Tockenham appears in two ancient Royal Charters. The first is that of the Anglo Saxon
King Ini, the second is that of King Aethelwulf of Wessex (AD. 836).
The present church dates from the latter part of the 13th or the beginning of the
14th century. It is said to have been built and partly endowed by Hugh le Despenser.
The list of Rectors goes back to 1313 when John Duraunt was appointed to serve.
The church was restored in 1876 when the bell cotes seems to have rebuilt and the
east window inserted, as it was necessary to rebuild part of the south wall of the
chancel. There was a further restoration in 1907 when the nave roof was repaired
and the Church re-floored and re-seated.
The Font dates from the 12th century, whilst the cover is 17th Century. The pulpit
and pews have been made from 18th century panelling.
The wooden frame of a Rood loft doorway can be seen on the north side of the chancel.
Access appears to have been by a straight flight of steps , for the raking motice
which held the handrail still remains.
The bell cote at the west end of the Church contains a single bell said to date from
Outside the porch is a figure of Moses. To the west of the porch, embedded in the
wall, is the figure of Aesculapius. He is a Roman god, and this may be the oldest
possession that any church in ancient Wiltshire has. He appears in Homer as “the
blameless physician” of human origin, who was afterwards worshipped over the whole
of Greece and even in Rome, as the god of the Healing Art. The sculpture represents
him holding a staff in the right hand with a snake coiled round it. He is supposed
to have had power, not only to cure sickness but to bring back the dead to life.
By what chance this curious pagan “waif” found its way here and came to rest in the
wall of a Wiltshire church is unknown.
If you care to leave us a donation to help with the upkeep of the church, there is
a box in the wall by the door.