St Michael, Duntisbourne Rouse
These churches might not be famous, and they may be hard to find but they all have something special that makes them worth seeking out.
This simple church sits two miles outside the village it serves, possibly due to a relocation of homes following the Black Death. The nave is Norman, and separated from the chancel by an unusual stone rood screen. It’s now possible to see the remains of fascinating mediaeval wall paintings, long hidden under layers of whitewash.
Postcode: GL7 5RU
Brought out of redundancy in 1992, St Lawrence’s illustrates beautifully the arrangements of an 18th century country church. The small sanctuary has its original rails and is flanked by small box pews. A triple-decker pulpit incorporates the minister’s pew and the clerk’s desk. A board painted with the Ten Commandments rests on the West wall.
Postcode: GL9 1DS
This remote church sits in an idyllic location on a steep hillside. Examples of Saxon herringbone stonework remain, while the chancel is a Norman addition. Beneath this is a fascinating barrel-vaulted crypt with a window. Inside the church are simple wood-panelled box pews, a Norman font, carved Jacobean pulpit and the remains of extensive Norman wall paintings.
Postcode: GL7 7AP
Frenchay has a strong history of non-conformism and this single-storey building dates to the early 18th century, with alterations in 1815. A four-stage tower above the entrance is topped with a weathervane commemorating the passing of Halley’s Comet in 1759. In the graveyard is a burial stone once placed over new graves to stop bodies being removed for surgical research.
Postcode: BS16 1ND
Built in 1903, St Edward’s was described by John Betjeman as “a mini-cathedral of the Arts and Crafts movement”. Construction was overseen by Randall Wells on behalf of Lord Beauchamp. In keeping with the Arts and Crafts ethos, the building was built and decorated by local artisans, from local materials and it retains a rustic, handcrafted feel.
Postcode: GL18 2BP
This is a rare surviving example of a ‘Tin Tabernacle’ – an early pre-fabricated building designed to accommodate a growing congregation until a suitable permanent building could be erected. Built from wood and corrugated iron, the church is reached by crossing a small footbridge into a field next to the River Severn.
Postcode: BS35 1RP
Built in the 1960s to serve the new Warden Hill housing estate, St Christopher’s best known for its superb set of stained glass windows designed by Tom Denny. These were installed up both sides of the nave between 1985 and 1995. Each window depicts a parable from the Gospels, and each links to the next by the use of colour.
Postcode: GL51 3DD
This delightful village church has no tower, only a bellcote, and much of it is built in the Perpendicular style. An unusual Anglo-Saxon stone crucifix found locally is displayed in the south aisle. Features attributed to Arts and Crafts designer Ernest Gimson include the wooden pews, pulpit and communion rail. An interesting brass memorial to Anne Savage dated 1605 shows her in bed.
Postcode: WR12 7NL
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