s church bells welcomes many visitors to our church. In 1962 it was considered unsafe to ring them but in 2010 they were re-turned and re-hung lower, and now besides ringing for services are used to train new ringers and are rung by visiting bell-ringing teams.
Our Victorian church in the centre of our country village came into existence mainly due to the efforts of The Rev. W F Grove, a relative of the Chafyn Groves family of Zeals House and was consecrated on October 14th 1846 on land given by the Duke of Somerset.
Messrs Scott (later Sir George Gilbert Scott, designer of the Albert Memorial) and Moffat designed the church in the Decorated style and Mr C Kirk of Sleaford (the builder of Martyr’s Memorial at Oxford) built it of locally quarried stone, with dressings of Bath Oolite stone.
In 1865 Julia Chafyn Grove inherited Zeals Estate and over the next 26 years was responsible for many of the church’s adornment including the Sweetland organ (restored 2014), 5 of the bells, the Reredos, some of the windows and the banner of St Martin.
The main improvement in recent years has been the construction, at the rear of the church, of a parish room, toilet, kitchenette and new west door.
Many more details about the church can be found within the book “A Tale of Two Manors”, Zeals a Wiltshire Village available from at Zeals Post Office.