The Reverend Bob Kenway of St Mary’s in Calne has launched a £250,000 appeal for a new heating system and hopes to have the church warm by Christmas.

The building on Church Street dates back to the 12th century and its heating system is 150 years old.

It broke in October last year and was repaired in time for Christmas, only to fail again in January, and the church has been without heating since.

Mr Kenway said the heating system is beyond repair and a new system is the only option.

For six weeks from January to February, the church was so cold the congregation had to move down the road to Holy Trinity Church instead.

Mr Kenway said: “For some people it’s just too cold, for elderly people especially.

“Thankfully it wasn’t the harshest of winters, but it has been cold enough that the heating failure has caused a lot of disruption.

“For a period of several weeks we’ve had to move the regular main services, and you can imagine the impact on funerals, baptisms and weddings.

“You can never get it to the kind of temperature people are used to in their homes. People expect to come with a coat, but they might not expect to come needing hot water bottles.”

Up to 100 people attend the main Sunday service at St Mary’s. It is the only Grade I listed building in Calne and offers one of the largest enclosed public spaces.

The church has collected £9,000 since launching the appeal, as well as £4,000 from Calne Town Council and £5,000 from Wiltshire Historic Churches Trust.

There is some way to go, but Mr Kenway believes that people are responding well.

To donate, visit and click on the donate button. People can also contact Church House, 30 Church Street, on (01249) 816522.