Welcome to the oldest building in the city of Salisbury. When the city and cathedral were up on the ancient earthwork site at Old Sarum Castle, the parish of St Martin Milford occupied the lowlands to the south. As in many other places with Roman military connections, it was a "St Martin in the fields", where soldiers might pause to invoke the aid of their patron saint.
The parish church of St Martin was a cruciform church, almost certainly with a central tower. Remains of the south transept of that building are known to lie underneath the grass in the churchyard. Although the central tower has long since gone, there is still something of the feel of a crossing between the two chancel arches.
Shortly before the new city of Salisbury was begun in 1220, the old Chancel at St Martin’s was rebuilt in the early English style, and that is the Chancel which remains to this day. The lower part of the present tower also appears to belong to this date, though it is unclear why the axis is so different, or how the tower related to the rest of the building.
There are many unanswered questions about the sequence of the rest of the building. The western Chancel arch probably dates from about 1415. Some aspects are so similar to the strainer arches in the cathedral, that it may also be by the mason - Robert Wayte. The tall slender columns and high arches of the nave are 15th century, as are the windows and the waggon roofs. However, the overall outline of the nave, aisles, roof pitches and buttresses all suggest a 14th century structure. The spire and the upper tower are clearly 14th century indicating the nave was not so much rebuilt, as radically modernised.
Saint Martin's is a parish of long-standing catholic tradition ministering to a diverse parish on the east of Salisbury supported by a dedicated team eager to grow in faith and fulfil its purpose of spreading abroad the love of God. We stand in the catholic tradition of the Church of England which began its rebirth in 1833 when The Revd John Keble preached the assize sermon before the judges in the University Church of S. Mary Oxford. His message was simple, the Church of England he contended is the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church in England.
Thus began the religious revival known as the Oxford movement or Anglo-Catholicism. By 1887 St. Martin’s was firmly established in this religious revival, when the then Rector first used eucharistic vestments and catholic ceremonial.
St. Martin’s has proclaimed catholic faith, morals and order. The worship has been rich in beauty and austere in season. Anglo-Catholicism has long held the Incarnation (the birth of the Son of God, Jesus Christ as a man) as a defining ordinance. Human life and the human condition matter, because God has chosen to share that life and condition, or as Canon Henry Scott-Holland put it “I care about drains because God became man”.
The worship at St. Martin’s is traditional and formal at the right moments and full of joy and laughter at others. Those who worship here seek the holy in their lives and rejoice at the God of the everyday who shared our human life. Our catholic faith draws us both into the mystery of God and into the best use of human life. At the PCC Meeting of June 23rd by a vote of 11 to 1 the PCC decided to request of the Bishop of Salisbury that on grounds of Theological Conviction the Church be placed under the Episcopal Oversight of the Bishop of Ebbsfleet. This, the Bishop of Salisbury graciously agreed to, and so the Church continues to find it's identity within the ancient catholic and apostolic faith of the Universal Church as the Church of England has received it.
We have a strong and organic link with our Church School, and with the New Salisbury Sixth College S6C.
St. Martin’s still proclaims catholic faith and order within the Church of England. It is the oldest parish in the city of New Sarum, Salisbury, in fact our foundation pre-dates the establishment of the city by at least 200 years.
We are a neighbourhood church designed for the neighbourhood, our vision is local and based in bringing holiness to the lives of those who live around us.
We have a mixed all age congregation from many backgrounds. What we have in common is a desire to live out discipleship and catholic life. To this end, the Eucharist, the service Jesus himself gave us at the Last Supper is the centre of our life and worship.
Thus it is that at St. Martin’s we seek to serve the diverse community in which we are set setting before the community the love of God the Father shown in the God the Son and given to us by God the Holy Spirit.